(Kasumi and Kentaro are walking.)

Kasumi: I'm sorry you couldn't get your martial arts lesson today, Kentaro. Father and Mr. Saotome were called away on an emergency.

Kentaro: That's okay. Thanks for walking me to the train station, Miss Kasumi.

Kasumi: You're welcome.

Kentaro: You don't drink, do you, Miss Kasumi?

Kasumi: Of course I do. Everyone should drink at least four glasses a day.

Kentaro: No, I mean alcohol. Beer, saki, stuff like that.

Kasumi: Oh my, no.

Kentaro: You'd make a great mother. My mom drinks all the time. You don't know what it's like to have a mother like that.

Kasumi: I'm afraid you're right. My mother passed away when I was still a little girl.

Kentaro: Oh, that's too bad.

Kasumi: Yes, it's sad. Since then, I've been the one who does all the things that mother used to do. The cooking, the cleaning, handling father's nervous breakdowns, ...

Kentaro: Don't you get tired of all that stuff?

Kasumi: Oh no. I'm happy to do it. Everyone in my family depends on me. It's a wonderful feeling knowing that you can be there when the people you love need you. It's the most wonderful feeling in the world. Do you ever feel like that, Kentaro?

Kentaro: I did once. A couple of years ago mom and dad drank some bad whiskey. I had to take care of them both. I guess it did feel pretty good at the time...

Kasumi: See, aren't you lucky to have a family that needs you. Here's your train now.

(Now over to Ikkoku, where Yusaku is just arriving. Yotsuya intercepts him as he heads inside.)

Yotsuya: Ah, Godai. I must humbly request a favor of you.

Yusaku: Get out of my way. I don't have time for this.

Yotsuya: The workmen will be returning shortly to finish repairing the hole in your floor.

Yusaku: So?

Yotsuya: I ask you to delay them somehow. Tell them this is the wrong address.

Yusaku: Now why would I want to do that? The sooner that hole is fixed, the better. I might even ask them to fix the hole between our two rooms.

Yotsuya: But I have yet to witness our lovely Ms. Liang and her fiance carrying out any acts of passion.

Yusaku: Huh? Forget it. Even if that hole does stay there, you are never gonna see Ranma and Liang together, I promise you that.

Yotsuya: Obviously you know something about our two friends that I do not.

Yusaku: I know that I need to talk to Kyoko. Now get lost!

Yotsuya: Perhaps I can get a clue by looking through a certain collection of .GIF files that were found on your computer account.

Yusaku: You broke into my University computer account?!?

Yotsuya: "Kyoko" as your password was not the last thing I'd have guessed. I noticed your use of the picture editor to alter the faces of some of the ladies in the pictures. The new face seems familiar. Perhaps I should post these pictures to alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.orientals? Someone there might be able to identify the face.

Yusaku: All right! I'll tell you what I know! But you didn't hear it from me!

(Cut over to Kyoko's room, where she is talking with girl-Ranma and Akane.)

Kyoko: So you weren't serious about being the prize in the tennis match?

Ranma: Heck, no! It was just a joke. We were talking about the old days when people would do stuff like this, and we thought it would be neat to sort of pretend. I guess Mrs. Ichinose got the wrong idea.

Kyoko: Well, she has been known to do that.

Ranma: Believe me, Mitaka is NOT my type.

Akane: Are you sure? He's rich and handsome, you know!

Ranma: Very funny, Akane. If you like him so much, YOU go out with him!

(There is a knock on the door. It is the repairmen. Yotsuya and Yusaku are right behind them.)

Repairman: We've come to finish fixing the hole in the floor of room five.

Kyoko: Oh, good. Go right on up please. Yusaku, would you take them up there?

Yotsuya: Yes, I assure you it should be quite safe.

Kyoko: ?

Yotsuya: The doctor said the contamination in the room is by now at least ninety percent gone.

Yusaku: What are you talking...

Kyoko: He's just trying to scare you. Yusaku, Ms. Liang was just explaining about the tennis match.

Yusaku: The what?

Kyoko: Tennis match. The one you spent yestersay afternoon watching, remember?

Yusaku: Oh, that. I'd forgotten about it.

Ranma: By the way, you don't need to keep being formal and calling me "Ms. Liang".

Kyoko: Oh, right. Your given name is Ye Ma, right?

Ranma: Well, yeah. But my Chinese friends call me by a sort of nickname. They call me Chu Mai. Let everyone know, OK?

(Everybody files out of Kyoko's room. Ranma and Akane go toward Ranma's room, Yotsuya somewhere off by himself, the others up to Yusaku's room.)

Akane: Ranma, should you be using that name? That's the name that the monster called Shampoo when it tried to kill her!

Ranma: That's the whole idea. I've gotta get it to come after me somehow.

(Meanwhile upstairs, Kyoko and Yusaku let the workers into Yusaku's room, then talk as they walk downstairs.)

Yusaku: Kyoko, I need to ask you something. I hope you won't think it's weird.

Kyoko: What is it?

Yusaku: You still love Soichiro, don't you? What if you could bring him back? Would that make you happy?

Kyoko: Oh, Yusaku. Soichiro is gone. I've accepted that, even if I sometimes act as if I haven't.

Yusaku: But just suppose he could come back.

Kyoko: Of course it would make me happy.

Yusaku: That's what I wanted to know. Listen, why don't we go out to dinner tonight?

Kyoko: All right.

Yusaku: I'll meet you here at six. I might have a surprise guest to bring along. (He leaves out the front door, as Kentaro enters)

Kentaro: Hi, Ms. manager, what's going on?

Kyoko: Yusaku is getting weird.

