Friday, 13 August 2010

Sora Aki the Kindle Killer Part One

“How oddly situated a man is apt to find himself at the age of thirty-eight! His youth belongs to the distant past. Yet the period of memory beginning with the end of youth and extending to the present has left him not a single vivid impression. And therefore he persists in feeling that nothing more than a fragile barrier separates him from his youth. He is forever hearing with the utmost clarity the sounds of this neighboring domain, but there is no way to penetrate the barrier.”
–Yukio Mishima

Sora Aki meant red sky. It was her nom de guerre as she liked to think of it. Nowadays you had to have a brand and push exposure of that brand hard if you were going to get any real fame or notoriety. It wasn't easy to stand out anymore what with the internet giving mediocrity such an accessible platform for comment. It seemed any real spark of genius was being lost in the deluge of trivia and plagiarism. Any shit head with nothing to say was saying it loud and long. This irritated Sora Aki. Here she was attempting something original and daring and instead of instantly standing out she had to line up behind cake recipes and product reviews in the all encompassing list that was the search engine result.

And then there were the super sluts and the suicides to compete with. What they did always garnered a certain cache amongst the feeble minded – and there were plenty of those in Japan to impress. Sleeping with E-list celebrities or just sleeping with someone else's boyfriend betrayed not only the prurient obsessions of her potential audience but how human weakness titillated. And what was weaker than killing yourself because the world misunderstood you? The feeble minded, to Sora's mind, seemed to rule the roost in Japan. They dominated cultures and sub-cultures with their fanatical autism that rebelled against the standards of the written word, the masterly composition, the flawless narrative, the crystallization of beauty in a picture, the sublime harmony; and instead delved ever deeper into the vacuous world of Andy Warhol's fifteen minutes. Outrageous suntans, dreary derivative pop, perverted cartoons; a lingua franca with adjectives pared down to gobsmackingly inane single figures. A thousand surfaces all vied for young people’s respect in Tokyo. If you wanted to be a 'something' on the scene of cool bars and street corners you had to accessorize your brain like your mobile phone with spangly paste; throw out the real stuff and just keep the fool's gold. 

It also helped if you were cute. Cute looks combined with cute attitudes got you a long way in Shibuya and Shinjuku. Get these cute assets mentored by an arbiter of cute and you could really see your stock rise.

It wasn't because Sora lacked cuteness that she became a serial killer. She didn't have killer looks but she was definitely cute. She knew that boys fancied her. And it didn't need her Mensa IQ to fathom why boys looked at her in that way. She had the basics. Thin legs, a little nose and chin, big eyes and a broomstick body were all hers for the flaunting. What's more she possessed the absences that were just as important in Japan. She lacked the facial birthmarks and moles that blighted many a potentially cute face. She escaped the slitty eyes that ruined people’s manga versions of beauty. She also was fortunate to avoid the coffee cup handle ears that did nothing for facial aesthetics. Perhaps she could have been cuter. Her nose could have been more button-like, her face more oval, her bust more generous; but all in all she was a package worth opening.

Sora felt her worth sharply. From an early age she had made the startling realization that women in Japan were retarded. In the metaphorical sense that society from an early age encouraged women to repulse anything approaching serious thought on society, morals, science, philosophy, religion, literature, economics, history; anything and everything academic or theoretical; any play of ideas; any meta-notions were to be repelled. These were manly spheres of thought. A woman should model herself on a child. She should walk pigeon-toed like a child, she should remain 'cutely' petulant, she should play house, worship the power in men and remain endearingly stupid. Just as somethings were fire retardant so women were raised to be idea retardant. Only the whims of consumerism and the concerns of duty and motherhood were the substances allowed to pass the mental barrier erected by social conditioning. She saw how her mother, her aunts, her cousins, her female teachers, her friends and just about every woman that she encountered and who could be considered a role model for the young school going Sora was a victim of stunted mental growth. They had made the basic mistake of letting notions of femininity take control of their critical faculties.

Sora had come to realize this from an early age. At school she was disgusted with her teachers. They never said it openly but their attitudes made it more than apparent that society expected the future’s doctors, lawyers, engineers and industrialists to come from the ranks of the boys at school. Nothing much except fecundity was expected of the girls.

