Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Justin Isis - They Told Me to Stop Whoring My Suffering and Eat More Steak

art by chris wilhelm

Spontaneous Reincarnation

"Well, this is a fine pickle we've got ourselves in." MacArthur said.

Hirohito looked at MacArthur's pelvis. There was something obscenely womanish about it - its sloping girth and the way the rest of him seemed to follow it as he walked. The pipe jutted from his mouth like a handle.

Hirohito looked down at his Mickey Mouse watch.


They were sitting in a cafe. They didn't have any yen, and from time to time the waiter would wander over and bother them.

"We need jobs." Hirohito said.

"We don't have any qualifications." MacArthur said.

"We need jobs."

"I am the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers. You are the Emperor of Japan."

"We're not, anymore. We're nothing."

"I am not nothing." MacArthur said. "Every man has been put here for a reason."


"Hotel staff." Hirohito said, and put down the newspaper. They'd found it near the trash. They were sitting next to a man in a purple blanket. From time to time the suits would toss him coins.



"Well, reception?"

"Room service. Transport, cleaning, things like that."

"Chamber maids." MacArthur said. "We're going to be chamber maids."

"Hotel staff." Hirohito said.


Hirohito picked a condom from the floor. There was a knock on the door.

The woman asked for extra towels and Hirohito took them from his trolley. He put his hands at his sides.

He gave a little bow after each service he performed.

The woman didn't thank him.

Everyone was taller than him, he thought.

When MacArthur walked down the hallway, he shambled and slouched. He seemed to push the trolley with his stomach.

Piece of Shit

"This hotel is a piece of shit." Arturo said. "They should burn it to the ground."

He handed Hirohito a tin of biscuits. They always took coffee breaks in the check-out rooms when the supervisor wasn't around.

"Philippines is better than this." Arturo said.

"I used to be big in the Philippines." MacArthur said.


"I'm really really sorry." Reiko said.

She stepped out of the elevator and vomited.

"I'm so, so sorry." she said. "You're going to have to clean that up, right?"

Hirohito looked at her.


"Your hygiene and personal conduct are not up to standard." Mr. Kaji said.

"What are you talking about?" MacArthur said.

"We have standards at this hotel." Mr. Kaji said. "Our cleaning staff are expected to dress neatly, and carry themselves with a certain bearing. We do not...slouch."


"Thanks so much for the towels." Reiko said.

"Is there anything else you'd like?"

"That's fine...oh, I was wondering. How can I get to Asakusa from here?"

"Would you like me to show you? I can show you."

"You mean..."

"I'll be finished soon." Hirohito said.


"What the hell are we doing here, Arturo." MacArthur said. "A couple of guys like us."

"Do you have any more creamers in your trolley," Arturo said. "I'm out of creamers."

Interpersonal Relationship

"You don't think I'm too old?" Hirohito said.

"I like old guys." Reiko said.

Ten minutes passed.

"Are you being serious?" Hirohito said.

Tokyo Disneyland

"We should all go to Tokyo Disneyland." Reiko said.

They went there.

"I can't understand any of this." MacArthur said. "Goofy is supposed to speak English, for fuck's sake. Donald Duck is the only one that is making any sense."


They were alone in the apartment.

"I think I want to get back into the army." MacArthur said.

"They're not going to let you do anything with Korea." Hirohito said.

"If they had of trusted me, this situation wouldn't even exist now."

Hirohito got another beer.

"No one believes I'm a god anymore." he said.

"I don't see why they wouldn't trust me." MacArthur said.

Hirohito's face went crooked.

"You were going too far in Korea." he said.

"I wasn't going too far."

"You were going too far. You were going to destroy the world. You destroyed the world..."

"The people need a firm hand."

"No one cared when I died. Because of you, the divine spirit of the Yamato people was destroyed."

"Nonsense. I showed you the democratic way of life. The people of this country live in peace and harmony now, just like the American people."

Hirohito got up and left.

"Hey...come on...I didn't mean it." MacArthur said.


"Are you going to come out of there, or not?"

"Say your Occupation destroyed Japan, you were wrong about Korea, and the Yamato people are a divine race."

"Look...maybe I got a little carried away with Korea..."

"Say it!"


"Hirohito is a little bastard." MacArthur said. "I'm not talking to him anymore."

Reiko went over to Hirohito's room.

"MacArthur is an imperialist swine." Hirohito said. "I'm not talking to him anymore."


"This is a dead country." Hirohito said. "The entire world is dead."

"But we're alive." MacArthur said.


"I don't know. Maybe the Lord Jesus Christ has more work for us to do."

"I like Mickey Mouse." Hirohito said.


"Well, hell, we only make so much." MacArthur said.

"Reiko's parents don't like me." Hirohito said. "So we can't stay there. I can't stay there."

"Why not?"

"They were student activists in the 70's." Hirohito said. "They called me a relic. To my face."


"I was lying when I said I wasn't a god." Hirohito said. "I am the father of the nation."

"You're insane." MacArthur said. "There's only one God, and his name is Jesus Christ."

"I am a god." Hirohito said. "I am the descendent of Amaterasu-o-mi-kami. No one can look at my real face!"

His eyes went wet. The night stretched before him, jewelled.

MacArthur lifted his leg.


"The supervisor is an asshole." MacArthur said. "We shouldn't trust her, she's got two faces."

"I was already fired." Hirohito said. "I don't know how to clean, really."

Reiko placed another blanket over them. She'd already taken MacArthur's temperature. He was coughing a little.

"Reiko, let's start another country somewhere." Hirohito said. "Come with me and be my empress. We won't tell anyone where we are. We'll be invisible. In our empire there will be no televisions, no hotels..."

"I'm sorry." Reiko said. "I have to study."

"I am issuing an Imperial Rescript." Hirohito said. "Dissolving your university."

"My parents..."

"I will issue a new Imperial Rescript, dissolving your family."

"I like my family."

"They're dissolved." Hirohito said. "I am the only person you are allowed to love. By Imperial Rescript."

"Don't listen to him, he's crazy." MacArthur said.

"I am issuing an Imperial Rescript that will dissolve you, MacArthur. You no longer exist."

"I'm in all the books." MacArthur said.

"I will dissolve them." Hirohito said. "I dissolve history. I dissolve this country. We are now living on an island. There are only three people here."

"I'm leaving." Reiko said.

"An Imperial Rescript compels you to stay."

"They should have let me go with Korea." MacArthur said. "I don't understand why they didn't trust me."

Reiko left.

"Where's she going, do you think?" MacArthur said.

"There's nowhere for her to go." Hirohito said. "The borders of my empire are well patrolled."

"We should find a new job." MacArthur said. "I'm thinking of getting back into the army, but..."

The man with the purple blanket came over.

"You can't stay here." he said. "This is my place."

"I dissolved you." Hirohito said. "You don't exist."

The man kicked him.

"Give me your watch." he said.

"I need my watch." Hirohito said. "I use it to tell time."

"What time is it now?"

"Time is running backwards." Hirohito said. "Soon we'll be arriving in the 20's."

"No Mickey Mouse then." MacArthur said.

"Mickey Mouse is allowed in my Empire." Hirohito said.

"Can I join your empire?" the man with the purple blanket said.

"I already told you, you don't exist." Hirohito said. "I've dissolved you."

"I have to exist!" the man in the purple blanket said.

"Maybe I should start my own army." MacArthur said.

"Can I join it?" the man in the purple blanket said.

"I think it would be a better idea for you to accept the Lord Jesus Christ first." MacArthur said. "The same goes for you."

"People who don't exist are talking to me." Hirohito said. "I must be going crazy."

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