Welcome to Rapture is the first story in my 14 story one-shot collection, I Wouldn't Want to Be a Fish Right Now. The concept for this collection began in the summer of 2019. There were two stories at the start of conceptualizing this collection that I knew I would need to write: Killing General Copper and How To Act Like a Professional Mercenary. The former was the epilogue of Nineteen Assassins, and the latter was a story that would have been part of my 4 story one-shot collection, A Trifling Matter, until it was replaced by The Royal Exception.
I came up with the remaining twelve stories during a rewatch of all of Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, and Dragon Ball Super, and all of the canon movies (DBZ movies 1, 5, 9, and 13; DBS movie 3), and the canon OVAs/TV specials (Bardock: The Father of Goku and the Tarble special). While watching these episodes, movies, and specials, I wrote down ideas I had for one-shots. There was not a lot for Dragon Ball, nor Dragon Ball Super, but I got a ton of ideas from watching DBZ, so that's why the majority of these one-shots are DBZ era.
This particular story was thought up when I was watching the Imperfect Cell Saga. I was quite pleased with the idea at the time, and it survived all of my cullings (as I had more than 14 ideas, so some were deleted or moved to my next one-shot collection) pretty easily. This was one of the easier stories for me to write in the collection. I wrote the first draft in the early hours of November 16, 2019, and it took me approximately 59 minutes to do so. This was the second story in the collection I wrote (having written The Legend of Upa the day prior).
Twelve out of the fourteen stories in I Wouldn't Want to Be a Fish Right Now were written over a three-and-a-half month span:
november: 4 - the legend of upa (nov 15) - welcome to rapture (nov 16) - the swindler (nov 19) - zeta male (nov 29) december: 3 - one of them (dec 19) - the big ugly (dec 25) - trickster is meaningless (dec 30) january: 4 - bean daddy (jan 24) - one word from the crane (jan 26) - captain of the guard (jan 27) - softpetal (jan 30) february: 1 - how to act like a professional mercenary (feb 5)
However, after finishing these twelve, the remaining two, Insatiable and Killing General Copper, being much longer stories, took much more time to get a first draft out. Because of this, I decided to start editing and posting the stories with completed first drafts in early April 2020, as Insatiable was taking me a long time to write and would not be done in the immediate future (not counting Killing General Copper, which wasn't even started as of April).
During the editing process, I split the stories into four groups based around certain Japanese aesthetics. The first group comprised of Welcome to Rapture, Bean Daddy, and Zeta Male, and their aesthetic was Jo-ha-kyū. The main thrust of this aesthetic is that the way these stories should be structured is with slow build up and a sudden climax. All three of these stories adhere to that notion. Additionally, I only realized early in 2020 that this story, and all the others, were somewhat comedic, revolving around someone dying. That is an overall thematic mood and subject that was not written on purpose - all of the stories just happened that way (with some minor differences in several). This story captures that idea well, in my opinion, and so was chosen to be the first story in the entire collection.
I edited it on April 2, 2020 for an hour and fifteen minutes, significantly polishing the prose, but not changing the plotline whatsoever. My first edit took me longer than it took me to write the first draft. I then edited it again the next day, though that edit was much less time consuming. Once I was satisfied, I moved onto Zeta Male and Bean Daddy (in that order) before posting all three together, once they had been edited to my liking, on April 5, 2020. Anyways, let's dive into this one. It's a quickie, like most of the ones in this collection, so I shouldn't have too much to say about it.
She simply would not stop calling. It was every forty-five minutes with Annalisa. Genmai let that one go to voicemail. The poor girl hadn’t given her so much as an hour to herself with calls about updated meeting schedules, messages that had been left for her by Mr. Furyo, and one particularly dire voicemail asking for the building’s wifi password again. She had worked for Miss Genmai for six weeks. She should have been fired after three days. This behavior was more than unprofessional–it was tiresome, it was draining, it was suffocating her. She had an emotional vortex for a secretary.
Firing her, or anyone for that matter, was not as easily said as done. A soft heart had its drawbacks.
Especially no good was the fact that she was out to lunch with Sencha and her new boyfriend, Mugicha, and their friend Bancha. Discussing the latest gossip, enjoying cucumber sandwiches with tea, they were sitting outside, beneath the shade of a flappy red umbrella, Mugicha’s sixth floor balcony overlooking the streets leading into the heart of Nicky Town. It was a wonderfully modern apartment, the décor minimalistic and sharp.
