Afraid of Black People

"Hey sister why you all alone?
I'm standing out your window
Hey little sister, can I come inside, dear?

I wanna show you all my love
I wanna be the only one
I know you like nobody ever, baby


"Little Sister by Queens of the Stone Age


Today marked the first day of my infiltration efforts into the Heavy Music Club. I dolled up in the morning with black eye-liner and nail polish to look more dark and brooding. I gave Pickles the Cat a makeover too and he bit me. After breakfast I boarded the train and stopped at a local liquor store to get a half-pint of gin. I wasn't going to drink it, but just hold onto it around the metal girls so they thought I was drinking it. Daddy owned the place so they didn't check my ID. Coincidentally Himizawa was able to obtain liquor the same way as her rich uncle owned a couple stores.

I purchased a pack of Camel Filters as well to help complete the look as well. With Scissor-chan on my back, I was ready to take on the world. I wore my blazer with the buttons undone, and did not button the undershirt properly. I looked like a delinquent and it was fun!

When I arrived I immediately headed behind the gym where girls went to smoke before classes because the teachers never looked back there. They certainly weren't very subtle about hiding their presence. Someone had brought some speakers in their bag with an auxiliary plug. They were loudly playing the song We Ride by Strapping Young Lad. I was willing to safely bet that Himizawa was choosing all the music but gambling was illegal in this province. I heard this band more than once whenever she has given DJ privileges (which was becoming more common) and I severely disliked their sound, whoever was singing, and whoever was writing their music.

She was there, bobbing her head to the music and leaning against the wall with a cigarette in her hands. Around her were a dozen girls idolizing her. At her feet was a half-empty liter bottle of Absolut vodka. I was actually worried for them. They'd be expelled if a teacher came around and saw this. I knew some of these girls though and went to class with them. Around them were gig-bags for instruments I knew they didn't play, and cigarettes in the hands of girls I knew weren't smokers. I felt a twinge of anger at Himizawa for her corruption.

That was it, I was going to out brood her and be a positive influence! On the other side of that part of the building, I leaned against the wall with my arms crossed. I stuck Scissor-chan into the ground and looked like some cool warrior from a manga. I would have worn my shades that I planned to wear for our jazz lounge but Pickles the Cat hid them. All I had were some 3D glasses from when I had seen Guardians of the Galaxy. I didn't understand what was happening in the movie even with the subtitles but it had a talking raccoon and that made me happy.

I put on my headphones and with my MP3 player made it look like I was silently enjoying some heavy metal of my own. In truth I was listening to Neil Young. The acoustic guitar in his songs was beautiful and made me consider trying to learn some chords. When I had played Azusa-chan's guitar, it had hurt my fingers and coordinating both hands with conflicting movements was difficult for me. I was borderline ambidextrous when it came to my hands doing the same things. I supposed I may have made a good drummer if I could have coordinated my feet.

Soon I was lost in thought about other instruments and things I could do with my feet along with weird thoughts about my innate pent up sexual frustration and the ways I projected it.

Someone put their hand on my shoulder and I jumped in surprised. A bad move, bad-ass metal girls weren't afraid of anything except responsibility and good life choices. It was just Sister though, smelling like a mix of cigarette smoke and something I couldn't identify. On her arms were bruises from whatever crazy moshing she had done the night before. I took my headphones out and bluffed my surprise, "O-Oh! It's you! You just caught me when I was about to, uh..."

Oh no! I thought, What's it called when they move their head up and down and make their hair go wild?

"...move my head up and down and my hair hair go wild!" I squeaked, failing hard. "Y-You know! To this awesome, uh... k-kitty metal?"

Why did I say that!? Ah, crickets... I just love kitties too much!

Thankfully, I thought, Sister laughed, "Mugi, you're totally baked right now! What are you talking about!"

"I don't know!"

She laughed again and put her thumb and forefinger together and brought it to her lips, inhaling, "Been doing a little of this before school?"

I thought that was a strange way to smoke a cigarette but I needed to look cool, "Y-Yeah! Totally! Four of them too."

"Woah!" Sister gasped in amazement. It was working, I was impressing her. "You're completely baked. Got some left?"

"A bunch!" I bragged and opened my bag and revealed my pack of cigarettes and took it out. Sister saw my gin as well.

She laughed once more, seeming hyper, "What? Mugi, you totally chiefed up way too much. You're tripping. Can I get some of that though?"

