by H-M Brown
The following story was crazy. And by was, I mean, it had already happened. It was an entertaining lie, within another lie. And in the end, I should have read the sign telling me to ‘Check my sanity at the door and place my rationale in the closet?'
We now begin this tale with a greeting, in third person.
April 8, 2002
Welcome to Denfair City, New Jersey. Nicknamed the ‘Hidden City', because it was very hard to find on the map and many visitors stumbled into the city by accident. Only the residents know how to get there without missing the large exit sign off the state highway that points to Denfair City. Five Districts separated the city, each one with a distinct character of its own. The southern section was the Downtown District, with the largest Puerto Rican community in the city. Its culture shared within its music stores, clothing shops, restaurants, and clubs. It was a popular spot for the city residents and visitors. To the east was the Suburbia District. It featured million dollar mansions that lined up along the hill like trails and forests overlooking the city at its summit. To the north were the Plainsland District, where the numbered streets began and the endless row of grassy parks end. Many joggers and athletes came here to visit spots like the famous Ninth Street Gym and Lake Rapids. To the west was the Industrial and Financial Complex known as the Metalworks District. It was home to many chemical and metal factories, and junkyards, as well as the Portside Financial Center at Portside River. Its skyscrapers housed the world's best banking, computer, and stock company branches.
Finally in the center of the Hidden City, was the district, Little Edo. It was a Japanese community where Denfair City's two major streets, Main and Grove, met and connected Little Edo with the other four outer districts. In the north end of the neighborhood was the Shinto Shrine. Many of the neighbors go there to pay their respects to the kami of the shrine, Inari and Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto. Cherry Blossom trees surrounded the shrine forming a small park with its serene pond. Homes and apartments rest along the border of the district forming a circle. The residential buildings were like a wall that surrounded the center of Denfair City's, Shopper's Row. The very heart of the city, where Main Street and Grove Street intersected each other, their crosswalks form an x like in Tokyo's Shinjuku. It was here that large stores like the Kyoto Clothing Company sold attire made in Japan, from casual to kimonos, tailor made for Japanese and Americans. Small shops like Nihon Sweets and Ichiban Plushies sold Japanese Candy and rare Plushy Dolls respectively. And sitting in the middle of this district, in the center of all these stores was the most popular of them all.
Welcome to ‘The Impossible Man's Anime and Manga Shop', also known as ‘I-Man's', with its famed emblem of a green frog perched with its tongue sticking out. Inside this shop, Anime and Manga, imported from Japan or delivered by an American translation company, sold. It was a small store set under an apartment building. Inside, along the wall, Japanese comics sat on the shelves in alphabetical order. In the middle of the store were all the animation in DVD and rare VHS tapes. By the entrance sat the cashier counter with its computerized cash register. Posters hanged and the memorabilia set inside the secured glass counter. A DVD player sat on a shelf behind the counter and connected to five televisions, one behind the counter and four hanging on the corner walls around the store. It was the main attraction of Little Edo, not because of the popular and rare Anime and Manga, but the owner of the shop is somewhat peculiar.
You see, the owner of the store has a secret that no one understands. The store's name was called The Impossible Man for a reason that was difficult too explain, it could only be described.
One day, two years ago when he was eighteen, tourists from Japan arrived in Little Edo, a young couple. Well they met the owner himself, and they received the shock of their lives.
“Dónde? Dónde?!! Jamal Dónde estáAAAAAAAA…?”
A loud crash echoed out of the storage room and a hand lay out across the doorway as though the person died. At first, the hand turned around and the fingers felt the ground as if to find something. It rubbed the floor gently, curled into a fist, and pounded the ground. The hand slid out of sight and a box rolled out of room, kicked by a foot.
A young man with dark brown hair, dressed casually in a plan black shirt and blue jean shorts, stepped out of the room and saw a young Japanese couple stare blankly at him. The young man looked at the customers, as a tall man with short green hair, dressed in a grey T-shirt and long blue jeans, sat by the register shaking his head side to side.
