M/S-II: Firefly Squid
When Hiroshi bought the ‘heat-not-burn’ cigarette filter, he thought he’d only use it indoors. But after a month, he found smoking normal cigarettes to be too harsh for his throat. He took a smokeless drag and leaned back in the camping chair. He could feel himself dozing off.
It’s almost three a.m. and he knows he should be heading back to the hotel. He needs to be up in less than three hours to prepare breakfast for the guests. Only four rooms are taken, so it’ll be a quiet morning, he reasons. Twenty more minutes.
Hiroshi takes another drag and checks his phone. He opens an email from his sister. She wants him to bring her box of small crystal vases when he drops their Mother off in Tokyo the following weekend. His Mother wants to see the cherry blossoms.
His sister’s been living in Tokyo for two, almost three years, but he’s still helping her move things over. He’s made the three-hour trip to Chiyoda more than a dozen times, but he’s never stepped outside the van. There’s always a couple to pick up from the bus stop, a leaky sink that needs to be fixed, chores his Father struggles to do.
Soon, Spring ski will be over and the hotel will be even quieter. Maybe it’s time to retile the roof on the ski rental cabin. But his shoulder has been bothering him. He reels in the bait and begins to pack up his things; he hasn’t felt a tug in more than an hour. Maybe he’ll be luckier next week, Hiroshi thinks. Maybe he’ll even catch a glimpse of the Firefly Squid.