As part of my training to become a (self taught) Japanese translator, I’ve been doing some unofficial hobby translations from Japanese to English. The first of these was the intro of the most recent Candy Candy novel.
For my second translation project, I chose a short story from Endo Shusaku’s “Humorous short story collection” which I reviewed a while ago here.
The story is titled “俺とソックリな男が。。。” which I’ve translated as “The man who shared my face”, though literally this is closer to “The man with the face just like mine…”, where the dots imply that this man did something.
This project was significantly more difficult than my previous one, not only because the sentence structure was much more complex, but also because it was written in the 1970s. As you might expect, the story is about the main character meeting a man whose face looks just like his. Though parts of it I would consider funny, overall it’s definitely dark humor.
I chose this story because I thought it was an interesting premise that developed in an unexpected way, and also because I don’t think it has been translated (at least not this particular story, others from the same book may have been).
Another reason this translation was tough is because it has a philosophical element to it, but that is why I enjoyed it so much.
It’s fairly long (about 20 pages in the original text), but if you are interested in Japanese literate from the 70s I highly recommend checking it out. There are some sexual situations so if you are too young, maybe you should avoid it (:
Ideally I would like to make the Japanese version available for comparison, but since it is still being sold I can’t provide that legally. I own both the physical book and the E-book, and I’m sure the latter would be easier to get. I got mine on Booklive.
(遠藤周作 ユーモア小説集: “俺とソックリな男が。。。”)
“The man who shared my face” (unofficial translation)
The incident–shall I call it odd or mysterious?–occurred two years ago in July. What I thought was going to be another humid evening turned into a sudden downpour around 10pm, the roar of the rain blending with the dull hum of the fan near the bed.
“This isn’t good. I didn’t bring my umbrella,” the girl mumbled from the bedroom floor, crawling on all fours as she tossed my discarded cigarette butts into the ashtray.
“I’ll get a cab.”
“You think it’s that easy? We’d have to walk all the way to the train station.”
“All right then, just stay here until the rain lets up.”
In spite of my ostensible concern for her, I couldn’t keep my eyes off the clock. My wife’s exhausted expression came to mind, rereading an old magazine as she waited for my return.
The girl with me worked as a waitress at a small joint in Shibuya. We’d been meeting in secret for over six months now. There were even times I had considered marrying this girl who had a scar on the lower right of her abdomen where her appendix had been removed. Strangely, her slender body smelled of the sea. It reminded me of my hometown in Niigata prefecture which I hadn’t visited in many years.
The Japanese-style hotel where we always met was on a corner, a little ways off the main street where the trains and taxis sped by. There was little sign of life on the streets here, even around noon. As a result, no one paid any attention to us entering and leaving. Since I was essentially a civil servant, being seen by another person was my biggest fear.
We left the hotel separately, just like when we arrived. Fortunately, the rain had stopped. When I exited the lobby, I paused and looked around outside, curious to see if she was still walking on the side of the wet road. But there was no sign of her anywhere. I guess she had taken a different route home.
A couple walked towards me on the street. I unconsciously averted my gaze, although there was really no need for it. As a man who had just cheated on his wife, I felt uncomfortable being seen by anyone.
As they passed me by, I heard the woman yell out “Wow!” in surprise. This in turn startled me, and I raised my head to look.
On the right side of the street was a tobacco shop. Lit by the store’s lights, the couple stood unmoving, staring at me. The man was hidden by the woman’s shadow and hard to see clearly, but the woman, wearing whitish western-style clothes, had her mouth opened wide as if she had just lost her mind.
I tried to figure out what just happened. Maybe she was a girl I used to know. But I didn’t recognize her face at all.
Just then, the man’s face peeked out of his companion’s shadow. I looked at him and my eyes grew wide in shock. I now understood the reason for the woman’s reaction.
Is this kind of thing even possible? You’ve probably heard of a coincidental likeness, when a perfect stranger happens to bear a resemblance to you. But this was way beyond that. The man standing on the street–if I had an identical twin he would be it–looked exactly like me in every way imaginable.
For some time we stared each other down, like bitter enemies. We both remained silent, unable to speak.
“This is crazy…” the man mumbled. Then he pulled the woman’s arm and said, “Let’s go.”
They hurried away, as if they’d just seen the most terrible thing in the universe.
The feeling was mutual. But somewhere within the inexplicable discomfort that surged through my chest was a sense of amazement.
