Population Control – Chapter 18 (Part 1)
This is a translation of a Japanese novel. You can read the Raw here.
This is a work of fiction, with depictions of violence such as death of many people at a time. It is not suitable for readers under 15.
Hey everyone, I hope you’re doing okay!
First I’d like to thank everyone who offered to edit the novel!
And I’ve officially picked someone!
So, I’ll say this for the first time, and hopefully many other times:
This chapter was edited by KuroHaruto!
Anyway, here’s the chapter, I hope you’ll enjoy it!
Chapter 18: If you look far enough, you’ll find a golden river (Part 1)
The fish that ate the pounded yams seemed to have spread out surprisingly widely and evenly up and down the stream due to floodings caused by squalls.
This naturally meant that the gold rush had also spread out across the whole river.
Ichikawa and I were currently staying in a semi-suite at a hotel in Los Angeles, watching CNN.
When they showed the people crowding around the Osun river, we both grinned at each other.
“Whats going on? Why did you two just look at each other with those expressions? How suspicious～”
Charlotte barged in, holding a cup of frozen yogurt bought at a nearby supermarket. That thing had all sorts of suspicious colors mixed in.
Is she gonna be okay? This looks like a good way to get fat.
“Look at what they’re showing over here. There is a gold rush close to the warehouses we are currently building. It sort of feels like seeing your house on TV.”
“Mhmm… Now that I think about it, you do work with mister Kageyama… So he doesn’t make pounded yams for a living after all, huh.”
Generally, when Charlotte spoke rudely like this, it meant that she was frustrated about something and wanted me to butter her up or do something about it.
“What are you saying, Charlotte? If my main job was to make pounded yams, how could I afford the place I’m living at? It’s thanks to my hard labor that I can afford to pay your salary. You should be careful, with a few more misplaced words, this week’s curry might just vanish.” I said in a quiet tone.
This brought a big shift to Charlotte’s complexion.
“Sorry sorry sorry!”
“What? Are you getting bored of the US? Do you want to go back already?”
As malicious as this sounded, it was my innocent and honest attempt at understanding what Charlotte was thinking.
“No no, I’m not bored! I’m having a lot of fun!”
“Then why do that whole bit? Do you want clothes?”
Charlotte reconsidered her actions a bit.
It looked like she was a feeling a little bad about trying to hide her bad mood with snide remarks.
Don’t worry, Charlotte. I’m the only one who noticed.
After thinking for a moment, Charlotte answered me a bit shyly.
“Actually, you know, I heard that they have some awesomely delicious curry in Torrance… It’s not very far from here…”
…She just needed her fill of curry, huh. I see. I did hear somewhere that curry has a ton of serotonin. Or was that fake? Might have been.
“Charlotte, it’s not like you didn’t have any curry since we got here. Was that no good?”
Confused by her demand, Lucas tried to pacify Charlotte.
She had apparently gotten herself curry all over Los Angeles at different restaurants run by Indian, Pakistani, Thai people and the like.
What’s up with the curry withdrawal syndrome then?
“Of course that was no good! One time it was all soggy, the other time they put coconut milk in it, making it way too sweet! No, I don’t want naan bread with my curry! I want rice! Rice is justice! Besides, they use similar spices, but chicken curry and chicken Masala are not the same, okay? The only way to eat curry is with thick rice!”
This speech sounded like an attempt to get stabbed by Indian and Thai cooks.
Charlotte then went on to fervently explain the differences between chicken masala and chicken curry like she had just binged every tome of Oishinbo. Unfortunately, her knowledge was wasted on us.
“Alright, I get it, Torrance it is. So, what’s the name of this restaurant?”
“I heard about it at a crepe shop in Rodeo drive, and get this, it’s called ‘Coco Ichi’! That means We are number one!”
Ichikawa and I were both buggy-eyed when we heard that.
“Hahaha, speaking of which, it’s been a while since I last ate there.”
“Let’s go then, for old times’ sake.”
During our death marches back at the old office, we used to buy our dinner at Coco Ichi all the time.
But, as you’d expect, there was no Coco Ichi in Nigeria, so we hadn’t eaten there in a long time.
Alright then, we’re officially taking a limousine to a Coco ichi.
And so, we headed south on road 110. We drove by the Sepulveda boulevard and then went west at an intersection.
The wind felt dry compared to Nigeria.
When the limousine stopped in front of the Coco Ichi, one person got out and went inside the small building while jumping for joy. This same person was supposed to have eaten half a cup of frozen yogurt just a little while ago…
Honestly speaking, Charlotte’s big smile was contagious for everyone else.
When I think about it, she’s still just a senior high school student, and yet she’s already experienced the harshness of life. She deserves days like this.
Looking at Lucas, he seemed a bit moved to see her like this.
Right, you’ve been through your fair share of hardships too, big guy, haven’t you?
“Are you ready to order?”
Perhaps because someone overheard Ichikawa and me speaking in Japanese, the restaurant sent us a Japanese waiter. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised about seeing this sort of tactful wit here in America.
“I’ll take a lightly fried chicken curry, 400 grams of rice, level 2 in spice, and with the cheese topping. Oh, also, an ice tea and a Caesar salad.”
Hold on, what’s with that fluent pronunciation?
Charlotte’s pronunciation was so good that even the waiter was taken aback. She made her order directly in Japanese. Forget the waiter, I was even more surprised.
Why was her Japanese so good?
“This kid, she secretly kept coming to my place for a while to learn Japanese. She wanted to surprise you. Unlike you, I didn’t hire a maid, remember? That’s because she always came to clean for me, so I didn’t have to. Lucas had already taught her a bit so she learned very quickly; like dry sand absorbing water. I was surprised, too.”
Thanks for the exposition, Ichikawa.
I see, that’s what happened. So she really was serious when she said she’d find ways to return what I’d done for her.
When she saw the surprise on my face, Charlotte turned to Ichikawa like she was asking “Did I do well?”. That side of her is really sweet.
Once she got the confirmation she wanted from Ichikawa, Charlotte turned to me with a smug face and puffed up her chest triumphantly like she was saying “Got you!”.
But her straight posture immediately broke the second the chicken curry came on the table.
The innocent girl suddenly turned into a well oiled, precise machine purposed only to transfer chicken curry from her plate to her stomach.
“Oh…my… GOD! That was…Phew…”
…What kind of carnivorous beast is this?
Charlotte finished her chicken curry in a matter of minutes.
The second she was done, she lamented over her stomach being too small and then ordered a plate of seafood curry.
“Say, Charlotte, where do you fit 700 grams of rice in that thin body of yours…?”
Just like that, our first shared dinner in a long time proceeded under the fragrance of curry.