In My Life- Dude, Where's My Subtitle?
Oh crap. I almost let this slide. Enjoy!
With some fresh money from the day before, pain everywhere in his body, bleary eyes, and nothing decent to eat in over a week, Makoto decided it would be a good idea to venture from the farm to buy some seeds. He stared at the couple of spots he tilled that morning, hoping he could eventually drag himself out of sleepiness. Even the scathing sun of the early morning couldn't wake him up much. Hiding in the shade of the porch wasn't much help either.
Of course, a good night's sleep wouldn't be an option. How Makoto functioned on five seconds of sleep and next to no food over the past two days remained an enigma.
After a while of standing around on his porch, he snatched his rucksack from beside the door. Slinging it over his shoulder, he stepped outside into the blaring morning sun and set into town.
Makoto's watch read seven forty-five as he stood outside the locked door of the Supermarket. After a few moments, he noticed a wooden sign on the door that read 'Open Monday, Wednesday-Saturday -- 8-6'. With that, he turned and headed for nearby bench.
Once he sat, he noticed the Clinic was right next door, and remembered his appointment. Then he gazed up at the windows of the second floor, wondering if someone lived up there.
He didn't notice as the door of the Supermarket opened. Out walked a girl around Makoto's age with fair skin and pretty green eyes to match. Her hair was long and chestnut colored, with two blonde streaks up front that fell into her face. She made her way over to the bench, noticing Makoto without him noticing her. When he did look over, she motioned for him to scoot over and slid onto the bench.
"You're Makoto, right?" she asked, giving a wry smile. Makoto didn't look over at her as he replied.
"Finally, someone who didn't call me Sergeant…" he muttered. The girl furrowed her brow and balled her hand into a fist.
"Hey! I'm trying to make a conversation!" she shot back. "And have the decency to look at me when you speak!" Makoto gave a smirk.
"You're a cheerful one," he replied flatly. The girl groaned.
"Nice boy you are," she told him. Makoto looked over at her.
"When's the store open?" he asked, even if he knew the hours.
"Don't be so rude to me and then turn around and make small talk!" Karen told him. "Besides, we have a sign up front, but in you're blind--"
"Nearsighted," Makoto interjected.
"It opens at eight," Karen finished, grumbling. With that, Makoto sat back in the bench a bit. After a few moments, Karen looked over and suddenly asked: "So, Makoto. Did you ever see yourself winding up here in Mineral Town?" Karen asked, looking over at him.
Makoto looked over blankly.
"What, not used to having anyone talk to you?" Karen asked.
"Quite startled, actually," Makoto replied.
Before he knew it, an orange-haired figure approached from the distance. The skinny boy stood fairly tall, and wore a pair of large glasses. He smiled a bit when he saw Karen, and groaned when he noticed Makoto talking to her. He approached the two, waiting as they watched him toss a dirty glare between them.
"Oh? You're the new guy, right? The guy who moved in next door?" the guy asked, looking down at Makoto.
"Yeah," Makoto replied, his arms folded over his chest. "Makoto Ogawa."
"I'm Rick Brody." Rick pushed his glasses against his face. "Karen looked pretty upset talking to you. What'd you say to her, anyway?"
"Nothing," Makoto huffed curtly, sizing Rick up. Giving another groan, Rick turned to Karen with the dirty look still on his face. Karen rolled her eyes, seemingly knowing what was coming.
"So, what's the deal with you sitting alone with him?" he asked her.
"Alright, Rick, I know you had it rough last night, but there's no need to take it out on me," Karen replied, sounding a bit condescending.
"Answer me, Karen," Rick insisted. With that, Makoto sprang out of his seat and gave Rick a quick shove to the chest. Rick almost lost his balance, mostly because he didn't think the lanky Makoto would be so strong. Rick cut him a dirty, open-mouthed stare.
"Lay off," Makoto snarled, glaring at him.
"Screw off," Rick huffed in reply, looking up at Makoto. "You're here for half a day, and you think you can tell people what to do?" He narrowed his eyes. "You're full of shit, dude."
Makoto huffed, and with that, took a quick glance at his watch. Noting the store was about to open, he grabbed his rucksack and left the two standing there. They watched him for a moment, until Rick looked over at Karen.
"I'm sorry," he said, looking rueful. "You know I had a bad night."
