Girl Talk

By William Wetherall

Two women reminisce about their school-girl adventures

Drafted 1999, last revised 18 November 2007 (1985 words)
Inspired by a conversation with RO

Girl Talk

By William Wetherall

"You sound like the kind who never got in trouble," Mika said.

"I was always getting in trouble," I said.

"Oh yeah? What'd you do? Flash your panties at the principal?"

"Never that sort of trouble. Anyway, I wore a long skirt."

"Down to your ankles? Be-Bop High School style?"


"So you ran with a gang?"

"No way. Most of the girls at my school wore short skirts. The rules said no shorter than 5-15 centimeters above the knees, and no longer than 5-15 centimeters above the ankles."

"Girls have to show some skin."

"That was no problem. But I played volleyball, and the coach had his own rules. Ours had to be no shorter than 5-15 below the knees. I hated that. If you're going to show 'em, show 'em. If not, then hide 'em. I don't like half-way clothes. So I wore mine long."

"And people took you for a juvie."

"Yeah. It went with my character, though. My mother was always scolding me for not being more lady-like. Anyway, I didn't have to worry about how I sat. I could fling my knees out like a guy, or hunker down or cross my legs in front of me, and no one could see anything."

"And you didn't have to cover your butt with your bag when going up stairs or an escalator. I forgot to once, and the next day there were rumors going around that I didn't wear panties. But how'd the long skirt get you in trouble?"

"I'd go in a convenience store and the clerks would watch me."

"You set off the shoplifter alarm."

"Really. Then once, when on a train, I picked up a can that was rolling around."

"Good girl."

"I wasn't trying to be good. It was irritating me. It'd roll toward me, then away from me, and make a lot noise noise. And everyone was just watching it, and me. Anyway, I picked it up . It was a beer can, and there was a little left in it, and some spilled on the floor in front of me. And just them some women got on the train and they saw me holding the can. They sat right across from me and gave me dirty looks while whispering something."

"And you just sat there holding it?"


"That was dumb, Yuri. You should've set it on the floor."

"Then they'd think me a litterbug."

"Heads they win, tails you lose."

"Something like that."

"But that's not getting in trouble."

"There's more."

"To the beer can saga?"

"Yeah. I was going to throw it away inside the station but forgot. I didn't realize I still had it until I was coming out the wicket and some people coming in looked at me funny."

"Only stubble-faced gamblers coming home from the races and this-is-a-free-country narcissists walk around with beer cans."

"But the nearest trash bins were outside the station by the police box. And wouldn't you know, a cop was standing there."

"And he arrested you?"

"Not quite. I dropped the can in the bin for cans and walked away. But the cop told me to stop and motioned me over to the police box. He asked me where I bought the beer, and I told him it was an empty I picked up on the train. He asked to see my school ID and wanted to check my bag."

"Uh oh!"

"I gave him my ID but not my bag. Then a man came up and said I was telling the truth. He'd seen the can rolling around and saw me pick it up. He was a middle-aged man and he'd been in the same car. He'd gotten off with several others who were right behind me."

"He was stalking you?"

"I don't think so. I mean, half the people on the car got off and climbed the same stairs and filed through the same wicket I did, and most of them poured out on the street on the south side where the buses and police box were. He was just another fish in the stream."

"So the cop let you go?"

"Not yet. He interrogated the man. Did he know me? No. Had he been following me? No. Then what business was it of his? He just happened to witness me pick up the can, happened to be close when the cop stopped me, and happened to hear what he'd said to me."

"So what happened?"

"The cop said he'd seen young people toss cans on the streets or in bushes, but today was the first time he'd heard of a teenager picking one up. The man said he'd never seen even an adult pick one up, except the local volunteers who police the streets for litter. He told the cop I deserved an award, not an inquisition. The cop returned my ID and said I could go. I thanked him and the man and walked away."

"Lucky you."


"He didn't check your bag."

"It wouldn't have been problem."

"You used to smoke, right."

"Yeah. Several of my friends smoked. But we didn't carry cigarettes in our school bags."

"Most of my friends screwed," Mika said. "And we carried condoms everywhere."

"Did that get you into trouble?"

"Junko and I were once hauled in for soliciting."

"You're kidding."

"It was hilarious. We played a lot in Shibuya. One night we were hunkered down at the entrance to an alley of clubs and eateries off Center street just smoking and watching people. Minding our own business, right?"

"That is hilarious," I said, laughing.

"What's so funny?"

"You and Junko minding your own business," I said. "Squatting on your haunches like street girls, and smoking? In what, your school pinafores? Or recruit suits?"

