I took out the voice recorder but she stopped me. Motioned with her half-visible hand to put the thing away. I complied. I placed the notepad and my list of questions on the table, with a pen. Looking into the dark corner of the room partially illuminated by the window, I cleared my throat.
“I am ready to begin, whenever you are.”
She said nothing. The room was in twilight, I was writing by the light of the window and the city lights. It was the middle of the night. We were in my hotel on the 20th floor. I strained my eyes.
“I am a Ninja,” she said quietly; almost in a whisper.
I said nothing. I wrote down the words. I glanced at the questions on my list, but they all seemed silly.
“When, how, why did you become one?” I finally asked.
It was a difficult interview, a chance of a lifetime. My Tokyo business partner knew my fascination with Japanese culture and had, on a whim, arranged this strange meeting. I expected a man, but a woman had come instead. She wore a long tight red dress and high heels. I thought at first that she was a call girl, but she assured me that she was in fact much more than that.
“I had to kill someone, and it seemed like a good way to do it,” she said.
“By becoming an assassin?”
“Yes. If you are going to kill one person; if you are ready to commit such a sin; you might as well realize that no redemption is possible after that.”
“How old were you?”
“Fifteen. It was several years ago. I just had my birthday when I decided.”
She walked away from the window. I couldn’t see her face. This was the whole point. She walked in with her hair all loose and I never quite saw her. She was always ducking in and out of the shadows. I wondered if she even had a face. She was almost half an illusion and half a delusion. Her voice was sweet though; her body lithe: she was a restrained vixen.
“Wouldn’t you rather have sex instead?” she asked.
“Instead of this interview? Well yes, why not? But, I can have sex any time; I won’t get to talk to a Ninja more than once in my life.”
“But you’ve never had sex with a Ninja.”
“True: is it different, or special?”
She laughed: it was silver laughter. She went up to the window again and pulled the curtains closed. We were in pitch darkness. For a moment I heard her giggle. Then I felt a cold knife at my throat. I didn’t treat it seriously. It was all unreal. I wondered where she kept the knife.
“Do you intend to kill me?” I asked calmly.
“No, I just wanted to see if you took me seriously, and now I know you don’t.”
The lights came on. I blinked for a moment. She was naked. She looked like a child. I dreaded the thought of the police coming in all of a sudden. Yet I couldn’t see her face even though the room was bright. Her long black hair covered it. In fact although she was naked, I couldn’t see anything much. Somehow she moved about the room in such a way that she was always half obscured either by a piece of furniture or by her hair.
“Don’t worry: I am not under-age. Plus, the police in Japan don’t care. Teenage girls prostitute themselves here all the time.”
She was suddenly behind me and her hands were on my shoulders. The feeling was odd, because when it was pitch black I hadn’t felt afraid at all, but now my heart skipped a beat.
“You are trembling.” She said.
“I am cold.”
The lights went off. I felt her straddle me. Her lips were close to mine. I was turned on and she knew it. She smelled my neck then licked it. Finally, she spoke in a quiet whisper into my ear.
“Your business partner sent me to kill you.”
I froze. My mind started to race wildly. Was she lying, was it an act? Why would she tell me something like that? None of it made any sense. I heard her whisper again.
“He asked me to make it pleasurable for you. So, let’s have sex and then I’ll strangle you during your orgasm: that way you’ll go out in ecstasy.”
I said nothing. As soon as she felt me tremble again she kissed me. Then the curtain fluttered and she was gone. I recovered my senses enough to run to the widow. It was slightly ajar. The space was too small for anyone to fit through. Just as I realized that, I heard the door slam. She’s gone, I thought. I turned around and found myself at the tip of a long blade.
“You wanted to know why I became a Ninja,” she said with the sword right at my Adam’s apple.
She was naked and this time I could see her whole petite lithe body and I could see her face – sort of: she wore a blue surgical mask – the kind that is common all over Japan, worn by people when they have a cold. What a culture of courtesy and contradiction they are!
“Yes, I wanted to know that,” I finally said.
“I was a young silly girl and a man very much like you took me to a hotel room very much like this and…”
“He raped you?”
“Not at all; he didn’t do anything: he just wanted to talk. That was his silly fetish: talking to a teenage girl in a hotel room alone, can you imagine? He promised me wild sex and instead I got talk and confession.”
“So you decided to kill him?”
“No. I left: he was boring. And as I walked down the hallway I saw an open door. So, since I was bored, curious, young and stupid I walked into the room and found six men all with their throats slit. They were all sitting at a table dressed in expensive suits.
There was money, drugs and guns all over the place and just a little bit of blood; not much. It was a beautiful scene, and so exciting. I stood there for a moment, exhilarated and turned on, and then I turned around to leave and the thing that happened to you when you turned around from the window happened to me: I encountered the Ninja and his sword. We stood like that for a moment. Then he asked me.”
“What did he ask you?”
“He asked me ‘did you come here for sex?’ and I said without even thinking ‘No; I came here to kill a man,’ and he asked me, ‘Did you?’ and I had to admit that I did not, because I didn’t know how, so he volunteered to show me.”
We stood like this for an eternity, she and I. The naked Ninja girl and her target. The finality of the moment was dreadful. Finally, I took a chance to lower her blade with my hand.
“I guess I came here for sex,” I said finally, “but not to die.”
“Life and death are the same.”
I took a deep breath.
She opened her eyes wide and, taking off the surgical mask, said, “Everyone dies, sooner or later. Take off your clothes, and if I am bored even for a minute, I’ll kill you, but…” and she walked up to me and placing her hand on my face ever so gently… “if you please me, I might tell you how I killed the pervert who never raped and never pleased me.”