While slurping up my overcooked noodles, I contemplate my future.
Upon returning home, I searched for my uncle’s contact information in my smartphone’s address book.
“I wish he had finally upgraded his phone,” I thought to myself.
My uncle, who was born in the Showa era, still uses a flip phone, despite having a computer. A smartphone would undoubtedly be more convenient for him, especially given the nature of his job.
After tapping on the phone icon, I waited for a few moments until I heard his voice on the other end of the line, “Hello?”
I could hear a lazy voice mixed with a yawn.
“Isn’t it still too early to go to bed?”
“I was just taking a nap. I have work now, investigating infidelity.”
“Good job at your work as a private investigator.”
“I’m a detective, not just any investigator,” he emphasized.
It seems he won’t budge on that point.
“But isn’t most of your work about infidelity investigations? Have you ever done any cases related to criminal incidents?”
“Well… I have done missing person searches, investigations on suspicious men, and theft cases.”
“Aren’t those just searches for lost cats, investigations on potential marriage partners, and shoplifting incidents?”
He answered my question with silence.
It’s weird that he has to be stubborn about things that don’t really matter.
I asked a question but they responded with silence.
They shouldn’t be stubborn in weird ways like that.
My uncle and I have been close since I was a child and he used to take care of me.
He had a strong sense of justice and admired detectives, so he was happy when he was able to work in the profession he had always dreamed of.
However, as I mentioned earlier, the main work of a detective is infidelity investigations, and occasionally they have other jobs. There are no investigations involving murder cases that he had dreamed of in TV shows, anime, or manga.
My uncle’s dreams and hopes were completely shattered, but he continues to do it out of responsibility.
“Reality can be so cruel, can’t it?”
“Yeah, it really can.”
“The sighs of those whose dreams have been shattered overlapped.
“What’s up? Did you call just to tease me?”
“Your cute niece contacted you, so show a little more excitement.”
“Sure, sure, I’m thrilled,” he replied unenthusiastically.
He used to be a bright and ambitious person, but time and bitter experiences turned him into a tired middle-aged man.
“Today’s request is for work.”
“Oh, I see. Is it for investigating a boyfriend’s infidelity?”
“I don’t have a boyfriend, and I wouldn’t like someone who would cheat in the first place.”
“Everyone thinks the same way, but when it comes to their own wives or girlfriends, they believe their partner is not like that,” said my uncle, whose work often involved such situations. I couldn’t help but be impressed by his words.”
“I want you to investigate someone for me.”
“Is it a background check? Did you get scammed in a marriage fraud?”
“Why are you always assuming that!?”
“People who were pampered when they were young tend to have high expectations and unrealistic ideals. You are the perfect fit for their criteria.”
“T-That’s not true…”
Ugh, I’ve become flustered.
Sure, I’ve always been popular and even been an idol in the past, so I might have slightly higher standards for a romantic partner. But it’s not just me, everyone’s like that. Plus, I’m still young.
“Just because I’m young doesn’t mean I should let my guard down and end up regretting it later.”
“Ugh, enough already! Don’t worry about me, let’s talk about work!”
“Okay, okay, my bad for hitting a sore spot. So, about the background check…who’s the person we’re looking into?”
The uncle’s voice lowers only at the end.
It seems like he has finally entered work mode.
“Well, there’s this person I’m indebted to through my work, but they’re a bit suspicious or rather, peculiar.”
“Peculiar? That’s a rather vague description.”
“They seem to be wealthy, and they asked me to help them remodel their house into something like a fortress with a lot of money.”
“A fortress? Remodeling? What are you talking about?”
The tone is one of complete disbelief, but I can understand the feeling that would make someone say that.
After all, even I felt the same way.
“It’s no joke. They gave me a million yen to spend as I please and asked me to remodel their house into a fortress-like structure. And they even said I could make a video of the process and upload it.”
“What a strange and interesting character. The fact that they mentioned posting it online means they know you’re a YouTuber, right? I don’t get it. Hmmm.”
Even my uncle, who has interacted with many people, seems to be unable to understand the situation, and I can hear a low groan from his smartphone.
“Isn’t it just weird no matter how you think about it? Even if it’s just a rich person’s hobby, it’s going too far. I can’t think of any benefit to spending a lot of money to turn a house into a fortress.”
“That’s a valid question. …Alright, I’ll take on that job. It seems like there’s something shady going on, but it also sounds interesting.”
The uncle’s voice sounds unusually cheerful.
Perhaps he’s excited by the prospect of a job that’s different from what he’s used to.
“As expected, I love my uncle!”
“So, what about the fee for the job?”
“You’re going to charge money from your cute niece?”
“Of course. If money isn’t involved, the work will be half-assed. But if that’s okay with you, I don’t mind.”
Ugh, it seems like it wasn’t that easy after all.
I made a promise to pay the standard fee and hung up the phone.
For now, I’ll put aside my suspicions of Jin and wait for my uncle to contact me.
I need to focus on what I have to do now.
….If my speculation turns out to be groundless, that’s okay too. It’s better than there being something shady going on. It’s a waste of money to pay my uncle, but it’s still better than the alternative.