Saturday, 25 April 2015
Chapter two (segment ten), twenty four years earlier, May, Ulf
Called to the principal's office for fighting in the girls' locker room. Although slightly different it still brought forth memories. Well, this time there were no injuries, but at the other hand he had smashed a door. In the girls' locker room.
It was his first time on the main building's fourth floor.
Should I give him a copy of my recordings and photos?
Expulsion, well that might be too harsh, but some kind of repercussions lay in wait for him. That much was a given.
But from what I heard the teachers didn't give a damn about what she had to go through.
Ulf walked through the door, crossed the distance to the desk, and pretended to stand waiting for what was to come.
The principal was an older man with short, salt and pepper hair and expensive glasses. He wore an impeccable suit that made him look more like a successful businessman than someone ending his career chained to a medium-sized high school.
A power monger of the Old school. Door, mat, big desk and a single chair with him in it. If I had been fifteen I'd shit myself by now. But I need to put a stop to the bullying. OK, let's play!
“Good afternoon, sir,” Ulf said in English.
“Good day to you as well,” the principal answered in Swedish.
What the fuck?
“It has come to my attention,” the principal opened the real topic in English, “that you have been involved in some unseemly activities, my laddie,” he continued in an English Ulf would be hard pressed to match.
It was time for a restart.
“Sensei, I'm sorry if...” Ulf started in Japanese.
“Cut the crap kiddo. I'm old enough to have changed your diaper.” Still English.
Haven't I heard variants of that spiel before?
“Cause I swiped the dirty behinds of my siblings as a high schooler.”
Damn, the geezer doesn't keep to my script.
“So, you're forty, forty-five, fifty?”
“Eh, fifteen,” Ulf tried, but he had long since lost this one.
“Yeah, and I sprout wings and do Tokyo by night.”
“OK, what now?” Ulf said, defeated and deflated.
“You accept you're the kid you are. I'm older than you and I have more experience with your, hmm, rare dilemma than you.”
He must have seen Ulf's face radiate sudden hope.
“Sorry kid, I'm the 65 I look. But I've met your kind before.”
My kind! Maybe.
“You'll need contacts there as well, so get that club of yours up and running. I'll find a sponsor. The student council will approve or they'll wish they were never born.”
What's going on?
“Now, as for the mayhem in the locker rooms. You will be punished.”
Well, that was a given.
“We don't condone bullying. We also don't condone vandalism. Your parents will pay for the damage.”
Not Amaya. No! “How much?”
“One hundred thousand yen.”
Ulf fished up his wallet and pulled out eleven bills.
“That will suffice,” the principal said as if every normal high school student carried around a week's salary in cash.
Corrupt bastard. He didn't even blink at the bribe.
“Have to accommodate your prejudices. Public servants in Japan are corrupt and all that.”
Whoa! Didn't see that one coming!
“I'm retiring within a year. Need a little bit of dirt on me or some very bad people will do a thorough search, and we wouldn't want that, would we? Your petty bribe fits the bill, pardon the pun,” the principal said and pocketed ten thousand yen.
I'm way out of my league here.
“Now, two things, or I make your next three years anything but the best three years of your life.”
He's Japanese after all. What bloody idiots remember high school as the pinnacle of their lives? Oh, yanks of course, but they don't count.
“One. The stranger parts of this conversation never happened.”
Ulf wouldn't have called the one-sided affair a 'conversation', but apart from that, item number one made perfect sense.
“Two. Have you seen this student before?”
Ulf looked at the picture of a second year student. “Sorry, can't say I have, sir.”
The principal looked him directly in his eyes. Very slowly, and very softly he said: “Then that makes two of us.”
Ulf thought of what the principal had just said. Hmm, oh? Oh!
“My colleague at your old middle school has, though. I want this problem gone. Permanently.”
“It's all connected. Trust me,” the principal said and slid a memory stick across the table. “You'll find the photos and videos instructive, enlightening and profitable.”
I'm way, way, way out of my league here. He's playing me like the kid I look like. Shit, I'm scared! “What do you want me to do?”
“No physical accidents. We can't have him hospitalized four times, if you get my drift. With your business background I'm certain you'll find a more, ah, elegant solution.”
I'm not leaving without something. At least one small victory. “Why my old middle school?” He had one bullet to fire, and it had just left the barrel.
“I like how you connect the dots.” It was the first time the principal had looked at him with something that resembled approval. “Escalator school.”
“I know. I helped four of their high school students to a prolonged vacation.” Just thinking about that memory made bile rise in him. “I'd understand if they went after me, but Christina? She didn't even go to that school.”
“You're so full of yourself. They're not going after you, or her for that matter. They're going after us.”
That didn't make any sense at all. He needed to think like a CEO and not like a school kid. Business. Money. Oh, crap! “Your welcome speech.”
“I take it your company in the other world was fairly successful?”
Ulf nodded. “That really was a special greeting to us.” He needed to verify his suspicion. “Usually, how many students from my middle school begin as freshmen here?”
And Ulf had known that answer before it came. Maybe not zero, but at least less than a handful. “And...”
“27, out of 40 applying.”
He made a quick calculation. “Fifteen percent of their ninth graders, top performers to boot. Damn, that'll sting in their corporate wallet.”
“And all because they failed to convince everyone that raping juniors is a happy pastime that should be shushed up lest it reflects badly on the school.”
“I didn't know.”
“No, you were expelled. After that they tried to buy the Wakayamas off.”
Ulf thought of the faces he remembered from his old school. 27, and another dozen tried to get out. “That must have backfired badly. Who are the Wakayamas?”
“Old money. Not a whole lot of it, but it's a respectable family.”
“If you excuse me, but how do you know?”
“Children of old friends. I owe them.”
He knew their grandparents. I guess that counts as old friends. Ulf looked at the principal with a lot more respect. “I'll see what I can do, sir”
“You can't tell anyone, you know.”
“I know.” On impulse Ulf bowed deeply, Japanese style. It was, he felt, the right thing to do.
On his way out he met a third year. One of the girls from the locker room.
Have fun. He'll eat you alive. Suits you.