鈴木無花果
鈴木無花果 コーヒー-妖怪-シャツ
       

モン・コットン

マルセルはコーヒー農家の四男。13歳。
マルセルは他の兄弟より頭が回るので、サイドビジネスであるケシの栽培の手伝いを任されている。
犯罪行為であることは理解していたが、自分の生活、お金には代えられない。

ある日、マルセルを呼ぶ声が聞こえる。
なんと、その声はマルセルがいつも着ているシャツから聞こえているようだ。
「やっと気付いたか。我は木綿の妖。この世を食らう大妖怪なるぞ」
フランス語は流暢だが、よく分からない単語が多いな、というのがマルセルの感想だった。

“木綿の妖”は要はコットンの悪魔だということで、悪魔が実在したことにマルセルは驚いた。
コットン(そう呼ぶことにした)はジャポンがルーツの”ツクモガミ”だそうだ。

「我の力をもってすれば気に食わぬやつを殺すこともたやすい」
コットンは言うけれど、マルセルはそんなことに興味はなかった。
人なんてもうたくさん殺している。
マルセルが丹念に育てたケシは数百、数千のコカイン中毒者を生み出して、そのうちの何割かは死んでいるだろう。
「あ、はい」
呪い殺すことしか出来ないらしい。
人を殺さずにお金だけ持ってきてくれればいいのに。
「すいません」
いいよ別に。

「故郷では、殺したい人間がいない人間などいなかったのに」
そりゃ、国は関係がなくて人選が悪い。マルセルは言う。マルセルは別に聖人君子なワケじゃない。世界を変えたいのだ。一人や二人の人間の命なんて興味がないだけ。

マルセルの野望は、お金を貯めて、貯めて貯めて、外の国へ出る事だ。それこそ、ジャポンも悪くない。
マルセルはコットンにジャポンのことを聞いた。
ついこの前まで日本人の服に憑いていたコットンは、俗っぽい知識までマルセルに教えた。
それを聞いているときのマルセルは、13歳に相応の笑顔をこぼした。

ある日、マルセルが管理をするケシ畑に保安官が現れる。賄賂はきっちり渡しておいたハズなのに。
保安官と揉みあいになる中、ついに保安官が発砲する。
マルセルに着弾するその寸前、コットンのシャツが瞬時に折り重なり、銃弾の盾となる。引き裂かれるコットンのシャツ。
その隙に逃げだすマルセル。
手にはお守りがわりに少しだけ結晶にしておいたコカイン。

換金してもロクな金にはならなかった。
けれど、県をまたぐことくらいは出来た。
働きながら学校へ行った。大学へ行く金を貯めるのには5年かかった。そして、マルセルが勉強をするために、国がお金を出すまでになった。
アメリカ、フランス、チャイナ、どこに行ってもいいと言われたが、マルセルの行先は決まっていた。
ボロボロになった布の切れ端を握りしめて。

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