My Hawk

What’s Blond Ali up to? Are you trying to run away? Is your ass going to bring me anything but trouble? He didn’t say any of those things.

“Where are you staying?” Rostem asked.

“I booked at a serviced apartment, but I haven’t checked in yet.”

“You thought you’d still get in at this time? Forget it.”

This boy had really been distracted from practical considerations, even from eating a meal. Which was why Rostem was sitting in a café in the middle of the night with this boy who called himself Sohran and looked irritated even while eating chicken pudding under his hospitality.


Tiştên Negotî (Words Not Needed)

Sohran wandered around the house while talking business with Ali over the phone, opened the kitchen cupboards, and glanced in at the pitiful contents of the fridge. He leaned against the kitchen sink and stared into the strip of garden warmed by the last of the afternoon sun, while imagining Ali in a night-lit private hospital room. He pushed off from the sink and returned down the main hallway, but passed by his own room, and into Ali’s at the end of the hallway.

He’d kept the blinds in Ali’s room down, not wanting to bother with them every morning and night. In the dimmed afternoon light, the tidy room with its European minimalist design, hard edges and colourless decor reminded him of an empty hotel room. He’d been keeping it dusted in between the cleaners’ fortnightly visit as part of his regular chores, but he hadn’t washed the bedding. He could still find Ali’s scent when he dropped onto the duvet.


Firefly Catching (蛍狩り)

As a gimmick, many of the districts’ entertainment houses ordered large amounts of fireflies to release in their gardens and party rooms. But since everyone was doing it, it had lost its charm. Even the low folk making their homes in a riverbed could enjoy the view of fireflies released near the K River. At night, during the start of the festival season, all mingled. Groups of children, yelling and running along the riverside through willows and cherries, chanted the firefly-hunting songs, though there was no sweet water in the capital. Surely it was also tiresome for the prostitute boys dressed up in pale greens and yellows for the occasion. There were even rumours of gold dust glowing on buttocks in shows of excess among patrons.

Other houses took their inspiration in advertising from anything that might give them an advantage with the tourist crowds. Many a historical and mythical figure turned out. Yoshitsune and the master tengu descended from Mt. Kurama to entertain with a crowd-pleasingly unsophisticated repertoire, and were booked flat till the end of the month. The great M-district courtesan, Sasanami, became an older Takeru with his hair tied in buns, which caused quite a sensation among his fans.

“Can you believe that shit?”