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Encounters at the Ramen Shop

A collection of short stories powered by A.I.


by | Sep 24, 2022

Takashi was running through his administration in the back of the ramen restaurant. The numbers didn’t look good. The costs for ingredients were rising rapidly and the salaries he needed to pay for his staff were getting tough to stomach each month.

This month was going to be exceptionally difficult. Takashi had just come from his bank where he’d been denied a loan to help cover the restaurant’s expenses. He was out of options and he knew it.

He sat down at one of the tables, resting his head in his hands. He needed to think of something and fast. Otherwise, he was going to have to close the restaurant’s doors for good.

At that moment, Akira, one of the restaurant’s cooks came over to talk to Takashi.

“Boss, I overheard you talking to the bank. Is everything alright?”

Takashi shook his head. “No, it’s not. We’re in big trouble, Akira. I don’t know what to do.”

Akira sat down next to Takashi, thinking for a moment. “Maybe I can help,” he said finally.

“How could you help? You’re just a cook,” Takashi replied.

“I have a lucrative side business going on, which is pretty hands-off if you will.”

“What kind of business?”

“It’s a bit… illicit, but it could help us out of this hole.”

Takashi considered Akira’s words for a moment. He was desperate and he didn’t see any other way out.

“Alright, I’m listening.”

Akira leaned in and began to explain his plan…

Takashi followed Akira’s instructions to the letter. He was a bit apprehensive about the whole thing, but he didn’t see any other way out.

He stood outside of the ramen restaurant, holding a duffel bag full of cash. He was waiting for someone to arrive and pick up the money.

Suddenly, a black car pulled up to the curb and the passenger window rolled down. A gruff looking man in the passenger seat motioned for Takashi to come over.

Takashi walked over to the car and handed the duffel bag through the window. The man inside counted out the money quickly before giving Takashi a small package in return.

“This is your cut,” the man said. “Be careful with it.”

With that, the car sped off into the night, leaving Takashi standing there with the package in hand.

He didn’t know what was inside of it, but he had a feeling he wasn’t going to like it.

He took the package back into the restaurant and put it in his office. He would deal with it later, after he’d had a chance to think about what he’d just done.

For now, he had to keep up appearances and act like everything was normal.

A few days later, Takashi was in his office going over the books again. He still couldn’t believe that he’d sunk so low, but the money had been too good to pass up.

He’d been selling drugs out of the restaurant for the past week and he’d already made more money than he would have in a month at the restaurant.

The only problem was, he knew it was only a matter of time before someone found out. He was treading on dangerous ground and he knew it.

But, he didn’t see any other way out. He had to keep the restaurant afloat, no matter what.

One day, Takashi’s fears came true as a car pulled up at the restaurant. Takashi could see the reflections of blue and red lights in the windows.

He knew the police were here.

He hurried to his office and grabbed the duffel bag full of cash. He had to make a run for it.

He could hear the police coming into the restaurant now. They would be looking for him and he didn’t have much time.

He ran out the back door of his office and into the alleyway behind the restaurant. He could hear the police shouting after him, but he didn’t look back.

He had to get away.

Takashi ran as fast as he could, but eventually he was tackled from behind. He hit the ground hard, the air knocked out of him.

He tried to fight back, but it was pointless. The police had him outnumbered and outmatched.

As the police came up to handcuff Takashi, a group of men approached.

“What do you gentlemen think you’re doing?”

It was Akira, in his hands a pair of nunchucks.

“This doesn’t concern you,” the police officer said. “Now step aside.”

“I don’t think so,” Akira replied. “My boss isn’t going anywhere with you.”

The police officer sighed. “Fine, we’ll do this the hard way.”

He signaled to the other officers and they all pulled out their guns, pointing them at Akira.

“Now stand down, or we will open fire.”

Akira looked at Takashi, who was shaking his head. He didn’t want Akira to get hurt because of him.

In one swift motion Akira flicked the nunchucks onto one of the guns, making it fly out of the cop’s hands.

In the ensuing commotion, Takashi took the opportunity to run.

“Stop him!”

The police started firing at Takashi, but he was able to make it around the corner and out of sight.

He heard Akira fighting with the police, but he didn’t stop to look back. He had to get away.

Takashi made his way to a safe house that Akira had set up for them. He knew the police would be looking for him, so he had to lay low for a while.

At least until things blew over.

He opened the door to the safe house and walked inside. He was met with the sight of Akira, nursing a black eye.

“What happened?” Takashi asked. “Are you okay?”

Akira nodded. “I’m fine. Those cops were just angry because they lost their prey.”

“But what about you? Aren’t you worried about the police finding you?”

Akira shrugged. “I can take care of myself.”

Takashi wasn’t so sure, but he didn’t want to argue with Akira. He was obviously a very capable fighter and Takashi was in no position to judge.

“So, what now?” Takashi asked.

“Now, we wait,” Akira replied. “The police will eventually give up the search and then we can go back to business as usual.”

Takashi sighed. He wasn’t sure if he could go back to selling drugs, but he knew he didn’t have any other choice.

It was either that or see his restaurant go under.

A few weeks later, Takashi and Akira were back at the restaurant. Business was slow, but they were managing to get by.

Takashi was in his office going over the books when Akira came in.

“Boss, I think we might have a problem.”

“What is it?” Takashi asked.

“I was just talking to one of my contacts and he told me that the police are getting close to busting our operation.”

“How close?” Takashi asked, panic starting to set in.

“They’re about to raid the restaurant,” Akira replied. “We need to get out of here now.”

Takashi grabbed the duffel bag full of cash and followed Akira out the back door. They jumped into Akira’s car and sped off just as the police were pulling up.

Takashi looked back at the restaurant, knowing he might never see it again.

But, he had to focus on the future. He had to find a way to make this work.

Takashi and Akira went into hiding. They changed their names and appearance and set up a new drug operation in a different city.

They were careful this time, making sure not to get caught.

The years passed and Takashi and Akira built up their empire. They became rich and powerful, but always looked over their shoulders, waiting for the day when the law would finally catch up to them.

Enjoyed it? Get the book!

Encounters at the Ramen Shop is now available as an ebook or paperback. It contains all 30 short stories found on the blog with a special fore- and afterword from the author.

Encounters at the Ramen Shop ebook