*And so we continue.
Wait a minute…
This picture on the license…
What the hell?
This…can’t be. That person on the picture…
Hold on a second. Let’s think this through properly, yeah? You’re with me on this, right gut feeling?
So normally, if you look at a person’s wallet and find the driver’s license inside, that means the owner of the wallet is probably the person on the license. That’s a normal conclusion, right? It’s not my brain that’s messing me up, right?
So then, if you’re in possession of that wallet, then naturally you’d think that you’re also the owner of the wallet. Which would also mean that it’d be your face in the little picture on your driver’s license.
What do you think, gut feeling? Does that all pan out properly?
So it really is like that then.
A driver’s license takes several years to expire, right? So if one day, you looked at your license picture and thought, “Hey! Who is this good-looking guy? That can’t possibly be me!” then it’d be understandable, right?
Don’t tell me it’s impossible! You don’t even have a face, you damn hunch!
Auughh, who am I kidding? This handsome guy here can’t possibly be me! I mean, I haven’t looked into a mirror yet, but just touching my face and looking at what I’m wearing right now—
Who could it be? I burrowed my face into the license, trying to absorb every little detail of that small grainy image.
A perfect face. That was definitely the face of a ladykiller! And a crisp dark suit that looked really expensive!
Handsome and rich! Holy crap, who the hell was this guy? An heir to a global supercompany or something!?
No, wait. Hold on a minute. I’m drawing conclusions a little too quickly here. After all, look at the situation I’m in. I just woke up in a bunch of garbage with memory loss that’s probably excessive drinking. The fact that I was lying here, untouched until this late in the day, meant that no one had been looking for me.
If you think about it like that, then there are only a few deductions that you can make.
First is that I’m either a complete lightweight or I really drank a lot for some reason.
Second is that I had to have been drinking alone, probably because I don’t have any friends or family that care about me.
You’re accepting that!? There’s no doubt in me about any of that happening!?
Damn it…this sucks. What kind of life had I been leading to have such a gloomy view of myself?
If you think along that line of thought, then there’s another theory that wraps this whole puzzle up quite nicely.
I really am the heir of a global supercompany!
But wait! That’s not all! The twist is that I must have really screwed up and fucked the whole company over! I probably went into complete bankruptcy and became a drunken loser that mooches off his friends and hops bars at night to drink his sorrows away. That’s a perfect explanation for how I could have changed so drastically during the expiration period of a driver’s license!
God damn it, I’m a terrible person! I’m a total scumbag!
Man…I want to go drink now…
I wonder what’d be good…what do I normally drink anyways? Beer? Maybe…what about whisky? No, I feel like that’s too strong for me…wait, so I’m a lightweight after all!?
I sighed and dropped the license away from my face. What an awful way to start the day. Finding out that you had the good life, but then somehow managed to just throw it all away…
Sniff. Man, why are my eyes wet? Must be allergies or something…probably the stupid fruit juice.
S-Shut up already. I feel bad enough as it is.
What do you mean it sounds like total bullshit? What else could explain why I don’t look anything like the person on the license?
What’d you say?
Come off it. There’s no way something like that could b—
Wait. You’re right. That’s a possibility. That might actually make more sense. Yeah, the more I think about it…that has to be it!
I wasn’t an idiot that just threw his inheritance down the drain! No, the real reason why I didn’t look anything like this picture had to be because—
I’m a shapeshifter! I can change my appearance at will!
Oh man, I’m like Terminator 2!
This is awesome, maybe if I concentrate really hard, I can look like the Prime Minister—
…Huh? Oh, that’s not what you were getting at? No, but doesn’t it sound like it really could’ve happen—
…Yeah, ok. Yeah, I know. You’re the gut feeling. Not me. I’ll shut up.
Haah…so? What’s the theory you’ve got?
Oh. Oh! You’re right! Why didn’t I think about this before? It makes sense too!
If we agree that a license found in a wallet is usually the owner’s license, then we could say that the person in possession of the wallet is the person on the license.
What if that wasn’t the case? What if the person possessing the wallet didn’t own it?
Basically, the reason my face wasn’t on this license was because I didn’t own the wallet.
Which meant that I had stolen it!
I was a thief! A common, no-good, amateur thief!
Oh man, it’s not as cool as being a shapeshifter, but at least I’m not some drunken loser anymore!
I’m just a thief! And a pretty good one too, if I was able to steal from this good-looking rich guy. Hell yeah! I’m the bomb!
Phew, man. That was a ton of work. But I’m glad I figured out a piece of this whole mystery. Well, I didn’t find out anything about myself, but at least I know this isn’t my money anymore.
And you know what that means, right gut feeling?
TIME TO EAT!
Let’s go find a restaurant to eat at! What about this alley? Anything here?
I looked around me at the many signs and advertisements. Huh. So these were all bars and stand joints. Oh…so that’s why I was sleeping here. I must’ve gotten drunk in one of these places. And that’s why no one woke me up or anything! They must’ve thought I was just your everyday drunk passed out in the garbage.
