UNDERGROUND VOICES: FICTION
BRYAN FOX

Tokyo Lights

Tokyo is a whore. You fuck it, it screams.
Itai. Itai.

I’m sitting in a bar in Roppongi, near the Cross, where all bad things happen, where
platinum-haired kogyaru stalk gaijin saraken with bulging wallets, Asahi-fat guts, and
circumcised erections.

You wanna come in her face?
You can do that.
You wanna do it doggy style and go top shelf?
You can do that.
You wanna make it greasy and impersonal, so she can’t attach any strings?
It’s your God-given right to do that.

I am the Beacon of the Vegetable.

I’m drinking whisuki cora to put out the fire that burns unchecked in my gut. Tie rides
low around my neck, the noose from which by day I hang, now cut and dangling loose
and flaccid like a spent cock. Seems like every guy in the bar has something loose
hanging around his neck. Difference is I’m not going to go home and fuck my tie.

I’m trying not to get noticed. I’m trying not to wake up in a Love Hotel with a pair of
Hello Kitty panties on the floor next to me and two fake fingernails lying like red tears on
my pillow; with a doe-eyed conquest whispering “Ai, shite iru” at the back of my post-
coital head as I eye-scope my surroundings and decide the fastest escape route; before the
obaasan at the front desk rings up to yell in monkey-speak that if we want more fuckee
fuckee we gotta throw a few more coins in the meter ‘cause the next pair of lovers is
clamorin’ at the gate with hot loins and 3 hours to kill.

A familiar tableaux.

Been there, done that.

As my look vacillates between disinterested and nonchalant, a Mr. Miyagi clone with
long hair approaches. He smiles and his teeth look like a box of broken chalk. Surprise,
he wants to practice Engrish. Color me nonplussed. The men are worse than the
goddamn girls, because you gotta talk even more shit with them and there’s no desire to
end up with your balls in their mouth at night’s end. He tells me his name is Suzuki, yes,
that Suzuki, his grandfather is the motorcycle man, and he says it with conviction, as
though I should believe this. Even though that’s the 4th most common family name in the
country. Even though he’s beet-red with the night’s indulgences and fueled on sake-
courage and the nudgings of whatever midlevel cubicle mates he’s come down here with.
15% of Orientals are alcohol intolerant. Allergic. Something about the way their livers
can’t process the alcohol. They drink, they become red all over.

This stops no one.

They drink, they vomit on themselves. They drink, they pass out covered in their own
piss on the Yamanote Line as it goes round and round and round. They wake up
somewhere and hope it’s not too far from home. Sometimes, when they get there, they
pass their workmates going to the office on their way back to the apartment. Then they
change out of their puke-crusted suit and into a new one, balling up the old one and
bringing it discreetly to the dry cleaner, where no questions are asked.

Then they drink again.

Suzuki-san enquires as to my job.

What do I do, sir?

What do I do?

Tonight I’m an investment banker for Citibank.

Sometimes I’m a management consultant.

Interpretive dancer.

German translator.

Swedish hedge fund broker.

They never check.

But he asks me what I’m drinking and I tell him it’s a lonely Uncle Jack and coke, and he
wouldn’t mind a friend. And, lo and behold, another one appears and hell, I’ll talk to
anybody if I can get something out of it. Blonde hair and blue eyes go far on this side of
the world no matter what’s between your legs - I’ll work whatever angle I can get.
Confucius say “Foolish man pay for drink with coin, wise man with words.”
Suzuki-san turns and calls back to the crowd behind him, produces another suit and two
broads in evening gowns, one burgundy, one red, and bullet-point heels that make you
marvel at the fortitude of the female ankle.

Now I’m plussed.

The guy has a name I’ve forgotten even before it comes out of his mouth, the girls are
Miki and Yuuko, and I don’t know/ask/care what relation they are to the boys, because if
Suzuki wasn’t offering them up to me he wouldn’t have called them over in the first
place. Japanese men are very protective. But also quite generous.

