Story 5: My Sun
Author’s Note: I actually quite like writing slightly dark non-BL stories like “Imitation Gold.” You know, Nishikido-san could probably be a bottom… It looks like the seats behind home plate at Koshien are now called “Dream Seats.”
Illustrator’s Note: Ichiho-san requested an image of penguins lining up at Ushio’s shaved ice stand. She said that penguins went with shaved ice. Personally, I think I was able to draw Ushio most like himself for this cover. The lineart is all analog.
First published in 2015 in the doujinshi My Sun.
Translator Note: The next set of side stories make references to characters and events that appear in Volume 2 of Yes, No, or Maybe Half.
Part 1: Memories
—–Translated by daydrop. Please read on the original site at daydrop.nowaki.net.
“We’d like to thank everyone at the TV station for hosting us today. We are all very excited to see how our favorite shows are made and then broadcast to our homes. We hope to learn a lot from this experience so we can make the most of our summer vacation. Thank you, I’m Kunieda Kei, representing Grade 4 Class 2.”
Kei finished reading his class’s remarks and bowed his head. The lady announcer who was acting as their guide for the day praised him enthusiastically. “Oh, wow, you’re so good at reading your speech! Maybe one day you can be an announcer! All right! Let’s get going so that we can show everyone all sorts of things that we do at the station!”
This is such a pain in the butt, Kei thought. Why do we have to waste a day of our summer vacation coming here? I want make-up vacation days.
“There are groups from other schools here, so please pay attention so that you don’t get left behind~”
Sure enough, there were swarms of children milling around the lobby.
“Whoa! It’s Asazou! Can I get your autograph!?”
“Minagawa-kun, please be quiet!”
An autograph? Are you stupid? It’s just a sweaty, short, old man in there.
“All right, Grade 4 Class 2! We’ll be heading over to the studio now~!”
Kei narrowed his eyes at the idiot kid running around his group. He lined up with his class and started walking.
It was the first time in his life ever seeing a set at a television studio, and it was smaller and more cramped than he had expected. Behind the scenes, things weren’t quite as nice as it looked on camera, but Ushio wasn’t disappointed. It felt fresh and exciting to him.
The floor was crawling with camera cables, and it was marked with torn pieces of colored tape stuck all over the ground.
“This is called a ‘spike.’ We use it to mark the positions of actors and set pieces like tables and chairs. Sometimes we might use the same studio but we will change out the sets to film different shows, and so it’s very important to have the spikes to show where things go.”
The marks didn’t look very obvious over the screen. And it was hard to see the nails of the set or how the set lacked any actual depth. Using lights and clever camera work, they created a world out of the ordinary for people to experience and watch. For some reason, it made him excited. He could make things for people to see.
Tatsuki loved running around collecting autographs from the cast of characters at one of the theme parks, and he proudly brought his autograph book along with him today. So when he was told, Sorry, Asazou can’t hold a pen, he was a little shocked. Even Doraemon could write! Tatsuki had planned to get Asazou’s autograph today, and he was really disappointed that he couldn’t. But as he walked down the hall, he glanced innocently at the vending machines selling juice and saw that they only cost 80 yen per drink.
Whoa, so cheap! I want a soda!
He wasn’t supposed to bring any money with him, but he had a single 100 yen coin in his pocket.
Tatsuki clutched the coin in his fist as he resolved to find a chance to buy it.
God, this is boring.
Kei had zero interest in the studio, the live broadcast vans, or the post-recording demonstration. He was only paying attention so he could write his field trip report later and make the adults fall over themselves silly when they read it.
He headed to the restroom during their short break and almost ran into little kid when he turned the corner.
Sorry doesn’t cut it. Don’t run down the hallways, you lousy brat.
Kei clicked his tongue to himself, but then he noticed something shiny on the floor. It was a 100 yen coin. He could have picked it up and kept it, but this place was probably filled with security cameras. He didn’t think anyone would come and question him, but he didn’t want to take the risk for such a piddling amount of money.
