Anicka kept her heavily made-up eyes ahead as she pushed through the pedestrian ridden streets of the Roppogni district. Although water proof and more expensive than a couple fancy dinners, the heavy rains and oppressive humidity of Tokyo still forced streaks of the mascara and eyeliner underneath her eyes. Drops of water fell from the overcast sky providing a slight cooling sensation her back. She put her hand on the butterfly knife she had recently purchased, the heavily shaded alleys and dizzying neon lights not enticing her to let her guard down.
Walking into her place of work, she quickly scanned the establishment. The place was brimming with rich Japanese businessmen, foreign visitors, and stunning women. The air was thick with wafts of cigarette smoke and the odors of men overcompensating with outrageous amounts of cologne. Several smiles and nods were given to her as she strode into the backroom. Jetta, a leggy blonde from Australia and Liana, a petite Romanian sat together drinking ice water with somber looks on their faces.
“I can’t believe this happened. Vicky was such a nice person.”
“I know. It makes me sick,” Liana replied. “I am scared to even go on dohans anymore, but my father’s medical bills-”
“Don’t.” Jetta squeezed her hand. “It was an isolated incident. You can’t let it get to you like that.”
“I’m just being extra cautious. Looking out for a guy with a scar on his forehead.”
“What do you mean?”
“You didn’t hear? Her fiancé back in America said she’d called him and described the guy she was going to meet. He is well-built and has a large scar on his forehead that he mostly keeps hidden by shaggy black hair.”
“Wow. Did you know that Anicka?” Jetta turned around in her chair.
“Yeah.” Anicka nodded with little interest as she fastened the straps on her designer heels.
Anicka was one of the several beautiful women who worked at Club Rigolade as a hostess. Tall, with caramel hair, and distinct Ukrainian features; she never had any problems being requested by men. She like all the other women who worked at most of the clubs in the Roppongi district, were foreign to Japan. Most all had entered on ninety-day visas that strictly forbid them from working, but the allure of being a hostess in Tokyo had led them to breaking some rules. This was the type of place where everyone cheated. The clubs broke the law by hiring the girls, the girls made money illegally and the cops turned a blind eye.
“Both of you, table four.” Satoru directed Jetta and Liana.
“Anicka, how are you doing tonight?” Satoru eyeballed her as she applied a subtle coat of pink lipstick.
“Good, thanks.” Satoru was the owner and manager of the club; he was a good guy aside from the money symbols that haunted his eyes. Anicka was one of his best girls so he was always happy to see her, knowing it meant a good night for the books.
“Yes.” Anicka replied firmly.
“The client is already waiting to see you.”
“Sounds great Saturo. I’ll be right out.” He nodded, giving her a quick glance over before exiting into the main floor. Anicka stood up, forcing her cocktail dress another measly inch down her thighs although it was certain to raise back up within a few steps. She was ready for another night of putting on an elaborate show, for a job that essentially commanded her best acting skills.
A mischievous smile reached her face as she sat at the table of a well-dressed client who looked to be the type to throw around money. His expression exuded confidence in the dim-lights of the club, as he placed a stately cigar into his mouth. She made the flame from the lighter play in front of her eyes before she extended it to the cigar. He took sips from his glass of mizuwari as he attempted a sort of conversation with her, his English badly broken. It didn’t matter though; it was all a game.
The job of the hostess was to smile, light cigarettes, refill drinks, and pretend to be completely infatuated with her client, regardless of if he was talking about sports cars or how he wished he could touch her feet. The hostess clubs were a well-established system in Japan. The thought process behind it being that businessmen work hard all day, want to impress their clients, and would feel disappointment or embarrassment if they were rejected by women in a regular club. Here they could cheat and just pay $1000 an hour to have the prettiest of women suddenly smitten with them.
These clubs didn’t draw the line at making money with just one method. The girls were also required to go on a certain amount of dohans a month, which were basically lunches or dinners with a client. They would sit there hearing boring life stories or wallows of despair, and just have to maintain a smile and demeanor of fascination throughout. Both the client and the hostess knew that the line was drawn at conversation, a hostess facing termination if she crossed that line. Anicka had worked at Rigolade for nearly a year now and neither herself or any of the girls she worked with had ever felt unsafe on dohans. Sometimes uncomfortable and peeved, but there had never been a true sense a fear or anything to instill it. That had all changed the previous week.
