Book three: Chapter three, 2016, school festival, madness and glory

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Midsummer's day, 2040, the short, short night

Most of her friends showed signs of weariness, and quite a few already slept.

Rhythmic beats of music told her that was far from the case with the youngsters.

For her own part Christina didn't feel tired at all. She never did this time of the year, and especially not in Sweden with its minuscule night. Three hours of relative darkness, maybe four depending on how your defined darkness.

Summer nights were longer in Japan. Shorter during winter though, she mused.

She turned her head and looked at how Ulf and Yukio drunkenly chatted away in the darkness. From time to time a reddish light lit up Yukio's features. Smoking is bad for you, didn't Ulf teach you that? Well, it couldn't be helped. He wasn't Yukio's father or anything.

Staying up too late is also bad for your health. She let her gaze linger on Ulf. He aged well, still looked much the same as during his high school days. Staying up too late, huh. I still don't understand how you kept your sanity during our first festival.

Chapter three

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 since he dropped the geek act late spring, 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 business suits as well. Chinos or suit, it mattered little to him, but right now he wanted the added authority a suit 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.

"Ulf here, how long until you're back with the canned drinks?"

He looked at his watch when he got the answer. An old habit. He'd worn watches for far more years than cellphones.

"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 Ramune, 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 week's worth of sanitary 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. He wasn't sure the old goat would pay for the hundreds of extra trash bags and trash transport Ulf had ordered. The alternative would be toilets looking like something from a horror flick.

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