A JAPANESE WOMAN FLIES HOME TO RESTORE HER HONOR
| TWO TEARS IN JADE
BY: DEREK BERRY THORPE
There was a darkness in the cabin.
Just enough to persuade the passengers that sleep was the best option on the trans Pacific flight, though sleep was the farthest thing from Miyu's mind at that time. It was just past one thirty a.m. Los Angeles local time, and the pretty flight attendant smiled while she set the fizzing ginger ale on her tray table. She left five small finger prints on the cold plastic cup and gestured, with the same well manicured hand, to the seat next to Miyu.
"Do you know if that gentleman would like a beverage also? He slept right through the meal service," said the demure Asian attendant.
A heavy-breathing man lay partially beneath his crumpled suit jacket in the window seat.
With a brief shrug of her shoulders and a dismissive twist of her lips, Miyu let the flight attendant know she didn't know the answer to her question. From behind her over sized sunglasses, she watched as the hostess returned up the aisle to the galley of the aircraft.
She did not mean to be rude to the young lady, as she realized she had not even said thank you for her bubbly drink. Being Asian herself, it was not in her nature to show disrespect. She made a mental note to bow to the flight attendant on reaching Tokyo and blamed Californian western life for the erosion of her Japanese culture.
The captain's voice greeted his passengers with a soothing update on the flight's progress and advised, as it was another four hours before landing, that they should rest quietly in their seats. The cabin's lights were lowered even more but Miyu's already shaded vision did not even detect this. She had been crying on and off for two hours and eight weeks since the ordeal. The shades hid her swollen eyes well, but her shame... less so.
She sipped on her ginger ale and felt the soft pin pricks of the soda effervesce onto her lips. Even her drink was shedding tears for her, she thought. She looked at the watch on her slender wrist yet again. She visualized the local time on landing in Japan and wondered, with great anxiety, how she would handle the meeting with her parents. She had brought dishonor to the Tanaka family name and although they did not know this yet, she had to face them in person to apologize and restore honor.
She reclined her seat a few degrees and allowed her head to touch the padded rest. Closing her eyes she tried to court sleep, but the in flight movie disturbed her. Not the film that was on the overhead monitors, but the one that kept replaying in her mind over and over: The ordeal...
She was back in the boardroom on the twentieth floor of her building. Two men and herself, late, on a Friday evening in a complex negotiation to merge with a rival company. Her boss, Christopher Dent, was gaining leverage over the visiting executive, largely on her strategic research and advice. It had been a heady meeting. The company stood to gain significant market share if the deal went through as she designed. Then the meeting began to unravel and it all fell apart with surprising speed.
The CEO of the rival company pulled out a stack of papers which he had said proved that Mr. Dent was embezzling company funds. That he was deceiving the stockholders and that he would expose all those secrets if Dent didn't sell his controlling shares to this rival company. She remembered Mr. Dent's reaction to the accusation. She saw his square jaw clench and distort his normally placid expression. His brow furrowed as he rose in anger and threatened legal and physical action against Ed Tyse if he ever brought up that accusation again. Miyu remembered how she unsuccessfully tried to reason with the two men before the negotiations were suspended.
She recalled in his private office, trying to calm the raging beast that Mr. Dent had devolved into after Ed Tyse had been asked to leave.
The scene continued in her mind, almost powerless for her to shut it off. She had briefly circled behind him as he sat and started to apply an innocent encouraging massage to his shoulders. Then, without warning she remembered him throwing her onto his desk and pulling apart her jacket and blouse, exposing her once brassiere covered breasts. He held her wrists down and bared his teeth before emitting a growl. As always with her flashbacks they became more strobe like in nature as the emotion rose. She saw him forcefully hiking up her skirt, ripping at her underwear and putting his hand to her throat. She relived the rough penetration and recalled vividly how she scratched and gouged his back with her jade colored fingernails so hard that they tore through his shirt, while he was atop her. She could still hear her own screams as he twisted her around and penetrated her from the back. She could still feel the pain of the grip of his handful of her long silky black hair. She gasped. She winced, and opened her eyes.
Amid her halting respirations, she sipped her ginger ale and cursed the slow speed of the aircraft. She put her fingers into the drink, fished out a shrinking block of ice and put it in her mouth to distract her thoughts from the previous events back in L.A. Despite her attempts to concentrate on a different topic, the reel in her head began to spin again, and the flicker of the ordeal resumed...
