by Anna Sartin
. . .
Chapter Thirty-two: A Carpet Named Jesus
"Hey Yuki?" Shuichi asked, examining the package his lover had just rescued from Tatsuha's tent.
"What?" Eiri asked. He was currently engaged in a stare down with Mr. Fuzzy.
"Are you a member of the Mamoru Eto Fan Club?"
Eiri looked up at the singer. Before the whole business with Four Gay Elves started up he'd been an avid fan of Eto's writing. There were several fan clubs out there dedicated to the author and his work and Eiri had joined them all back when he was still a teenager. "Yes..." he answered slowly. "Why?"
"You got a package from The Official Mamoru Eto Fan Club. It says you won something." He handed Eiri the package, and the blond examined it carefully. On the front it said:
"Congratulations member 99166, Eiri Uesugi! You've won our monthly giveaway!"
Eiri had many options at this point and he considered them each carefully. He could:
1) throw the box in the trash and forget he ever saw it,
2) send it back unopened along with a request to unsubscribe him from the club, or
3) simply throw it out the window and hope no bald-headed monks (or anyone else for that matter) were passing by this time.
He could have done any of those things and been better off, but in the end curiosity got the better of him. In all the years he'd been a member of Eto's various fan clubs he'd never won anything. He slowly opened the box while Shuichi watched, equally curious about its contents. The author's heart nearly stopped beating and Shuichi's eyes widened in disbelief. It can't be...
It was a brand-new copy of Four Gay Elves.
. . .
Tatsuha, meanwhile, had been having troubles of his own. Returning Dawn of the Dead had been easy enough; he'd been to the video store plenty of times with Ryuichi. Finding a grocery store, however, was proving to be quite a challenge. He knew where several little corner stores were that sold cigarettes, booze and basic food items, but none of them sold any cat food. Ryuichi, being in a hurry to join Tohma and Noriko on their trip to goodness-knows-where, had neglected to give him any. It was a wonder the absent-minded popstar remembered to give him the kitten's litter box. Unfortunately it was still in the tent outside Eiri's front door. He prayed Mr. Fuzzy didn't have any accidents before he got back, otherwise his brother might make good on his threat to throw him out the window.
He wandered aimlessly around for a while hoping to chance upon a grocery store until he found a man walking a dog who, upon questioning, told him the nearest was only three blocks away on the corner of 4th and Cherry Street. By this time his feet were killing him and all he wanted was to get what he needed so he could go home.
When he turned on 4th Street he suddenly got an ominous feeling. 4th street... he'd been here before! This is where he and Ryuichi had run into... "You!" a female voice shouted in English, blocking his path.
Damn it! He took off running and the homeless woman immediately gave chase.
"Hey! Come back here!" she yelled. "I've got to tell you about Jesus!"
. . .
Needless to say he didn't come home with any food. Instead, he returned with a large rolled-up carpet.
"What's that?" Shuichi asked.
"Jesus," Tatsuha answered glumly, dumping the rug on the floor.
"Jesus? The cross-tian guy?"
"Jesus was a carpet?" Shuichi asked, looking very, very confused. He imagined a group of people nailing a carpet to a cross.
"That's what she seemed to think," Tatsuha said, taking a seat on the couch. "Supposedly God is a lawn chair." Shuichi just stared at him like he'd lost his mind. The young monk shook his head. "Don't ask. Where's Aniki?"
"He locked himself in his room and won't come out."
"Oh? How come?"
Shuichi held up Eiri's new copy of Four Gay Elves.
Tatsuha's mouth dropped open. "I gave that to Ryuichi!"
"Who gave it to Seguchi-san, who gave it to Mika-san, who gave it back to Yuki. Then we donated it to the library and Yuki got a new copy in the mail!"
"It really IS stalking him..."
Shuichi set his crutches against the wall and knelt down so he could unroll the carpet. "I take it you ran into the lady on 4th Street again?"
