We managed to fit the four short stories from the original Japanese release of No, Thank You!!! into our hardcopy’s mini-artbook. While we didn’t have space for it in the hardcopy, parade was kind enough to give us a fifth one (previously only published in the game magazine Cool-B), so we thought we’d share it you all today.
This particular short story was originally published in Cool-B Vol. 54, March 2014 Edition (Released February 4th, 2014) as a belated birthday celebration for Kouichi. If you enjoy this one, there are four more in our Limited Edition Hardcopy of the game! If you happen to be going to Anime Expo, you’ll be able to snag a copy a little early, and pick up some other merchandise while you’re at it too.
Happy Birthday 1/16
It was 5 p.m., an hour before sótano opens. Hiroshi gave a crystal-clear, half-hearted answer as he made ice balls at the counter. He didn’t seem like he was in the mood to talk at all. How dare you…
I’m just going to have to play a prank on you now! But if his hand slips while he’s holding that ice pick and someone gets hurt, that could be a problem, so I’ll wait for a break during work and… wait, he’s not even reacting to my silence.
I’ll get you for this, Hiroshi! This is what you get for ignoring me!
“Finishing move! Booty grab!”
Squish! I grabbed Hiroshi’s butt from behind!
“And now for the butt-grope!”
And then I groped him! The proportion of fat to muscle in his ass had the most perfect texture. Young butts are great.
“Hey! That’s dangerous!”
“Don’t worry! I was careful to pick a not-dangerous moment!”
And since no one was in any danger, I kept on groping! Grope, grope…
“Ugh, get off! I’m working!”
“So I can grope you when you’re done?”
“That is entirely beside the point. My ass doesn’t exist just so you can grope it!”
“Oh no, your butt and everyone’s butts exist for me to grope!”
Oh, let’s exclude Renren from that. He’s annoying.
“As if… Stop being stupid and get off me.”
Hiroshi’s a nice guy so he didn’t say anything like ‘ew, gross’. Even if that’s what he’s thinking, he wouldn’t say it. I don’t even think he’s thinking it though. He’s such a sweet, kind, nice person. He’ll probably let me squeeze his butt again after things have cooled down a bit.
Actually, Hiroshi’s really gotten used to me… He’s not as shy as he used to be and he doesn’t fuss so much…
“So, what did you want?”
Hiroshi asked as if nothing had happened as he went back to work, carving up ice, as if absolutely nothing had happened. You’re so grown up, Hiroshi… It makes me feel a little lonely. Maybe I should just randomly grope Renren’s butt sometime…
“Weren’t you trying to ask me something, dummy?”
Hm? Was I?
Oh, that’s right!
“Do you know what kind of snacks Pops likes? Something even I could make.”
“Oh… You mean like cabbage and salted kombu?”
Hiroshi turned toward me and answered after thinking for a moment while working on the ice.
“What’s that? How do you make it?”
Cabbage and salted kombu… Is it just salt, kombu, and cabbage?
“You cut up some cabbage, then you wash it and dry it off and put pieces of salted kombu on top.”
What is salted-kombu anyway? Just salty kombu? How’s that different from regular kombu?
“That’s it. It’s good with sesame or chill oil on it too, but he’s not really a fan of oils, so you should probably go easy on that.”
I groaned, displeased and Hiroshi turned back to me, pouting, also displeased. I suddenly wanted to kiss him, but I restrained myself. It’s especially dangerous right now. If I startle him, he could stab me by accident.
“Isn’t there something cooler? I’m going to the trouble of making him something after all!”
“You asked me for advice. You don’t get to complain… Anyway, he’s the kind of guy who’d happily drink even poorly made miso soup. He likes simple things with a long shelf life for snacks… Also, you don’t even have a stove or a knife, let alone a frying pan.”
“Don’t worry, we have some in the kitchen!”
“Don’t borrow things from work. Also, you don’t even know how to cook, do you?”
“I help Maki-chan out all the time!”
My knife skills are pretty solid. Maki-chan even complimented me.
“But doing everything from scratch by yourself is kinda different… Also, why?”
“Why are you making food for Mr. Inui?”
“Oh, well, tomorrow’s his birthday, right? And I’ve got the day off, so I thought I’d try to make him something to celebrate.”
