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Nouveau Départ

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The sounds of a fan and the refrigerators filled the worn-down convenience store. Not a soul in sight, but the cashier who seemed to be caught up in a magazine.


"Ahhh, interesting," the cashier exclaims, his eyes scanning the page showing Japanese war uniforms.


The cashier kept flipping through the pages, not noticing nor caring that two men around his age were looking at him through the window.


The two men entered the convenience store, walking towards the Bento box packages in the back. They looked around until they felt it was time to approach the inattentive cashier. While one stayed to look at the snack aisle, the other approached the cashier.


The young cashier continued to look through his magazine, seemingly too enthralled by the magazine to pay any mind to the man standing before him. The man cleared his throat, hoping to get the cashier's attention.


"You're the drummer of Kneuklid Romance, right? Umm, Kami, right?" The man stammered, watching as the cashier closed his magazine and looked at him.


"Yeah, what can I do for ya?" Kami says. He places his magazine on the counter.


"I'm Yu~ki. I've seen you play before. You did a show recently at the venue down the block," Yu~ki hesitated, looking at the cashier's face for any sign of amusement, only being met with confusion.


"I play bass for a band called Malice Mizer. We need a new drummer, ours left. Would you be interested?"


Kami looked at the guy, trying to process everything this so-called Yu~ki just told him. His eyes glazed over Yu~ki, noticing the weird, drawn-on eyebrows and the extravagant floral vest he was wearing. Kami didn't like the looks of this guy at all. It seemed too avant-garde to him, whatever that was supposed to mean. Additionally, the show he'd been referring to had been weeks ago, shortly before he left the band.


"I'm sorry, but I have no intentions of joining a new band right now. Are you going to buy something?" Kami said, trying to sound as nonchalant as possible. In reality, Kami's heart was racing, and he felt scared to say no. After all, this Yu~ki guy looked like he could hurt him.


"Are you sure?" Yu~ki asked, struggling to find the right words, "Well, if you ever change your mind, give me a call."


Yu~ki slid a piece of paper and some yen onto the counter. Kami looked at it before looking at Yu~ki once more.


"Give me a pack of Red LARK."


Kami got up and opened the display case under the cash register. He took a pack out and handed it to Yu~ki.


"Thanks. Think about it, will ya?"


Yu~ki turned to look at his companion in the snacks section, signaling him that it was time to go. As both men exited the store, Kami put the money in the cash register. Kami sat back down on his stool, flipping to the page he had left off on.


What a strange guy. I can't wait for my shift to be over.

A few weeks later

Kami got home from his shift at the convenience store. He couldn't believe his manager had laid him off. Sure, he spent way more time reading his magazines, but only because the stupid convenience store barely attracted customers.


Kami took off his shoes and placed them on the shoe rack. He looked for something edible in his refrigerator.


Beer and old leftovers. Great. I could've at least bought something from that stupid convenience store.


Kami made his way over to his telephone. Some delivery would be good for him right now. He looked through his drawer, trying to find the number for the curry place he likes. He came across a white piece of paper that he didn't recognize.


U u l i
Call me!


"Uuli? Who the hell is that?"


As Kami tried to recall his memories, his phone rang, making him jump. He scrambled to pick up the phone, throwing the paper onto the table.


"Hello?" Kami said, he waited for a response, but all he could hear was faint breathing.


"If this is some kind of joke, it's not funny," Kami said.


" name is Mana. Kenichi gave me your number. I am the guitarist of a band called Malice Mizer."


Again with this Malice Mizer shit. Did the Yu~ki guy put him up to this? Why is Kenichi giving out my number to strangers?


"Look, Mana, your friend, whatever his name was, already tried to convince me to join. I'm not interested," Kami said, irritated by their attempts to make him join.


He had seen a bit of a Malice Mizer show and was not amused by the music. He didn't like the music they were producing at all.


"Oh, Yu~ki must have already contacted you..."


"Yes, he did. Now, I have to get back to doing something."


"Wait. There's no easy way to do this, but if we teach you about the music we make, would there be a possibility you might join? Even if it's for a month or two? I hope Yu~ki mentioned that our drummer left. He joined Kneuklid shortly after you left. I assume if they accepted Gaz, then that must mean you two have similar playing styles enough for you to be a great contribution to our band."


Kami processed Mana's words. He didn't know Kneuklid already had a new drummer. They had told him they wouldn't continue, and yet they did. He felt betrayed. Mana was right. If Kneuklid had accepted Gaz, it meant they must have something in common. The main issue with Malice Mizer was their look and the music they were playing, but that could easily be resolved.


"I guess. Alright, it's a deal. You teach me about the music you make, I'll try it out for a month, and we'll see how it goes. I don't expect to stay permanently. Just until you find someone who will actually be of use."


Mana couldn't believe the words Kami had just spoken. He was actually agreeing to be in the band. Mana couldn't mess this up. He had to think of something he could say to make sure Kami wouldn't back out.


"Hello? Mana? Are you still there?"


"Uhhh, yes, how about we meet somewhere? Then, we can talk about all of the details."


"Fine by me. I'm free this Friday night," Kami said, feigning excitement. He couldn't believe he had said yes. He was definitely out of his mind at this moment. He just hoped he wouldn't regret it.


"Good. We'll meet at my place. I'll call you a few hours before. Have a good night, Kami."


"Goodbye, Mana."