Kyonko! Kyonko! Kyonko!

Kyonko! Kyonko! Kyonko! Kyonko makes you strong! Strength crushes enemies! Kyonko!

I was strolling through Barnes and Nobles foraging for otaku goods when I decided, for no apparent reason, to detour through the non-book section. Curiosity, I suppose. The prices and packaging available for doujins and other crap we eagerly swallow has always distantly amused me.

It seemed like the non-book section had been growing lately, however. At least a dozen different companies were packaging and advertising Kyonko mousepads, Kyonko posters, Kyonko figurines, Kyonko body-pillows, original Kyonko music CDs, Kyonko this, Kyonko that, Kyonko! Kyonko! Kyonko!

I must have said that last part out loud, because a hoarse whisper entered my ear from behind me:

Kyonko makes you strong!

I spun my head, but saw only a shoulder of a dirty coat while the whisper reappeared by my other ear:

Strength crushes enemies!

I turned again, only to see the back of a tired, bedraggled homeless-looking man pushing a grocery cart which, against all logic, actually looked dirtier than he was. He moved away from me at a slow, but steady pace around the corner to the science aisle. His cart never once squeaked, I noticed later. I stood up in a hurry, then had to lean against the shelf until the resulting head rush wore off. When my vision cleared, I walked quickly around the corner to see where the man was heading and what he had wanted... but he wasn't there.

I glanced down the next aisle, and the next, and the next. Not a sign of him. I turned to go back to my grocery cart, but stopped short when I saw it right in the middle of the aisle, blocking an irate shopper behind it. It had somehow followed me out of the non-book section. I looked over the side to make sure nothing had been taken out. Nothing had, but one blue box of Kyonko Dream had been added.


I heard in my ears again. I ignored it. Somehow I knew there would be no one behind me when I looked.

The irate shopper maneuvered around me. I picked up the new box and then, without really knowing why, carefully put it back in. archive