“Sorry about the Bitcoin or Baby test,” Mimi-Siku apologizes. “I like to do a little judge of character thing before inviting newbies into my domain. Welcome to Moyo.”
The infant I’d hesitantly rescued on Zebes has been replaced with my messenger bag, and the treacherous walkway of the Brinstar corridor has now become the back of a van. An unexpectedly rad van with a narrow desk and accompanying ottoman on one side, a small pantry and kitchen counter on the other, a twin-sized bed tucked at the very back, lots of cheerful wood and small potted plants and colorful carpeting and a whole lot of string lights and Deep Forest playing in the background—because of course Deep Forest is what a modern-day teenage loincloth aficionado would listen to in his modern mobile eco jungle paradise that smells like the candle aisle at World Market. I’ve never considered living in the back of a van before, but I really, really want to live in this one.
Then it hits me: I’m in the back of a van.
While going full fundoshi with a total stranger.
The ghost of Ernie poofs into existence beside me, a carton of popcorn in his hand and a told-you-so glint in his eye. “Curiosity fucked the cat, bruh. You’re the cat.”
I scrunch my eyes shut; inside my head sounds the horrific rustle of a loincloth hitting the floor, the gentle coo of Mimi-Siku’s voice as he says, “You know they called me Sam Hungtington on set, right?”
I open my eyes.
Ernie’s ghost dissipates with a subtle fart.
Mimi, still fully-dressed—or as fully-dressed as you can be in a loincloth—must have caught some twitch in my face or bristle in my body language, because he’s laughing and waving his hands back and forth. “Don’t worry, I’m not into kidnapping and having my way with hapless loincloth guys. Or hapless women, for that matter. I’m asexual.”
But a clever rapist would say something like that, wouldn’t they? I glance past Mimi’s shoulder, attempting to spot any evidence of previous sexual misconduct on the bed—
“I can appreciate the aesthetics, but I have no desire to participate in the traditional sense.” Mimi offers me the ottoman, sits himself at the edge of the bed. He gestures around the van’s interior. “I borrowed a lot of layout ideas from the vanlife.journal Instagram feed. What do you think?”
“It sure is some, uh, ride,” I say, sitting and resting my bag across my lap.
“It’s more than a ride. Moyo is my home.” Mimi taps his chest. “Full-time vandweller and Sikuist in the house.”
I get the vandweller part. I’m guessing the Sikuist part has something to do with Mimi-Siku cosplay? “Siku-what?”
“Sikuist. I founded and am a practitioner of Sikuism, itself a subculture of the fundoshi subculture.”
“You created your own subculture?”
Mimi shrugs, looks a tad bashful. “It’s more…a philosophy or way of life, I guess. But yeah.”
“L. Ron Hubbard would be proud.” What else do you say to someone who’s created their own religion?
“You think?” Mimi opens the topmost desk drawer. It’s stocked neatly with row after row of every manner of tea bag you could ever imagine. “You strike me as a chamomile kind of guy.”
I raise an eyebrow. “Why’s that?”
“Your use of ‘L. Ron Hubbard’ in a joke.”