"We have a fortunate circumstance due to a transfer of personnel. While I can't promise anything without first consulting the principal, there will be a little surplus in the budget due to the transferees' remuneration arrangements. I plan to talk with the principal and see what we can do for you."
"I appreciate that. Who's being transferred?"
"The announcement is imminent, so there's no harm in my telling you. It's Koga."
"Koga? I thought he was a native of this town."
"He does have roots here, but there are other factors involved - this in part reflects his own wishes."
"Where is he going?"
"To Nobeoka in Hyūga. It's a remote region, so he's being promoted to a higher pay grade in the process."
"Is someone coming to replace him?"
"Arrangements for his replacement are nearly final. Based on those arrangements we can consider bettering your salary."
"I see. That's fine, but you needn't go to great pains over my salary."
"At any rate, I intend to talk with the principal, and I believe that he thinks as I do. As a result, please be aware that we may have to call on you to work harder than at present."
"You mean longer hours?"
"No, most likely fewer hours."
"Working harder with fewer hours? That seems odd."
"It may sound a little odd, and I can't provide details at present, but it entails an increase in your level of responsibility."
I had no idea what he meant. More responsibility would mean assuming the role of head mathematics teacher. Yama Arashi was the head mathematics teacher, and there was little chance of his resigning from his post. And he was well-liked by the students, so it wouldn't be in the school's interest to transfer or dismiss him. I could never make complete sense of Red Shirt's words. But sensible or not, that was the end of our business discussion. We chatted further, with Red Shirt touching on various topics. There would be a farewell party for Uranari. Did I drink? Uranari was a man of virtue whom we certainly all cherished. Finally, he changed the subject and asked if I had interest in haiku. I took this as my cue to exit, telling him I had no interest and beating a hasty retreat. Poetry is for Bashō or barber shop proprietors. What concern does a mathematics teacher have for morning glories entwined around well buckets?