Somethings wrong with that spider tattoo.
March 24, 2010
A broad shouldered man in a black leather jacket sits in a second floor cafe across from Shin-Okubo station, just north of Shinjuku. He pats the small lump of yaba in his trouser pocket. An hour ago he bought it from a third generation North Korean resident. Taking out a pack of Seven Stars, he lights a cigarette. He looks out into the dark street, and sees the asphalt shiny with rain, and though it’s nearly midnight, more than a dozen people exit the station.
A cell phone vibrates in an inside jacket pocket. Extracting the phone, he opens it with a flick of the wrist. The message reads, “Just got on. Be there in five minutes. Look for a sexy woman with a janome.” The man wonders if she’s a maiko, for he’s only seen maiko and geisha use the traditional bamboo and paper umbrella. Closing his phone, he crushes the half smoked cigarette in the black porcelain ashtray to step out for the rendezvous.
Crossing the street, he waits against the wall of the station. He self-consciously puts his hands into his pockets, for he believes they’re ugly: slender and hairy with long bony fingers. He avoids mirrors; something inside him hates to look into his large dark round eyes, so he wears dark sunglasses. He vaguely feels that he didn’t look the way he does now. His memory of events has been growing weaker; as if a rising tide of blackness has been absorbing every page written of his life. For the most part he’s undisturbed, figuring it’s no great loss. Yet, one memory remains fresh, though he isn’t sure if it was all real or part dream; maybe a year ago, maybe two, a black knight ambushed him nearly killing him. If the tip of the blade had gone any deeper, it would have reached his spine. Well, he thinks, that particular knight’s not going to bother anyone anymore.
Pain jolts diagonally down his back and he winces with pain. It seems the scar is reminding him. For what, he doesn’t exactly know. Another thing that’s a wisp of smoke in his memory.
A small crowd comes down the stairs toward the exit. One of them is carrying an antique umbrella. He observes her without approaching. Young, or so she seems from wearing that dress with petticoats and that huge ribbon in her hair. It conjures the fragility of a porcelain doll. She searches, and when she looks his way, he smiles and nods his head in a slight bow.
She hesitates just a few seconds before stepping forward, “Excuse me, are you Mr. Furuta?”
“Yes, I am. Nice to meet you, Saya.”
She does a cute bow. “The pleasure is mine. I hope you didn’t wait long.”
“Not at all. Well, shall we go?”
In answer, Saya puts her arm around his and hands him her janome.
The station attendant watches them leave and shakes his head at the slightly bizarre scene.
They are lying on a huge bed in a dimly lit room of a love hotel. A pipe and assorted paraphernalia lie scattered on a small dresser in front of its mirror. A silk scarf is tied around Saya’s wrists to the brass bars at the head of the bed. She’s breathing heavily, nearly panting, for she has climaxed innumerable times in the past hour. There was never such stamina in any previous customer. She reasons it was from the drug they shared, but there was another factor. Another mirror, much larger, is on the ceiling. She feels a thrill flash from her crotch to her heart as her mind plays back the scenes from the last hour; watching herself in the mirror arching upward as his tight ass pumps the stiff rod into her while the huge spider on his back jiggles a wild dance on its web. Closing her eyes, she can’t deny the erotic effect the tattoo had on her.
Now, her customer sleeps beside her, or has he blacked out? She peers, once again, into the mirror at the tattoo. There’s a pink scar stretching from just below his right shoulder diagonally across his back, and so, the spider seems to have a wound. The doctors did a good job stitching him up, but not a perfect one; some of the threads of the web are no longer connected. A yellow devil’s mask on the red streaked black bulb of the spider’s lower abdomen has an evil smile. The scar splits the mask, leaving it askew as if the top half were sliding off, and so, the smile now has something unintentionally painful in it.
Saya recalls asking Furuta about the scar on his back. He explained that a yakuza gangster attacked him with a sword. She again hears his words recounting the attack; the pain and panic he felt as the samurai sword sliced through the leather jacket, the warm blood bathing his back, how lucky he was that a patrol car had come up behind them. Yet, she recalls there was a lack of emotion in the way he told it, as if he were telling it secondhand.
The buzz of a fly disrupts her thoughts. It zips past her field of vision, makes several steeply angled turns, and lands on the man’s shoulder. Raising its two front legs, it rubs them together, then wipes its face. It scoots forward and crosses the web, but it’s only a tattoo, and, of course, the fly isn’t trapped. Maybe it knows, and enjoys being so bold, for it pauses again to clean its face before venturing over the spider and the scar. Then, as it crosses the scar, it’s sucked inside.
All of this is seen by Saya, in fact, intensely watched. So, when she sees a black needle rip out from the scar, she also sees the bristles covering it. The needle slowly slices the scar open. Strangely, there’s no blood, but it doesn’t register in her mind, for vicious dark fangs appear. She jerks her body away and whimpers as a head dotted with a dozen ebony eyes looks her way, and though her mind can't accept what's unfolding, she begins to sense the panic flooding her brain. The bed shakes as she jerks the bindings in a frenzy.
The bulge of the spider’s body emerges. It straddles the tattoo web, raises its body high, and shivers in joy like a child promised a gift for being good. It raises one front leg and plants it forward, then in a quick beat the rest of its legs follow as it approaches to satisfy its hunger.
Saya presses her chest against the headboard to get as far away as possible. Whimpering, she digs her teeth into the bindings.
The spider leaps and lands on Saya’s back. She screams, twists, and jerks to fling it off, but it scoots around, raises its hind legs and plunges its stinger into her belly. Saya howls and tries to thrust herself away as the beast jumps off. Its lidless eyes, black as thick oil, watch and wait. Saya’s vision dims. She grits her teeth to remain conscious and strains her wrists against the bindings. Slippery with sweat they slip out. She kneels reeling. The room spins. Her back jerks and she collapses forward on the bed. She sees the monster approaching, and tries to scream, but can only gasp as needle legs tumble her body over and over as sticky thread wrap her.
The rays of the morning sun awake the tattooed man. He sees a human form on the bed wrapped in white. Suddenly understanding everything, he covers his face in his hands. He rolls away groaning and thinks of hanging himself. Something inside laughs in a painful way as if its throat were split. He drops his hands from his face, picks up the cell phone, flips it open, and scrolls.