Hoshige

I reached into the cooler between us and pulled out two beers, opening them up with the bottle opener attached to the cooler.

Hoshige reached over and took one for himself, “Thanks.”

I gave him a slight nod, “No problem.”

We clanked our beers and took one long swig together. I put mine on top of the lid of the cooler, while Hoshige gently rocked his in his hand. He kept his gaze on the ground, occasionally taking a glance at me.

It worried me seeing him like this, all quiet and tense. The Hoshige I knew was always chugging down beers like no tomorrow, enjoying himself as if he was about to die when the sun came up the next day. He would take risks that would either land him a large amount of cash, or thrown into a pile of trash for not paying up. Hell, sometimes his insanity was actually a refreshing thing to be around when things got stressful. But tonight all of the stress was coming from him.

I watched Hoshige switch which hand held his beer, constantly going from left to right as if it was a baseball. He broke the cycle and made direct eye contact with me. It only lasted for a second before they dropped back down with a sigh.

I shook my head and grabbed Hoshige on his shoulder, “What’s wrong, man?” I began. “You’re not yourself tonight.”

He tapped the rim of his beer as he spoke, distress in his voice, “I haven’t been myself for two weeks, Take. Fuck, I’ve barely gotten any sleep.”

“Everything okay at home, Hoshige?”

“I wish everything was okay.”

Curious about my friend’s personal life, I opened my mouth to speak but all that came out was a sigh. Even though I wanted to pry a bit deeper into his home affairs, I couldn’t bring myself to ask such questions; I needed him to open up first.

Hoshige took another swig of his beer before answering. He put the beer down, focusing directly on me, his voice low.

“Everything okay at home, Hoshige?”

“I wish everything was okay.”

“Of course you can. When have I ever doubted you?”

Hoshige kept his eyes on me, trying to question or sense my honesty. However, no matter how long he tried to find something or dig something up, he knew I was good on my word. Finally giving in, he sighed and shrugged, “Sorry. Thing have just been… strange lately.”

“Strange how?”

“I think…” He paused, then continued. “I think somebody’s trying to get at me.”

I have him a confused look, “What do you mean? Do you owe money or something? Need some cash?”

“No, no, no, nothing like that. I don’t owe anything to anybody.”

“Then what the hell do you mean about somebody trying to get you?”

Hoshige started straight at me, seriousness in both tone and expression, “… I think somebody’s trying to kill me.”

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