Yuuto Shimizu had just turned eighteen a week before his parents kicked him out of the only place he had ever called home. He was informed he was cut off from all and any family relations. It wasn't really a major surprise to him. Okay maybe it was, just a bit but for years he hadn’t been getting along with them so he should have seen it coming.
On the other hand, his sisters who happened to be twins were always treated as princesses. Never getting grounded or even scolded when they did something wrong. The worst punishment they had ever gotten was a light smack on the hand and getting told not to do it again. But if Yuuto had done anything wrong, he would have been grounded for months.
However, now he was sitting in a library looking through the classifieds for jobs. He only had enough money to last him a month and it had only been two days since he had become homeless. His job prospects were not looking good. All the interviews and phone calls would end the same way, not qualified or suited for the job.
Yuuto sighed and looked up through the high placed glass windows. He could see the orange tinted sky getting darker, it seemed to be getting late and soon the library would close. Skimming over the contents one last time, checking for anything he could apply for quickly, he noticed an ad for a telephone sales man with no prior experience needed.
“Finally I found something I can do.” he muttered to himself.
He went to one of the phone's mounted on the walls, it was one that the library let job hunters use and dialed the number on the ad quickly. After a few rings, he reached their answering machine and left his details, leaving a message telling them how to contact him. Then he hung up and walked back to the homeless shelter he was staying at.
The days where getting warmer as spring had just arrived. The shelters were less crowded when it was warmer outside. He checked in at the office to sign in and let them know he was back before curfew. He went to the cafeteria and was just in time for the kitchen to open up and start serving dinner. He stood in line until it was his turn to grab a lunch tray and have the cooks slop a bunch of mystery food onto it. “Thanks for the food.”Yuuto thanked them. He walked over to a empty table and ate his meal quietly. After finishing, he dropped the tray off into the dirty dish bin and went to the shower room to get clean from the day’s grime. After drying off and putting on clean clothes from his bag, he jumped into bed and took out a book and read until it was lights out.
The next day, when he went to his usual table to look through the ‘Help Wanted’ ads, a librarian called out asking “Is there anyone by the name of a Mr. Shimizu here? A message is waiting for you at the front desk.” He hurriedly went and retrieved the message, quickly reading it. The telephone salesman job’s company wanted him to do a interview over the phone before noon. He rushed over to the phones and dialed the number. After two rings, a rough-sounding male voice answered.
“Hello, my name is Yuuto Shimizu, I called the other day for the salesman job. I am calling you to do the interview.”
“This is a easy job so it's not too hard to get hired. Are you eighteen? Do you have a drug or a alcohol problem? Any prior experience as a salesman? If you lie in your answers to the questions in this interview and if it is found out you did, you will be fired.” the rough voice said in a agitated tone.
“Yes, I am eighteen, I have no experience in any jobs so this would be my first. I have no drug, drinking, or smoking problems.”
“How soon can you start?”
“Then you're hired. Our office is in Tokyo. I'm guessing you will need to travel here so I will fax a map to you with directions starting from the Shinjuku train station.”
“Thank you very much. You won't be disappointed.”
“I have a feeling you are right, I expect to see you tomorrow at 8am. Have a safe trip.”
Yuuto went back to the homeless shelter and informed the office staff that was on duty that he was leaving and needed his belongings. After the baggage room was opened and he gathered all his belongings, he thanked the office worker and left the building. He walked to the train station and bought his ticket to get on a bullet train headed to Tokyo. He eventually stepped off the train a few hours later and stretched his arms and legs.
His money had taken a big hit from using the train to get here but it was worth it now that he had a job. There was still enough money to last for a while if he stayed at a capsule hotel. As he walked to the hotel, he had planned to stay at and entered through the front entrance. Walking up to the empty front desk, he rang the service bell.
“One moment please.” came a voice from the under the desk. A short man climbed up from behind the counter and fixed his uniform. “How many I help you sir?”
“I would like to rent a room please.”
“The price will be 4000 yen a night. The bathrooms and capsules for males are on the right.”Yuuto paid for the night in cash,“Here is your key for the foot locker to keep your belongings in.” An ordinary key was handed over to him. It had the number of his capsule and foot locker on a metal tag. After storing his bag and other belongings inside the footlocker, he went to the lounge room to waste time watching the news. He spent a restless night tossing and turning unable to get a good night's sleep.