“Huh… You sure are well-informed.”
“Yeah! I asked after all!”
But not Pops of course.
“Well, in that case…”
Hiroshi set down the ice and ice pick and popped his head through the curtain at the end of the bar into the office.
“Mr. Ryu, do you have a moment?”
I could hear the sound of a chair creaking in the back of the office.
The grumpy tone of Ryu’s voice seemed to contain the complaints, ‘don’t make so much noise’ and ‘this is work, don’t play around.’
I guess Hiroshi caught that because when Ryu came out of the office, Hiroshi bowed his head to him. I should probably keep a little quiet.
“I’m not particularly interested in groping Renren’s butt.”
I just wanted to say that. It’d be annoying if he got the wrong idea.
Well, whatever. He always does that.
“Pops is always eating supermarket fried chicken and edamame and stuff, so I was thinking I’d try cooking something for him. I owe so much and I’ve like… by working here and stuff…”
“Grown up a bit?”
“Yeah, something like that.”
That’s my Hiroshi. He knows exactly what I’m trying to say. Ryu would never say it, but I bet he knows too.
As evidence of that, Ryu sighed as if to say, ‘fine’. Though he was giving me a properly dubious glare. But that’s just how Ryu is.
“Given the time of year… make him some tachikama or something. They’re not easy to find around here and it’s the perfect season for them.”
“Tachikama…? What’s that?”
“Kamaboko made of cod soft roe.”
“Cod… soft roe…?”
Cod? Is that a fish? I know what kamaboko is. Kamaboko tastes pretty fishy, so maybe it’s made of fish? Actually, why do they call it kamaboko anyway?
“Cod is a fish. Soft roe is the testicles of the fish. The flavor is a bit strong, but it’s perfect with alcohol.”
“Hm. Thanks for explaining, Hiroshi. But I––
“Tomorrow, come to the bar an hour early. I’ll teach you how to make it.”
Before I could say, ‘but I don’t know how to make it’, Ryu answered me.
“You should ask Mr. Maki too. He’s known Mr. Inui for a long time.”
Yeah. Ryu really is nice. In deference to his kindness, I will refrain from squeezing his butt today.
After I’d finished explaining things, Maki-chan was in silent, energy-conservation-mode as usual. His only reply was passing me a single slip of paper.
Something’s written on it. Umm…?
“Strawberry and soy milk dolce… Gâteau Fraise, strawberry shortcake…”
Cake? Is the one written horizontally the name of the store? Also, wow Maki-chan can write Japanese! His handwriting is surprisingly neat.
“Pick one and buy it.”
“I wanna make him something myself though.”
I’m thankful for the information, but couldn’t he have listened to me a little better?
“Too hard for you.”
I see. Those kinds of cakes do sound hard to make. And it’s tomorrow, so I don’t really have time to practice and I wouldn’t want to cause that much trouble at the bar. But still, buying it is kinda…
“So Pops likes sweets?”
“Then why cake?”
Because it’s his birthday? That doesn’t seem like the sort of thing Maki-chan and Pops really care about all that much. Oh, maybe he likes strawberries?
I looked at the note Maki-chan had given me again and then looked up and Maki-chan was giving me a weirdly blank look. I’m sure someone who wasn’t very familiar with Maki-chan wouldn’t notice it, but I know what this face means.
“Don’t give me that look like this is too annoying for you to deal with!”
I’m going to grope your boobs, you bastard! Actually, maybe I really should do that. Grope, grope…
Yes, these boobs don’t pale in comparison to Hiroshi’s ass at all.
“…His tastes are annoying.”
He spoke. Um… so I guess that was about Pops’ cake?”
He went silent. That was clearly an it’s-too-annoying-to-explain face. Oh well…
It was January 16th at 1 p.m. in Pops’ house. Pops smiled as he opened the tupperware and the soft, beachy scent wafted out of the dish.
“Yeah. I made it! …Oh, well, Ryu taught me how, but still.”
I tasted it and Ryu even did too. I think it turned out alright. It’s springy and bouncy. It seems perfect to go with some alcohol. Making it was pretty fun.
“Also, this is from everyone at the bar. Hiroshi bought it.”
