Seaman, Relationship Counselor

#1SynonymousPosted 6/20/2011 8:11:00 AM
From the translation of Kotaro Isaka's Remote Control:

"You know, I've been playing that game again," she said, glancing over at the aging computer in the corner of the room. She had hauled it out of the closet not too long ago and taken to playing a game she had loved in college.

Aoyagi nodded. "Feeding that creepy fish." The peculiar game involved nothing more than looking after a thoroughly unlovable talking fish.

"Well, the fish said something that hit the mark."

"It doesn't even look like a fish."

"I know, but it said something after I fed it. It said, 'Don't settle for too little.'" Aoyagi couldn't tell whether he was expected to laugh or cry. "And it hit me - it was talking about us, about you and me."

"I'm not sure I like having my future decided by a talking fish."


**********

Six months later, he went to a shop that dealt in secondhand computer games and on a whim bought the one with the creepy fish. Perhaps it was a form of rehabilitation, a way of testing how much of the hole he'd been able to fill.

At first, he was just going through the motions, tending the computer aquarium according to the instructions; but gradually he grew more intent on the game until, to his complete amazement, he was stopping people at work to tell them about the condition of his virtual fish. One evening at the end of the second week, the fish suddenly turned to look out at him.

"Don't settle for too little," it gurgled.

"You ****!" said Aoyagi, stabbing his finger at the screen. "That's what you told her. That's what ****ed everything up." The fish ignored him and swam calmly away through glowing blue pixels. "But you know," Aoyagi muttered at its receding tail, "if I'd given her the smaller half [of the chocolate bar] that day, she'd have been mad about that instead."

The fish ignored him, but finally turned back with a withering look. "Did you say something?"