４ Ｍａｙ， Ｍａｓａｋｉ Ｔｓｕｊｉ
Tsukumogami: A Farce in One Act
talk. . .
Cast of Characters
Colonel Cup: A crackpot cup dating back to the author’s days in the screenwriter trenches.
Madame Rocking Chair: A rickety rocking chair upon which the author habitually dozes.
Señor Screen: A scruffy old screen door leading to the author’s veranda.
Little Miss Therma: A digital thermometer that probes the author’s ear each morning.
Col. Cup: “Rise and shine! Well, well. What do we have here? Tsuji, our man of letters, sleeping like a baby. His stories aren’t going to write themselves! Assuming he has any readers left in the first place.”
Madame Chair: “
alors,Monsieur stayed up much past heez bedtime to watch ze
Conanshow last night.”
Col. Cup: “Disgraceful! I’ve got decades on the man, but you don’t see me lollygagging all day. No sirree. Here I am on active duty, ready to serve his coffee on the double.”
Therma: “Come on, we know you like it when your lip brushes against his. The colonel and Tsuji, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.”
Col. Cup: “I sure wish you had a mute button. Show some respect! I was a big star in my day. I even had a closeup with the great actor Hisaya Morishige himself, the lead role in the musical
Pa-Pa.Tsuji scrimped and saved to buy me off the prop department. I wasn’t cheap.”
Therma: “That’s like the fifth time you’ve told that story. But keep talking, maybe your tales of the glory days will be boring enough to keep the coronavirus away. Look, you even put Señor Screen to sleep out on the veranda. I guess it doesn’t matter if he takes a siesta on the job. With all those holes, we should be more worried about the creepy crawlies he keeps letting into the house.”
Col. Cup: “Hear that everyone? Kids these days sure have some nerve.”
Madame Chair: “Careful, colonel. You do not want another stress fracture, no? Attention! Monsieur Tsuji awakens.”
Col. Cup: “Relax, we know the drill. At most, he will yawn, and rock himself back to sleep with Therma chirping away in his ear.”
Madame Chair: “
Aïe!The monsieur has tripped on my leg!”
Col. Cup: “Man down! And there goes Therma, sailing across the room!”
Therma: “Save meee! Oof. I’m. . . I’m all right, I’m still in one piece.”
Madame Chair: “Nice catch, Señor Screen.”
Señor Screen: “
mío.Would the señorita please stop poking me?”
Therma: “I take back what I said about your holes. You saved my life.”
Madame Chair: “Chop, chop. Time to take ze monsieur’s temperature.”
Col. Cup: “You’ve been given a new lease on life. Might as well make yourself of service.”
Therma: “Yessir. Good morning, Mr. Tsuji. I’m ready when you are.”
Tsuji (yawning loudly as he sleepily peers out the screen door): “It looks like all of Atami is hunkered down indoors today. Not a single vacationer in sight. I’d better take my temperature and add it to the chart. May 4th, 10:10 a.m. 36.4℃. Good. Now, let’s see about that story for Kodansha’s Day to Day project. Hmm. . . . What in the world am I going to write?”
Translated by Daniel González/Arranged by TranNet KK
Born in Aichi Prefecture, 1932. Graduated from Nagoya University’s School of Letters. As a scriptwriter he has been involved in various anime including
Devilman,supporting Japanese anime from its early days, as well as being involved in writing for “tokusatsu” films. Made his literary debut in 1972 with
jiken(Provisional title: Junior high school murder case). Won the 35th Mystery Writers of Japan Award in 1982 for
satsujin(Murder in the land of Alice), the 9th Honkaku Mystery Award in 2009 for
ren’ai(Absolute love)*, and the 23rd Japan Mystery Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement for his contributions to the field of Japanese mystery literature.
*Written under the pen-name