All characters © Kato Kazue
A young man named Johann Faustus makes a large purchase at the confectionery store.
The Man in the White Suit
The weather marks the peculiarity of the day; it is sunny, yet steel gray, almost black thunderclouds hover ahead, casting weird yellow shadows over everything. The humidity, thick and hovering, can almost be tasted.
The proprietor is not an old man, but middle aged. He is a respectable man, but not a superstitious one, like the older generations of today's Japan often tend to be. Yet perhaps the strange weather had been an omen, the proprietor thinks later, for the oddities of the day.
Most of his customers fall under the age of twelve; usually tantrummy and more often than not obese, so the proprietor looks up when a slim man in his mid-twenties enters his confectionery store. The little bells on top of the door tinkle faintly as the door swings shut. Even for a day as muggy and overcast as this one, the young man is dressed oddly for an August afternoon. He wears a suit of pure white, which is a rare sight to behold nowadays since black is back and white easily soils. Yet this man's suit is immaculate, pressed clean and smooth. He is pale, and his hair is an inky black which contrasts with eyes of a startling green color. The proprietor notices that the man has a goatee, which, while trimmed tastefully, certainly went out of style decades ago. Even he knows that.
The man is alone, which is also odd.
"Can I help you, sir?" the proprietor asks. His curiosity and unease is poorly disguised, and he thinks of the unloaded M9 in his bottom drawer. Almost instantly after the thought crosses his mind the proprietor mentally scolds himself for jumping to suspicious conclusions.
The young man puts him at ease, thankfully. He smiles charmingly and straightens his maroon tie. "Certainly, my good man," he exclaims, with a happy glance at his surroundings. "I was hoping to buy something sweet."
"Then you've come to the right place," the proprietor chuckles, mirroring his customer's good humor. It is weird, but not unheard of. Even adults get hankerings for sweet things from time to time. That, mixed with a little bit of nostalgia for those good old Bazooka bubble gum and candy buttons from back in the day calls them here. He's seen it before.
"Hmm," the young man exclaims, walking over to one of the plastic columns and peering into it thoughtfully. A pale pink tongue runs over his lips, and the proprietor marvels at how the light outside almost makes his teeth look pointed in the shadows. Funny, those refractory illusions.
"How much for the Laffy Taffy?"
"Two for twenty yen," the proprietor replies. The young man nods, absently playing with the cowlick sticking up amidst his head of black hair. Gloves, the same maroon shade as his tie, don his hands.
The man browses the store, stopping to inspect a column or a basket, occasionally asking for the price of an item. Yet, he collects nothing. Finally, the young man approaches the front counter and produces a leather checkbook.
"I've made my decision," he announces, with another wide smile. His teeth really do look pointed, the proprietor notices. No, that's not quite right- just the canines on either side. Everything about this man seems to come to a point: his goatee, his teeth, even his ears.
"With your pleasure," the young man begins, "I would like to purchase five pounds of mint juleps, six pounds of York mints, half a pound of Smarties, five pounds of nonpareils and pirouettes, six pounds of assorted jelly beans..."
The proprietor quickly fumbles for a pen and paper.
"...Thirty Milky Ways, thirty Butterfingers, thirty Snickers, one hundred chocolate-covered pretzels and thirty chocolate-dipped strawberries, twelve fruit tarts, thirteen airheads, fifteen warheads, three pounds of sour patch kids, one hundred lollipops (fifty of the small ones and fifty of the large, swirly ones, please) one marzipan fruit..."
Somewhere in the back of his mind as he's scribbling, the proprietor wonders if they will have to roll this man's purchase out in a barrel. And the list still grows. The proprietor fills up one sheet of paper and turns it over to the backside.
"...ten rolls of black licorice, a pound of rock candy, and two meters of candy buttons."
The young man in the white suit seems to have finished, and the proprietor reads over the list of purchases. He glances over what looks like half of his store on paper and shakes his head. Is he even supposed to take this seriously? The young man across the counter smiles earnestly at him, and the proprietor decides what the hell. It's not his money.
"Is...that all, sir?"
"I think so," his customer replies amiably enough.
"All right. Give me a minute to punch this all in..."
