b.8 - One Scene Play (Shiba News)

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(Lights up: The typical Japanese room is bare except for a couple of cushions on the floor. Kukaku is leaning against the cushions smoking a pipe.)

(Kukaku lets out a sigh and murmuring that sounds like some kind of frustration. Ganju enters the room with a smile.)

Ganju: Hey sis! That little kids is here. (Kukaku glares at Ganju with displeasure. Ganju stares for a short time.) What is the matter sis?

Kukaku: The kid has a name you know. (The woman taps her pipe on the ground.) Ask him to come in.

(Ganju leaves and soon comes back with a child with white hair.)

Toshiro: (The boy bows to the woman.) Good afternoon Kukaku-dono. You sent a message saying that you wished to speak to me.

Kukaku: I did. (The woman lets out a sigh. She taps her hand down indicating that Toshiro should take a seat on some cushions.) I have something to talk to you about.

Toshiro: In regards to what?

Kukaku: In regards to my brother Kaien and his wife Miyako. (The woman looks at her brother Ganju.) I need you to leave.

Ganju: If this involves nii-sama then I should stay.

Kukaku: I'll tell you later on.

(Toshiro and she watch as Ganju leaves the room with his shoulders slumped. The boy turns his head to look at Kukaku.)

Toshiro: They've been dead for a long time. Why are you speaking to me about this now?

Kukaku: I'm speaking to you about this... (There is a pause as she puts her pip back into her mouth.) … because you are old enough to hear everything rather then just part of this. (The woman sighs.) Truth be told if the elders had their way you would actually know about this sooner.

Toshiro: What do you mean?

Kukaku: Prior to their deaths Kaien and Miyako put forth to adopt you and succeed in getting you add as an official member of the Shiba clan as their son.

Toshiro: I... (The boy becomes nervous and looks away.)

Kukaku: I take it you understand what this means, right?

Toshiro: I... (The boy pauses.) … kind of.

Kukaku: As their only child you are the head of the Shiba clan.

Toshiro: (The boy is angry.) That can't be true!

Kukaku: Why not?

Toshiro: If I were the head of the clan then I would be expected to take on the duties of said clan.

Kukaku: That is what the elders wanted for you. (The woman watches as the boy turns his head away.) I wasn't about to see the child that my brother and his wife cared about used as a tool. Nor was I going to make my brother and his wife's child take on responsibilities before he should have to. Fact of the matter is you already took on the duties of a captain without being asked.

Toshiro: (The boy snaps words out.) You don't think I could have handled it.

Kukaku: There is a difference between me not thinking you couldn't handle it and me not wanting you to handle it. I completely believed that you could take on the duties. However... that doesn't mean you should.

Toshiro: What is that supposed to mean?

Kukaku: Why shouldn't you be allowed to be a child? Why shouldn't you enjoy your life?

Toshiro: (The boy looks at the ground.) Why now? Do you think I'm not a child now? When did you stop thinking of me as a child.

Kukaku: I haven't stopped thinking you as a child. There was a limit to how long I could stand in for you. It's getting closer to the time when they are going to ask you to take over the headship.

Toshiro: Isn't there a way out of this? Couldn't I ask that you continue for awhile longer? I know nothing about how things work.

Kukaku: The only way out of this is if for some reason a child of the older brother were to suddenly appear.

Toshiro: (The boy frowns.) Taicho is... (The boy pauses.) Why do I have the feeling that you think that taicho has a child?

Kukaku: (The woman pauses.) What do you mean?

Toshiro: There is something in the way you're acting... (The boy pauses. An expression of shock appears on his face.) Wait! It wouldn't happen to be that Kurosaki is taicho's son?

Kukaku: Why are you suddenly embarrassed?

Toshiro: (The boy looks at the ground.) I'm not. I mean... it isn't as if... (The boy pauses.) It isn't as if I have a crush on his sister!

Kukaku: (The woman lets out a chuckle.) Cute.

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