Balls of Fire

A fanfic by some madao

Gintama is the creation and property of Hideaki Sorachi

"The other day, Gin, I pulled out a nose hair. That's an everyday thing, right? Pulling things out of our noses that feel annoying? But this time, I was surprised by my own body. The hair I pulled out was... white."

"That sounds like a horror story, but without a fright," said Gintoki. "It sounds like a tragedy, but without any sadness."

"I'm on the wrong side of thirty, Gin. I once climbed up what I thought were mountains while reaching for the stars, but it was really only climbing to the top of an anthill. But this anthill, Gin, it was on the edge of a bottomless hole, and I fell down it."

Gintoki didn't say anything. What could he say? He had no idea.

"I'm afraid of hitting bottom."

"I thought you already did," said Gintoki.

"Oh, no. I can go further downward, still." Hasegawa Taizo seemed to be staring into an abyss. "It's more like I've fallen down so far that people can't see me falling anymore. Since they can't see me anymore, they assume by the time they bother calling out to me that I've hit something. But I'm still falling." He laughed, bitterly. "Or maybe it was a different kind of hole I fell down. 'This is my hole! It was made for me!'"

"In that case, at least you wouldn't come out of the other side of that hole looking any worse than you already do now," said Gintoki.

"Thanks," said Hasegawa, annoyed. "What about your own hole, then? What would you look like after you fall into it?"

"Nothing goes in my hole. I keep it firmly clenched tight until a number two needs to be let out."

Silence. Neither man had anything more to say.

It was a big garbage bin for a tall building.

"I thought you had some real work," said Gintoki, picking his nose, and then flicking the booger at Hasegawa. "I followed you here cause you said you had a way to for both of us to get paid."

"We will get paid, Gin. These amanto living in these condos throw out the craziest things sometimes. Just have to take it to a sidewalk market, and we'll make some dough."

Gintoki sighed, annoyed. Another harebrained scheme. Yeah, if they were lucky, somebody will have thrown out at least a case of beer, but Taizo Hasegawa wasn't even that lucky. He climbed up the side of the garbage bin, and peered inside. He grabbed something that looked a bit interesting, and handed it to Hasegawa. "There you go. Probably worth a million yen."

Hasegawa looked at what was handed to him. It was a painting. Rather crude. And in it, was somebody... no, something he'd never seen before. He tossed it onto the ground. "Gin! That's just a piece of junk! I need something I can sell on the streets!"

"Oi, oi, oi!" Gintoki picked up the painting, and brushed it off. "This here is a painting of a famous amanto actor, who's won countless awards across the galaxy! Tossing it aside. You're being just like the amanto who threw this painting away, chucking into the trash a priceless artifact."

"Oh, and I suppose you know this actor's name?" asked Hasegawa.

"Cth... Cthunoodle."

"Why'd you hesitate?"

"I was just remembering his most memorable role," said Gintoki. "That one where he rose from the watery depths, and then sunk again when he realized his hair was too soggy and flat, and had no texture."

"Oi! Is he an actor, or a meal?"

"Hey, I don't judge other cultures, especially the ones that use foods as hairpieces. Shows foresight."

"You're just making this up!"

"No, this painting is even autographed." Gintoki showed the painting to Hasegawa. There were words on it that read, "Cthunuudle."

"You spelt his name wrong," said Hasegawa.

"Hmm, got any whiteout?"

"You won't fix that painting, now."

"Sure I can. I just have to do this," said Gintoki, as he scribbled on the painting with a handy charcoal he'd fished out of the garbage bin. He drew a moustache on the creature.

"I don't think there're many amanto who have moustaches on their asses, Gin."

"I got Cthunoodle's face and ass mixed up? Couldn't even tell."

Hasegawa sighed, and then he slapped the painting out of Gintokis hands. "Why the hell are we wasting time on this piece of junk? I had to really pull some strings so I could get this row of alley ways, you know?"

"Eh? What'd'ya mean?"

"It's not as though this isn't something somebody hasn't done before, digging through trash. Some people really can make a decent sort of living doing this. But people stake claims on these alley ways. It's a rough world in these alleys."

How impressive, felt Gin. Or not.

"Anyway, I've only got 'em for tonight, so please, let's get to business."

Gintoki climbed back up the garbage bin, and pulled something out, handing it Hasegawa. "This'll probably sell."

It was a dutch wife. A cthunoodle dutch wife.

Hasegawa turned, and fired it off toward the wall, where it bounced off, and squeaked. "Who in their right minds would buy that?"

"Oi, you gotta treat her properly! She's royalty." Gintoki walked over to the discarded cthunoodle dutch wife, picked her up, and showed to Hasegawa a name written on the doll. It read, "O-Cthuthatherin-sama."

"Never mind her! Just find something in there that can sell!"

Gintoki shrugged, and walked over to the garbage bin.

He pulled out a rolled up carpet. A rather long rolled up carpet. And a big one, too. Just large enough... just large enough to hide a... to hide a body in.

No, no, no, no! Hasegawa shook his head. That wasn't a large bulge in that carpet, was it? Large enough to be a... body? No, it couldn't be. It had to be something else! In what kind of world did people go hiding dead bodies in carpets?

"Che! Heavy! It's like there's a dead body rolled up in it, or something," said Gintoki, nonchalantly.

"Don't say that! It's bad luck!" screeched Hasegawa.

"Why? As if there'd be a dead body in there. Probably just some dead weight in there. Makes it seem heavy, when it's really just some sort of decomposing crap."

"Could you stop that?" asked Hasegawa, nervously and jittery. "I feel some really bad vibes coming from that carpet. Maybe if we unroll it, we'll be unleashing something terrible. Maybe we should keep that Pandora's Carpet rolled up, and let it keep its evil sealed?"

"Nonsense. You dragged me out here, and now you just wanna bail? That's why you're a mostly annoying deadbeat fool. In other words, a madao."

"Gin, there are things I know, and things I don't. And I know how to keep these things separate. And whatever's rolled up in this carpet is something I don't want to know!"

"And that's why you're gonna live on the streets forever!" Gintoki kicked the carpet so it would roll open.

Hasegawa dived toward the carpet, but he was too late. He landed on whatever was rolled up inside. Fortunately, he had his eyes closed.

"Ha, ha, ha, ha." Gintoki weakly laughed. "You were right. That was a Pandora's Carpet. But I don't know what the hell we just unleashed."

Hasegawa opened his eyes, and saw... a bound and gagged cthunoodle... dutch wife.

Who... who would throw away a dutch wife in such a manner...?

No, no, no, no. Hasegawa didn't want to know.

"Let's get the hell out of here, Gin," said Hasegawa.

Gintoki didn't say anything, and turned and left the alley.

"So, apparently. That stuff belonged to some dead amanto," said Gintoki. "The people living there just threw its stuff out exactly as they found it."

"There are things I don't want to know, Gin. A dutch wife thrown away like a dead body? Or my white nose hair. Each is equally horrifying. I really don't want to know more about either, thank you very much."

"Just thought you'd want to know. And incidentally, I also found husbands for Cthuthatharine, and Cthuthanbolyn."

"Gin, I didn't need to know the name of the dutch wife victim. And also, you make this story sound like it had a happy ending, or something. Is it really a happy end?"

"I don't know. It's just an ending. Nothing has to be special about them."

The end

Author's notes:

Hello, and thanks for reading. Got a chapter out of the way. Tried for a different sort of feel regarding the story. Might write another story for this title, but not sure. Will try.