He got up early the next morning and walked back to the Shinjuku train station, and pulled out the printed map from his pocket quickly checking the directions. After a short 20 minutes of walking, he reached the address of the business. The building in front of him was a shabby two story concrete office building that looked quite old. He walked up to the door, reached out his hand and knocked loudly.
“Who is it?” Said a voice muffled from behind the door.
“My name is Yuuto Shimizu, I was offered a job and given this address.” shouted Yuuto.
“Alright, you don't need to shout, I can hear just fine. Let me open the door” The sounds of multiple, different types of locks could be heard. The door opened and a middle aged man stood to the side of the hallway looking Yuuto up and down.
“My name is not important, just call me boss. Now. hurry up and get inside will you. We haven't got all day you know.” said the agitated man holding a folder.
Yuuto quickly stepped inside the door which was shut behind him and he was ushered into a room two doors down on the right side of the hallway. The room was empty except for an old phone, a desk that could have been two times older than him, and an equally old and uncomfortable chair.
“This is where you will be doing your job from. That is, after you sign the papers.” He said pointing at a pile of papers on the far corner of the desk.
Yuuto went over to the chair and pulled the papers closer to him and took a few minutes to read through the documents.
“Where do you want me to sign?” asked Yuuto.
The Grubby fingers of his new boss picked up the papers and put them into his folder. He started to shifted through the papers finally pulling out two of pages placing them before Yuuto, and stabbing his finger at the lines he needed to place his signature. Yuuto quickly signed and checked to see if he missed anything. The signed papers were picked up by his boss, who put them under his right arm and limped out the room slamming the door behind him.
'What am I supposed to do now.' thought Yuuto. He decided to inspected the room further. After looking at every nook and cranny of the room the door behind him slammed opened. Boss limped in carrying two large binders, walked over to Yuuto and slammed the smaller one into his chest and tossed the larger one onto the desk.
Pointing at the one, the binder Yuuto was holding he said, “This has all the items to be sold and all the information on them. Remember the greetings and responses to questions that are on the first 10 pages.” Then he pointed to the one on the desk, “That has all the numbers of the people you are to call. Lunch is at noon and lasts until 1pm. Here is the key to the building and I made you this, it's a special company credit card. Use it for all expenses related to work and food expenses while your at work. I expect you to work diligently and not to slack off. Now get to work.” With that he left as fast and loud as he had entered.
Yuuto walked over to his desk and chair, sat down, opened the binder and quickly read through the guidelines along with the answers to common questions. 'Simple enough' thought Yuuto.
Picking up the larger binder he opened it and looked at all the numbers. There were 100 or more numbers on one page, ''Well better get started.” Picking up the phone and while looking at the numbers, he dialed the first number and started his work as a phone salesman.
Ten minutes before his lunch break was supposed to start, he started to get phone calls asking for a Mr. Yuuto. After hanging up the tenth time, he finally decided to answer the call.
“Hello may I ask who it is calling?” asked Yuuto.
“Is this the “Quagmire” sales company?” asked a male voice while ignoring Yuuto's question.
Yuuto looked at the name of the company on the Binder to see what the company's name was.
“Yes that is correct how...” he was cut off before he could continue.
“You tell the owner, Yuuto Shimizu, that I want my money he owes me. I have been waiting a long time for it and it better be paid.” the man shouted into the phone.
“Sir you're mistaken, I am Yuuto Shimizu. I just start working here today. I am not the owner of the company but a employee. I haven't bought or borrowed anything from you or your company whoever you may be.”
“I just had a letter with documents delivered to me by courier and it states that the businesses was sold and handed over to a Yuuto Shimizu. The papers have your signature on them. If you don't believe me I can come over to your business and show you the paperwork. Since you are now the owner you now own the debt. I expect you to come up with the money soon. It would be wise to not try and avoid paying off your debt.” The man on the other side ended the call with those words.
Yuuto put the phone down and hurriedly walked out the room into the hallway and went to every door, opening them looking for his boss. But every room was empty. Some even had a large layer of dust over the carpet. There was no one in the building but himself.
He was stunned with it being his first day in Tokyo and he had already been conned into taking someone else's enormous amount of debt. And now, some of the not too friendly debt collectors had became more interested in him. It was not the good type of interest, the type that caused problems down the line.
