I made my way through the large, endless crowd of smelly subway people in search of pod 9. I was close. I could tell. I pulled my backpack tighter over my shoulders and began to try and jog through the complicated crowd. I mumbled apologies and light Excuse me’s as I bumped shoulders with grumpy businessmen and female secretaries. I pushed out a light sigh of relief when I saw the white and blue brick pillar with a red ‘9’ on all four sides of it. I pushed through the rest of the crowd and stood next to the pillar waiting for my train. As I leaned my head against the pillar, my work phone rang. The caller ID for my building’s boss flashed in blue when I pulled the rectangular, light blue flip phone out of my bag. I opened it and sighed.
“Pāku?” I winced as my boss’ voiced boomed through the phone speaker angrily. I immediately turned the volume down.
“Yes?” I said looking left and right for my train.
“You’re late with my coffee once again and I’ve got papers for you to fill out. Where are you?”
“The subway?” I said full of sheepish uncertainty as I blinked at the railroad. I heard Boss groan.
“How many times have I told you-”
“I’m sorry,” I interrupted trying not to sound too whiny. “Boss, you know I can’t afford a car after my new apartment purchase. What I’m paid even while delivering pizzas at my other job is barely enough to pay rent and buy food to survive. And-”
“Okay, all right. I get it. Just hurry and get your butt here or this will be put on your record Mr. Aoyama.” I groaned, annoyed after Boss hung up. I shoved my work phone back into my bag. I stared at my watch. I should’ve just biked or skateboarded there. It’ll get me more in shape to walk around that big, dumb building.
The train finally had the nerve to show up-thirty minutes late-and I squeezed through people to get on. I tripped and fell into a pole. I heard rude murmurs and grunts as I stood up rubbing my forehead.
“Yeah, I’m okay. Thanks,” I mumbled under my breath. The people here in Minato are not as nice as you think. Trust me. I managed to find a seat and pulled out my laptop. My inbox was blown up with work from Boss as expected and some from Mom at home in Kodaira. I saw a couple from my boss at my delivery job, Mr. Hayashida. He was sending me coupons from PIZZAKAYA though I insisted I would never eat the food there with an acception of the salads and carrot cake. Not to be rude. I just prefer other things. I closed my laptop after ignoring all of the emails except the ones from Mom. I leaned my head back against the seat railing and stared at my watch. Great. Forty-five minutes late. Boss is going to have a cow. And a horse. And all the damn animals you could think of. Except frogs. Nasty little things.
I finally arrived at the subway exit near my job. I was pushed out of the train as I tried to fix my laptop bag-which almost dropped under the train (rude people)-and walked quickly up to my building. I was greeted by the woman at the front desk and handed a few papers. I clocked in and began making Boss’ mug of coffee. Almond brew, one teaspoon soy milk, and ½ tub of Cinnabon creamer. The perfect Italian American living in Japan. I stirred it lightly and grabbed an Everything Bagel making sure ‘the sesame seeds don’t fall on the floor’ and a couple of tubs of cinnamon and original cream cheese. I bit down on a pumpkin bagel for myself and strutted up the stairs wasting more time and reached Boss and I’s office. I lightly knocked with my foot.
“I’m alive.” Boss was typing viciously and occasionally looking at his watch.
“Not for long. Where’s my coffee?” I rolled my eyes and set his breakfast on his desk and plopped down into my office chair. I set up my laptop and pulled down files and notebooks to organize. I wrote labels with Sharpie on multicolored sticky notes.
“You’re a mess,” I grumbled.
“Shut up, I’m working.” I sighed angrily and organized files into different crates. He wasn’t being as mean as he usually is, but he sure was being annoying as usual. I looked at the clock after his occasional impatient glances at it.
“What time do you have to be there?” Boss sighed and rested his head in his hands.
“None of your business. I’ll leave when I leave.” I reached over and patted his back. I felt a little sympathetic.
“Time will come around, old man. Just you wait.” Boss chuckled in his hands.
“Where are resident forty’s file papers?” I pulled out a blue file folder and the set of keys that came with it.
“Here you are.” Boss took it and examined it, then turned to me.
“Would you mind looking at the case files for the Minato Machi’s apartments? This case is in Sakai…” I nodded pulling up a previous email in my inbox and began scanning the document. I corrected a few details and sent it to the Jet Ink printer next to Boss’ desk. Boss stood and opened his briefcase then began organizing the files into it. He glanced at the clock again and sighed of relief. I smiled. Boss picked up his suitcase and began walking towards the door. Before he exited, he turned to me and said, “Make sure you lock up office when you leave.” I nodded.
“All right.” I saluted him and he left.