Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Chapter two (segment ten), 2016, October, Ryu

Ryu elbowed his way through the corridor. The school was crammed with people, and tomorrow should be worse, Sunday and open house and all.

He guessed none of the students would need to pay very much for the anticipated second year field trip late February. The festival would generate a huge surplus.

There was an errand for him. One Yukio had assigned him to. Ryu navigated his way between the shoe lockers until he finally made it to the student council bulletin-board.

I'm sorry Yukio. Not a joke. It didn't matter all that much. Kuri would win the beauty contest hands down, so Kyoko didn't have to worry all that much. He smiled and laughed. Wonder what she'll look like on the catwalk though.

The boys' contest was a more open affair though. Himself or Nao-sempai. A couple of weeks earlier Ryu wouldn't have given Nao-sempai much of a chance, but with Urufu all over the place enough first year votes were bound to move in his direction to make the competition interesting.

Now it all hinged on the third years, which was only fair. Sure, they had two contenders of their own, and before the cultural exchange club came into existence and changed all the rules, one of them ought to have won.

Now they didn't stand a chance. It didn't help them that the club had saved the day when the entire festival fell into disarray, and all because Urufu suddenly displayed almost godlike powers.

Damn, I'll never catch up to that guy! Not bloody fair! Ryu swallowed his resentment. Calm down. He's over fifty. He's done this shit for a living the last twenty years now.

Which was true. And that truth wasn't enough. Ryu knew only one person on the planet he'd have trusted to run the show by wire like this, and that was his father. Grimly he admitted his father would likely have come running to Urufu for advice. There was a difference between superb and godlike after all.

He can't play ball, he's just hiding what a crappy athlete he really is behind that absurd stamina of his. He's stupidly insensitive with the girls, his Japanese sucks and he doesn't know how things are run here. And yet. And yet.

He made people around him shine with glory, which usually made himself invisible, but given the current bedlam Urufu wasn't given that opportunity and had to take command in person. Ryu could understand that, and he could forgive Urufu that. What he couldn't forgive was how Urufu had hidden his true ability for half a year.

Dammit, I don't mind you being superior, but don't bloody lie about it to my face you shit head!

“Besides, what's so damn good about Urufu anyway,” he murmured. That was unfair, but he didn't care.

With a grimace the picked up his cell and mailed Yukio. Preparing Kyoko to take the stage was her boyfriends job after all. Ryu didn't envy him in the least.

After that he elbowed his way through the cafeteria turned restaurant, the shaded area outside under the great sails and sauntered towards the gym. On his way there he made an effort to flirt a little with the middle school girls he met. That earned him flustered giggles from the girls and scowls from their parents.

All in all the short walk from the cafeteria did wonders to his mood, and when he entered the gym he truly felt like the prince of Himekaizen again.

Inside the hall filled up with parents and siblings. He guessed the relatives of those in 6:1 were present in force. The play should start shortly, and after that the fashion show.

He unclipped his radio and pushed the button. “Urufu?”

“Urufu here,” the answer squelched. Reception was less than optimal inside the gym.

“Ryu here. How's staffing at the plaza? 6:1 have a play on stage soon and then it's time for us. Over.”

“Thanks for the heads up. I'll send some extras from 9:1. Jirou can take it from there. Over.

You really never bother with the honorifics. “OK, guess you have it covered then. Over and out.

A few adults looked at him. He guessed they weren't used to the sound of a walkie talkie. He looked back at them while his radio relayed the conversation between a security patrol and Noriko for everyone to hear.

“Kiddo, you in the student council?” The man who asked the question looked like he could have been one of the parents, but something in how he moved was off.

“Sorry, no. I'm just helping out,” Ryu answered.

“Damn, I need someone in charge for the show.”

So he's working here. Uniclo or television I guess. “I can help you with that. It's our club doing the show.”

“You can? Great. We need space for the mixer table and some place from where we can control the spots.”

That needed a translation. “Technicians and equipment, and you need a place for them?”

The man nodded affirmation.

“Would two by two metres do?” There was a trick to keep the flow going. Urufu once taught him that during the field trip in August. By asking the question he bought himself some time to think while handing off the responsibility to act.

It worked perfectly. The man made a call and when he was done Ryu felt prepared to handle whatever was coming his way.

“Better make that two by three.”

Ryu had already picked up his own cell when the question came. “Hang on,” he said and dialled Kuri. She answered almost 

“Hi, I need three guys, the male version with muscles, to carry some stuff for ten minutes or so.”

Ryu nodded at the man who waited for the call to finish.

“Where?” he asked.

Ryu pointed him to a set of chairs in the very middle of the gym hall. “We'll have the area cleared and you can set up your equipment there. Would that work for you?”

“Perfectly,” the man answered and grinned. “Can I use the muscle you send over here?”

“Ten minutes, no more,” Ryu said. “They're models for the show as well, and I guess you want them prepared.”

“Good boy. Ten minutes. I got it. By the way, are you part of the show as well?”

Ryu nodded, and that was enough to raise a few admiring eyebrows around him followed by the giggles he was used to.

Look like it could be fun after all, he thought. He waved to the man and went for the stage. Kuri was waiting for him.

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