Book Six: Inside Stories

Page 1

A sliced hard-boiled egg sits on a small plate atop a leaf of lettuce. Next to it is a wineglass of what looks like red wine. Some wine has been spilled on the table.

Page 2

Panel 1

View of the top floor and roof of an institutional-looking building (part of the anthropology museum at Edo University, actually); a figure is visible at one of the windows.

Panel 2

Closer-in view of the window; we can see it is Houjou (adult) staring out.

Panel 3

Close-up of Kagome (adult), looking at Houjou offscreen.

Kagome: Are we going to talk, or are you just going to brood?

Panel 4

View of the two. Kagome sits in front of the Star Wars poster we saw in Koinuís room back in Book 4 (or its twin). Houjou, in profile, has his chin on his fists and is staring out of the window.

Houjou: . . . Actually, brooding is one of my great talents.

Kagome: No argument here.

Panel 5

Pull-back view of the two. Kagome, in the foreground, looks almost tearful. Houjou has his back to us, and we now see that he is in fact sitting cross-legged on top of his desk.

Kagome: What are we going to do?

Houjou: I dunno. If Toukijin finds me, Iíll probably die. Other than that, no plan. Get the mortuary to handle the body this time, huh? It upsets me to think of you bathing me with your tears.

Panel 6

Close up of Kagome, looking very distraught.

Kagome: Is that supposed to be funny?!! Am I supposed to laugh at that?!

Page 3

Panel 1

Houjou swings around to face Kagome (and us). He has removed his tie, which we see draped over the back of Kagomeís chair. His white dress shirt is unbuttoned; underneath he wears a T-shirt, the Tatooine one from the first page of Book 3. Kagome, in the desk chair, covers her face with her hands.

Houjou: No . . . Kagome, Iím sorry! It was a stupid attempt at bravado.

Panel 2

Houjou now kneels beside Kagomeís chair, one hand on her arm and the other on her shoulder. He looks serious. She has her arms folded over her stomach and looks down, unhappy.

Houjou: Iím an idiot. Youíre scared. Donít be scared.

Kagome: You are, too.

Panel 3

Close-in view of the two, now facing each other. Houjou holds Kagomeís chin in his hand.

Houjou: No, Iím not. Itís just a shock, after all these years. Look, we donít even know who this guy is. We donít even know if Toukijin is really missing.

Panel 4

View of the two, both looking serious.

Kagome: I guess this guyís your stalker, huh?

Houjou: I assume so. Sakamoto said ginger-colored hair and big, pale eyes. Hard to believe there are two of them around.

Panel 5

View of the two.

Houjou: What is he? Why wouldnít you invite him into the house? I mean, he smells . . . I donít know . . . not exactly human. But my sense of smell isnít that good in this form.

Kagome: I donít know. Iíd almost sayóhanyou. Almost like you used to feelóbut itís hard to compare. [Text box note: Hanyou = half-daemon (half-youkai)]

Panel 6

Close-up of Kagome

Kagome: I wasnít that talented when I first met you. By the time I got more adept, your aura was already bound up with you in my mind. I hardly feel the difference even now.

Page 4

Panel 1

View of the two. Houjou seems to be standing again.

Houjou: He says Jaken hired him. What kind of person would accept a job from a toad?

Kagome: Jakenís been using that nice human form lately.

Houjou: "Nice"? Youíre joking. It gives me the creeps.

Panel 2

Profile view of Houjou.

Houjou: Look, this whole thingís a prank, or a scam. Heís rightómy name is on the catalog, and so is Jakenís. Thatís where he heard of both of us. Heís got some idea that Iíll pay him to go away, or something. Picked the wrong guy for that. On an Assistant Profís salary, I canít even afford a new alternator for the Toyota.

Panel 3

Close-up of Houjou, looking thoughtful.

Houjou: Or he could be an art thief who needs a crooked appraiser for stolen katana. He may think that with my reputation on the line Iíll be willing to do business.

Panel 4

View of the two. Houjou looks annoyed, Kagome a bit amused.