A light breeze rippled through her hair. Flashing her teeth at Bancha, who was supposed to be her date, she gulped down the last of her tea. He was alright, she supposed, but nothing out of the ordinary, or enough to hold her unlingering attention. More handsome men than him had courted her in the past. She felt the buzz of her phone in her pantsuit pocket. It was Annalisa. Sighing, she got to her feet, taking out her phone, the blue light blinking urgently. They all knew what that meant. They weren’t plebs, after all.
“I’m so sorry, love,” she said, patting Sencha on the shoulder. “I have to take this. My apologies.”
“Don’t be long now. Mugicha was just about to recount an exquisite tale about a homeless man trying to steal his new navy blue trofeo Zegna down on fourth street. Hah! Imagine that. A bum wearing an Ermenegildo Zegna. What a rabble!”
“Preposterous,” smirked Bancha.
“I’m sure it is. Please excuse me.”
She smiled at her date once more, laying it on thick. He was studying her without much warmth, as if he were appraising a mannequin. Still, the day was young. She was not convinced that he would be a good match anyways. Nevertheless, it had been so nice of Sencha and Mugicha to help her out like this. Her work hours had only seemed to increase since hiring a secretary. For a woman in her mid thirties, Genmai had neglected her personal life. She needed to find a husband and start a family soon, or all the good ones who remained would leave her behind for the allure of younger partners. She was not the least bit deluded about her looks. She was above average, but no stunning beauty. Finding a man to suit her would not be so difficult if she put some effort into it. If Genmai was being honest, she would have preferred to procrastinate on that issue for another decade or more.
Try though she might, the woman was finding it hard to care about him, from what little she had learned of him so far. He was a contractor, making a good deal more zeni than she was. However, he had no hobbies to speak of, no passions, and nothing about him was memorable or enticing.
Annalisa had wanted to know if she would confirm a lunch with Miss Aspen on Thursday, at twelve thirty. Begrudgingly, she agreed, and told the girl not to call her for the rest of the day, unless absolutely necessary. Her tone might have been a tad harsh; she regretted her mood after hanging up. The lady freshened up in the restroom, looking over the various parts of her face in the mirror, silently telling herself to get it together, reapplying her soft matte peach lipstick. Bancha was not so bad. He might just work out if she put some effort in.
The unmistakable sound of a car crash could be heard through the open window, and someone was screaming. Damn pedestrians made her smudge her application. She turned the faucet on and washed it off, deciding it was best to start over. By the time the faucet was turned off, the screamer had gone silent, thankfully. She re-applied the lipstick, this time putting slightly less effort in. Bancha wouldn’t notice. She had been going over how she would react to Mugicha’s story when she got outside, rehearsing the conversation in her head meticulously. She would giggle, but not so much as to put Bancha off. She was an elegant woman who kept her emotions in check, and though she could find humor in things, she would not debase herself in the manner of reckless excess as the commoners often would.
Returning to the balcony, Miss Genmai began tittering to herself at the door, working herself into what she was going to say as she opened it. “Silly girl just doesn’t know when to quit,” she began, stepping out into the sunlight. “Oh, what I would give for a different…”
Her blood froze. She gasped, covering her mouth with a hand. Their seats were empty, though their clothes had remained behind. Sencha’s tea was still steaming, and Mugicha hadn’t finished his third sandwich. The truth of the matter hit her quick, and it hit her hard.
“No!” she said in a hollow voice. “Wait, you guys… you can’t… you can’t! Oh no, oh no!” Tears were forming in the corners of her eyes. She ran to the table, then jumped back, as if it were a biohazard. She didn’t know what to do. “No, no, no! How could you leave me here? I was good. I want to go to Heaven! Please…! I’ve been a good person!”
She couldn’t believe it. She couldn’t so much as put together a coherent thought. Genmai fell to her knees, her fingers shaking. Memories of her life sprung forth in a blur. She tried to parse out any grave sins, anything she had done that could have led to this happening. Nothing came to mind. She had been rude on occasion, had lied, had stolen some small items from clothing stores. Sencha was no better. How had she been saved, and Genmai left behind? It was not fair.
“It’s the rapture!” she sobbed, sniffling heavily. “Oh no! Oh rats, oh poo! I’ve been left behind!”
