The Foot

Kenji’s hair was all wrong. It was not slick, to the side or smoothed with an overuse of gel. It was ruffled and giving directions to nowhere and everywhere.

His clothes were the same. His white shirt was dangling out of his pants, his jacket crinkled at the bottom, his shoes scuffed and tie undone. Even his face seemed distorted with its open mouth and panicked-looking eyes.

For a graduate of Keio university, he didn’t seem the part. He appeared more akin to an outer-suburb uni student. Someone who had failed their test too many times and given up on everything. Given up on that banking job in Tokyo.

Yet, Kenji was all of those things. And none of them. His feet — in their slick, black, ni-man shoes — pounded down the stairs at Meguro station. They made a thumping sound that was louder than the hubbub of the platform and louder than the train’s engines.

The Keio-graduate’s actions made people stop and turn, their lives interrupted by a slim man wailing his arms about as he leapt down the stairs. He pushed an older woman to the side, making her scowl, and ploughed through two lovers holding hands.

As the train’s chimes started to sing, Kenji’s legs stretched even further, his strides gaining distance. The electronic circuits sparked, the gears turned and the doors started to close. Kenji blew out a breath of air and leapt, his body seeming to fly through the space that existed between him and the Yamanote-line’s still open carriage.

A man’s foot lifted off the ground, a size 12. It lifted and shot forward  faster than anyone could have seen. It hit Kenji in the chest, knocking him down to the platform, behind the white suicide barriers.

The doors closed. The train slid away from the station and a man with blue eyes glared at Kenji, a scowl on his face. A middle finger extended.

“Mataku,” Kenji said as he stood, wiping the dirt from his jacket. He adjusted his tie, pushed his shirt into his pants and waited for the next train. He waited the whole three minutes.

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