'is that a body in the road?'
So that was the start of my Monday walk to work.
Now we had just been joking – us newcomers – just last Friday about being careful about not getting sick or hit by a car since we did not have health insurance until we got our ARC (Alien Registration) card. That might sound overinflated, but the drivers here are ALL INSANE ASYLUM ESCAPEES. The road to my temporary dwellings is one turn and a then straight shot from there. You'd never know it though between all the shifting, brake-slamming, hitching, jump-starting and outright swerving. It's literally like being thrashed about on a boat at sea during a heavy storm. And that's just the bus drivers as the car drivers have no reservations watsoever apparently about driving up onto and parking on the sidewalks. Truly, when you as a pedestrian walk the streets you really are taking your life into your own hands.
But I'm getting ahead of myself here.
Today, five minutes outside my workplace at the middle of the hill, in a place I always thought was dangerous to cross as there is no light for us, sat several slient ambulances, a handful of perturbed, somewhat irriated looking police officers, and a woman sprawled like a beaten bag of flour on the ground.
At first, coming up from behind, I thought she was one of the many crazy people I have encountered with disturbing frequency here in the middle of throwing a fit or some crazed, drunkard of which there are also quite a few. Even under the bright sunlight of high-noon. But as I approached I could make out the distinct sound of a broken, ceaseless wail coming from the woman. And then a heavy plastic sheet in the middle road jumped into my line of vision. A large blue plastic tarp covering something equally large and non-moving.
On the one hand I was not terribly surprised by this sight, but equally was I too horrified to look very closely. however I couldn't help wondering if it wasn't maybe her large pet dog-which I have YET to see even one- and not her child – which I FREQUENTLY do see ESPECIALLY at this hour. A furtive side-glance as I passed showed no sign of blood smears or other dark tell-tale spoltches, nor did it give any hint to what was slumped beneath the blanket – just a mass under a sheet, no particular shape that would say, 'this was an arm'.
Today was indeed butsumetsu* for all.
And to think that was just the beginning.
* butsumetsu is part of the shared Chinese and Japaense six-day rotational calender: daian （大安）, tomobiki （友引）, senpu （先負）, senshou （先勝）, shakkou （赤口）, butsumetsu （仏滅）. Butsumetsu is the day for failure. Utter failure. Not even a silver of a chance, not a single ray of hope like the second worst, shakkou when you are alloted some 'relief' time exactly at noon. Oh no, on butsumetsu, don't bother leaving home. Better yet don't even leave your bed. Although, given that it IS butsumetsu, you'll probably just slip and drown in your bathtub.
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