By midday Sunday of that weekend she knew what she had to do. She remembered that at no point did she ever consider going to the authorities. The company would never survive such a scandal. She picked up her mobile phone and selected the number saved under Onii-Chan. She remembered standing and bowing when the phone was answered and saying, "Big brother, this is little sister Miyu Tanaka. I have been raped and our family name has been dishonored. I request that you avenge our honor."
Within an hour she was driving with two of his associates towards a warehouse in downtown Los Angeles. On the way there she had spoken again to her brother to confirm the identity and whereabouts of their target. She handed the phone back to the man sitting next to her in the back seat and he tossed a blindfold into her lap and motioned for her to put it on. The secrecy and security had not surprised her, as she realized she was asking high favor from Shinzo Tanaka, her Onii-Chan and high ranking member of the Japanese Yakuza.
She was led out from the parked car and felt the California sun on her cheek before entering a noisy workplace. Multiple small machines whirring, animated chatter in Japanese... assembly of hats or shoes perhaps. Then down, down metal stairs, left, right then right again to a cooler corridor and into a room with a heavy door. She heard the guide grunt under his breath as he strained to open it. Inside she stood in a silent carpeted room until her blindfold was removed. Shinzo Tanaka stood before her in front of his desk, surrounded by multiple security monitors scanning all parts of his facility. In that instant she remembered being surprised at his appearance as she had not seen him in almost two years. Larger, muscular arms with a new bald head and many more tattoos than she remembered. They seemed to interlace on his skin as if it were a garment of clothing.
"Onii-Chan," she remembered saying as she bowed and lingered with respect to her brother. As he was quite senior within that criminal organization he merely flexed his neck. Without smiling he asked her to sit and offered her favorite drink, but declined the ginger ale. He told her that based on the information she gave on his usual Sunday schedule, that her attacker would be taken during his jog through the park near his house, then brought to the facility.
Shinzo asked a crucial question. He wanted to know if she demanded him to kill the man to restore her honor. She felt again, how her faced flushed with the realization that her older brother could order or even perform such acts. She said 'no' to the death, but accepted the invitation to watch the torture, which would involve increasing levels of severity. He sent her to a room with a bed to relax until her attacker was captured and set up, but she remembered pacing in there for the entire two hours.
The plane shook with turbulence for a few seconds and Miyu was glad that the intrusion interrupted her sordid playback. The teenagers in 18 F and G were sampling each other's music and exchanging funny Vine clips and she longed for a simpler time in her life. She finished her drink and the flight attendant came around to retrieve the cup. She folded her tray table but did not secure the latch completely and with the next second of turbulence the table snapped back out in extension. It made the identical noise of the Yakuza slap across the face of Christopher Dent. The ordeal was on play once again...
She remembered being blindfolded again and led by her guide to another heavy hinged door. She gasped at the image of her shirtless boss standing with his arms bound and outstretched above his head and at his ankles. His eyes were wild with fear as he recognized her in the darkened room.
"Miyu Miyu... please don't do this! There must be another way! Please," she heard him beg.
Shinzo came to stand beside her. He was also shirtless and the painted portrait of tattoos on his body seemed even more impressive. A white and red band of cloth was wrapped around his forehead. He turned to her, bowed at the neck, and asked her permission to begin.
Four Yakuza associates stood in single file, she remembered. They were also without shirts and they began by each giving four open hand slaps then returning to the back of the line. Two to the face and two to the body. They were almost gentle at first Miyu noted but there was a way they held their fingers that produced such an unusual noise on the skin. Mr. Dent whined at first but then he realized that the slaps were initially tolerable. By the third round however, the crescendo was obvious and he grunted with each well placed hand slap. His face and body had become red and inflamed. By the end of the sixth round Mr. Dent heaved helpless in pain.
Shinzo turned to Miyu and asked, "We go to level two?"
Without hesitation she nodded yes to continue and Shinzo gestured to his associates. They wheeled a plastic vat close to the shackled man and removed the cover. The vat contained a noxious green fluid that was almost the color of jade. A Yakuza member handed clear goggles and white cloths to each of the other three men. They each dipped their cloth into the plastic vat filled with this green liquid. Miyu recalled the look of fear from Mr. Dent as he watched the ritual and begged for her to stop the men. Shinzo walked up to the captive and circled behind him. He apparently saw the slanted scratches across his back that had been presumably put there by his sister just two days before. She saw him pause then look up to one associate and extend his hand for one of the soaked green cloths. He then swatted the captive with great strength and style down his back, directly onto the healing wounds. Mr. Dent howled in pain.
