Brown Paper Box: Summer Writing Episode 3

6개월 전

Brown Paper Box.jpg
Image Credit – PublicDomainPictures

Brown Paper Box

Henry Bear stood at Shinjuko Cross, holding a brown paper box in both hands, while watching the 3-D image of a large cat meow above the busy street.

Below, in the new Cross Shinjuko Space building, a promotion for a bamboo satellite had taken over for the week. The image of a bonzi tree zipping into space, repeated across the glass windows of the three story building below the 3-D cat. Inside, being where he intended to go, for the meeting Lui Hui had arranged.

Henry Bear had stood where he stood now, before the pandemic. At that time, the Alta Building next door, had dominated his attention after leaving the east train station exit.

Now, he wore a mask, looking at the 3-D cat from social media. His fingertips feeling the abrasive surface of the brown paper box. It weighed close to 35 pounds. Not too heavy, yet now standing for a couple of minutes, it began to pull on his shoulders.

The brown paper box ornate with old postage stamps for show. A piece of yarn cutting all six sides of the cube in half, serving the function of security; it would need to be cut before opening the brown paper box.

The light said walk, Henry Bear moved with the rest of Tokyo now crossing the street. A man ran through the crowd with experience, not touching anyone as he passed, in a rush to catch a train. The humidity slowly pressing his hands into the brown paper box, so he shifted the box in his hands, hoping not to leave sweaty palm prints.

More than a month ago, he had almost died from cyanide poisoning on a bullet train filled with Olympians. He felt the same moistness from his body then. To make matters worse, he had contracted the coronavirus from the Frenchman who had nearly killed him. The Olympics had ended. Now, after spending most of that time in the hospital, Henry Bear didn’t feel confident in his health.

He kept pushing forward, toward his dream of using Hemp to create sustainable materials for modern civilization’s needs. In his mind he could see his wife and three children. They smiled, waving him to continue, while surrounded by nature with crisp air and clean water.

He stopped in front of the Cross Shinjuko Space building. The cat meowed overhead, only he could just see the black screen of the digital signage now. He examined the posters of the bamboo tree with a blue swirl of motion reaching for the stars. The building, an advertisement for the bamboo satellite as an advancement in technology. All of this, the work of Mr. Fujimoto, the man he meant to meet.

Once again, he shifted the brown paper box in his hands, to keep his warm palms from planting themselves. Sweat starting to pour from his skin, as the humidity of the busy Japanese street corner melted him.

He made his way inside Cross Shinjuko Space and instantly coolness chilled the liquid on his body. The air conditioning inside on full blast. Clean lit displays adorned the spacious exhibit space. He stepped toward one of the displays, where a video demonstrated how Harajuko Girls could have a bamboo satellite launched into space. The reasoning for the idea not clear, only the style of the video catching the interest of the patrons passing through the promotional building.

“Ice cold beverage? If you want coffee, I can go down to the basement café?” Asked a young waitress.

An ice cold beverage sounded perfect, only he held the brown paper box in both hands, with no place to set it. He could put it on the floor, just didn’t like the idea, and so he asked the waitress:

“Can you tell me where to find Mr. Fujimoto?” In his rough Japanese.

“Third floor,” she said, pointing to a staircase at the end of the room, away from the front entrance.

“Thank you,” Henry Bear said bowing. He stepped away from the gravity of the scene with the display and the waitress. Now on track to reach his goal.

As he climbed the stairs wearing a mask, fully vaccinated and recovered from a Covid-19 infection, he couldn’t help to pull away from people walking down the stairs as they passed him. The effort conscious, to swing the weight of the brown paper box toward the hand rail, his body bracing against it, to give a few more inches of social distancing.

He couldn’t help to think of climbing the floors in “Game of Death”, only Bruce Lee hailed from China, and this Japan. Much like his friend Lui Hui, with her connections to China, while working as an engineer at Toyota.

Now on the third floor, he could see a man built like a sumo wrestler, wearing a black kimono with Star Wars written in gold across his chest. Henry Bear walked again to the opposite side of the room. Three floors below the entrance he had entered. Above outside, the 3-D cat meowed. The coolness of the room made it easier to walk with the brown paper box in both hands.

“Mr. Fujimoto?” Henry Bear asked giving a bow.

“Yes, Henry Bear? Would you like an ice cold beverage?”

“Yes, thank you.” Answered Henry Bear, as he placed the brown paper box on a small bar table. Behind it, Mr. Fujimoto poured water into a glass of ice. Behind him, through the posters on the window in the sunlight, he could see where he’d been standing on the busy street corner below.

Henry Bear drank the cool liquid offered to him, then said, “this is an amazing promotion.”

“Thank you, my marketing team decided on it, as soon as they heard this space would be opening. Millions of people pass through this intersection. They all know about the bamboo satellite. It’s sustainable and it’s traditional. It’s the future of the Japanese Space Program. Best of all, it’s affordable, offering opportunities for people like yourself to help explore the cosmos.” Mr. Fujimoto pitched.

“You forgot that it solves the problem of space junk,” added Henry Bear. This made Mr. Fujimoto laugh.

“That’s right! Not to mention, that’s the most profitable aspect of this entire endeavor. Especially with the threat to space travel once metal satellites break up enough to surround the globe. Organic materials allow the use of satellites to continue while creating space debris that’s less dangerous. You know a lot Henry Bear. Why don’t you tell me what’s in the box?”

“A present. The brown paper box made from Hemp. Inside…”

“A Hemp Satellite? Liu Hui mentioned it when she put it together. She needed a little help since she doesn’t have my experience with satellites. You were in the hospital. Why would I want to help a direct competitor?”

“I wouldn’t say competitor. Look at this entire building dedicated to your launch. This is just a simple satellite made from another material that grows more abundantly around the world. Bamboo makes perfect sense in Japan. You could carve out a niche on the global market, with more exposure, because there would be a similar product line elsewhere. Just trying to get off the ground.” Now Henry Bear started to feel himself again.

“I’ve done too much already. Liu Hui, a good friend. I helped her, because of my debt to her, on other projects here in Asia. You’re right though, bamboo grows best in Japan. Something like Hemp might be better in other climates. The world needs, whatever we can produce, to supply all of civilization’s needs in a sustainable way.

“I’m going to write the name and address of an associate in Europe. Find him, he could have more interest in a partnership. Leave the brown paper box here, I’ll launch it into space, to test how it performs.” Mr. Fujimoto finished, then ripped paper from a notepad that he gave to Henry Bear.

To be continued…

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