“Would you like another beer? ” I nod. Machiko hands me a second Asahi. “Are you getting hungry, by any chance?” I nod again. She disappears into the kitchen. I hear the noise of cooking: rice falling on a pot, cutting on small slices over wood. I remember her delicious casual cooking. I wonder if it’s still there. If it’s still here. “You know, when I heard about your fall, I couldn’t believe it. You’re not of the falling type, are you? ” Since it’s a rhetorical question, I don’t answer. “Therefore you must be here on purpose.” She’s still sharp. “Obviously to meet the locals each day must give you a privileged point of view of the situation in the city.” I shout. She comes back from the kitchen to reply, porting some kind of frying pan on one hand, and a skimmer on the other. She wears a red-and-black-dots flamenco apron, that makes me think she’s going to start dancing at any moment. But not, she smiles for half a minute, while staring at me. Finally she says “I’m not a priest, I’m just a lawyer. But of course it helps to know people.”
Actually she was my hook to reach this place. But I can’t tell her that. I can’t tell that her fame as a lawyer crossed the ocean. Nobody with an option comes here on purpose. Unfortunately, nowadays on Earth there are not so many options: either you join the system or you die. The system ordered me to accept the reality. I despise the system, therefore I used it on my advantage.
She is back, apron gone. On the coffee table, she places a trade with two dishes. One contains some nicely packed sankaku oniguiri. The triangles look delicious, partially wrapped on something that if it is not nori, it’s the local equivalent. The second dish has something looking like red strands of dried meat, slightly heated. I hope it’s fish. She may have remembered I liked that. Nice. I sip my beer. Her bottle of something is almost empty. She takes it to the kitchen and comes back with another beer. We cling the bottles. “Kampai. Do you know what I miss more than my watch? The music. I saw radios, but they are used here for communication, not for fun.”
“I have an SSD player.” I show it to her. She does what I call the japanese oooh, palms open on both sides of her cheek, with the mouth widely open. “We can put some music, if you like.” I tend her the little flat box. She caresses the device, but without powering it on. “Great! Thank you! I don’t know where to begin!” I smile. I was right bringing it with me.”Just press random, I think I know what you like, and I have most of it.”
Some classical tunes come from the device now. Schubert, I believe. I have no interface, so I can’t check if I’m wrong. The music makes her enter in some kind of trance, with eyes closed. “Just because of this ” she points to the pocket player ” I’m very happy I picked you up. I was very concern about having you again around. ” I can see that. “But I’m surprised this little thing is still working! Why your player works and my watch not?” I venture an answer. “The quantum laws are the only ones really universal. They don’t depend on the space characteristics, or the gravity. I think. So if somebody is able to build a quantum elevator, I guess it will work flawlessly here.” She laughs. “Ja ja, a quantum elevator”. I wonder wich laugh it is what she’s doing. The natural one or the forced one. I’m afraid I lost my magic to read her. I finish the second beer, and when I look her back, I find out she’s staring at me, eyes wide open. “But tell me, please, now that we’re relaxed… will you tell me why did you fall?”