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That's Show Business

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They hadn’t yet told them just who they would be performing with. As per usual, it would be four of them onstage collaborating with one other guest. But the guests were always these young, handsome, male idols that would compliment the Matsunos’ gender presentation. The difference here was that the Matsuno’s were not told ahead of time who it was going to be until the last rehearsal. This sparked a lot of rumors to go around.

“What do you think he’s like?” asked Jyushiko as she, Osoko, and Choroko were all huddled in a secretive circle.

“Do you think it’s someone famous?” Osoko went on to wonder.

“Do you think it’s Totosuke?” Choroko mused.

“We already did a show with Totosuke!” Osoko snapped back at her younger twin sister. “Why would we do it again?”

“We rehearse with Totosuke all the time and it’s always a dress rehearsal,” Choroko responds somewhat clueless.

“We’re not collaborating with Totosuke until the last performance on tour,” Osoko explained, somewhat exasperated with her sister’s idiocy. How many times had she had to go over such repetitive bullshit with her younger siblings? “Our homecoming tour is when we reunite with everybody we every collaborated with this year! That way, fans of all idols will gather together. And our last main show will be the one with Totosuke in it, seeing as we featured him in our very first performance of this year…”

While her older sisters were bickering with her in between them, Jyushiko was distracted by someone leaving through the backstage door. She snuck off toward that same door with intentions to follow whomever it was she did not recognize. She left Osoko and Choroko to continue wondering about who the mystery guest was going to be. Hey, maybe that was the guest who just exited the backstage area. Maybe that’s why Jyushiko couldn’t recognize him. Maybe that’s why he left the room with nothing but a whisper of a shadow. Maybe he doesn’t want to be seen until it’s… until it’s…

“SHOWTIME!” an overhead speaker booms throughout the backstage portion of the building. Jyushiko had been so stricken by the obstructive announcement that she peeled her eyes away from the back door for just one second. When she looked back, the figure’s shadow was gone. The stage was now a mess, with the other three adopted idol sextuplets tripping over themselves to get onstage. Todoko, and Ichiko were ready to go out and perform with their eldest twin sextuplet while Karako and Choroko, out of costumer, hushed their suggestions to break a leg before a light began to dawn at their feet. The curtain was beginning to lift on them!

“Hey, hold on,” Choroko whispered frantically. Karako was already gesturing for her to come offstage. Only four sextuplets were allowed in one performance with the male guest. Those were the rules. “Guys, wait.” The third sister tried harder to interject and stall before the curtains completely lift and Osoko could say her speech. However Karako was now taking her by the elbow and pulling her offstage.

“Get out of here, Choroko-neesan!” Todoko snapped at her when her sister resisted. Eventually the second-born daughter managed to drag the third-born out from the audience’s view before the curtain finished lifting up to reveal the four performers still onstage. However there were only three performers now that Todoko actually bothered to look around and notice that it was only her and Ichiko backing up Osoko as she did her opening announcement. “Wait a minute.” Todoko leans over to Ichiko and whispers in her ear, hoping the audience won’t notice. “Where’s Jyushiko-neesan?” Ichiko’s eyes widen as she realizes their fourth performer isn’t onstage.

Osoko’s voice booms from the mic in front of them, “And now I’d like to welcome my three lovely sisters!”

There was a clutter of clapping up the stairs in the show room, through the doorway that Jyushiko now had her back to. Her eldest sister’s booming voice could be heard, both ratcheting up and quieting the crowd. Jyushiko looked around for the shadowy figure. She faced the corridor ahead of her. Light streaked in from the windows on one side of the wall, lining up with the doors on the other side. She thought she saw a flicker in one of the light rays hitting the stone floor. It was a few windows away from her. She began to hear the music playing onstage. Her sisters began singing, their voices uncoordinated without hers. Whenever her own solo parts would come in, there would be an awkward lull in the song where nobody sang and the audience giggled nervously. They probably thought it was part of the act that the fifth sister wasn’t there. Jyushiko barely noticed any of this until she realized what made the show feel even odder. The lull in the lyrical performance whenever her own parts were presented also gave way to work off of the fifth performer. There was no male voice! Why did they even start the show if two of their performers weren’t even in place? Jyushiko snickers. Her sisters are always going on about how she’s the stupidest one. But who’s the stupid one now? It had taken them half the show to realize that they were missing two of their performers!

The final door at the far corner of the room suddenly swung shut, making her jump and realize that she’d never noticed that it had been open in the first place. Craftily she scuttled toward that door, stopped, and stood facing it. Whatever was behind it knew she was there and didn’t want her to see them. Why else would they have had closed the door? Slowly she raised her fist and knocked obnoxiously on the door. She waited for a few second for something to happen in response. Finally the door very slowly creaked open as if no one were there to give it the push it needed. Jyushiko entered the dark room.