“I-Man,' Jamal said as leaned on the glass counter. ‘we have customers.”
“So, you're I-Man?” The young woman said blinking her eyes.
“Yes, I am The Impossible Man.” He said in Japanese.
“Wow. You speak Japanese?”
“Yes, I speak Japanese.”
“You're dialect is good.”
“Thank you.” The young man walked toward the customers with their welcoming smiles when the box he kicked to the side got in the way. He tripped over it and stumbled to the couple. He avoided falling to the ground, but he heard the woman growl. Looking up, his hand had planted on her chest accidentally when he tried to avoid falling over. He pulled his hands back and waved innocently.
“PERVERT!' A purse flew across the spot where I-Man once stood, but he was not there. She jerked her head back in shock. ‘How?”
The customer turned around and saw him standing behind her with the corner of her eyes. “
Caught off guard, I-Man felt her fist connect his face. Spinning in the air, followed by a loud thud, his face laid flat on the ground, while the couple ran out of the store in fright. Since that day, by some twisted karmic miracle, that whatever your faith was could not explain, everyone began to go to the store. Just so they could meet the man who could do the illogical. The one who could the improbable. The oddity that was…
…The Impossible Man.
A sunny spring Monday afternoon, brought out all the citizens of Denfair City. Families strolling towards one of the parks on their day off, visitors exploring the wonders of this city, and all the stores opened for business as usual. Meanwhile, at “I-Man's”, as a group of teenagers left the shop, a nineteen-year-old woman entered inside. She had straight jet-black hair, dressed in long sleeve shirt with the ‘I-Man' store logo on it and a khaki skirt. She stood before Jamal at the register with a piercing look in her eyes and a wooden sword in hand. She received an uninterested look in return that rolled to the side.
“What is it now Kaori?' Jamal said with a sigh. ‘I thought you were promoting the store at the fundraiser today.”
“It was a bachelor party!”
“Oh.” Jamal's eyes opened wide.
“Where is he?”
“Out back in the storage room.”
“MICHAEL!!” Kaori stomped her way to the room.
“JAMAL, YOU TRAITOR!!”
Jamal and Kaori looked behind them and there was Michael standing outside.
“Now Michael, you shall fall to the blade of Seizon.”
Seizon. In English, it means existence. THE Miyamoto Musashi, for his most famous battle, made a very powerful wooden sword whittled from a dead tree limb. Then he discarded it due to its flimsiness and instead whittled an oar into the most famous wooden sword that dispatched his final opponent. That first discarded sword, found its way in the hands of a wanderer who sold it to young boy who wanted to be a samurai, for 765 Ryo. A lot of money in that time, the boy could have bought untold happiness with that. When people asked the boy how was he sure that it was from Musashi himself, he said…
“You see, I asked the same question, and the wanderer told me that Musashi's very soul possesses it. His spirit flows within.”
“He's still alive.” A man in the crowd said.
Since then it passed on from generation to generation of samurai right into the hands of the Saito family's youngest samurai, Kaori. It is indeed a powerful sword though. For its very name alone has made Buddha himself re-seek the path to enlightenment. The very cut of the wooden edge would slice existence itself in ways that only God himself would understand, and yet still ask ‘How can that be possible? I know the answer yet it still doesn't make sense.' It even makes those who write about it, use insufferable run on sentences because that's how awesome the sword is.
Michael ran past Kaori as she opened the door, running over a young woman dressed in a blue school uniform, and her suitcase.
“SOOOORRRRYYYY!!” His voice faded in the distance as Kaori jumped over the girl.
“MICHAEL!! DON'T YOU RUN AWAY FROM ME!!”
The storeowner ran by the crowd, dodging each of them. He looked back and saw Kaori right behind him with Seizon over her head, each swing missing him. He felt his collar tugged and pulled back. They came to a stop and the point of the wooden blade poked Michael's back as he smiled.