Man, I’m on a roll! Hah, what mystery? I’ll have this whole thing solved before nighttime! But first thing’s first. Let’s get out of here and go find something to eat.
I decided to go head over to the busy street in the distance. There was nothing open in this alley right now, so it’d be a waste of time looking through it. Besides, my gut feeling was telling me that busy streets were good places to look for food.
As I came out of the alley, the dead silence that surrounded me dissolved away. The sound of cars zooming past and engines rumbling. The chatter of crowds as they crossed the streets and hurried down sidewalks. There was music playing too…lots of different songs coming from the various buildings down the blocks.
Massive buildings. Not skyscrapers, but still quite large. Some of them looked to have at least twenty floors on them. I walked out tentatively onto the sidewalk, a little disorientated by all the activity that was happening here.
Where am I…?
The question came to me again now that I had solved my earlier dilemma. This place still didn’t look familiar to me at all. But there were some things that scratched at my memory.
Buses that passed by with huge fliers containing animated characters or some advertisement for a mobile app. Storefront logos that hung on tall buildings, the colors vibrant against the slightly cloudy sky and softened sun.
And the smells. Oh…what was that smell? It was so amazing…so mind-blowingly enticing right now…
I followed my nose down the street. A toasty kind of smell, bringing to mind crisp, greasy, juicy bites of meat stuffed into a paper bag…
Fried chicken! Croquettes! Melty cheese curds!
What the hell, where were they? Where the heck were these delicious smells coming from!?
Ah…? Wait a minute…what is that?
…Sweet. Yeasty. The image of a fluffy, chewy, tender ring appeared in my mind—
Donuts! There were donuts here!!!
And…and burgers! Burgers and fries!
Sauced chicken in a cup!
Lamb kebabs with drizzles of sauce and cabbage!
SOFT. SERVE. ICE CREAAAMMM!!!
The anxiety in my stomach completely disappeared. My gut feeling reared its starving head, roaring desperately inside of me—
I know, buddy. I know. We’re almost there. There’s food all around us and we’ve got a pocketful of cash! Just endure it for a few more minutes!
What would I eat first? Was there even a reason for me to not get everything!? No, but the first meal would decide what I’d want to eat next. Eating all fried foods, for example, would just make you feel heavy and fat. But eating all sweet things would leave a cloying aftertaste in your mouth. Nope, there was a proper balance to these sort of things. I had to carefully plot out which path I would choose in my culinary journey.
“Please visit us at Maid-On for a relaxing, cheerful experience with cute maids!”
I could start with something neutral. Maybe I should satiate my thirst first. Wait no, that’d just make my stomach fuller from the start, wouldn’t it? I wouldn’t be able to eat as much then…
“Yes, please visit us at Maid-On! If you could take a flier—”
Right. I agree. Donuts and ice cream are dessert food. We can scratch those off. But then again…wait, why couldn’t I eat dessert first again?
And appetizers…those were a thing, right? What about those…were there any appetizers around here?
Ugh…this was really troubling. There were just so many choices…it’s hard to decide.
“Um…excuse me, sir—”
I looked up to see a girl standing in front of me. She had her hand out held out, as if she had been about to reach out and touch me. She was dressed in a frilly kind of outfit with a short skirt and black stockings that went up to around her thigh.
I knew this kind of outfit…what was it again…?
No, wait. Maid. That was it.
“Excuse me, sir,” continued the girl, looking to the side. “I’m sorry to disturb you, but you’re a bit in the way…”
I followed her gaze to my right and saw a man with a dolly full of heavy boxes standing next to me. Oh crap, sorry dude! I quickly got out of the way and apologized.
Wait, why am I apologizing? Hmm…must be another gut feeling thing.
“I’m sorry for hassling you—”
“No, it was my fault anyways…”
She had a cute, youthful face with dark hair that fell in long, downy locks down her shoulders. She wasn’t very tall, but not very short either. The frilly maid costume that she was wearing was kind of amazing; it didn’t really show much skin, but the delicate white between her stockings and skirt was just really alluring for some reason…
“Yes! Not your skirt. I mean, yes.”
I snapped my gaze up and saw that she was holding a flier out to me.
“If you’d like, please visit us at Maid-On!”
I took the flier and looked down at it. Oh…a cafe. There were a lot of girls on this flier. It looked kind of interesting, but my stomach was still rumbling. Did they have food at this cafe?
“Yes, we serve a variety of dishes. There’s an excerpt of the menu on the back.”
Omelette rice, spaghetti pasta, ooh cream soda floats…
“Ah, but I’m not really familiar with this area…I’m not sure if I can find it…”
“Is that so? If you’d like, I could guide you to the cafe.”
The maid gave me an encouraging smile. Hmm…I suppose I could do that. But then again…
I looked around at the streets and took in the various delicious smells in the air.
…There were so many choices. I licked my lips and rubbed the flier between my fingers.
No matter how much more I think, my answer’s pretty clear.
I think I’ll go eat at the—