The warning came from a 3-year-old girl on the other side of the fountain. A ragdoll arched through the air, bounced off the parasol of a gothic lolita living statue, over the head of a busker playing a black acoustic guitar, and was caught by a juggler. She incorporated the doll into her five ball cascade.
“Just another Sunday in Yoyogi park,” sighed the busker. He smiled thanks at passersby dropping a few yen into his guitar case. The busker was dressed as an aristocrat in shades of black from spats to top hat. His velvet coat was open to show off the black-on-black paisley pattern of his vest. The look was completed with a cane and round sunglasses.
“Beautiful chaos,” replied the juggler. She changed her pattern to include behind-the-back passes. She was wearing khaki cargo pants, a yellow tank top, and blue canvas shoes. Her dark hair was cropped short and spiky. Around her neck was a silver fox paw against cherry blossoms on a leather cord.
The living statue said nothing, holding still despite the impact. She was dressed as a gothic lolita in a black-on-black knee length dress. A crinoline peeked out under the hem. Lace adorned the fitted corset-style top and cap sleeves. Black boots laced up to meet the hem of her skirt and a tiny top hat rest on a cloud of black curls. Her velvet gloved hand held a black lace parasol which now titled slightly to the right.
At least, that’s how they appeared to the casual observer. Someone who looked closer, perhaps squinted a little, would have seen two black feathered birds – one crow, one raven – perched on a bench as a six-tailed fox frolicked near them. A wise fool would tell you both views were absolutely and simultaneously true. From the perspective of the spirits, the form the observer saw depended on the how the spirits chose to interact with the world at that moment. They could twist reality at their whim.
The busker set aside his guitar and checked his pockets. Always aware of his audience, he conjured a bottle of orange soda from his vest pocket with an obligatory flourish. More coins landed in the case. “Are either of you lovely ladies thirsty?”
The living statue regarded him, then shrugged. “Yes.” She closed her parasol and sat down on the bench next to him. “Thank you, my love.”
“You are quite welcome, dear heart.” He pulled a bottle of blue soda from his pocket and handed it to her. “It’s blueberry – I think.”
“Never trust blue food,” the juggler quipped.
“And yet there is so much blue in your diet,” said the living statue. “Might explain a bit.”
The owner of the ragdoll came running up. She was wearing yellow Pokémon rainboots and a pink Hello Kitty coat. Her short hair defied gravity and combs. She looked in the case under the bench, and then at the busker.
He pushed down on the marble sealing his soda and took a drink, staring back at the child. Tilting his head towards his companion, he asked out of the corner of his mouth, “What do you think it wants?”
The gothic lolita sipped her soda. “It doesn’t taste like blueberries.” She regarded the child, then added, “The flying fish?”
The girl nodded, eyes wide. “Fish!”
The busker pointed to the juggler.
“Fish!” she held up her hands.
“Your doll is named Fish?” asked the juggler, keeping the balls and doll airborne. “Why?”
“She likes fish.” This seemed sufficient explanation. The girl added, “My mommy made her.”
The juggler threw the balls into the air where they disappeared. She proffered the doll to the girl.
“Why was she flying?”
“Catapult. Whoosh!” The girl arched the doll through the air, then hugged it. “My name is Mei.”
“I’m Fox,” the juggler bowed, “This is Raven, and Crow,” indicating the busker and gothic lolita respectively.
“Where is your mother?” asked Raven.
“Don’t know.” The girl stared at Crow. “Why is your dress all black?”
Crow raised a thin eyebrow. “Because I like black.”
Mei considered this. “I like black too. But I like yellow better.”
“Your father, then?” asked Raven hopefully.
“He’s on a trip across the ocean,” said Mei. “He plays guitar in a band.”
“Then where is your caretaker, hatchling?” asked an exasperated Raven.
“Mei!” called an old woman from the other side of the fountain.
“Gotta go! Zoom!” Mei took off at a full run, stopped, and ran back. She bowed. “It was nice to meet you.” Then she was gone.
“Cute kid,” said Fox. She sat down on the bench beside Raven.
“If you like that sort of thing,” said Crow.
Raven handed Fox a bottle of red liquid. “It claims to be watermelon.”
Fox held up the bottle. The liquid looked gray to her. “If you say so.” She popped down the marble and took a deep swig. “Not bad.” Mischief sparkling in her eyes, she leaned across Raven and asked Crow, “You don’t like children?”
“They are acceptable in their proper place and time,” allowed Crow.
Raven said, “I suppose the park is one of their natural habitats.”
Fox nodded. “I think that one is a natural-born trickster.”
“Really?” asked Raven. “How can you tell?”
“I have a nose for these things,” Fox said knowingly as she stood up, holding Raven’s pocket watch.
Raven checked his jacket pocket. He smiled and inclined his head. “Well played.”
Fox grinned and snatched up Crow’s parasol. It was launched into the air followed by the watch. A pearlescent ball joined them in a three-object fountain.
“First a flying fish and now a mischievous fox,” sighed Crow. “Do be careful with the parasol. I just bought it.”
Fox laughed, a sharp barking sound. “No promises.”
Copyright 2013, Kimberley Long-Ewing, all rights reserved