Natsuki Kimura

Natsuki Kimura
Urayasu, Japan
June 21
I live in a country known for its many earthquakes; I live 200 kilometers away from three smoldering nuclear reactors; my father saw the mushroom cloud over Nagasaki as a boy; I watch movies with titles like Neon Genesis Evangelion and Gattaca; I read books with titles like Trout Fishing in America and In Our Time; I make collages about my wife and show them in Tokyo galleries; I spend weekends writing about nukes, aliens, vampires, and love child Vulcans.


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AUGUST 4, 2011 12:18PM

Short Story: Nick Carraway and the Thin White Duke

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Back when I was much younger I decided to model my personality after Nick Carraway and began withholding my judgements regarding those around me; almost immediately all kinds of scum came my way: the narcissists, the sociopaths, and the incredibly pathetic. 

The Nick thing was a phase, one of the many I went through back in the nineteen-seventies.

I liked the seventies then and I still feel that way now; Led Zeppelin was still around and the world in general felt awfully hazy.

I don't know if it was the drugs or the music or the sex or the combination of all of them, but I do remember thinking that I could do anything I wanted without it ever coming back to me.

I'm calling the guy I want to talk about Yutenji because that's where he came from and I don't want to mention his real name. 

Yutenji went to Keio University and always wore corduroy.

He was the kind of guy who never smiled but grinned just a tiny bit when I nodded at the end of his lengthly and crashingly dull monologues.

The listening thing was part of the Nick thing.

After four or five prolonged sessions of me doing the listening thing with Yutenji I stopped seeing him because I was getting bored of him and his sorry monologues -- besides, the whole Nick thing started to feel old after just a couple of weeks.

My next phase was my Thin White Duke phase, which made me into a creature that had little in common with Nick Carraway.
I listened to the Station to Station LP every single day.
I did a lot of things to a lot of people that gave me a lot of pleasure (in a distanced sort of way) but caused a tremendous amount of harm.

I didn't even think about Yutenji for four months, though many people told me that he was desperately trying to find me. 

At the beginning of the fifth month, Yutenji started sending me these packages -- they started out small and became bigger as time went along. 

There were about twenty packages all together; the first one was about the size of a bar of soap and the last one the size of a car battery.

I didn't even bother to open the packages and threw them in a cardboard box a TV came in and forgot about them. 

I like to place the blame on my mind being set in the Thin White Duke persona, which made me a coldhearted shit of a guy whose mission in life was to never exhibit even a glimmer of empathy for anyone or anything.

It wasn’t until I found the TV box after the twin earthquakes -- the ones that occurred not long after the one that caused Fukushima -- had leveled my house that I would learn what Yutenji had sent me.

It took me thirty years for me to learn that the first thing he had sent me was his left ear.

Then he sent me one of his toes.

Yutenji had sent me parts of his body sealed in little tupperware cases filled with formaldehyde, along with Polaroid pictures showing him without that part.

He then started sending me internal organs: a scrotum, a kidney and a lung.

His final package contained his heart -- one-half of it.

I don't know who took it, but the accompanying Polaroid showed a gaping cavity in his chest with a only a piece of his heart still there.

I stood up and looked around for a sign -- hopefully, a sign from the divine -- in the wreckage my neighborhood had become since the twin earthquakes.

I didn't find a green light, which would have been fitting.

But, I did find a giant pair of eyes looking my way.

Actually, only one eye was looking my way, because the pretty, short-haired girl on a billboard that seemed to appear out of nowhere was winking.

I looked up at the sky and asked: That's not your way of saying I'm being let off, right?

My cell phone buzzed an earthquake warning.

I knew that the next one was going to be really big and awful and intended just for me.

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So are you "Nick Carraway" who blogs here???

This was a powerful, compelling story.
Wow. Nicely told and well-written drama. I like the contrast of personalities between Nick and the Duke, emotional yin and yang. Rated.
keri h: um, no. i didn't even know there was a Nick Carraway who blogs on OS until you mentioned it. the Nick who appears in my story is the Nick who appears in "The Great Gatsby."

BellemeadeBooks: thank you! this story is the sort of thing that results when you try to mix fitzgerald with mid-period david bowie.
I loved this. It captures so well the hold we might have over others - even if we don't want to be attached to them. Surreal and incredibly meaningful - as all of your writing is.