“Don't play with me! Those perverts wanted me to give them lap dances. They didn't care about what I had to promote for the store.' Kaori saw Michael opened his mouth to talk. ‘SHUT UP!! And prepare to die.”
Kaori lifted the sword over her head ready to bash him. She felt Michael's foot crush her toe. As she jumped up and down in pain, Michael ran toward a nearby corner. She followed him to the corner, as he turned left. When she turned the corner, Michael was gone. There was only an empty alley with a car passing by in the distance. The samurai screamed and left the area, searching for her victim.
Michael returned to his store, when he saw Jamal waiting outside and waving him to hurry over.
“What is it?” Michael suddenly stood next to Jamal as his friend stood in the same hand waving position.
“We have a slight problem. That woman you ran over out cold.”
“Great that means a lawsuit. Blast that Kaori.”
“Kaori eh?” Jamal's eyes lowered and shifted towards Michael.
“Where is she?”
“In your apartment.”
“Idiot. Why did you put her in my apartment?”
“Well where do you want me to put her? Out in the middle of the street?”
“Yeah! Or maybe a dumpster.”
Jamal tapped Michael on the back of the head, grabbed his shirt, and dragged the storeowner inside to the back of the store. There was a door next to the storage room marked ‘Private'. A benefit Michael has with the owning the store, was that he also lives in the apartment connected to it. Inside the messy apartment, there was the living room with a couch, a table, and a television. Next to the room was the kitchen and past it was the bedroom and shower. Very simple living for a very complicated person. Jamal stood Michael before the couch and laying there was a young silver haired woman next to her suitcase on the floor.
Michael knelt down by the couch and pressed two fingers on her neck. He felt the softness of her skin as her veins pulsed.
“She's alive Michael.”
“One can never tell.”
The young woman groaned as her eyes opened up. She saw Michael breath a sigh of relief. She got up quickly and slouched over in pain as she held her head. She patted her uniform and breathed and sigh of relief when she felt a blue and pink brooch attached to her blouse.
“Hey,' Michael said ‘I'm sorry about that, but Kaori don't know how to leave me alone.”
“Kaori eh?” Jamal said.
“Stay out of this.' Michael looked back with a glare then returned his attention to the young woman. ‘So are you okay?”
“Yes.' The young woman said looking around at the living room. ‘Where am I?”
“You're in my apartment.”
The woman jumped off the couch, grabbing her suitcase, and ran around trying to find the nearest door. She ran back and forth as Michael and Jamal stood still watching her. She opened a door and stepped outside. Her eyes grew wide as she saw the store. It was a remarkable sight for her. She walked along the aisles looking at the merchandise, turning her head at the posters hanging on the walls. After calming down, she turned to Michael and Jamal, who were standing by the register.
“We're not bad guys.” Jamal said.
“I own this place.” Michael said with his thumb pointing at his chest.
“You own ‘The Impossible Man's Anime and Manga Shop'?”
“Liar!” The silver haired woman grabbed a rare videocassette tape and threw it at Michael. Just as she threw the tape, it was already in his hand as he stood in front of the register. She stood there stunned as he set the merchandise on the counter.
“You're name please.”
“Yuki Shimizu. I'm looking for the one called The Impossible Man.”
“I see. So what do you want with me?”
“You're The Impossible Man?”
“Last time I checked.”
Yuki jerked her head back. At first she hesitated but she opened the side pocket of her suitcase and pulled out a manila envelope. She presented it to The Impossible Man and he opened it. Inside was an employment application. He looked at the paperwork and saw a woman's signature on the documents.
“My mother hired you?”
“Yes. She did.”
“You see I came from…”
A loud roar from outside rattled the windows. Everyone looked out the storefront window and there was Kaori, marching inside. When Yuki turned to The Impossible Man, he was no longer next to her. She saw him peeking out from the storage room and ducked inside. She jerked her head back as Kaori leaned menacingly close to Jamal waving Seizon.
“Kaori, I'd like you to meet our new…”
“Where is Michael, Jamal?”