Divide and conquer.

The one in the burgundy looks promising, I could describe her features but if you think
that’s necessary you haven’t been to Japan. She’s got a chest on her, and a nice smile,
teeth seemingly in the right place. Her hair is tied back and that’s good, too. Fast-
forward to that moment when you get to see it loosed and watch it stream down, usually
when you already have her bouncing up and down on top of you, when you’ve got one
hand on a haunch and the other up around her mouth to see if she’ll lick the fingers that
have just been inside of her.

Perversity is the mother of intention.

“Yuuko-chan, eigou wo hanasu no?” I query, leaning in to plant my flag in her personal
space and make sure I’m heard over the din of the primates cackling around us.
Mandatory smile, stock ‘Japanese-women-never-cease-to-be-kawaii-ne’ giggle.
“Sukkoshi.” That could mean she has a 6 word nihonglish lexicon or that she graduated
from an MBA program in California. Modesty reigns supreme here. Feeling the life-
affirming rush of Uncle Jack in my gut, I bet on the former.

“You know I’m going to fuck you until you scream tonight,” I say casually, in a tone one
might use when explaining the story behind a shirt you’d just complimented them on.

She smiles with consternation. “Nani?”

Bingo.

“I said, ‘My balls are going to be in your mouth before this night is over,’” but this time I
say it romantic-like, as if I’d just complimented her on her perfume. All that matters is
the tone.

Like talking to dogs.

Here girl, come sit on Daddy’s lap.

So we shoot the shit in her language. She’s duly impressed by my 5-year old’s
vocabulary, as they always are. I can’t say anything profound in Japanese but I stopped
worrying about it when I realized a while back that Japanese women don’t say anything
profound in Japanese either.

At a point when everyone’s glass is empty, Suzuki-san rounds up the troops and suggests
we go to “special place” and who am I to decline? When I’ve already got a few in me I’ll
drink in a public bathroom if that’s where it’s being served up free. It’s partly cloudy in
my head but I feel a storm coming on, forecast drunkenness, heavy at times, clearing by
mid morning. I grab my umbrella and depart.

In the basement of a bar called Egypt Lounge off Gaien Higashi-dori we’re in a cramped
private room drinking sake far better than what I’d ever dream of purchasing for myself.
But half a dozen drinks into the night, I still have to pinch my nose and choke it down so
as not to offend my newfound patron. Good sake is like a good venereal disease.
Logical impossibility.

We are cordoned off from the bars’ already cozy confines by a curtain. There are black
light posters of the Sphinx and the pyramids and various headdressed Egyptian
caricatures in various poses of a copulatory nature. The walls, black velvet, the sofas,
black leather, and we’re defacing the obsidian table with careless cigarette ashes and
overzealous pours from the tokkuris we seem to empty every few minutes or so. Suzuki’s
male friend is too red and now plays that half-passed out act in Miki’s lap. Get close to
that glory box anyway you can, ganbatte, amigo.

And now we’ve been joined by some Israeli hostess fresh off duty, friend of Suzuki.
Quite possibly he’s her patron. Foreign girls are never a welcome sight to a gaijin on the
make – they complicate things with scornful looks and thinly-veiled disgust. They get in
the way. Disrupt the mojo. Hey Honey, I don’t come down to where you work and
knock the dick out of your mouth, now do I?

But this one seems non-threatening and she’s got the biggest cans I think I’ve ever seen
in person, which is right where the old man’s eyes are fixed even as he continues the
conversation with me. I wonder what it would feel like to put myself between those
fertile hills to bask in her earthly delights. Hell, I’d probably just end up lost but
whatever, gaijin girls are too much work in this country anyway. Why climb up 10
flights of stairs when you’re standing next to the elevator? And she’s here milking him
for what he’s worth just like me - whoever said there’s no honor among thieves wasn’t
robbing people who had so much to steal.

I Am A-1 Power Boy.

