Leonis, 1:1, 2:6, Rock Star, Part I - 8, 9, 3

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"Yakuza, huh?" Parker wondered to himself. "...that's interesting."

"What's interesting? Are you going to answer my question, weirdo?" inquired an annoyed female voice in Japanese.

"Ya-Ku-Za...8,9,3," Parker remarked in confusion. In the Japanese game, oicho-kabu, something similar to Blackjack, the trio of digits was a losing combination. In fact, it was the worst of the losing hands. Parker, who was actually rather familiar with the grouping, often played the game with his Japanese-American roommate back in college for beer money.

"Well? Answer me, damn you! Do you work for father?" the shadowy female asked.

"Father...whose father?" he wondered, eying a wrinkled copy of the Mainichi Chimbun daily newspaper that lay on the table before him. Its headline read, "Typhoon Etau Strikes Shikoku" Parker noted the three digits on the corner of the front page also matched the paper's date...August 9th, 2003.

If the woman holding the pistol on him from across the small café table was another sign, the numerals were about to become his losing numbers as well. It all seemed to be some sort of synchronous joke of the Multiverse taking place with him as its punchline. Then again, all of it might have been the subsequent fogginess plaguing his mind since arrival. A sensation caused by either the slamming of his head on the corner of the dresser or the general buzzing in his skull that sometimes occurred after a jump. An event that this time seemed to create one even stranger side effect...the ability to read and understand spoken Japanese. "It's August 9th?"

"No, it's the 11th. That paper is old."

"Oh, that's good, right?" Parker muttered in English.


Light flickered outside, briefly creating illuminated squares on the thin hotel room curtains. Loud booms of thunder followed.

Parker flinched in response. "Ow, my head..."

A young Japanese woman leaned forward into the overhead light with a blue-black Colt 45 pistol in her left hand. Her stern face was a tired image of streaked mascara and red lipstick. Nevertheless, Parker could tell that beneath all of the dishevelment she was very pretty. He blinked as he looked up and examined her soft features revealed by the glow of the lamp fixture.

"Alright, no more games...and believe me, I won't ask again, stranger. Are you working for the Yakuza?" She tapped the surface of the table with the red fingernails of her right hand impatiently waiting for Parker's reply. "Why can't you answer me? What's wrong with you...are you high or something? Is that why you don't know what day it is?"

"Yakuza? No." Parker wanted to laugh at the second question, but it would have hurt too much. He buried his face in his hands. "Maybe the latter, though...feels like I'm stoned."

"If you are, then how in the hell did you get into my room while I was in the bathroom without even unlatching the chain from the door or undoing the deadbolt? One second the room was empty...the next you were on the floor over there!"

"Lady, you wouldn't believe me if I told you. No one would." Parker's eyes widened as he watched the woman pull the hammer back on the pistol. "Okay! Wait!"

Unexpectedly, the door frame exploded and the door flew open, revealing an outside world illuminated by flashing neon and drenched in torrents of rain. Standing in the doorway was the shadow of a large man with something shiny in his hand, colorful streaks of water falling around him like liquid curtains. "Oyabun wants you home! Stop this foolishness and come with me, Kanda! Save yourself from any further dishonor!"

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