27 June, Kazuhiro Kiuchi

文字数 2,967文字

Paying the Devil


At 12:00 a.m. on June 27th, I heard the voice of the devil: “What can I do for you?”
  I’d found an old book on how to summon the devil in my grandfather’s study, which had remained untouched since his death over a decade ago. But I hadn’t expected the method to actually work. Without hesitation, I said, “I want you to kill my rival, Jirō Yamada.”
  If it hadn’t been for Yamada, I would’ve made the Olympic team. He’d been chosen over me, taking away what would probably be my last opportunity to compete in the Games. He had to be eliminated. An injury would be enough to get him off the team, but this man had sent me plummeting to the depths of despair at the very last minute, when no one—including myself—had doubted I would get the spot. For this, he deserved to die.
  “I can’t kill him for nothing, you know,” said the devil. He was on the table, and looked like a six-inch-tall mortician. “It’s going to cost you.”
  “How much?” I asked.
  Looking down at his left palm, the devil crunched numbers on an invisible calculator. “Thirty-two years of your own life. It’s actually a little more than that, but I’ll give you a discount.”
  “How long will I have to live?”
  The devil crunched more numbers. “You’ll live to be eighty-eight.”
  “Huh?” Apparently, I was destined to live to be 120 years old. Even after losing thirty-two years of my life, I’d still live to be eighty-eight, and that was good enough for me. “All right, let’s do it,” I said.
  The devil disappeared; the next moment, the phone on my desk began to ring. I picked it up.
  “Mr. Jirō Yamada passed away,” said a woman’s voice. Geez, that was fast. But who was this woman anyway? “From COVID-19. His lungs weren’t in good shape to begin with.” Not in good shape? The man was an Olympic marathon runner, for Christ’s sake. And what the hell was COVID-19? “Given the current climate, the family has decided to keep the funeral private. Shall I arrange for flowers to be sent?”
  It was then that I noticed the wrinkles on my fingers. “Uh, how old was he?”
  “I believe he was your age, sir. So he must have been fifty-eight years old.”
  Realizing that I’d lost thirty-two years of my life and gone from being twenty-six to fifty-eight, all I could do was sigh.


Translated by Asuka Minamoto/Arranged by TranNet KK

Kazuhiro Kiuchi
Born in Fukuoka Prefecture, 1960. Made his literary debut in 2004 with

Shield

of

Straw

, which was adapted for film in 2013. A planned Hollywood remake of the film has also been announced. Works include

A

Dog

in

Water

,

Auto

&

auto

(Out and out),

Kiddo

(Kid),

Deddobōru

(Deadball),

Kamisama

no

okurimono

(Gift of the gods),

Kenka

zaru

(Squabbling monkey),

Fuyukai

han

(Unpleasant criminal),

Usodesukedo,

nanika?

(Is it a problem that it was a lie?),

Doggurēsu

(Dog race), and

Tobenai

karasu

(A crow that can’t fly), among others.

登場人物紹介

登場人物はありません

ビューワー設定

文字サイズ
  • 特大
背景色
  • 生成り
  • 水色
フォント
  • 明朝
  • ゴシック
組み方向
  • 横組み
  • 縦組み