International Mystery: Tokyo Takedown--Chapter V: Does Anybody Have A Clue??
(IMPORTANT: Due to a labeling error, readers of the previous installments of Bill Prendergast in: "International Mystery: Tokyo Takedown" may have read some episodes out of sequence. Episode Two (“The Mists Begin To Clear”) was accidentally misidentified as Episode One. Episode One had no title, which was the cause of the confusion. If it had a title, it probably would have been something like “Caught From Behind” or “Where The Hell Am I?” We apologize for any inconvenience to the readership, and urge those remaining to read the episodes in there proper sequence and order. You can still read them below on this blog in the original sequence. It’s much better than “Snakes On A Plane” which I saw today at a local multiplex theater; “Snakes On A Plane” is an obvious ripoff of an original screenplay I wrote years ago called “Vibrators On A Plane,” only they changed it to “snakes” instead of “vibrators.” (I’m going to sue them.) Anyway, if you want to catch up with the story, start with the first part, then continue on to the second part, and keep going until you get to this part. If you really enjoy this thrilling series, why not send a check in for any amount you feel is fair? It cost me seven bucks to see “Snakes On A Plane”; I feel Bill Prendergast in “International Mystery: Tokyo Takedown” is twice as good as “Snakes On A Plane”. You do the math.)
(THE STORY SO FAR: Just after he files a piece exposing Congressional candidate Michele Bachmann's Republican campaign staff as a bunch of "chickenhawks" American journalist-for-hire Bill Prendergast is struck unconscious and wakes up in Japan--more specifically, in Tokyo, the vast metropolis that is the capital of that Far Eastern archipelago. Outside the local Starbucks Prendergast spots his arch-enemy: international terrorist Osama bin Laden. (Though the Bush Administration has just closed the government bureau charged with finding bin Laden, Prendergast has continued his own four year search for the murderous mastermind, with just as much success and far less cost to the taxpayer.) Before Prendergast can kill bin Laden he is struck on the head again and wakes up in a Tokyo back alley. Upon regaining consciousness, he hops into a nearby rickshaw to give chase, but the rickshaw driver is an asshole who can’t understand the simplest directions and cons Prendergast into eating at a local tourist rip-off lunch counter instead. Once there, Prendergast receives a death threat in the form of a herring placed in his bowl of noodles, but he ignores it—to his regret, because shortly afterwards he is attacked by a ninja on his way to the men’s bathroom. Prendergast quickly disposes of the assassin, but succumbs to jet lag and wakes up in a back alley again. And it is here we rejoin our story:)
I was alive, but no closer to my quarry than before. Japan is a land of mystery, I thought, as I scratched my stomach and studied the beautiful garden that opened up before me.
But was Japan to be a garden of beauty—or perhaps… a garden of DEATH? It didn’t matter; and what happened to me didn’t matter, for that matter—what mattered was, finding and killing bin Laden. If I didn’t find him and kill him, this pretense of searching for bin Laden was nothing more than a bunch of hideously expensive fucking around. And we’d already had quite enough of that from the Bush White House.
But how to find him? There’s a hell of a lot of people in Japan, in case you hadn’t noticed. I knew I’d have to get some informants, some contacts—preferably ones who spoke Japanese. And English, that was important, too. Because I don’t speak Japanese—and if my contacts didn’t speak English and I didn’t speak Japanese...What would be the point?
You have to think things out like that if you plan to stay alive in my game. But I wouldn’t have stayed alive five minutes if it hadn’t been for this man:
I can’t tell you his name, but I can tell you that he and dozens of men just like him have my silent thanks and those of people the free world over. It was this man and his chopsticks that picked up the only clue left to bin Laden’s whereabouts—a discarded cigarette butt that led me to the next link in the chain—this man:
Yes, it is a man. My last contact in Tokyo, trying to pass himself off as a teenage girl in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district. Worst disguise I’ve ever seen. But it gave me hope: from here things could only get better.
Once again, events proved me wrong. Things went rapidly downhill after that transvestite. For one thing, I assumed the waitress in this picture was another guy trying to pull the same sort of dress-up stunt--because in Japan, things are not always what they seem. But sometimes they are what they seem—this girl really did turn out to be a girl, and not only that, she was the chef’s daughter, and did she give me hell for calling her a transvestite! My accusations were deemed entirely inappropriate by the management. I had to apologize profusely and cash more than one traveler’s check before the hotel restaurant would return my passport.
Actually, with hindsight, she looks more feminine than most women I know in Minnesota; and she’s kind of cute, for that matter. I don’t know why I kept insisting she was really a man; it didn’t have anything to do with the case anyway. I guess I was all keyed up from the trip and the bin Laden thing and getting hit in the back of the head and waking up in an alley so many times. I mean, for Christ’s sake, I’d just flown five thousand miles, give me a break. Anyway, she was pissed. Sure, she’s smiling in the photo, but you have to remember: this is a land where people smile before they kill. That’s something I never forgot, and that’s why I’m still here to tell the tale.
Or am I? Because moments later:
That’s right, I found myself unconscious in that same back alley again. Somebody had blackjacked me; I can’t be sure, but I assume it was that waitress. And they had told me that fifteen per cent would be enough…
(DON’T MISS THE THRILLING CONCLUSION OF BILL PRENDERGAST IN “INTERNATIONAL MYSTERY: TAKEDOWN IN TOKYO”)