Karen shook her head. "Just cool off, alright?" Smiling, she patted the spot beside her, and Rick took his seat.xXxX
Fortunately for Makoto, the shop owner had taken the time to organize the seeds in groups on a table in the middle of the shop. Of course, this wasn't much help for Makoto, since he didn't know anything about seeds and planting seasons. The lanky boy turned to the pensive, cordially smiling shopkeep, a skinny man in his early forties with a thin mustache probably grown to downplay the youthfulness of his face.
"Err... which ones do I grow?" Makoto asked. The shop keeper, Jeff, fiddled with his bow tie before replying, leaving Makoto wondering why he acted so nervously.
"This is going to get you money the fastest," Jeff said as he picked up a bag of turnip seeds and put it back down. "It won't be as much as potatoes or cucumbers, but those both take longer to grow." With that, he quickly held up two more bags for Makoto.
"How much for each?" Makoto asked.
"120 G for the Turnips, 150 G for the Potatoes, 200G for the cucumbers. You'll net a decent profit from each, though."
Makoto looked sheepish. "Don't exactly have much cash…" he mumbled. Jeff nodded, and said:
"That's okay. You can pay on credit."
Makoto looked up at Jeff as the man made his way to the register behind the counter. He picked up a pad of paper and a pen under the counter and began filling out the form.
"I-I'm not paying on credit," Makoto told him, a bit taken aback. Jeff grinned a bit and dismissed Makoto with a wave of his hand.
Arching an eyebrow, Makoto said in a deadpan tone: "You're not gonna do business very well if you sell off to everyone on credit." Jeff looked hurt, and Makoto watched as the man held his stomach and hung his head. "Ummm... well..." Makoto continued. "Not assuming you actually do sell to everyone on credit."
Jeff looked back up at Makoto.
"I kinda…" Jeff began. Makoto arched an eyebrow.
"I'll take two of each," he replied. "I can cover that much." With that, his stomach let out a sudden growl. Jeff looked up at Makoto with a lopsided grin.
"Are you hungry?" he asked. Makoto shook his head, but Jeff didn't seem to believe him.
"I'm fine, really," he said for the third time in two days. He pulled his wallet out of his back pocket and sifted through the empty flaps. "Well..." he said as he fished money jammed into the back flap, money that didn't seem to be there the day before. "I'll take what's left and buy something for the house…"
Jeff motioned to the shelf behind the counter as he proceeded to ring up Makoto's purchases. "What would you like?"
"Food," Makoto deadpanned.
Jeff chuckled a little.
"Maybe some eggs…" Makoto said. "I don't have chickens yet." He also thought he could cook the eggs using the hot plate in the corner of the pseudo-kitchen.
Jeff took down a dozen eggs from the fridge behind him.
"That'll be 1140 G, please. Anything else?"
Makoto shook his head as he paid Jeff. He didn't have much money leftover afterwards.
"I'm good," he said as he took his bags in his arms. Before he left, he added over his shoulder: "Try not to sell so much on credit."
Jeff sighed. "Easier said than done," he said, mostly to himself.
Makoto fought the crazy temptation to eat the eggs raw along the way home, and somehow made it back in time to toss three or four eggs onto the hot plate. They came out tasting like a griddle, but Makoto didn't care. Once he finished devouring breakfast, he grabbed his sacks of seeds and a dinky watering can he found inside the tool chest in the corner.
He didn't think planting seeds would be too hard; at least not any harder than his senior calculus class. Poke the soil, drop in seeds, cover, water spot. Poke the soil, drop in seeds, cover, water spot. Poke the soil, drop in seeds, cover, water spot. A regular round of excitement on a Monday morning.
Once he finished his poking and such, he stood back to get a good look at the fields. They didn't look much different, or greener, from when he had started, but he expected that.
When he looked over his shoulder, he noticed a pink-haired girl standing by the shipping box. She had eyes that showed straight into a bubbly personality, and wore a girlish dress to go with it. Makoto cleared his throat rather loudly and deliberately, catching her attention.
"Oh! I'm sorry!" she said as she held up her hands. "I just wanted to see who had moved in!"
Well, at least she was to the point. Either that, or subtly wasn't her expertise. Makoto stood there, hands in his pockets.
"Hey! I'm talking to you!" the girl called out. "Don't ignore me!"
Makoto blinked and shook his head. That lack of sleep must've been getting to him. "I'm not ignoring you," he replied. He made his way over to her as the girl started up, entranced by his presence. She said something that sounded like "wow" under her breath as she eyed his face.