"This jade water will be a problem for you. If I were you, I would keep my eyes closed," Miyu heard Shinzo say to her employer. He handed the smooth dripping rag back to his associate and they proceeded to circle and swat his face and body, dipping into the vat to re-soak the rags in the jade water on each go round. That jade looking mixture surely must have made the pain from the hand slaps even worse, Miyu thought, but Mr. Dent wailed mostly for his eyes. He wailed for his eyes. Miyu remained stoic and dispassionate until the jade water ordeal ended. Two of the associates then followed with squirt water bottles and flushed his eyes. Christopher Dent thanked them.
"Level three?" her onii-chan asked.
Miyu hesitated, then nodding yes for the continuation. The pitch of his cry of despair was unearthly. They unshackled his arms, put him to sit in a chair and re-binded them to the armrest. Shinzo walked forward again to face his captive.
"This one is for the mark of Yakuza. This one you will carry for life!"
The associates steadied his right arm and placed his right index finger into a shiny metal tube. They brought out a blow torch and heated the metal tube with the green flame coming out from the nozzle. She almost felt the bellow that came from his mouth. She watched his face as one jade colored droplet, trickled down his forehead, into the corner of his eye and down his cheek.
The movie in her head was almost complete. Just the remnant bits of fading edits that litter the floor of her mind. She had turned to Shinzo and told him no more levels when she saw that green, tear-like drop run down his cheek. She told him to leave Mr. Dent near a hospital and she bowed with great respect to her brother and asked to be taken back home.
She remembered waking that Monday morning, out of a job and sipping coffee while watching her local news headline on TV. The body of Ed Tyse had been found murdered in his parking garage over the weekend.
She shivered on the plane. Not from the chilly temperature coming from the A/C vent, but from the absolute realization that her former boss, Christopher Dent, was responsible for that murder. He must have done it on that Saturday or Sunday morning somehow, she thought. He was truly a violent man and she convulsed again.
The Captain addressed his passengers once more. Miyu was glad to know that she was just two hours away from Tokyo and she began to prepare in her mind the meeting ahead with her aging parents. She revered her elders and the traditions of her culture. She tried to rehearse the difficult speech she would deliver in her mind. It would be very difficult for them, but it was something that was required. She planned to dress in a traditional Japanese kimono with her long hair pinned up in the back. This would please her parents and bring more depth to her sincerity, she thought. She practiced her Japanese phrasing in her head and went through the first few sentences she memorized:
"Father, Mother, thank you for your welcome into your honorable home. I am humble before you because I have brought shame to the house of Tanaka. Forgive me, for I have lied to your honorable son Shinzo Tanaka. I have lied to him about being a victim of rape because this is not at all the truth. I apologize to you and beg for you to intercede on my behalf as I have used his kindness and power to hurt someone."
There was a little more turbulence and the sleeping man next to her stirred, and shifted his forearm onto her personal arm rest. She looked down, sighed, reached over and grabbed his hand... Interlacing her fingers with his, she squeezed his palm and gently caressed the roughly scarred skin on the index finger of his right hand.
" Chris dear, wake up and try to eat something. Come on hon. Are you feeling any better?" she said to her lover. He shifted his jacket from over his face opened his eyes and smiled at Miyu. He raised his arm and she guided their palms to her cheek. She rubbed the rough texture of his finger up and down her soft skin. The raised edges of a Yakuza dragon raking her cheek.
Christopher Dent's air sickness was improving. He was glad that he decided to come on this trip with his brilliant former employee. He had been working very long hours over the past few months and a break was long overdue. He had never met anyone such as Miyu in his life. He admired her sense of duty but had no definition for the complex and twisted sexual relationship they had together. The constantly interchanging roles of dominance between them was intoxicating. He could not believe that there was someone like her who understood why he breathed. He felt in life, that there would always be a series of complicated steps that led to the goals of one's choice. But a diversion of years in prison was never in his itinerary for his company or his life. Her idea for his kidnap alibi was risky but in the end, airtight and convincing at the subsequent police murder interrogation. Perhaps the same people who tortured him murdered Tyse. Neither of them, however, could have imagined the intense pleasure they both experienced during the torture by the Yakuza. A sweet sick by-product indeed. But her guilt consumed her. They needed to purge and reset.
He uncoupled his hand from hers and reached back to grasp a handful of Miyu's long silky black hair and twisted his fist tightly. She gasped. She winced. She loved it.
There was a darkness in the cabin.