At some point Yuuko and I make the transition from being close to touching. My arm’s
draped over her shoulder like a shawl, and she shows no sign that this is bothering her.
Though even if she did, it’s not like I would heed the warning and stop.
In Japan, ‘no’ does mean ‘yes’. Sometimes you just have to ask a few different ways.
But she’s all smiles, drinking coke now because sake just ain’t for women, at least not for
ones who are classy, and certainly not for ones who are dressed up and just trying to be.
The Israeli girl gives in, too. It appears she’s holding Suzuki’s hand, and he tugs at it like
it’s a stubborn bra strap. But then I realize that she’s actually given him something, in a
small plastic bag, and now I’m thinking this night is as far from ending as it’s ever been,
because as he’s rolling it around between clumsy drunken fingers I see it’s full of tiny
clear chips that look like ice.

Just like Ice.

Ice.

White gold.

Grade A. Tokyo’s finest, direct from the labs of the top chemists in the employ of your
friendly local yakuza.

But don’t tell them I said that.

From a black jacket pocket a small steamroller is produced. Now Suzuki-san is really
smiling. And he doesn’t even take the first hit. Rather he hands it to me with an
honorific nod and out comes his Zippo, gold, and I don’t mean plated, from the weight I
feel as it’s dropped into my outstretched hand. The Kanji for ‘power’ is carved into the
side and now I’m thinking maybe what he was saying about his grandfather might not
even have been a lie.

But crystal meth isn’t something you just do in public. “Kochira wa daijjobu desu ka?” I
inquire, to that ends.

The old man smiles, his arms raise up like a lei-wearing Don Ho welcoming me to
Fantasy Island, “Suzuki no ie desu.” This is Suzuki’s house.

Crystal meth is funny because it doesn’t really do anything at all. You don’t hallucinate,
you don’t get giddy, you become neither hot nor cold, neither nervous nor relaxed.

In fact, you would hardly even know you’d done it.

Except that you don’t need to sleep for 48 hours afterwards, and every conversation you
have under its spell is the most profound exchange you’ve ever been a part of, and every
thought you have is as clear as the crystals you took to bring it to you.

I am the Light and the Way, I am the 8-armed Ganesh, I am the most exciting and
invigorating person that is, that has ever been, that ever will be. And everyone around
me will know it and feel my power, bask in my glory, absorb the energy which I emit like
a beacon cutting through the miasmic fog of quotidian ignorance.

It’s not a God Complex, it’s far more simple:

I am God.

And I take my hits.

And Suzuki takes his hits.

And Myra, the Israeli girl, takes her hits.

And Suzuki-san’s friend lifts up his head and fills it with clarity, and Yuuko is doing it
too, though that probably means she’s a fiend because there’s no way in hell a J-girl
would just decide to do something like this for the first time under these circumstances.
They don’t do shit like that just to impress you. Being completely and utterly submissive
is generally the only defense mechanism with which the Japanese female by birth is
equipped. ‘Getting saucy’ is just not in the range of possibilities.

At 5AM a waiter comes in to tell us they need to close but Suzuki pardons himself and
steps out of our little enclave with the lad. When he comes back in, he is grinning and
pulls out a two-gun OK salute and now it’s just Myra who goes up to get drinks for us.
In my state, I entertain the drunken notion that perhaps Suzuki has just gone out and
bought the bar, but more likely he just paid them off to leave us there until morning.
Music is playing and after a few hours I realize it’s the same CD left on eternal repeat:
sitar music and Hindi vocals from some Bollywood extravaganza. They love that shit
here. And normally this might bother me but nothing at all bothers me now, as we
continue hitting the pipe to cancel out each drink and then drinking to necessitate the next
hit.

At some point deep into the next morning I notice that Guy #2 and Miki are passed out on
one another. While Suzuki’s in the bathroom I ask Myra with meth-boldness about the
nature of their relationship and she is brazen enough to say from behind the straw of a
cocktail she mixed for herself, “He takes care of me. He’s a good man.” When you’re
on Ice you don’t want to dispute anything. I just smile and nod. We exchange numbers
because maybe I might want some of that crystal some day soon and I know that Yuuko,
not understanding us as we speak in English, will get jearous at the sight of me getting
her number.

