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One Hundred Tales (summary of a short story by Kaoru Kitamura)

today i will tell you a tale
which, as it happens, is called
ONE HUNDRED TALES
it is about a drunk girl

so there's this guy anzen
he's really into psychology
and so are all his buddies
except most of those buddies are also dudes
truth be told there are not many girls in this club
but there is this one girl in the club named mitsuko
and naturally the guys treat her like royalty
even though they don't think she looks that great

well tonight anzen is one lucky guy
because for once mitsuko actually sticks around at one of their wild psycholoparties
and gets SUPER drunk
such that anzen is asked to take the poor girl home
unfortunately mitsuko is pretty sick on top of the alcohol
so anzen isn't especially willing to be a sleazebag
at least not tonight
as it turns out though the train to mitsuko's apartment isn't running
so she'll have to wait until morning and take the first train
so anzen figures he's gotta take her to his place for the night
which he does

when they get to anzen's place mitsuko looks super tired
but apparently she doesn't feel that way at all
because she's all I WANNA STAY UP UNTIL MORNING
and anzen can't very well refuse that
but he knows that mitsuko isn't going to be able to stay up very long
unless he finds something in his super boring abode with which to pass the time
suddenly he's like I KNOW, LET'S DO A HUNDRED TALES
and then they read the story which they are in closing the time loop
no but really

how this game works is you light a hundred candles
and somebody in the group tells a scary story
and when they're done they put out a candle
until all the candles are out
and then REAL GHOSTS WILL APPEAR
anzen is far too cheap and unprepared for this of course
and even if he and mitsuko did know a hundred scary stories between them
remember that mitsuko is kind of so drunk that anzen had to escort her
so anzen decides they'll just turn on all the lights and use those

so that's how things go
with anzen and mitsuko telling stories about evil cats and witches
but as it turns out anzen seems to not care much at all about the rules of this game
because while anzen's busy completely forgetting how many lights his place has
mitsuko makes sure ALL the doors and curtains are shut
and EVERY single little light gets turned off
even making anzen unplug the refrigerator
and the vcr because it has the time display
and the phone because it has some little led on it
and anzen is like man
unplugging this phone
gives me a bad feeling
i have no idea why that would be though
so i'm doing it anyway

so once mitsuko is done being the official ref of this game
she lights up a flashlight
and begins her final story
which goes like this
OPEN QUOTATION MARK

hey
you know what's scary
the things you can't see
and what's most scary among those
is the things that you don't even think about not seeing
like your forehead
or the back of your head
despite them being RIGHT THERE
that's pretty freaky right
and when you're asleep
what even HAPPENS to you
maybe you GROW HORNS
and start MOOING
and you don't even know it
well on a totally unrelated subject here's this story

so there's this girl who's totally normal
nothing at all is wrong with this girl
if it weren't for the fact that later we find out this is not exactly true
we might suspect her just for the fact that nothing is wrong with her
but there IS something wrong with her dad
because he's all like
DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT SLEEPOVERS MISSY
I FORBID YOU FROM EVER DOING THAT EVER
and the girl is like daaaaad
although she actually abides by this rule
but tries to be in a rebel in other ways
which this story leaves entirely up to your imagination

so anyway one night the girl has to stay late at school
but her dad FLIPS OUT and goes down to pick her up
which is just completely embarrassing
so once she's done dying in her room for several days
her dad says he'll tell her everything

to make his long story short
when the girls in this girl's family are sleeping
they turn into something
and the girl is like what.
THAT is why i couldn't have slumber parties my whole life
because of some stupid made-up scary story
which you can't even come up with a proper monster for
like seriously dad WHAT do i supposedly turn into
but her dad is just like A THING
because he has not actually seen it for himself
only heard the HORRIBLE NOISES coming from her room
every
single
night

of course the girl still thinks this is total crap
and is like OKAY SO I TURN INTO MEDUSA IS THAT IT
and her dad is like daughter
it would be pretty awful if every night you turned even uglier than you are
oh uh and if you had snake hair and stone vision
but sadly medusa is not an apt comparison
because medusa is at least WITHIN OUR REALM OF COMPREHENSION
sorry
you've got it way worse than that

the girl throws up her hands and goes THE YEAR IS 2012
WE HAVE VIDEO CAMERAS AND ALL THAT
IT IS PATHETICALLY EASY FOR ME TO DEBUNK THIS
or so she thinks
because every time she tries this
when she checks the camera afterward
all she finds
is a video of her immediately getting up
turning off the camera
and going back to bed
and she's like OKAY
WHATEVER THIS THING I TURN INTO IS
IT'S PRETTY DAMN CLEVER

fortunately for her this is not the most terrible curse one could have
because she can live a perfectly normal life as long as she sleeps alone
hope you're not interested in marriage or anything though
because who could possibly tell that this totally ordinary
not especially good-looking girl
who lives among us to this day
conceals such a TERRIBLE INDESCRIBABLE MONSTER

close quotation mark
mitsuko turns off her flashlight
and it's now pitch black
and anzen just sits there like wow
for being told by a drunk girl
that was a really good story
and since i'm such a nerd i think it'd be interesting
to analyze the elements of the story
and what real life allegories they might

and mitsuko's just like
SNOOORE

and anzen's like

"Daybreak, it seemed, wasn't coming for quite a while."


Posted January 2nd, 2012

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