There was no explanation for why I felt like this. Perhaps it was because I’d met this man right after committing adultery. Or maybe because the man with my face had led the woman away so quickly, as if he had committed some terrible act himself?
My heart was thumping fast all the way home. After I returned, my wife–usually oblivious to things–asked me, “What’s wrong? Why are you staring into the mirror for so long?”
Her response was to be expected, given the fact I had taken my shirt off and was silently staring at my own face’s reflection in the mirror.
“Trying to pretend you’re hot stuff?”
I cared nothing for my wife’s remarks. In the vast Greater Tokyo Area, there was a man with a face identical to mine, and I felt restless, unsure of what to make of this.
As the days passed, the memory of the event gradually disappeared from my mind. The shock I’d received that night also faded, and I nearly forgot about it. On occasion, when I came across a TV show about celebrity doubles, I would recall the strange experience. But it no longer bothered me much.
One day, when I had come into the office as usual and was sitting at my desk, Toshiko Kurata came over and said, “Mr. Okumura?”
“What is it?”
Ms. Kurata was an older single woman who worked at this office. Her attractive face was overshadowed by an unseemingly pale complexion. There were rumors she had some sort of disease. I even heard that she would loan money with interest to the young guys who didn’t have enough cash to buy drinks.
“I heard something mysterious happened recently,” she said.
“What do you think it is?”
“I’m not clairvoyant, how would I know?”
“Then I’ll tell you: there is a man identical to you, somewhere in Tokyo.”
“What did you say?”
Ms. Kurata saw me getting flustered and responded, “I’m not joking. I was surprised myself. At first I thought he was you and struck up a conversation with him. Well, that sure was embarrassing.”
“The Odakyu rail line.”
Yesterday was Sunday. Ms. Kurata said she had taken the train to visit some relatives at Enoshima, and the man boarded at Tsurugawa station.
“It appeared that he was looking for an empty seat, and the one next to me was available, so I raised my hand, calling out ‘Mr. Okumura’. Then he acts a bit surprised and sits down next to me…”
“Sits next to you?”
“Yes, he then apologizes and says his last name isn’t Okumura, but Matsuyama. The funny thing is that he was much politer and gentlemanly than you, the ‘real’ Okumura.”
“You think I care? More importantly, who gave you the right to tell him my name without permission?”
“What choice did I have? Maybe I did the wrong thing, but I also told him you work in this tax office. I’m so sorry. But he really didn’t seem like a bad person. He wasn’t particularly handsome, but he looked like a good person at heart.”
A group of coworkers listening to our conversation broke out into laughter, and at that moment I realized that this wasn’t the proper time or place to yell at this insensitive woman.
“Honestly, this man looked just like you. No, just saying ‘just like’ doesn’t do the resemblance justice, it was more like he was your identical twin.”
I knew it was him. And judging from the fact that he got on the Odakyu line from Tsurugawa station in the morning, he probably lived near there.
On my lunch break, I went over to where Mr. Hanabusa sits. The reason was that I had discovered he commuted using the Odakyu line.
“Hanabusa, what kind of place is Tsurugawa?”
The young man, who was really into baseball, was about to go out and play catch with a friend for an after-lunch break.
“The station there is pretty tiny. Makes sense considering there aren’t many houses in the nearby area. In front of the station there’s only about ten stores. Mr. Okumura, are you considering buying land over there?”
“No, not really.”
Humans are funny things. Although I had completely forgotten about that man, thanks to Ms. Kurata I now couldn’t get him out of my head. I felt a strong need to find out more about the man who shared my face: Where did he live? What was his everyday life like?
But nothing came of it. I didn’t visit Tsurugawa to investigate him, nor did I have the motivation to do anything like that.
I continued meeting up with my woman on the side, once or twice a month, at our usual place. Since that day, I had never come across the man, Matsuyama or whatever, who shared my face, even near the hotel. But as I lay together with the woman, a few times something crossed my mind.
(I wonder if that asshole has the same expression as I do now when he sleeps with his woman.)
That thought made me feel somehow unclean and uncomfortable. I didn’t have the slightest idea why.
Summer came, then fall, followed by winter. Once more, I had completely forgotten about him.
But what do you know? Yet another unexpected thing happened.
About an hour after I got into work, a girl brought me a package from the mail. As per my custom, I slurped tea loudly while opening it. Inside, I discovered a white letter written with a woman’s handwriting I didn’t recognize.
Its contents caught me off guard–I was clueless what the woman was talking about.
