“What happened?” Tanigaki groused in the pantry closet. “There was a case of ramen here yesterday, next to a grand-size box of oyster crackers,”
“Shiraishi, Ariko, and Supervisor Sugimoto took lunch at the same time,” Mishima stood in the doorway. “I just took two full bags of the aftermath to the incinerator, so the poor cleaning man didn’t have to deal with it,”
“There were fifty cups of ramen in that pack,” Tanigaki said.
“No one wanted the oyster crackers because they were unsalted, so Usami took them,” Mishima joined him in the cramped space. “He goes to the roof to relieve stress with that nut-cracker hammer of his. He gives all the crumbs to the pigeons,”
“I need a transfer,” Tanigaki mumbled.
“Kirawus just got back from his honeymoon,” up on his toes, Mishima reached for top shelf. “He brought back some hotel snacks,”
A foot taller, Tanigaki ran his hands over the same rack and smiling, brought down a jumbo-sized foamed polystyrene cup. Thankfully, the white foil label remained glued to the top.
“I better get moving,” he checked the time on his wristwatch. “Supervisor Ogata has a meeting in one minute,”
“That’s not until noon,” Tanigaki followed him out.
“It’s one minute to noon,” said Mishima, watching as Tanigaki scrambled to the hot water dispenser. “You can’t take food to a meeting,”
“I’ve not eaten all day,” Tanigaki said. “My presentation’s still on my desk,”
“Get your presentation paperwork,” Mishima grabbed the ramen cup. “I’ll get this steeping and bring it in after you sit down,”
“Won’t that be a problem?” Tanigaki asked.
“Ogata hasn’t had his lunch yet either,” said Mishima. “It’s a cup for two, so it makes sense if I show up with two bowls and extra sticks,”
“That’s smart,” Tanigaki nodded on his way out. “Thanks, Mishima!”
It took several moments for the boiling water light to blink. He peeled back a portion of the foil lid and held it under the nozzle before flipping down the red paddle handle.
Once filled to the line suggested, he pressed the lid back down and caught a whiff of the broth; otter nabe smelled strangely musky.
Tray in hand, Mishima stepped past his deck and tapped a foot on the supervisor’s door.
“Come in, please,” Ogata said.
He used the underside of the tray to push down on the latch handle before stepping into the posh corner office. Ogata sat at the conference table near his desk, with Tanigaki opposite him.
“What’s all this, Mister Mishima?” Ogata asked.
“I don’t think either of you took lunch today,” he said. “I brought some tea and ramen,”
“Thank you,” Tanigaki feigned surprise.
“Set it on the table, please,” Ogata shifted his attention to Tanigaki. “Depopulation is a problem throughout the nation, what makes Akita Prefecture’s program so unique?”
“Akita’s a priority because of its aging citizens. They’ve got more people over 70 than any other area in Tōhoku. Being on the brink of ultra-underpopulation has led to food service and retail pulling out of the area,”
“Wasn’t the government proposing moving many of these elderly property owners to areas closer to these services?” Ogata asked, as Mishima set two empty bowls beside the chopsticks and retrieved two bottles of water from the room refrigerator.
“Only in under-populated areas around large cities,” said Tanigaki, sticks in hand.
Ogata filled his bowl with noodles, “Where the young tax base can subsidize residence construction and medical centers.”
“Exactly,” Tanigaki handed Ogata a folder while slurping his noodles. “What Akita Land Management proposes relies heavily on Japan’s relaxation of immigration policies,”
“Make their area attractive to young working-class immigrants,” Ogata sniffed his broth, made a face, but then dipped it.
“Build what westerners call, bedroom communities,” Tanigaki added.
“I’ll make sure there’s no further interruption,” said Mishima, closing the door.
The odor of that ramen had made him hungry.
“Hey Mishima,” Noma whisked by smelling of cologne and copier ink.
Of all the men working at Tsurumi Development Solutions, logistics engineer Noma always wore the tightest pants. Nothing made an ass come alive more than a freshly pressed pair of khakis.
“What do you need?” Noma asked.
Mishima now stood among the cubicles, “I followed you,”
“Yes, you did,” Noma sat down. “Did you need something?”