The young man flips the wallet in his hands around patiently, whistling a faint, unfamiliar tune. The first rumblings of thunder burp outside as the proprietor types, and the clouds start to move in. The yellow light of the sun trying to poke through makes everything look sickly and sallow.
The proprietor finishes the last item, and the register beeps once. "Your total will be, ah, 49,267 yen," he says, expecting a surprised, even indignant reaction from the man across the counter.
The man only nods solemnly, opens his wallet, and takes out a blank check, which he proceeds to fill out. "Should I make it out to Akihara Bon-bon?" he asks, pausing at the address space. The proprietor confirms this, and watches as the man writes in a narrow, flourishing Palmer method script that looks more like calligraphy than cursive. The proprietor watches as his customer signs his name. It is a foreign name: Johann Faustus.
"Are you from Germany, Mr. Faustus?" the proprietor asks, curious despite himself.
"Yes," the young man replies. "Berlin. Their chocolate is superb." He does not say anything more on the matter and silently crosses his last t.
"Well," the proprietor says, taking the check from the young man, "your Japanese is very good."
The young man waves a gloved hand dismissively. "I speak all languages," he says, momentarily confuses the proprietor. The proprietor wonders if that was a joke. Luckily, they still have work to do, and the he can forget the comment. The young man claps his hands together, exclaiming, "Let's work on getting all this stuff together, shall we? I don't sleep much anymore, so I need something to keep me awake these days!"
Again, the proprietor is not sure if that was meant to be a joke or not. Mr. Faustus does have some pretty hefty bags under his eyes, but that does not mean anything. The proprietor decides not to concern himself with the matter, as he now has almost 50,000 yen to add to his account, and busies himself with collecting all of the candy and sweets. First they put everything in small bags, then they put those bags into bigger ones. Even with Mr. Faustus's help, it takes a good half hour.
When all of it is said and done, the store looks a little barer and the young man is left standing next to a few enormous bags that, together, look like they weigh more than he does.
"Would you like some help getting those to your car, sir?" the proprietor asks, although his joints are bad and he doubts he would be much help. He runs the confectionery shop on his own, and has little need of assistants. Besides, normal customers don't generally make off with better than eighty pounds of sweets, so he's never needed anybody else.
The young man turns and smiles that pointy smile of his. "I assure you, my good man," he says, "that I am very strong." And with that, he gracefully lifts the bags, as if they weigh only a few ounces, and walks out.
More thunder rumbles outside, and to the proprietor of the confectionery store, it sounds like a colossal laugh from the heavens above.
"Did you buy out another candy store?" Shirou asks, seeing the new array of sweets in Mephisto's office (not to mention the colorful overflow of wrappers in the trash bin).
"It wasn't like last time," Mephisto protests. "I left some there."
Shirou rubs his eyes behind his glasses and gives his head a small, resigned shake. "I would warn you against the horrors of tooth decay and diabetes if you were human," he begins, "but you know that this is probably the reason you can't sleep in the first place, don't you? Sugar kind of does that."
Mephisto rolls a grape lollipop around in his mouth and waves his hand. "Please. I'm running a school, lying to my father, and duping the Vatican all at the same time," he replies, as if that explains everything. "It's a lot of work. And we technically don't need to sleep much anyway. In Gehenna we don't sleep at all."
Shirou sighs. "If you get a stomachache, I'm not giving you any more of Blacky's catnip wine."
"Oh, but that was so good," Mephisto says through his lollipop. He tilts his too-big hat and rolls his eyes. "Just leave me be with my candies, Fujimoto."
"Alright, Mr. Wonka," Shirou replies comfortably, taking a tootsie roll from the jar on Mephisto's desk and pocketing it.
Over the last decade, confectionery stores in the Tokyo region have been experiencing a mysterious boom in marketing. Coincidentally, and probably with no connection, several of these confectionery establishments seem to be importing copious amounts of German candies. Also completely unrelated, True Cross Academy was established for talented youngsters around the same time as these profits began to increase. It will remain a mystery to us all.
Author's note: writing this made me incredibly hungry. And if you're too lazy to do the conversions, 49267 yen is roughly 600 dollars. I was stuck on who to make the proprietor, since none of the current characters really qualify. I was thinking at first of the male equivalent to Ms Momoi (from the grocery story in episode 1), but then I just decided to have a passive outsider who would merely observe and quietly freak out about it later.