Her hand pointed at the gin and I wanted to say no because we had classes but... I assumed a little wouldn't hurt. It was all part of the act. I nodded and she lit us both a cigarette. She took a big swig of gin straight from the bottle and passed it to me. I winced, hating this and took a small sippy-sip. It was awful and struggled to keep a straight face. It sat well in my stomach in a frighteningly satisfying way.

She patted my back and said, "I'm just messing with you. I toke up plenty before school. Me and Eicchan hit that bottle over there pretty hard already. What are you doing over here though? Just 'cause you're not in the club yet don't mean you can't hang out with us. You know, have some drinks, listen to some tunes."

I took a drag from my cigarette and gagged. I was just one of the many Casualties of Cool.

Over there the song Winter Madness by Wintersun was playing and Himizawa was bragging about being able to play the solo. I didn't like the song because we totally got our butts kicked to it in Chooser of the Slain. Getting back from Midgard had been a totally crazy adventure but I got to keep my old sword, Talvimiekka. It was mounted in my room. Sure Himizawa could shred but I killed a dragon and only peed myself a little in the process!

I replied to Sister, trying to sound brooding and cool, "Oh, I prefer to be alone with my music. It helps me think of new, uh, really fast stuff to play. I'm, uh, working on a solo for my song about drinking mouthwash because the liquor store closes at 11pm."

Thankfully Sister was generally too inebriated during the day to notice I was almost never alone. My act was working, especially since drinking too much mouth could kill someone. That was totally metal!

She swooned, "You're so cool. What are you doing after school?"

"Work," I replied, very happy for this. I did not want to be around these people anymore than I had to. Last evening I had called Daddy and arranged scheduling for me in his the restaurant he owned. I wanted to talk to him in person but him in Mother were having a romantic getaway in Seattle. I cringed when they had told me it was a 'romantic getaway'. Mother had talked about wanting another child, but her ovarian cyst was making it almost impossible. I tried not to think about what they were doing. On the phone, Daddy had forgotten not just the name of my school, but what instrument I played, the name or fact I was in a band as well as my age.

I felt vexed. Sister took a gulp of gin and passed the bottle to me and I took small sip and wondered how Daddy would have reacted if he saw me doing this. The idea made me feel a little better, there was a thrill in that.

"That blows," Sister commented.

"Oh it's not so bad," I replied, sounding much more like myself. "I get to be a chef! I think..."

I actually had no idea what was I was going to be doing. I received decent grades in culinary class and could dice an onion in only four minutes too!

Our conversation ended there as the first bell warned us class was starting. I was going to have to walk fast to make it. I stank like cigarettes and my breath tasted like alcohol. I was worried about how I was going to be received for sure.

"Wanna walk to class together?" Sister excitedly asked me.

"N-Not particularly?" I squeaked, awkwardly rejecting her. I wanted to look cool in front of the metal girls, not be seen with them in public. Sister seemed like a nice girl though. I sheepishly added, "You know, I like to be alone."

This was a lie and I felt awful for it. I was going to go meet my actual friends.

"Dark and mysteriously," she gave a clumsy, nervous laugh. "That's kinda hot!"
"I really need to go!" I exclaimed and hurried off. I was beginning to feel like Sister was getting a little too clingy. I felt good as an actor though, as this was obviously succeeding. As I hurried past Himizawa and her pals, they waved and said hellos to me. I ignored them and pretended to be brooding.


"The pigs will squeal
Their blood will drain
Fingerpaintings of the insane.

Look deep past the skin and you will see


-Fingerpaintings of the Insane by Acid Bath

We began work once more on the finishing touches for our room for the culture festival. I had finished helping arrange how we'd get the piano in the room, and things were looking up.

Ricchan approached me and I was hoping she'd compliment my make up. Instead she asked with a wrinkled nose, "Mugi, why do you smell so... uh... bad? Remember last year's year book? You were voted least likely to smell bad!"

I held my head down in shame. I had disappointed the year book.

"Mugi-chan smells bad?" Yui-chan came up to us. She sniffed at me and frowned, "You smell like my dad. Were you around someone smoking cigarettes?"

I nodded, blushing, fighting the urge to tell them what I had done. After the gin it just seemed so easy to say things. I kept it on a 'need to know' level. "I was infiltrating their club. Sister was smoking next to me."

"Whose sister?" Ricchan asked.

