Friday, 13 November 2015

Chapter three (segment one), 2016, October, Ulf

I'm heading for a mental breakdown. Ulf glared at the festival committee room. Then he gave the student council room a glare as well for good measure. Bloody hell, I need them to get their act together.

He buttoned up his shirt and pulled his neck-tie all the way to his throat. Wearing his school uniform the casual way had become a habit, but he had a role to play today. One he hadn't planned for.

Wearing a blazer over the belted walkie talkie looked like crap, but he appreciated how it made him look more important as well. Looks were important in Japan, more so than in Sweden where no one gave their CEO a second thought when he arrived in chinos and an unbuttoned hiking shirt covering a T-shirt.

Sure, there were days when he wore one of his costumes as well. Chinos or costume, it mattered little to him, but right now he wanted the added authority a costume would have granted him.

Can't be helped. I'm a student here.

He belted his walkie talkie after a last confirmation and fished up his cell.

“Urufu here, how long until you're back with the canned drinks?”

He looked at his watch when he got the answer.

“Fine, dump it at the back gates. I need another four hundred cans after that.”

Crap, we really need trucks, but I'll make do with the cars we've scrounged up. He groaned. Poor sods. They're damned heroes keeping us supplied.

There were heroes and heroes. The next set of victims of his phone calls were on their way back with ramonade, a soft drink especially popular during events like these, and always sold in small glass bottles. The weight was a killer.

Time to beef up the trash patrols as well, and I need sanitary basics as well, or we'll never make it through tomorrow. He didn't want to fund toilet paper and soap.

In the end he called the old goat and forced a promise to have a full weeks worth of supplies delivered late that evening. After that he sent Noriko a mail with the estimated costs in case the school wanted the festival to pay.

When he finally called the ramonade patrol he had them shop for a mountain of trash compactors as well.

And Christina thinks I'm sexy like this? Just proves she has poor taste in men. But he admitted how her comment built a warm knot in his stomach. All your fault Yukio, or Kyoko. But for that roof top adventure of yours she'd never talk about sexy this way.

He shook his head. No time for thoughts like those, especially not with Amaya slamming down an unheard of curfew over his head. What the hell? I'm not a bloody kid!

He'd obey, even if it stole even more precious hours from him and Christina. Don't understand what you're thinking Amaya. We're starved for time together as it is already.

Even the old goat nagged about how he should go home and get a night's full sleep. That met with a flat refusal. Their second day would go up in flames unless he kept the human machine he built running during the coming evening.

When he arrived at the plaza the alluring smell of grilled meat played with his nose and he realised how hungry he was. For a moment he nursed the idea of forcing his way to the barbecue stalls, but the plaza was crammed and he didn't have the time to stand in queue.

Haven't had as much as a bite since morning. I'll fall apart like this. Reluctantly he unclipped his radio. Pulling rank wasn't his idea of good leadership, but there was no other way.


“Jirou here.”

“Ulf here. I'm swamped. Think you could arrange some food for me? Over.”

“No problem Uru… Hamarugen-san. You should have asked earlier. Over.”

“I'm really grateful. I'll be at the front gates. Over and out.”

While he walked between the stalls on the main school yard he looked at his radio. The voice behind the polite words had been genuine. Guess I did pretty well today after all. You guys really made it easy. I owe you all big time.

Students in several stalls greeted him, and some even shouted encouraging words after him. It warmed his heart and he reached the gates with rising feelings.

Ryu waited for him with a plastic bag and a bottle with Ulf's favourite sports drink in one hand. By his side the council president rolled uncomfortably on her feet. Ulf could have sworn she waited for someone else, which was strange considering the company she already had.

“Ryu, why aren't you at the plaza?”

He waved to the president who hardly took any notice of the school prince leaving her side. “Because someone ordered food,” Ryu said and handed over bag and bottle.

“Thought Jirou took care of that.” Ulf looked down, lured by the smell from the bag, and looked inside. “Whoa! Looks fantastic!” His stomach announced for anyone close what it thought about him talking about food instead of eating it.

He dug up a piece of barbecued paradise and took a bite. With gravy all over his chin he looked at Ryu and the ever present crowd behind him.

“Yeah,” Ryu said after Ulf downed his second huge mouthful. “Jirou-sempai almost handed the bag off to the closest girl who offered to carry it here.”


“I said the closest of them, moron.”

“Don't get it.” Ulf really didn't. First one with some free time on her hands should have been just perfect.

Ryu stared at him. “You really don't understand girls, do you?”

Ulf shrugged. Girls weren't his strong side. He knew that. Even Maria dumped an acid comment or two into his face from time to time on that topic, and they had spent over two decades together.

“Sheesh. You're the king of the day. You know that much at least?” A few faces turned their way when Ryu's voice rose.

Ulf nodded. He wasn't stupid. Without him the festival would be in shambles by now.

“That makes you the idiot king of the day. We don't need the girls fighting.” Ryu grinned and waved at the council president. “You won't believe me until I show you.”

“Afternoon President,” Ulf greeted the girl with the student council armband. She shot Ryu a questioning glance and bowed. Ulf returned her formal greeting.

“Council President,” Ryu said and gave Ulf an exaggerated gesture of introduction, “the brilliant mind at my side thought it a good idea to have a random representative of his new-found female fan club serve him food here by the gates.”

That rendered Ulf a glare from the president. What did I do wrong this time?

“Unwise. Besides, aren't you going out with that model?” she said.

He frowned. That model? Christina's turned the festival into a circus so there's no way in hell you don't know who she is. Maybe you just don't like her. Better not rub it in. Ulf nodded affirmation to buy some time. He still didn't understand what Ryu tried to tell him.

The president looked at him as if trying to guess what he thought. “Don't get yourself a reputation as a two timer. I need your leadership tomorrow as well, so don't fool around with the girls.”

She waved at them both and took up her position by the gates again. This time Ulf clearly saw how she looked down the street after someone.

“Still don't get it,” he said. “Why would I cheat on Christina?”

Ryu rolled his eyes. “Dad said some people never learn. Until now I didn't believe him,” he said and sighed.

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