Friday, 16 April 2010
He adored non-fiction just as much as fiction, and whilst early modern contemporary Japanese works were his favourite, he had read a comprehensive range of world literature that was second to none.
There was just one thing. He couldn't write. I am not talking about getting the odd letter wrong or mixing up his sentences, but the very act of putting pen to paper escaped him. He could not make any letters, or even a recognizable shape, with pen, crayon, stick, chalk, pencil, paintbrush, etc. Just big black blobs.
He did, however, have amazing powers of recall, and was able to recite at great length what he had read, complemented by his uncanny knack for cross-referencing. From an early age people around him had noticed this ability, and when he left school, the prestigious Shingai Corporation noticed as well. They normally only took on interns after they had proved they could survive a month on Mount Fuji Hiro with nothing more than a Casio watch, but they made an exception for him. Sadly that job came to an end after only two hours, when a secretary asked him for his signature for the keys to the office.
The only job the young Mr. Yamagata could find back then was at the local brick factory, where he would spend the next thirty years. Now do not get me wrong, reader. You may think this is a tale of woe, but Mr. Yagamata loved working there.
His job was to help load the kiln, which was crowned with two large square brick chimneys. Once the bricks were cooked, he would help unload it. The thing he liked about his job was there was a plenty of waiting around; days sometimes. This gave him ample time for reading. Another thing he loved about his job was that everyone who worked at the factory would come to him for advice (including the board), and this sharing of his knowledge filled him with a joy that made him smile as soon as he woke up each morning. He believed he had truly found his place in the world.
That was until the following events occurred, which happened all too quickly.
The brick factory owner died and his young son, Koji Fung Ming, inherited the business. In the morning, even before the funeral had taken place, the son had sold the company to Abunai! Golf. By late afternoon they had plans drawn for a new golf course, and late in the evening, a sign was posted on the gates to inform the workers they were being sacked to make way for the new golf course.
Mr. Yamagata was heartbroken when he read it in the morning. He felt his entire world had been ripped away from beneath his feet. Not knowing what to do, he sat outside the factory all day, as did some of the others, but by night he was sitting alone. It was then the idea struck him.
I've mentioned that early modern contemporary Japanese was his favourite reading genre, but his favourite book was by a medieval Arabian author by the name of Al-Jazari. The book was called Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices, and coincidentally, that was the very book he had with him that day. He jumped over the locked gates and made his way to the kiln building...
If you had lived in one of the tall towers in the residential district of Fukushima-ku facing west, you would have seen the following happen at sunrise: The two chimney towers of the kiln building suddenly fall over gracefully in a perfect 90° arc. After the dust had settled, you would have then seen the tower rise, again in a perfect 90° arc, but now with the kiln building placed upside down at the top.
In a circle cut in the top, you would have seen Mr. Yamagata, and you would have seen him get a lot bigger as the chimney towers became 'legs' and he began to make his way downtown.
The old kiln used to be ignited by a smaller blast furnace, which Mr. Yamagata had reverse-engineed into a giant flame thrower and mounted on the underside of his creation. Being built of brick, he could aim it in any direction without fear of damaging his machine. His first target was to be the offices of the Abunai! golf company which he reduced to a pile of molten metal and glass. For good measure, he also took out several golf shops along the way.
With that done, he then made his way over to the house of Koji Fung Ming, who in the very short time after his father's death had obtained several flash cars. The Lamborghini, Aston Martin and Bentley were crushed by good old-fashioned stomping. The Ferrari and McLaren were reduced to ash and the Bugatti was scratched all along one side, just enough to make the repair expensive.
He then turned to the house, where he knew the young Koji would be, and gave the door a kick. As the door flew off its hinges, Koji ran from the house and through the legs of the brick Mecha onto his yacht, which was was moored at the back of his home.
Mr. Yamagata took two giant steps (one crushing the house) and positioned himself in front of the yacht. He pressed the button in his cockpit and the flame thrower began boiling the sea, leaving Koji, who was now begging for his life, hopping up and down on his slowly melting boat.
Mr. Yamagata then effectively made his machine do the splits (he made a note to add knees next time) so he could get eye to eye with Koji. He looked hard at him and then tugged at his left eye and stuck out his tongue, a great insult in Japan in case you were wondering. Then he threw a brick at him.
He felt a wonderful sense of liberation upon exacting his revenge. As the sound of helicopters, sirens and tanks approached, Mr. Yamagata and his Mecha began to head out to sea.
"Maybe I will build something with glowing laser eyes next..."
my first non dead adventurers fridayflash which was inspired by the included picture done by fellow Leeds Savage member Steve James