Real Folds (Seven Samurai)

All Film Sentences in Kenzaburo Oe's "Aghwee the Sky Monster"

Or I'll discover a film of unhappiness and fatigue on the face of a cheerful friend and clog the flow of an easy chat with my stutter. "Did you happen to see a movie called Harvey?" he asked. Harvey was that Jimmy Stewart film about a man living with an imaginary rabbit as big as a bear; it had made me laugh so hard I thought I would die. I had never heard his major works, but I had seen several films he had written the music for. Watching the picture, I remember feeling vaguely troubled by the idea of an adult nearly thirty years old (in fact, the composer was twenty-eight when he hired me, my present age), working out a theme for the harmonica, I suppose because my own harmonica had become my little brother's property when I had entered elementary school. Generally I have nothing but contempt for scandals, but I knew that the composer's infant child had died, that he had gotten divorced as a result, and that he was rumored to be involved with a certain movie actress. I hadn't known that he was in the grips of something like the rabbit in Jimmy Stewart's movie, or that he had stopped working and secluded himself in his room. "I'm not certain I know what you mean by companion," I said, reeling in my smile. I didn't even ask the most pressing question, something truly difficult to ask: This monster haunting your son, sir, is it a rabbit like Harvey, nearly six feet tall? A good thing it didn't occur to me then that those savage screams might have been coming from the monster haunting D like Jimmy Stewart's rabbit. It was the man who was supposed to employ me; he was laughing like a face in a movie without a sound track. When he got to the sidewalk D shuttered open his tired-looking eyes in their deep sockets and glanced swiftly up and down the deserted, residential street. I knocked on a door that made me think of the cell blocks at Sing Sing (I was always going to the movies in those days; I have a feeling about ninety-five percent of what I knew came from the movies) and it was opened by a short woman with a pudgy red face on top of a neck that was just as pudgy and as round as a cylinder. She was wearing a dress of some heavy cloth with the hem of the skirt unraveled in the manner of a squaw costume, and her necklace of diamonds set in gold looked like the work of an Inca craftsman (now that I think about it, these observations, too, smell distinctly of the movies). We would make special trips to places he had once enjoyed himself--bars, movie theaters, indoor swimming pools--and then we would turn back without going inside. Not only that, the purpose of the trip was to meet D's former girlfriend the movie actress in D's place. I memorized the message, and then it was late at night and I was sitting opposite a movie actress in the basement bar of a hotel in Kyoto, with a chance first to explain why D hadn't come himself, next to persuade his mistress of his conception of time, and finally to deliver his message. The tipsy movie actress with a dent in her forehead big enough for a thumb is quite an original psychologist, I thought to myself. After a while the movie actress said in a tone of voice she might have used to discuss the weather: "You were trying to rape me just now, weren't you!" I was afraid that a report of this incident might reach D, but the subject of the movie actress never came up again. I had taken the nurse's advice, sworn not to lose sight of the anchor on my common sense as in those slightly solemn slapstick comedies where, for example, the keeper of the mad house goes mad; consciously derisive, I was thinking to myself that the neurotic composer was putting on a show with his bicycle just to follow up a lie he had told me once, and what a lot of trouble to go to! The composer paused for an answer, and I found myself remembering his former mistress, that movie actress with a dent in her forehead as big as an adult thumb. We had left the Ginza crowds and were just passing the Kubuki Theater when D looked up at the dark and still snowy sky.