Around twenty or thirty people were on the front deck, watching the parade amble past; floats, dancers, horses, music, color, revelry. They toasted to their good luck at having a friend with a house right there, a house perfectly located, one that gave everyone a front row seat to the festivities.
I was mid-sentence with George (we were drunk and gushing to each other about the food in Japan) when I noticed that the parade had started to speed up.
Dancers were jumping off floats and running, panicked. A horse, the whites of its eyes visible in terror, bolted past without a rider. George’s face fell as I went silent, and he turned around to see what I was looking at.
Our gaze was followed by the rest of the party, and just as everyone went quiet, we heard the first gunshot.