Rakugoka Sushi House – The Denouement
A mere minute before the couple entered, Rakugoka-san gave only the slightest indication that Mariko-san should restrain from locking up. The last customer had left ten minutes prior. The restaurant had been quiet but for the back-and-forth sweeping of her broom.
As the door chimes rang, the sushi chef stood like a wax figure, watching, waiting. His hands rested gently on top of his station, ready to reach for any ingredient which may be requested.
The couple was in their early 50s, neither of them a regular customer. They were both dressed slightly formal, him with a heather-gray sports coat covering a loosely buttoned shirt and her with an off-the-shoulder black dress and high heels. Her hair was slightly mussed, but she didn’t seem to care. The man pulled back a seat for her at the counter and then sat beside her.
“Irasshaimase,” Rakugoka-san said.
“Hello,” the man replied after some delay, never taking his eyes off the woman, she never taking her eyes off him. Before the man said, “Serve us up whatever you recommend,” Rakugoka-san was already delicately cutting into the sea urchin. He didn’t even need to look as his hands maneuvered around its spindly body, scooping the membrane onto two tiny boats of rice and seaweed.
Mariko-san brought out a cold mug and a bottle of Sapporo for the gentleman. The woman was given water with a thin slice of lemon.
“Oh, good,” the woman said with a laugh. “I have to drive us back tonight.” Mariko-san bowed slightly and disappeared as quickly as she had manifested.
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