The couple’s little daughter was extremely cute and – like the children I’d seen on the trains back in Japan – was well-behaved in my presence. After I’d assisted the kind people and taken my leave, they escorted the girl to the kids’ section. It was there that I witnessed the Stitch-like destruction of a Japanese child’s warpath: the hand puppet rack was emptied onto the floor and all manner of books within grabbing range were tossed down with them as if hurled into Hell by the hand of God. I imagined the flames rising up from the patterned carpeting.
I noticed that no one else was in that part of the store other than the couple who futilely struggled against the little whirlwind going crazy underfoot and thought back to Atsuko-san’s words. Observing that the mother and father were unable to control the beast and personally lacking a manner with children which would prove useful, I left them to their own devices. Any bookstore employee knows that the kids’ section is routinely destroyed several times a day unless a hawkish CSR stands watch like a prison guard or irate librarian. The schedule almost never allowed for such a body to hover in a dedicated spot, however, so this left the floor personnel with cleanup detail.
I thought back to the countless innocent-seeming children on the trains of Tokyo as I picked up the puppets and books left behind. Imagining the lot of them invading my store in a wave was one of a bookstore employee’s worst nightmares. It was like the little girl had a switch that flipped the moment strangers left her presence. After she’d returned to her stroller and the couple exited the ruins of the department she’d returned to her former quietude, the demon returning to slumber inside her until the couple was alone with her again.
The pen is mightier than the sword, and Godzilla should be felled by a little Japanese kid in the next movie.