The whole next day sucked big time. I couldn’t stop thinking about this ridiculous plan of Emile’s. At work, I got distracted each time I saw Sato and began gathering complaints from guests I served. Luckily, Emile took care of it.
I didn’t want to go through with the plan, but Emile had me cornered this time. After we finished work we went to the station and took a train to the south part of Tokyo. We were supposed to wait for Sato in a secluded alley on his way home.
While waiting I felt my adrenalin rising. Not counting the few pub brawls back home when I was forced to intervene, it had been a long time since my last real fight. I had a bad feeling.
“You’ll be able to handle him, right?” Emile’s voice was muffled by a white surgical mask. I wore one too. We both had hoodies over our head and I put on sunglasses to hide my face as much as possible.
I nodded. Sato seemed sturdy enough and able to put up a fight against an average person, but I was quite certain he was no match for me.
Emile directed my attention to the opposite side of the alley. Sato had just entered the street and we began walking towards him. My fists clenched, and my head was full of thoughts. How much do I hurt the man? Will he scream? Will he fight back? I had never fought somebody, who didn’t fight back.
I was indecisive down to the very last moment when Emile purposely bumped into Sato, who in return shouted back at him something in Japanese. I jumped out and punched him in the face. Sato crashed against the wall, his glasses flying off his face. I went after him again, but he wrapped himself around my leg and pulled me down. His fists came raining down on me. I defended, his punches were not so strong, but he did surprise me with his move. I managed to push him away and we both stood up. My hood was down and I lost the sunglasses.
I now considered him more carefully. He did not fight like a boxer, his stance was a different one. He was something, though. I charged in, dodged the punch and grabbed at his body. Next thing I knew I flew to the ground and felt his weight on my body again. We wrestled for a while when I realized he was going for an arm lock. He was in a good position and if I didn’t get out fast, he could break my arm. I saw Emile moving around us nervously as we kept wrestling on the ground. With my arm still locked I smashed my other elbow into Sato’s face, which made him release his tight grip. I used the momentum to pull my hand out. I jumped up and gave a powerful soccer kick at his face. His head jerked backward and his body went limp.
I looked at Emile. His eyes wide and bulging, he stepped closer to Sato and administered a light kick at his body. Sato didn’t move.
“Shit!” I squatted down and checked him. He was still breathing. “We have to get him to the hospital, I might have caused him brain damage with that kick.”
Emile began to pace around Sato’s body, his shoulders moving up and down with each breath. Suddenly, he produced a telescopic, metal stick from his pocket.
“Hey, what are you - stop!”
He hit Sato’s knee and crashed his hand with the stick before I grabbed him and dragged him away. Sato emitted a growl and his body tensed up for a brief moment, then went limp again.
We struggled until I pulled the stick from Emile’s hands.
“Shit, Emile! I didn’t sign up for this. Is this even legal?” I pushed the stick in front of his face.
“Give it back to me!”
“No fucking way!” I got up. My mind was racing. “The police will know, he’ll tell them. I’m pretty sure he recognized us.”
We both still had our masks on, but he saw my blond hair and my height was pretty distinctive.
“No, he won’t.”
“How the fuck do you know that?”
Emile squatted down.
“Don’t worry,” he put up his hand, as I wanted to prevent him from inflicting more damage on Sato’s body, “I just want to show you something.” He rolled up the sleeve on Sato’s right hand and I saw a tattoo all over his arm. He then turned him on his belly and pulled the shirt out of his pants, revealing a large unfinished tattoo, something that might have been a dragon and roses, on his back.
“Sato is a wannabe yakuza. Even if he guessed it was us to attack him, he’ll never report us. ”
“A yakuza? Are you crazy? I’ve beat up a yakuza? So....he will not report us, he’ll just come after me and cut off my head?”
“I said he wants to be a yakuza not that he is one. He was hoping to gain a recommendation from Ogata sama. Well, I doubt very much he’ll go crying to her about this. Or to the police. It would make him look weak.”
“You can’t know it...and, it’s not just me, he might come after you too...he’s not an idiot, he knows we’re friends.” I pulled the mask over my head and took a deep breath. How could I’ve been so stupid! “Fuck, fuck!”
“Nik, calm down. You did a good job, he’ll be in the hospital a while and once he gets out, I’ll be Ogata sama’s right hand. She’ll fire him and I’ll be under her protection.”
“So that’s’ your real plan, you want to become a gangster?”
“I told you, I want to have my own bar one day. And yakuza are not just plain gangsters, they can make things happen.”
I looked at him desperately. “What about me? Who will protect me?”
“Well, I haven’t thought about every detail. But, you know, you’ll be fine. You’re a fighter.”
“Fuck you, Emile!”
We heard voices at the beginning of the alley and saw a group of people coming in our direction.
Emile snatched the stick from my hand. “We better leave. I’m sure those people will take care of Sato and get him to the hospital. Thanks, mon ami. You don’t owe me anymore.”
The next day I jerked awake with my heart pounding. I felt pain and fear. I was glad it was my day off and that I didn’t have to go to work. I beat Sato, a future yakuza, who probably knew it was me and could be plotting his revenge right now. I didn’t share at all Emile’s confidence that there would be no repercussions.
Apart from the mental distress, my body hurt and it was bruised all over. I realized one important thing last night: I was out of shape. Sure enough, Sato was more than just a geekish, manager guy. He had expertise in some martial art, probably trained judo or jujitsu in the past, but still, had I been my old self, he would have gone down much quicker. Instead, it was pure luck I saved myself from a possible arm fracture, which would have been a big problem, considering my current situation.
I hadn’t done any kind of training since I came to Japan and a combination of light food and no proper physical activity weakened me considerably. If I was approached and tested by Yamato, I’d be demolished by their weakest fighter in seconds.
I needed to get in shape again. I thought of a plan: jogging, sets, and exercises, all the stuff I could do in my room or the park and wouldn’t have to pay for. With my job being so unpredictable and knowing my situation could change for the worse at any time, I couldn’t allow myself to spend money recklessly. Starting tomorrow, I solemnly promised myself, then hurried to the convenience store to buy two bentos for lunch and some ice for my bruises.