19 May, Yabusaka Hayasaka

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The fresh rays of the morning sun. Small birds are singing outside. Echoing inside a dark room is the voice of a girl.
  “Money! Money! Money!”
  Bang!
  The voice stops when a thin arm resembling a dead twig stretches out from under the blanket and hits the red-headed Amigurumi doll. From there on, the doll begins to cry out every hour.
  “Money! Money! Money!”
  Bang!
  The arm makes the doll shut up every time.
  The sun rises and sets, and it’s when the light in the room changes from white to red that the doll squeezes out a final cry.
  “Money! Money! Money!”
  “Mm. . . .”
  The body that the thin arm belongs to crawls out from under the blanket.
  Yabusaka Hayasaka is awake.
  He looks at the clock and cries out in surprise.
  “Why didn’t you wake me!?
  “I did. Over and over again,” says the red-headed Amigurumi doll set against the pillow. It’s the doll in which the very soul of Raichi Kamiki, the protagonist in Hayasaka’s detective series, is sealed.
  “But I never got out of bed! Unless we achieve the result where I actually get up, what you’ve been doing is nothing more than an act of self-satisfaction where you simply ‘attempted to wake me up.’”
  “Want me to put you to eternal sleep?”
  “Oh, God, there’s no time. No time at all.”
  “Oh? That doesn’t sound like something a NEET (a person who’s ‘Not in Education, Employment, or Training’) would say.”
  “I’m supposed to write an essay about May 19 for Kodansha. So, I needed to have some type of meaningful experience today.”
  “Just write about the news. Here’s the paper.”
  “Mmm . . . it’s nice that the emergency declaration is being lifted in steps, but that much-talked-about topic isn’t something I would write about here. . . .”
  “Then write about May 19 being some kind of anniversary, or incidents that happened on this day in the past. Write something from your profound knowledge. You know, like Wikipedia.”
  “Ah, that’s one way to handle this!”
  “May 19 seems to be Boxing Day in Japan.”
  The Raichi doll makes a whoosh-whoosh sound with a couple of jabs in the air.
  “I don’t have anything to write about on boxing. Not that I can think of anything else in particular. . . .”
  “It’s Boxing Day.” Whoosh-whoosh.
  “Okay, okay! Oh, what am I going to do? The day’s going to be over! It’s soon going to be May 20!!!”
  “You idiot!!!!
  The doll landed a straight left in Hayasaka’s face.
  “There seems to be a big misunderstanding here. . . .”
  “!?
  “What’s important isn’t ‘what some stranger did’ on the 19th of May. It’s ‘what you accomplished.’ Isn’t that right?”
  It felt like the fog had cleared.
  “Thanks. I’ve finally realized something. The only thing that I can do is write novels.”
  Smiling in her usual way, the doll continued to watch Hayasaka’s back as he turned to his computer.
  “It looks like he’s finally ‘opened his eyes. . . .’”
  Are you having a day without regrets yourself?


Translated by Eriko Sugita/Arranged by TranNet KK

Yabusaka Hayasaka
Born in Osaka, 1988. Graduated from Kyoto University, Faculty of Letters. A member of the Kyoto University Mystery Club. Made his literary debut in 2014 with

Marumarumarumarumarumarumarumaru

satsujin

jiken

(Marumarumarumarumarumarumarumaru murder case) , for which he won the Mephisto Prize and the I Want to Read This Mystery! New Face Award. His other works include

Niji

no

haburashi:

Kamiki

Raichi

hassan

(The rainbow toothbrush: Raichi Kamiki’s divergence),

Daremo

boku

o

sabakenai

(Nobody can judge me),

Sōja

misshitsu

(Twin snake locked room), and

Mērādēmon

no

senritsu

(Horror of the mail demon), all from the Kamiki Raichi series, as well as

Satsujinhan

tai

satsujinki

(Murderer versus killer),

Hannin

IA

no

interijensu

anpurifā:

Tantei

AI

2

(Suspect IA’s intelligence amplifier: Detective AI 2), among others.

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