As we agreed upon, up until today I had refrained from sending you letters or calling. However you haven’t contacted me even once, so I consider breaking the agreement your responsibility. I won’t hear otherwise. Anyway, before we discuss talking about whether we should meet or not, please return the 1500 Yen I loaned you for drinking money. Even though it’s not much, I consider it part of my hard-earned income. If you don’t send it to me by the end of the week, I’m going to go over there and collect it myself. Tomiko Shiohara.
At first I was clueless about what this letter meant. Apparently, this woman was demanding that I repay a debt for drink money. But it wasn’t me who borrowed this money. Of course I’ve never heard of a Tomiko Shiohara, and more importantly, I’d never try to skip out on a 1500 Yen debt.
It only took a few moments before it dawned on me.
That Matsuyama guy, or whatever his name was, was definitely using my identity. And he did it just to get some free booze.
(What a stingy asshole!)
When we had met that day, he was wearing a clean-cut suit, with the look of a man who considered 1500 Yen pocket change. I can only assume that him stooping to this level was a result of one too many drinks. Whatever the reason, it was a terribly unpleasant thing to do to someone.
(In any case, I didn’t want this Tomiko lady coming here.)
So I immediately got a blank postcard and explained the situation in writing. I made it very clear that my name was being used by this guy.
However, she didn’t care to trust a stranger like me. Come Monday, I got a call from the girl at the front desk.
“Sir, you have a visitor. A woman by the name of Tomiko Shiohara.”
I hurried down the steps and ran to the front desk on the ground floor. Standing there was a woman in her early thirties with a prominent nose, wearing traditional Japanese clothes. The receptionist stared at me with curious eyes.
“Please follow me,” I said, and led her to the coffee shop next door.
“This is going to have to stop. I told you I’m not the guy who owes you.”
She stared at my face intently for a moment.
“Alright, I believe you,“ she finally admitted with a thick Osaka accent. “But is this sort of thing even possible? You look exactly like him.”
“No, you got it backwards. He looks exactly like me. I’m the victim here.”
“Actually, I could tell because you’re missing a wart.”
And thus I learned my identical twin had a large wart underneath his chin. What a disgusting thing to have stuck on the face.
Tomiko explained the situation to me. Four months ago, Matsuyama had apparently began frequenting her restaurant in Shinjuku.
“Now I couldn’t care less for a mere 1500 Yen, but this guy kept smooth-talking Kiku, one of my waitresses.”
“Thats right!” she retorted glared angrily at me, as if I was the culprit here. “Matsuyama said he would hook her up with a restaurant that paid better… and as a tax collector, he’d put in a special word for us when tax time came around, so both Kiku and I completely believed him.”
“Because we thought that if he was a tax collector, it’d help us out somehow. So we ended up going to a hotel with you.”
“You went to a hotel with him?”
“Sure did, with you. It kind of just happened.”
“Stop mixing us up like that again. It wasn’t me!”
“That’s true. But you’re just so similar to him…”
Dammit! This bastard was having his way, sleeping with not just this lady but some waitress named Kiku as well. To make matters worse, he did all this while using my name, Sanpei Okamura.
“Is this even possible… for one man to be this unlucky…”
“What do you mean?”
“Don’t you see? This guy gets time in the bed with you and Kiku. And yet me, the guy whose name is being stolen, doesn’t get to sleep with you.
At any rate, even after Toshiko went home, anger consumed me as if my blood were boiling. Things had just gone too far. I wouldn’t be satisfied until I got my hands on this Matsu-whats-his-name and tore him to pieces.
Just so you know, I even paid the 120 Yen drink bill at the coffee shop. While I’m at it, I’ll also get the name-thief to pay me back for this injustice.
On Saturday afternoon, I rode the Odakyu line towards Tsurugawa. The train fare was 100 Yen. I added this to the running debt he owed me, something I have every right to do.
It took quite a while to get from Shinjuku to Tsurugawa. The train had passed over Tamagawa river some time ago and then through several small stations, but still had more to go.
(Why is this asshole living in the middle of nowhere? Must be to save money on rent…)
I stepped off the train–we’d finally arrived–just as my anger rose to a dangerous level. It was exactly like my coworker had said, with only about ten stores lining the front of the station. The only other thing nearby was a handful of houses whose construction had recently begun, dotting the landscape among hills and sparse groups of trees.
Without hesitation, I set off for the small drugstore in front of me. The middle-aged man standing behind a glass case called to me with a look of surprise. I had expected this.
“My, isn’t it Mr. Suzuki! What in the world happened to you?”
