Dec 17, 2009
On the day Tokyo was being destroyed by giant robots, Ichiro Ramone was 5,470 miles away enjoying a nice sandwich.
Ichiro’s mother was Anzu Watanabe, a Japanese supermodel and lead singer of the all-girl 80s punk rock cover band Bang Bang Go Go. His father was Ricardo Ramone, a multi-billionaire who oversaw an empire of Mexican factories churning out NAFTA-friendly merchandise, ranging from cars to casino chips. Ichiro never felt at home in either Tokyo or Mexico City, so when it came time for college, Ichiro chose Berkley and majored in math with a minor in art. It turns out that Ichiro was a certified Einstien-level genius, which was quickly noticed by the spooks at the NSA. They recruited Ichiro upon his graduation and put him to work on a top-secret project that involved breaking complex coded communications. These signals appeared to be between the Russians and a destination just outside the orbit of the planet formerly known as Pluto in a region of space known as the Kuiper belt.
Being born to money gave Ichiro certain advantages. He worked for the NSA on his terms; when he wanted to. The rest of the time, he made a living working in a ticket booth at a Sunset Boulevard pornographic movie theater in Hollywood. The owner, Mr. Perkins, was an ex-Scientologist who had hit it big working at a start-up during the dot-com boom and left it all behind to buy the theater from its previous owners, a transvestite named Denise (formerly Dennis) and her wife Charlene, a retired porn star. Mr. Perkins knew nothing of Ichiro’s secret life decoding alien broadcasts, but had he known, he might have re-considered his stance on the Scientologists.
Ichiro was about to take a bite of his sandwich when his iPhone started playing Bang Bang Go Go’s rendition of The Ramone’s “I want to be sedated”. Even though he was estranged from his parents, Ichiro was very proud of his mother’s rise from poverty to the heights of the super rich and elite, and had her band’s songs programmed for all of the different ringers in his phone. This particular ring meant he had received a text message from Robert Marley, his superior at the NSA. Although Bob bore no resemblance to his namesake, his name was the source of constant amusement within the coordinators of the NSA’s headquarters at Ft. Meade and he was forever finding hand-knit Reggae beanie hats on his desk.
Ichiro read the message. It was typically terse and to the point, like all of Bob’s communication. “Tokyo destroyed; parents likely dead”. Ichiro paused, trying to decide what that really meant to him. It made him sad, but he knew his parents had lived life to the fullest and would die with no regrets.
“I guess it’s true, you can never go home” he remarked out loud, then proceeded to finish the rest of his sandwich.