Yuuto decided to exit the building and lock it up so he could go cool his head off by eating something and see if he could figure out what to do next. He walked the streets until he found some restaurants. most of which had long lines of people waiting to order their food. He decided to find someplace less crowded and farther down the street, and off on a side street was a small ramen shop. There was only two other people eating at the booth. So he ordered the specialty of the shop and waited for the food to be served.
After he finished eating and paying the shop for the food, he started to wander around town not paying attention to where he was going and just thinking. He was jolted out of his thoughts when he was roughly bumped into by someone who told him to watch where he was going.
Yuuto looked around and found himself in a large crowd of people walking every which way. He had been too deep in thought to know where he had been walking so he had to search for the street signs and figure out where he was and how to get back to the building. While searching his pockets for the map, he noticed his secondary wallet was missing. Luckily, that wallet didn't have his money or important documents or his photo id but it did have his credit card that he had used to pay for lunch.
Cursing under his breath, he got the map out and started walking first back to the ramen shop to see if he had dropped it near that area or left it at the shop. He had no luck finding it. He gave up and started walking back to the office. Now he would have to call the credit card company to notify them that it was stolen. He quickly reached his destination and fumbled with the key and opened the door.
Back in the room with the phone he dialed the credit card company who answered the call and asked him to wait one moment as all representatives were busy at the moment. He was put on hold for twenty minutes.
Finally a female voice picked up,“Hello my name is Dementia, how may I help you today?”
“Hello I'm calling to report that my card was stolen.” replied Yuuto.
“I'm sorry to hear that may I ask your name and last 4 digits of your individual number.”
“My name is Yuuto Shimizu. Last 4 digits are 0169.”
“May I ask at what time and day was the card stolen?”
“Around 1pm after I had eaten lunch.”
“One moment while check the system for your information.” a minute later she spoke in a cold tone. “Hello sir, it seems that you have several problems right now. A update to your account just this morning shows your company is in a large amount of debt with many defaulted payments. This has greatly lowered your credit score so we can't issue you another card. And the information on your card it seems someone has charged multiple large amounts on it before the time you say it was stolen it was stolen. We will be able to cover the charges that were made after it was stolen but you will still have to pay for the others.”
“What You gotta be kidding me. Things keep getting worse. I only used it for food at lunch today. Don't you have policies to protect the credit card holder?” asked Yuuto.
“I'm sorry sir but those charges are from before the time you stated and they seem legitimate as it shows you had the card in your possession at the time and later that day used it at a ramen shop. We will send you the amount due on your next statement. Is there anything else I can help you with?”
“No. are you sure there is no way to fix this?”
“Sorry sir, there is nothing we can do. Thank you for calling and we hope you continue doing businesses with us when you sort everything out. Good day.”
Yuuto put down the phone after the support disconnected the call. It was the late afternoon and he was exhausted from the all that happened today, he decided to go to his room, he was renting at a capsule hotel. He stood up and left the building making sure to lock the door and its multiple other locks.
While he was walking down a street, he heard an unfamiliar scream echoed out from a side street along with the noise of a struggle reaching his ears. Yuuto picked up his pace and started walking faster towards the sound of the scuffle. When reaching the side street, he looked to see what was happening and saw a female office worker and two young delinquent males arguing with each other. The delinquents were getting violent pushing her into the wall of the building behind her.
As he started to walk closer the female noticed him and one of the delinquents saw her attention change from them so he turned to see who it was.
“Hey what are you doing to her?” asked Yuuto.
The delinquent staring at him grabbed the other’s shoulder and whispered something to him. They quickly said a few last words that only the female office worker could hear and gave her a hard shove to her body, banging her against the wall and then quickly left.
Yuuto quickly ran up to the her and asked,“Are you okay?”
“Yes I am thanks to you, I'm just a little shook up is all. I need to catch my breath and get my head back in order,” as she said this she leaned against the wall and put the back of her left hand against her forehead and let out a loud sigh.
“Is there any place I can take you to?” asked Yuuto.
“Yes, thank you. It's a small restaurant it's quite a nice place. Would you care to join me for a drink and a early dinner? Of course, it's my treat for you saving me.”
