Sunday, July 18, 2010

Matt & Mariko - A Serialized Novel - 7.18

Chapters 1-16:


     All the lights were on inside the glass building, so it glowed in the canyon darkness as Matt and Mariko drove up to the guard gate.
     The two guards inside the bungalow at the entrance to Ozawatech were immediately concerned by the late-night arrival, but they relaxed when they saw Mariko behind the wheel.
     "Konbawa, Ojosan. Nagai koto oai shimasendeshita," one of the guards said.  (Good evening, little one. It’s been such a long time.)
     "Mata aete ureshii way, Canto-san,"  she replied. (I’m happy to see you again, too, Mr. Nortbert.) With the formalities dispensed, they switched to English and the other guard handed her a badge.
      "As usual," he told her. "May I say we miss your presence?"
      The second guard then handed Matt a badge – with his photograph on it. Surprised, he looked up to see a camera mounted on the guard gate. It had taken his picture when they drove up. He noticed he didn't really look like himself on the badge – he had a baffled expression on his face and his reddened eyes were surrounded by dark circles, like a raccoon's. But that wasn't the camera's fault, he thought to himself. He was a mess.

     Mariko drove up the road and parked in the light that shone from Ozawatech's lobby. Matt followed her through the two-story tall glass doors that slid open at their approach.
     Matt had expected to find a reception desk in the atrium, in the middle of the black and white marble tiled floor. But instead of a desk, there was massive a sculpture of dark steel and granite depicting what seemed to be the waving surface of a sheet, an immense boulder and a blade.
     Mariko saw Matt was curious.
     "It's called  'The Spirit of Ozawa,' she said. "That’s in English. In Japanese it's 'Jan Ken Pon.' "
     "What does that mean?" Matt asked.
     "Here you say: Scissors, paper, stone," she said. "But it's not a literal translation. It's what the game is called. Jan Ken Pon."

     Suddenly, one of the walls in the lobby lit up. It was a giant-screen TV and a beautiful blonde was seated at a reception desk.
     "Hello Mariko," the blonde said. "How wonderful to see you again."
     "Hello, Gabrielle," Mariko responded. "What a surprise."
     "Well, it may be midnight in Malibu, but it's 10 a.m. in Paris you know, so I'm handling reception from the Champs-Elysées office. What brings you out so late?"
     "Oh, we couldn't sleep, and I wanted to show Matthew some of the new programs."
     "Marvelous that Matthew gets the tour," Gabrielle said. "Can we order you some dinner?"
     "Not necessary, we've already eaten. We'll get going now. Ciao."
     "Ciao," Gabrielle said. The screen went dark and Matt and Mariko walked across the lobby and down the hall to the elevator.

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