Vicky, an American who had arrived in Tokyo only four months prior, had gone on a dohan one night and never came back. She was missing for over two months. The police refused to do an investigation or even open a formal case, insisting that gaijin woman frequently run away, go on drug binges, or simply leave the country after making money illegally. They didn’t believe her life to be worth the resources of the Tokyo police. Three days ago, her body had been found, badly battered and discarded in a shallow pond.
“You ready go dinner at my mountain apāto?” A hefty waft of smoke escaped Hisoka’s upturned mouth.
“Yes.” Anicka smiled delightfully as she tossed back her hair and arranged her quaint handbag on her shoulder.
They were soon racing down the narrow roads in a classic 1968 pearl white Mazda Cosmo. The whirlwind of luminous city lights quickly fading as they advanced further into the countryside where they were ensconced with bright yellow and gold gingko trees that appeared phosphorescent in the car’s headlights. Hisoka drove recklessly, his eyes frequently darting from the road to Anicka; his foot only knowing pedal to the medal or downright brake. He bore into a winding driveway that led to a quaint apartment building against a backdrop of Mt. Kintoki. A mature Shinseiki tree rustled in the wind bearing an amass of round golden pears, many having fallen onto the ground radiant against the grass.
“Mountain very nice, yes?” Hisoka pointed. Anicka nodded enthusiastically.
A frigid breeze seemingly whispering a menacing message whipped around them as they exited the vehicle. Once inside, Anicka leaned by the kitchen window as Hisoka busied himself in the kitchen. He had put on a silly apron covered in flamboyant fish and was singing botched American pop tunes.
“I’m going to use the restroom.” Anicka declared. She returned with a renewed coat of lipstick and her hair freshly tousled. Hisoka gazed at her unwaveringly as she reclaimed her spot by the window.
“You are bored with me?”
“No of course not!” She laughed rambunctiously.
“Oh okay.” He moistened his lips as he studied her, tactfully placing down his knife. “I have shark fin soup done very soon. You like I give you tour of place?” His eyes twinkled with maliciousness as he pulled back a swath of hair from his sweaty forehead revealing a sizable scar.
“Hmm that sounds good… but do like magic?” She slid a deck of cards out from her purse. A look of bewilderment overcame Hisoka’s face before he chuckled.
“Oh oh, okay, yes, I like! You do trick for me?”
She fluttered her lashes and leaned towards him on the counter as she fanned out a deck of playing cards.
“Pick a card. Any card.” She said with conviction. He carefully slid one out, shielding it from her view, taking a moment to study it before placing it back in the deck. The cards slid through her fingers effortlessly as she shuffled the deck, then flicking it before peeling off the top card. “Is this your card?”
His mouth slightly opened, his face wrinkling as he examined the card. She threw the tarot card representing death towards him. Sweat dripped profusely from his face and he began to tremble. Her gaze went to his back, where a small syringe protruded from his right hip. She pouted at him with a taunting stare.
“A high dose of digitalis. You only have a few seconds left you repulsive monster.” Hisoka’s eyes widened as he attempted to lunge at her, before tumbling to the wooden floor and squirming with fierce convulsions. His limbs mangled into the stances of a tiny bug accosted with a generous dosage of insecticide. The sound of sirens manifested in the distance as she breathed a sigh of relief and had a seat at the kitchen table. Crossing her legs and staring down at the monstrosity who now lay dead on the ground. She had done it for Vickey, for all the women who might have ended up crossing his path, for the betterment of humanity.
Chief inspector Masaki entered through the side door that Anicka had unlocked on her way to the restroom. While inside she had sent Saturo a message saying that she was now in Hisoka’s place. He had called his friend in the Tokyo police department who was already parked down the street waiting for his cue. They had planned this gloriously vengeful night carefully. It had been upon the discovery of Vicky’s body, that the three of them had all known within a shadow of a doubt that Hisoka was the one who had viciously attacked her and ended her young life. Going through legal channels would have never gotten them the appropriate outcome and would have left more people vulnerable to such tragic fates.
Anicka placed the cards and syringe back in her purse as Masaki nodded at her. He brandished his service weapon and looked down upon Hisoka’s body with abhorrence before putting a bullet between his eyes. There had been a belligerently violent man attempting to kill Anicka who refused to stand down upon his arrival. That was that. Case closed.
Sometimes you have to take things into your own hands. Is cheating the system truly wrong when you know that justice will not be served?
Deception was a way of life in Tokyo, and occasionally that deceit was vindicated.