Miki and Guy #2, who I’ve now been told between 5 and 14 times is called Yoshiro, are
now well and truly dead to the world and Suzuki reenters, kabuki-style, smacks his boy in
the head in a manner no one who hadn’t known what we’d been doing would describe as
‘playful’. He gets them up, out of the room, out of the door, out of my life and into a
cruel and unfeeling Roppongi morning.

I can think of few places less attractive by the light of day than where we will inevitably
ascend when this is all over… streets lined with discarded club flyers, onigirii wrappers
from 7-11 and takoyaki cardboard containers, bloated rubbish bins spewing vomitous
overflow onto asphalt wet with standing liquid of spilt energy drinks, rubbish runoff, and
fluids of bodily origin.

And the assault is more olfactory than visual, a summer blend of raw funk so thick in the
air you chew your breaths down like a crushed pill wrapped in a wet sport sock.
Dante draws out concentric circles on the pavement with wet chalk and you just shrug as
you walk deeper in.

Where was I?

The music has been changed by unseen hands, it’s now some of that shit they use for
belly dancing and Suzuki jumps up on the little table to do an exaggerated pantomime.
Now it’s my turn to grin as though this spectacle caused us some amusement – after all, I
am enjoying myself at his very direct expense. The song finishes mercifully, and by the
grace of God the CD starts to skip, Myra rushes out to change it over. Suzuki follows her
like he’s attached on a leash, and, as we’re alone, I turn to Yuuko. There’s no need for
words when lips will suffice. My hand roughly grabs her delicate chin and I kiss her as
deeply as she’ll let me. Japanese girls kiss like they are in a movie. Romance for them is
imagining Leo DiCaprio standing stoic on the starboard bow while Celine Dion croons
“My Heart Will Go On”. But it’s 8.30 on Tuesday fucking morning and you’re in the
basement of a bar in Roppongi, sister. I ain’t the King of the World. I just want to fuck
you like an animal. I’m not about to go holding your arms outstretched while the wind
blows through your hair.

What Color is Your Dreams?

To my pleasant surprise, she puts a little tongue into it and I get my hand down between
her legs and she starts rubbing my knee, which isn’t really where I want her hand, but it’s
a start.

The two others come back in abruptly and we break off, trying to make it look like she
wasn’t sure if she’d lost a contact and I was just helping her out, though I don’t know
why we feel the need to hide our indiscretions. They know what’s happening. After 4
hours on Crystal Meth you’re all one big happy fucking family and they don’t really care.
Myra says she’s gotta go. I know Suzuki is going to follow her anywhere those tits go
and that makes it all the easier. We leave the room as is, overflowing ashtrays,
overturned glasses, and it appears Yoshiro either spilt something or pissed himself
because there is a pool of liquid collected where the two parts of the leather sofa meet.
A little added surprise for the barman.

Shitsurei shimasu. Domo sumimasen deshita.

We four break out of the confines of our cocoon, into the light of day already hot, wet,
and unforgiving as a Tokyo summer feels it needs to be 3 hours before noon. I take
Suzuki’s hand and look him in the eye, no small feat when dealing with the Japanese. In
English, I tell him, “It’s been a pleasure” only because I don’t know how to say that in
Japanese. No need to give him my number. This was strictly a one-off event, and in a
city of 18 million there’s not much risk of bumping into anyone again, even if you want
to. Which is why I’m not worried about the fact that I’m fingering his Zippo in my
pocket as we say our goodbyes. He goes off in chase of Myra who’s already halfway
down the block, no doubt hoping our sayonnaras would last long enough to provide her
with cover for an escape.

Yuuko’s hand is still in mine. No mystery as to where this is going.

