Your keys jangle some and you unlock the doors to your pub late one night. You forgot something and decided it couldn’t wait until morning. Why not? It’s not like you couldn’t put off sleep another ten minutes. You push open the glass door and stride into the place that had been your home away from home for over twenty years. For some it would have been just a job or investment, but to you it was like a child. You fought, sacrificed, and sometimes literally bled for this place. You always felt like you would die before this place if you could help it.
That’s when you saw her; seemingly innocent enough with her long black hair that covered half her face and oriental styled clothing. She smoked a long stem pipe that let out a small glow of… geisha paint? “Hello, Franklin,” came the soft voice. “We have some business to discuss.” You’d never forget her voice; soft as a feather and easy on the ears with a fair hint of a Japanese accent. Even though she was a far shot less than five feet tall, she's obviously not a child. Not with curves like those.
However you were more than familiar enough with old detective movies to know how this scene usually played out. You try to tell her to get out, but she doesn’t seem convinced. “No, I think you’ll want to listen. I want to buy your establishment.” That made you back up several steps mentally. Buy the pub? You shake your head and move for the phone you had forgot on the counter and say you’re calling the cops but you’re stopped short yet again by the loud thud of a chest. Her hands hadn’t moved, but she had still placed the chest down. The sound of coins could be heard inside. Was there somebody else here with her?
“I assure you, Mister Smesta that it is not the spare change you take it for.” One of those slender hands graces the lock and pulls the lid back. Delicate, sharply pointed nails tipped each digit. Did she sharpen her nails to look like claws? You start to wonder what kind of shady dealings you’ve gotten yourself into but all those thoughts are brought to a halt as the light from her pipe casts a pale fiery glow on the coins inside; gold. “I’ve done my research Mister Smesta. Heard your jokes. This is the sample to show I’m real, and willing to make your jests just as tangible. I am willing to offer you all one hundred and eighty five pounds of your weight in gold. Down to the last gram.”
Your legs wobble and go weak and you find yourself suddenly thirsty. How many people trying to buy this place had you told you’d only sell for your weight in gold just to drive them off? Stumbling behind the bar you grab your own personal booze and pour a glass to quickly down. You hadn’t had any tonight. You shouldn’t be seeing and hearing things like this. Finally one of the gears in your head catches and things move forward again. You ask her, against your better judgement, if she’s with the Yakuza or something, but she only laughs. “I’m with myself, and I work for myself. As if I would stoop to the level of some petty group of street thugs.” She seems genuinely insulted by the insinuation. More questions bubble to the surface. “Before you ask, no, I am not looking to start some kind of takeover. I want a place of my own, you have the place I want. You set a price, I am agreeing to the price.” The smile slowly returns. “No, I cannot read your mind, but I can read your face,” she adds before you can even open your mouth. She may as well be able to read your mind then; you’re a lousy poker player and your friends always did say that you had a million tells that made it so you practically played with your hand face up on the table.
“Do we have a deal?” she asks holding out that hand and looking you dead in the eyes. Or eye in her case. Would you trade your life and everything you’ve built for mere gold?
Redid this piece and edited the story a bit.
Tamamo is copyright Living Legends (IE: me)