Chapter 9 – Too Self-Conscious

Chapter 9 – Too Self-Conscious

by December 28, 2014

Chapter 9 - Too Self-Conscious

Translated by Mecorx and Pixel

I greeted the morning without a wink of sleep, and just went to Seventh Heaven. Kyrie and Leslie were standing in front of the store. Kyrie was looking away from me. Wonder if she’s angry that I disappeared without saying anything last night.

“It’s a full house”, Leslie said. “There’s this shop that serves coffee that way, let’s go there. Well, not a shop exactly… it’s just a vacant lot.”


“And Fabio?”

“He’s not coming today. He’s on the brink of death.”


The two, who had started walking, raised their voices and turned to face me.

“What happened?”

“I’ll tell you, but I want to sit down. I haven’t slept. Let’s get to that shop quickly.”

It took a few minutes for Leslie to guide us to Johnny’s Heaven. I had walked past it a few times, but this was my first time I’d been in. It was a shop with just a few tables arranged in a vacant lot. I didn’t think they would have any decent drinks. Johnny, a man with a ducktail haircut, which is pretty rare these days, introduced himself, and asked our names. What kinda shop is this? Without answering his question, Leslie ordered three coffees. Then he fell silent. I thought about how I should explain what happened. Before long, Johnny lined up the coffees in front of us.

“This is just what I’ve observed… but are my customers having a disagreement? You two guys were having a big argument over her, right? Yeah, that’s it, that’s what’s happening. But in a few years from now—”

“Time doesn’t solve anything.”

As I interrupted Johnny, he sneered and glared at me.

“What do you mean, mate?”

“New problems pop up one after another, every day. Because of that, old problems get buried deep in your heart. Of course, it’s like they’ve gone away. But, they rear their ugly heads because of something, and resurface in an instant. They don’t get solved.”

“…You argue a lot mate. Oh well, doesn’t matter. You’re all still young. Let’s drink coffee while chatting, have fun and live in good spirits together.

“Johnny, I’m sorry. We have something important to discuss.”

“No time for my funny story?”

Nobody answered. That must be the most worthless question of all time. Johnny turned to Kyrie, looking for help, and then looked at me.


I reluctantly answered, and then Johnny finally went back to the counter.

“Talk, Evan.”

“…Vits came to my house in the middle of the night. He said his Geostigma hurt, and collapsed. I went to check and see how Fabio was doing. I figured there was still some of the medicine left. Then, I found Fabio lying there covered in blood.”

“He’s okay, right?”

“Yeah. I called the guys in the neighborhood. The Mayor, and Mr. and Mrs. Chico from next door. The Mayor checked Fabio out, and said he’d be ok, and that he was still alive. Then, he went to get a doctor. But that was when things got complicated. I left Fabio with Keough, and went to look for medicine.”

I cut the story short and sipped my coffee. It was bitter, and soaked into the cut on my mouth. I really couldn’t just talk about what I did then. I wanted to leave using the excuse that I needed to give Vits his medicine. I was afraid of being next to Fabio, who might die.

“The medicine was on the bed, but Chico was going to take it. I tried to get it back for Vits. But he resisted, and we got into a fist fight. Chico’s an old geezer who’s done some heavy lifting in his time, so—”

Actually, Chico was looking at the medicine, trying to figure out what it was. I probably wanted to regret running away from Fabio. I just wanted to leave with the medicine quickly. I grabbed the medicine from Chico’s hand, without saying anything. Not only had that been a bad way to go about it, but Chico was also pretty hotheaded. “Hey punk,” he said, and then came swinging. I closed my eyes and swung back. We hit each other at the same time, but it was me who went down. As Chico towered over me, I went on the defensive. I blocked with my arm, but I still took a few hits. Chico’s wife and Keough intervened straight away. His wife apologised to me, and it was over. Keough berated me. And you call yourself a friend of Fabio’s?

“Look at this.”

I puffed out my swollen cheeks, from inside my mouth with my tongue, and showed Leslie.

“Hey, Evan. I’m sure you had it bad. But, you told us that Fabio was on the brink of death, didn’t you? We want to know about Fabio. Vits too, of course.”

