- The Buzzing
- The Black Signal
Our wisdom flows so sweet. Taste and see...
TRANSMIT - initiate the bakuto signal - RECEIVE - initiate the boryokudan syntax - I'M AN AGENT OF CHAOS - initiate the ninkyo dantai cadence - WE JUST HAD A NEAR-LIFE EXPERIENCE, FELLAS! - lay down your hand, 8-9-3, Oicho-Kabu! - WITNESS - the Korinto-kai.
Initiate ambient chaos scan. Pandemonium exhaust detected. ALL ZEROES ARE WILD.
They gather in their holy place, to the idiot-chair of bouncing pachinko balls, "Ping-pang-ping-pang!" Shirtless, they play cards on foldout tables in the VIP room. They display their horimyo tattoos like peacock feathers, and the ink weeps magic. They stand in the maw of forces far beyond them, but they believe in their leader, Daimon Kiyota. In his impossible audacity, they trust. His jagged-gash grin cuts chance at odd angles. He is a street priest of the sacred obscenities.
They are a branch of yakuza, of the bakuto tradition. They are not like the rest of the tree. There is no wooden plaque on their door, declaring their presence with name and emblem. they wear shadows and fade away, these occulted gangsters. They self-scar their honour in sacrifice to something bigger.
They are, all of them, scales of the Dragon, though most do not know it. Is the foot aware of the rest of the body?
Initiate the secret histories.
The bakuto were the lowly lords of gambling from the 18th century on. They marked themselves in elaborate tattoos. Social outcasts with power, they wielded the dice and the hanafuda. They would later combine with the tekiya and spawn the nascent yakuza.
By the 20th century, "bakuto" was an outdated term. But the Korinto-kai held to it. They drifted into Tokyo in the 1920s. They immediately infiltrated the underground gambling scene. What was their edge? They were the first yakuza group to exploit the popularity of the pachinko industry. They expanded into occult arms and shipments and the supernatural protection racket.
The vibrations of the Dragon match the vibrations of the Korinto-kai. The two align. Daimon drags his organisation into a frightful world of new possibilities. He has a plan. Doesn't he?
The Korinto-kai parlay with demons. They gamble with death deities. They dance in the razor blade rain and always five paces out of their league - yet always, always they step between the raindrops. What do they know? What secrets rattle and clang out from Daimon Kiyota's personal pachinko machine? The staccato prophecy. Why does it smell like before the before, like another age? It becomes a model of Tokyo.
The pachinko machine was not always a pachinko machine, but it always was.
And what of Daimon Kiyota himself? Sweetlings say he is the great grandson of the original founder of the Korinto-kai. They say the founder back to Tokyo after a visit to New York's underworld, that he learnt new tricks, that he had flapper-age slang dripping off his sharp tongue. Jeepers creepers! Those roaring nights.
INITIATE DATA SCAN. We find no record of the founder ever having a child. No record of him dying. Curiouser and curiouser.
Sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss-I am the pirate signal-let me in.
Hiya, Chuck. It's John.
Today I watched raccoons destroy an ancient temple. Everyone in Japan wanted a pet raccoon in the 80s. Those adorable scamps. Those mischievous ro-ro-rogues. Always cute, but never tame. People just let them go. Clever, they can survive anywhere. Invasive, they infected the land like a plaque. They infest temples, temples monks have protected for thousands of years. The monks are powerless! No matter what they try, the masked rats destroy the edifice of their cosmic belief with scratching and gnawing and urine and feces.
A monk sheds a tear and, with a sniffer full of hit-funk, understands the futility of all his beliefs. He gets the joke.
"The inevitable heat death of the universe."
Wait for it!
What was that, Chuck? What did the buzz-buzz-buzzard voices say? The Korinto-kai? That band of merry men. The honourable thieves. Those scamps! Those rogues! They aren't immoral, they're amoral. They are lovable anti-heroes. Their audacity is going to save us all from the outer dark.
And their leader! Oh, that gambling yakuza Robin Hood. That charming crazed cool. Daimon Kiyota.
Let me tell you about Daimon Kiyota. His desk draws are crammed with severed fingers. He takes digits instead of apologies. He lets die rolls decide murder. I've got a lot of eyes, Chuck. Do you know what I saw? The Korinto-kai are involved in all occult shipments in Tokyo. How could they not know about the Filth bomb? Yeah, I know about that. Intimately.
Did they ignore it? Were they paid to look the other way? Did Daimon's crazy pinball machine tell him to do it? It's hard to hear, Chuck...but they let it happen. Ask him why.
Oh, it's a downer, Chuck. When you find out that Robin Hood is Bluebeard.
I know, Chuck. But the buzzing voices say-say-say! That's got to be distracting. All those alien voices pretending to be one thing- like a two hundred pounds of crickets piling into a man's suit and waving at you. That static's got to put you off balance something fierce, Chuck. Hard to get a bead on morality.
There is no such thing as morality.
I know, Chuck. You try. You try so hard. It ain't easy being human. I know.
But THEY don't.
See you, Chuck ...