Six Sample Chapters of a Novel
P. T. Mayes
R-Day Copyright 2003 2012 © P. T. Mayes
This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author's imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemble to actual events, locales of persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved.
The meeting ran late, the fucking meeting ran late. Damn kaiga!
I rushed from the Otemachi office back to my hotel room, swearing all the way. Took ten minutes to throw everything into the suitcase and settle the bill - ten minutes too long. Tumi suitcase swinging from my hand I caught a yellow taxi on the hotel forecourt and told the driver in bad Japanese that I would give him a five-thousand yen tip if he got me to Tokyo Station before eight.
"Where you going?" he asked me in heavily accented English as we pulled away. He had to say it three times before I understood him.
"Tokyo Station," I replied, wishing he would just shut up and put his foot down.
"No, where you going?"
The driver, a fat man with greasy cheeks and a tattoo peeking out of his left sleeve, actually turned in his seat to stare at me through his aviator sunglasses. "London, youu-kay?" When I nodded he gave a snort and shook his head. "You fucking crazy, man."
"Yeah, I know. Please can you look out...look out...!"
He turned back just in time to avoid running over a salaryman who had come tottering out of a bar. He shouted something out of the window, palm pumping the horn. I doubted I would find any of his words listed in my Japanese phrase book.
I caught the N'Ex and never has a train journey seemed so slow. Of course the train arrived at the airport on time - it's Japan after all - but I was late. I had missed the last flight to Heathrow Airport by five minutes. At the desk I was politely informed that "due to special circumstances" the next flight would not be for another twenty-four hours. Even though I knew it was futile I kicked up a stink. The poor man behind the counter grew quite red in the face as he tried to assure me that there was nothing he could do. When I asked him to check once more, he shook his head and went off to consult a colleague (probably telling him to get security to kick the angry gaijin out). And then a miracle happened. An emergency flight had been scheduled; it was going in twenty minutes. I could have kissed the startled man on the lips, but there were just too many things to do in too little time.
I couldn't understand how the 20:50 flight from Narita had been given the green light - after all we were cutting matters pretty close - but I wasn't about to look a gift horse in the mouth. I was one of only three passengers on board and when we took off I had to restrain myself from punching the air and cheering. Later, when the pretty flight attendant came around with my whisky and soda I asked her how this flight had got the go ahead. Tomoko leant over me and explained in a whisper that the Chairman of the airline was sitting five rows behind me. He had an emergency meeting in London on the sixth but had decided to fly in two days earlier due to the "situation". Despite concerned colleagues pleading with him to cancel he had refused. He wasn't going to allow anything so insignificant as a little insanity stop him making money, and anyway it was good manners.