“Hold on,” Kei called out to the kid who had already put some distance between them. “Did you happen to drop this?”
“Oh!!!” The kid ran back to Kei and opened both of his palms to show him. “I really did drop it! It’s mine!”
He’s so freaking loud.
However, Kei just smiled kindly and said, “I’m happy you found it.” Kei didn’t know for sure if it was the kid’s, but with that idiotic face, he probably wasn’t lying.
“You should put away your money properly so that you don’t lose it next time.”
Kei thought that the kid was just putting away the coin in his cargo pants pocket, but then he pulled out something from it instead.
“This is for you as a thank you! Huge, right!?”
It was a sharp, amber-colored cicada shell.
“Yeah.” Kei nodded as he suppressed the goosebumps that threatened to break out all over his body. “It’s great, but I can’t accept something so precious. Don’t worry about giving me anything, okay?”
“Really? You’re such a nice guy! Can I get your autograph?”
“Hmmm, I don’t think it’d be worth anything.”
Who the heck left this kid off his leash?
Ushio was just as deeply interested in the control room equipment as he was in the studio. He asked the sound man all the questions that he had, and the man answered back just as enthusiastically. Then he realized that everyone from his class was gone. They should be heading to the cafeteria after this—he should be able to catch up. As he looked through the printouts they were given for the field trip and walked through the hallway, he saw a little kid trying his very best to reach one of the buttons on a vending machine. The kid looked like he was a few years younger than him. Ushio called out to the kid, “Which one do you want?”
Ushio pushed the button for him, and the kid said, “Thanks!” and sat down on a nearby chair to drink it. There was a visitor’s badge hanging from his neck, so he was probably on a summer vacation field trip, just like Ushio. The kid had completely forgotten his change. Ushio went to get the change from the machine and handed it to him.
“Oh, muchas gracias! You wanna to take a sip?”
“It’s okay. No, thanks.”
“Really? How about I tell you an amazing secret?”
The kid rummaged through the bag hanging off one shoulder, pulled out a spiral-bound notebook, and opened it for him.
“I got this autograph recently!”
There was a famous character name written in flowing cursive script.
Hmm, so they give out autographs.
“I know, right? I ran to find him right when the park opened, and he gave it to me! But…” The kid flipped through a set of pages, all of them filled with famous character names.
Do people usually go to theme parks to collect autographs?
“I saw him again later, so I asked him for his autograph again! But then…”
The kid pointed to the same character name, but this time it was written in bold katakana strokes instead.
“He was probably fake, but that’s our secret, okay? If it gets out, then the bad guys might catch him and trap him in the haunted house.”
He’s not the only fake, Ushio thought to himself, but he didn’t want to crush a little kid’s dreams.
“I see, that’s pretty wild.”
“There you are, Minagawa-kun!” A woman came marching up to them. “How many times have I told you not to go off wandering by yourself!? …And what are you doing buying a soda!?”
“Yo quiero Coca Cola!”2
“That’s not what I’m asking! Come along, we’re going back to the group!”
The kid held his Coke in one hand and waved brightly with the other as he said, “Bye bye,” while the lady nearly dragged him back with her. Ushio looked back over his shoulder and thought that teachers really had it tough. That was when another group of students from another school passed by.
“Teacher, I finished the roll call. Everyone is here.”
“Thank you, Kunieda-kun. You’ve been a lot of help.”
Ushio walked past a strangely neat boy, who smiled shyly as he passed by. The boy would probably never buy snacks and immediately wolf them down.
The mid-summer sun shone outside the window while the adults busied themselves with their work inside the cool TV station. They probably didn’t want to be showing kids around the place but had no other choice.
Ushio wondered what kind of adult he’d be and tried imagining it. But he couldn’t come up with anything.
—–Translated by daydrop. Please read on the original site at daydrop.nowaki.net.