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The Name Game

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No matter how ridiculous he looked, Yamada reminded himself, it could always be worse. He certainly had worn worse things in concert before. In the grand scheme of things, having a piece of paper taped to his forehead wasn’t completely bad. Just sort of itchy.

“Does that say onion?” a junior asked as he passed by Yamada in the hallway.

“It’s union,” Yamada corrected him with a sigh from where he was leaning against the wall. The piece of paper attached to his head had the word scribbled up there in English in Hikaru’s messy handwriting.

“I think that counts as two points,” Hikaru said gleefully from where he was sitting nearby. He made two checkmarks on his clipboard.

This whole thing had started when JUMP had had a group meeting earlier to discuss the unit songs on the upcoming album. Specifically, what the titles of the songs would be. No one could agree on any of the suggestions, however, so they resorted to the only thing they could agree on: picking names based on a competition. That way no one could argue with the results. Although Yamada was pretty sure the universe was conspiring against him because they all agreed to the competition idea Chinen had suggested. For Yabu, Hikaru, and Daiki’s unit, Chinen said they should just simply tape random words to a couple people’s foreheads and pick whichever one got the most questions from people passing by. Of course, right after he suggested it, Chinen had mysteriously disappeared to the bathroom, so Yamada was volunteered against his will for the job. Inoo was one of the other “lucky” people, but Inoo had the advantage of being able to cover the paper up with his hair. Daiki had gone with Inoo to tally up the score, but Yamada suspected that they actually weren’t participating at all.

“You’re making a funny face,” Hikaru said.

“My forehead itches.”

Hikaru shrugged with unconcern. “Time is almost up. You’ll live.”

“Hey, there’s something on your face,” Morimoto Shintarou said as he walked by, but he didn’t stick around to see if there was any response to his comment. Perhaps Shin saw people with paper taped to their foreheads all the time. Yamada couldn’t keep up with whatever strange things the juniors were doing these days.

He just sighed.

“I bet union is going to win,” Hikaru announced happily as he counted up his score so far. Union had been his original suggestion after all.

“I’m pretty sure we’re the only ones playing this game,” Yamada muttered, but the universe didn’t care about his complaints.

His suspicions were pretty much confirmed when they all regrouped and discovered that Yamada had won by a landslide. He scratched his itchy forehead with dismay and vowed to never buy dinner for Chinen ever again.

“Union it is!” Yabu declared. “Now that’s settled, who’s next?”

Takaki pulled out a dart board and placed it on the table with a heavy thud, startling everyone in the room. “The next group should decide by playing darts.”

“Have you been carrying that around all day?” Yuto asked. He picked it up and examined the well-used item.

“No, I went home and got it,” Takaki explained. Yamada narrowed his eyes because Takaki had definitely been the third person who was supposed to have something taped to his forehead earlier. But he let it slide, because complaining might make them want to do the competition over again.

“We can stick it on the wall and tape some words to the board, and then throw some darts to pick,” Takaki continued to explain.

“Our turn!” Keito declared immediately. He even threw his hand up in the air like he was a kid in a classroom, anxious to volunteer. Yamada agreed that he and Keito should probably get their turn over with, but he also had a sneaky feeling it wouldn’t be so easy.

“And we should spin around the person throwing the darts!” Inoo added.

“I knew it,” Yamada muttered.

Keito instantly dropped his hand back down. “I take it back. Forget I said anything. I’m formally retracting my previous statement. I don’t wanna do it.”

“Too late,” Yuto said and dragged Keito from his seat while Takaki set the dart board up on the wall.

“This is unsafe,” Keito protested before Yuto and Daiki started spinning him around. Yamada felt a bit sorry for him, but his forehead was still itching so he didn’t say anything lest he get drafted to take Keito’s place.

Once they stopped the spinning, Keito still swayed a bit like a willow in a nice summer breeze, and he was looking a lot paler than before. He struggled a moment before tossing the dart at the board, and then he staggered sideways and into a chair.

The dart missed the board completely and embedded itself in the calendar hanging on the wall.

“Oops,” Keito muttered and then put his head between his knees to stop the dizziness.

“March 14th,” Yamada said as he plucked the dart out. “We’ll take it.”

“That was kinda anticlimactic,” Chinen said, but Yamada didn’t care. They only had one more group to go. And once that was done, he could forget about this whole mess and go home and scrub the itchy spot on his forehead with some soap.

“Ooh, I have an idea for the next one!”

Everyone turned to face Hikaru who had a devious look on his face and the now-unnecessary scraps of paper suggestions from the dart board in his hands.

“We’re gonna need a big wheel like you see in game shows,” he explained and mimed a rotating while with his arms. The papers fluttered in his hands. “And also we’ll need some sturdy straps. And then we can hook Keito up to the wheel and spin it—”

Keito abruptly stood up and announced he was leaving. Still a little lightheaded, he bumped into the side of the doorframe as he quickly escaped. Yamada could have sworn Keito had started to look a little green.

Hikaru blinked and then turned toYamada. “So we can hook Yamada to the wheel and—”

“No chance in hell,” Yamada interrupted. There was no way he was letting them do something like that to him unless there were cameras around and they were paying him loads of money. And the odds of that looked pretty slim.

“There’s an easier way to do that,” he said and set a dictionary down on the table. (He’d borrowed it from Keito months ago and never gave it back) Yamada knew they’d only end up picking a bunch of random words anyway, so they might as well just pick them out of a dictionary. It was probably going to end up being something silly like Pet Shop Love Motion or whatever.

“It’s time for a new plan.”