It was my first weekend after joining the club, so why is it that I was spending my precious day off from school in a cheap café working on club activities? When did I become such an earnest high school student? There must have been some kind of mistake.
I was woken up by an unreasonable phone call this morning. When I tried to argue that it was absurd that I should do club work on weekends too, Izumi coldly replied that if I did not come then I would be kicked out from the club and that the computer in the club, which I’d just bought with my money, would be confiscated as club property.
The four of us sat across a table facing each other with four cups of stale café au lait. This café was close to a busy rail crossing so I occasionally heard a train rumbling by over our voices. Not the most ideal meeting spot.
Tanaka and Yamada had presented their dubious contributions to the club website which I was tasked to upload to the school’s servers. Izumi was reading a thick philosophy book, perhaps to escape from reality. No, but I wondered if she just read books in class too.
Tanaka held up an old Panasonic hand-held digital camera, manufactured before June 29, 2007 of course, Izumi had him verify that.
“The website doesn’t have any pictures or video so I brought this camera to take some pictures and add them to the website.”
I doubt that Okabe-sensei knows how to reverse-search images, or would even mind that we used pictures off the net, but I guess it’s better if we use pictures that we shot ourselves.
He then handed the camera to Izumi who wordlessly accepted it and started checking out its menus by opening the little LCD screen to its side and pressing its buttons. I guess, it was up to me to ask questions.
“So what are you going to take pictures of with that camera?”
Tanaka looked away.
“I haven’t decided that yet.”
I placed two fingers on my forehead to try to hide my frustration, evidently, that did not work.
“Well, what did you expect me to come up within a day? Maybe we could take pictures of our club room.”
You should be asking Izumi that question, not me.
Tanaka shrugged like this had nothing to do with him. Obviously we could not use pictures of the club now that it’s full of anime merchandise which had nothing to do with literature, no matter what some might say. I turned to Yamada who was messing with a folder full of loose paper. Sensing that it was his turn, Yamada carefully handed me the folder.
“You should have joined the art club.” I said.
The folder was full of drawings of surprisingly good anime and mecha artwork. Although when I looked at some of them I quickly realised that none of them were original artwork, just copies of existing artwork. There were also a surprising number of animal girls. It seems like he copied official artwork and then just added cat-ears and tails to all the girls. What did he mean by this?
“You like cats?”
“Yes. I wish I was a cat, especially on a weekend like this, I could just laze around all day instead of being questioned by you.”
I decided to ignore that last comment, Izumi must have threatened him like she did with me. What were her motives? She didn’t look like she was enjoying herself or anything by forcing a bunch of unpopular guys to be with her in the same room. Was it really for a cliched reason like keeping the club, her older sister used to be a member of, from closing?
“So how do you intend to use these pictures for the light novel club? We are not the art club or the cat girl appreciation club, are we?”
I turned to Izumi, who was reading a thick volume, for confirmation. I sighed internally.
“Flip to the last page of that folder.” Yamada ordered me. There was nothing that I could do so I obliged him.
It depicted a dishevelled middle-aged man with round glasses, a pen on one hand and a cigarette in the other, sitting on the floor by a cluttered Japanese low-dining table, surrounded by papers, books, and debris—a picture of a degenerate, I thought.
I looked back at Yamada’s pudgy eyes seeking some kind of explanation but before he could respond, Izumi chimed in.
“That’s Ango Sakaguchi. My sister really liked him, though, I think he’s faking his rebel aura. He is most popular for his essay, A Thesis on Decadence, it’s about the post-war situation.”
That was probably the longest sentence I’d heard Izumi speak. There was some silence as usual when she spoke. Anyway, I guess I’d have to change my description of the image from degenerate, to decadent writer.
“As for Tanaka-san’s idea…” She said while messing with the digital camera’s zoom function causing the lens to jut out with a whirring noise. “Let’s film a video where each of us talks about our favourite novel.”