"See, I really don't give a damn what you might think about me,
I'm a do what I wanna do and say what I wanna say,
I'm a bad man."
That's what he would repeat in his head constantly. Just another track on the soundtrack to his life. He couldn't really remember exactly when he started cultivating this image, he was even less aware of when he actually started believing it.
As far as he was concerned, he was a player. He had pimp bones in his body, and he rocked them, like Ladi Dadi. Of course he never told anybody any of this, it was his secret fantasy, and he was living it.
He was also big in Japan. Unbeknownst to him, he had become the very thing that he despised. He had seen many of them. Jokers who were obviously losers in their home country, but by coming to Japan had somehow traversed the vortex of space and logic and had suddenly become popular with the opposite sex.
Not him though.
He was different from those English teaching clowns. Those guys just stumbled upon their undeserved popularity, while he had it all down to an art. Everybody has there own little tricks with the opposite sex, but he was profoundly pleased and confident with his own little bag of tricks. He knew that girls liked a mixture of strength and vulnerability, or so the magazines said. His tough guy image was carefully balanced with just the right mixture of sensitivity and cuteness. Not everyone's bag admittedly, but it worked for him. His newest trick (and one that he was the proudest of ) was where he would say something a little risque and then blush at his own words. A masterpiece!
His former best friend, Hunter, was holding the opening of his art gallery in some provincial town. A pain in the ass to get out there, he thought, but it could be interesting. Not that he was interested in art or anything like that. He wanted to show support for his friend, whose friendship he felt had recently been slipping away. That, and the fact that there were certain to be plenty of chicks there. A number of his previous conquests were bound to be there. It would be good for a laugh.
Oh he had a girlfriend and all, but he never went out with her. He lived with her, he reasoned, why would they go out together and do stuff?
He hit the gallery at about nine, thugged out and looking damn fine, (if he may say so himself). Mingling, trying to look interested, he was sooner or later (he was a little drunk) approached by a very fine looking young thing. She knew him (he wasn't surprised), he didn't know her. Apparently she knew him from four years ago when they worked in the same company, it was all quite vague. He was so into himself on this night that he made no effort to remember her name. Unusual for him because she was possibly the finest woman he had seen in weeks. He left her for a while but they ended up taking a two hour walk later that night, where phone numbers were inevitably exchanged.
It was soon after this that Jerome (for that was his name) and all his plans came to a grinding halt with the realization that this incredible girl was indeed familiar (at least slightly) to him.
"What was your name again?"
Miffed, she answers, "Urara"
The coin drops, "Wait up, not Hunter's Urara?"
"I ain't even trying to hear that you are the Urara that left Hunter four years ago after he cheated on you."
Every guy has a girl in his past that he regrets breaking up with. His dream girl, who he didn't realize was his dream girl until it was too late. Aww shit. He might be a player but he isn't going to dog on his best friend's ex-girl, even if he is living with his new dream girl now. He wouldn't get into the player's ball next year if he went out like that.
So he takes it on the lam, he's outta there quick fast in a hurry. No way he's messing with that. Too bad though, she was fine. He even finds Hunter later in the night and apologizes for even thinking about it with his old girl.
She finds him later but he aint having none of it.
Two weeks pass and then, out of the blue, Jerome gets a phone call from Urara. She wants to know if he is available on Saturday night. She goes on to explain that Hunter and his girlfriend have invited her over for a couple of drinks, and she wants to know if Jerome would like to come with her.
"Girl are you crazy? I told you before I ain't messing with you. You trying to get me killed? You wanna rock up with me by your side? He is having no part of it .
Suddenly, the coin dropped. So that was his game? This poor cute girl was heading right into a trap. Jerome was damned if he was going to mess with the carefully laid plans of Hunter. You see, Hunter and his girlfriend had a penchant for 3Ps, menage a trios, threesomes if you will. Like a funnel web spider, they would lay there little trap, sometimes ending in embarrassingly awkward moments but more often than not ending in ego inflating glory.
Target: Very attractive girls who look like they may not be adverse to sneezing in the cabbage, preferably (but not essentially) someone who has tasted Hunter's charms before.
Modus operandi : Invite target back to apartment for drinks after a pleasant night out together. Eventually one of the pair happens to come upon their little black photo album of home made erotica and offers to show it to the target. Target gets aroused, all systems go. It would always follow the same pattern, him crawling all over the show like a rock spider trying to organize all these impossible, improbable poses, with the ultimate aim of getting them to "dyke out" (as he so charmingly put it) for his pleasure.
