On the eighth day I left my lodgings at seven thirty. After a leisurely bath, I bought eight eggs at the market. These were to supplement the potato-centric diet the old woman fed me at my lodgings. I put four eggs into each of my sleeve pockets, placed my signature red towel over my shoulder, and walked with hands in pockets to the Masuya inn. I climbed the stairs and opened the shōji of Yama Arashi's room, and I was greeted with an excited look on his Idaten-like face. "It's looking good! It's looking good!" The previous evening I had discerned that despair and melancholy were getting the better of him. When I saw the color back in his face I answered, "Wonderful!" without yet knowing why.
"Around seven thirty, that geisha Kosuzu went in."
"With Red Shirt?"
"It's no good then."
"Two geisha went in together. That's a good sign."
"Why? Because the guy's crafty. I'm guessing he sends the geishas first and then slips in later himself."
"That could be. It's already nine, isn't it."
"Twelve past." Yama Arashi pulled a nickel-cased watch from his obi belt and glanced at the time. "Say, dim that lamp so they don't see our shadows. Two close-cropped heads at the shōji will spook the old fox and scare him away."
I blew out the lamp on the lacquer-enameled desk. The shōji was illuminated only dimly by starlight. The moon had not yet risen. Yama Arashi and I fixed ourselves to the spy holes with bated breath. The wall clock chimed nine thirty.