Second Story – “Somehow Connected” – Part 1
It all started yesterday.
I cleaned the office as usual and nudged Senpai awake whose body had been lying lazily on the sofa bed.
“Senpai, please wake up. I’ll make you a cup of coffee now.”
“Mmm. Just five more minutes.”
“No. If you keep doing that, you’ll mess up your body clock. Please sleep only at night.”
I’ve gradually become accustomed to Senpai’s way of life so I urged him to hurry.
Even so, I still have doubts about Senpai being a first-class agent.
Despite his sloppy way of life, his success rate in sending souls to heaven is at 99%. Considering that huge gap between his sleazy life and work performance, I am still not thoroughly convinced.
As a first-class agent, shouldn’t he ought to have a stricter integrity and appropriate demeanor?
Although perhaps that’s just my own selfish conjecture.
I nudged Senpai, who looked nothing like an elite, harder until he finally got up on bed with drowsy eyes and scratched his head with a dull expression on his face.
“Where’s my coffee?”
“I’ll bring it now.”
I’m not quite sure who’s taking care of who. I’ve already become so accustomed to this kind of life (even though it’s only been two weeks). As usual, I made him instant coffee.
“Here you go.” I placed it on the desk with scattered documents, although it was now clean and orderly.
Senpai blew on the hot cup and took a sip.
“Delicious. As expected, instant coffee is the best!”
Senpai looked like a child as he held the cup in one hand and wrapped the other on it as though it were a treasure. Then he spoke, “Apprentice.”
“It’s Yuma. Come on, please try to remember it.”
“Apprentice, you make coffee so well so how come you’re ranked D? You’re quite adept in cleaning too, you’ll make a good housekeeper…”
“Instant coffee will taste the same no matter who makes it. I want to be an excellent agent. We’ve had this conversation before. Like I said, it’s a matter of life and death.”
“Hmpf.” Senpai snorted. “You seem quite fixated on first-class agents. Personally, I don’t care whether you become an agent or not. I just always make sure that I take the clients I’m responsible for into consideration. But well, why are you ranked D? I gather you’re quite a normal student.”
“Uhh,” I muttered as my face blushed faintly. “The professors kept telling me I’m not suited to be an agent. An agent’s job is to simply send human souls to heaven but they say that I am too emotional, too sentimental and too sympathetic to humans. That I’m concerned about useless things like the happiness of the dead, etc. Their evaluation was that I place no boundary between the clients and myself…”
“Hmm, well, they’ve got a point. Sometimes, when you’re swung around by the clients, what usually works may not work well anymore. There’s nothing wrong with what the ivory tower professors say but…”
Senpai took another sip and continued. “In my opinion, this job is certainly challenging. Some professors reiterate that we shouldn’t have any illusions or unrealistic expectations in this job, don’t they? This job, I have to say, is quite fun. But there’s nothing to prove that it is indeed fun. So, saying that you should forgo your naivety when pursuing your ideal job is but a common myth. On the contrary, I think agents should retain their naivety.”
He said and scratched his head again.
As usual, I can’t catch exactly what he’s trying to say but I felt like I understood it somehow. Senpai is different from the professors at the training institute after all.
I can’t really pinpoint how they’re different though.
The phone on the desk rang.
Senpai shrugged. “Looks like it’s time to work. Apprentice, get the materials from the Information Department and summarize it.”
No one calls the office phone except for work.
The Information Department arranges the time when the client visits and then agents will do the rest. The client’s information is stored in the database and has to be requested through the phone. The process is rather seamless but Senpai suspects that the Information Department withholds some information.
“Got it,” I nodded in response.
Senpai scratched his head, “But before that, make me another cup of coffee. The gray matter in my brain is still asleep.”
Looking unmotivated as ever, he picked up the phone while saying, “Good grief.”