Go Back to the Real World、My Friend

“It’s very sad to hear that I can’t trust people. You have a plenty of experiences to deal with a bunch of business men, so I won’t contradict you. However, I want to trust people. I don’t think that I’m going to resister my book. I’ll keep on sending the part of my manuscript to publishers. When I find the right publisher, they’ll get a copyright for my work. I think it’ll be no problem. Without trusting each other, everything will be collapsing eventually.”

He wipes his mouth with a napkin and counters with a displeased look, “As you said, it’s the very sad world we’ve lived in, for we can’t trust in each other anymore. But this is the reality, and you have to face it. Think about your hard toil, Shogo. If people steal your work, your past efforts will be nothing. Go back to the real world, my friend. Please get the manuscript registered and protect it. I’m not saying that trusting people is a bad thing; on the contrary, it’s a very good thing. I want to trust people either, but I simply can’t do it – that’s the goddamn reality.”

“But I can trust you.”

“It’s a totally different matter, since I’m your friend. But you can’t trust businessmen.”

I am looking for people passing-by for few seconds and utter considerably, “Thanks for the advice, my friend. However, I want to trust people even if they steal my work. You said before that if people steal my work, my sweet will be nothing. No, my friend, I don’t think so. Do you know why? Because I have the enormous satisfaction with my work. For me, reward, fame, and money aren’t the top priorities. To be candid with you, I don’t care about these insufficient things. People might steal my work, but people can’t steal my satisfaction, my friend.”

“Yap, you’re absolutely right about everything. I earnestly admire your purity and truly wish that I could agree with you, but people have to eat, you know. You need money, my friend. What you said is very beautiful and ideal. Or even poetic I should say. But in the reality people need to earn money to survive. Satisfaction is simply not enough; it is not able to give you a shelter, food, clothes, and so on and so forth. You need money to obtain these things. I think you should be more realistic. Sometimes I don’t understand you….”

“I might be a naïve artist and might not perceive the reality, as other people do, but I think if we can’t trust people and if we can’t appreciate a pure satisfaction, is life worthwhile to live? We’re living in the very sad world, my friend.”

“Yap, I admit we’re living in the very sad world, but what can we do? Starving to death? Not on your life, my friend.”

You Can’t Trust People

His skeptic attitude toward people puzzles me enormously. Thereupon, I call into question, “Why, Gerardo? How can people steal my work? I think that it’s quite impossible for people to steal my work, since I’ve used my own name and written my confession. I think you worry too much.”

“No, I don’t, Shogo, I know what I’m talking about. Sorry to say, but I think you’re the epitome of an artist who is totally indifferent to the business. You only know how to write, but you don’t know how dirty the modern business world is. All in all, you’d better know that you can’t trust people who can do anything in order to make money. As a matter of fact, it’s easy for them to steal your work. For instance, just change your name into Mike or something. It’s very easy; indeed, it’s extremely easy to steal your work, my friend.”

“I’m not following you, my friend. It’s incomprehensible, because this is an autobiographical novel, and I have written about Japan and Mexico. Moreover, I’ve written about you, Jorgito, and Ramon. So, how can people declare my work is theirs?”

“Listen, Shogo. For instance, someone just changes your name into some Japanese name and declare that he has Mexican friends. Gerardo, Ramon, and Jorge are his friends. And the world is going to believe him. At that juncture, it’ll be extremely hard for you to prove that the work is yours unless you register the manuscript. If you register it, you can protect your work and prevent it from stealing. I’m telling you this, for I know about the modern business world. I always talk to Mexican, American, European, South American business men who always try to look for the advantage to make money. I can’t trust any of them. People are always ready to deceive you to make more money; this is the reality that you have to deal with, unfortunately.”

Today Is a Beautiful Day

As soon as I hit the street, the glare of bright sunbeam is greeting my eyes. I am sauntering on the streets of Condesa leisurely with my hands in my pockets, whistling. “Why do I have to hurry? I have no schedule. In fact, I owe the whole world’s time. Let’s enjoy strolling in the sun for a while. Today is a beautiful day, so well worth a detour on the way to Starbucks,” I talk to myself in a full of good sprit.

I return to the apartment around 2:00 p.m. to eat lunch with Gerardo. About two months ago, a cheap restaurant was opened on the grand floor of the apartment. With only forty pesos, I can eat soup, rice, boiled egg, steak, and side salad. As a matter of fact, food is delicious and voluminous. Without any considerations, we always eat lunch there.

I am skipping to the down stairs after leaving my backpack at the apartment. As I show up at the restaurant, Gerardo has been there already, sitting down on a stool outside, and enjoying being bathed in the blazing sun. I sit down right across him and hail, “How’s your day, my friend?”

“I’m very busy, man. I have a meeting in thirty minutes – that’s why I came here earlier than usual.”

Here a waiter is bringing me a soup with a cordial smile.

“He remembers you, Shogo. You don’t need to order, ha-ha-ha….”

Gerardo pours strawberry water into a glass, gives it to me, and inquires, “Have you find any good agencies or publishers?”

“Thanks for concerning, my friend,” I drink strawberry water and reply, “Yes, I’ve find some publishers. And I’ve sent the part of my manuscript to them past couple of days.”

“Have you registered the manuscript?”

“Never intend to do, my friend.”