If that was Hunter's plan , and it certainly looked like it was, that was even more reason to stay away from this chick. So of course he brushes her off, I mean, he's got a lot of better things to do with his time, right?
Three days later, she calls him again. This time she asks him out for dinner. With no alcohol in him, and running through a bit of a dry spell (he made the mistake again of mentioning his mojo last time it was rising) he figures, "what the hell?".
It's just dinner right? He can take her to that hot spot that he takes all his best looking women. They know him down there, he just calls for a reservation and they know to give him the "Jerome table". Up on the second floor (he likes to think of it as the VIP room) where he can look out over the other beautiful patrons. She sets the date -three weeks away- a bit far, but hey, a forward thinking chick, whatever.
Until she calls him two days before the appointed day, he doesn't call her once. The reason for this is that he was feeling a little uncertain. As Hunter had often told him, Jerome was always messing with B grade women. Hunter also told him that he thought that Jerome liked to hang around women of questionable intelligence because it made him feel smart, but that's another story. He didn't really think that this decidedly A grade woman was after him, so he didn't give her much thought.
The night comes and he takes her to his hot spot. She is drinking sake. Man this woman is hard core. She's looking better all the time and it's probably got nothing to do with the bottle of Crystal that he had to drink by himself because she's busy with the sake.
Half way through dinner she leans across and asks him one more time if he really doesn't have a girlfriend. Not being able to think of any cool responses off the top of his head, he just lies.
"I told you before girl, we broke up three weeks ago."
Now she suggests that it's quite a pain for her to go all the way home tonight, she lives quite far you see, and maybe she could stay at his crib. Without skipping a beat he squashes the house idea but segues it into a love hotel. Jerome cannot believe his luck. He knew he was attractive, but now this girl is practically throwing it at him.
He was pleased to report to his friends the next day that despite her exquisite beauty, he was able to hold the fort quite commendably, so to speak.
This is where his problems began. You see, despite his carefully cultivated image, he had a silly little weakness, actually, as far as his career as a player goes, it was a very big weakness. He would often fall in love with girls that he slept with. Not all of them, but a fair few of them. The problem wasn't that he already had a girlfriend. No, she just did not yet know that she was playing a tragic role in a play written by him. His problem reminded him of that scene in "Being John Malkovich." The scene where Maxine says, "You know, the thing is, if you ever got me, you wouldn't know what to do with me."
He had Urara, she was his best girl yet, and he had no idea what to do with her.
The next day, with a black eye from Hunter and freshly single, for he had told both Hunter and his unfortunate girlfriend, he was ready to start afresh. No more playing for him, A girl as gorgeous as Urara deserved to be cherished. No way was he going to risk that treasure and fool around on her. He had lost his best friend of six years and his girlfriend of three, but look what he had gained! He was going to tear up his Kool aid express card today, for he had found true happiness.
The very next Sunday another date was set. The venue was something he was totally uninterested in but he didn't care, he just wanted to spend some time. To be seen walking with her. To be recognized as hers.
Late night. River side. Cold night. Time to make it official. Christmas was coming up and in Japan Christmas Eve is the most valuable piece if date real estate in the whole year. If a girl agrees to spend December 24th with you, she really digs you. He makes his move, telling her that he knows it's early in the month, but she probably has a lot of admirers so he wants to get in early, avoid being gazumped. Now he's trying her lines.
"Are you sure you don't have a boyfriend?"
"There is no-one I like."
Now he's been in Japan long enough to know how to use the Japanese language to one's advantage. It's called kotoba asobi, playing with words. Hell, he's done it a million times with girls. Obfuscation. It's a great trick. But now someone's doing it to him! Wait a minute. You don't play a player.
"So what you're saying is you have a boyfriend but you don't really like him?"
A playful nod.
"I thought maybe you could be my girlfriend."
For some strange reason she was speaking some strange foreign language all of a sudden. He could see her speaking to some short, gaudily dressed guy, who certainly looked single and queerly desperate. They were walking along a river at night. If he concentrated really hard he could just make out what she was saying.
"I don't think you could love me, I'm not a very pure person."
Suddenly his girlfriend who he had dumped a week ago started looking very attractive and he was overcome with grief and guilt. Through the thumping of his panicked heartbeats in his ears, he could just make out what she was saying.
"I'm a bad girl."