This story isn’t a work of fiction, but it takes place in a different universe, on planet Earfh, a world that is in all similar to our Earth, with the exception of anything I arbitrarily decide to change. For this reason, every reference to real people is actually a reference to aliens of the planet Earfh, which makes it quite convenient, as they physically cannot sue me. Furthermore, every time you think a person acts in a way that does not seem human, or you think that something in the story is unlikely, unrealistic, or physically impossible, or you think you've found a cultural, social, or historical incongruence, you are wrong and it was totally done on purpose. Remember, that is just how things work on planet Earfh.
The room was dark. So dark, that you would not have been able to tell its size, or the color of the walls, unless you knew it beforehand. It might have been night, but it wouldn't have mattered, for both blinds and curtains had been shut for so long they had assumed the role of an extra wall. There was even a painting, that is, an anime poster with a painting filter added to it that had been printed and framed, hanging flimsily from the curtain. The room wasn't entirely shrouded in darkness, however. A faint light, just enough to display information on a monitor and tire the eyes, shone on Henry Tailer’s face, hand in hand with the tired buzz of a computer tower, and the deranged rumbling of the teenager hunched in front of it.
"Starve! The audacity of this guy! Kokoro-chan can't fight against her survival instinct, she has to eat sooner or later. And at that point, she will accept it!"
A sentence suddenly appeared in the middle of the screen, surrounded by the kind of imagery that would be heavily pixelated if this story wasn't told through a medium that only used words.
"You are talking about a girl who's been shrunk and imprisoned inside a jar! She'd rather eat her own arms before letting you have your way!"
I know what you're thinking, but please keep reading.
The mouse on the screen hovered over an empty box beneath the comment. The word "reply" was replaced with the sentence: "Of course the guy with a guro fetish would say that."
Suddenly, and thankfully, the door to the room was flung open, letting in copious amounts of light and forcing the boy to shield his face like a vampire under the sun.
"Dad?" he said as soon as his eyes adjusted to the light. "Why are you still awake?"
"What do you mean still awake? It's 3 pm!” Answered the man tasked with the unfair job of being Henry's father, “But never mind that!"
Walking next to Henry's worn-out gaming chair, the man crouched next to his son, placing both his hands on his shoulders.
"You know that I love you?"
"The new SSSRTHD4167 XPi graphic card!" Henry was used to these kinds of happenings.
"This isn't really a situation that can be solved with gifts..."
"Oh wow. What did you do this time?"
"I— Look, let's not immediately start pointing fingers, ok?" Quickly, he let go of his son and began grabbing anything that could fit in the briefcase he was carrying. Which wasn't much, so he went to take a suitcase instead, and threw the briefcase inside it. "I didn't do anything wrong, we just... we need to leave."
Henry was used to his father getting into all sorts of trouble and had learnt to wage how bad things were based on how far away from his mother they had to get. If it was a precious memento or a family heirloom being lost or destroyed, a week or two away from home would be enough for her to calm down, and enough for his father to come back on his own with just a small, hour long, scolding. The poor woman was used to it. But there were times when the troubles he caused were so big that she entered what Henry had dubbed "hunting mode". There was a story in particular which Henry had heard many times over family dinners. It happened before he was born.
His dad was out on a business trip when one night, while coming back to his hotel room, he found an abandoned puppy and decided to rescue it. He knew the hotel staff wouldn't allow it, so he sneaked in through the back door, hid from the security cameras and managed to bring it into his room, where he gave it a bath and groomed it to the best of his abilities. Being able to accomplish all of that was an impressive feat on his part, but never as impressive as not realizing that what he had found was in fact a young hyena that had escaped from a local zoo. Skipping over some of the more gruesome details, this story ends with a scared dad hiding in a DIY treehouse in Alaska and a very angry mom cutting down the tree with an electric saw. Henry didn't want to admit it, but he was secretly hoping something of a similar scale would happen now that he could witness it.
"Do we need to go to grandma's house again?" He asked, unsure of the situation, but still helping his father with the preparations by grabbing a second suitcase for his anime figures.
"No, no, no, that's way too close! I was thinking somewhere where no one could recognize our face."
"That bad? Well, I guess I wouldn't mind a holiday. You know, there's an anime convention happening next week in Los Angeles."
"Yeah, sure, that's a bit of distance... although... I was thinking something along the lines of... Europe?"
"Euro-- What did you do?!"
"Son, I did what any man would have done upon finding a duffel bag filled with one hundred thousand dollars’ worth of unmarked bills."
"Reported it to the authorities?!"
"Bet it all on black. We need to leave."
The shock of the situation almost made Henry drop the figure he was holding. (Almost. Never in a thousand years would he let the Kokoro-sama Ultimate Idol Kokoro: Swimsuit Tanned Ver. 1/4 Scale Figure break). It's true that he was curious to see what his dad could do to surpass his previous record for biggest moment of idiocy, but he could have never expected that it would affect him as well! Many terrible scenarios were sprouting in his mind's eye, with all of the possible consequences of stealing and losing what was probably blood money. But one thing, one heavy thought, stood above all the others.
"Mom is going to get so angry."
"I know! Which is why we need to leave and fast! C'mon, start naming European cities and I'll check how much it costs to rent a bunker there."
Henry wanted to think of a European city, but his mind was too corrupted, and only one place could come out of his mouth.
"Is that in Spain?"
"C'mon dad, it's obviously in Japan!"
"Japan?! That might be a bit too far away. I already told you, Europe. I thought it over while they were kicking me out of the casino and came to the conclusion that Europe is the best option."
Henry's face grew sad. He had already pictured himself in a school uniform and bright blue hair for some reason, tripping over a completely normal set of stairs and somehow landing face first on the unrealistically plentiful bosom of some poor high school girl-dragon hybrid. He was used to these kinds of visions, sadly, common while he was daydreaming about a life he only saw in animated form. He never really saw them as realistic, but something about the shady situation his own father had gotten himself in had flipped a switch.
"I think we're going to Japan." He said with a grin so devious even his father realized he was trying to imitate some edgy anime character.
"Look at me and tell me if you think I can even try to learn Japanese."
"I'll call the police if you don't."
A knife plunged in his back, Henry's father turned his stapled-wide eyes to his son.
"Et tu, Brute?"
"You've gotten away with so many things, so many very stupid things, in your life, surely you'll grant me just this one!"
"Why are you so obsessed with Japan?!"
"You wouldn't get it, dad! There are girls with miniskirts as part of their school uniform screaming kyaa as the wind exposes their striped panties!"
"...I'm sorry that me and your mom don't get to spend a lot of time with you, son. It's just that our jobs take a lot away from us, you know?"
"Stop treating me like a disappointment! Either you enroll me in a Japanese school or I'm snitching!"
There was a moment of silence as his father realized the situation he found himself in (and tried to ignore the mental state of his son/failure of his parenting). He was about to give up, when a sudden idea made him break the silence.
"...Sell all of your toys.", the father grinned in a way that, at this point, had to be genetic.
"They're not toys! They're called— Wait, what?"
Malice loomed over his father's figure. What had started as a plea for help had now turned into a mental blitzkrieg. Or at least this is what Henry saw from his eyes prone to delusions. What he had to do now was clear, it all gravitated around his own volition, ambition, and a third word ending in -ition.
In case any of the readers have a social life I mean aren't familiar with anime, Japan, or internet culture, I've decided to make a small glossary to help you understand the story and the jokes better.
- GLOSSARY OF HELL
Anime girl in a jar: I have changed my mind.