So she studied hard. She despised club activities and sport. All propaganda for sacrificing to the group, all non-think. She did the minimal and often cried off sick so she could plunge into the world of books. Books were her saviour, her lifebuoy keeping her afloat.

Sora remembered finishing the Alex Haley biography of Malcolm X late one night and suddenly grasping why John Lennon said 'woman is the nigger of the world'. At fifteen Sora understood the notion of cultural slavery and the power of fighting back. She saw the innate rightness of defending your rights and in not adopting Buddhist indifference, Confucian acceptance or Christian sacrifice.

Sora was stuck. Shortly after puberty she knew that she wasn't a lesbian and anything like transsexual. She simply fancied boys and conformity to certain rules seemed the only way to get a boy friend. She had her limits though and it wasn't until she got to university that she met a boy who not only liked her but who also was acceptable to her, who didn't patronize, who didn't attempt to put her down, put her in her place; a man with a modicum of free thought. His name was Gorou. He was the fifth son and it seemed to Sora that his birth position was somehow relevant in understanding why Gorou was different to other boys.

Sora met Gorou one evening when both of them had gone to sit by the small river near the university dormitories. Sora had gone there to escape the summer heat and giggling lunacy of her dorm mates. Gorou was sitting on the concrete steps leading down to the river by himself drinking beer.

Sora approached the solitary figure. As she came closer she could make out his features in the twilight. He had a straight high nose, almost foreign and a matching high forehead. Long tousled hair hung over half his face. He had thick, generous lips and as he turned to look at Sora, she saw fragility in his eyes.

“What do you want?” He asked. His words were preemptory but he spoke softly. The tension between form and content intrigued Sora.

“Nothing. Maybe one of your beers.” He pulled one of the cans from the six pack. It was a silver bullet, an Asahi Dry. He passed it to Sora. She sat down next to him, cracked the beer and joined him staring at the slow moving dark water and the distant high rise city scape.

“You know Mishima wrote in one of his novels that murder would be easy on a beautiful late afternoon. I've been sitting here watching the sunset every day this week and I'm beginning to understand what he means. It's a feeling of dying with the end of a beautiful day.” Gorou spoke the words without bothering to look at Sora.

Sora didn't answer immediately. She was considering what the man sitting next to her had said.

“You're not another one of those morons who want to kill themselves are you?”

Gorou laughed.

“So perhaps you want to kill someone then. For aesthetic purposes. I always thought Mishima was partly in love with his own death because he wanted a beautiful corpse. I gather he was a bit of a weakling at school. No doubt the bookish type that everyone picked on. Shame. Just goes to show.”

“What does it show?” Gorou's interest was piqued. He'd never heard a girl speak like this before. And he couldn’t help notice that despite the all-black clothes and lack of make-up this girl was kind of cute.

“It shows that art somehow transcends the pathetically human. You know: the artist can be flawed but can somehow produce the flawless. Mishima's words captured the world's attention but his action of trying to incite a revolution fell nearly entirely on deaf ears.”

“Hey what's your name?”

And so it began. Sora and Gorou met repeatedly by the river at the end of the day and talked and drank beer. Sora revealed her thoughts about how difficult it was to relate to other Japanese women. Her disappointment that so few people took their university studies seriously. The lack of passion she detected in her lecturers. And Gorou agreed with her. He spoke at length about maths. How it was the only pure language, the only language without paradox or ambiguity. A zero could never be a one. And from this basis maths could be made to describe nearly any process. How mathematics was behind every great leap in scientific understanding. How math was what really drove human evolution.

Gorou also spent time dwelling on the dark side of mathematics. How maths also demonstrated uncertainty. How what we thought was the world of solidity dissolved into probability. How at the heart of everything was the chaos of unpredictable sub-atomic particles. Gorou also started talking about how mathematics could demonstrate paradox. For example Cantor’s theorem which threw up the contradictory notion that infinities could be different sizes. Infinity, uncertainty, chaos and paradox were mathematical for Gorou whereas for Sora these mighty ideas were the stuff of art. 

On another occasion Gorou returned to the subject of Cantor and his attempt to quantify infinities. He spoke with grim relish about how Cantor had driven himself schizophrenic with his obsession to find a proof for his theorem. Sora wasn't sure if Gorou was showing off or whether madness, chaos and death appealed to the young man. It was as if the discipline of maths was made profound by the darkness that surrounded the clarity of numbers, symbols and equations.