"Mine," came Himizawa's voice as she walked up to us, smirking. "Mugi there was smoking with her and having a few shots before class."

Oh... I thought, face going red. Ohhh! I wanna tell her to go straight to H-E double hockey sticks. No, that would be rude of me. Well if I have to write for the school paper again, I'm sure not giving her shows good reviews! That'll show her!

"Haha!" I blushed, bluffing harder than ever. "Sure her and I were just paling around but I'm not about that kind of life. Sister is nice, I wanted to talk to her a little bit."

"Is that right?" Himizawa stood triumphantly. "Open Mugi's bag, see what's inside."

"No!" I blurted out, grabbing my schoolbag and holding it tight. I was lying fast and hard, "Pickles the Cat peed inside of it and it's smelly and gross."

"Then why did you bring it to school," Ricchan asked me.

"Because I make poor decisions!" I replied on instinct.

"Whatever," the metal queen of the school walked away, chuckling. She had a sinister look in her eyes as she looked back at us over her shoulder, "Just thought you'd know, once Mugi comes to my side and plays keys for Satsugai, we're going to form the greatest metal band ever. May as well hang up the hat now. Rats off to you all."

She went go sit around in the corner of the room and practice scales while girls stared at how fast her fingers move.

"Rats off to us?" Ricchan blinked as` she walked away. "What does that even mean!?"

I huffed and hugged my knees as well as my school bag. I didn't even like the name Satsugai. The only band name I liked that came from the Heavy Music Club was Lobster Palace. I looked at my friends with emotion in my eyes and said, "None of that's true. She's just trying to split us up because she wants to be the best."

"We know that," Ricchan didn't look so sure though. "I kind of heard whispers about... uh... you smoking out by the gym but those metal girls are nervous. They're totally afraid you're going to show them up again."

"Are you okay?" Yui-chan asked me, putting her hand on my shoulder.

I sighed admitting, "I don't know, I have my mission but it's a little scary. These girls talk and act in such strange ways and the only things that impress them are either outwardly or inwardly destructive. I heard Himizawa say that she thought the singer and guitarist for a band called Dissection was awesome for shooting himself and being in prison."

"Yikes," Ricchan shivered. "Maybe we should talk to a teacher or the headmaster about this, and the kind of things that are going on."

"Oh, the headmaster..." I pouted at the thought of interacting with him. He was a strange fellow who I wondered may be evil. His office was filled with framed photos of himself. During the last cultural festival, a class had done up a World War 2 memorial sort of project that was very heartfelt and historical. The headmaster set the room on fire to better simulate accuracy and let us know how people in Tokyo being firebombed felt. I remembered the newspaper headline and his smiling face with the title, 'Headmaster Avoids Another Law Suit'.

"Yeah on second thought," Ricchan scratched her head. "Didn't a kid die in that fire?"

"Let's not talk to the headmaster," I suggested.

"What about another teacher?" Yui-chan offered.

"No," I replied, shaking my head. "All in all no rules are being broken and Himizawa doesn't really seem the type to respect any sort of authority, is she?"

We watched from across the room, the class representative approached Himizawa. Our metal rival was leaning back in her chair with her feet on a desk. Teachers had simply given up on telling her to stop doing that. The representative asked, "Himizawa-san, do you have that paper? It was due yesterday and it's very important to your participation grade. Sawaka-sensei is going to let you turn it in late just this once."

"Yeah, got it right here," Himizawa reached behind her back for a moment then revealed her hand. She was presenting an extended middle finger. While she laughed, the representative huffed off, flustered and frustrated. It seemed we certainly not the only ones having difficulty dealing with her.

I rested my chin on my fist and made a determined face, "Okay, the mission continues as normal! Where's Mio-chan?"

Yui-chan answered, "She has to deal with something with the discipline committee."

I gasped, "Is Mio-chan in trouble!?"

Ricchan sighed, "No, she just got involved in something dumb. Someone in her fanclub punched out a Heavy Music Club member when they said she wasn't the best bassist in the school."

"Yikes!" I squeaked. I was beginning to realize just how much of a driving force music really was, and it made me glad that I was the only keyboardist or piano player in the school. I thought about someone in the Heavy Music Club punching me and I wasn't sure how I would have reacted. But I had Scissor-chan and Daddy had lawyers that had gotten people out of worse trouble than murder. I don't know how he got one of those guys who did those things to Junko Furuta cleared of his charges, but he did. Sometimes I see him at company barbeques and keep a close grip on my stun gun.

