My brash behavior around the house hadn't won anyone over. I was the sort of guy who'd bang on the walls and floors to get people's attention without leaving my room.
On the day of the funeral, I was halfway through jerking off, my body arched in the air, when my brothers and sisters barged into my room in their mourning garb and delivered their letter formally disowning me. When I ignored it, my younger brother smashed my computer—which I valued more than myself—with a wooden bat.
Meanwhile, my older brother, the one with a black belt in karate, stormed over in a blind rage and beat the crap out of me.
I just let it happen, sobbing uselessly all the while, hoping that would be the end of it. But my siblings forced me out of the house with nothing but the clothes on my back. I had no choice but to wander around town, nursing the throbbing pain in my side. It felt like I had a broken rib.
The biting words they hurled at me as I left our house would ring in my ears for the rest of my life. The things they said cut me to my very core. I was completely, totally heartbroken.
What the hell had I even done wrong? All I did was skip out on our parents' funeral so I could spank it to uncensored loli porn.
So, what in the world was I supposed to do now?
I knew the answer: look for a part-or full-time job, find myself a place to live, and buy some food. The question was how? I had no idea how to even begin looking for a job.
Well, okay, I knew the basics. The first place I should check out was an employment agency—except I seriously had been a complete shut-in for over ten years, so I had no idea where any of those were. Also, I remembered hearing that those agencies only handled the introductions to job opportunities. You'd then have to take your résumé to the place with the job on offer and sit for an interview.
And here I was, wearing a sweatshirt caked in a mixture of sweat, grime, and my own blood. I was in no state for an interview. No one was going to hire some weirdo who showed up looking like I did. oh, I'd make an impression, for sure, but I'd never land the job.
Moreover, I didn't know where they even sold résumé paper. At a stationery shop? The convenience store? There were convenience stores within walking distance, but I didn't have any money.
But what if I could take care of all that? With some luck, I could borrow some money from a loan company or something, buy myself some new clothes, and then purchase some résumé paper and something to write with.
Then I remembered: You can't fill out a résumé if you don't have an address or anywhere to live.
I was hosed. I finally realized that, despite having come this far, my life was completely ruined.
It started to rain. "Ugh," I grumbled.
Summer was over, bringing with it the autumn chill. My worn-out, years-old sweatshirt soaked up the cold rain, mercilessly robbing my body of precious heat.
"If only I could go back and do it all over again," I muttered, the words slipping unbidden from my mouth.
I hadn't always been a garbage excuse for a human being. I was born to a well-off family, the fourth of five children, with two older brothers, an older sister, and a younger brother. Back in elementary school, everyone always praised me for being smart for my age. I didn't have a knack for academics, but I was good at video games and had an athletic bent. I got along with folks. I was the heart of my class.
In junior high, I joined the computer club, pored over magazines, and saved up my allowance to build my very own Pc. My family, who didn't know the first thing about computers, barely gave it a second thought.
It wasn't until high school—well, the last year of junior high, I suppose—that my life got all messed up. I spent so much time fixated on my computer that I neglected my studies. In hindsight, that was probably what led to everything else.
I didn't think I needed to study in order to have a future. I thought it was pointless. As a result, I wound up going to what was widely considered the worst high school in the prefecture, where the lowest of the delinquents went.
But even then, I figured I'd be fine. I could do anything I set my mind to, after all. I wasn't in the same league as the rest of these idiots.
Or so I thought.
There was an incident from back then that I still remembered. I was in line to buy lunch from the school store when someone cut in front of me. Being the morally upstanding young man I was, I gave him a piece of my mind, getting all up in his face, striking an awkward, humorless, and self-conscious pose.
I didn't leave the house, but with my computer and my internet connection, I was still able to kill plenty of time. I developed an interest in all sorts of things thanks to the internet, and I did all sorts of things as well. I constructed plastic model kits, tried my hand at painting figurines, and started my own blog. My mother would give me as much money as I could cajole out of her, almost like she was supporting me in all this.
Despite that, I gave up on all of these hobbies within a year. Anytime I saw someone who was better at something than me, I'd lose all motivation. To an outsider, it probably looked like I was just playing around and having fun. In reality, I was locked inside my shell with nothing else to do during my time alone.
No. In retrospect, that was just another excuse. I probably would have been better off deciding I wanted to be a manga artist and posting a silly little web comic online, or deciding I wanted to be a light novel author and serializing stories, or something like that. There were plenty of people in circumstances like mine who did that sort of thing.
Those were the people I made fun of.
"This stuff is crap," I'd snort derisively upon viewing their creations, acting like it was my place to be a critic when I hadn't done anything myself.
I wanted to go back to school—ideally to grade school, or maybe junior high. Hell, even going back a year or two would be fine. If I had a little more time, I'd be able to do something. I might have half-assed everything I'd everdone, but I could pick up where I'd left off. If I really applied myself, I could be a pro at something, even if I didn't wind up the best at it.