“I’m getting to that—”

“I don’t know what you’re feeling guilty about, but I don’t care about you being beaten.”

Leslie was merciless. Figures. I’ll just shut up.

“What’s Fabio’s condition?”

Kyrie asks. Wonder if Kyrie can save me from this bottomless pit of self-loathing. No, she was just worried about Fabio. That was it.

“Dr. Drake came and examined him. It’s not life threatening. Although, he did have bruises all over his body, and looked pretty bad. There were no broken bones, and he was already walking this morning. But he was slow, like an old man. After taking the medicine, Vits calmed down, and slept until morning. He said there was no pain even after he woke up. The medicine should have worn off, but that’s how the Geostigma pain was.”

After Chico and I were pulled apart, I continued rubbing Vits’ back until leaving my house this morning. It wasn’t for Vits. It was for my peace of mind. Self-protection. Atonement.

“Why’d you say Fabio was on the brink of death?”


“You shouldn’t have put it that way.”

“I realise that. My bad.”

The silence continued for a little while.

“So who did it? Who’s the culprit?”

Leslie started speaking in his usual manner.

“Oh, according to Fabio, it was a young woman from the Turks.”

I put on my usual tone, too.

“I see. So, that means it’s really over this time. It’s even, as Fabio would put it. The Turks guy who originally hit you knew he had the wrong guy, so she came to settle things.”


“That female Turk sounds scary.”

“Yeah. Though Vits told me she taught him how to take the medicine. She said children only needed to take a quarter.”

“I don’t understand,” Kyrie looked puzzled. “She said that after beating Fabio?”

“Violence is a job for the Turks,” Leslie concluded. “She understood why Fabio stole the medicine. She sympathized with Vits’ pain. But crime can’t go unpunished. Good thing it wasn’t that woman who came to see you yesterday, eh?”

Leslie grinned and stood up.

“Where are you going?”

“I’m goin’ to see Fabio. Come with me, Kyrie’s. I wanna hear how the job went.”

“Yeah, sure. What about you, Evan?”

“—I’m gonna stay here a little longer”

I didn’t want to go back to Doyle village just yet. I certainly didn’t want to see Chico and Keough yet.

“Evan, I said too much, earlier. Sorry ’bout that.”

“Nah, it was pretty accurate.”

I put on a smile. Leslie started walking, seemingly convinced.

“Wait at the office,” Kyrie said in a hushed tone. “I was mad about yesterday. That you left while I was getting changed. But I thought you were acting strange. That’s why I wanted to talk to you; is that ok?”

Without waiting for the reply, Kyrie went after Leslie. The rider’s jacket I thought suited her the best was paired with a black miniskirt. I’m surprised I didn’t notice until this moment. I really only thought about myself today. No, it wasn’t just today, was it? For me, it was something that happened a lot. After seeing the two of them off, I sat looking down the street for a while. Johnny tried speaking to me a few times, but I continued to ignore him.

“So that’s how it’s gonna be, huh? Wanna hear a really good story? It’s a tale about my mentor, Tifa. Tifa of 7th Heaven. Do you know her? She was born in Nibelheim, a rural village in the heart of the boonies, then…” Johnny used an exaggerated gesture, to represent the huge city of steel. “she came to Midgar. Well, the slums under it, not the upper plate. It was the Sector Seven slums. I headed that whole area in those days, and held a bit of influence, you see. I took care of that country bumpkin.”

Johnny continued talking about himself while telling the story of Tifa. That was the same as me a while ago. I can’t stand it to stay. I gotta go.

“What, leaving already?”

“Thanks for the drink.”

“Eh, whatever. Come back any time. Johnny’s a friend of troubled youths.”

“I’m not troubled.”

“As if there are any young guys who don’t have troubles!”

Johnny slapped my shoulder in an overly familiar way.

“But, you’re a lucky guy, mate. That girl, she likes you.”

“What do you know?”

“My gut feeling is always right. Well, except when it comes to myself.”

Johnny laughed, as if he had just said the best a punch line ever.

The sunlight stung my eyes as I looked up at the sky. When I closed my eyes, it was painful to open them again. I had been up since yesterday morning. As the events pile up, both mind and body pay the price. I need to sleep. Rest and relaxation are important.

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