On a creaky bed in a rental room on Love Hotel Hill, Yuuko is an ostrich buried neck
deep between two pillows to muffle her whimpers as I jackhammer into her from behind.
I pull her up more on her haunches and grab a fistful of hair, rear up like she’s a steed and
try to bring her to a halt. Anything but. I get a kimochi and a pair of ii na’s so I know
I’m doing well, but the screaming isn’t really an indicator. They start moaning before
you even touch them.

Because that’s what they hear men like.

And you’re only ever in bed for the man in Japan.

I let loose the mane and look up at the floor-to-ceiling mirror, grin, run fingers through
my own healthy locks, smile, primp a bit.

Look Ma, no hands.

Like Christian Bale in American Psycho, I’m really just admiring myself now.
Goddamn, I look good. I would fuck me.

I flip her over, we run the gamut, she screams out “I coming” in English on 3 separate
occasions; but I don’t even think she knows what that means. I finish with her head in
my lap and when I spread my love upon her she looks at me angrily because at some
point I think she’d asked me not to do that and, mid-thrust, I’d probably promised I
wouldn’t. The glaze on her donut face is still setting when my phone rings. I know who
it is and the only reason I go to get it is because sometimes I like to feel the pain.

Every Sadness has a Flower.

“Moshimoshi.”

“Where are you!”

The Old Ball and Chain. You live with somebody 6 months and they still expect you
to come home every night. Some people.

“Hisayo, baby, hey, what’s up?”

“It’s 8.30 and I go to work and you don’t come home last night.”

”Yeah, I got to drinking with the boys and I just woke up in Tony’s over in Nishi Azabu.”

”You don’t love me!”

“Hey, hey, what’s that all about, of course I do.”

”You’re fucking with someone else, I live with you and you are sukebe hentai jerk. You
never change. You don’t love me.”

Tears from halfway across the city spill out of the earpiece of my J-Phone. They run
down my cheek, slow and unrepentant, pooling up on my naked thigh. It’s all very
cinematic. Very late Kurosawa.

“Yes I do.”

”Then say it.”

And this is the one thing the Muppet on the bed will understand in English. Hisayo
knows this.

“Iloveyoubaby,” I cough out, back turned. But already I hear the sounds of clothes being
gathered, pieces of a Titanic-size broken dream stuffed into a black sequined purse.

“Say it in Japanese.”

”Baby, what’s wrong with you!”

In a triptych tableaux there is:

LEFT: young Japanese woman, bun-haired in full business attire sobbing into a keitai in
our 8-tatami flat in
Nerima Ward.

CENTRE: me naked and facing a mirrored wall with a hand in my hair because that’s the
best ‘I’m concerned, really’ gesture I know.

RIGHT: half-naked strumpet wiping my semen off her chest and tears from her face with
starchy Love Hotel sheets.

Into the phone I whisper: “Ai shite iru.”

“Again. I can’t hear.”

“Ai shite iru, Hisayo-chan wo ai shite iru. OK?” Yuuko starts screaming and now
Hisayo wants to know what the hell that was and Yuuko’s lost the plot. As she begins
hitting me on the chest, I get another look at her rack which really is impressive as her
dress falls off her again in her rage, tiny powerless fists of a wilted jilted Lotus Flower
tapping me like a small reminder of the misery I’ve just wrought upon two helpless souls.
I let the phone drop to the ground, and as it falls, I push Yuuko away, not because she’s
hurting me but because it gives me an excuse to get one last grab at her cleavage. And all
at once my body realizes the grievous harm I’ve been doing to it for the last 11 hours and
my head starts throbbing like the beat of a house track. I start to nod my head to the
rhythm only I can hear, and laugh uncontrollably as the scene melts away.


After 9 years spent abroad crafting his own private bildungsroman, Bryan Fox returned to
the United States in 2005. He currently lives, works, and occasionally sleeps in Brooklyn,
NY. He is the author of several travel articles and a largely unpublishable but extremely
cathartic memoir, "Scripting Ends". He can be contacted at scriptingends@gmail.com.







© 2006 Underground Voices