"Yup. Somebody stole her "restaurant tables" for "The Daily Bread" so now she's filled that alley of hers with old carpets. She said that this one is Jesus."
"What are you going to do with it?"
"I don't know. She wouldn't let me go until I agreed to take the stupid thing. Where's Mr. Fuzzy?"
"With Yuki. They've been locked in his room for over an hour."
Tatsuha flinched. Hopefully his brother wasn't doing anything TOO unpleasant to the poor kitten, even if it WAS the meanest cat he'd ever seen. Come to think of it, he reminds me of someone...
"Why didn't you dump the rug in an alley somewhere?" Shuichi wanted to know.
"I tried. The police caught me and accused me of "unlawful dumping". I talked my way out of getting fined, but there was no way I could risk putting it down a second time. The cop followed me all the way home! He could have at least offered me a ride..."
"Hand me that book, would you?" Shuichi asked, pointing to where Four Gay Elves was sitting on the coffee table. Tatsuha handed him the book and the singer proceeded to roll the carpet up again with the book inside it. "There. Now we just have to find some way to get rid of it!"
. . .
Eiri, meanwhile, was laying on his bed with Mr. Fuzzy on his stomach, wondering what he'd done to deserve the crappy hand life seemed to be dealing him lately. The fact that the Book From Hell had appeared yet again to darken his doorstep wasn't exactly surprising- in fact on some level he'd actually gotten used to being stalked an inanimate object- but getting a brand-new copy of it from a fan club he'd joined over six years ago had thrown him for a loop. Maybe it wasn't the book that was the problem.
"Maybe it's me," he said to himself as he stared at the ceiling. Maybe I'm cursed.
He'd briefly considered burning the book in the next room, but soon realized that doing so would be pointless. Even if he managed to destroy it he'd just wind up with a new copy to replace it!
The kitten mewed for attention, but when he moved to pet the little furball it bit his finger and jumped off the bed. He closed his eyes and sighed. What's taking Tatsuha so long? I'm hungry...
As if on cue he heard the voices of his brother and his lover. They were talking about... Jesus? Eiri sat up and shook his head. Whatever... He got up to unlocked the door when an unpleasant smell suddenly hit him. His eyes scanned the room for Mr. Fuzzy.
"Where are you, you damn cat?" The kitten mewed from under his bed. He got down on the floor to look for him and when he poked his nose under the bed the smell got stronger. "Shit!"
. . .
"Hey, Aniki," Tatsuha greeted his sibling, who'd just come out of the bedroom with Mr. Fuzzy perched on his shoulder. "What's up?"
"The cat shit in my room. Clean it up."
"You could at least welcome me home before you start complaining!"
Eiri grunted. "It took you long enough. I hope you brought something decent to eat, I'm starving."
"Is that how you greet people when they get home?" Tatsuha asked, annoyed. "It's a wonder Shindo bothers coming home to you at all!"
"What's for dinner?" Eiri asked, ignoring his younger brother's annoyance. He was secretly proud of his ability to get him all riled up. He intended to spend the next seven days getting back at the little shit for blackmailing him.
"There isn't any, unless you want boiled carpet for supper."
Eiri looked down at the rug and back up at his brother. "I send you out to get food and you bring back a carpet? What are you, a retard?"
"The crazy homeless lady made him take it," Shuichi explained, getting up off the floor.
"Well, get it out of here," Eiri ordered, before heading for the kitchen with Mr. Fuzzy still in tow. "And clean up the mess Mr. Fluffy made in my room."
"IT'S MR. FUZZY!"
Tatsuha watched Shuichi follow his grumpy boyfriend out of the room, feeling highly aggravated and grossly under appreciated. He'd done all that walking and THIS was the thanks he got! And what the hell did they expect him to do with this stupid carpet when the cops could be watching the place?
"Stupid Aniki," he grumbled, picking "Jesus" up again. "What the hell does he want from me, anyway?" He grabbed the keys out of his brother's coat pocket and headed out the door again.
End chapter thirty-two