Oh boy, I thought to myself. The jerk’s real name is “Suzuki”. This guy really has some guts to go around telling people like Toshiko Kurata a fake name like “Matsuyama”.
“Come on man, I’m trying to make a living here. If you’re going to move away, at least have the decency to pay me for the drugs you bought.”
Once again, explaining the situation was a bit tricky. But when I showed him there was no wart below my chin, he finally believed me.
“Yeah, I guess you’re right… But you two are extremely similar. Truly similar!”
“Because of that my life is being destroyed. So where did Suzuki move to?”
“If I knew that I wouldn’t be complaining to you. And I’m not the only one. The owner of the nearby liquor store is also trying to find out where he went.”
“Where does he work?”
“From what I hear, he works at a wig manufacturer in Shibuya. Very persuasive, telling men like me his wigs are perfect for thinning hair, and nobody can tell them from the real thing. He says he’ll sell them for a great price, in exchange for helping him out.”
“Sounds like he’s up to his old tricks again.” I cursed him under my breath. “I’ll find him and make him pay.”
On the way out of the drugstore, I paused at the exit and turned to the clerk.
“By the way, what medicine did this Suzuki guy buy from you?”
Just great. This guy, who happens to have almost the same face as me, has a bad rash problem.
I took the train back from Tsurugawa all the way to Shibuya. The fare this time was 110 Yen, raising the total to 210 Yen.
When I arrived in Shibuya, I crawled inside a phone booth and impatiently flipped through the phonebook. It was a Saturday afternoon and a crowd of young men and women passed by, smiling like they were having the time of their lives. But I had more important things to do.
I checked for wig companies but couldn’t find a single one in Shibuya. At first, I thought this was another one of Suzuki’s lies, but then it hit me: I often come across advertisements for companies that manufacture and sell wigs in magazines like Leon Catoup. That’s the kind of company where this guy worked. So I gave Leon Catoup a call.
“In Shibuya, there would be the ‘Bushy Brothers’ company,” the young woman on the phone explained politely.
Bushy Brothers was right next to the Tokyu building. The 5th floor of a rental plaza was their office. Since it was a Saturday afternoon, the office was empty except for a handful of people playing cards who turned towards me with puzzled expressions. Once again, I did my best to explain the situation, after which I was told, “That guy doesn’t work here anymore.”
The man who spoke sported a white dress shirt and had been watching his co-workers play.
“Seems he had some things going on.”
“What do you mean ‘things’?”
“I’ll just say that if you know where he went, you better let us know. He was using customers’ money to cover his horse racing debts, and was fired. You know, you really look exactly like him. You’re not brothers, right?”
“You can’t be serious.”
On my way out, I looked outside the stairwell window between the 5th and 4th floors, upon the dull grey ocean that was Tokyo. Somewhere within this sea of buildings was a man with my face, whose life was nothing but a succession of failures. As I thought this, a strange wave of sentimentality came upon me.
“Knowing him, he’s probably still using your identity to do something malicious,” said my wife when I told her what had happened. I shared her concern.
“You should talk to the police right away.”
But I never worked up the motivation to contact the authorities and left things as they were for two months. Things were calm until December of last year.
I was woken from a shallow sleep. After we took care of business, I had dozed off in the disheveled bed while she took a bath.
“Hey, wake up. Wake up,” she said with an odd ring in her voice.
She pointed, speechless, towards the TV sitting in the corner of the room. Glancing over, I saw a blurry picture of my own face projected on it. No, it wasn’t my face. It was his face, Suzuki’s face. A news reporter standing in front of the large image began speaking.
“Today, the Minister of Health Sugihara’s granddaughter Kiyotaka, age 6, was kidnapped on the way home from her Kindergarten at Tsunohazu, Shinjuku prefecture, where a man suddenly came out of a car parked on the street, forced her into the car, and sped away. Moments ago, the car was identified as being from Shinjuku Rental Club, registered by a certain Jiro Suzuki of Den`enchofu, Ota prefecture in Tokyo. Furthermore, this man hasn’t been seen in the last two days. Based on the testimony of a witness, Kiyotaka’s house maid Ms. Ume Ojima, a young woman was in the car along with Suzuki.“
She stared at me, as if I were the criminal from the news report.
“So, what are you going to do?”
“Don’t be ridiculous. This has nothing to do with me.”
“I’m going home. I don’t want to get involved with this. I’m sure you’re going to be questioned by the police. They have your picture and everything.”
