Chapter 22. Enter Rocco

Sound of snore.
“Huh? What’s that noise?”
In a brief moment when doctor put his hand on a glass of mineral water, weird sound was heard inside the quiet studio. The cameraman hurriedly turned the camera searching for the source of the sound, and stopped it when he captured Rocco. Surprisingly enough, Rocco was sound asleep.
“Oh, it was Rocco snoring.”
The lighting technician finally caught up with the situation and captured Rocco with a sharp suspension light from the ceiling. Rocco noticed something was going on and got up all of a sudden.
Oh, dear, I fell asleep, says his expression. And then he noticed that everyone was watching him. He felt embarrassed. All of his such expressions were transmitted to all over the world. In the studio, tense atmosphere turned into wild laughter.

Doctor was deep in his thought. Until right before the air, he was in a hot argument with Satchina and a few people concerned about how to reveal “the Earth’s crisis.” Their opinions were divided into two and didn’t reach any consensus. Doctor intended not to mention about the Earth’s crisis this time, for there is no conclusive material to prove it. However, those who opposed to him thought that since there is not time left but two years before the alleged crisis, he should announce his opinion even though it is just an opinion of one scientist. There are people who can face their death and those who can spend the rest of their life meaningfully. It is only humans who can be conscious of death and prepare for it. With such argument ringing in his ears, his face became increasingly stiff.
And an unexpected thing happened. Surprisingly, Rocco fell asleep.
The studio was filled with laughter. Doctor didn’t miss this opportunity when the tense atmosphere relaxed around the world.
“Well, then, everyone, let me introduce you Rocco.”
Rocco stood up from the chair, said, “Hello, everyone, I am a cat called Rocco” and bowed. Then, he walked briskly to where doctor sits and bowed again before sitting beside him. It was ordinary good manners. What wasn’t ordinary was that it was a cat who did it on two feet. Above all, he did it very naturally. It was clearly different from skillful trick of animals trained in a circus. His smooth movement came from his own discretion.
“Oh!” People in the studio as well as people around the world let out sigh of admiration in chorus.
Again, merry atmosphere filled the Earth. Rocco, however, was very excited feeling the world attention solely on him, and at the same time, he was feeling himself changing little by little.
When he entered in the studio, the director told him to talk looking at the camera. He was a little confused, because he was always talking somebody looking at his or her eyes.
Remembering the director’s instruction, he fixed his eyes to the camera in front of him.
In the back of the glass inside the big square frame, there was a round lens. As he looked at it closely, he saw big eyes which were familiar to him. The camera approached him closer. Oh, they are my eyes. Rocco saw that half of his face showed. It was very different from Father’s camera. He recalled his memory of being an object of Father when he was small. Back then, he couldn’t sit still, but now he is telling himself to look at the camera squarely.
I shouldn’t look away from the camera.
Rocco opened his eyes wide and fixed on the camera. When his eyes focused to the camera, something unusual happened to him. His eyes were truly fixed. He had felt stale air due to crowd in the studio, but he didn’t feel it anymore. Doctor began to talk again, but his voice faded away.
It must have lasted only a moment.
Rocco went unconscious. It might have been because he was being waited for long in the closed room. Or it might have been due to the heat of lighting in the studio. At the same time, he became a mere shadow of his former self, losing a weight which had been in the center.
He didn’t feel that way even when he first talked with Father or Doctor.
What happened to me?
Rocco was in a hypnotic state by gazing at his own eyes.
In the distance, he heard cheerful familiar voice talking to him, replacing the sound of the studio or Doctor’s presence.
Familiar voice, familiar atmosphere, familiar smell.
Oh, it’s Kii. It’s the voice of Kii.
Rocco got away from his heavy body and entered into the dreamlike memory.