Honorable Mustache

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At my great amazement, a total stranger is standing right before my eyes as large as life when I come back to the world from the excursion of my childhood. No sooner than he recognizes that I begin noticing his presence, he starts the ball rolling by catechizing, “Excuse me, I hope I’m not disturbing you. Are you Japanese by chance?”

His face is shining benevolence with a traditional Mexican mustache. I am startled by his sudden appearance and helplessly captivated by his honorable mustache. I cannot keep my eyes off his sovereign mustache and response by looking at it dizzyingly, “Yes, as a matter of fact, I am.”

“It’s extremely rare to meet Japanese in Mexico City. May I ask what you’re doing in a strange land?”

“I’m writing a book,” I reply laconically.

He is tickling his mustache and says delightedly, “Hm… it’s very interesting. It’s extremely rare to meet a writer in Mexico City to boot. What a heavenly coincidence! I am, too, a humble servant of God – I am a poet. May I have a seat next to you?”

“Go ahead. Please have a seat,” I say, smiling.

He sits down on the bench, takes his cap off, caresses his hair backwardly, put it back on his head, and inquiries, “Where do you live?”

“I’m living in Condensa with a Mexican friend, who has been offering me to stay at his apartment for a gratis, so that I can focus on writing. Other Mexican friends are helping me as well.”

“You don’t say!” he exclaims, his mustache seems upward.

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Said Good-Bye to Each Other

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I fell to thinking for a while. And then I stood up with arms akimbo and announced majestically, “Your new name shall be Mr. M & M!”

He was delighted to hear the new name and loved it instantly. He started practicing the opening of his act for ten minutes and finally announced that he was ready for the new prank. We decided to pay a visit to Ryo, who was our ex-classmate. We wanted to see his reaction fist, then we would go to public places to show off his new look. Masa got cold feet and become nervous when he saw Ryo’s house’s door step. I encouraged him as I could and gave him more five minutes to practice his line. He finally gathered enough courage to pull the new prank off. I lifted him on my shoulders and pushed the doorbell expectantly. After we impatiently waited for ten seconds, Ryo opened the door and emerged from the threshold. He gazed at us confoundedly for a while and prattled, giggling, “What’s up? Shogo, why on earth are you carrying Masa on your shoulders?”

“What are you talking about? Who’s Masa? You are misunderstanding me with someone else. By the way, my name is Mr. M & M. Please to meet you, Ryo,” Masa introduced his new name pompously, since he still believed that it would work.

“No, you’re not Mr. M & M; you are Masa. Why are you faking your name? And how do you know my name if you’re not Masa?”

Masa got enraged at his suspicion and blew up, “Damn it! Ryo, you suck! You know, you really suck! You just ruined my new character! Shogo, let’s get the hell out of here!”

We went back to the park and discussed about the matter. He was still exasperated and could not believe that Ryo figured out that Mr. M& M was indeed Masa. We become a low spirit due to our failed prank and said good-bye to each other. A couple of days later, he called me that he would go to Atami, where his family had a villa. The main reason for going there was to hide from everybody, because he could not wipe up the drawings on his face. He washed his face numerous times, but it did not work. Out of humiliation, he vanished to Atami and washed his face for the rest of his summer holidays. Later on he blamed me for painting his face with permanent markers and reproached me that I painted only on his face but not mine. These accusations were too much for me to handle with; I decided to withdraw from being a prankster for good. In the summer holiday of third grade, our brotherhood dissolved until hell freeze over….