“I told you, it’s not me!”
“That much is obvious. You could never do something this crazy. But you’ll definitely be suspected of this crime.”
The woman quickly got dressed and then left the hotel. What a cold-hearted girl. But she was right–being suspected by the police and interrogated would be no fun. I followed her lead and rushed home.
Even my wife, face pale, was watching the news. Of course, she knew that I wasn’t the culprit of this crime. “You could never do this type of thing,” she said in what didn’t sound like a compliment, echoing what I was told back at the hotel. “It’s a relief to say that…. but I don’t want the whole neighborhood making fun of us. After all, you two are nearly identical.” As she panicked, her words became irrational, “Why do you have the face of this criminal… this kidnapper?”
Angry and at a loss for what to do, I decided to finally go to the police station. The middle-aged officer there responded to my request with a bitter smile and a laugh.
“Let me get this straight–you want me to give you proof in writing that you aren’t Mr. Suzuki? There is no precedent for this sort of thing, so I don’t think I can help you buddy.”
The next day, I went to work wearing a surgical mask, though it wasn’t because I had caught a cold. Even on the bus, I felt like the other passengers were glaring at me suspiciously. Each opened newspaper contained headlines about the kidnapping of the Minister’s granddaughter in huge letters. Apparently, last night the criminal had called the Minister’s house and left a message: “The child is safe. As for the details on the terms of her release, I’ll contact you again tomorrow at noon.”
At the office, as soon as I arrived everyone went quiet. The silence was unnerving and I just couldn’t bear it any longer. So around noon I stood up and clicked on the TV for everyone in the office to watch. All busy hands froze on their desks, and all eyes were turned towards the news broadcast on the screen.
“We now begin a special report on the kidnapping of Minister Sugihara’s daughter. In addition to demanding five million Yen in ransom, the kidnapper stated his actions would help the Minister understand the feelings of those who have lost a child, and demanded that he increase the budget for day care centers of physically and mentally disabled children. During the phone call, he also made the unusual declaration that he himself would donate sixty percent of the ransom money to related institutions. In addition…”
Toshiko Kurata started intently at my face. What a bitch.
“Furthermore, we have been told that during that phone call, Kiyotaka was supposedly getting along very well with the kidnapper. She was heard happily singing ‘The belly button you licked still itches’, a parody of the famous lyric ‘The pinky finger you bit still hurts.’”
“Wow, that’s impressive!” Toshiko suddenly yelled. “He is one of the few real men left out there. I’ll admit his methods are less than ideal, but compared to men who waffle around and never get a single thing accomplished he’s a refreshing change. How attractive!”
The office girls, listening to Toshiko’s little speech, nodded in agreement. Though technically a “kidnapping”, the child in question seemed to be having a great time with her captor, who even taught her the cute song “The belly button you licked still itches”. It’s only natural that this story would push the womens’ buttons. Moreover, the criminal was offering to donate three million Yen of received ransom towards juvenile institutions. He had single-handedly captivated the nation even more than the Kinkiro hostage situation of 1968 had.
“This Suzuki guy is far above those men who spend their meaningless lives shuffling between work and home, like carrier pigeons,” Toshiko said while giving me a nasty stare again. It was as if she was saying that Suzuki and I, with identical faces, were to her as different as night and day
The other men in the office, sensing something gone wrong, distanced themselves from the TV, quietly sneaking back to their desks where they began to eat their packed lunches or rice curry plates. Looking at these lonely figures, I recalled the phrase “Somebody like you could never do that”, and felt a certain type of regret, and even envy, towards Suzuki, the man who shared my face. It was he that was causing an uproar in sprawling Tokyo, while I was sitting at my work desk, dejectedly eating flavorless curry rice. While part of me held an unbearable disgust for this man, another part began to envy him. This terrible dissonance within me was both strange and inexplicable.
A little before 5pm, I stood on a backstreet of Sangenjaya. Coming to a place like this, I knew there was a chance I would be mistaken for the criminal. The only reason I was here, being well aware of the dangers, was because I couldn’t suppress the urges that had tugged at me day and night.
Before I knew it, I was entertaining the idea that Suzuki was in fact my alter ego–another me in another body. But I, having lived a cowardly life all these years, couldn’t stand back and watch the man who shared my face get away with this.
Thanks to the fact that I worked at a tax office, I was good friends with a newspaper reporter. Once when a large company had been caught for tax evasion, I had helped this reporter with the investigation. I wasn’t exactly trying to get him to repay the favor, but nevertheless I decided to give him a call, keeping my voice low to avoid being heard.
