Former Magical Girls and their Daily Lives
"Achoo!" Risa sneezed. She was wearing a face mask when she was going to school that Wednesday, and she wasn't feeling so good.
"Why did you leave me outside all night?!" Risa told Kasumi, "I could've died!"
"You brought an entire computer without my permission. I thought that you should have some punishment."
"That's way too much for a punishment! You didn't even try to pick me up. It was so cold at night."
"Well, I thought you were going to notice that you were outside and come back inside. The front door wasn't even locked."
"But I didn't notice that! When I woke up, I was so confused!"
"Honestly, I was quite confused too. I knocked you out with a pillow. I thought that you were going to quickly recover as people usually do. Not go into a deep sleep. How did you even manage to sleep through all of that?"
"Well, I did. Stop questioning it."
"Hey, Yuri. When you came back to the house, you saw Risa sleeping on the ground, right?"
"Why didn't you do anything?"
Yuri paused to think for a second.
Yuri pointed at Risa.
"Looked comfortable," Yuri said.
"Okay, see. I didn't think that you'll like sleeping outside," Kasumi said.
"Look, I may didn't wake up because I was comfortable. But it didn't stop me from getting a cold because of your neglect. I should report you to child protective services!"
"I'm not your guardian or parent, you dimwit. The best you could do is report me to the school's bullying hotline."
"That sounds good enough for me! Where do I find that?
"I'm not telling you that! I don't want to get reported for leaving you out in the cold. But in my defense, I didn't know that you'll enjoy the cold that much. You did just fine outside."
"A cold is evidence to the contrary."
"Well, in that point of view, you deserved it. You brought an entire computer with our money. How did you even pay for it? We don't have a bank account or credit card. Just cash."
"Well, you see there are options where you just deliver the money to a location. It makes things easier for me, and everyone who doesn't have a credit card."
"That's great. I didn't expect that you could spend our money on the internet without a credit card. Look, Risa, you are lucky that we actually needed a computer. If you brought a 4-foot tall gummy bear instead, I would've been much angrier."
The train stopped at the school's train station. The Lemons have gotten better at escaping the crowded train. So, this time only Yuri fell onto the floor. Better luck next time.
"You know what. I think I'll actually buy a 4-foot tall gummy bear just to spite you," Risa said, "That's how I'm going to avenge myself."
"Okay, give me your phone," Kasumi said, "You clearly aren't mature enough for it."
"Wait, no. Please don't take the phone. It's my only form of entertainment."
"Fine. Yuri, hide the money so that Risa can't find it."
"Roger," Yuri said. She started running in the direction of the house.
"No, not now. When we get back home."
"Okay." Yuri came back.
"Anyway, Risa, you did buy a monitor, keyboard, and mouse, too, right?"
"I also brought a speaker."
"Okay, that's too much."
"We need a speaker! Do you just want to listen to things with your cheap earpods?"
"That's the saving money way."
"Kasumi, we have a lot of money. 5,000 yen for speakers is 0.5% of our monthly allowance."
"Remember, we are like the billionaires who ride the bus every day."
"Well, I just want speakers to hear stuff. Do you think that music works better on speakers or headphones?"
"It could work better in either thing. Honestly, I don't care that much about music. I'm not an audiophile that demands to hear stuff with 80,000 yen headphones like I'm a professional musician."
"Yeah, I don't think that audio quality is that important. As long as it isn't distorted or anything, it's fine. I do wonder how different those really expensive headphones are. Supposedly, they are very crisp and clear, but I don't know if that's a big deal. Wouldn't you just get used to that kind of quality and get bored of it?"
"I don't know. People used to watch movies without color or sound, but now that isn't enough for us. We simply don't get immersed in the world enough."
"Is immersion the problem though? Theoretically, books shouldn't be immersive anymore because they are old simple technology. We have movies with tons of special effects and animations with every detail definitely. Books shouldn't work anymore as a form of entertainment if that was the case."
"But we do see this kind of problem with other technologies. Video games that looked realistic 20 years ago look blocky. Fluid animation from 20 years ago looks standard. With the advancement of technology, we got used to new technology. It's a little hard to say that about books, however. Unless you are talking about ebooks and audiobooks, books are just text on a page. They never really have anything to change. No, wait. There's some difference between new and old books. Aren't older books considered to be more boring?"