It’s a Wonderful Idea

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When we became third grade, we were not in the same class anymore. Nonetheless, we always created a new prank together. It was a summer holiday. We were inventing a new prank at a park and discussing how to disguise our faces, so that no one could recognize us. I suggested that we should try to paint our faces with permanent markers. He agreed with my suggestion forthwith and asked me to paint his face excitedly. First I attacked his eye brows with a black marker and made them thicker like Eskimos. And then I gave him a mighty mustache, curling both edges upward to give him a little charm. I gave a big star on his forehead with a yellow marker, so that he would be distinguished. I painted red circles on his both cheeks with a red marker, so that he would be radiating like sun. To finish with it, I drew a turd on his chin with a brown marker as a small token. He looked hilarious. I was laughing at the art of my painting, holding my stomach. He checked his new look with a pocket mirror and nodded affirmatively. And he said enthusiastically, “Shogo, you did a helluva good job. I love every bit of your painting very much and always admire your creativeness. Nobody will recognize me as Masa. The time has come for us to think about a new name for me!”

“I totally agree with you, Masa. It’s essential for us to invent a new name for you,” I nodded and went on with tears of laughter in my eyes, “and also I think you have still a bit problem because of your height. You should become taller, so that nobody will recognize you. I should carry you on my shoulders, and you should do the talks.”

“Bravo, Shogo! It’s a wonderful idea!” he barked with too much expectation.

Tried to Prevent from Bursting out Laughing

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Our teacher ordered us to follow her to the teacher’s office immediately. As soon as we entered the office, she was rebuking us in indignant voice, and her face became redder and redder. I could not explain why, but I felt so funny apropos of nothing and could not refrain from bursting out laughing. She was so angry and asked me why I was laughing, but it was impossible for me to stop laughing. Every time someone rebuked me, I was bewitched by a helpless laughing spell apropos of nothing. Whenever I got the laughing spell, it was impossible for me to prevent from bursting out laughing; nevertheless, how hard I tried to prevent from bursting out laughing with my best ability. I bit my tongue so hard and tasted blood in my mouth; I pinched my right arm mercilessly; I stamped on my left feet cruelly, and so on and so forth. But nothing worked. At last, the worst part was gone. She admonished us to promise her that we would never do any pranks again. And then she assigned us to write apologized letters to all classmates and dismissed us. After being released, we were laughing hysterically and felt incredibly lucky, for we did not attend any classes anymore. We went on foot to Kotesashi SEIYU, which had a kid’s playground on the third floor and wrote apologized letters in a quite high spirit.

It Was Game Over

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Twenty minutes later, police arrived and took us to Masa’s home. At the living room, his parents and my parents were waiting for us anxiously. We were rebuked about an hour and forbidden to see each other for next two weeks.

When we were in the second grade, we were in the same class again. We always looked for a new prank to have a gay time and already earned the reputation for pranksters. It was around June and monsoon season. We were at Masa’s house and got bored to death due to heavy rains. Out of boredom, we concocted a silly prank to amuse ourselves. We thought that it was fun to make a threatening call to every classmate. We took a time to write a draft and polish it carefully, so that it would sound real. The main theme was that we called them anonymously and ransomed them for their lives to bring five million Japanese yen to the park at 5:00 p.m. prompt.

We called every single of our class mate. It was a hard job for us not to burst out laughing during the call. Sometimes we couldn’t read through the whole script, because we simply could not refrain from bursting out laughing with tears in our eyes. After we called every single of them, we were laughing uproariously, clapping hands. I was getting a little anxious, so I warned Masa that it would be a big trouble if someone recognized our voices. He did not feel any slightest danger and convinced me that it would be impossible to detect our voices, because we changed our voices skillfully. Thus, we were nothing to worry about.

The following day we went to the class room as if nothing had happened. It was a costmary for our teacher to have some announcements in the morning. While she was telling us about our itinerary of the day, one of the classmates suddenly spoke up, “I had a threatening call from a stranger yesterday.” When I heard it, I got shit-scared even though Masa encouraged me not to worry about anything. And then another classmate chimed in with fatal words, “I had a threatening call, too. I recognized the voice – it was Shogo.” As soon as they heard my name, many classmates started agreeing and shouting in unison, “It was Shogo!” Furthermore, many classmates recognized Masa’s voice as well. Finally, our teacher asked how many people got received a threatening call from us yesterday, and every single of them raised their hands heatedly. It was game over.