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Just north of Yasukuni-dori Avenue, Shibuya’s Kabukichō was a red light district made up of maze like streets crammed with all sorts of adult entertainment. Neon lit candy colored shop fronts beckoned like Venus Fly traps. There were any number of sex shops, massage parlors, host and hostess clubs, love hotels, and places to eat, sleep and shop. It was a seedy fantasy land with Lego like buildings stacked one on top of another, buildings that seemed to be there to simply house ads and jumbo-tron screens. Androgynous pretty boys and anime cartoon character females enticed visitors to come on in. Towering over it all was the iconic monster Godzilla, with his gleaming, demon orange eyes, illuminated talons and mouth widened in a fang filled roar. The streets were overcrowded, noisy and energized with gawkers and the adventurous. Every few steps a pushy Nigerian lad would try to get males to frequent his host club. This area was like home to Nyesha. It infused her with life and renewed her spirits. With so many attractions packed together the whole place was akin to being inside a life-sized pinball machine, where she was the ball.
People got around on foot, scooters and bicycles. Many of the streets weren’t large enough for two cars, but there was always a stretch limo slowly cruising by. In the daytime Kabukichō was a dreary place, like a vampire confined to his coffin until the night sets him free. While police would sweep through the area in their black and red vests, the Yakuza ran Kabukichō.
Ojiro Mori, aka Mr. O stood by his Ferrari 458 Speciale convertible, his eyes shielded by sunglasses, his skin reddened instead of tanned. In the passenger side of his white sports car was a stunning black girl wearing a floral headscarf. Nyesha guessed the girl’s age to be less than 21, but over 12.
“Ojiro,” Nyesha said, one of the only people who dared to call him by his first name.
Instead of speaking he simply nodded. The girl in the car caught his cue, lowering her head.
Nyesha fought against feelings of revulsion and anger over the girl’s situation. What she couldn’t control were the images of the past that came roaring into her mind. “Kimochii” was a word she’d have to whisper in a childish, high pitched squeal to let the client know what he was doing felt good. Even when it didn’t.
“What can I do for you, pretty lady?” Ojiro said. “You looking for work?”
Nyesha bristled at his suggestion, choosing to ignore it. “Ayumi’s missing. Do you know anything?”
Ojiro gave a grunt of a laugh, buffing his manicured fingernails against a shirt pocket. “That bitch? She still owes me money.”
“You were paid, and then some.”
“For you, not for her.”
“That’s not how I remember it. I recall you got paid enough for the both of us.”
Her feistiness made him laugh louder. Out the corner of her eye Nyesha caught the young girl flinching. She knew the feeling. Ojiro was a man whose bark and his bite were equally bad. And if she didn’t need him right now then she wouldn’t be anywhere near her former employer. “If you hear anything-”
“If I do, it better be that Ayumi’s dead.”
“Is that any way to talk about the woman you claimed to love?”
Ojiro’s eyes flashed, his body coiling like a cobra ready to strike. Old habits die hard. Instead of covering up or showing fear, Nyesha didn’t move. Ojiro came close, sniffing at her like a lion ready to feast on a dead carcass. But instead of lashing out he stopped himself. In fact, his face had become ashen as if he’d seen a ghost. Confused at this turn of events, Nyesha took a quick glance over her shoulder, wondering what he’d seen. There was nothing but the night life regulars; gaijin groupies, soapland seekers, drunk office workers passed out on the sidewalk, female hostesses gamely keeping up the same smiles they’d worn when the night was young. Sensing she’d just dodged a bullet, this was her cue to leave.
“Don’t come back here unless you’re ready to go back to work,” Ojiro said, continuing to taunt the further she walked. “I caught your show. I should be getting a cut of your money. You wouldn’t know shit if it wasn’t for me.”
She knew better than to respond. Always let him have the last word, it was safer that way. As she retreaded, Ojiro hopped into the driver’s seat of his car, muttering to the girl at his side. “You can lift your head now.”
The young woman did as she was told.
“That was your predecessor.” Sounding like a proud father, he kept talking, as if they were having a two sided chat. “Watch how she moves, like her pussy is made of gold. She was my top bitch for a long time. Nyesha’s smart and ambitious. She wasn’t just a hostess, she was royalty around here. She could get men and women to do all kinds of shit . . .” his voice trailed off, and just as quickly he became resentful. “Yeah, she was like a sponge, soaking up English and learning how to con like a muddafuckah.” Ojiro took off his sunglasses so he could see Nyesha better, even as she disappeared into the crowd. “I won’t make that mistake again.” He waved two men over. The younger one sprinted. The older one calmly strolled, leaning in close to hear Ojiro’s orders.
They both answered in unison. “Yes, boss.”
~~~~~ End of Excerpt ~~~~~