Chapter 2:

Trials Of Man


"Gisei Akiyama."

The man himself made a little bow. "In the flesh. What's going on, Kunshu?" Gisei sits next to me on the old faded bench. He always had a shaven head, It looked good. His bushy eyebrows furrowed. What was a surprise to me was his outfit. He had a light blue blazer on, with a gray turtle neck underneath. His pants were some fancy, slick slacks with some shiny black dress shoes. 

I smirk, scratching my chin. "Just got back. I've been exploring for a little bit now. It's all so..."

"Yeah. It's insane. I've heard little murmurs about why."

I leaned in, intrigued. "What happened?"

"So," Gisei starts. "Last year the Americans finish some huge project with a city. They rebuild this new city on top of an old, destroyed city in the '80s. Word spreads quickly and the government over here got word before it was finished and got to work with the 'upgrade' as soon as they could. And here we are."

I lean my elbows on my lap, sighing. Gisei hands me a cigarette. I take it in my mouth, letting my tongue play with the cancer stick a bit. He lit it as I started to take the drag. I blew out a bit of smoke in annoyance. "I miss the place already. It's too loud, bright. The hell do we need all this shit for." I look over at my friend. "Why are you here, anyway? Thought you'd be in Oda."

He shuffled a bit. "Yeah, me too."

"Where's Elin?" I ask. 

Gisei looks at me, grimaced. I think I know my answer. 

"I'm sorry. I didn't know..."

"Not blaming you. It's been a thing for a while now, girls just disappearing." We sit in silence for a few moments, thinking of what exactly did Gisei. I felt terrible. I've heard how Gisei would always talk about how perfect Elin is, how beautiful and smart she is. There's no way she could be dead. After those minutes Gisei stands up. "Come on, we're going to Golden Boy."

I stand with him as he put some weight on me, putting on a pretty smile. "Golden Boy?"

"A bar on the east side. Gives off this pretty throwback feel. It'll be fun!" We made our way over to the clean, slick, 97' King's Road and drove over to the east side. It was a noticeable change, considering all the lights and noise were completely gone, replaced with shorter, normal buildings. The flashy dudes and perfect escorts were replaced with the regular, exhausted, and old businessmen and women scuffling into bars and jazz clubs after a long day of earning a paycheck. "Welcome to Oldsaka." Gisei joked as we parked and walked over to Golden Boy. 

The bar was sizable and clean. It was a hybrid bar, with one half having a bar and plenty of stools, and a seating area with a stage for the performer to sing with their band. We walked in as a good-looking woman was singing an oldie. We shuffled over as we made eye contact. Gisei broke my trance, and we sat down to drink. I got a free one once the bartender saw my army fatigues. "The perks of almost dying," I jest, raising my whiskey in the air. "Wonder how long the free shit is gonna last." Gisei laughed. I turn to him after I finished it. "How did you get this money so fast?"

"I think you know how."

"Oh? Do I read minds all of a sudden?"

"What's the only way to get fast money?"

I look at him, mouth gaped. "You do porn?" 

He punched my shoulder, laughing. "Shut the hell up. I assume you asked all that for a reason. Maybe you want in?"


"Well, you're lucky because I've been vouching for you all October. I'll get my boss on the phone and we can talk." After a few minutes, a taller man walks in. He had a slouch when he walked. His hair was large and puffy, like an afro. He wore his clothes rather loosely, wearing a dress shirt with a few of the buttons off to show his silver chain. His pants matched his shirt, it being black with white stripes going down to his scuffed black dress shoes. He walked with one hand in his pocket, looking at me. "This the guy?" He inquired with his rough voice.

Gisei stepped in between us. "Yup. Kikuchi, this is Kunshu Ito. My best friend from the war, a real tough guy. Ito, this is Maegaki Kikuchi, my boss."

We shake hands. "So, Giesei has been telling me you've been in this line of work before."

I nod. "Yeah. Just not with the Yakuza. I see you guys branched out over here."

"Of course we have, This is place is ripe for the picking. Now, being in a war is cool and all, but Gota is gonna need something more than stories to bring ya in."

"I assume Gota is the boss's boss."

"Dokeshi Gota," Kikuchi points to the button on his shirt. "We're in the Gota family. Ready for your test, Kunshu?" 

"Sure. What is it?"

"All I need from you is to go collect some cash from one of our rackets. He's been holding out for about a week, and we've tried talking to the guy multiple times. Now I want you to show him not to mess with the boss's money. Sound fun? You can even bring Gisei to help."

I stand up, gulping the last of my drink. "Sure. I'll get it done." We walk out of the bar and drive back downtown. 

"I know this prick." Gisei said as we entered the car. "He's holding out because he owes his ex-girlfriend some cash and gives it to her and whatever."

I rest my head on the door, looking at the night sky, and the major lack of stars. "She isn't getting paid today, that's all I care about." We soon stop at a restaurant, selling ramen. We hop out and try and open the door, but it's closed. 

The owner looks at us and recognizes Gisei. He stops in fear. "Open the damn door, Sagi."

Sagi scans the room, looking for any way out of this. "I'll break every window if you don't let us in." I threaten, putting my boot to the large window. "You got to three!"

He stands there, hesitant.


He shuffles and gives up. "Fine, fine..." Sagi unlocks the door and lets us in. I waste no time. I lay a mean right hook that knocks him to the floor, almost unconscious.

"Money. Now." 

He weakly coughs. "...Safe..." 

I look over and Gisei already walks over to the backroom to look for the safe. I was standing and waiting when I heard a feminine voice, along with the loading of a revolver. "And what are you doing with Sagi?" She asked me. I slowly turn to see a woman in a sparkling yellow dress, holding the gun. "Hands. Lemme see 'em."

I oblige. "You must be the girlfriend."

"And? You're some army bum who tried to rob my boyfriend."

"More like cash cow."

"Oh piss off before I make you fish food. Where's my money?"

"Right here!" Gisei yells, throwing a pot at her. As she was distracted, I run in and take her down, finishing her with a punch in the face. 

I take her gun and pocket it. "Let's bounce!" I yelled as we run back to the car and drove back east. 

Back in Golden Boy, Gisei hands Kikuchi the bag of cash. He counts it impressively fast. After a bit of counting, he smiles. 

"Kunshu, welcome to the Gota Family. Now, let's get you out those damn clothes."

Joe Gold