Petit Bourgeois Volume 5: The New York Cheesecake Mystery (Part 3)

The New York Cheesecake Mystery (Part 2) | Contents | The New York Cheesecake Mystery (Part 4)

After we’d enjoyed the aftertaste of the cheesecake and washed it down with some black tea, Kogi-san joined us without her apron and bandanna, an uneasy look on her face.

“Umm, how was it?”

Osanai-san cheerfully answered.

“It was amazingly delicious.”

“Thank goodness…!”

Kogi-san clutched her heart, let out a breath and moved her face closer to Osanai-san, as usual without looking at me.

“I got someone to take over for me. I will be going to check out the Cultural Festival, so shall we go together, Yuki-chan-senpai?”

Osanai-san gave me a glance, and we made some subtle eye contact. Considering that she wanted to maintain a suitable distance with Kogi-san, should I accompany the two of them?

After thinking for a while, I stood up.

“Right, I’ll look around on my own, then. We can communicate by email later.”

Osanai-san’s purpose should have been fulfilled just by me going into the cafe. There should be no need for us to stick together at this point. Osanai-san apparently thought the same way, for she gave me a small nod.

Leaving Osanai-san in her seat, I left the home economics classroom after paying for my share. The girl who had been touting earlier was no longer outside. Perhaps she was now waiting tables in place of Kogi-san.

I could have gone home, but it would be befitting of a petit bourgeois to explore a little, especially since I had already taken the effort to come here. Thus, I unfolded the pamphlet I’d received near the entrance.


A small piece of paper tucked in between the pamphlet pages fluttered to the ground in the hallway. I picked it up to read its contents.

The Judo Club’s public practice match has been cancelled – Cultural Festival Executive Committee.”

Looking at the pamphlet, I found that there was indeed such an event detailed there. I didn’t know the exact reason for the cancellation, but maybe someone realized at the last moment that it was a little strange to show off a practice match for the Cultural Festival.

At the gymnasium stage there was a class performing The Inugami Curse1, which I felt like watching, but unfortunately the show was already over. It was currently a little before three o’clock, and since four o’clock would mark the end of the Cultural Festival and the beginning of the Closing Celebration2, most events had already concluded.

The computer club was apparently doing an event called “Revival of the Famicom”. I’d heard about the Famicom3 but never actually seen one, so I was curious as to what it actually was. On the other hand, there was a classroom on the fourth floor that had been turned into a three-dimensional maze, and solving that maze would not go against my promise with Osanai-san to stop impertinently solving mysteries, so I wanted to test my skills there. Should I go for the “Revival of the Famicom”, or should I go for the three-dimensional maze? Unable to choose, I decided to toss a coin. If the ten-yen coin came up heads, I would go for the Famicom, if tails the maze.

With a crisp-sounding clink, the ten-yen coin flew up into the air. I grabbed it as it fell… or at least I tried to, but my hand spectacularly missed, and the coin started rolling down the corridor. Hurriedly, I chased after it. The coin eventually hit a wall and landed on tails. The maze it is, then.

I started going up the stairs to the fourth floor. Even on the vertical faces of the stairs were signs like “Haunted House 1-B” and “Alice in Wonderland 2-D”. It went without saying that the notice boards at the staircase landings were overwhelmed in a plethora of signs and posters. I was never involved with such events during middle school. I never had much interest for them, and it must have shown, for I was hardly invited to them. All I would do during the Cultural Festival was to complete the jobs assigned to me by my class.

“Here, have a balloon!”

When I reached the third floor, a balloon was unexpectedly thrust in front of me. I considered taking it, but it wouldn’t be good to explore a maze with my hands full, so I politely declined.

“Here, have a coupon!”

On the fourth floor, I was given a handwritten ticket. It was for a cafe by class 1-C, but they had unfortunately run out of snacks. Seeing that they were hastily distributing coupons, they probably hadn’t reached their sales goal, but this probably wouldn’t help much.

The classrooms of Reichi Middle School had windows built into the walls facing the hallway. The classroom with the maze had black curtains covering all the windows, giving it quite a serious feel. I approached a bored-looking male student who was wearing a headband and leaning against a wall near the entrance.

“Can I still go in?”

