Tom Nook had always made it very clear that my debts were but a matter of processing and convenience – they were never to hold me down or limit my growth, and I could take as long as I needed to make sure that my line of credit was paid off. He would never pressure me, never charge any interest, never do anything but simply act as a vendor towards achieving my dreams. A capitalist, and far from my dreams of a socialist tanuki, but as honourable a capitalist as one could be, all things considered. So, I knew that Tom Nook – Tom, for those deeper in his circle – had only the most courteous of intentions when he invited me over for some Vacation Juice at his surprisingly modest bungalow this evening.
I… I had somewhat different intentions. Entirely above board, but I wanted to be below the table, if you catch my drift. You see, it takes a lot of bells to set up residence on an island paradise, let alone becoming the financial and labour backbone of an anthropomorphic animal menagerie that are too precious to work for a living. Furthermore, I had just added a basement to my house. I wanted a second floor, and I needed the speed of my actions to match the pace of my desires. These are bells that are not easily earned – plucking fruit, digging up fossils, catching bugs, so on. There is always the turnip market, but Sunday is so many days away, such a long time in this world. And I am in dire need of a rest. I am tired. Tired of picking, tired of digging, tired of being. I wanted to sleep forever in my ironwood bed. After a while, your bones start to ache, your flesh starts to cry out for relief. But the spirit is resolute. And the spirit had a plan, one that was sure to succeed.
I picked out a suitably inviting outfit from my wardrobe – I had Custom Design slots reserved for such… carnal opportunities. I slipped on my heels, and made my way to Tom’s home. It was dark out, and I marvelled at the beauty of my works; my pathways were exquisite, expertly crafted, perfectly in unison with the shrubs next to them. It was an island worth admiring, and I was its creator.
Tom Nook let me in with a smile – it is a shame his eyes are always so wide, otherwise I would have been able to gauge whether my Givenchy finery surprised him. We sat down on his couch and clinked a glass of Vacation Juice. I always wonder where he gets his leather couches from, in a world where nearly all animals are sapient. K.K Bossa was playing on a stereo in the background. The stage had been set.
“How are you? You have been very hard at work lately, digging up waterways, laying down bricks, acting as the social lynchpin of our great island! So much work!”
“Oh, you know, what’s the point of living here if you’re unable to pack in a little bit of elbow grease. You know how it is, with your fortune and all,” I replied.
“Yes, yes… though I must confess that I do not do as much hands-on work as I used to, hah!” He patted his tummy, which had a slight gut underneath his sweater vest.
We continued chatting for hours, directing away Tom’s adopted children Timmy & Tommy, who scuttered off to bed (“Goodnight! …goodnight!”) when they returned from the store they run for their father.
“Is it hard, running all this, raising this family, with no one else to rely on?” I asked. “You’ve never mentioned a significant other of any kind, at any time in your life.”
“You just do what you have to do, as you well know! Somehow, I always seem to find time, even if I wish I could find more. All in a day’s work!” He smouldered. Or at least, I thought I saw some embers in his eyes.
“What else do you wish you could find…?” I took a swig of the last of the Vacation Juice and stared at him intently. With a brush of my hair, and a slight downturn of my chin, it was time to see what I could do.
“Oh, I’m perfectly content! Well, until the next adventure comes along! Then it will take me over, and a new passion will satisfy me entirely!” He was playing coy, the tenacious tanuki.
“Entirely?” I whispered. I then grabbed his leg, felt the fur hiding underneath his chinos. Tom did not respond quickly. He just looked at my hand and looked back.
“Well, not entirely. Sometimes, there is a pain.” A beat in my chest.
“Is there something I can do to… ease the pain?” I had to suppress a smirk when I said this, knowing the Lisa Fischer song on the subject.
“I am not lonely by any means. I am filled with the satisfaction of life, a work that satisfies me, and a family that brings me joy. But occasionally, oh so occasionally, I would…” Tom stopped. He got up and stretched his hand. “Sometimes, I would like something else to be filled.” I took his hand, and we began walking towards his bedroom.
“With a little talk about the terms, I think that can be arranged.”
Tom Nook smiled. When we sat on his bed, he asked me to close my eyes. When he told me to open them, he presented me with two options. He was kneeling, tanuki balls touching the floor, with arms outstretched. In one hand, a pink pair of handcuffs. No key to be found. But in his other hand, a coiled whip, with a muzzle engraved with N O O K hanging off the end of the whip’s handle. I saw his game, and I laughed. He’d provide the equipment, but I would have to work to achieve mutual benefit. Oh, Tom. What to choose, what to choose…