22 May, Dai Yokozeki

文字数 3,619文字

I am currently in an empty room in a building. Most of the public’s eye is on some big shot in the Public Prosecutor’s Office who resigned yesterday, but none of that means anything to me. Starting today, it’s back to work.
  I peer through the scope of the rifle, look at a room in the building opposite me. It’s a large living room; not a person in sight. As you might have figured by now, I’m an assassin.
  Normally, I’d use poison. Sneak into the room and slip the poison into a drink the target seems likely to pick up soon. But recent events have forced me to take the rifle out of my closet for this job. Even assassination has become a remote-work job.
  I see a man enter the living room, and I slide a finger over the trigger. Wind’s a bit strong right now.
  The target this time is a big fish. The head of the L Family, a clan of thieves, Takeru Mikumo. I have no idea what kind of a man this Mikumo is, and I doubt I’ll ever get find out. Unfortunately for him, once I have a target, it’s only a matter of time before they’re dead.
  That being said, my throat is totally parched. I pull a paper carton of fruit-flavored milk out of the plastic convenience-store bag at my side. Just before I take a sip, I smell something odd. As much as I deal with poison in my line of work, there’s no mistaking an odor like that. But why would there be poison in my fruit-flavored milk? The convenience store I dropped by earlier. Was it that Vietnamese clerk? But why. . . .
  The wind dies down. Although my mind is still plagued with doubts, I have a job to do. The target’s back is currently to me.
  Don’t think too badly of me. It’s just business.
  I’m moments from pulling the trigger when it happens. My smartphone begins to vibrate.
  It’s a number I’ve never seen before. The phone continues to buzz incessantly, until I finally tap the screen. I hear a man’s voice on the other end.
Hello, Mr. Assassin.
  I peer through the scope once more. The man is now facing me, holding a phone in one hand. I can see the smile on his face, which bears a striking resemblance to the actor Atsurō Watabe.
  The poison in the milk must also be thanks to him. I’d heard that the L Family has a code of honour: no killing. He probably put the poison in the milk secure in the knowledge that I would notice it just before drinking.
  Stay home, he says. I know the isolation can be tiring. After all, it’s not one of the ‘Three Cs’—Closed spaces, Close contact, and Crowded places. Anyway, there’s no rule against eating food. Should be arriving just about now.
  The intercom buzzes. From the keyhole, I can see a pizza delivery worker standing outside. What a guy. Looks like I’ve been completely outclassed this time.
  I’m actually just about to take part in a game of mah-jongg online. Maybe you’d be interested in joining us?
  I look through the scope once again. Takeru Mikumo stares back with a bold smile as he continues. No money bets, of course.


Translated by Benjamin Martin/Arranged by TranNet KK

Dai Yokozeki
Born in Shizuoka Prefecture, 1975. Graduated from Musashi University’s Faculty of Humanities. Won the 56th Edogawa Rampo Prize in 2010 for

Saikai

(Reunion). His other works include

Rupan

no

musume

(Daughter of Lupin), which was adapted for TV drama,

Rupan

no

kikan

(The return of Lupin),

Hōmuzu

no

musume

(Daughter of Holmes),

Gubbai

Hīrō

(Goodbye Hero),

Sumairu

meikā

(Smile maker),

K2

,

Piero

ga

iru

machi

(A city with a clown), and

Kamen

no

kimi

ni

tsugu

(Telling you behind the mask).

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  • 横組み
  • 縦組み