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Where do You Learn All of That? – Short Story

“Do you love to read?” Shepard drop his pencil. “Yeah, why?” He even closed his book. “I couldn’t help but wonder where do you get all those traits.”

“What do you mean? Are you sick?” I don’t have any choice other than to stop my own activity.

“You’re suitable to be a leader. Not the typical CEO of a big firm but I can imagine you as a startup leader,” he explained. “Really? Thank you, I guess. I wonder if you knock your head somewhere.” This guy judge people so quickly. He has some guts. We just knew each other for a month or so.

“I’m serious, buddy. Do you have a particular book that inspires you?” You would suit to be an investigator, I thought to myself.

“Are you really curious?” I want to avoid the topic yet I love to surprise people. “Do I look like to make small talk with you?” He repeated his intention. “Nope. I guess you’re right.” I leaned back a bit trying to compose the inspiration into a nice story.


“You see. There are two books that inspired me but I don’t think you’ll believe me.” I still hesitated unsure whether it will sound like truth or a lie to him.

Try me. “One piece.” O-okay. His eyebrows jumped. “Eyeshield 21.” He’s holding his eyes to roll like a barrel.

Inhale. Exhale. “I got hit by a train to be honest.” He admitted it.

“You can start to explain then. We still have fifteen minutes and I don’t think you will start storytelling.” He checked again his watch to make sure that it’s true.

“Even it would sounds cheesy or cliche?”

“Is it that bad?”

“No. Brace yourself because my school of thoughts are coming for you.” I couldn’t hold back my smile as if I’m planning to be the next Joker.

Luffy and the gang show me how to have a strong team with skilled crews and loyal but not fully obedient character. Crews that are able to think for themselves and for the group benefits. They don’t need to share the same goal to be in a team. All they need is aligned goals. Sure, they have plot armour but the plot itself wouldn’t develop because of more screaming and fighting. There were transitions where each of the characters trained and evolved themselves. Usop and Chopper are cowards but they’re still reliable.

Yes, I dreamed of myself to be a pirate king when I was six. I found it was not feasible when I’m eight so I had to find a new dream.

No, American football player never crosses my mind. Eyeshield 21 wouldn’t make sense but I’m inspired too by them.

First, lose is a loss. No matter how you romanticize it. “We tried our best.” “We lose in the final.” “We’re not lucky.” It doesn’t change the fact that you lose. I learn to accept and process the cold hard fact. Hiruma bastard taught me that.

Two, skill is not a tree grown overnight. It’s nourished, trained, and nurtured for a long period of time. Months. Years. Even decades. Sena, the main character, learnt to run since he was a child and bullied. As crazy as it sounds, he won the national championship around 17 years old I guess.

Last, Shin the arch-enemy always play to the fullest no matter how weak his enemy. I’m inspired to do my job as good as I can no matter how simple it is.

“I never thought you could be that philosophical by watching anime.” He would lose his jaw a couple of minutes ago if it’s not attached to his skull.

“Read a manga, you mean there. In the end, isn’t every story serve to inspire? You wouldn’t even believe that there are formal communities who assess and evaluate manga, comic and games more than entertainment aspect.”

“Well, I guess I shouldn’t underestimate gamer or weaboo then.”

“You should. I wouldn’t surprise you otherwise.” We chuckled.

Photo thumbnail by Tomo Ueda on Unsplash