"My name's Popuri…" she said, a blush covering her face. "And you're Makoto?"
"Yeah," Makoto replied. "And you're probably the first girl ever to check me out. That's probably good, because I always thought my nose was too long."
Popuri giggled and blushed some more, holding her hands behind her back. Shaking his head, Makoto found he couldn't help but smirk.
"Well Makoto," Popuri continued. "I live just down the road with my mother Lillia and my brother Rick." She pointed eagerly in the direction of her house. "We run Chicken Lil's, the poultry farm! Come by and visit when you get the chance!" She gave him a little smile again, and whisked herself off the farm while humming a cheery show tune.
Makoto stood there, arching an eyebrow and tracing his finger up and down the bridge of his nose as he watched Popuri skip away. Then a thought occurred to him. He wondered if her brother was the same Rick that he shoved that morning. But once he remembered his appointment at the Clinic, he realized there wasn't much time to worry.
The receptionist at the Clinic looked up at Makoto as he entered. There was a brief silence as she cracked a wry smile upon seeing him.
"You're not bleeding again, are you?" she asked. Makoto shook his head.
"Not that I know of," he replied, unable to help a little smile. The receptionist nodded.
"Good thing, then," she replied. "The Doctor's seeing someone else right now, but if you take a seat, he'll be with you soon."
Makoto nodded and took a seat on the sofa. After browsing the magazine rack, he snagged a copy of National Geographic and skimmed through some articles. Unable to help but steal a glance, he watched the receptionist for a moment as she jotted something down.
The clock in the sterile lobby gradually seemed to slow down with every click. Makoto wondered what in the hell was going on back there that took so long.
Soon enough, a small, skinny boy walked into the Clinic, his tiny hands cupped together and a cheeky grin on his otherwise innocent face. His dark mushroom cut made him look even more boyish, no more than six years old. The receptionist looked up from her work again, and smiled.
"Hey Stu! Is there something you need?" Makoto non-chalantly kept an eye on the conversation between paragraphs of an article about caribou in the Alaskan wilderness. Meanwhile, Stu looked up at the receptionist, and frowned.
"Sis, you never play with me anymore," he said, taking his cupped hands close to his chest. Elli looked a little guilty.
"You know I have to work, Stu," she replied with a hint of despondency. Stu sighed.
"You're still staying home on Wednesday, right?"
"Of course, Stu," his sister replied, getting a smile from the boy. "You know that."
"Yay!" Stu cheered, unable to hide his grin. He paused for a moment. "I wanna show you something, Sis."
"What is it?" Elli asked as she came out from behind the counter.
"This!" And with that, he shoved his cupped hands into her face, and revealed a huge beetle.
Makoto put down his magazine at that moment. When he noticed Elli, he saw that she looked like she discovered a century-old murder victim in a drained river. Stu laughed at her the whole time. Grumbling to himself, Makoto pulled up the magazine to obscure his view of the squabble.
"Don't ever do that again!" Elli finally snapped. Stu backed away, and then darted to the left. There must have been a 'SANCTUARY' sign flashing over where Makoto sat, so Stu took it and dove under the sofa. Elli followed, stopping in front of Makoto.
Makoto didn't look up for a solid minute as he turned a page. Elli, with an embarrassed smile, waited for him. Finally, Makoto looked up and asked: "Something wrong?"
Elli's expression changed to a feigned sweet smile.
"I'm sorry for such a delay. The Doctor's just running some tests on the patient back there. It shouldn't take much longer, really."
Makoto nodded, smirking inwardly.
"Uh-huh…" he started, continuing to read. After a moment or so, he looked up at her with a poker face and added: "You really came over to get your brother, right?"
"Right," Elli replied sweetly. With that, Makoto stood.
"All yours," he said, motioning to the sofa. He reached over and placed the magazine back in its spot in the rack.
Stu popped his head out from under the sofa.
"Oh, come on! I just wanted to play!" he whined. He looked over at Makoto. "You understand me, right?"
Makoto crossed his arms in front of his chest.
"Hmmmm…" he hummed. "Not really."
"Come on, defend me!" Stu begged Makoto.
"Ehh… I don't feel like it. You shouldn't be bugging your sister at work. Defend yourself."
Tears gathered up in Stu's eyes.
"Ohhhhhh..." he moaned, beginning to cry. "You're so mean!" He ran out of the Clinic, beetle in hand.
