Short Story Exerpt – From hitokoto, the blog of Chianna Noguchi

I’ve put pen to paper, figuratively, in the last year or so. I’ve had ideas for a long time,  including short fiction. Here is the first part of one. If you want to be a beta-reader, send me an email or leave me a comment and I’ll share it with you.

From hitokoto, the blog of Chianna Noguchi

You feel you need self help, so you read online that you are the average of the five people you spend time with. Choose those people and you can improve yourself. Because you have to do something, anything, now.

You spend time with your mom. Your mom, who is neurotic and worries that there will be another earthquake and another Fukushima Daiichi anytime now, so you have to always be ready. She doesn’t sleep well because she stays awake till 2 am “researching” contamination, which is a metaphor for obsessing. She’s up late into night finding the best Geiger counter to buy from Russia online, an industry born of Chernobyl. She makes sure that all your drinking water is either bottled or from your under-the-sink, reverse osmosis purifier. You listen to your mom tell you about how reverse osmosis can remove 97% of the iodine in water, so that’s the same as iodine-131, which is what would contaminate water when the fallout reaches us, which it hasn’t. You drink only Evian or reverse osmosis water for two years until you learn to hate the word osmosis. You only eat only pork, chicken, beef, and fish from the western part of Japan, from Osaka to Kyushu. Nothing north and east of Nagoya will do, Nagoya only in a pinch. You turn off the TV when you hear news stories about anything agricultural because it will only keep her up that night. You destroy newspapers before she can read them, stories of cattle being sold from the Tokyo area to Kobe because then you would never know where the beef was actually from. You expand this to all stories about cows, chickens, pigs, sheep, fish, and goats. You’ve never eaten any lamb except for the one Genghis Khan Mongolian Barbeque when you were seven. You don’t eat any meat, vegetable, fish, or starch at any restaurant that doesn’t clearly state the verifiable location of production.

You don’t tell her that one day you break completely from your not-so-self-imposed fast. You drink water only from the tap, pork from regions as close to Fukushima as possible. For two weeks straight you eat only Mickey-D nuggets, donuts, sugary cereal, potato chips, sausage, bacon, artificial sweetener directly from the packet, heavily processed luncheon meat, and mayonnaise. You drink only tap water, diet soda, grain alcohol, and frozen blended coffee drinks. You take a week off from work to recover from gastrointestinal distress…

 

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