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At the time, Tagawa had failed to catch the delicate nuance contained in this comment. The party took place in a neighborhood restaurant. It was a merry affair at first, but then the fun and games got out of control. Suddenly the lights were off, the women were sQrieking in abandon, and shadows were swooping

The lights came back on to a cheer from the party. But the deputy manager was no longer there. Only the distraught screams of the restaurant workers made Tagawa finally realize that Yamazaki, the forty-five-year-old deputy manager, was groaning at the bottom of the stairs he had been thrown down.