Chapter 1:

I Became a NEET

Hanako won’t Grant my Wish!

Somebody who has never spent a day in their life competently socializing with others would have no idea what a real romance entails.

That’s what you normies must think, right? That some shut-in who spends all of his time browsing occult boards on Vchan must be so in touch with his virginity that he could bear the lord’s child.

Well what would you know about me? I mean, not that we’re necessarily talking about me, but what would you know about shut-ins anyway? They have their circumstances. Most people may not get it, but life is pretty hard for those who’ve been dealt bad cards.

Some people aren’t born like you; normal, healthy, and able to live their lives the way society intended them to. Even some people who are neither normal, healthy, nor able, still take their lives and their accommodations for granted.

They don’t understand me either! Nobody does!

To be just barely defective; puppeteered by the strings of fate to play the jester in everybody else’s lives; you wouldn’t know what it’s like. A non-serious condition, that yet forcibly separates you from the masses as if it were a contagious disease. A facial defect, an embarrassing birthmark, a missing finger; the world will look at you as different. As displaced from the norm. And yet, they like to pretend that they don’t. So you aren’t going to be accommodated, either.

In some cases, people might not even know how to diagnose you. All they know is that something is wrong with you, but not wrong enough to need help.

You’re told that you just have to deal with it.


“Suzuki, here.”

The girl in front of me gleamed with a courteous smile, handing me a set of printouts to take and pass back behind me. Sure, it was the same simple, thoughtless smile that our class president showed any one person when asking something of them, but it was kind nonetheless. And it showed that she didn’t feel one way or another about me either.

Which meant that if I tried, maybe we could become acquainted. Something like friends even, eventually.

She was really nice. Maybe it was more? Maybe she really was interested in me, for some reason. At least I liked to carry that kind of optimism, even though it was really just wishful thinking.

I reached my hand out to take the papers. But in the split second our hands touched-

Actually, nevermind. Flashback over.


Yeah, there’s no reason go into it. All you need to know is that something embarrassing happened because of my condition. There was suddenly a classroom full of first-year middle school students that were some combination of laughing, grossed out, and just plain confused. That said, I was only the last of those three. You could add “embarrassed” into the mix as well.

Embarrassed and maybe a little teary eyed.

Actually, I was barely crying. But depending on who you ask, people will probably say that I was bawling, but that’s just them adding extra icing to the cake.

I didn’t even like sweets.

Anyway, that’s how I found out I was different. At the doctor’s office, they couldn’t really explain to me nor my sister why my body was acting the way it was. The conclusion is that I was just sensitive to certain things.

And that I would have to deal with it.

Deal with it by changing schools; deal with it by staying an appropriate distance from girls so as not to touch them accidentally; deal with it by keeping to myself.

And right now, I was dealing with it by skipping school. I was thinking that maybe there was no point to going to school, if I couldn’t even get close to people. It’s not like I was any good with my studies anyway. But the people online made the NEET life sound pretty cozy, so maybe it wasn’t so bad. The only cost was my pride, but did I really need something like that? Didn’t I already forfeit most of it to begin with just to try and fit in?

Anyway, that was my line of thought going into it. But after a week of holing up in my room and watching TikTox, browsing Vchan and playing gacha games, I’ve realized that the stress and fear of skipping school is much greater than the stress and fear of school itself.

Unfortunately I was bound by my societally raised brain in that regard. Though, that said, a week off of school certainly wasn’t all bad. I’d actually felt quite at home, cozied up in a blanket on my squeaky office chair as I browsed internet forums on my sister’s laptop. Even better, she wasn’t home at this time, so I was entirely uninterrupted for most of the day.

You see, on the net, nobody knew about my past or my condition. Actually, what’s wonderful about it is that everybody already assumes the worst about you, while putting themselves on a pedestal. It’s like a bonfire gathering for insecure people where they can pretend to be confident. So even if in the opposite sense, I didn’t have to worry about being made fun of. Because I would be ridiculed no matter who I was or whether or not I was normal, so to me, that was a weird sort of solace.

Even if it didn’t make much sense.

But at least I understood that. Amongst a million other slimy worms struggling to crawl over each other, I could sit still knowing my own situation and my own limits.

I heard the front door creak open from the comfort of my room, signaling the return of my sister from her nine-to-five. It was quickly followed by some rustling in the kitchen, and a loud pomf. If I gave it another half-hour or so, I could safely grab my bento without having to cross paths with her.

After peeking into the living room to make sure she was sound asleep and stepping over a few trash bags, I made eye-contact with a lukewarm convenience-store dinner that had my name neatly written out on a napkin, with some throw-away chopsticks to go with.

Damn it, her handwriting was really good. It was annoying.

