“Ah yes,” Sensei Abe Lincoln purrs. He readjusts his archetypical bowler hat and places his hands on his hips, confidently surveying his handiwork. “That will do nicely.”
It’s not a voice that takes the sensei by surprise. It’s a boom.
Lincoln whirls around with such pace as to almost topple over. It would be comical to see, if the viewer had any sense of humour.
Shujin Yama does not.
“I have excellent idea, mmhmm!” Lincoln boasts. “You face Lunch-San next! I have props to make fun of him with!”
He points to the long table that dominates the centre of the square room, and the three things he has laid upon it. Yama’s eyes follow as patterns of light diffuse through the paper shoji walls, shimmying from item to item.
“They’re lunchboxes…” Yama says, regarding them with an air of misgiving.
“Indeed!” Lincoln beams. His smile grows wide and wily.
Yama, however, remains unconvinced. With a silent scoff, he snatches up the nearest box – a garish looking black thing highlighted with horrific shades of purple and pink, and the word METRO emblazoned on the front. Disgusting.
He shakes it a little, hearing a frantic rattle within.
Abruptly, he rips through the flimsy frame with just his bare hands. The lunchbox explodes into a hailstorm of…
“Chicken feed?” Yama scowls. Lincoln tries to hold back a laugh.
“Because that is all Lunch-San is given from his ‘mentor’,” he explains. Yama didn’t need the explanation, though. He understood perfectly the moment that the lunchbox exploded.
The grin on the sensei’s face wipes clean with just one look from the beast.
“You’re trying too hard, Abe. AGAIN.”
Lincoln audibly gulps. It wasn’t like his pupil to address him by his first name like that. Not until he lost the Premier American Championship, at least. Their relationship had changed since then, and Lincoln felt it.
“You are right,” Lincoln admits, deferring authority. “Of course you are right. What is better plan?”
“Tea,” Yama suggests.
“What?” The answer takes Lincoln by surprise.
It’s just one word. One syllable. But the message to Lincoln is loud and clear. Bowing his head, he scurries off into the bowels of the dojo, leaving Yama alone in the room.
Slowly and methodically, the sumo strides across the room. On the way, he scoops up the other equally repulsive lunchboxes into the ham hocks he calls hands.
They’re stylised after Bobby Dean and King Kong Frank.
A split-second after registering that, the lunchboxes soon shatter against the wall. Yama doesn’t even care to look at what ‘clever’ gags Lincoln had hidden within them.
He leaves them broken on the ground as he continues on his path.
“Jokes…” he grumbles, shaking his head. “Everywhere, jokes…”
On the far side of the room, he slides one of the shoji frames to the side, making a window to the outside. In his presence, the vibrance of the world beyond seems to bleed away.
Birds stop singing.
Tree branches stop swaying.
An innocent little squirrel darts up a nearby cherry blossom.
“Nice to know someone hasn’t forgotten just who the hell I am…” he sniggers. As the critter climbs, Yama’s gaze rised all the way up the sky. There, Sol itself retreats behind a cloud.
For when Shujin Yama looks at the sun, the sun doesn’t dare look back.
“No more jokes,” he promises. “No more playing kiddy games. No more corny catchphrases. I’m going to end it all.”
He breathes deep, finding his centre.
“Where is the conviction in all of that? Where is the self-respect? What does a guy like Lunchbox Larry even stand for?”
Every question is accompanied by a crackle in his voice – an unbridled rage trying to bubble its way to the surface.
It can only be quelled for so long.
“If the kid wants a lesson, I’ll teach him one,” he says. Yama’s tree-trunk like neck cracks as he rolls it side to side. “I’ll teach them all a lesson. One that they will never soon forget!”
He lets go of his rage!
Whipping his head around, he spikes the camera lens and stares directly down the barrel.
“Capital Clash wasn’t the end of something for me,” he sneers. “It was the beginning! You’re just the first of what’s next, Larry. Tell your friends I’m coming for them too. Tell EVERYBODY!
Tell them, kid…
If you survive.”
Fading to black, the world as you know it, changes.