I didn't speak up much more since mentioning Himizawa just ended up with us having the same conversation every chapter. I helped with finishing some decorations, and fixed the dunce cap Ricchan made after someone had stepped on it.

"Nice makeup," a member of our rival club complimented as she passed me. It both made me feel pretty in a rebellious way and happy that my disguise was working. Some of these girls were beginning to think I was cool. I wondered if made them think I was even cooler one of them would send me an anonymous love letter.

A girl was allowed to dream.

I went back to work and set up the poster that listed our drink specials for when our pretend jazz lounge opened. Sawako-sensei had decided it was probably a smart idea to not list which were alcoholic and have our servers tell the customers per order. From what I understood, the Headmaster had only been able to let some law enforcement turn a blind eye to this. He was sure adamant about having a place to drink during the culture festival. A lot of whiskey had been purchased for this.

"Oh, Mugi, there you are," Sawako-sensei approached me and acted like I had not been in complete plain view. "I wanted to, uh, do you need help?"
"No, thank you," I replied as I struggled to get a five centimeter piece of scotch tape to use. The tape was having trouble tearing and I kept pulling out more trying to cut off the giant wasted strip was creative. I was fast creating a giant ball of tangled tape that was starting to wrap around my arm.

"You wanted something?"

She blinked and answered, "I wanted to tell you that for the jazz lounge, a bassist has volunteered to play with you. Even if it was someone from another class, I wanted to recruit a member from the jazz club. All the bassists either joined that new metal club or..."

"I refuse to work with Jun," I raised my nose and looked away, crossing my arms.

" was Jun." My teacher finished, frowning at me. "You can't keep that grudge forever because she mistook your bento for hers and the ingredients in yours cost more than my salary."

"She's lucky my lawsuit towards her for that got tied up in the courts forever," I pouted. Boy something about me did not like Jun.

Sawako-sensei sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose, "The alternative is Akihime-san from Class 3-3. Do you know her? She's the weird girl who plays the seven-string fretless bass for the Jazz Club but they don't let her perform because she makes the other bassists feel bad."

"Good, they deserve to feel bad," I continued to pout.

Her hand did not leave the bridge of her nose, "Why do we have to go through this every time the Jazz Club gets mentioned? You turn into a totally different person."
"Why do you have to keep mentioning the Jazz Club?" I countered. "I'll go meet her though. Class 3-3? May I be excused?"

Sawako let me go and I left the classroom still covered in tape in such a way that made me look like a member of a very strange punkrock band. 4-B was doing the traditional haunted house because all we ever did for these festivals was recycle ideas. The hordes of new metal fans were avidly enjoying this as they discussed the best way to adapt death metal lyrics and eroguro doujins into their display. The homeroom teacher was rejecting all of their ideas and the regular members of society were setting up the haunted house the way it had been done every year for every class since the school had been opened. I was looking forward to it, it was always fun.

A few girls I knew greeted me and some I no longer even recognized. Himeko, the girl who sat next to Yui in our class approached me holding a black guitar- a ESP LTD M-155. She smiled, and I realized she was another victim of this dumb fad sweeping the school. Black eye-liner looked good at her, and loose socks that were normally white were now black.

"Mugi-chan, I didn't expect you to want to join the Heavy Music Club. I got a guitar and I want to show that Himizawa a few things I learned," her smile went away as her eyes met the tuning pegs. "Just nobody ever taught me how to tune the darn thing. No matter how much I fiddle with it, the sound never changes and all my strings broke at the headstock. I don't get it."

"Ahh, that's..." I gave a friendly smile and scratched my cheek a little awkwardly. "Himeko-chan, picking up an instrument is a lot work and dedication. Are you sure you shouldn't have researched it more."

Himeko-chan shrugged, "Everyone is picking up guitar, I'd thought I'd join. Maybe this thing is busted?"

I looked at the Floyd Rose bridge on that guitar and offered, "Maybe you'd better ask Sawako-sensei, she plays guitar. I was looking for a girl named Akihime-san, have you seen here?"

"Yeah," Himeko-chan replied. "She was using the restroom about... twenty minutes ago."

"That's one place to start my search!" I proclaimed, the thrill of adventure in my heart. "Thanks Himeko-chan and good luck with your uh, guitar problems and the life problems sure to follow with it."