Houjou: Dammitówhich of the girls let him handle the fake Tetsusaiga?

Kagome: And the answer is . . . your cousin Midori.

Panel 5

View of the two. Houjou grimaces, Kagome is smiling now.

Houjou: Yeah. Stupid question. Man, my family owes me big time for taking her on. But youíre right. Kamiko wouldnít put down the phone long enough to hand the sword to a customer.

Kagome: Whereas Kasumi really does try to follow rules. She would just burst into tears.

Panel 6

View of the two. Houjou is now seated cross-legged on the floor, Kagome is still on the chair. Both are smiling.

Houjou: Boy, they donít make mikos like they used to.

Kagome: Better class of virgins in the old days. More mature.

Houjou: In Midoriís case, Iím pretty sure "virgin" is an honorary title.

Page 5

Panel 1

Full-length view of the two. Kagome, on the chair, looks angry (but maybe not seriously). Houjou, in cross-legged Inuyasha posture, looks away with an "uh-oh" expression.

Kagome: Speaking of virginity, et cetera . . . you talked to some strange woman at the University of Chicago about our sex life?!

Houjou: (in a small voice) Well, . . . no. Not really. Not as such.

Panel 2

Kagome looks down; Houjou is now facing her.

Kagome: Which means . . .

Houjou: Not our sex life. Lord Inuyasha and Lady Kagomeís sex life.

Kagome: That must have been a short conversation. Which part of their sex lifeóbrooding about it, or avoiding talking about it?

Panel 5

The two now face each other, both smiling.

Houjou: You forgot "Finding an excuse to rush over and accidentally get an eyeful whenever you were taking a bath naked." And "Pretending I thought you were slipping when I was carrying you on my back so I had to slide my hands along your bare thighs."

Kagome: OK, I guessed the first one. Not the second.

Houjou: Have I mentioned that the miniskirt was the greatest invention of the 20th century?

Panel 6

Full-length view of the two. Kagome is on the chair. Houjou is again turned away, cross-legged, looking evasively at Kagome over his shoulder

Kagome: So thatís what you told this Pauline Cartman woman at the provostís party?

Houjou: Not exactly.

Page 6

Panel 1

Full-length view of the two. Kagome, on the chair, has grabbed Houjouís ponytail and is using it to swivel his head around to face her.

Kagome: Ahem. Iím the person youíre talking to. Over here. What did you say, "exactly"?

Houjou: I . . . might have used the term . . . um . . . [small voice] "doggy style."

Panel 2

Same view. Kagome jerks Houjouís ponytail straight up in the air. He has his hands to his head, trying to protect himself.

Kagome: I knew it!

Houjou: Aargh!

Kagome: Inuyasha, why do you say these things?

Panel 3

Kagome has let go; Houjou is holding his head.

Kagome: People Iíve never met know about me sneaking out of your bedroom window in high school because you talked about it in an anthropology lecture!

Houjou: It was relevant to our discussion of Japanese culture. I told them it was confidential.

Kagome: Inuyasha, anything you tell to a lecture class of two hundred people cannot be considered to be a secret.

Panel 4

Side view of the two facing one another.

Houjou: Iíll try to remember that.

Kagome: Pauline Cartman . . .

Houjou: She got me angry. She was working the minorities at the party. Trying to show her solidarity with the oppressed yellow people.

Panel 6

Legend: Chicago 2007

Side view of Houjou, wearing eyeglasses and a suit and tie and holding a glass of wine. He is backed up against a wall by a very imposing woman, late middle-aged, but wearing a frizzy hairdo with flowered hairband, and a low-cut dress. Imagine your most frightening elementary school teacher with hippie hair and a push-up braóthatís Pauline Cartman. She is almost a whole head taller than he is, by the way. (Houjouís about average height for a Japanese man; Paulineís a tall American woman.)

Pauline: Youíre our little Japanese anthropology fellow! Whatís your nameóInu? Pauline Cartman. Theology. Aspects of the Goddess. I want to apologize to you for the way Western culture has raped your civilization. Is your hair really that color?

Houjou: Yes.

 

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