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1528
[Someone told me to put this here.]

---

"Yes?

"Yeah, that's me. I'm sorry, you know me but I don't know who you are. You're—

"A princess? Huh. You sure you've got the right guy?

"Yeah, sure, that is my name, but—

"Er—yeah, sure. Who am I to refuse royalty, and stuff like that. I hope you don't mind me eating while you talk, though, because that's what I was doing, when you knocked. Eating.

"What? No, nothing fancy. Just rice and a little fish. Mostly rice, but rice is fine. As long as your stomach's full, it doesn't much matter what it's full of, right? Well, I guess it does matter, but you know what I—

"What?

"My bowl?

"My bowl? It's...it's a bowl. Where does anybody get bowls?

"I'm sorry, I don't know what to tell you. I mean—you don't really remember where you got every plate or pair of chopsticks in the house, right? Because it's just a plate, or some chopsticks, or a bowl. I mean, I know I probably didn't get this at the bowl store or whatever because it's stone, and I guess that's odd, but it's not odd odd, right? I mean, it's just a bowl, right? As long as it holds rice, it doesn't really matter what it's made of, right?

"Huh? Oh, you're leaving? Well, okay. Shut the door on the way out, please?

"Was that really a princess? Princesses are weird."

---

"Yes?

"Oh, it's you. You came here the other day, right? Did you forget anything, or leave something or—"

"Yeah, sure. Come in, I guess. I'm in the middle of something, but if you want to talk while I work, it shouldn't be any trouble or anything.

"No, nothing too complicated. I'm just changing the water in this vase.

"What?

"This branch?

"I would've thought you'd be more interested in the vase, not the branch. My father gave me this vase. He said, 'It's a good vase. You can put things in it.' I guess they're sort of like bowls that way—

"What? The branch? I don't know, it's just a branch. Where do you get branches? Trees, and shrubs, and such.

"Okay, okay, just—just give me a second, here. It was after that big hurricane so it was—I don't know, two months ago? Three? I don't really buy calendars. So I was walking along, looking for things I could sell and—

"Well I was just picking up sticks generally, right? I didn't bother sorting them through till I actually got back home. And when I got to this branch, well—it looked kind of nice, right? A nice color, I mean, so I put it in a vase of water and set it out.

"Well, it looks kind of nice. And I didn't have to pay for it. I don't exactly have the money to buy fancy decorations, or anything like that.

"No—why would I sell it? It's just a branch. Most people can just get those on their own, you know. They're just lying around—

"Oh, you're leaving? Well, bye, I guess—

"Man, princesses are weird."

---

"Yes?

"Oh, it's you again. Sorry, but the way you stormed out last time, I thought I'd done something wrong. Did I do something wrong?

"No, huh? But you sure seemed like—sure, sure, come in. Come in quick, actually. It's cold out."

"What? No, no, I'm not doing anything today. Well, I'm always doing something every day, but today I'm not too busy doing anything right now. Well, you know what I mean. Can I get you something? Tea? Or...no, you don't want these crackers. How long have I even had these crackers?

"Serious? I'm not in trouble, am I? I'm pretty sure I haven't—I don't know, done any weird crimes that would have a princess coming down here to tell me off in person. Is it bad?

"Okay, not bad. Okay. Well, I don't mind talking, I guess, but could you give me a second? I really can't concentrate when it's just this cold.

"Right. Thanks.

"Okay, I'm back. Sorry for making you wait, but I couldn't remember where I put this and—

"What?

"This robe? I don't know, it's just a robe. I know it's kind of old—I mean, it smells old, even—but I don't really have any fancy things, and that includes clothes, too. So I've got to make do with—

"Okay, okay, let me—no, you know what? Actually, I remember where I got this robe exactly. Well, not exactly. And it isn't any big story. I was just out walking one day, looking for sticks—I think this was after I found the vase—I mean the branch—and this robe was just over a wall somewhere. Like half here, half over.

"Yeah, right, see, that's what I thought, too. So I went asking around, you know—'Hey, did anybody leave a robe lying around? Kind of silvery,' and everybody said something like, 'No, I didn't leave a robe lying around,' or 'Yes, I left a robe lying around, but it didn't look like that,' so I decided to keep it, because, hey, free robe, right?

"Oh, you're just...you're just leaving. Okay. Could you shut the door behind you when you go? It's cold—

"I don't understand princesses at all."

---

"Yes?

"Oh, it's you again. You keep—you keep running in and out, and I still don't know what you want. I'm sorry. I'm being rude. It's just that—you're a princess, right?

"Right, but you keep coming over. I mean, over here. And last time you told me there was something important, but then you got all mad, and—no, forget it, okay? You want to talk, right?

"Okay—inside, then. While I'm feeding Umberto.

"Family? Yeah, he's family, but not in the way you're thinking, I don't think. It's kind of a funny story how I found him—How we found each other, actually. If you want to see him, that's fine, I guess. I keep him in a tank—see, there he is. Aw, isn't he a beauty?

"What?

