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Constant Noise (flash short story)

The streets of Tokyo teemed with people. A never ending flow of suits and interesting fashion statements. Crowed sidewalks and jammed traffic. Bumper to bumper people and cars. Just another weekday in the land of the rising sun.

Unlike most ex-pats living here, it wasn’t the culture that brought me, Jonathan Merced, from Perth. Old things and historic sites don’t interest me. Never have.

I came here for the hi-tech gadgets and neon lights. After three years I can safely say, Japan is stuck in the past. There is one major intersection, on all the movies, that is ‘bright lights, big city’; the rest is concrete, Pachinko, and the constant jabber of people on phones, to friends and to themselves. It never ends.

Only public transportation is silent, and I can get a chance to think. Riding the trains and buses is awesome. Totally quiet. It’s the reason most people sleep on their way to work or home. I assume all the talking tires them out.

It doesn’t tire me. I hate talking. It gets on my nerves. Angry, violent thoughts magically appear from nowhere, and in my vision, I’m stomping a person’s head on the ground--harder and harder until it cracks open. If I’m especially exhausted, the vision turns darker and sometimes other people come to the aid of the victim. In reality, they’d just get their phones out and stream to YouTube or some other site.

Way of the world, over here.

Jabber. Jabber. Jabber.

It’s one of the few things that grate my nerves. I can handle a few minutes but ten to fifteen is pushing it. Even my MP3 player can’t drown them out. They seem to get louder and louder. Before I know it someone has pissed me off, and in my head they are getting stomped.

Such thoughts are not good but try as I might, I can’t block them. The talking never stops on the streets, in offices, hospitals or riding elevators. The constant noise is maddening.

Today I have a late start at the school and that means I have to dodge talkers in the early afternoon. It’s the worst time to be on the streets. The sun is out and the country is wide awake.

My ear buds are in and Megadeth is blaring, and for a short time all is right with the world. Until a woman next to me answers her phone. Her voice is high and shrill. Her laughter is the call of a hyena. She cackles and overreacts with every second breath. My Japanese is limited but I understand she is meeting this phone friend in five minutes. Five bloody minutes. She couldn’t wait. 

In my head, I picture grabbing her long wavy hair and yanking it backwards. Forcing her head to smack into the concrete and driving my boot down into her face--again and again and again. I imagine her screams dying out. Onlookers shocked but phones are uploading to YouTube. Live action attack. Foreigner goes nuts.

I imagine someone is calling the police on an old flip style phone. He can’t upload video on that. The woman is unmoving on the ground. Her face is caved in. Calmly, I walk away, turned a corner and my mood changes. There’s a happy feeling warming my insides.

However, dark thoughts continue to ride with me, hanging around like a bad smell. They don’t seem to want to vanish as they usually do.

There’s a young man leaning against a convenience store wall and shouting on his phone. He’s pissed at his mother. She found his magazines and DVDs, and he is disgusted she snooped through his things.

His jabbering is far too loud and he has no problem exposing himself as an asshole to the entire world. So many people openly stare at him.

I imagine in my bag is a kitchen knife. Full of confidence, I stride up to him. My right hand is inside my bag and it is gripping the knife handle. With a finger on my lips I try to shush him. He should keep this call private.

He gives me a look of contempt and raises his volume.


I’ll shush him.

In my imagination, I move with lightning speed, my right hand comes out of my bag and the kitchen knife gets noticed too late. The man has no time to react. I drive the knife upward, under his chin and into the roof of his mouth. The blade sticks in the mouth plate and I use my palm to punch it higher. His right eye deflates; goo is sliding over the eyelid. I know that most of it is coating the knife’s sharpened steel.

He drops his phone as he collapses to the ground. I can hear the mother on the other end still yelling at him. Her voice is as bad as his.

I imagine taking his wallet and learning his address. It’s full of money, so I pocket the wallet for later.

His mother’s voice follows me as I turn and cross the street. Onlookers are busy with phones while others have lost interest and continued on with their day.

I’m across the road in seconds and that damn woman’s voice continues to grate my nerves. I can still hear the bitch. Her voice matches the shrill of police sirens filling the air.

Up ahead, I spot a black taxi. Its rear door is open, meaning it is looking for passengers.

Learning through the open back door, I ask if it’s alright to get a lift. Sometimes they refuse foreign passengers. This cabbie says no problem and I show him the driver’s license. He nods and pulls out into the traffic.

The ride is silent. In this country, public transport is the best.

END pop in  for a visit. I don't bite hard ;-) 

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Often there are many acquaintances and family members that don't know our struggle. Some have given advice that fits their life but would not resolve our issues or assist our needs. There are those who are guilty, for they have compounded our lives with their problems and increased our stress, purposely. Often we want to say something but find it won't change a thing. We seek a break.........

Janet Robinson is a character facing crossroads in her life. She needs a break. Her use of prescribed medication has landed her in the hospital and her circumstances have now mounted.

Read the novel, you may recognize a story that touches those you love....... finding internal strengths is the path to healing......


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