Don’t Shoot The Messenger: Some Time to Think

Photo by Andrew Koerner

Turtle 6

I was a bit nervous meeting with Miss Shiki-chan after reading Mr. Messenger’s account of her instability, but she was fortunately in one of her bubbly moods today. As he wrote, she’s a tiny white girl with pink hair who’s always wearing some sort of school uniform. Honestly, she’s pretty cute, but it’s probably best not to try to get close to her. As my roommate freshman year would always crudely put it, “you don’t stick your dick in crazy, man. You never stick your dick in crazy.” He used the phrase more than one might expect. Turtle suspects he had only learned the phrase recently and was looking for every opportunity possible to try it out.

But I digress. I told her I was working on a project for Mr. Justice that involved going through Mr. Messenger’s notes.

“You would know him fairly well, wouldn’t you? After all, the two of you were roommates.”

“I wasn’t actually roommates with Messi for long,” she said. From my experience, she doesn’t actually throw all that much Japanese into her speech. Maybe she’s just dropped the habit, but I’ve discovered that the Messenger isn’t above changing a few details so maybe he’s always been embellishing her quirks. “Poe moved in with him fairly quickly. You would probably know him better than I would, since you’re reading what he wrote.”

“I guess,” I said, “but I’m getting how he acted inside his head and he’s only writing down what he’s choosing to write down so there might be some bias. So could you tell me a bit about him?”

“Hmm. Well…he was a quiet person. He didn’t like to talk much. Nervous when he was talking to people. He didn’t like to look them directly in the eye and he always seemed on edge. He was a bit gloomy. Really gloomy after…during the end.”

“The end?” I prompted

She shook her head. “Turtle, I can’t tell you. I’m not supposed to tell you what happened to him. Justice doesn’t like it. Nobody’s allowed to talk about it. You’re the only person he wants to know, and that’s only because…because you’re not one of us. He doesn’t want anyone who knows what happened to start changing our adding our own things.”

“He wants an objective, unbiased opinion.”

She laughed. “Loosen up, Turtle. You’re always trying to use those big fancy words and adding ‘Mr.’ or ‘Ms.’ in front of everyone’s names. There’s no reason to be so scared of us.”

“I respectfully disagree.”

“Okay, yeah, you’re right. There’s plenty of reason to be scared of us. But still, you don’t need to be so stiff.”

“Sorry. So…do you know why Mr. Justice wants me to put this together in the first place? Or can’t you say?”

“I guess I can say that…he doesn’t want to forget what happened. He wants everyone else to forget, but he wants to remember. Or maybe it’s more like he doesn’t want to let himself forget. He thinks of…” she waved her hands around vaguely, “everything that happened as his greatest failure and he wants to remember it. I think that’s because he hates himself a bit. Um…can you just ask me something else and forget about this?” She looked around nervously, like Mr. Justice was watching over her shoulder.

“I can’t think of what else to ask you right now, honestly….”

“Oh, hey, then I’ve got an idea! What’d Messi say about me?”

I hesitated. “He said some…very nice things….”

Shiki laughed. “It’s okay, Turtle. I already have an idea of what he said about me. He thinks I’m insane, doesn’t he?”

“He…does occasionally seem to lean that direction, yes.”

“I’m not surprised. Honestly…I’m not sure he’s wrong. I think Shiki might be crazy.”

“Well if you’re talking in third person, I don’t really know how I’m supposed to respond.”

“Come on, Turtle. Don’t be a stupid baka. I’m not really Shiki, just like you’re not really Turtle. It’s like when you act a certain way on the internet or wherever because it’s who you want to be or what you want others to think you’re like. So I’m Shiki when I need to be Shiki, and when I’m not, I’m…well, I’m someone else.”

“Sounds a bit like some sort of multiple personality disorder to me.”

“No! It’s like acting. Or maybe…maybe not. I don’t know.” She fell quiet. “I kind of hope it’s not. I kind of hope I am crazy. That way I have an excuse for all that stuff I do. I…I hurt people, Turtle.[1] I used to think that it was the right thing to do. That they were bad people who needed to be punished. And now, I’m…I don’t know. I’m not so sure anymore.” She shook her head. “I’m sorry, could I ask you to leave for a bit? I…need some time to think.”

I thanked her, said my goodbyes and stepped outside.



[1] This is always the term she uses. She “hurts” people. I’ve never heard her say that she kills them. I don’t know whether this is because she either doesn’t realize the full extent of what she does, or she doesn’t want to admit to it. As she often hesitates before saying it, I’m leaning towards the latter. ~T