"Oh, he's some kind of sea snail, I think. I'm not good at telling animals from each other, but other people are, and I've been told he's a sea snail. So I guess he's a sea snail. You're a sea snail, aren't you? Yes you are! Yes you are! Yes—

"Huh? Oh, right, yeah, a funny story. Well, not ha-ha funny, more like 'hey, that's strange' sort of funny. I was walking along one day, feeling a bit sick of rice—I told you it doesn't matter what I eat, but something it does, right? I mean, it shouldn't, not that much, but sometimes you spend days eating nothing but rice and you start wishing you could eat anything else—you know what that's like, right?

"Oh, right. You're a princess. Sorry.

"Okay, right, so—I was just walking by, feeling like I could eat anything but rice, when I saw a nest in a tree. And I thought—'Wouldn't it be nice, if that nest had an egg in it? I could go for eggs.' And, well, I didn't have anything much better to do, at the time—at least that I couldn't put off till later—so I climbed the tree, and—no eggs.

"Right, right! I'm getting to that. So I looked at the nest, and—no eggs. But there was a shell—I mean, a seashell. And I thought, 'Hey, that's strange.' So I picked up the shell, and there was something inside it. And I thought, 'Shelled animal, what are you doing? How did you even get up here? You can't even fly.' So I took it down and asked around, and it was a sea snail.

"Well...yeah. Yeah, that's it. And he's been living with me, ever since then. He's better behaved than more animals, I think. Yeah, you're a sweet little guy, aren't you, Umberto? Okay, here's your dinner for today—don't stuff your face all at once. Lucky.

"Sorry, I don't think you came here to discuss Umberto. I mean, I doubt you even knew about Umberto before I told you about him. So what is it you wanted to talk about, anyway?

"Princess?

"And she's gone.

"You know, Umberto, maybe it's that princess I don't get. I don't know many princesses."

---

"It's you.

"No, it's not that I was expecting you, it's just that—well, you showed up four times in the last four days, so I guess I was expecting you. Yeah, I was expecting you. You want to come in?

"Oh, so now you want to talk—no, look, I'm sorry. It's just that you keep coming here, every day, and you keep telling me there's something very important to talk about, and then you don't talk about whatever it is that's very important that you keep telling me there is to talk about, and...

"Yeah. No. Yeah, I'm okay. You want to talk about it, right? Whichever 'it' it is. I've already got the fish out, so...while you talk, I'll eat.

"Yeah, quite a catch, isn't it? I did an odd favor for someone and got this as a reward. I guess they didn't need it, but that's the more fish for me. I might actually have a full meal today!

"Alright, I'm listening. What is it that's so important?

"Yeah, I think I understand that it's important. Whatever 'it' is. Did I already say that?

"Uh-huh.

"No. Sorry, yeah, I'm a bit distracted. Fish have bones, you know. I mean, of course you know that fish have bones, but I don't want to choke on something and die right before you tell me whatever it is that you've been wanting to tell me—

"Ah.

"That's odd.

"Huh? This? It looks like...some kind of jewel, doesn't it? I didn't expect that at all. Usually the fish I eat don't have anything inside them except fish. I mean, I've heard that larger fish will eat all kinds of things, but I didn't expect a jewel—hey, are you okay?

"Wh-what? I don't understand—what are you yelling at me for—

"And there she goes.

"That princess...I'm starting to think I don't like her at all."

---

"What do you want?

"Oh. Oh, it's you. Sorry—I'm so sorry. I thought you were—I thought you were someone completely different, to tell the truth. Sorry about that. Come in, come in! You haven't stopped by in a while, and she's stopped by five times in the last week and—

"Who? Oh, I don't know. I caught her name once, and it slipped my mind—some princess, I think. That's what she said she was, though she didn't act very much like I expected a princess to act. I mean, she did at first, but...

"Ha! Yeah, that's the question, right? What did she want? She kept showing up, and—hold on, I'm actually making dinner, so you'll have to follow me around—she kept showing up and telling me she had something important to say. Something very important—at least, she kept acting like it was important. I'm not so sure it was, though, because—you want to grab a bowl? I've got mine out already—because she kept putting it off. She'd tell me—just put it by mine—see? Right there, next to the vase—tell me she was certainly going to tell me something important—just throw that robe anywhere. I need to clean it anyway—but then she'd get distracted by something or fixated by something—do you mind feeding Umberto, while you're back there? Right, just a bit in the tank, thanks—and she'd never get to it. She never got to it. She just left without—oh, sorry, I put that on the cushion. Just relocate that somewhere soft, please—anyway, she just left without telling me, every time.

"Actually—you know what's funny? I was so mad she couldn't focus on whatever it was she wanted to tell me—you heard me snap at you at the door, right? Because I thought you were her. I was so mad she kept coming over every day, but now that you're here, and you're not her, it's almost kind of funny.

"Yeah, funny. Well, not ha-ha funny, exactly, but still funny in a—well, you're laughing, anyway. How much rice do you want?

"It's not...it's not that funny.

"Hey, are you okay?

"Mokou, you're—are you crying?"
Well that was intresting I actually want to see a more that last part with mokou made me laugh
I wish it was a little more coherent, but I suppose that's one of the restrictions of a work entirely made of dialogue between two people, and you only hear one side. Interesting, but I am not so sure I'd go so far as to say 'enjoyable'.
I thought it was well done though I had to read it twice.


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