One day, Red Shirt told me he had a matter of some importance and invited me to visit him at home. I was disappointed to forego my trip to the onsen, but I set out around four o'clock to pay my call. Befitting his status as head teacher, he had vacated his lodgings long ago and moved into a splendid house. I heard that his rent was nine and a half yen. It was such a nice house that it got me thinking. If one could come to the country and take a house like this for nine and a half yen, then maybe I could indulge myself. Kiyo would be extremely pleased if I called her to come join me in such a place. I announced myself, and Red Shirt's younger brother came out to greet me. I taught this brother algebra and other mathematics at the school, and he was an extremely poor student. Being something of a vagabond, he was even worse than the born-and-bred country folk.
When I met Red Shirt, I asked what he had wanted to discuss. He replied pompously as he puffed foul smoke from his signature amber pipe. "Since coming to us here, you've performed very well in comparison to your predecessor. The principal is thrilled that we've acquired a talented colleague. The school has placed its confidence in you, so I trust you'll work hard to meet those expectations."
"Is that so? I don't think I can work any harder than I'm already working."
"Your present effort is sufficient. And as to our talk of the other day, you would do well to keep it in mind."
"You mean that I should watch out for the likes of the one who helped me secure my lodgings?"
"When stated so bluntly, the meaning is lost. But okay, I think you get the gist of it. Now, if you continue with your current industry then the school, on its part, will not let it go unnoticed. In a short while, when conditions present themselves, I expect some small adjustment may be made to your remuneration."
"You mean my salary? Not that I care much about my salary, but I suppose more is always better."