An ordinary, 9-to-5 Japanese middle-class man meets a human-sized frog, offering him a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fight a monstrous underground monster that will, soon or later, demolish Tokyo.
Read this Murakami’s surrealist short story, published in June 2002, in GQ.
“I know I should have made an appointment to visit you, Mr. Katagiri. I am fully aware of the proprieties. Anyone would be shocked to find a big frog waiting for him at home. But an urgent matter brings me here. Please forgive me.”
“Urgent matter?” Katagiri managed to produce words at last.
“Yes, indeed,” Frog said. “Why else would I take the liberty of barging into a person’s home? Such discourtesy is not my customary style.”
“Does this ‘matter’ have something to do with me?”
“Yes and no.” Frog said with a tilt of the head. ” No and yes.”
I’ve got to get a grip on myself, thought Katagiri. “Do you mind if I smoke?”
“Not at all, not at all,” Frog said with a smile. “It’s your home. You don’t have to ask my permission. Smoke and drink as much as you like. I myself am not a smoker, but I can hardly impose my distaste for tobacco on others in their own homes.”
Katagiri pulled a pack of cigarettes from his coat pocket and struck a march. He saw his hand trembling as he lit up. Seated opposite him, Frog seemed to he studying his every movement.
“You don’t happen to be connected with some kind of gang by any chance?” Katagiri found the courage to ask.
“Ha ha ha ha ha ha! What a wonderful sense of humor you have, Mr. Katagiri!” Frog said, slapping his webbed hand against his thigh. “There may be a shortage of skilled labor, but what gang is going to hire a frog to do their dirty work? They’d be made a laughingstock.”
“Well, if you’re here to negotiate a repayment, you’re wasting your time. I have no authority to make such decisions. Only my superiors can do that, I just follow orders. I can’t do a thing for you.”
“Please, Mr. Katagiri,” Frog said, raising one webbed finger. “I have not come here on such petty business. I am fully aware that you are Assistant Chief of the lending division of the Shinjuku branch of the Tokyo Security Trust Bank. But my visit has nothing to do with the repayment of loans. I have come here to save Tokyo from destruction.”