The Pour of Generosity

“It’s called The Pour of Generosity.” Mutsuro took a pinch of the salt and placed it on each corner of the square bamboo cup.  A tall one-ounce glass cup sat inside a square bamboo cup. He opened the bottle of sake and poured it into the cup, letting it overflow into the bamboo box.  “From one bottle of sake, you now have four different tastes.  One from the glass without salt, and one with. Then from the bamboo cup, one without salt and one with.” He re-capped the bottle and waited, not daring to breathe.

The man sat at his corner table facing the window, evaluating his drink. “There’s magic here,” he said at last.

“Only a blessing, Ryōgae-shō, to good health. And only if you choose to invoke it.”  Mutsuro motioned to the Koto player at the front of the restaurant.

“Blessings are most welcome.”  The Ryōgae-shō nodded at her and she changed her song. He picked up a few salt crystals, adding them to his drink.

Matsuro stepped back to his rice as he felt the chant connect with the salt.  The Ryōgae-shō sipped his drink, smiling as he relaxed into it.  Moments later, he sat up straight, spasmed once, and landed face down on the table.

The singer stepped to him, checking for a pulse. “He’s gone.”

“Thank you, Hoshi.” Matsuro popped a slice of Ahi into his mouth. “Now we heal. Now the entire town finds good health from that loan shark’s death.”