1. Old Cox 1/3

In the year 2004;
The Athens Summer Olympics were held in Greece.
The Indian Ocean earthquake occurred with the epicenter off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, in the yearend, which triggered a series of tsunamis killing about 280,000 people.
In Japan, too, the earthquake occurred around Niigata area killing 68 people in October.
The Japanese Government issued the new paper moneys in November, which are used now.
We are now in mid December this year;

The sleety rain is beating against the windows of the speeding train on JR Shonan Line.
It is dim even just after 2:00 pm, and oncoming trains are passing by one after another with splashes on the headlights.
"Faster! More!"
Wiping the fogged window, Ryohei Tsubune is watching outside fixedly, with the clenched ticket to Ofuna in hand.

It was at night one week ago when he received a phone call from Ms. Eriko Fukami in a voice of urgency.
"Mr. Suga is ....."
"Anything wrong with him?"
"He had an operation yesterday at Shonan-Kamakura Hospital. The aneurysm was ruptured, ....."
"Yes, it seems to be heavy bleeding in the stomach wall. The operation was probably successful.... He was said to murmur my name when woke up, so I hurried to the hospital."
"How is he now?"
"The white corpuscles fell down extremely. He is still lifeless. Thinking of his age, ....."
The worst thing might have happened to the senior at last. Tsubune glared at his photo with Suga on the wall.
"Can I visit him?"
"No, not now. It seems he has to stay in the ICU for another couple of days. I hope nothing bad will happen during the days. He talked about Kanematsu Auditorium in a dream."
"When I can visit him, would you let me know right away?"

Eriko called Tsubune after 6 days.
"Are you convenient tomorrow?"
"You mean I can go there, don't you?"
"Yes, right. Though the drip is his lifeline now too, ..... the doctor is pleased saying he cannot believe it."
"He moved to a common ward, didn't he?"
"Yes, he did today. He is in the room for 6 patients. A private room is said for a patient of no hope."

The train arrived at Ofuna Station nearly after one hour from Tokyo.
He hurried to change to the monorail and got it off at the next station where Eriko was waiting. Her smile looked stiff.
Saying "The hospital is about 10-minute walk," she led Tsubune quickly, shutting the umbrella partially in the driving snowstorm.

Goroji Suga was in the ward on the 5th floor, lying in bed on the door side.
Two tubes for drip are connected each to his left hand and right shoulder.
"Thank you," said he in a faint voice opening his eyes slightly.
No daily cheer nor humor is on his face, only an elderly face of 85.
After listening to Tsubune's words of encouragement, elderly Suga began to talk haltingly.
"It's your souvenir from Hawaii, you see. I am at ease with it."
Tsubune noticed it on the shelf by the bed. It is a small bowl with a lid made of core "holy wood" bought at a folk craft shop in Honolulu.
Tsubune presented it to Suga as a celebration of his birthday adding the shop owner's advice "You never forget to tell him nothing has to be put in this bowl because it is filled with your spirit."

Suga was in a good condition as usual a half month ago when Tsubune handed out the bowl to him.
The elderly, in a weak voice rather difficult to hear, asks Tsubune to talk about the story during his stay in Honolulu again.
"He would like me to hear it," Eriko advises Tsubune in a small voice.
Tsubune talked about his trip with hesitation. The whole story was the same as he talked about to Suga his senior tasting Super Nikka whisky on-the-rock in the lounge "Ikkyo Club" on the 14th floor of Josui-kaikan Hall.
Suga is listening to him quietly. Delicate peace of mind appears around his eyes.
He whispers to the ear of Eriko and asks her consent, "I would like to relax at Waikiki Beach when recovered."
To Tsubune, he smiles faintly saying with his will,
"I will complete the paper on Kanematsu Auditorium there."
"Good idea, sir. Please enjoy the breeze on the beach," says Tsubune.
"Breeze, ....., I like breeze in Hawaii."
Some joyful image seemed to appear on the cheek of the elderly with closed eyes.

"The Story of the Auditorium Where Monsters Live" may be something like the wrap-up of the life for Goroji Suga.
It is about the auditorium with the four odd symbols on its facade in the campus of a university more than one hour away west from central Tokyo by train.
The brick-color auditorium is an old-fashoned Romanesque style architecture.
The four symbols are small discs each: the school badge with a stick wound around by two snakes, and below it three caricature relieves of monsters standing in line. This may be felt as a strange combination in the academic campus.
Even if it is the auditorium of his alma mater, Suga himself, a little too familiar, has not examined it in detail for nearly seventy years since he entered this college, then called "Tokyo Commercial College" (presently, Hitotsubashi University).

The starting point was the happening this May when he invited Eriko to the memorial concert celebrating the renovated auditorium. It ignited his inborn passion and searching spirit.

He spent all his time in the search from the summer of scorching heat until late fall.
His reasoning under the effort has almost reached the goal, and even showed the outline to the people involved just the other day. He was about to finish the search and to start the paper.

"The New Year's days are annoying to me. Guests will come one after another, and besides, paying the New Year's first visit, the New Year's meetings, ..... Moreover, there are various minor businesses until the end of the year," he said to Tsubune showing his datebook with crowded schedules.
Tsubune encouraged his senior at that time saying, "Why don't you consider it as a precious rest for a while? As you have to arrange the huge documents soon, I wish you to sit back and relax for a moment, sir."

Now, Suga lies on his back in bed, feeling nostalgic for the finishing work at Honolulu.

1-1 Reading: 11'06"
If the above does not open by chance, Reading: 11:06
< Frontcover 1. Old Cox 2 >
1. Old Cox
1 2 3
Frontcover @  8. Birth of College
1. Old Cox  9. Great Earthquake
2. Monsters  10. To Musashino
3. Begin to Search  11. Okura Museum
4. Chase  12. Architect
5. Shibusawa  13. Romanesque
6. Dawn  14. Four God Statues
7. Shinyu Case  15. Then
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