She had never been a decidedly religious woman, though she attended church on the big holidays. Work was just so stressful. She couldn’t take off every Sunday morning. There was always business to be done. Kami had to know that. She was a good girl; her heart was kind. She hadn’t fired Annalisa, even though she had wanted to. She deserved to go with them.
What could she do about it? The mere thought of her position exhausted her.
“Heheheh,” an inhuman voice cackled from behind.
“Oh kami, help me!” she screamed, looking over her shoulder to behold a tall green-and-black demon waiting for her. His face was like a bug’s, his eyes like a stoner’s, and he had a pair of black wings. “It’s Satan come to claim me! No, I won’t go! Get away from me, demon!”
“Heheheh, stupid woman.”
She went to run, but in high heels, she only managed a few steps before stumbling and falling onto her stomach. Panic set in. Something pierced her in the back, and she could no longer move. By the time she felt the pain, there was blood welling up in the base of her throat. Genmai tried to throw herself forward to no avail. She would be this demon’s plaything for eternity. The thought spooked her good. Her vision began to dim, and she was finding it impossible to breathe, to keep her eyes open, to remain present in the moment.
Just as Miss Genmai’s eyes began to shut, she felt her phone vibrate in her pocket again.
- The title of this story is a reference to the opening of the video game Bioshock.
- Annalisa was named after a rather plump female friend of my brother's who once gave me a handjob. She was so ugly that I wasn't able to cum. Good times.
- The name puns for this story are as follows: Genmai = genmaicha (green tea); sencha = (medium green tea); mugicha = (barley tea); bancha = (coarse green tea); furyo = (early-summer breeze).
- A key part to this story is Genmai's inability to fire Annalisa. That is why she thinks she's a good person, but is she really? I mean, who knows? What is good, and what is evil? That's all debatable. But for her, this is the main reason why she thinks she should have been taken on the rapture later on in the story.
- The fun for this story was peppering in little clues, here and there, to foreshadow what was going to happen at the end. The mention of Nicky Town is casual enough, but any fan of Dragon Ball Z knows why that town is famous.
- Eating cucumber sandwiches and sipping tea up on the balcony, looking down at the pedestrians passing by, seemed to be a haughty action in my opinion.
- The two areas of attention Genmai is focused on is her date (whom she is stressed out about making a good impression for, as well as feeling stressed that she doesn't like him) as well as Annalisa's barrage of calls. The structural buildup of jo-ha-kyū was centered around these two problems, which obscured the arrival of Cell until the very end.
- The navy blue trofeo Zegna was chosen after I did a duckduckgo search for "expensive suit". It was decently expensive as well as being rather sharp in my opinion.
- I made Sencha, Bancha, and Mugicha as vapid and awful as possible so that it would be funnier when Genmai comes back out and thinks they were taken in the rapture. She should have better awareness than that. Her friends are not good people.
- People who have no hobbies are as vapid as they come. How do they think they'll woo a potential partner? Why would anyone want to be around someone who doesn't do anything all day?
- The car crash itself isn't evidence of Cell, as cars crash all the time in cities, but in retrospect is a clue due to the other people screaming.
- Having Genmai think it was the rapture was another piece of misdirection, and was quite funny to me personally, so that's why I put it in. I didn't want Cell to appear until as late in the story as possible. When I edited this story, I removed as much prose with Cell as possible to put him nearest the end of the story as I could.
- Genmai thinks she's a lot smarter than she actually is. She's quite a vapid person. There's nothing going on in her brain that leads me to believe she is someone of superior quality.
- Cell did not mess around with her, as she's not an important character, of course.
- One of the themes that comes out particularly near the end of this story is how often perception can affect reality. Genmai is panicking because she thinks the rapture has come and then Cell appears and she thinks he's Satan. Neither of those things are true. Cell is a biological android who needs some food. That's it. She's an insignificant power boost for him, but she's so caught up in her own life and affairs that the reality of the situation is far-removed from her perception.
- I don't believe Annalisa's call at the end was for anything of grave importance.
Overall, I like this one quite a lot. The prose is on-point in my opinion, and I found it funny, so yeah. This one really captures the themes and writing style I tried to employ in I Wouldn't Want to Be a Fish Right Now well, in my opinion. I am also glad that it doesn't go on for too long, as that would be a bore. There was just enough useless backstory for the misdirect to work.
<---- Part 125
Part 127 ---->