I asked a question as if I was entering a store which I didn’t know the operating hours of. The student straightened his back, a slightly relieved smile appearing on his face.

“Of course! Do you want to try it?”

I nodded, upon which he handed me a small torchlight.

“It is dark inside, so please use this when necessary. You can go for a time trial in the first round, so how about it?”

“I’m not sure, I feel like slowly looking around to see how it was made.”

“You can do that on the second round.”

“I’ll do that, then. Does the time start the moment I enter?”

“Yes. Ready…”

The boy took out a stopwatch as I put my hand on the classroom door.


The three-dimensional maze was quite interesting. They’d made cardboard walls, seemingly supported by tables and chairs, and it was pretty fun wandering down the narrow, dark passageways.

I felt that I was somewhat fast in traversing the maze, but my timing didn’t even break into the top. It was disappointing, but it couldn’t be helped. A flat maze would be fine, but quickly solving a three-dimensional maze for the first time depended too much on luck. It would probably be more fun to take the best timing out of three tries, though that would be painful for the maze administrators.

“Thank you very much!”

I left the maze moderately satisfied. It was already close to three, so the cleanup process would soon begin here and there. Meeting at two even though we were going to a Cultural Fesitval was too late, and there was too little time to fully enjoy… that said, it was likely part of Osanai-san’s calculations. If we arrived early, she would have to spend half a day participating in activities with Kogi-san, which is why she chose two o’clock as our meeting time.

Looking down from a window at the hallway, I saw the campfire burning with a deep red glow, right in the middle of the sports ground. Around the fire, some red objects were being moved around, probably buckets of water meant for fire prevention. Four planters with flowers growing in them surrounded the fire.

I’d heard of schools where the students gather around a fire at the Closing Celebration after the Cultural Festival, but I’d not experienced one before. While it was situated in the middle of the sports ground which presented a lower risk of the fire spreading, probably because the school management had warned the executive committee that problems could arise otherwise, lighting a fire in school is still a daring thing to do, but perhaps that is to be expected of a private school. Witnessing something like that gave me a small tinge of jealousy.

Two girls were approaching the fire. One of them wore a sailor uniform while the other was clad in casual clothes, and the latter was holding two balloons. There was someone distributing balloons earlier, but taking two was a little greedy.

Oh, wasn’t that Osanai-san?

That would mean the person next to her was Kogi-san. I didn’t know why the two of them were moving towards the fire, but perhaps Kogi-san wanted to let Osanai-san see it up close. As I silently watched, the two of them stood close to the fire and stretched their hands to the front. Chilly winds would certainly blow during autumn evenings, but I couldn’t think that they were trying to keep warm with a bonfire, so it was quite a bizarre sight.

Exactly what were the two of them doing?

As I was having that thought, a figure popped out from a corner of the sports ground. They were wearing a student uniform, meaning that they were a male student from this school. He was fast. Judging by his speed, he probably didn’t notice Osanai-san and Kogi-san.

I reached into my pocket to bring out my mobile phone, but calling her now would be too late. The two girls showed no indication of noticing the oncoming boy, and the boy was only focused on looking behind him. I wanted to open the window to warn them, but it was locked, and unlocking it took too much time.

They seemingly noticed each other right before the imminent collision. The girl in the sailor uniform that I thought to be Kogi-san froze in place, while the person in the orange cardigan who looked like Osanai-san leapt back. The boy also finally noticed the two girls and changed course, but that resulted terribly.

A moment later, the girl in casual clothes was knocked aside, while the boy pitched forward and tumbled onto the ground. From here, I could see that the boy was quite well-built. It could be a serious matter being knocked into by someone like him. Turning around, I headed for the staircase in a trot.

I had only one wish, that Osanai-san was safe.

Because if she was injured, I would have to bring her back…!

The New York Cheesecake Mystery (Part 2) | Contents | The New York Cheesecake Mystery (Part 4)

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  1. A 1951 Japanese mystery novel by Seishi Yokomizo, and part of the Kosuke Kindaichi series.
  2. An event held on the last day of a festival, usually involving dancing and a bonfire.
  3. Short for Family Computer, and better known in the west as the Nintendo Entertainment System. It is a home video game console that was released in the 80s.

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