After putting her in a taxi, I wondered around a late night game arcade. Because it looked like my work was going to go smoothly, my steps were light. I am always comfortable doing my work. If you are willing to take human form, and meet humans, all you have to do is talk to them a little and write a report entry. I do not have to deal with my colleagues, but can act on my own ideas on the ground, which suits me.
I went into a CD shop. It is rare to find an all-night CD shop, so I am pleased when I do. The customers in the shop beyond eleven at night were sparse, but they were present. I moved flittingly past the shelves to an area where several listening posts were arranged. If I had to name something more interesting than work, I would say listening to music. When music flows from the headphones sitting on my ears, my senses feel fresh, and I savour a thrilling emotion. It is truly wonderful. I am not interested in the death of humans, but the idea of music ceasing with their death is hard on me.
“Ah!” I noticed something. It appeared to be a middle aged man in front of a listening post wearing headphones, but it was one of my colleagues.
I tapped his shoulder.
The man’s eyes were half closed as if he was drunk, and he turned around with a start. Taking off his headphones, “Hey.” He smiled.
“Is your charge in this area too?” I asked.
“Yeah, today’s the last day though.”
“You’ve finished the report? Or you’ve seen the end?”
“Seen the end” he raised his shoulders. “They got drunk and on their way home and fell onto the tube tracks.”
When our one-week investigation ends, we send a report of the results to the head department. In cases where the result is ‘satisfactory’, no, well the result is usually “satisfactory”, but in those cases; the next day, in other words on the eighth day, the death is put into practice. When we witness that death, our work is done.
By the way, we are not informed in advance about how our target will die. The cause of death does not occur within our seven-day investigation period either, for instance; with the charge having an injury on the sixth day which gets worse and leads to death on the eighth day, so that we have no way to imagine how they will die until the time comes to witness their death.
“Having a last listen before you go back?” I pointed at the headphones.
“Yeah, I dunno when the next one’s gonna be…” he smiled.
We often listen at CD shops when we get time in between working. If there is a customer listening single-mindedly, without even moving, it could be me or one of my colleagues. Previously, I had gone to see films if I had a chance, but I once saw it written that ‘Angels gather in libraries.’ “I see”, I thought. For them it is libraries. For us it is CD shops.
“This album is brilliant.” He gave me the headphones. I put them on my ears. It was not rock, nor was it pop; but I heard a lively female vocal.
“This is nice” I agreed as I returned the headphones. I was aware that to put it unkindly, we could be said not to enjoy music in between work, but to work in between enjoying music. A slightly boastful expression floated across the face of the colleague in front of me, and he began to say,
“In this album, you should pay attention to the producer” and continued to swiftly talk about how the producer was a genius.
“But, this music is good because the girl singing has a good voice and good musical sense. I replied. “It’s got nothing to do with the producer.
“That’s it. A song is a voice. The producer is also saying that. It’s about talent and ability. That’s exactly why.”
“That’s exactly why?”
“For uncovering this singing voice, the producer is great.”
I made a dubious reply. It was just a suspicion, but I thought that he might be grouping his own steady work with the behind-the-scenes work of a producer.
“What about you?” he nodded to me.
“I started my investigation today. But luckily, it looks like it’s going to be simple.” I remembered Fujiki Ichikei’s face.
“Whether it’s simple or whatever, from the beginning it’s bound to be ‘satisfactory’”
“I mean to be a bit serious about judging her. I want to stock up as much information as I can and give a correct judgement.” That’s my nature.
“But, in the end it’s gonna be ‘Satifactory’ isn’t it.”
“Probably” That was how it was in reality, I could not deny. “But at least for the moment, I intend to take it seriously.”
“For the moment?”
“Yeah, for the moment.” I nodded, and took a pair of headphones from the next booth, put them on my head and pressed the play button.
“Bye then.” My colleague waved his hand and left the shop.
Whether it is jazz, rock, classic; whatever it is, music is the best. Just by listening I become happy. Probably, my friends are the same. It is not at all the case that we all have skulls on our jackets and listen to heavy metal because we are gods of death.