Pops unwrapped the box I’d placed on the table. When he opened the box and saw the sake inside, he raised an eyebrow and smiled.
“This must’ve been a lot of trouble.”
“You can’t buy this stuff around here. It’s a popular shinshu you can only buy this time of year.”
Pops seemed happy. That’s good. This is really starting to feel like a birthday!
“Also, since it’s your birthday, I have cake!”
Hiroshi seems to have gone to some trouble too, but I had to work really hard to get Pops’ cake preferences out of Maki-chan.
I stuck it out until the very last moment, until Ryu got mad at me and told me to get back to work, to get information out of him and this is what I cam up with:
First off, it shouldn’t be too sweet. He seems to like whipped cream without too much extra sweetness added to it. But he won’t eat a whole lot, so I just got him one slice. He seems fond of refreshing cakes with sour fruits like strawberry. But hard to eat fancy ornaments from expensive bakeries are a no-go and none of this strawberry-cake-with-strawberry-cream stuff with duplicate ingredients. Also I took care to avoid chocolate and cheese.
And most importantly, I was to buy two slices so I could eat with Pops, saying ‘I wanted to eat some, so why don’t you join me’. And then I was to make it a point not to mention it to anyone. No one even asked what I was buying the cake for though.
I’m sure anyone who knows Maki-chan understands how hard it must have been to get that much out of him. Making tachikama was much easier and more fun…
But as long as Pops is happy, no price is too high to pay. Plus, having a cake really does make it feel like a birthday. I even got number-shaped candles. Putting one on each slice of cake and blowing them out seemed like it would be fun fun. Way to go me. Perfect birthday party planning!
Or so I thought, but… Pops’s expression grew strangely dark when the cake box was in front of him.
“Um… Do you not like sweets? I can eat it by myself if you want.”
Huh? Maki-chan? What happened?
“Oh, no, that’s not it…”
Pops said as he opened the cake box and looked down at the two slices of strawberry shortcake inside. He went a little quiet with that weird look on his face and then said,
Ah, he outed me. And he doesn’t seem happy at all! Damn you Maki-chan…!
“He said you’d like this. Was I wrong? I’m sorry.”
“No… It’s not like I don’t like it, but…”
Not like you don’t like it, but… what?
I tilted my head to the side and Pops groaned. Then he sighed as if to say, ‘fine, you got me’.
“Men aren’t supposed to eat sweets, right?”
“Hmm, not really… Aren’t there guys who like cake?”
Oh, wait… is this one of those things?
“Pops, do you like cake?”
And he’s embarrassed about it.
I see. That’s why he told me to keep it a secret and say I wanted it for myself.
Pops was a little embarrassed and forced a scowl.
It’s not like anyone would even notice unless you mentioned it.
“Surely you’ve bought some yourself before.”
“Of course not.”
I couldn’t stop a smile and Pops seemed to disapprove. He was pouting like a little kid. Hehehe… He’s so cute! I wanna hug him and kiss him all over!
“Don’t worry, it wouldn’t be weird for a man your age to be buying cake on his way home for his wife or child, right?”
Oh, but if he only wants one slice, maybe he does feel a little uncomfortable because it would be pretty embarrassing for such a big old man to be buying a single slice of strawberry shortcake.
“I don’t want to eat it that badly.”
Hm. Pops is really cute when he’s sulking, but today’s Pops’ birthday. I shouldn’t be the only one having fun.
“I know. How about I buy you cake every year on your birthday and we can eat it together! I like eating cake too!”
“…Well, if it’s jut once a year…”
Pops seemed defeated and glanced over at the box of cake. He really does want to eat it.
I took care not to laugh, but when our eyes met he frowned again.
“Enough already. Put the cake in the fridge. I’ll try the tachikama you made first.”
Alright. We’ll savor the cake later. In more sense than one. But first, my home cooking!
Happy birthday, Pops!
I wrote this as if Haru had been at the bar at this time of year (ignoring the details of that situation)… this is what it’d be like. Kouichi really does have a bit of a sweet tooth and I was saving that for this kind of story. He doesn’t like things that are too sweet, so he’s pretty fond of traditional Japanese confections too. While this year might be a bit of a stretch, I’d like to believe that the day this story could take place will come before too long.