Johannes Kambanda and Ozaki Kaori: A Text Message Transcript

Submitted into Contest #34 in response to: Write a story told entirely through text messages or emails.... view prompt



Johannes Kambanda: Ozi, are you OK?

Ozaki Kaori: A little embarrassed, but I’m OK.

JK: What happened?

Ozi: Trixie slipped me a beef and cheese burrito. I got sick.

JK: Threw up?

Ozi: All over the place.

JK: Was it rotten?

Ozi: Hell if I know. I’m vegan. Meat makes me sick.

JK: What was Trixie thinking?

Ozi: She wasn’t. She didn’t know. She grabbed from the non-vegan stack of burritos.

JK: Are you sure?

Ozi: Are you defending her?

JK: No. But maybe it was the caterer’s fault.

Ozi: J, I barfed on my boss. 

JK: Is she a parent?

Ozi: Trixie?

JK: No, your boss.

Ozi: What does that have to do with anything?

JK: If she’s a mom, then her kids prolly barfed on her before.

Ozi: So what.

JK: Maybe she’s used to barf?

Ozi: Kids and employees ain’t the same thing, Kemp.

JK: Why are you vegan?

Ozi: Why do you eat meat and cheese?

JK: Why are you answering a question with a question?

Ozi: I’m from Japan.

JK: So what.

Ozi: I was raised on a Kobe beef farm. 

JK: Oh.

Ozi: Every night, I’d hear the cattle scream in pain. The calves torn away from their mothers. The sadness. The torture. All for meat.

JK: Sorry. Do you hate me?

Ozi: Why would I hate you?

JK: Because I’m eating a Big Mac right now.

Ozi: Ick. But, no. Practicing veganism is for me, not for you. Being vegan helps me keep a sense of balance in my life. 

JK: Wait, you were raised in Japan? When did you come to the U.S.?

Ozi: 1995, I was ten. My parents lost their farm.

JK: Sorry.

Ozi: I hated living on that farm. But even more so, it was difficult to watch us lose our livelihood. My father tried to fight them, but everything unravelled.

JK: What are you doing tonight?

Ozi: The same thing I always do on Friday. Stay in.

JK: Do you ever go out?

Ozi: Not unless I have to. 

JK: I’m meeting Trixie for drinks at 8 pm. Join us.

Ozi: Trixie? Um, why?

JK: I like her. 

Ozi: Don’t let her know that. She’ll jump your bones.

JK: That’s the idea.

Ozi: I’ll pass. She’s extra. It’s exhausting to be around her.

JK: She’s fun.

Ozi: Johnny Kemp, she will crush you. 

JK: I need some excitement in my life. 

Ozi: When she breaks your heart, please don’t come to me for consolation.

JK: Ozi, c’mon. I know what I’m getting into. 

Ozi: We’ve had this conversation before. 

JK: If it helps, she’s the one who invited me out drinks.

Ozi: Of course she did. 

JK: Are you mad?

Ozi: No, I just don’t want to see you hurt again.

JK: I’ll be fine.

Ozi: What does Kevin think?

JK: How would I know?

Ozi: He’s your friend. Have you told him?

JK: We share a cubicle. I wouldn’t call him a friend.

Ozi: Have you talked about it with him?

JK: No. 

Ozi: What do your guy friends think?

JK: About what?

Ozi: You getting with Trixie.

JK: I don’t have any guy friends.

Ozi: Don’t you think that’s weird?

JK: Do you think it’s weird that you’re vegan?

Ozi: Touche.

JK: No offense to Kevin, but all he wants to talk about is sports.

Ozi: Maybe he likes sports.

JK: You think?

Ozi: Do your parents ever ask you about your girlfriends?

JK: My dad could care less.

Ozi: What about moms?

JK: My mom died when I was young.

Ozi: Oh, I’m sorry Johnny. I didn’t know. 

JK: It’s not your fault that she died. So don’t be sorry.

Ozi: My sympathies, then. 

JK: Sorry. I don’t like to talk about it. 

Ozi: I can imagine.

JK: Not sure you can.

Ozi: Try me.

JK: Do you know what a pogrom is? 

Ozi: Ethnic cleansing.

JK: My mother was killed in a pogrom in central Africa in the early 90s. 

Ozi: I thought pogroms were mostly focused on Jewish communities. 

JK: The known ones. This one was a secret pogrom by a central African feudal system that was losing power. My mother got caught up in it. 

Ozi: I’m so sorry, Kemp. 

JK: I saw it, Ozi. I can’t unsee it. 

Ozi: What does Trixie think?

JK: Oh, yeah, that’s great first date conversation material. She’ll be sure to go out with me again after telling her how my mom died.

Ozi: No, I mean . . . how do I say this. What does she think about your black skin?

JK: As far as I know, she likes it. 

Ozi: In the sixth months that I’ve known Trixie, I’ve always known her to date white guys. 

JK: So what. 

Ozi: Doesn’t seem like her M.O.

JK: Trixie is beautiful and smart. She can be with whomever she wants.

Ozi: She seems a little manipulative. Flirts a lot. Impulsive.

JK: She’s a free spirit. Very creative. She’s just expressing herself. 

Ozi: She could benefit from meditation. 

JK: Not everyone is an introvert, Ozi. 

Ozi: I can’t stand being the center of attention. She seems to crave it. 

JK: Not everything has to have a deep spiritual center. Sometimes it’s fun to just be with someone for while, however short.

Ozi: Sounds complicated. 

JK: That’s why we’re friends, Ozi. You keep me grounded. 

Ozi: I don’t know about that. I value my solitude. 

JK: What are you doing tonight?

Ozi: Staying in, dumbass.

JK: I know that, but what are you doing when you stay in.

Ozi: Trimming my bonsai.

JK: That can’t take longer than a few minutes.

Ozi: You’d be surprised. 

JK: Surprise me. 

Ozi: I like to take my time and inspect every millimeter of my bonsai. Focused presence. It’s meditative.

JK: I don’t see how you can sit still like that for hours. Do you ever listen to music when you tend your bonsai?

Ozi: No, I do that afterwards.

JK: You don’t multi-task?

Ozi: No.

JK: So I guess you never listened to that Zeppelin playlist I made you.

Ozi: I listened to it last Friday.

JK: What did you think?

Ozi: Well, all the songs were about doing it. I couldn’t relate to the unbridled sexuality. The musicianship was outstanding, though. What was the drummer’s name? Bonzo?

JK: Bonham. John Bonham.

Ozi: Loved the arrangements, too. I read up on the band. John Paul Jones did some amazing layering under Plant/Page bravado.

JK: You’re one of a kind, Ozi.

Ozi: I’ll tell you the truth. 

JK: So you think this Trixie date is a bad idea?

Ozi: No. 

JK: Thanks, Ozi. 

Ozi: You love drama and excitement. I avoid it. 

JK: I need my freedom. 

Ozi: From what I know of Trixie, she does too.

JK: Maybe she’ll surprise you. 

Ozi: Take care, Kemp. Let me know how it goes.

March 22, 2020 14:30

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Pragya Rathore
09:08 Jun 02, 2020

Wow... the text format was really unique, I loved it! Please read my stories and let me know what you think of them!


Show 0 replies
11:28 Sep 20, 2020

amazing give a read to mine


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