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A Ranma 1/2 strange interlude


A Conversation with Nabiki

By Joseph Palmer

“Mmm much, much better.”


“I said this is much better.”

I turned to my left, Nabiki Tendou was in the deck chair next to mine applying sun block. “Thank for inviting me, this...” she swept the tropical air with the bottle, “...really beats meeting in your computer room.”

“Uh sure, but I didn’t really... oh well, welcome.”

“You know, Ranma has been looking for you at your place. It’s a good thing you have all those cats, otherwise he’d have pounded you into sushi by now.”



“He doesn’t like it?”

“No he liked it, but but he keeps complaining about a condition called ‘blue balls’. What does that mean?”

“It’s ah.... well.... It’s a guy thing.” I shifted uncomfortably in my deck chair. “Perhaps I should have called it Blue.”

“Oh,” she said. She adjusted the back of the chair flat and stretched out on her stomach. “I kind of liked it.” She began to giggle. “Squirt gun, heh. Of course it’s not like Red, though is it?”

“Oh great, not you too.”

“But it’s not at all like Red, and there‘s hardly anything at all orange about Orange.”

“I gave you all the good lines, didn’t I?”

“That’s true, arigato. But It’s still not like Red, it’s more like a Seasons story.”

“Yeah, well Colors is supposed to be a continuation of the Seasons stories, now set in the post manga 38 time, but less restrictive, and it may get umm.. a bit more racy. Sorry, but I really don’t have a full series of Reds in me.”

“Are you going to, you know, let them...”

“Nabiki, you surprise me.”

“Just asking. Besides, very one else has.”

“I’ll think about it.”

Nabiki got up and stood at the rail, the warm breeze blowing her hair around.

“What’s the name of this ship?”

“Splendor of the Seas, Royal Caribbean Cruise lines, Norwegian flagged.”

“Any of the officers cute?”

“I wouldn’t notice.”

“Oh well. What’s next?”

“Art auction in the central lobby. I have my eye on a Dali wood block.”

“No, I mean what’s the next color?”

“I might stay in the rainbow and do Yellow, but I don’t have a story for that yet. I’ve got a couple of ideas for Black though.”

“Black’s not a color.”

“Crayola says it is.”

“Ha, what are you going to do for Salmon then?”

“Very funny.”

Below on the pool deck, the MC announced some sort of horse race with cut out horses moving along a track based on the roll of dice. 6 bathing beauties were selected to ride the horses, moving them one step forward each time the horses number was rolled. Betting was closing in 3 minutes.

“Umm could I borrow your room card?, I left all my money at home.”

“Sorry Nabiki, no betting on the horses.”

“Hmmph. I’ll pay you back.”

“Somehow I think I’d end up owing you money. No.”


“That’s Kasumi’s line.”


“Stingy. Kasumi used it in Autumn.”

“Love connection!” called a waiter over the calypso background music. He carried a round tray containing a dozen red and milky drinks topped with fruit. Nabiki pointed. I shook my head. A moment later another waiter came dancing by spinning a serving tray over his head.

“Oh yeah. So you dragged me here to talk about the stories again, didn’t you.”

“Guilty as charged, your honor.”

“Who says that?”

“Says what?”

Guilty as charged, your honor.

“Oh, me. I say that.”

“In what story?”

“In this one, just then.”

“Oh. Now where were we?”

“Stories, Nabiki, stories.”

“Okay, I’ll talk stories, but I get to stay here on the ship for a while.”

“Done, but you’re still not getting my room card. Do you want any company? Kuno perhaps?”

“No—! don’t do it, don’t give him any dialog or he’ll show up.”

“Right, anyone else? How about Jeff, your New Horizons suitor?”

“Mmm, maybe...” She smiled, then frowned. “No wait, wait, if he shows up I’ll get morning sickness, maybe I should just enjoy this for while.”

“O.K. I won’t bring him in to this.”

“Thanks, but still....” Nabiki looked wistfully at the clouds overhead.

“So, what did you think?”

“Kasumi did it.” Nabiki rolled and sat up, pulling the back of the chair upright. “The clothes on the laundry porch, Kasumi did it.”

“Explain.” I pulled down my sunglasses and looked over them at her.

“Simple matter of elimination. Ranma didn’t do it ’cause he later said that he’d put them up correctly, and anyway he never thinks that far ahead. Akane didn’t do it because she found them that way. I know I didn’t do it, Daddy didn’t do it because he isn’t that subtile, He’d be more likely to lock them in a room together overnight. That leaves Kasumi.”

“I’d say that’s pretty slim evidence, with that it still could have been your father.”

“No, It’s also the way that Kasumi was acting. She seemed overly concerned about the nocturnal activities of my younger sister, I’ll bet she thought she’d figured a way to keep Ranma around a while longer, but she thought he’d be sleeping in his old room. That’s why it was already made up. She hadn’t planned on the all-night movies, so that’s why she was so worried about Ranma spending the night with Akane. So there.” Nabiki stuck out her tongue. “Nya nya.”

“Not bad.”

“I knew it. still, you could have let them go a little further...”

“I’m not so sure I want to go that graphic.”

“Oh, come on. Go graphic. All the other writers do... eventually.”

“But I want to keep my G, well maybe PG rating for a while.”


“I kind of like having stories that anyone can read, and anyway, I’m a bit of a public person, both at Be and at my new company.”

“New company?”

“Video Storage Systems, VideoS2.”

“What happed to Be?”

“We decided to get out of the hardware business, so... I’m no longer at Be.”

“Bummer. Couldn’t you do something else there?”