“Excuse me.” Yuki said.
“I'm afraid the person you are looking for hasn't arrived yet.”
“And how would you know?” Kaori stared Yuki down trying to intimidate her.
“I have been here for a while now and I didn't see the man you were chasing.”
“Damn. I'll be back.”
Yuki and Jamal watched Kaori stomped out of the store. When Kaori disappeared outside to the left from their sight, Michael appeared outside from the right and entered the store from the front door. Yuki's eyes blinked as she turned back to the storage room.
“How?” She shifted her head back to Michael as he pointed to Jamal.
“Jamal Jones.' Michael pointed to himself. ‘Michael Garcia. Yuki, you're hired. Show her the basics Jamal. I'll be in my room passing out.”
With the documents in hand, Michael walked past Yuki as her eyes followed his movement back to his apartment.
“Is what he did possible?”
“We'll explain later. Let me show how to work the register.”
Inside, Michael sat on his couch dropping the documents on the table. He leaned back taking a deep breath to relax. Such a stressful morning, he never could get a break, with Kaori when weird things happen. Even now, there was a loud banging on the door across from his couch. It would not stop. Irritated, Michael got up to his feet and walked to the door. When he cracked the door open to peek outside, there was a small old man standing in the hallway. Michael looked down at the old man wearing a blue business suit, leather shoes, and carrying a cane. When the old man lifted his head up, Michael unleashed a false smile.
“Mr. Tanaka, my favorite little landlord. Now is not the time.”
The storeowner tried to close the door but the landlord pushed the door open with his cane.
“Don't brush me off gaijin. Today's rent day and I wanted my rent money,' Mr. Tanaka took out his gold watch from his pocket. ‘twenty seconds ago.”
“First thing in the morning.”
“NO! I want my…”
Michael closed the door in Mr. Tanaka's face. He went into the kitchen and stood before the refrigerator. There was a cookie jar on top of the machine marked ‘Sweet'. The shopkeeper took it and opened the lid. He reached inside and pulled out a checkbook. After writing out the check, Michael returned and opened the door.
“Here's your money.”
When Mr. Tanaka reached for the check, Michael jerked it up into the air. Michael then lowered the check for the landlord to take, but the shopkeeper yanked it back in the air. They repeated this two more times until the landlord growled and kicked Michael in the leg, freeing the check. As Michael nursed his leg, the check floated into the hands of the landlord and he walked away.
“Idiot!” Mr. Tanaka said in Japanese.
“Idiot!” Michael said in Spanish.
The shopkeeper closed the door and made his way back to the fridge. He opened it and saw only a jar of mustard staring back at him. He slammed the fridge already reaching his boiling point and marched outside to the shop. After slamming the apartment door, he stood before Yuki and Jamal with a cracked smile. His stomach rumbled and Yuki giggled.
“I see.' Jamal walked toward the counter. ‘I'll order some pizza.”
“Thank you.” Michael said.
“I never had pizza before.” Yuki said to Michael.
“Really?” Michael looked at the new employee as she smiled.
“No. I always wanted to try American pizza.' Yuki followed Michael to the counter as Jamal finished ordering over the phone. ‘You're mother called you The Impossible Man, why?”
Yuki heard Jamal clear his throat and she turned to him. She leaned closer to Jamal as the shopkeeper walked away from them. Yuki listened to Jamal.
“It would be best if you don't ask Michael that question.”
“I was just curious.”
“I know. But he doesn't like to reveal himself so easily to people.”
“Because it requires a lot of thought to understand why he calls himself that. You keep asking him that question and all you'll get is that dramatic scene over there.” Jamal pointed to the storefront window and Yuki turned around.
There was Michael looking outside. With his left arm behind his back in a serious posture, he looked ridiculous. He turned the store into a dramatic atmosphere that made Jamal sigh and Yuki tilt her head in confusion. As he stood there watching people walk back and forth, a large brown van stopped in front of the store. A courier climbed out the back of the truck, carrying a large package, and approached the store's entrance. With a smile, Michael read the box that read ‘Anime Club Video' and opened the door. He signed for the package and carried into the store.