"I think I heard of that. Kids will complain about the books they have to read for school, but they'll read modern stuff just fine. What has changed? Oh, I know. Older books are usually forced upon kids while new books aren't. Kids don't like to be forced to do anything."
"That is true, but older books are different. I think they tend to be more bulky and hard to read. Modern books are more streamlined for a modern audience. You know, pageturners. It feels that some people can't read a book if it doesn't have a cliffhanger at the end of every page. So, I think that modern books are made to please the audience better."
"Then why don't some people like modern books? If they are a step up, why isn't everyone reading them."
"They could be hipsters, but that isn't always true. Maybe they are more accustomed to boring books. Maybe they like a certain author from the past. Maybe they think that modern books lost a certain flair that made books so good."
"That just sounds like a hipster."
"Maybe. But hipster sounds superficial. I don't know. Maybe we are all hipsters. Maybe we see stuff to be appreciated while the masses blindly follow trends. Maybe that's how everyone is wired. They are the sheep. We are the rabbits or something. What's the opposite of sheep?"
"Nah, that sounds too predatory."
"Lizard? You know, sheep are fluffy while lizards are scaly."
"That could work, but that doesn't fit right with me."
"Well, you herd sheep, right? But you can't herd cats. So, cats might be a good one."
"I guess that could work. But cats are rather simple creatures too. I wouldn't say that they appreciate stuff more than other animals."
"Why do we even use sheep as an example for the masses?"
"Probably because we have been herding them for a long time, and they don't question the line when they are about to get slaughtered. I imagine that sheep are blind followers."
"I guess rabbits would work then. Rabbits are very independent, right? They are also supposed to be very clever and skewed."
"I don't know about independent, but I think I heard about the latter part. Rabbits seem to be the closest I can think of at the moment. But I don't know if they appreciate life more than sheep."
"Do sheep appreciate life? Does any animal appreciate life? I don't know. They can seem happy for sure, but it's hard to say if they appreciate stuff. I would imagine that most animals are completely focused on survival and nothing else. They can't really appreciate art as we can."
"Wouldn't the opposite of sheep be humans then?"
"I don't know. We just described a bunch of humans as sheep. Can things be opposites if there's a lot of overlap? Could that be true? That doesn't seem right."
"Well, opposites are a weird breed of things. I don't think that everything has an opposite. Sure, we have black and white, and good and evil, but those are quite obvious. There's a simple scale to both ends. The question becomes harder if you ask what's the opposite of gray. Gray is in the middle so would the opposite of gray be gray? That doesn't sound right, but it is on the opposite end of the black-white spectrum. So, the opposite of gray is itself. What's the opposite of North? South. What's the opposite of the equator? The equator. In that way, opposites can literally be the same."
"But opposites have to oppose each other, right? Gray doesn't oppose gray. If you put them next to each other, then people can't see the difference. They are identical. I think a better way of saying it is that gray doesn't have an opposite if you are thinking about black and white. If you are the same as your opposite, then it isn't a good opposite. Is dark gray the opposite of light gray? Kinda. I don't know. It's hard to figure out the opposites of the non-extremes of the scale. If we are looking at a circular scale, then I think it's always possible. You can always find the opposite of your place on the surface of the Earth. There is always an opposite there."
"Wait, wouldn't that mean that I'm right then? On the equator, the opposite point on the planet is also the equator. Therefore, the equator is the opposite of the equator."
"Well, that doesn't fit exactly with what I said. I'm talking about the opposites of points, not North and South. The North Pole is the opposite of the South Pole, but the North isn't exactly the opposite of the South. I don't know what's the opposite of Japan, but I heard that the opposite of most of the United States is somewhere in the Indian Ocean. So, the opposite of Japan is probably somewhere in Africa, if I were to guess."
"So, the opposites only work if there's a circular spectrum if that's what you call it. Like a color wheel."
"Yeah, exactly. It's a color wheel. It works like a color wheel. Purple and yellow are opposites and stuff like that. Every color has its own opposite. In fact, you could make a color sphere that the higher you go the lighter it gets or the lower you go the darker it gets. Dark green and light red are opposites."
"So, what's the opposite of gray?"
"That doesn't work for gray. Does it?"
"Well, you are sick right now. So, you have plenty of time to think about it."