Without further ado, Arisugawa Park 1.23. The continuing adventures of David––despite his close call at the apartment , he is not out of the woods yet. Eve has become much more demanding than she was in the previous version of Arisugawa Park––and interesting evolution. Yet her self-preservation-focused manipulation is understandable. As Jessica Rabbit put it, "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way."
As always, novice readers are encouraged to get caught up at my cloud novel website. Regular readers may be starting to cotton on to the idea that they can invest time in reading Ari Park a couple times a week and get something new. The temptation with the Internet is to shrug and assume that no one cares....not entirely true. I am expecting a bidding war to erupt sometime in the next four months.
Quip-du-jour: It just struck me that Sanders will have a lot of influence in the current setting of the Democratic party agenda, as no one wants to see him pull a Ralph Nader.
Pedaling forward on a frame slightly too small for him, bell vibrating in a low hum against dark metal shopping basket, David could not prevent a sense of anticipation from building. There was a reason for everything––even his dedication to higher sartorial standards––and a part of him reveled in that. Aware of his surroundings in a way he had never been before in Tokyo, set on a course as unavoidable as it was out of his comfort zone.
One thing was certain––a shadowy group was after Eve, of the kind that carried guns and did not follow any standard protocol he knew of. What unnerved him most, in retrospect, was that his adversary had had an aura of police training, yet had not even tried to speak to him through the chain-held door… as if his outcome was decided. If they were law enforcement, the aim was not a simple trip down to the local precinct for booking.
David locked his bicycle at the backside of Roppongi Hills, skirting the Asahi soundstage and beer garden, making his way up tan granite steps, past Indrus––memories of clay-oven Tandoori chicken coming to a mouth-watering fore.
As he curved around to the main plaza, scanning for anything reminiscent of the man in the car, David reigned in a bundle of conflicting nerves and impulses––equally tempted to rush forward with a Braveheart yell as to slink back to clay-oven warmth. On many levels, David should not be on this mission. More Dora the Explorer than Jason Bourne, with his book-stuffed teacher’s backpack, he did not envision himself in hero mode. Yet he had no choice…
Recounting his story a couple hours ago, David had watched Eve’s reaction carefully, registering nothing in her slate blue eyes, no change except a tightening of lips. It was as if the trauma of the morning had resolved itself into an awareness that nothing would come easy and nothing could be undone. Finishing the story, he had taken in Eve’s cool look with a sense of deja vu. Acknowledging that dangerous people were after her, she had expressed a firm intention of visiting Peach.
For a number of reasons, primary among them that whoever was after her must know where she worked––if not her current hair color and style––this was plain crazy. Her pursuers might not expect her to waltz back into Peach, but that did not mean that they would not be watching.
Eve had been adamant that she would go, a fatalistic conviction entering her voice. Assuming a role uncomfortably like that of a controlling father, David had asserted that he was not going to allow her to go anywhere on her own. To her credit, she had not wasted much time arguing once his offer was on the table. The moment after his impulsive, inevitable insistence on going, he sensed the manipulation behind everything, so … out of a Dashiell Hammett novel, with a woman so intense as to be half-imagined as destruction. Now, confronted with a situation he thought only existed in novels, he realized something he had not fully grasped before––the femme fatale did not have a choice.
David strolled across a large, open plaza set with benches, lit-up trees, and a nightmarish spider sculpture, long limbs extending from cocoon. He felt in his loose pocket to a wallet with an amount of money Eve said would buy him enough drinks to accomplish his goal––an amount that seemed wildly excessive. But this was central Tokyo, where the rustle of money spent was like leaves in the wind. He brushed his hand over his hair, straightening tie and walking in through the glass entrance, past elevators that led to Peach and the offices of law firms and multi-flagged holding companies. Opposite, the perfect perch to scope out foot traffic––a glass-encased Starbucks with stool-lined table. He purposefully looked away, Apple logos glowing at him in the gleaming metal doors, otherworldy symbols of connectivity burnishing his reflection. In this logical place for a set of eyes to be watching for Eve, no one moved or seemed to follow.
David relaxed slightly as he turned down a corridor leading to toilets and then––turning again––past a dozen shuttered offices. The neon-lit green sign at the end of the dark hallway indicated stairs up. Eve had suggested this back way––the girls used it as a creative way out of Roppongi Hills on occasions when an inebriated customer, out of time and money, waited to accost them in the front lobby. David climbed a dimly lit set of stairs that went up and up. Stopping to catch his breath, aware of circles of sweat through his shirt, he entered an obscure hallway at the 19th floor, settling into character––Dan Draper type, beleaguered by uncooperative clients, high blood pressure,deteriorating liver, and trophy life.