He stops eating and looks at my eyes apprehensively. And then he reproaches me, shaking his head disagreeably, “Shogo, you don’t know anything about business. Why did you send your manuscript without registering? It’s very dangerous, man. I’ve already told you numerous times that you’d better protect it first. What will happen when people steal your work and use it for their own benefit? You should think about it more seriously, man, since you’ve been struggling to be a writer for over nine years. Your ignorance for the reality might cause an unfavorable outcome: your past labor will be nothing when people steal your work.”

I Left a Present for You

“What a beautiful morning!” I think to myself while eating a breakfast in the living room. I am humming in a gleeful tune and looking at the outside in a strange euphoric mood with no reason.  Birds are chirping joyfully and flying around the cloudless sky cheerfully. The deep yellow rays of the morning sunlight is streaming through the window, and I am covering my face with my left hand, for it is simply too bright. I understand everything instantly. This is God’s way to say, “Good morning, Shogo.” I am so moved by the unexpected touch of welcoming me to the brand new day. I surreptitiously whisper, “Good morning, Lord Almighty,” with joyful tears on my eyes. I cannot control my happiness anymore; I burst out singing at the top of my voice.

Gerardo is coming out from the bed room, fully dressed. He sees me in a blissful mood and shouts, “By Golly! Are you singing? From the morning? Even snapping your fingers, son of a bitch? It’s too much, isn’t it? People have to go to a job, man! It’s too offensive!”

I give him a huge grin.

He slightly cocks his head deprecatingly in order to show his displeasure that implies, “Gerardo Veloz cannot allow people to show too much happiness in the morning under his roof.” He bombs a loud fart as if it were his answer to my happiness. And then he disappears into the bathroom. After a few brief seconds, he is suddenly rushing out from the bathroom with a furious expression and bellowing, “Did you take a dump in this very morning, son of bitch?”

“Why?” I answer nonchalantly.

“There’s duky floating on the toilet disgustingly, man!”

“I must’ve forgotten to flash it. I thought it was a self-flash.”

“What? You forgot? Are you nuts? Do you think my apartment is a five star hotel? Self-flash, you say? It’s too much, man! I’ve been feeding you and allowing you to stay at my apartment for a gratis. And now you want me to flash your shit to boot? Son of a bitch, I’m not your fucking maid!” he is yelling at the top of his lungs and stamping back into the bathroom, slamming the door ferociously.

He is staying in the bathroom for good fifteen minutes and emerging satisfactory, as if he accomplished a significant task. It seems to me that evacuating made him somewhat ducky. He says serenely, “Shogo, you can use the bathroom now; it’s time for you to take a shower and go to Starbucks in order to commence seeking for publishers, man.”

“Yes, you’re right. I should get going on searching a home for my masterpiece,” I am standing up.

He opens the door for me amiably and let me enter the bathroom, smiling. He lifts up the lid of toilet, looks at me with a frolicsome grin and salutes, “Oh, Shogo, I presume I left a present for you. See you at the lunch.”

With that, he is scooting out like a firecracker.

When I see the inside horrifyingly, a huge turd is floating offensively on the toilet. “Son of  a Mexican bitch!” I yell and flash it repulsively.

I Just Follow My Heart

When I finished telling the story, Jorgito came out with fascination, “Shogo, it was the outstanding story. You must write about it in your next book! Every time I listen to your legendary stories, I feel like receiving an awakening call, so to say…. Oh my God, it’s already half past ten. Whenever I talk to you, time flies away as quickly as a flash. I have to go, amigo, for I’m going to Toluca tomorrow in the early morning. Thanks for sharing your piece of personal history with me. I’ll miss you already – please come back to Mexico City soon!”

He gave me a cordial hug, offered me strong handshake, and walked out, waving his right hand.

I installed myself in the couch and looked at the ceiling for a while. And then I fell to thinking if I made the right choice seven years ago. Yes, I had the chance to graduate the college and transferred my credits to university. I might have a good job and might have a good salary now. But is that everything? No, I do not think so. I admit that I have noting now. I do not have a job, do not have income, do not have any title, and do not have any resource. Do I regret the choice? Nope – I do not regret anything. I still think that I made the right choice. Now I am doing what I love every day and enjoy my life to the fullest. All in all, I live on my life in my own way and feel alive each day. I absolutely have no regret that I walked out the college, so that I could live on an artist’s life. Apparently, the artist’s life is not easy one, but this is who I truly am – I just follow my heart. Aye, everyone has the right to choose his own path. Life is only one time, so we should try to live on our lives according to our heart’s prompting. You might say what will happen if you fail? Nothing will happen, my pessimistic friends. You might fail many times, might lose your courage, might be suffered from ruthless insults, might undergo awful depression, might endure melancholic periods, and so on and so forth. So what? I assure you that even if one falls into the bottomless abyss, he is still alive unless he voluntarily extinguishes the torch of his enthusiasm for life. If we do not let ourselves take a risk, we will never have emotional devastated experiences. Besides, you can always learn something from a defeat. On top of it all, we can feel alive each day when we let ourselves walk on our private destiny ultimately. Forget what other people think of you, stop listening to what other people say, do not let other people to control your life, and do not let other people to manipulate you to make a wrong choice. Ask your heart first, follow your heart faithfully, and sing your song in your own tune at the top of your lungs, that all mankind should do!