And as usual, the food didn’t really taste like anything. Couldn’t be helped, since it was sitting in an open store getting mushy all day. There were hot sauce packets provided, presumably because the store clerks knew exactly the kind of flavorless chicken katsu they were selling, but I wasn’t much for spicy foods either.

Well, sustenance was sustenance. What was that thing people said? “Hunger is spicy” or something like that…

Well, whatever.


I added the empty to-go box to my growing collection. messy tendencies were something that ran in the family. A depressing thought pushed its way into my noggin; the same one I had every time I ate cheap meals like this.

I can’t cook, and I can’t clean. It’s no wonder I’ve got no friends, since there’s so little going for me. When you thought of it like that, wasn’t my loneliness entirely my fault for being so cripplingly uncharismatic?

Well I already knew that much. I looked at my bookshelf of shoujo manga that I collected back in my first year, and shuddered to think of what kind of future might have awaited if I had kept reading it.

Maybe it couldn’t have been much worse.

To distract myself from such thoughts, it was back to the Vchan’s occult section.

The posts were ridiculous as usual, but today there weren’t many that stood out. Post titles like “you actually believe birds are real and not just government surveillance cameras?” or “why your tinfoil hats won’t work; you need to use zinc instead”.

Okay, yeah. Lots of it was satire. But just as much of it wasn’t, and titles like these would result from what I could only imagine as people like myself who continued on the path of NEEThood. It made me doubt my decisions of the past week a little bit.

I mean I tended to get a little irrational at times, but it was only natural. Inside of an empty, quiet apartment pierced only by the sounds of intrusive thoughts, anybody could become a fanatic conspirator like that after racking up enough hours of non-productivity.

Maybe I should go back to school after all? No, but there was no point even still. I would go crazy anyway, watching all of those students live out their fulfilling youths, while I have no choice but to isolate myself because of my own incompetence.

I mean, at this point, I wouldn’t even be picky. Perhaps a reverse-harem member that clearly isn’t going to win but gets introduced because the manga needed to milk its publication. Or a male protagonist’s horn-dog best friend that only exists to make sleazy comments or get beat up by girls.

Well, actually that kind of person sounds detestable in real life. Maybe a regular protagonist’s best friend would be fine.

A girlfriend would obviously be out of the question, but what about a female friend? I could be that attractive childhood friend from long ago that all of her other love interests get jealous of before realizing that we have no actual romantic connection.

I’d just have to start putting more effort into my looks. A lot more effort…

If I could be part of somebody else’s fulfilling youth, even that much would be enough for me.

Trickle down economics, right?

Female friends… Or even a girlfriend… just saying the word out loud was shameful to me. Even in my daydreams, my condition seemed to get in the way and remind me that something like that would never happen.

There was another post title I saw that really made me cringe. “comprehensive succubus summoning guide. (continuation from the last thread)”.

It was the kind of title that made me think, ah, it’s a good thing I don’t post anything myself. I decided that’s how I would keep myself from becoming one of these weirdos. As long as I just lurked and nothing else, there wouldn’t be an issue.

Though, a succubus, huh?

I’d heard of them, of course. They’re just mythology conceptually, but the internet seemed to take hold of the concept and bring it to new, perverted heights.

“still refuse to try anything until OP posts proof”

“itt: incels roleplaying”

“I tried the methods talked about from last thread but they didn’t work. But I still have hope! Going for another try tonight after work. Soon I’ll have a goth succubus gf of my own… best of luck anons”

Despite a few rude comments, the majority of posters were astonishingly optimistic. It was pretty standard for these kinds of posts, because the only people perpetuating them were the believers, while everybody else didn’t have much of an interest to begin with.

I’d say that the people criticizing the original poster in threads like these were probably just as desperate as the believers, in their own way.

Well, not that the believers were any better. This whole thread was clearly full of incels that hated women.

And humans, I guess…

Well, it was a fun idea I guess… Summoning a succubus. It would be like having an imaginary friend, who was also a bit of a horndog. Actually, maybe that’s what romance was? Was a girlfriend just a best friend that you could do dirty things with?

It couldn’t possibly be as simple as that, right?

With a regular girl, I guess that kind of thing was off limits for me. None would even be willing to get to know me once they found out how things really were with me.

Maybe a succubus would understand?

(If they existed.)

Their whole thing is needing… that as a form of nutrients, right? So maybe for them, it would be a positive thing.

(If they were real. Hypothetically.)

A succubus girlfriend would actually be perfect, when put like that.

(Just for argument’s sake.)



No, actually, that was enough internet for the day. And besides, the time was already leaning into the wee hours of the morning. Though, I guess I wasn’t actually sure whether or not I should go to school tomorrow.

I’ll play it by ear.

Harmonica Writes
Christian Widjaya
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