“Yeah I know. Since you look exactly like that guy, I was just about to call you and tease you about it,“ said Mr. Taguchi, the reporter, with a smile in his voice. “Oh, I see, thanks to this kidnapping you’re life is all messed up too. Huh? You want me to tell you where Suzuki is planning on exchanging money for the girl? Sorry man, can’t do that. In the police department, they are keeping that totally classified. I’m sure you understand. If a bunch of people showed up, the criminal would be able to escape, right?”
I begged with him again and again to give me the location, promising I would not interfere in any way.
“Why do you want to see him so badly?”
“It’s just that… with a face just like mine… I can’t leave him alone.”
These words seemed to touch something deep within, and with a whisper he said, “Okay… Alright I’ll tell you. At 5pm, they’ve agreed to meet him in front of the “M” store in Sangenjaya, Setagaya prefecture. But don’t let the cops mistake you for him. Since you’re virtually identical to him, it’s extremely dangerous.”
That danger began now, as I stepped off the Tawagawa train into Sangenjaya, mask still on. The popular shopping area was busy as ever, its narrow streets packed with people.
Billboards touting Christmas sales lined the streets with Jingle Bells melodies blaring from loudspeakers, while shopping baskets hanging from the arms of housewives and those on the way home from work, knowing nothing about what was about to happen here.
I had no idea why Suzuki had chosen this place, nor where the police were hiding in disguise.
After entering bookstore on the near side of the street, I pretended to read a book while keeping at eye on the “M” store. Someone was there. A middle-aged woman with an oval face stood still, as if waiting for something. That was probably Kiyotaka’s mother.
I felt my heart begin to beat fast, as if I were watching a Hitchcock movie. That’s how exciting what Suzuki was trying to do was.
(Return the kid to her family. But make sure you get the 5 million Yen in exchange!)
Before I knew it, I had these evil thoughts in my head. Something had changed within me, and I found myself rooting for him.
Inside the bookstore, high school students were rummaging through reference books. However, there was no one who looked like a police officer in sight. The clock on the wall of the bookstore was only moments away from 5pm. The oval-faced woman was still in front of the “M” store. A passing whirlwind lifted the hem of her kimono, but she made no effort to hold it down, standing boldly as if protecting something she would give her life for.
It was now five past the hour. Everything remained the same. The Tamagawa train came to a stop, spewing out businessmen and college students. Cars passed back and forth. The crowd expelled from the train completely blocked my view of the woman in front of the “M” store. But nothing happened.
Damn, I can’t see her anymore. I put down the book I was holding and hurried out the bookstore–to find she was longer there.
Oh, there she is. Squatting on a sidewalk around 20 meters away from her last position, the woman embraced a child tightly. Two or three men rushed towards her from the crowd and began talking to her. They were police officers who must have been hiding somewhere nearby.
The woman pointed in my direction. Actually, she was pointing right at me.
(They’ll mistake me for Suzuki!)
An instinctual fear surged through me, and I began to run. Just then, an Isuzu Bellel appeared before me. I saw Suzuki’s face through the front window. A face identical to mine. I frantically threw myself at the car. His contorted face looked towards me, and I screamed out, “Get out of here! But someday you’re going to return my 330 Yen! 120 for coffee and 210 for the train that you owe me. Never forget it!”
The car dragged me for about 5 meters, after which I fell to the street, and it sped away.
“Go! Go!” I continued to scream as I stood up. Two police motorcycles, appearing out of nowhere, sped past me in pursuit.
Suzuki’s Bellel crashed into a telephone pole 100 meters away with a loud bang, fractured pieces of glass scattering on the pavement. The motorcycles reached the car almost immediately, pulling up alongside it. Pedestrians on the sidewalk halted in their tracks, shocked.
Suzuki got out of his car with an expression that refused to admit defeat, blood running down his cheek. He was captured easily by the two bike officers, plus three men who had followed on foot. A large crowd of people had already gathered around the scene. Some of the cars passing by even pulled over to watch. The fact that someone had just been arrested here finally become apparent.
That was when the man who shared my face flashed me a wide grin. His cheeks, identical to mine, were stained with crimson blood. His face, identical to mine, smiled as if mocking me. He really was my alter ego. My other self was laughing at me–the me who commuted to work every day like a carrier pigeon, eating curry rice at lunch, and cheating on my wife twice a month, while in constant fear of being discovered.