Sora felt herself drop her guards as she listened night after night to the pale loner by the river cast the world afresh for her in a matrix of numbers and formula, algebra and logic. How he explained the motive force of history in terms of the genius of new theories and proofs that could be understood by anyone with a brain from the Aztecs to the Martians. Maths was the real language of the universe.

The young virgin Sora Aki's field was the arts – literature, visual art, sociology, philosophy; and to hear the beauty of the world and the mind described in the completely new terms of numbers and symbols of numbers intrigued her. She grasped at an intuitive level the shared purpose of all real knowledge. And at the same time she gasped at the realization that she was falling for Gorou. His mind was like a beacon illuminating his body. As she saw the worth of his mind so she began to feel his physical presence.

In short she wanted him but felt the virgin's frustration in not knowing how to proceed or deal with her desire. What she wanted was the next stage. That was Gorou penetrating her, being in her. She became to dream about coupling with the pale boy by the river. She couldn't understand why he just sat there night after night talking about certainty and uncertainty, evolution and madness, insight and paradox.

In an attempt to move things along Sora broke her rules of not pandering to the idiocy of female vanity and borrowed a short skirt from a dorm mate and a tiny top. She even painted her lips blood red. She had read that painted lips suggested swollen labia. She looked in the mirror to check herself out and even stooped to ask the other girls what they thought. They cooed and clucked and Sora took that as a good sign.

When she went down to the river that night Gorou did indeed spend an extra moment looking at Sora as she drew near their trysting spot. But the interest seemed only momentary because he soon cast his eyes back to the dark river and started asking her about the writer Dazai.

“Look Gorou. Fuck Dazai. Are you gay?”

Gorou dragged his eyes from the river and looked again at Sora. He smiled a warm clear smile and Sora lunged for his lips.

Gorou gave Sora her answer. His hands squeezed her small breasts and his tongue flickered in her mouth. When he reached up her skirt she was shocked to realize that her panties were sodden with desire. Gorou didn't need any more of an invite. He got up and rearranged his jeans to accommodate his hardness and then took Sora's hand. They walked quickly down the steps to the river and then along the concrete path to a concrete structure that had something to do with sewage or water level control. The one side was half hidden by bushes and tall pampas grass. When they reached the hidden alcove they stripped and lay their clothes on the rough concrete and with a lack of gentleness Gorou forced open Sora. It was like stabbing. She uttered a noise that was half scream and half groan. Gorou muffled the outcry with kisses.

It lasted only a few minutes but for those few minutes Sora had been transfixed and transformed. Her body had already intimated to her the pleasure that lay behind the pain.

When they had finished and the ardor had drained from the moment they dressed and smoked.

“Am I your girlfriend now?”

Gorou looked beautiful in the shadows of the dying day. “Forever.”

And so it began. They fucked by the river, they fucked in karaoke boxes; they sometimes splashed the cash and fucked in love hotels. They fucked where ever and whenever they could and it seemed to Sora that it was getting better and better.

One night pressed to the side of a quiet local shrine Gorou took Sora from behind and without expecting it what Sora had been longing for happened. Her first orgasm. The sensation ripped through her body and left her twitching with bodily joy. And with that orgasm came her first conviction of love. For the first time in her life she wanted to belong to a man. Her intellectual independence was brushed aside by her physical and emotional need for Gorou. She no longer wanted to stand separate and scornfully judgmental of university life. She now felt connected through the man in her life. She even began to catch herself listening to her dorm mates’ never-ending boy sagas. Intricate and ineptly told stories of ups and downs, delights and disappointments. It struck Sora that these women were all trying to train their men to be good partners but that they invariably failed. And yet because of ‘love’ they often excused what seemed to Sora the inexcusable and continued with the relationship. Love was a drug that it was social suicide to reject. Sora's newfound connection with her dorm mates hadn't stopped her despising their shallow outlooks and limited vocabulary. She could empathize with the true meaning of relationship – coital satisfaction and shining admiration, but she just couldn't bring herself to feel even pity for the girls when they spoke in terms of handbags and hairdos, fancy restaurants and expensive presents or worst of all infidelity and begrudging forgiveness.

Sora told herself that Gorou was different. He would never betray her. Theirs was a higher, truer, purer love. A meeting of minds as well as bodies.  The stuff of poetry and maths.

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