This story can only be found bundled with the Erotic Novella “Anger Management”
Time, time, time, she screamed silently at the indicator light above the door to her prison. Her two students droned on, and Kristi imagined the walls of their tiny booth drawing together until the timid Japanese wool-clad knees touched her skirt. The one that had been talking paused and Kristi smiled and nodded encouragement, oblivious to the conversation. She had learned weeks ago to tune out the hopeless students, like these two women, who just came for the excitement of speaking to a foreigner.
Finally the red light went on, signalling an end to their thirty minutes. Kristi stifled a sigh as she stood up in the carpeted booth, careful to avoid contact with her clients. They smiled, bowed and disappeared, looking as relieved as she felt that their time was up.
Kristi stepped out of the beige booth into a hallway dotted with seven other identical torture chambers, all dubbed John’s Language School. Students and instructors all sped for the exit, some rushing for trains, others to catch a smoke or a breath before their next session.
A low, welcoming rumble reached her ears as Tom sidled up and said, “Tobacco time – going out?” She nodded up at his dizzying six-foot-three height, so unusual in the sea of shorter heads. “How were the Bobbsey twins today?” he asked as they swept into the hall with the tide of staff and students.
“I’ve finally learned how to comment without actually listening,” Kristi replied, and released her long pent-up sigh.
“Excellent, my child,” Tom intoned. “Your next lesson will be sustained visualization. Think of something pleasing and the minutes fly by,” he counselled.
Tom had already logged two months at the Kobe language school when Kristi began working part-time there. He became her tutor in the Zen approach to English conversational training and survival. The first lesson was in thinking of the money she was earning, or “yen training”. Training then progressed to not thinking at all, and ultimately she hoped to hone her skills in teleportation.
“I’d like to be sitting on a beach with a large bottle of Sapporo,” Kristi said as she pulled a wilted cigarette from her tiny pouch. “Got a light?”
“Who’s your next subject?” Tom asked, taking her cigarette and lighting it from the tip of his already smoking clove. They had nicknames for all of their students, and discussing their dismal attempts at English conversation helped to pass the excruciating hours.
Kristi brightened. “My favourite student. Shy Adonis is up next,” she said. “I like to watch his eyes on my breasts as he tries out new vocabulary.”
Kristi enjoyed teaching the younger salarymen who weren’t yet completely indoctrinated in Japanese business life. They still clung to lives of their own, and most hoped to learn colloquial English for sightseeing travel to the United States instead of staid business English.
“Have you taught him any pick-up lines yet?” Tom asked, raising one bushy eyebrow.
“He still wants to stick to the manual. Maybe I’ll try today.”
Teachers at John’s Language School were encouraged to teach from an antiquated English guide, but since most of them found out quickly that the sessions were not monitored, they would veer off into more modern usage with promising students.
“Who do you have?” Kristi asked Tom. He pursed his lips and answered, “Housewife hour coming up. I’ve got two little maids from Motomachi.”
“Gigglefest,” Kristi commented, and Tom nodded gravely. Idle housewives seemed to take classes only to relieve the day’s boredom, since none of them studied or improved on their original mangled pronunciation. The younger ones spent the hour tittering at each other and at the instructor’s attempts to get through a lesson.
Lights flickered in the hallway. “Curtain time,” Tom and Kristi chimed together. They stubbed out their butts and returned through the rear entrance to meet their students in the lobby.
Kristi’s Adonis already sat waiting for her, and sprang to his feet as she approached. His black hair was shaven in back but grew forward thickly from his crown, just brushing the long sculptured sweep of his eyebrows. The haircut accentuated his high cheekbones and surprisingly full lips. Where most salarymen were concave or barrel-chested, he had the full, muscled frame of a swimmer, which even his usual white dress shirt couldn’t hide. Although he wasn’t tall by Western standards, Takashi stood an inch taller than Kristi’s five foot six.
She smiled with genuine pleasure and ushered him into their booth, where he sat opposite her on the built-in carpeted bench.
“How have you been?” Kristi began. She watched his startled gaze travel from her reddened curls and over the black silk tank, down her patterned skirt to the slice of ankle that showed above her black pumps. Kristi was suddenly glad that she had dressed up for the day.
“I’m fine, thank you,” he replied cautiously. She saw him grip the primer for safety as he spoke.
“Let’s just talk today, OK, Takashi?” she suggested. “Tell me about your plans for your trip to Hawaii.”
Panic darkened his luminous brown eyes, but Takashi gave her a tentative smile and plunged in. “I will fly to Oahu on the March ten,” he said carefully.
Technically, Kristi should have corrected his error, but she ignored it for the moment. “What do you want to do there?” she asked.
Takashi stammered and looked longingly down at his book. “I want to see the beach and talk to American woman,” he confessed.
“Good!” Kristi urged. “What will you say when you meet an American woman?”
“Will you drink cohee with me?” Takashi ventured.