As she drank the light green liquid, she watched in amazement as he made himself at home in her kitchen. How had he learned to cook with such mastery and flair? He reached for her knife and carefully sliced the vegetables. These were placed in the hot grease to cook. When the food began to sizzle, he told her about his mission in Hakodate.
“I visited the Office of Finance. They were interested to hear about your visit from Ishikawa-san.” He paused as he concentrated on cutting a slab of beef into paper-thin slices. “It seems that he did work for their office, but that he was dismissed from his position more than a year ago.”
“A year ago? But the message came only last fall.”
“Yes. Apparently he took several items with him when he left the office, including an official signature stamp, some papers, and the enclosure ribbon. He has used them to send tax notices to people who will not question authority - widows, small business owners; anyone he thinks will take him seriously. The directives instruct the victims to send the ‘taxes’ to his own address.” He took the vegetables out of the pan and added the meat to the sizzling fat.
“He kept the money himself? How terrible. But how did you know that the bill was not official?”
“I wasn’t sure, but I became suspicious when I read the message and saw the money was to be sent to him, at an address that was not near the government offices. I paid a visit to my cousin, who is with the Department of Justice. He was able to get an edict for his arrest.”
“So I don’t have to pay the fines and taxes?”
“You do have to pay some taxes, since your husband did not pay them before he died, but they are not nearly as high as the amount Ishikawa demanded of you.”
“How much will I owe?” A knot of unease started to grow in the pit of her stomach.
“The amount was so minimal, I paid it. It will be easier for you to repay me than to send the payment to them.” He tested the vegetables to be sure they were done, and then added the beef.
Her unease flared into irritation. How could he be so arrogant as to pay her bills and demand payment? “Repay you? How can I do that? You know that I will not have any money until the harvest!”
Thanks for stopping by! The character above says "justice", one of the samurai virtues. Please leave a comment, and be sure to check out the samples offered by other great authors. Click HERE.