A Job for Sanosuke
Prologue – The Zanza
By Shirou Shinjin.
Disclaimer: I have not, do not, and most likely will never own Rurouni Kenshin, or its characters. They belong to various evil corporations, and the wonderful Watsuki-sama. I'm just going to borrow them for a bit, k?
Tall, imposing and strong, with his own code of justice.
A lazy, easy-going larakin with a cocky grin.
Both with the symbol for 'evil' sewn onto their backs.
Both a puzzling dichotomy of righteousness and dark vengeance.
And above all else, two names that strike fear and terror into the hearts of every restaurateur in Tokyo.
A man with an endless appetite; who can eat for hours on end, and still not be satiated. A man who can, single-handed, consume an establishment's entire stock of sake in one sitting.
A man who has not once paid a bill in his life.
There is nary a bar, cafe, soba stand, noodle bar, hot pot or restaurant in the greater Tokyo area that does not have a tab under the name 'Zanza' or 'Sagara'. Quite frequently, they have one under each. And those that do not, live under the ever-present fear that one day they will look up to see those dark, hungry brown eyes and cocky grin walk through their door, and out with their profits.
Much like the legendary Hitokiri Battousai is to swordsmen the country over, the Zanza is to restaurant owners.
But for all their various levels of ever-increasing debt at the hands of this voracious omnivore, there is one proprietor whom they know not to complain around. For the Zanza's debts to their establishments pale in comparison to the leviathan liability he has accrued at her hot-pot restaurant.
Yes, Sekihara Tae is to be both respected and pitied. Respected for being able to keep her business running and profitable even with the constant visitations by the Zanza, and pitied that he seems to prefer her food to anyone else's. Bizarrely, she does not even seem phased by this; she simply smiles and continues on, turning a tidy profit in the process.
Some attribute it to denial. Others to impeccable business acumen. Others make half-mumbled comments to the effect that the Zanza pays her, just not in the way they're thinking.
And whilst each and every one of them dream of the day the Zanza finally pays his tab, the harsh mistress that is reality forces them to consider somewhat more plausible occurrences. Such as revenge.
Little do they know that sweet, sweet vengeance is closing in upon the Zanza at this very moment...
Good grief! Something written by me that isn't a parody! The world must be coming to an end!
No, sorry to disappoint you, but this one's a (largely) original work. It was inspired by a post on the Meiji Tales forums which was something to the effect of "How could Tae get Sano to pay his bills off?" It all kinda went downhill from there...
This story will be rather longer than the ones I've done before: I'm looking at around 7 chapters not including the prologue. Needless to say, I'm going to be absolutely merciless to poor Sano in this story. I spent several days high on caffeine and sugar (a bad combination at the best of times) coming up with every degrading and embarrassing situation I could think of. I almost feel sorry for Sano, but really he did bring this on himself.
Another quick note on review responses. I highly doubt I will be doing the "respond to review in the Author's Note" thing most people do. I get an email for each review I receive, and I do my best to reply to each one individually. That said, if you submit your review anonymously, or your email isn't public, there's not much I can do.
10th September, 2005
To Author-chan and SiriusFan13 for proof-reading this chapter.
2005-09-19: Removed the bizarre reference to the calcium fluoride phosphate, apatite. It wasn't a spelling mistake per se, but still not quite what I meant to say...