a real soundtrack for an imaginary spy film

Episode Sixteen - TINY BUBBA vs GUNNAR SMŌK

Copyright © 2002 - 2005  Arthur Jarvinen

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It's mid September and the sumo tournament is in full swing in Tokyo. Mustaccio is in the stands, although his reasons for being here on this particular occasion have less to do with his lasting love of the national sport of Japan than with some information of vital importance to himself and a client.

As "the calling of the names" – only one of the many beautiful rituals of sumo - gets under way, Mustaccio pays especially close attention. As the Gyoji chants each of the competing athletes' names in turn, Mustaccio's ears perk up as a name that is more than familiar to him - though not as a wrestler - is ever so briefly intoned with a special inflection. No one seems to notice that there is no such wrestler on the bill. But Mustaccio has heard all he needs to; he now knows his target.

Business matters having been taken care of for the moment, Mustaccio can sit back and enjoy the rest of the sporting event. The first match pits the ever-popular "Tiny" Bubba against Gunnar Smōk, the only rikishi with official ranking to hail from Iceland.

Between bouts Claude takes a hit from one of those really little cans of Sapporo, which he procured from a vending machine out on the street, and thoughtfully turns a page in a paperback collection of poems written by Zen monks and haiku poets on the verge of death.

Japanese character "shi" - death.

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