“Who is that young man?”
Daiki Yamada’s head shot up when he heard the unfamiliar foreign voice behind him.
“Oh, him, he’s nobody,” Daiki’s supervisor, Fumio Sasaki said. “He’s just a salesman and not a very good one.”
The other salesmen in the office chuckled. Daiki unfortunately didn’t find anything funny about Sasaki’s insult. The man would still hate him even if he sold three zillion books to the retailers. Sasaki had had it out for him ever since their manager Juro Tanaka recruited him from college and brought him to work at Fun Time Publishing Company managing the manga line. Sasaki considered mangas garbage and at the bottom of the food chain compared to graphic novels that he and most of the other employees managed. He also said only sissies read or managed manga. Daiki’s upbringing and professionalism forced him to ignore the man, especially since he felt Sasaki didn’t know what he was talking about.
“I’ve never met a nobody before.”
Daiki looked up to find the man had moved close to him and was staring with interest. Definitely no one he’d ever met before. The stranger had shoulder-length brown hair and abnormally lovely eyes for a man. His presence took up a lot of Daiki’s comfort zone. He was pretty much a loner and didn’t like to be stared at.
“You have a very beautiful face for a nobody,” the man told him.
Daiki’s heart throbbed in his chest. The sound of the man’s soft voice felt warm and comforting and not exactly what he expected from someone his size. He winked at Daiki before he walked away which made him uncomfortable. Daiki lowered his head and went back to work, checking out his sales figures from the last six months and wondering how he could increase them for the upcoming Christmas season. The visitor’s expensive smelling cologne still mingled in the air around him even though the man had walked back over to Sasaki. Daiki’s heart continued to thud heavily and he couldn’t explain why.
“What is he responsible for?” the man asked.
“He runs the manga division,” Sasaki said.
The conversation ended when Sasaki and the man left the main office and headed into Mr. Tanaka’s office to talk.
Daiki went back to his work putting what had just happened to the back of his mind. The man left a little while later, giving him one last look before he walked out of the door. Daiki looked out the window and watched him get into a red sports car and drive away and wondered why he even gave the man or his words a second thought.
“Get back to work,” Sasaki told him.
Daiki tore his gaze away from the window and looked at Sasaki. “Yes sir.” He bit back the retort in his head. Sasaki had nothing to feel so superior about. He was just an average man with no spectacular attributes that set him above anyone else. He’d worked for Fun Time for about ten years and rose to the top not by the amount of books he distributed to the retailers but by the way he bullied his subordinates into doing work. In the end the employees worked their butts off to get their tasks done by deadline just so they wouldn’t fall victim to his wrath. He heard Sasaki walk away and go to his office.
Christmas time was one of the biggest selling seasons in the publishing business and it usually meant big bonuses for those salesmen who reached the company’s goal of selling a hundred thousand books by the New Year. Unfortunately Daiki had never reached that mark of achievement in his two years with the company, but he had high hopes for this year. With a little planning and a lot of ingenuity he felt he could sell a sizeable amount of books to the retailers in his district. His prime goal was to get the illustrious and reclusive Masa Kobayashi to stock his chain of bookstores with manga. So far the man hadn’t budged from his steadfast rule of only selling graphic and literary novels.
It was late and well past quitting time when Daiki shut down his computer. All of the other salesmen had gone and if he didn’t hurry he would miss the last train for home. He looked at his watch. He had about an hour to make it to the station. He was just about to leave when Juro Tanaka, his manager appeared.
“Oh, Yamada. I’m glad you’re still here. Can I have a word with you in my office?”
Daiki cringed.This cannot be good. Mr. Tanaka only called people into his office when he wanted to yell at them about something.“Yes, sir.” He left his desk and followed the manager into the office.
Mr. Tanaka, unlike Sasaki, was a very remarkable man in looks and accomplishments. He was a little over the average height, had a muscular build, a handsome face and piercing brown eyes.
Mr. Tanaka offered him a seat. “Sit down.”
Daiki sat down across from Tanaka’s desk and placed his hands in his lap.
“You can relax. I didn’t call you in here to holler at you.”
Daiki relaxed some but remained tense.
“Have you ever heard of Kobayashi Book Stores?”
Daiki’s head bobbed up and down. “Yes sir. It’s now the largest book store chain in Japan. They sell a lot of graphic and literary books. Why?”
“Yes, well, Mr. Masa Kobayashi, the owner, is thinking about expanding his sales by offering manga books in his stores.”
Daiki widened his eyes in disbelief. It was like a dream come true. “A wise decision on his part, and I’m not just saying this because manga is my bread and butter.”
Tanaka chuckled filling the office with his deep throaty sound. “That’s what I like about you. You’ve always been very passionate about your job even when most of the jackasses around here give you a hard time. Your retail sales are high and I see a bright future ahead of you.”
“Thank you,”Daiki said. He’d had no idea that Mr. Tanaka thought so highly of him.
“That’s the reason I called you in here. I need someone to go to Kobayashi’s office tomorrow and convince him to let us be his main distributor of manga.”
“Me?” Daiki asked. He trembled slightly from excitement.
“Who else knows more about manga than you?”
“No one sir. What time is the meeting?”
“Tomorrow morning at ten.”
Ten? That didn’t give him much time to plan his proposal.
“Relax, you’ll do fine,” Tanaka told him. “I’ve heard the man is a bit of a recluse, but I’m sure you can win him over. Just give the best spiel you can give.” Tanaka reached into his pocket and pulled out a business card and handed it to Daiki.“This is his card. He is sending a car and driver to pick you up from here.”
Daiki looked down at the fancy card. He ran his finger over the lettering before placing it into his pocket.
Mr. Tanaka rose signaling the end of their meeting.
Daiki sprang to his feet. “I will do my best sir.”
“I know you will. And there could be a very big bonus in it for you if you can pull this off. Kobayashi is not the easiest man in the world to talk to but don’t let that frighten you.”
Daiki bowed to his boss. “Thank you once again for the chance. I will not disappoint you.” He left the manager’s office, quickly grabbed his things and hurried out of the building to catch his train.