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Thompson’s lost plimsole

Or footwear retrieved

part one

A story of gymnasium japes and past glory regained

A little fiction (or is it?)

The reason why Barton Jnr had been summoned to the gymnasium for a sound thrashing is now lost in the mists of time due to an event that occurred slightly after the summons to appear before the Judge had been fulfilled. The Judge in this case being Mr Thrashbutt the PE teacher.

Mr Thrashbutt was Scottish and fiercely proud of being so. He never lost an opportunity to express his hatred of the English, even though he was married to an English woman, had lived in England for the largest portion of his life so far, was educated in England and now taught physical education in an English public school. Barton Jnr had been directed to find an implement of torture from the large, cardboard, lost property box. The box in itself was quite unassuming, as boxes go, and had probably held something like a new refrigerator, but as the box had been painted all over with white emulsion and was variously held together with a plethora of miss-matched  adhesive tapes, it was nigh on impossible to distinguish what its original content or contents had been. However, it now contained the detritus left behind after many a quick after games shower, and hasty retreat, before Mr Thrashbutt could make his rounds in order to check that every boy had washed properly behind the ears. “Aural hygiene is as important as oral hygiene”, was his mantra as were many other useful little epithets chanted from his strategically placed stool in the changing/shower room.

Barton Jnr rummaged through a mound of odd socks, damp smelling T-shirts, baggy shorts, jock straps, shoes, broken wristwatches, a single cricket shin pad and swimming trunks so dry that they appeared to be in the first stages of rigor mortis. Barton Jnr was physically gagging as he probed this heap of sweat stained jumble. He passed a small flip flop to Mr Thrashbutt in the forlorn hope that it would do, but it was not to be. “Dig deeper, laddie” chided Mr T, and dig he did. There were also several screwed up pieces of note paper, each containing a hastily scrawled excuse pertaining to not having to take part in any games.

All badly written, with atrocious grammar and quite obviously on school headed note paper! There were at least two well-thumbed copies of Health and Efficiency, but these held no fascination to Barton Jnr, in fact, they presented themselves as more of a collection of holiday snaps. The Bartons had summered on the Cote D’ Azur since he was a baby, or at least until the incident with the Lobster, which took the shine off what was to be their last sojourn to France.

Digging even deeper, Barton unearthed a single, ‘Clark’s Wayfinder’ minus the concealed compass. For the uninitiated, Wayfinders ‘The adventure shoe’ were a popular shoe amongst boys with a natural history bent. The soles of the shoes had the representations of ten tiny animal paw prints and concealed in the inner heel of the shoe was a tiny round compass. Utterly useless for anything other than pointing you in a direction away from North. The soles of the shoes did, however, leave an impression that made it look like you were being followed by a small platoon of one legged mini-beasts. This shoe lacked the flexibility of a good gym shoe and therefore, sadly for Barton Jnr, had to be discarded,  but I digress…

In order to reach the bottom of the box, Barton Jnr had to stretch his legs whilst standing on his tiptoes, a stance that tightened his short trousers over what Mr Thrashbutt saw as a fine pair of pert buttocks. “I can’t reach in any further, Sir” wheezed Barton Jnr. Mr Thrashbutt felt a little twinge in his horseshoe moustache and rushed over to grasp Barton Jnr’s waist. “I’m with you now, laddie” he said I’ll no let ya fall in”.

Barton Jnr was clearing a way through the final few objects when something bright and pulsating caught his eye. “There’s something here, Sir” said Barton Jnr excitedly. “I just need to reach in a bit further”. Mr Thrashbutt held firmly on to the boy’s upper thigh area in order to assist the young man’s descent into the lower regions of the aforementioned unassuming box.

Finally, Barton Jnr pushed aside the obstruction to fully reveal the object that had so caught his attention.  In that single moment, a glow, a shaft of light that filled the room, turning night (If it had been night) into day (which it was). I think you get the gist.

Gently lowering Barton Jnr to the ground by placing one hand on the boy’s soft stomach and the other hand and arm around Barton Jnr’s youthful, but surprisingly, to Mr Thrashbutt, muscular chest. Mr Thrashbutt stepped forward to peer into the box in order to ascertain the origin of this magnificent light source. Shielding his eyes against the glare he looked down and then gasped for air. Stunned momentarily into silence, he staggered back and slightly lost his balance but quickly found support in the form of Barton Jnr’s beautiful and well-squared shoulders. Holding on to the boy for a few seconds, or possibly a few minutes, he dispatched Barton Jnr to fetch the Headmaster, and in a whispered and reverential tone called out to him, “Be quick, Laddie, be quick, and may God speed ye both back to me on the wings of angels” (or something equally poetic).

Mr Thrashbutt and Mr Clench both peered into the box, their faces illuminated like the characters in a  Caravaggio painting. The Headmaster asked Mr Thrashbutt to lift the object out. Mr Thrashbutt replied respectfully but adamantly, “Oh no, sir, I could nay, that honour belongs to you, Sir”.

Mr Clench paused for a moment and then gently patted the shoulder of the younger man. “Thank you, Dennis” he said, “Thank you”. The Headmaster wiped his hand down the sides of his trousers several times as if trying to clean them of anything that might sully the fabric of the glorious object that lay before them.

In this moment of shared silence, Mr Clench instinctively knew what Howard Carter must have felt when he was finally able, after years of disappointed searching, to be honoured to have that first glimpse of the treasures of Tutankhamun’s tomb.

Cupping his hand together and with all of the reverence and respect that he could muster, Mr Clench raised the object above his head, further illuminating the small confines of this humble storeroom. “Behold!” he cried. Mr Thrashbutt gave a barely concealed squeal, the sort of squeal I imagine would emanate from the mouth of a young girl upon ripping apart the Christmas wrapping paper to discover her first, rainbow haired, My Little pony.

Barton Jnr, who has not been mentioned in the last few paragraphs, stood watching in bemused silence, not fully understanding the magnitude of the event unfolding before him. He had, however, found an unopened bag of toffees in the box, which was a plus.

“Behold!” cried Mr Clench. At this point you have to imagine a Hollywood studio orchestra with the music rising in intensity at every declamation of the word, behold (not that one). “BEHOLD!” (that one). Mr Thrashbutt bit his bottom lip in order to stop himself from shouting out, but the excitement was too much for him. “Yes, yes” he cried, “Please Lord, please let it be”.

“BEHOLD!” shouted Mr Clench, “Call forth the Heralds, let the whole World know that it is found”. Mr Thrashbutt let forth another small, excited squeal and wiped a tiny tear from his good eye.

“BEHOLD!” cried the Headmaster, thankfully for the last time. Still holding aloft this object of veneration, he sank to both knees with his head bowed in respectful reverence…

“I present to you and all mankind, Thompson’s lost plimsole”………

(Music fades)

To be continued:


Published by crispinunderfelt

All round good egg. Humanist and red wine drinker.

9 thoughts on “Thompson’s lost plimsole

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