"Thanks... I think?"

I strutted off towards the restrooms, passing a school in full swing for the cultural festival. The glares and looks at me made be both anxious and kind of bold. I was the girl who had set the auditorium on fire after an awesome keyboard solo. Property damage and endangerment aside, I was starting to see how that was kind of bad-ass. For some reason I wanted a cigarette.

The girl I was looking for was in the restroom leaning against the far side from the door. Next to her was the smoke detector which had been painstakingly removed from the ceiling. Akihime-san was a tall black girl who absolutely stood out from the rest of us with her cornrows and being so absolutely foreign. I had heard a bit about her but had never spoken to her. She was a quiet girl from Kenya who had moved here when her father married her mother there when she was a little girl.

"'Sup," she nodded at me and reached into her purse to produce a cigarette from a pack of Marlboro Reds. It was lit and she took a hefty drag. I stood there blinking and she glared at me, "Can I help you? All six stalls are empty."

"Oh! I'm not here for that," I answered and shook my hands. "Uh, isn't what you're doing illegal... or something?"

"Are you a cop?" She asked.

"No, no, no," I quickly answered and took one of my own cigarettes out to show I was totally cool too. I lit it and winced, trying my best not to cough as I immediately felt dizzy. "My teacher Sawako-sensei wants you to be part of our jazz lounge act. I'd play piano with you. If you don't want to, that's okay. I'm sure you'd be great in the haunted house, plenty of people are afraid of..."

I immediately stopped myself from saying black people.

Akihime-san just shrugged, "Sure. It's like in two days, right? When can we rehearse? It'd be good to play with you. Girls are saying you're joining Eiyoko's band. We'd be playing together there too."

"Eiyoko?" I tilted my head. "You mean Himizawa? You're going to play with her? You must be a really good metal bassist then, Akihime-san."

She shook her head and told me, "Call me by my first name, Wynona. But metal isn't really my thing, I'm more into jam bands and stuff like Primus. Just showed her I could play some Iron Maiden and since we've been in school together for a long time, it was a natural fit."

"You've know her from before she transferred here?" I gasped. Now was my time to learn all her dark secrets!

Wynona pushed off from that wall, taking a dramatic drag from her cigarette and ashing into a sink. "Yeah, from right when I moved here. I kind of learned most of my Japanese from her since her dad and mine were friends. We used to watch a lot of TV together and play outside, then she watched some stupid concert DVD for Archenemy and we stopped talking."

Naturally I had to ask, "What she like before she found all this awful music?"

She went to walk past me, all dramatic and cool like. As she passed she answered, "If I told you, she'd have to kick your ass. Trust me, don't fight her, she does karate and kendo on Sundays."

"Stupid over-achiever," I muttered, jealous since I was just an over-sleeper.

"When's our rehearsal?"

"How's today, after school? We'll have tea!"

"Sounds like a date then."

"A date?" I swooned. Oh, if I had a date with a black person, Daddy would be so mad at me. The thought made me giddy.

Wynona frowned back at me, "As in and established time where two people meet for a mutually agreed upon activity, you weirdo."

"Oh." My glass heart was broken again.

To Be Continued

(Author's Note and Messages on Dog Whispering- The delay on this chapter was a strange one. Written in three sittings, didn't take much time but my motivation was shot for a very unusual reasons. First off is writing time is harder to find with a new roommate. Got a guy staying on my couch who is just the bomb to hangout with. 48 year-old guy with so much goddamned stories and fun stuff to share. A lot of smoking weed and hanging out in the living room blasting Grateful Dead and Iron Maiden.

Second off, a more noble excuse is that I actually reused the character Eiyoko Himizawa in the novel I'm writing. She's a much different character in my novel. Quieter, lives in Northern Texas and is a bit a bully who is way into metal. She's not as bombastic and crazy in this other story. Her sister is almost exactly the same though. Coming back to this and writing essentially the same character but stupider is hard. Writing for Mugi is always just so much fun. The character Sister is actually based off a coworker I once had. Talked just like her, was just as dumb but stupidly funny in his own way. I just remember having long conversations about the order we'd all fuck his sixteen year-old sister (he very much involved in this conversation) while making lewd gestures and being loud enough to make our waitress staff come back and tell us to knock it the fuck off. Oh the people you meet in life.

Anyway, I hope people enjoyed this sort of 'in-between' chapter. Much more fun stuff coming up next.