Flash Friday 20/12/2013: Sorry We Missed You
“All I am saying,” Katashi said, leaving the tea house, “is that we cannot let it get out of hand.”
“I understand your cause for concern,” Jun said, sweeping a hand over his black ponytail, “but there is not much we can do. The Kagawa and Inaba clans are on-edge as they are, and our recent meddling in their affairs have only tarred our name. Should we continue to push them, they might declare war on us.”
“But sire,” Katashi said, catching up with Jun’s quick walking pace, “if we do nothing, we run the risk of being assaulted regardless.”
“Then we run the risk. As long as we have our samurai ready, then we can always take the stance of a defender. It is far more honourable to take a defensive stance against an enemy than to sack their own villages and–what’s this?”
Jun approached the door to his house. Sticking out of its wooden body was an arrow, which was currently doing a good job of holding up a notice. Tearing the notice off of the arrow, Jun scanned the document’s contents:
Sorry we missed you!
Earlier today, a shinobi from the Kagawa clan visited your house in order to perform an assassination. UInfortunately, while we did our best to try to get in touch with you, you appeared to be out or otherwise occupied. Our assassination times are 9am-5pm on a working day. The type of assassination is:
[ ] Poisoning
[ ] Strangulation
[ ] That neck snap thing that everyone does these days.
You can find your assassin:
[X] At the Kagawa Assassination Office
[ ] Under the doormat
[ ] With your neighbour
[ ] Hiding in the rafters waiting for you to drop your guard.
Please pick up your assassin at the most convenient time for you.
“You know,” Katashi said, “sometimes I wonder if they even knock. Ninjas are getting lazier by the day.”
“Not worth the delivery charges sometimes,” Jun said, pocketing the notice. “The assassination office should still be open. Do you fancy a walk with me?”
“You mean, you’re actually going to pick it up?”
“Not quite,” Jun said, with a smile. “I have a cunning plan.”
Jun pushed open the door to the Kagawa Assassination Office. He had no idea why they always closed so early. How was anyone supposed to get their assassin at the end of a working day, anyway?
The receptionist looked up from her desk. “Ah, good afternoon, Satake Jun, Head of the Satake clan. How can I help you?”
Jun placed the notice on the desk. “I’m here about an assassin I missed earlier.”
The receptionist picked up the notice and read it. “Ah, yes. The failed assassination from Harakuma earlier. You can find your assassin just over there, he should be ready for you now.”
Jun followed the pointing finger to the side of the room. A row of empty chairs had its pattern broken right in the middle, where a man dressed entirely in a black ninja suit sat. The man held up a hand in greeting.
“Good afternoon,” Jun said to the ninja. “A poison specialist, were you?”
Harakuma shook his head, unsheathing a dagger from his hip. It looked like it could make hot butter out of anyone’s spine.
“Oh, of course,” Jun said. “How absent-minded of me. Anyway.” Jun turned back to the receptionist. “I’m sorry to say that this assassination was, er…a misdelivery.”
The receptionist tilted her head. “A misdelivery.”
“That’s right. This assassin went to the wrong address.”
“Oh.” The lady looked down at the slip again. “Well, this clearly says it’s for you.”
“Er, well, I don’t remember ordering one.”
“People usually don’t order them. It kind of defeats the point.”
Jun rubbed the side of his head. This was going to be a little trickier than he first thought. If he couldn’t claim it was a misdelivery, then what could he do? He pictured himself back home, knee deep in adverts for soundproof sliding doors and authentic katanas and single lonely geishas in his area. What could he do about all the mail that would get it off of his back once and for all?
Ah, that’s what he could do.
“Do you have some address labels I could use?”
“Hm? Oh, sure,” the lady said, dragging some across the table along with a small paintbrush. With careful motions, Jun wrote To Inaba Clan Leader on it, peeled the label off, and slapped the sticky side on the ninja’s head.
“Next day delivery,” Jun said, putting a gold coin on the table. “If possible.”
“Of course, sir,” the lady said, taking the coin. “Thank you for using our assassin service.”
“No problem. Come on, Katashi,” Jun said. “Let’s head home before we get a calling card from a surprise bandit raid.”
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