Monday, 23 November 2015

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

“What do you mean all the girls are down at the plaza?” Ulf asked. “What about the boys?” He didn't want the answer, because he knew it the moment he asked the question.

“You wanted breakfast for the guests. We didn't plan for it so I sent down everyone who could prepare it,” Noriko said and looked up from her laptop.

Outside the windows he saw the pool, since a few weeks drained of all water and left in dry desolation. Memories from summer, especially one which he shared with Christina, played in his mind. Was that really only three months ago?

“Look, Noriko you did nothing wrong,” he said. “It's just that some things here make me so frustrated.”

She looked back at him, and her eyes showed no awareness why he should feel frustration. Not her fault, he decided. Just me who can't wrap my mind around the gender differences here.

There was no time changing that during the last day of their festival. For the moment he needed to accept that cooking mainly was a woman's chore. Accept. He didn't have to like it.

“I apologise for being so curt. You've done a fantastic job. Keep it up.” He went for the door when he recalled one of his own rules. “You all have. It's a pleasure working with people like you,” he said to the others in the room, including council treasurer and a couple of students from the planning committee.

It wasn't entirely true, but sometimes well timed flattery did wonders, and he needed miracles to pull them through the day.

One hour, maybe two before hell hits us. He pulled the door shut behind him and walked down the corridor. By the stairwell he turned and made it into the main building corridor.

He knocked on the door to the main teacher room. There wasn't any teacher he needed to talk to right now, but their windows faced the main courtyard and he wanted to know what the queue looked like.

A few of the teaching staff looked at him when he was let inside, but by now they were used to him coming here just to walk to the windows with a laptop in his hand.


“Jirou here, you should call Kyoko. Out.”

Ulf followed the main street with his eyes until it ended by the gates. “Kyoko?”

“Kyoko here.”

“Ulf here, you'll have your first batch incoming soon. Over.”

“Understood. We're ready. Over.”

“Good work. Tell the rest I'm proud of you. Over and out.”

He looked at the stalls on both of sides of the street. Too many of them took orders where the students manning them shook their heads and pointed in the direction of the plaza. It didn't worry him yet, but there were more than a hundred guests queuing by the gates and through the tree line bordering the school grounds he saw people walking in small groups or couples as they were redirected to the service gates.

Ulf turned and faced the teachers present. A full hour earlier than I had hoped, but it can't be helped. “Excuse me, but may I have a bit of your time?”


He could only hope the old goat had prepared them for the question he was about to ask. “How many of you have your cars here and some spare time to give us?”

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