The Sanzou Who Walked By Himself
Listen and hear and attend, O Best Beloved, for this is a tale of the Elder Days in Tougenkyou, when Heaven and Earth were all mixed up in confusion and men and youkai lived together in the same world. In those confused days the animals were wild and the humans were wild and the youkai were wild-- as wild as wild could be-- and they walked in the Wet Wild Woods of Tougenkyou by their wild lones. But the wildest of them all was the Sanzou. He walked by himself through the Wild Woods, swishing his robes and cursing through his teeth and snarling at all that he met: 'I am the Sanzou who walks by himself, and all idiots are alike to me. Die!' And then he shot them.
One day as he was walking through the Wild Woods he tripped over a thick tree root. As he picked himself up, cursing, he saw that the root was really the outstretched leg of a red-haired creature who was lying happily against a tree trunk, sipping a beer. "Who the hell are you?!" yelled the Sanzou, aiming his gun, "and why can't you look where you put your stupid legs? Die!" "Keep your shirt on, Blondie," said the red-haired creature. "I am the Wild Kappa from the Wild Woods, and you can forget about shooting that thing at me. You'll only break this bottle and spill my beer. Which would be a waste," and he took another swig. "That is true," said the Sanzou. "Give me one of your beers, then, to repay me for the dirt stains on my robe." "Here ya go," said the Wild Kappa, reaching into the case at his back and handing one over. "A case, is it?" said the Sanzou, and sat himself down on the ground and drank with the Wild Kappa until all the beer was gone. When he was finished the Sanzou said, "You're an idiot, but your beer is very good. I won't shoot you today, so that tomorrow I can come back for more. But still I am the Sanzou who walks by himself, and all idiots are alike to me."
"Ohtto," said the Kappa. "Had you not added those last words I would have been a friend to you forever and shared all my beer with you, and so I will do. But now I will also call you insulting names five times a day and bug you for a light whenever I smoke, and you will be hard put to keep me out of your pants." "In your dreams," said the Sanzou, and walked on through the Wild Woods, swishing his robes and snarling through his teeth.
And as he walked on through the Wild Woods, he gave a sudden 'Whooops!' and found himself upside down with a rope round his ankle, hanging from a tall tree branch. "What the fuck--!" he yelled, getting his gun with difficulty out of his sleeve and looking down at the ground to see who the hell was responsible for this. He found himself gazing into two upside down green eyes, one of them half hidden by a monocle, that stared back into his in surprise. (The eyes weren't really upside down, of course. The Sanzou was. But the Sanzou always insisted that his view of things was the right one, so we'll have to adopt it for the moment.) The Sanzou put his gun to the upside down man's head and said "Who the hell are you? And why can't you look where you put your stupid traps? Die!" "Sumimasen," said the green-eyed man. "I am the Wild Boar from the Wild Woods, and I'm terribly sorry to have caught you in my rabbit snare. Also you do realize your robe is falling about your shoulders, affording me a rather complete view of your underpinnings?" The Sanzou cursed and tried to get his robe to stay down (or up, to be precise), and as he was doing so the Wild Boar unhooked the snare's line from its branch and lowered him to the ground. The Sanzou ripped the rope from his ankle and aimed his gun at the Wild Boar, meaning to blow him to Kingdom Come, which lies on the other side of Tougenkyou halfway to Yamato. "I really wouldn't fire that if I were you," said the Wild Boar, "because your bullet will only hit the pack of cards I keep in my breast pocket over my heart. I shall be unharmed but my cards will be ruined. Which would be a pity." "That is true," said the Sanzou. "Then play me a round of poker to make up for that crack about my underpinnings." "Certainly," said the Wild Boar, and beat him hollow three out of three. "Beginner's luck, is it?" said the Sanzou, and sat himself down to play poker for the rest of the day. When the Wild Boar had cleaned him out, the Sanzou said, "You're an idiot, but you're a damned good card-player. I won't shoot you today, so that tomorrow I can come back and beat you for sure. But still I am the Sanzou who walks by himself, and all idiots are alike to me."
"Yare yare," sighed the Boar. "Had you not added those last words I would have been a friend to you forever and driven you everywhere you wanted to go, and so I will do. But now I will also take the mickey out of you five times a day and carefully point out your failings to you when you're hurt and down, and you will never find the words to answer me with." "You wish," said the Sanzou, and walked on through the Wild Woods, swishing his robes and snarling through his teeth.
And as he walked on through the Wild Woods, he heard a voice calling 'Sanzou! Sanzou! Sanzou!' He looked about him, but there was no-one. He cursed and walked on, and the voice went with him, 'Sanzou! Sanzou! Sanzou!' until he thought he would scream. He stopped and fired his gun at the Wild Trees of the Wild Woods. The voice was drowned in the roar of the gun, but when the echoes died, there it was again. 'Sanzou! Sanzou! Sanzou!' Then the Sanzou did scream. "Who the hell are you, and why can't you keep your stupid mouth shut?!!" "Hunh?" said the voice. "Me? Are you talking to me?" Straight ahead of the Sanzou, in the hollow of a huge tree trunk, was a yellow-eyed monkey sitting hunched up and looking back at him. "Sanzou! are you talking to me? Because I wasn't saying anything Sanzou! Sanzou! I was just sitting here like I've been doing Sanzou! for five hundred years Sanzou! Sanzou! so why Sanzou! are you Sanzou! Sanzou! telling me Sanz--" "UruSAIIIIII!!!" yelled the Sanzou and fired his gun straight at the tree trunk. The tree shattered into splinters and the monkey leaped out. "I'm free!" he cried. "I'm free! I'm free! And ohh, I'm hungry. I'm hungry I'm starving Sanzou let's get something to eat, pork buns yeah and chop suey and tonkatsu and shumai and chicken in a basket and a side order of souvlaki-on-a-stick and-" The Sanzou stood with his jaw dropped onto his chest, unable to believe his ears. "Who are you?" he asked feebly. "I'm the Wild Monkey from the Wild Woods and I'm starving, come on Sanzou let's find a ramen stall and a kaitenzushi and a Chinese restaurant before I faint." "No," said the Sanzou, pulling himself together. "I am the Sanzou who walks by himself, and all idiots are alike to me." "Nuts," said the Monkey. "You're not the Sanzou who walks by himself, because I'm with you. And don't call *me* an idiot." "You're an idiot monkey," the Sanzou said. "But it is true. You're such an idiot, such a total idiot, such a complete unarguable steel-plated copper-bottomed shoushin-shoumei bakazaru that even I, the Sanzou who walks by himself, must admit that you are different from all the other idiots in the Wild Woods if only for the sheer depths of your idiocy." "Oh can it with the idiot idiot idiots!" the Wild Monkey said crossly. "I'm Gokuu, Son Gokuu. Try to remember that!"
"Ahou!" cried the Sanzou. "Had you not added those last words I would have been a friend to you forever and given you a place to stay and even fed your impossible appetite, and so I will do. But now I will also hit you over the head five times a day with my harisen and call you bakazaru, and you will actually learn to like it." "I will *not* lear--" the Monkey began to say, when the Sanzou hit him THWAP across the head. The Monkey took to his heels with the Sanzou after him, who was no longer the Sanzou who walks by himself, but rather 'Sanzou Runs-With-Monkeys.' But that, O Best Beloved, is another book entirely.