Saturday, July 15, 2017

Part 17 

The Journal of Norinko Hanasaki 

The Search Begins

by Anthony Servante

The Journal of Norinko Hanasaki
Picture by Suzie Segawa
Taken the Night Before Norinko's Disappearance

Dear Mr. Servante,

This is Bridget Namura. Suzie was asked about Norinko’s notebook. Her parents are so strict that they didn't give her permission to talk with an adult that they haven’t met. Suzie showed me the email and I told her that I would track the notebook down and contact you. If it’s in the school, I’ll find it.

July 10, 2017 Mr Palomina, the school janitor, told me when I asked him that Detective Wu had come to the school to ask questions about the journal of Norinko. That’s what was written in the notebook: Journal 2016 Norinko Hanasaki. Wu was asking everyone about it. He also said a newspaper man came looking for Wu because he had heard about the notebook from Miss Hernandez, the bus driver who was fired last year. She was arrested for writing on the bus and the deputies came and found the notebook on her. She was taken in so Wu could ask her questions, but Wu said that she was “not all there”. The janitor made a swirl with his finger above his ear, like she was crazy or something. Before Wu left, however, the notebook disappeared. The reporter, the janitor thinks, must have taken it. And Mr. Palomina thinks that it’s hidden in the school. The last person he talked with was the janitor. That means the janitor’s room was open while Wu and the reporter talked. That would be a good place to hide it. The janitor agreed and said he would look for it.

July 11, 2017 After my last class, I went to the supply room; the janitor wasn’t there. Mr. Palomina’s supply room was open. I went inside and closed the door. Then I switched on the light. The walls were covered with words and sentences. Like poetry written in different directions. Up one wall, across the ceiling and back down the other wall. His locker was moved over about two feet. I could see the drag mark on the floor where he pulled it away from the wall. There was something behind the wall. The notebook! And then there’s the poetry. Again. The bus driver wrote poetry. And she was the first one to find the journal. Now the janitor. The reporter, too, wrote on his apartment walls. 

As I copied the poems off the supply room walls, Mr. Palomina entered the room. I asked him why he wrote these things. He said, You told me to. No I didn't. The journal was behind my locker, just like you said. It showed me the words. You were right. About what? I asked. Buzzkill is alive. He's coming. He knows who's who and what's what. Don't be a Buzzkill. The real one is coming. 

That's when Principal Mayhew came in. She ordered Mr. Palomina to her office, but he didn't go. He pointed at me and yelled, Don't be a Buzzkill. He's coming.
The Principal called Security on her talkie. She told me to go to the Nurse's and wait there for her.
But I went home instead.

July 12, 2017 After my last class the next day, I asked Miss Johns, the English teacher, if she knew anything about the two deputies who arrested the bus driver. She said that they don’t work for the department anymore. And Detective Wu, who was in charge of Missing Persons, quit. They think. Rumors, according to Miss Johns, say that the two deputies were found without clothes, tattooed in Chinese symbols. She said she doesn’t know how such rumors get started. Yeah, right?! She’s the Gossip Queen of the school. That’s why I knew she was the one to ask about the deputies. So that means everyone, except maybe Wu, wrote something somewhere after finding the notebook. 

Miss Johns asked me to throw away the trash, that the janitor didn’t throw it away last night. Rumors were that Mr. Palomina was suspended. I picked up the trash basket, and there it was. In the trash. Norinko’s Tokidoki notebook. Miss Johns reached over and pulled it out of the can and opened the cover. It read: Journal 2016 Norinko Hanasaki. I watched her lock it in the bottom drawer of her old wood desk. Then she told me that she was going to see the Principal and ask about the janitor.

When she left, I opened the unlocked upper drawer and reached down to get the notebook. Then I put back the drawer. I once saw them do that on TV in an old black and white movie. The old drawers each have a lock, but they can be lifted off the rails, revealing what’s in the drawer below. I put the notebook in my backpack and went to catch the school bus home. Suzie’s mom now pick her up after school, so I ride the bus alone now. I’ll look at the notebook when I get home.

As I was about to leave, Miss Johns stopped me and asked why I looked so scared. Before I could answer, she said, Oh, you must have heard that Mr. Palomina was sent home for cussing at the children. I heard you had a run-in with him. You should have told me. I nodded yes. Principal Mayhew told him to go home or the police would be called. Bridget, I think you better go straight home. Strange things are going on at this school.

At Home that night. The poetry in the notebook is the same as the poetry in Part 16 on Mr. Reaves Blog. Except there’s a new one. Here it is:

Neither bird nor fowl
Witness to the great fall
Blind except for sight
Guided by the holy light
Neither weep nor bawl
Either creep or crawl
Prepare to enter the great hall
It is there I hear the call. 

I’m pretty sure it’s the janitor’s poem. I checked my notes and it’s the same thing I copied from the walls of his supply room. But this is not his writing. It’s Norinko’s. I need to show it to Suzie. I’ll email you after she looks at it. She knows Norinko’s writing better than I do.

July 13, 2017 When Suzie opened the notebook, she gasped. It's Norinko's writing alright, she said. I knew it. I put the notebook in my backpack after Suzie read the poetry. It said it sounded familiar, like the poetry on the blog investigation. I told her that's what I thought too. For a second it seemed like we thought the same thing, but we both shook our head no at the same time and laughed. How could Norinko be trying to communicate with us anyway, right?

After school, I rode home with Suzie and her mom. Suzie and I got permission from Mrs. Segawa, Suzie’s mom, about driving by Mr. Palomina’s home a few blocks from the school. She said yes and said she was proud that we were worried about him. Suzie and I walked up to his front door. His dog was’t there. It’s usually a friendly dog. It barks but it never bites. It was hiding under the porch. When we reached the porch, the little Chihuahua yapped and nipped at the air just as the front door swung open. The janitor came out without any clothes, covered in ink, with Chinese characters on his face, chest, arms, legs. He screamed, Don’t be a buzzkill. Don’t be a buzzkill.

Mrs. Segawa yelled at us to get back in the car. We drove off. I don’t know Chinese, but I know Suzie and her mom do, so I asked, What did the characters say? Mrs. Segawa shook her head no as if telling Suzie not to tell me, but she said anyway, It said, I’m coming. 13. That’s all it said. I’m coming. 13.

What should I do now, Mr. Servante? Please help us. We’re all scared.

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