“No problem, I'm sure just about anyone would have help you out. Just lead the way and I will follow. I'm looking forward to the food and drink.”
They walked silently for five minutes until they stopped in front of a small family specialty of the day restaurant. She opened up the door and they quickly went inside and sat down at a table in the far left corner of the back. They were greeted by the head cook behind the counter who was currently making something. A black waiter that was at least 6ft tall, the uniform he wore made it hard not to notice that his body was packed full of muscles. from Africa.
“What can I get for you today?” asked the waiter.
“Two specialty dinners and drinks to go with it.” Yuuto's female companion confidently ordered for both of them.
“Coming right up.”
After the waiter left Yuuto asked, “Do you eat here often?”
“No, this is my first time here also. I just wanted to eat at a small restaurant and relax a bit. I always wanted to try out a place like this so it's nice to have someone else come with me.” she replied.
The wait was short and their food was placed before them, it was type of thick stew with a mixture of vegetables and meats. And on the side was thick pieces of freshly baked bread. They ate in silence enjoying the flavor of the stew. When finished, they made small talk while drinking and buying refills when their glasses emptied. Yuuto was feeling very sleepy and could barely keep his eyes open.
“I have to use the restroom I will be right back.” she told him. so he rested his head on his hands on the table while he waited for her. While waiting he drifted off to a light drunken slumber.
He was jolted awake when someone was shaking his left shoulder. Yuuto looked up to see who it was and saw it was the waiter standing over him. Then he looked out a window and saw that it now the middle of the night different from when he had first sat down.
“Sir the restaurant will be closing soon you can't sleep here any longer.”said the waiter.
“Sorry I must have slept from too much drinking. Where is the girl I was with? Did she leave already? I didn't even get to ask her for her name,” Yuuto groggily mumbled to the waiter.
“She left a hours ago when you decided to fall asleep. If you would please pay your bill and leave so we can close up, it would be greatly appreciated,” a bill was placed in front of him.
He looked back at the waiter and asked, “Didn't the girl pay the bill already? She said she would.”
“She told me that you would be paying so please pay now.”
The small slip of paper the bill was printed on was shoved into his face. Yuuto grabbed it and looked at the cost. The shocking total made his jaw drop. The outrageous prices for everything were ten times higher than what was normal. Plus, there were extra service fees on the bill such as table usage fee and entertainment fee. He looked back at the waiter confused.
“What is this bill. are you sure there is not a mistake with the prices. What is up with these extra service fees?” asked Yuuto.
“The prices are correct. And you should have read the notice on the fees posted over the entrance and on the menus. Don't tell me you don't want to pay us and want to try and skip out on settling the bill” said the waiter who started to flex his muscles and cracking his knuckles.
“Well you see, it's not that I don't want to pay you, it's just I recently have gotten into a bit of financial problems and can't pay something like this even if I wanted to.” said Yuuto while slowly trying to back away.
Before he knew what was happening the waiter jumped at him and was able to put him in a choke hold. He was unable to breath. He tried to pry the waiters armed off his neck but was losing strength as he was slowly losing slowly losing consciousness. And finally his arms dropped and he was out like a light bulb.
“Hey boss, I got another debtor here what you want me to do.” shouted the waiter as he handcuffed the unconscious Yuuto on the ground and tied his legs.
“See who he owes the money to, if it's a large enough amount of money then call the old man and see if he wants to buy his debt. If not, then call the yakuza to come pick him up and let him work it off.” replied the cook behind the counter.
After rummaging through Yuuto's belongings some businesses cards fell to the ground and the waiter picked them up and read the name off to one of his loan shark friends he was talking to on the phone.
“Wow you sure that's the right company?” the loan shark asked in awe.“If it is, that guy is in really deep debt. Not your average small time loans.”
“Would his creditors mind if the debt was bought from them?”
“I'm sure they would much rather have the cash then have you give him to them to do “work” with this sort of price on his head.”
Yuuto was slowly regaining consciousness and trying to move but something heavy was sitting on his back.
“Thanks for the information. I have to go now, the big fish just woke up and I have to put him back to sleep.” the waiter hung up and took his boot off of Yuuto's back. Then he swung his foot back and kicked Yuuto in the head making him lose consciousness again while saying, “Go back to sleep.”
Thanks for reading.