Elli turned to Makoto.
"He's all talk when he gets like that, so don't worry." she told him assuringly.
Makoto nodded, then noticed that she was looking at his bandaged arm.
"Come to think of it…" she began, looking up at his face. "We haven't actually introduced ourselves. I'm Elli Cooper."
"Nice to meet you, Makoto..." She laughed, and Makoto found he couldn't help but smile. "Officially, I mean. And thanks again." She smiled. "I'm glad you realized that I don't mean to ignore my brother or anything."
"You don't seem like the type," Makoto told her, taking notice of the warmth in her eyes. She looked touched at that.
Then Jeff emerged from the back room, the Doctor following close behind. Jeff turned to the Doctor, and the Doctor began to speak.
"Just take it a bit easy. I know there's a lot of stress on you."
"Yeah…" he said weakly.
"Well, anyway, go get your prescription from Elli," the Doctor said, shooting a quick glance over to his nurse. Makoto took a step back to let Elli go back to her desk. Jeff followed her, leaving Makoto and the Doctor standing at the entrance to the examination room.
"Bring a basic record file for the Sergeant while you're at it," the Doctor called over Makoto's shoulder. Makoto groaned under his breath at the title, oblivious to Elli when she gave him a perplexed glance
"Got it!" she called, and turned to her desk.
The Doctor led Makoto into the examination room. It still was just as sterile-looking as the rest of the Clinic, with a long table along the wall, a scale, and various charts on the walls.
Makoto was waiting for the Doctor to ask something like, "What brings you to Mineral Town?", but he didn't. Didn't seem much like the small talk type anyway, as Makoto thought. Elli came in and handed Makoto's forms to the Doctor and left again after smiling at Makoto.
The Doctor sat down, and told Makoto to sit on the table and fill out the basics of the form. Makoto wrote out his full name, his place of birth, and some other basic information. Once he finished, he handed the clipboard back to the Doctor.
"You forgot to write your date of birth," the Doctor told him.
"Oh," Makoto said. "Fall 17th." The Doctor nodded and wrote down the information.
"Let's start the measurements now," he said. "Step on the scale over there."
Makoto did so. The Doctor measured his height and weighed him.
"Hmmm... you're a little underweight, even with your body frame," he announced.
"I really haven't been eating well lately. I'm normally 160."
The Doctor nodded. "You'll get back soon. Take your shirt off."
Makoto did so, handing it to the Doctor. The Doctor slung it over a chair. Makoto had a really streamlined body, with toned abs, shaped arms, and no bulk. But the Doctor took notice to the unsettling scar on his stomach.
"What happened there?" he asked, pointing to it.
"I got shot."
"'Bout ten years ago," Makoto told him. The Doctor nodded as he jotted notes.
"Always keep an eye on that wound, okay?" Makoto nodded, and with that, the Doctor motioned for him to stand again. Once Makoto stood, he brought his focus to the boy's knees and then down to his feet. "You're also a bit bowlegged. Is that due to disease?"
Makoto shook his head. With that, the Doctor wrote the information on the form. "So I take it you would've done desk work if you stayed in the military." Makoto nodded. With that, he watched as the Doctor proceeded with the exam.
The Doctor certainly was thorough, doing everything from the examination to changing Makoto's bandage. The clock struck four by the time the Doctor finished. Makoto tossed a quick glance at the clock once he heard it chime, and then turned his focus on the Doctor.
"Well," the Doctor began. "You're pretty healthy except for the fact that you're a bit underweight right now. I'll call over at the Inn and tell Doug that you need food." Makoto looked a little surprised at that. "Next," the Doctor continued, "you should really get some sleep. Take tomorrow off. I don't want you jumping into a regime of heavy work right away. I'll give you some Bodigizer, too, on me. It'll make you feel a bit better when you need it." He got up, and pointed Makoto to the door.
Makoto got up, heading to the lobby after the Doctor. Elli looked positively bored again as she filled out the rest of Makoto's forms, but seeing the Doctor got her to jump up and look interested in her work.
"Elli, get him a Bodigizer," he said.
"Right away!" She turned around and grabbed it, handing it over to the Doctor. She blushed quickly when the Doctor took it from her hands. Makoto watched behind a poker face, shoving his hands into his pockets.
The Doctor gave Makoto his Bodigizer in a small, white bag, and he was on his way out the door when he looked over his shoulder again. He saw Elli blush as the Doctor said something at her. Then he turned back again as he stepped outside and started on his way to the Inn.
