Saturday, 21 November 2015

Chapter three (segment five), 2016, October, Kyoko

Kyoko oversaw offloading the fourth car returning with supplies. More like guarded the boxes dropped by the service gates while two students from 9:1 carried a box each to the plaza.

The car had already left with two of their club members inside. Kondo-sensei drove.

Still early in the morning maybe a few hundred guests were inside. A decision taken by Urufu. He hoped to fill their stomachs and preferably bore them enough to leave before the real invasion started.

There was plenty of time until the official opening hour, and the early guests probably walked between stalls only partly operational or inside the school where most of the events had yet to start up.

“Welcome to the Himekaizen cultural festival,” she greeted half a dozen arrivals and let them inside. She wore a security armband for the duration of her stay by the gates. When all the boxes were collected she'd return to their club room and hand it to Noriko.

“Welcome to the Himekaizen cultural festival.” Another group of guests passed the gates.

She leaned outside and looked down the street.

“Noriko?” she said after pushing the button to her radio.

“Noriko here.”

“Kyoko here. I need the service gates manned. Guests arriving. Over.”

Her radio squelched for a few seconds before the response arrived. “How many?” Silence. “Damn this machine! Over.”

Kyoko had anticipated that question and already stood in the middle of the street. “I see some fifty or sixty coming my way right now. Over.”

Noriko remained silent from her end to the radio conversation. “I'll send down three guys.” The radio silenced before blaring alive again. “Over and out.”

Noriko, learn to use the radio already! Oh well. I wonder what it's like by the main gates now.

She stepped inside the gates and greeted another dozen guests while she watched the outdoor café behind her open for business.

The promised guys arrived, and Noriko had even remembered to have one of them ask for the armband Kyoko wore.

Shortly afterwards several students arrived and carried the remaining boxes inside, and Kyoko left the gates. For the second time that day she passed the bike stand, and for the second time that day she threw them an embarrassed look.

Not my proudest moment. Sorry Yukio.

She wanted him by her side, but over the radio she heard him trying to make another of Urufu's pipe dreams come true.

Through the main gates a mix of guests and Himekaizen students arrived, the latter throwing surprised looks at the guests already inside before they hurried to whatever station they had planned to open half an hour later.

Kyoko saw the council president, Tamura-sempai was it? standing inside the gates greeting an ever increasing stream of new guests.

Over the radio someone requested more people with security armbands to the front gates, and Kyoko heard Noriko promise the prompt arrival of another three students from 9:1.

We can't keep this up on our own. Where's the festival planning committee? She walked to the front gates. For two reasons. One because they had to be two students greeting arriving guests with the numbers arriving, but Kyoko also wanted to study the girl who had a crush on her boyfriend.

What she saw gave her even less reasons to worry than Yukio nurtured before. A flimsy girl who needed reassurance to take the lead, even if that reassurance came from a girl two years her junior.

She was vain, but then most girls were. Kyoko herself wasn't above the need to look good in the eyes of others, and Kuri-chan even made her money out of it.

Kyoko greeted another half a dozen guests.

A month earlier she thought that Noriko differed from the rest of them when it came to vanity, but since she started dating Nao-sempai even the hyperactive midget spent her time facing a mirror from time to time.

Another half a dozen, then two couples, then two groups of four friends each. The council president was equally busy greeting arrivals, and from what Kyoko saw greeting any more would soon become both impossible and stupid.

It was time to request more people to the gates. “Noriko?”

Kyoko backed inside the gates waiting for an answer.

“Noriko here.”

“Kyoko here. Front gates is becoming a queue just like yesterday. Over.”

“We haven't even really opened yet… Eh… Over.”

You're not supposed to make spoken reflections over the radio. “I'll leave the gate to our council president, but she'll need two more boys with armbands. Over.” Kyoko grinned at her walkie talkie.

“OK. Over.”

“Over and out.” Kyoko said and ended the conversation. A little bit strange how Noriko stuttered with the radio. She was by a wide margin the fastest learner Kyoko knew, but handling the radios correctly seemed to be beyond her.

The fastest learner, because Urufu didn't count. He just knew a lot, but it was the accumulated knowledge gained over half a century. She couldn't tell if it was a lot or not compared to other old people. Probably was, but she didn't know that. How did you define 'a lot' when you were in your fifties? She couldn't even ask her parents, because they were younger than him as well.

Kyoko shook her head and left the gates. Time to check out the plaza and see if anyone there needed a break. Both Urufu and Ryu said you had to be there in person, because those who needed rest seldom said so over the radios, and those who did not all too often did.

She walked between booths hastily manned by students surprised to see how guests already filled up the school grounds before opening hours. Most were readying their stalls, and a few had even managed to start cooking.

Their own stalls and most of the grills prepared food more suitable for a late breakfast than the cuisine they had planned for from the start. That in turn probably meant most of the girls were tied up preparing food there.

When she arrived she saw that the could scratch 'probably'. She donned an apron and went to work.

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