I sighed. Why hadn't I ever bothered to achieve anything before now?
I'd had time. Even if that time was all spent shut in my room in front of the computer, there was plenty I could have done. Again, even if I wasn't the best, I would have accomplished something by being halfway decent an applying myself.
Like manga or writing. Maybe video games or programming. Whichever the case, with the proper effort, I could have gotten results, and from there, I could have made money and—
No. It didn't matter now. I hadn't made the effort. Even if I could go back to the past, I'd only trip up again, stopped in my tracks by some similar obstacle. I hadn't made it through things that normal people managed to breeze through without thinking, and that's why I was where I was now.
Suddenly, amidst the downpour, I heard people arguing. "Hm?" I muttered. Was someone having a fight? That wasn't good. I didn't want to get involved with that sort of thing. Even as I was thinking that, however, my feet kept carrying me in that direction.
"Look, you're the one who—"
"No, you're the one who—"
What I saw when I rounded the corner were three high schoolers in the midst of what was clearly a lovers' quarrel. There were two boys and a girl, dressed in the now-vanishingly rare tsume-eri jackets and a sailor suit, respectively. The scene was almost like a battlefield, with one of the boys, an especially tall fellow, in a verbal spat with the girl. The other boy had interposed himself between the two in an attempt to placate them, but his pleas were completely ignored.
Yeah, I'd been in situations like that myself.
This sight brought back older memories. Back in—junior-high, I had one childhood friend who was real cute. And when I say cute, I mean like fourth—or fifth-cutest in the class. She wore her hair very short, since she was on the track team. Of every ten people she passed by on the street, at least two or three would turn to look back at her. Also, there was this one anime I was super into at the time, so I thought the track team and short hair thing was cute.
She lived nearby, so we were in the same class for a lot of grade school and junior high. All the way up to junior high, we often walked home together. We had plenty of chances to talk, but wound up arguing a lot. I did some regrettable things. To this day, I can get off three times in a row with the prompts "junior high," "childhood friend," and "track team."
Come to think of it, I heard rumors she'd gotten married about seven years ago. And by "rumors," I mean overhearing my siblings talking in the living room.
We certainly didn't have a bad relationship. We'd known each other since we were little, so we were able to talk to each other pretty openly. I don't think she ever had a thing for me, but if I'd studied harder and gotten into the same high school she did, or if I'd joined the track team and gotten admission that way, it might have sent the right signals. Then, if I'd told her how I felt, maybe we might have wound up dating.
Anyway, we'd get into fights on the way home, just like these three kids here. Or, if things went well, we'd hook up and do naughty things in some abandoned classroom after school.
(Shit, this sounds like the plot of some adult dating sim I must've played.)
And then, I noticed something: There was a truck speeding right toward the group of three students. The driver was slumped over, asleep at the wheel. The kids hadn't noticed yet.
"Ah, h-hey, look...look out!" I shouted—or tried to, anyway. I'd barely spoken aloud in over a decade, and my already—weak vocal cords had further tightened due to the pain in my ribs and the chill of the rain. All I could muster was a pathetic, wavering squeak that was lost in the din of the downpour.
I knew I had to help them; at the same time, I didn't know how. I knew that if I didn't save them, five minutes later I'd wind up regretting it. Like, I was pretty sure seeing three teenagers splattered into paste by a truck moving at terrific speeds was something I'd regret.
Better to save them. I had to do something. In all likelihood, I'd end up dead on the side of the road, but I figured that, if nothing else, having a bit of solace wouldn't be so bad. I didn't want to spend my final moments mired in regret.
I staggered as I started to run. Ten-plus years of barely moving made my legs slow to respond. For the first time in my life, I wished I'd exercised more. My busted ribs sent a startling jolt of pain through me, threatening to bring me to a halt. For the first time in my life, I also wished I'd gotten more calcium.
Even so, I ran. I was capable of running.
The boy who'd been yelling noticed the truck approaching and drew the girl close to him. The other boy had looked away and hadn't spotted the truck yet. I grabbed him by the collar and yanked him behind me with all my might, then pushed him out of the vehicle's path.
Good. Now that left the other two.
At that very instant, I saw the truck right before me. I'd simply tried to pull the first boy to safety, but instead, I'd bodily switched places with him, putting me in harm's way. But that was unavoidable, and had nothing to do with the fact that I weighed over a hundred kilos; running at full speed, I'd simply stumbled a bit too far.
The instant before the truck made contact, a light blossomed behind me. Was I about to see my life flash before my eyes, like people said? It only lasted a moment, so I couldn't tell. It was all so fast.
Maybe that's what happens when your life is hollow and half-lived.
I was struck by a truck more than fifty times my weight and thrown against a concrete wall. "Hurgh!" The air was forced from my lungs, which were still spasming for oxygen in the wake of running flat out.
I couldn't speak, but I wasn't dead. My ample fat must have saved me.
Except the truck was still moving. It pinned me against the concrete, crushing me like a tomato, and then I was dead.