“No, You ever see blade runner? I’m like that Chinese guy in the eye shop who says: ‘I only do eyes, just do eyes.’ I only do hardware, just do hardware.”

Below the race finished and the jubilant winner jumped into the salty pool, still carrying the horse like a picket sign. The pool shimmered and dissolved into asphalt and construction equipment.

“Ahem...” Nabiki looked out of place in the bikini on the bench next to me.

“Oh sorry.” The bikini was replaced by jeans and a jacket with ‘Treat me Robustly, for I am Respectable’ on the back. She stood and looked out the window. “This is Narita. What happened to the ship?”

“Sorry about that, I stopped writing there, and picked up the story here.”

“In Narita airport? You jerk, you could at lest have let me get a tan first.”

Gomenasai. I write when the muse hits me, and I didn’t have much time to finish writing this on the ship.”

“You could have found time.”

“I was busy. Tell you what, I’ll just write here that you were on the ship for a week, with a room card linked to Kuno’s JCB card. You can fill in the details later.” Nabiki’s complexion was suddenly darker.

“Ah, that’s better,” she examined the backs of her hands. “Thank you, but what are we doing here?”

“Waiting for my wife to land, should be any second now, ah, there it is.” A gray and blue United 747 landed, its wheels sending out a cloud of white smoke.

“What are you doing in Japan?”

“I’ve been here a week doing demos for Be at MacWorld, now I’m on vacation.”

“I thought you didn’t work for them anymore.”

“I don’t, they needed an extra hand at one of the booths, so I volunteered. I got a trip to Japan, they got enthusiastic demos that scared small Japanese children.”

“What do you think of Japan so far?”

“I like it, The shops and restaurants are great, MacWorld was a blast, Akihabura was unbelievable, and I love the fact that I can wander around in safety anywhere I go. I even went out to Nerima just to walk around one morning. Cool little area, but not much like Takahashi sensi draws it.”

“I think it looks exactly like she draws it.”

“Well to you it should...” Nabiki looked at me with a puzzled expression. “...Oh never mind.”

Nabiki shook her head. “No, tell me what’s different?”

“The streets are really narrow, far more cars, and zillions of bikes. No wonder Ranma walks on the fence tops. Oh yeah, there’s only the one big canal thing, and that’s only on the edge of Nerima, and the fence is all different.”

“That’ not so different, really.”

“No I suppose not. I did see a lot of things that Takahashi drew though, like the school buildings that look like Furinkan, the shopping arcade sign, school uniforms, the luck charms, all sorts of stuff. I even saw a cement lawn roller.”

“You’re weird.”

“Oh come on. It was great fun to see in real life all these things I’ve seen in anime and manga. but I didn’t see any giant robots though.”

“Oh those. Daddy watched those shows, they aren’t real you know.”

“Yes, Nabiki, I know.”

The scene shifts again to the economy class of United 810 bound for San Francisco, out of Osaka Kansai.

“Now what?” Nabiki growled from 37E.

“Heading home.”

“This is really getting annoying, all this shifting around. Maybe I’d be better off with Jeff after all.”

“I can’t send you there, I could only bring him here, and he’s not really my character, anyway... so I shouldn’t.”

“All right.” Nabiki sniffed her danish suspiciously, then took a bite “How long has it been this time?”

“Just ten days.”

“What else did you see?”

“We went all over East Tokyo, Temples and stuff. Ginza...”

“Ginza! I LOVE Ginza.”

“I figured as much. My wife does too.”

“A woman of great wisdom and taste,” She looked me over. “At least where shopping is concerned.”

“Thanks loads, Nabiki.”

“No problemo. Where else did you go?”

“We had cook-it-yourself okonomiyaki in Shibuya one night, that’s really a hot spot isn’t it?”

“Yeah, I’ve been there a few times, between the Yamanote line and the subways, that place draws kids from all over Tokyo.”

“Shinjuku was just too busy for me, I got really lost in the stations.”

“People who work there get lost too.”

“The park near Ueno station was really cool, I might use that in a story sometime. Lots of places gave me scene background ideas.”

“Like where?”

“The onsen park at Hakone for one.”

“You went there too? I want to go!”

“Good. I have a part for you. Bring a swimsuit, its a mixed onsen.”

“Another story eh? Maybe Yellow?

“Maybe, but I haven’t started it yet, I just have some ideas.”

“Okay. Where else did you go?”

“We went to Kyoto for four nights, with a day trip to Nara.”

“We went there on a school trip once. I remember seeing loads of temples, those deer in the park in Nara, and... oh yeah. Kuno made a complete jerk of himself.”

“Well, that would explain some of the signs. There’s also a cool shopping district in Kyoto, we seemed to end up there a lot, and Kyoto has better food than Tokyo too. More okonomiyaki shops than ramen shops.”

“They only gave us 30 minutes to shop or eat. I shopped.”


“Hey!” Nabiki frowned and crossed her arms. The plane slowed and started its descent. “Look, I’m guessing you are going to turn off your computer in a minute, why don’t we pick this up some other time. I don’t want to pop into any other weird places for a while, unless you are planning another cruise sometime soon.”

“Okay, Thanks.”

“Bye-bye.” Nabiki dissolved and the seat next to me was empty. My wife stirred on my other side.

“I just had the strangest dream,” she said. “You were talking to Nabiki about our trip.”

“A dream huh?”

  The Cabin announcement asked everyone to turn off any electronic devices, I hit control-S on my Psion 3a and shut down.


March 4, 1997

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“A Conversation with Nabiki” 1997 Joseph Palmer

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