As this silent drama was playing out between yours truly and Suzuki, the master came back from the toilet still straightening his clothes. "Hey there!" he called as he seated himself. There was no trace of the calling card he'd held in his hand. The name of Suzuki Tōjūrō, it appeared, had been condemned to stew out its days in eternal stench. Before I could reflect further on the terrible misfortune that befell the calling card, however, the master seized me by the scruff of the neck and flung me onto the veranda, cursing me to boot.
"Please have a seat. It's been a while. What brings you to Tōkyō?" The master turns to his old friend and offers the cushion. Suzuki seats himself on it, but not before turning it over.
"I've been busy and haven't found time to call, but I'm in Tōkyō at the main office now. I've actually been back for some time ..."
"Excellent. How long has it been? I don't believe I've seen you since you left for the countryside."
"Yes, it's been ten years already. Of course, I've made it to Tōkyō from time to time, but always on a hectic schedule. Never had time to stop and pay my respects. Please don't think too badly of me. Company life is different from your line of work. They keep us running day and night."
"Ten years makes a different man." The master looks Suzuki up and down. His hair is neatly parted. His jacket is English tweed, accented with and a bright necktie. From his breast pocket a gold chain sparkles. Based on his appearance, it's hard to picture him an old friend of master Kushami's.
"Indeed. Nowadays, I can't go round without things like this." Suzuki seems overly conscious of his own gold chain.
"Is that real?" the master asks, dispensing with diplomacy.
"18-karat," Suzuki replies with a grin. "The years have changed you too. I hear you're a family man now. One child?"
"More still? Three then?"
"Three so far. More to come, I suppose."