Kentaro: (Entering his family's room) I'm home, mom! (He notices his mom just vomited into the sink) It's the flu again, isn't it.

Mrs. Ichinose: It's OK... a few bugs ain't anything to worry about.

Kentaro: Come on, mom, you need to rest. (Helps her over to lie down) You rest and I'll make dinner.

Mrs. Ichinose: You, make dinner?

Kentaro: Hey, I've seen you do it enough times. You took care of me when I got sick, why shouldn't I do the same for you? You are my mom, y'know.


CUT TO COMMERCIAL: A pudgy man with small, timid features is sitting at a desk. He is obviously reading from a piece of paper on the desk.

Man: Hello. I'm Mr. Ichinose. Regular readers of Maison Ikkoku will recognize me as the quiet husband of Ikkoku's loveable loudmouthed drunk. I'm here today to speak to you on behalf of the Society for Corporate Unemployment Maximization. This new organization is concerned about the possible reaction the general public might have when faced with widespread corporate downsizing. As you may know, in the Maison Ikkoku series, I myself was downsized from a corporate job. In the United States, downsizing is occuring more and more. Many people are critical of corporations for doing this. They say that this is just a way for companies to move already profitable industries out of the country to take advantage of what is virtually slave labor. I am here to tell you today that contrary to what you may have been told, corporate downsizings are absolutely necessary. Our companies must continue to have bigger and bigger profits. This is the only way to insure that money continues to be available for investment, so that new companies will be formed that can then in turn downsize their jobs. What should you do if you are downsized? First of all, remain calm. Turn over keys and other company property and leave the premises in an orderly fashion. If you experience severe emotional distress, ask your former supervisor to recommend a counseling service or perhaps a doctor to prescribe some medication. Think of the experience as a gateway to new opportunity. Consider a new career in the exciting rapid-service comestibles industry. Or consider turning to one of the many job opportunities in extra-legal fields such as drug sales or prostitution. These can lead to further opportunities in the U.S.'s fastest growing industry, the field of prison inmate. Whatever your future career move, consider taking out a loan of as much money as your credit rating will allow. Spend this money on any consumer products that are available. This will ease the burden on companies like yours which are struggling trying to find customers who still have money to buy their products. Now here is what not to do: Do not attempt revenge or other violent action against your former supervisor or other company personnel. They are just doing their jobs. Above all, do not start or join any mass political movements whose purpose is to take power away from corporations or to force corporations to take responsibility for their actions. If everyone --

(Suddenly Kentaro enters.)

Kentaro: DAD! What are you doing! Come on home!

Mr. Ichinose: Wait, I have to finish here. They're paying me 10000 Yen to do this announcement.

Kentaro: It's not worth it. Forget it!

Mr. Ichinose: We need the money to survive. I don't want to end up turning to prostitution myself!

Kentaro: Too late, dad. Why does a fanfic have to have commercials anyway. (Drags him off. Scene fades...)


(We're back to girl-Ranma and Akane in Ranma's room. We hear repair work going on from above.)

Akane: I need to go and take over for your father at the other apartment.

Ranma: Akane, wait... before you go... When I heard about that mermaid stuff, that you eat and then you never get old, you just stay young forever, it made me think of something. I don't wanna get old.

Akane: Nobody does.

Ranma: I've kinda been jerking you and everybody else around on the fiance thing. See, I always thought that getting married was something that people do before they get old, and that maybe if I never decided what to do after I stopped being young, I'd just stay young. If that makes any sense. I guess I've been kind of a jerk.

Akane: Yes, you have.

Ranma: Hey, you don't have to agree so fast!

Akane: But I can understand how you feel. I haven't really been in a hurry to face the future either.

Ranma: Yeah, well, y'know, if I have to get old, which I do, I think you might not be a very bad person to get old with. Maybe.

Akane: You sure know how to give a compliment, don't you.

Ranma: Yeah? Well maybe if you knew how to take one...

(The voice of Genma comes over the radio unit.)

Genma (voice from radio): Don't stop now, son. Be a man and show her your true feelings.

Ranma: POP!?! Have you been listening to all this?

Akane: (Her voice tries to sound a little sultry) Wait a minute, Ranma...

(The scene switches over to Genma, listening on the radio unit.)

Ranma (voice from radio): Akane? What are you doing? We're both girls!

Akane (voice from radio): I've waited for this for a long time...

(We see Yotsuya looking down through the hole, then cut back to Genma, who is wide-eyed and listening intently.)

Ranma (voice from radio): Ulp... are you sure you want to do this...

Akane (voice from radio): Oh, Ranma... mmmmmmmm....

(We see that the head repairman has joined Yotsuya looking through the hole. We look down at Ranma and Akane and see that they're not really doing anything, just voice-acting in order to fool Genma.)

Ranma: Akane... (Whispers) There's something I've always wanted to tell you. (Genma increases volume on the radio unit to hear.)

Akane: (Whispers) What is it?

Ranma: (Shouts into the radio at the top of his lungs) MY POP IS A JERK!!!!!!

Akane: (normal voice) Guess I'll be going then. (to radio) I'll be right there, Mr. Saotome.

Genma (voice from radio): What? What did you say?

(We now see Yusaku walking purposefully down the street. He comes to a stop at a cemetary, at the familiar grave of Soichiro Otonashi. He is carrying the Mermaid's Heart crystal.)

Yusaku: <Kyoko... I'd do anything to make you happy...>

(Back at MI, somebody is skulking around the corridors. We can't see who this figure is, but it clearly looks human and not like the lost soul that attacked Shampoo.)

Figure: Chu Mai... I've found you at last... This is the day you die!