"That would have been conspicuous. No, we were just wearing our usual Shibuya garb and make-up. You know, white or yellow micro minis or something. Red, black, maybe green panties, braless cotton tank tops, long lashes, eyelids glittered pink or mauve, rosy cheeks, creamy-lime or milk-chocolate lips, every nail a different color and design, bodies browned to our armpits and crotches. And our trademark long, wavy, two-toned hair. Mine was usually silver-brunette, Junko's purple-blonde."

"Not conspicuous? Two jungle birds quietly perched on mega platforms, daring everyone to meet your glow-in-the-dark turquoise contacts. And if anyone held your gaze too long you'd wink, lick your lips, or stick our your tongue."

"It's called having fun, Yuri. Things were really boring that night. We'd stuffed ourselves with pizza, smoked a reefer, popped kisses on some geeky guys lugging huge bags of junk from Tokyu Hands, danced at a retro disco, blew bubbles in front of Hachiko, and were just cooling our heels, licking triple-dippers with chopped Oreo and rainbow sprinkle toppings, while trying to figure out what to do next. Junko told me to check out this duck that had waddled out of a club a couple of doors down the alley. He was short and half bald, in his forties or fifties, and was standing there in his dumpy suit leering at us."

"I see where this is going."

"No you don't. We had teased a few guys but we'd never really messed with anyone. We knew about compensated dating and we'd joked with friends about doing such things. And we'd goofed off, but it was just make-believe, like play-acting. We weren't planning to do anything. It just sort of happened. After scoping the guy a few seconds, we looked at each other, and that was it. We switched to a pay-for-play mode."

"Spontaneous action."

"You could put it that way. We'd seen it in dramas and imagined ourselves doing it, so it sort of came natural. We smiled at him and waved him over. He hesitated then grinned and started loping toward us. We sprang to our feet and fell in on either side of him. Junko took one arm, I the other. We introduced ourselves and swapped a lot of personal information while steering him toward our favorite shops. We modeled clothes and tried on shoes and he ogled every move and pose. Junko saw an Italian snakeskin bag and matching clutch purse she had to have. I went batty over a pair of four-digit sun glasses."

"And you made him pay," I said.

"We let him pay, Yuri, We didn't have that sort of money. And he was a very big-hearted construction company section chief. He couldn't bear to see us leave the shop without them."

"How charitable," I said. "Not every corporate official is given an opportunity to stimulate the economy by contributing to the welfare of a couple of sexy freeloaders. So what happened?"

"We strolled around and listened to his story. His wife had died the year before from cervical cancer. His company was having difficulty and he worried about being restructured. His son had finished college but had found only part-time work, had quit his last job, and hadn't stepped out of the house for three months. His daughter, though, was a bigger concern, She was younger than we were, still in high school, but had never been to Shibuya. She was extremely shy and had no out-going friends who went anywhere to play. And she was terribly depressed by her mother's death. He worried that she'd have trouble in the real world, where not being able to socialize with others was a handicap. He'd thought of many ways he could help her gain more confidence in herself and hope in the future, but nothing had clicked until he'd met us."

Looking at my watch I said, "That's nice. But why did you get hauled in?"

"I'm getting there. We know the geography of Shibuya, right? But we hadn't been paying attention, and before we knew it, we're on the street with all the love hotels. And in the course of our talk, he says he'll give us 20,000 yen."

"For what?"

"Patience, Yuri, patience. The bigger problem was that he'd flashed a couple of bills, right there on the street. And a couple of men step out of the shadows and flash badges."

"And the man turned out to be decoy."

"No. He was everything he said he was. Like I said, we were just having fun. We'd picked him up on a lark. We never had any intention of doing anything except walk him like a dog, and let him howl at the moon and pee on his favorite utility poles."

"So what did the cops do?"

"They weren't koban cops but vice-squad investigators working undercover out of the Shibuya Precinct. So they took us there in an unmarked car they had parked near Bunkamura. They wouldn't let us talk in the car and split us up at the station. Two hours later they let us go. We'd all told the same story, and everything checked out."

"And now, finally, you're going to tell me, because I really have to be going."

"By the time he'd started talking about his daughter he knew we were ordinary girls who had day jobs and boyfriends. We hadn't even talked about sex or going to a hotel. In fact, we all had last trains to catch and were about to go home. He'd asked us -- actually begged us -- to hang out with his daughter a bit, escort her to Shibuya and other places we knew and give her a taste of ordinary middle-class urban youth culture. She was good kid, he said. He wouldn't mind if we taught her to vamp up and goof off the way we did, so long as it didn't include scamming middle-aged men out of snakeskin bags and designer shades. That was when he offered us 20,000 yen as a retainer for our services."

"You guys are amazing. Who would have thought either of you did things like that in your youth?"

"Look at yourself. But you've got to get going. Lunch again next month?"

"Absolutely. By the way, what became of the guy's daughter?"

"She's my sister-in-law."


"Next month, Yuri. I've gotta go too."