Chapter 26:

The Final Showdown (Part 2)

Pandora's Box

"Let's move on to the Q & A portion. First question is for President Sato. What do you think is your greatest achievement as President?" Jo said.

"Yes, that's a very good question. I would say the answer to that is a no brainer. If you simply look at our school's standardized test scores before and after I became president, there was a drastic increase. This can be directly contribut-..."


Her mic suddenly cut out with a loud static noise. She tapped it with her fingertips until eventually the sound seemed to come back.

"...As I was saying before that mild interruption. This can be directly contributed to an increase in academic and disciplinary standards that I personally implemented."

"Thank you for that, Sato-san. Next question is for Hako-san. What's your biggest goal if you're elected president?"

I confidently looked out at the crowd.

"I definitely want to maintain high academics just as I think any candidate would, but I think what I want to improve the most is our school's overall happiness. I know this is a difficult thing to measure, but I want to make it so students actually enjoy their time at school. I personally think it's become too rigid under President Sato and would like to loosen some things up."

"I think that's a bit of an unrealistic mindset you have, Hako-san. You can't maintain high standards, while just letting everyone run around without an ordered framework. It's completely contradictory." Sato rebutted.

"That's not what I'm saying. I just think things have gotten a bit too strict under you. I should know, considering I was the one who carried a majority of the student council's work load last year."

"Ooh" Some audience members reacted to my roast.

"I'm sorry if you felt that way, but I can assure everyone here that's far from the truth." She said.

"I guess that'll be for them to decide next week." I responded.

"Alright, let's move on to another question for Hako-san... There have been some negative rumors circulating lately about you being a pervert. What is your response to those?" Jo said.

"I had a feeling this would be brought up. Could somebody pull up the image I provided earlier onto the projector."

A stagehand, sitting at a terminal in front of the stage, flipped some switches and the projector powered on.

I pointed up at the screen.

"As you can see here from this issue of the school paper that was just published this week, that initial story about me was retracted. The school paper admitted that the original piece was nothing but speculation and was written with no concrete evidence whatsoever."

Chatter suddenly erupted in the audience from this revelation. It seemed like pointing out this indisputable evidence was all I needed to do to finally put an end to the rumors about me being a perv.

Sato suddenly interjected.

"I'm happy this false article was retracted, but I don't necessarily put you in the clear, Hako-san. While you were on the student council there were instances where your conduct was questionable. One time in particular comes to mind..."

Here it was... She was going to bring up the water park incident!

"...last summer all the members of the student council went on a team bonding outing to the local water park. Thinking back now, perhaps bringing a pubescent boy like Hako-san to a place full of girls in swimsuits wasn't the best idea. At the time though, I thought it would be a good opportunity to bring the student council closer.

Things started out perfectly normal. I think all of us genuinely enjoyed our time together. Later in the afternoon though, I'm not particularly sure what came over Hako-san, but he seemed to have given into his urges and snuck into the women's lo-"

Her mic suddenly cut out. I looked out and noticed Red just in front of the stage holding an unplugged cord in his hand as he laughed. He came in at just the nick of time.

I took the opportunity to speak up.

"Looks like my opponent is having some technical difficulties. I actually have something about our 'beloved' President Sato I'd like to share with you all."

I was about to pull out the flash drive in my pocket. Before I could do anything though, Sato boldly walked across the stage and scooted right beside me behind my podium. She spoke into my mic.

"I hope you don't mind Hako-san. The debate needs to go on and we can't afford to wait all night for technical issues to be sorted out... As I was saying... Hako-san snuck into the women's locker room and caused quite a bit of commotion. The police actually had to be called to resolve the situation.

Perhaps I shouldn't have let that one slide and should have removed Hako from the student council, but I thought perhaps Hako had just made a mistake and deserved a second chance."

Many in the crowd cast judgmental gazes onto me, as they muttered among themselves.

I quickly spoke up,

“Yes, I will admit I did go into the women's locker room that day at the water park, but Sato didn't mention that she and the other student council girls were the reason I ended up there…

It all started when Vice President Yoshino happened to find a large grape sized spider, of which she knows I have a deathly fear of. The three of them thought it would be funny to prank me by placing it on my head.

Like you would probably expect, I completely spazzed out and accidentally ran into the women's locker room blinded by fear. Me accidentally entering caused a ton of commotion and the police were called. In the end though, it was nothing more than a giant misunderstanding.”

That was most of my side of the story… at least the important points. There were a handful of embarrassing details that I did withhold. Like how I panicked and barricaded myself in a janitorial closet and curled up in a ball and started crying for my mom. Then the police showed up and spent three hours trying to negotiate with me to come out. Eventually they had to call the fire department to use the jaws of life to tear the door off its hinges. The whole ordeal ended with a fireman carrying me out of the locker room crying in his arms like an infant.

That whole incident was what made me start to wonder about my relationship with the student and what essentially led to me to quit a few months later.

“It's very disappointing that you would make up such a silly story to try and cast blame on the student council as a whole. I think it would be much more commendable for you to just own up to your mistake.” Sato persisted.

Despite giving my side, she refused to back down from her false accusations against me. It seemed like it was about time I used Red's flash drive…