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Posted by Patrick Macias on


Story by Patrick Macias

Stage 3: The Courage to Be Sharp Edged

Mary and Shozo took a quick walk around the block just to see what they would be up against. As expected, barely anyone was out, including it seemed, cops or security guards.

Mary told Shozo this was it: now or never. She told him that if things got too crazy, he could run away, and she wouldn’t be mad about it. Whatever was fine as long as he took video of the main event. Shozo said no no no, don’t worry, and handed Mary his bat. Once she confirmed he was live streaming with his phone, she walked over to the video screen… where it seemed like the immense V.M. head might swallow her up.

Mary gripped the bat with both hands. She did not hesitate and swung hard in a sideways arc. Glass flew and flashes of sparks filled the air. The terrible sound of the impact made her close her eyes.

When she opened them again a second later, she could see through a hole she’d made in the monitors.

There was a man on the other side.

He was slight and gaunt, maybe in his late fifties or early sixties. Graying hair was combed over to cover a bald spot on top of his head. He wore a sickly pink sweater over a shirt and tie. Mary could see his room slippers poking out just below the office desk he was standing at. It was covered in PCs and laptop computers. He was trying his best to detach USB drives, hard drives, and stuff them in his pockets.

Mary thought this must be the person creating the footage of V.M. in real time. Maybe he’d even invented her? She motioned for Shozo to quickly come over and get some footage of this strange person. But the little man, who was now sweating, was covering his hand with his face. He made a quick exit, disappearing into the back to the SIF store.

Mary was so shocked by what she’s seen that she hadn’t even noticed the burglar alarm and the police sirens.

The rest happened fast.

Mary heard footsteps running up the sidewalk behind her. Shozo made a break for it and ran, only to be tackled and forced to the ground by two cops.

An officer screamed at her in Japanese. Mary dropped the bat and gave up. When they put her in the back of the police car and drove away, she could see Shozo’s phone on the sidewalk. She hoped it was still broadcasting.


Mary spent a few days alone in a jail cell in Shinagawa. Before, this would have broken her spirit. But after a few weeks alone in her crappy apartment, it didn’t seem so bad. The hard part was the constant stream of police interviews, interpreters, case workers, phone calls to embassies, and lots and lots of paperwork.

A reporter from a newspaper called and wanted to know why she had targeted V.M. Did she know that similar events against ad campaigns were now taking place elsewhere? Mary simply said “RM versus VM” and hung up. The rest, she wanted to keep it all to herself. For now. She wondered where Shozo was and if he was OK.


Mary sat in the immigration detention center at the airport waiting for her return flight back to St. Petersburg to board. There were two other foreigners in there with her, but no one interacted or spoke. Broken mannequins had been placed in chairs to ensure proper distancing. The only noise came from a TV playing Animal Planet. Tonight’s show: “The Impact That Killed the Dinosaurs.”

She imagined it must have sounded like glass breaking.

STAGE END (next update 5/29)

Thanks to MITSUME, Tokyo Fashion, T&M, Mary, Shouta, Esme, Octas Inc, Sam, Dara



Patrick Macias

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