the appointed coffee shop, the
figure of Terry Bogard is still
nowhere to be found.
The seats of the open terrace are
fully exposed to view from the
street. The two sitting in the
constructed chairs are men of exceptional build. Between
the two, one is the champ of Muay Thai kickboxing,
and the other is the king of professional wrestling.
"...Don't sit there like a clam. How about a
"Look, if you'd just take off that bird mask,
you'd be able to drink it, right?"
"It's not a bird. It's a griffon mask."
"Whatever! Take it off. Now! Thanks to your whack
little mask, even I've begun to feel like a complete
"Being noticed is the fate of a hero, don't you
(...Terry, Andy, enough playing around. You'd better
show up, like, yesterday...)
Mind you, Joe is not averse to standing out. But standing
out and being part of a freak-show are two different
things. Being noticed has got to be on Joe's own esthetic
and philosophical terms.
"Hey! It's Tizoc! Tizoc the Griffon! How about
"Hah, hah, hah! You got it, buddy."
"All right! Thanks!"
Flushed with joy, the child begins to leave...then
he and Joe's eyes meet.
"U-Uh, can I get your autograph? You gotta be
the Great Ninja Mister Minami, aren't you? You lost
the title match with Tizoc recently and became his
bootlicker, I hear."
"OK, kiddo. Listen and listen good..."
Had you removed Joe's trademark headband right now,
you'd probably be able to make out the vivid blue vein
bulging out from his temple.
"I...am really...the one and only..."
"Great Ninja, Mister Minami, aren't you? Sorry.
Guess I'm late again."
"Geez, Terry. You're ancient! How about being
on time just once, eh?"
With his typically casual air, Terry Bogard made himself
known. Squatting down, he looks into the kid's eyes.
"If you're not polite and leave out the 'Mister'
he might turn you into a toad with his ninja arts.
Mister Minami's pretty tough, you know."
"U-Uh OK. I'll be careful."
"You've got your autograph. Now we've got some
important stuff to talk about now, so why not go play
over there?" "OK!"
Joe, having been referred to as the 'pretty tough'
ninja, throws a hissy fit and takes it out on the waitress
by yelling for an alligator steak. Terry orders a cup
"Take a chill pill there, Mister Minami."
"Hmph. You got the kids eating out of your hand
"You lack the knack with tykedom."
"Butt out, bird face. So, where's Andy? This tournament...I'm
talking KOF, of course. He's in, isn't he? He's doing
Terry shrugs his robust-looking shoulders.
"Hey, hey! What do you mean? You're not telling
me this beak boy'll be subbing for Andy, are you?"
"It's not a bird. It's a griffon mask."
Whether affirming the nature of the mask or Andy's
substitution is unclear, but, at any rate, Terry nods.
The coffee arrives. The alligator steak doesn't.
"You remember Andy's disciple, don't you, Joe?"
Terry inquires of his friend while he heaps cream and
sugar into his coffee as any Yank like him would.
"Disciple? ...Oh, yeah, that something-Maru guy.
Wasn't he just a kid?"
"The mumps, I'm told."
The disciple's condition isn't fatal, but the big A's
worried about aggravating his condition. That's why
he didn't want to leave Japan at this time...anyway
that's the way Andy's message read."
"Hmph. Talk about your doting masters."
"Hey, shut up. In spite of that, he's a tough
task master. But I guess that's different from training.
I guess you'd call it 'koshi-kondo' in Japanese."
"'Koshi-kondo' ...the phrase that expresses the
sublime relationship of trust between master and disciple.
The Japanese language sure is cool. Seems your brother
"He can't match you, champ."
Terry and Griffon. The two exchange a firm handshake
across the table.
"Hey, hey. Try to get along, you two. Jeesh! How
about I teach you another sublime Japanese expression?
It goes, 'Atchi ni ike, kono busu!' Try it the next
time you're hitting on chicks."
"Wow. What does it mean? This KOF's sponsor is
Japanese, you know. Mixing a little Japanese into my
victory speech marks the consideration of a true gentleman."
"Okay, I'll teach you a load of beautiful Japanese
expressions after we win."
Terry sucks out the contents of his coffee cup to the
"Well, here we are. We go with the team we have
here this time. I'm counting on you."
"I've got no complaints. As long as chickadee
face doesn't cramp our style."
"I've no objections. As long as we fight fair
and square, I'm in."
"OK! Everything's copasetic. With this solved
I can finally pay my respects to my father."
"? ...Oh, a little memorial visit, is it?"
"My ritual before the tournament. I hate to say
this but could you guys wait here awhile?"
"No way! You've got to be joking! You'd have me
hang out here longer with the mysterious bird boy?
I'm coming along with you."
"It's not a bird. It's a griffon mask!"
"Can it! If the beak fits, wear it. Bird boy!
Bird boy! BIRD BOY!"
"It's a griffon mask!!!"
Terry reclines back in his chair and looks up at the
sky. His long hair parts to reveal the high wide sky
(Pop, this year...what can I tell you?)
"I said stop up your cakehole, bird face! Chew
on a caterpillar, why don't you?"
"How about you buttoning up?! For I am Tizoc,
the gentlemanly griffon!!!"
(...It looks like it's going to be a raucous and tiring