“It's finally here.” Jamal said.
“Slow as usual.” Michael planted the box on the floor.
“What is it?” Yuki said as all three stood over the box.
“It's the newest volume of Arcana Magi Anime, Yuki.”
“Arcana Magi? Wow!!”
“You both sound like a cheesy commercial.” Jamal said.
Michael went to the back of the counter and took out a box cutter. He returned kneeling down before the box and sliced the tape off. After removing the styrofoam pieces from the box, Michael and Jamal looked to Yuki.
“Since you're new here,' Michael said. ‘you have the honors.”
“Honors?” Yuki looked up to Jamal.
“You get to take out the first DVD.” Jamal slid the box before Yuki and the young woman sat on her knees.
With a smile, she pulled out the DVD titled Arcana Magi Volume One. The front cover had a picture of a white and light blue haired teenage girl, with teal-tipped white wings made of mist, holding a large red staff with wings attached to it over her head. Yuki handed Jamal the disc as he walked behind the counter. Watching him set up the player and turn it on, Yuki spun in a circle as all the TV's turned on automatically one at time. When she stopped spinning, there was Michael standing before the counter watching the show.
When the first episode ended, everyone unpacked the rest of the merchandise. Michael read the inventory list and checked off all the orders. Yuki learned where to place the new DVDs in the New Release shelf and shifted the week old releases alongside. Jamal sat before the computer typing in new orders for next week. It was a busy workday and within an hour, they all tired out. The pizza delivery guy arrived and Michael paid for the order. As Yuki and Jamal stood around ready to eat, Michael set pizza on the counter and opened the box to a shocking surprise. There was a silver spoon with a lions head on the handle, lying in the center of the pie. Michael took it and examined it.
“The restaurant must have accidentally put this in here.”
“Strange.' Jamal said. ‘It looks like real silver.”
“It's like your hair Yuki.' Michael stretched his hand out with the spoon and saw the matching color as she smiled. ‘Well, let's eat.”
Michael took a slice and everyone joined in. As each slice left the box, within the greasy stain, there was a message written. Michael moved the remaining slices to the side and saw the note read ‘Hide the Spoon'.
“Okay… someone has issues.”
“Hide the Spoon. Why?” Yuki turned to Jamal as he shrugged his shoulders.
A red glow surrounded the spoon in Michael's hand, catching his attention, and then disappeared.
“Did you see that?” Michael said as he leaned his face close to the spoon.
“See what?” Jamal said.
“The spoon glowed.”
“I didn't see any glow.” Yuki said.
The trio stared at the spoon as Yuki noticed an inscription on the spoon. It was written in Japanese and together they read it aloud.
“How original.” Michael said.
“I think we should stop now.” Jamal said.
“Why?' Michael turned to where Jamal was looking at and saw a couple of customers standing at the entrance blinking their eyes at them. ‘Hee hee… welcomes to I-Man's.”
The rest of the day went on without incident as the spoon sat on the counter, completely ignored. Yuki's training on the register continued as customer after customer arrived. Her greetings brought smiles to the patrons as they left with their items feeling happy. The clock struck seven as the sun set at the end of the day and it was time to close up the store. Wishing the last customers goodbye, Michael locked the door and flipped a welcome sign over that read ‘Store Closed' in English, Spanish and Japanese.
“Jamal, you're up for a round or two at the Gaming Sector.”
“Sorry. I have to get home and take care of the bills.”
“How about you, Yuki? I can show you around.”
“Thank you but I have to go to my hotel room.” Yuki rolled her suitcase closer.
“Oh okay. Well I open the store at eleven. Also you don't have to wear your school clothes when you work here.' Michael took a second look at Yuki's clothing. ‘Why are you wearing school clothes? I thought your application said you were eighteen and completed high school.”
