*The following is sketch writing for the character of the politician in a novel-in-progress tentatively entitled "Statues in the Cloud"
The Synopsis - One day, a writer in Japan receives a letter from a young fan who is dying from a mysterious disease. The young fan, Aya, gives the writer a challenge -- come to Nagasaki and help me find seven pieces of a statue. If you can help me do this simple thing, she tells him, you will have cured me. What the writer soon finds out is that finding the seven pieces means telling the stories of seven unique individuals: a politician, a soldier, a folk hero, a dancer, an AI, a writer, and the story of Aya herself.
The salt still clung to his suit. The politician had ignored their advice and continued to wear the salt-covered suit. He couldn't get past the idea that he wasn't just a few steps away from his office. He was sure that if he stepped back into the ocean, he would magically reappear in his office and he would wake up as if from an afternoon nap.
"What is this place?" the politician asked the young Japanese girl. "You seem to know something the other one doesn't."
The young Japanese girl didn't even want to answer him. She wanted to continue on, to find the other four and forget about the politician altogether. He was the one that didn't belong. But she couldn't think of a way to convince him of this.
The young author stood aloof from the young girl and the older Japanese man. None of it made sense, but he knew better than to try to make sense of it all with one conversation. A young Japanese girl maybe a year or two younger than him, seventeen or eighteen, and a Japanese politician, maybe in his late forties, all of them soaking wet, having just stepped out of an ocean onto an island.
No, a single conversation wouldn't make sense of it.
The politician, however, didn't have the writer's instincts.
"Where was I? I was going outside to have a smoke. I'd just given an interview to the reporter from the Asahi Newspaper and then I lit a cigarette...there was something in my pocket, something heavy."
The young girl was silent, but she wanted to scream, What are you doing here?
The politician pointed at the young writer. "And, you. You're American, right? Do you know anything about this?"
The young Japanese girl turned to the young writer. "You don't have to answer him. He doesn't run anything here."
"Oiy, young girl," he said in Japanese. "Who made you in charge?"
"I am in charge. You're not. Here you're small. In fact, you're the smallest most pitiable thing that lives on this island. And you're a danger to all of us. Your racism and selfishness...everything about you could get us killed here. But this island knows something that I don't. For some reason, it chose you, just like it chose us."
"Stop talking this nonsense. Start making sense. Speak in concrete terms. How did I end up here? Who are these people you are talking about? How do I get back to my office?" He stopped as if suddenly struck by something. The brain hemorrhage that killed his father. He was dying. That was it. Something had happened to him and he would wake up in a hospital bed...or not wake up at all.
The sun was shining but there was the sound of thunder in the distance.
"What was that? I can hear something."
The writer and the young Japanese girl exchanged confused glances.
"It's calling to me. You don't hear that? Young girl, it's the sweetest sound I've ever heard."
"Don't listen to it."
"It's my father's voice. He's seen the light. He's calling to me."
The writer came to the politician's side. He put a light hand on his shoulder. "I think it's time we rested for a bit. If she's right, there will be more people with more questions. Maybe when we're all together and safe we can start trying to figure out answers."
The politician wanted to slap the American's hand away from his shoulder, but then he saw the young Japanese girl and decided instead to smile broadly, showing off his big white teeth.
"Yes, of course. There are people who need our help."
The young writer suddenly realized what the Japanese girl already knew. The politician was a shark.
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