Dolce and His Master (ドルチ ～ダイ・ハード・ザ・キャット～ Doruchi ~Dai Hādo Za Kyatto~, lit. "Dolce: Die Hard The Cat") is a short story included in the Under Execution Under Jailbreak tankōbon. The story was originally published in Allman Magazine #11-12, 1996.
After five days of isolation on a yacht, first class architect Masago Ayashi and his cat Dolce are starving, trapped in the vast ocean and surrounded by sharks, and with a drowned woman on board. Masago repeatedly tries to use his radio without an answer. Dolce is on the deck near the woman's corpse, playing with a bottle of water. He tries fervently to open the bottle, but breaks two claws off. The woman's rotting body is surrounded by flies.
When cat and master meet, at first they are happy, as through Masago's insanity and boredom he has crafted an extravagant spotted outfit. While putting the outfit on, with Dolce's resistance he claws around the seats and uncovers a piece of candy between the cushions. Masago snags the candy, while Dolce swings at it to get it for himself. Masago conjures a bet; they both roll two dice, and whoever gets the higher number wins. Masago rolls an eleven. Dolce pounces at the board and 'rolls' the dice to twelve. Dolce wins the candy, but Masago refuses by saying Dolce "doesn't understand numbers," and steals the prize.
Just as Masago is about to put it in his mouth, Dolce swipes it out of the air and eats it. This enrages Masago, who scrambles after the cat. Dolce jumps through a half broken window, and as Masago chases him a glass shard cuts deep into his arm. Through desperation, he finds appetite with his own blood. Regardless, he continues after Dolce, who has jumped on the mast of the yacht. Masago notices the woman's body is gone, and with only a part of her foot remaining, he realizes there are sharks lurking nearby. Masago mentions he intentionally drowned her before so he could eat her later. He comes to a decision that he needs to eat Dolce instead.
Picking up the water bottle, Masago starts to inveigle Dolce to come down from the mast. The boat is quickly capsizing, and as the mast nears the water, Dolce slips, almost falling into the water. Masago, who we see has a knife, continues to taunt Dolce. He pulls out the knife once he notices the yacht is sinking. The two come to a standoff, and decide to wait it out. After Dolce's napping, he awakens to see Masago is missing. Relieved, but wary, he walks down to the sinking ship With his eyes on the water bottle, he notices Masago's hands sticking out of the planks. While Dolce perceives the situation, he hears a voice— from behind him.
Masago has laid a trap, and entangles Dolce with a rope. Masago shows that he cut his fingers off to trick Dolce, and lunges after Dolce's neck, biting into him. Dolce speaks, saying if Masago wants to eat him so much, that's what he will get. Dolce dives into Masago's mouth, forcing his way down his throat. Masago believes his mind is playing tricks on him, but the force of Dolce inside forces his neck and chest to burst open. Masago's body falls into the water.
Later, a rescue helicopter arrives above the premises, but does not see the yacht. One of the pilots identifies a cat, wearing clothes, sitting atop a seagull. The strange sight dissipates, and the pilot decides it was just an illusion.
|“|| When your page numbers are limited, the story is directed so that the characters and settings are also limited.
This is a work that began from that sort of thinking. My editor at that time went as far to say I love cats so much. They're the hope of my heart in my daily life .
- The name of the manga is referencing Salvatore Adamo's hit, Dolce Paola. The second half of the title may be referencing the song's record label, His Master's Voice.
- Masago's death via forced-consumption of his cat is potentially a reference to the 1990 film Tales from the Darkside: The Movie
|One-shot Stories and Miscellaneous Works|
|Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan|
|Under Execution Under Jailbreak|
|Earlier works by Araki|
|Other short stories|