The afternoon sky had turned a smokey grey. After turning down the first corner, he stopped in front of the Inn and looked up at the old two story building. He proceeded inside, standing as he stared at what looked like a more family-friendly version of an Irish pub, with dim lighting, several round tables, and an old, wooden floor. He noticed the tall, built, orange-haired bartender polishing off the glasses behind the counter. His light eyes remained focused on his work, and he hummed to himself underneath his trimmed mustache. It must've been Doug.
Makoto stood in the entranceway, waiting for Doug to finish his job, until a door leading from the kitchen opened up in front of his eye, and out came a girl holding what looked to Makoto as some kind of food. Makoto's stomach howled, but he tried paying no attention to it.
"Dad, the food's ready!" the girl shouted. She shared her father's traits, but she was a lot smaller in stature. Makoto thought she seemed about his age, but she looked much younger. He also noticed how she worked with diligence as she set up a table for the guest they were anticipating.
Doug noticed Makoto in the doorway.
"Hey, it's the new guy!" he announced with a hardy chuckle.
"The starving guy!" the girl added.
Doug turned to Makoto. "Don't just stand there. Have a seat! Your first meal here's on me." His voice sounded gruff, but at the same time, friendly.
Makoto sat in the first chair he approached set his bag on the table. When it seemed Doug and his daughter swarmed him on either side, Makoto looked a little uneasy. The daughter set a plate of seasoned cod and broccoli rabe down in front of him.
"Go ahead!" the daughter encouraged. "You'll like it 'cause I made it." With that, Makoto grabbed his fork and knife and ate as quickly as inhumanly possible.
"Whoa, slow down!" Doug shot in. "You're eating so fast that you probably don't know what it is!"
"Fish," Makoto mumbled through mouthfuls. "Tasty." A bit of olive oil, garlic, and broccoli rabe dribbled down his chin as he kept eating voraciously.
"Told you I could make it well, Dad!" the daughter said. Her father rolled his eyes when she stuck her tongue out at him. They didn't initially notice when Makoto finished his food.
"That's good stuff," Makoto deadpanned as he put his utensils on the plate. Doug and his daughter both grinned to each other.
"Glad you liked it!" the daughter began. "By the way, Mr. Human Vacuum with Shit on his Chin, I'm Ann." She stuck a chapped hand out at Makoto.
Makoto nodded, his expression unchanging.
"Makoto," he said, shaking her hand and wiping his chin at the same time.
Ann smiled at Makoto as he got up from his seat, but Makoto didn't take notice. Doug did, and he grinned to himself when he saw Ann checking out Makoto's butt.
Makoto looked up at Doug and Ann.
"Thank you," he said, oblivious to all butt-staring as he grabbed his bag. With that, he nodded and made his way for the door with a hasty farewell over his shoulder.
Once the door shut behind him, Doug said: "Good kid, but he could stand to work on the social skills." He tossed a grin at his daughter.
"I know what you're thinking!" she huffed, placing her hands on her hips. "Don't even try with this one!" She cut him a dirty glare and stuck out her tongue as she picked up the dishes, but he just laughed at her.
Later on that evening, Makoto sat down at the table in his house and placed a pad of paper in front of himself. He pondered something for a moment, and then started writing. All the while, he carefully considered his words. When he finished, he looked his writing.
Spring 3rd, 2004
I arrived in Mineral Town a few days ago. Just writing to let you know I got here safely. I have no phone, so we'll just have to write each other. Anyway, I have a story to tell you. When I got here, they told me the old man died and left me his farm in his will. I agreed to work it for a while. The Mayor of this town gave me three years to see if I can restore the farm. If I can't do it, I'll have to leave town. I think it'll give me something good to do, so this is where I'll be for a while.
Hope to hear from you soon.
As he read, he felt himself griping the sides of the letter. Finally, with a frown crossing his face, he folded the letter and tucked it into an envelope. Before he headed for bed, he left it on the table, ready to send it to his father.
DarlightZERO- Always nice to see a new face. Sorry for taking so long with this new chapter. I'll try to get the remakes out sooner from now on.
Terra- Hmmm... I've never seen Rent, though I've heard it was good. Thanks, as always, for reading.
ACInBC- Improvement's always great. :) I'm still looking forward to a new chapter of The Yellow Bird.
Until next time.