Yuki stood there blinking her eyes innocently as Michael and Jamal waited for an answer.
“Well I have to go now. Thank you very much for hiring me. You're too weird but great to work with.' Yuki stepped back toward the entrance. ‘I'm looking forward to do my best and make this store a great place to shop. Well, good night.”
Yuki turned around and her face slammed into the door. She fell back and found herself caught in the arms of Michael. It happened fast and with a little blush, she stood to her feet and looked away.
“Are you okay?”
Michael unlocked the door and opened it for Yuki. He watched her walk outside and turned around to face him.
“You did good on your first day. You just have dress normal okay?”
“Okay.' Yuki bowed politely. ‘Thank you again.”
“No problem. Just be careful.”
“I will. Good night guys.”
“Good night.” Michael and Jamal said together as the door closed and she looked back. Michael locked the door and walked over to the counter to read the days receipts. He noticed the spoon was gone and turned to Jamal.
“Where's the spoon?”
“Why should you care?”
“Because it was right here.” Michael felt something in his pocket. He reached inside and pulled out the silver spoon. He jerked his head back as Jamal shrugged his shoulders walking away. Michael placed the spoon back on the counter and helped Jamal cleaned up the store.
After they closed up for the night and bid each other farewell, Michael went into his apartment. Ignoring the letter sent from his mother, he walked over to the fridge and stared at the jar of mustard. With a sigh, he reached for the cookie jar and took out a wad of cash. He left the building through the main apartment entrance and headed for the grocery store. For a moment, he stood still marveling at the full moon, and saw a shadow leap across the rooftops.
The storeowner turned around and saw Kaori raised her sword, Seizon over her head. He ran off as she chased after him with a banshee like scream. Michael screamed himself as he ran past garbage cans, knocking them over to slow her down. He looked back and saw her jump over them with ease and gaining speed. Michael turned the corner into an alley and Kaori followed. There was Michael behind a tall link fence smiling at Kaori. Michael stuck out his tongue and pulled his left eyelid. He turned around and slapped his butt taunting the young woman. The sound of her growl silenced Michael as she sliced the fence in half with Seizon. Michael screamed like a girl and ran out into the next street. He accidentally tripped over a crack in the sidewalk landing on his face. He turned around laying on his back and there was Kaori with the tip of the wooden blade aimed at his neck.
“Don't you ever give up?”
“Not as long as you're walking on two feet.”
Eye to eye, they prepared for the next move, when suddenly Michael saw a shadow jumping from the rooftop to the next one. A star shined in the air and slammed in between Michael and Kaori. A plume of smoke surrounded the air and when it disappeared, Michael was gone.
“Michael?” Kaori took a few steps forward and pounded the wall with her fist. She made her sword disappear and stomped away.
Michael peeked out from behind a car a few blocks away. He looked up into the sky and wondered what that was. With sigh, he felt something in his pockets. He reached in and pulled out the silver spoon. He jerked his head back and growled under breath.
“I despise Mondays.”
To Be Continued...
All rights reserved.
Series: The Impossible Man
Status: Unpublished Novel, ©2002-2003 Henry-Michael Brown
Welcome to the debut chapter, or Episode 1, of The Impossible Man.
I wasn't sure if I wanted to post it in the Novel Exerpts Group Page since I have my own group page for The Impossible Man, but I decided to give it a try and post only this first chapter. The Impossible Man Novel was written back in 2002 and so the only thing I had to do was clean up the writing and update the jokes a bit. I hope that my story is funny. I have a sense of humor, but I'm no comedian.
First there is something wrong the with the Font sizes. I don't know what it is or why it's doing that but I tried my best to get the entire chapter in and hopefully remove the uneven fonts. If you see any uneven fonts while reading it, just drop a line and let me know.
Now because this is a Novel I wrote, my chapters are at a minimum 10 pages which translates into nearly 20 pages of PDF, or at least I think, I'll have to check.
So I highly recommend not only reading it in Fictionaut's PDF Format but also to take your time reading it.