“No,” Mishima smiled. “I zoned out I guess,”
“Hey,” Kirawus popped his head above the partition and beamed a rolled-up wad of paper at the back of Ariko’s head. “Did you guys eat that ramen I hid in the break room?”
“That shit from the Love Hotel?” Ariko smirked. “No way,”
“We were going to,” Shiraishi hung his arms over the cubicles partition. “But Ariko warned us,”
“What’s wrong with it?” Mishima demanded.
“Nothing,” Ariko shrugged. “Unless you’re looking for some action,”
“How does ramen lead to sex?” Noma grinned.
“I went to this brothel once,” Shiraishi said.
Kirawus rolled his eyes, “Here comes a Shiraishi story,”
“I got to hear it,” Supervisor Sugimoto appeared, a bottle of cola in his hand. “Shiraishi’s like that girl in those movies who always tells a band camp story,”
“What’s wrong with the ramen, Kirawus?” Mishima asked again.
“It’s otter nabe flavored,” Kirawus replied.
Noma frowned, “That sounds nasty,”
“The scent of Otter Nabe gets your dick hard and opens your holes,” Ariko said with a smile. “It’s like sniffing poppers,”
“Are you serious?” Sugimoto laughed. “It’s a good thing we didn’t eat it,”
Mishima slowly backed away and when clear of them, jogged back to his desk and glanced through the two windows behind it.
Ogata was over the couch, his tie undone, his shirt unbuttoned, and his hair disheveled. On his shoulder was Tanigaki's hairy leg, his foot covered in a white sock.
He pushed through the door and pressed the hem of his jacket to his nose.
“Mishima,” Tanigaki grunted as he lay shirtless, his pants bunched up around the foot he kept on the floor. “Come over here,”
“Get in here, Mishima,” Ogata panted, pushing into him. “Tanigaki needs something to suck on,”
Tanigaki opened his mouth and reached for him.
He quickly closed the blinds on the inner office windows before rushing to the windows behind Ogata’s desk to open them.
“Mishima?” Tanigaki laughed.
“Going to take this back to the break room,” he said, holding his breath.
He disposed of the remains of the otter nabe and outside the break room took a few deep breaths. He jogged back to his desk and found he’d left the door to the office open!
Secretaries and clerks wandered past, lured by the sound of Tanigaki and Ogata’s tryst; he pulled the door shut, glaring at the nosy office workers.
“Mister Mishima,” chimed a familiar voice.
“Vice President Hanazawa,” he found the young man smiling down at him. “Mister Ogata’s not in his office right now,”
“Big brother’s always here this time of day,” said Hanazawa, eying the blinds.
“He’s up on the roof,” Mishima put himself in front of the door. “It’s a coaching situation, Mister Usami again,”
“Not again,” Hanazawa said, concerned. “Did he bite someone else?”
Tanigaki’s pleasured cries and Ogata’s groans couldn’t be unheard.
“Ventilation,” Mishima pointed at the grate over their heads. “Goes right to the roof,”
“It sounds like Mister Usami and my brother are fighting,” Hanazawa rushed to the stairwell door. “I’ll get up there and handle this, no need to call President Tsurumi,”
Mishima nodded before sinking into his desk chair.
“You just trashed my ramen bowl,” Kirawus approached, pointing his finger as Ariko, Noma, and Shiraishi crowded his desk.
“Girls in accounting says there’s some sexing going on around here,”said Shiraishi.
“Mister Ogata isn’t seeing anyone right now,” Mishima jumped up and blocked the door. “You need to get back to your stations,”
Sugimoto stepped up, “Move aside, pretty boy, we need to document this sexing thing,”
“No!” Mishima didn’t budge until Ariko whisked him off his feet and carried him toward the elevators. “Mister Ogata!”
Sugimoto brought up his phone. “Everyone got their cams ready?”
“Let’s see how hairy that Matagi really is,” Noma said, phone in hand.
“I bet I’m bigger than Ogata,” Shiraishi added.
Kirawus teased, “I’m not taking that bet,”
“On three,” said Sugimoto. “One, two…”