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Thompson’s Lost Plimsole

Part 27

The Headmaster strode purposely down the main corridor of the school and stopped outside one of the classrooms, he looked through the glass insert in the door and spied the object of his ire seated at the rear of the classroom.

Mr Davies opened the door and stepped into the room and without a moment’s pause, all of the boys rose to their feet. “Good morning gentlemen”, he said. The boys all responded as one. “Good morning, Sir”. Mr Davies bade the young men to sit down. “Gentlemen, I have some papers in my hand. I am going to pass these papers amongst you. When you recognise your handwriting, you will stand up and accompany me to my office”. The papers were passed back and forth until they eventually made their way to the back of the class. The Headmaster knew exactly who he was looking for and now he could see the young man looking at the page in front of him. The boy paused for a moment, bowed his head and then stood up. The Headmaster addressed him directly. “Collect the papers and follow me”.

Mr Davies had only recently given this boy a thousand lines in the forlorn hope that it might alter his behaviour. Obviously not. Back in his office, the Headmaster laid open the book with the torn out page and asked for an explanation. The boy hesitated for a while. “It was just a joke, Sir”, he said, “but it all got out of hand, and when the chapel burned down, well, I knew then that I’d be in big trouble if anyone found out that I had anything to do with it”. “The police are involved” said Mr Davies. “This has gone far beyond school business now. Bullets were fired, Mr Twist is in hospital, Mr McQueen was also assaulted, and his life was threatened. You’ll have to make a statement at the police station today, and I’ll have to decide what course of action that I’m going to take. Return to your class and I’ll send someone for you later”. The boy hung his head in shame and retired from the room.

The Headmaster picked up the telephone receiver and asked the operator to put him through to the Hallifield police station. When the Inspector answered the phone he was in a panicked state. “I can’t speak with you now, Headmaster, we’ve had an incident at the station, I’ll have to call you back”. There certainly had been an incident. Half a dozen masked, and armed men, had made their way into the police station in the early hours of the morning, subdued the officers on duty and released the prisoners. The Inspector had arrived this morning to find only one other officer present and the station otherwise deserted. The prisoners had absconded, and all of the night shift officers had been locked in a cell with no keys to be found.

The inspector made sure to double the guard on the criminal at the hospital. His hope was, that whoever had released the prisoners at the police station, wouldn’t want the responsibility of rescuing a badly injured individual, regardless of any loyalty that they may feel towards him, and have him holding them back from whatever nefarious doings that they had next planned. The Inspector needed this individual if he was ever going to garner any information regarding the criminal activities that had taken place at the old chapel at Hookemin Hall.

The Headmaster had called for an assembly for that lunchtime and for all staff and students to be present. There was a buzz of anticipation in the air, hushed mutterings from the assembled throng. None of the boys or staff members knew why they had been summoned from their studies, but all felt that it must be something serious. Had Mr Twist died? Was the Head retiring? Was the school closing? The School stage was bare except for one chair and the lone figure of the Headmaster. “I have called you here today to advise you all about some evidence which has come to light regarding the incident at the old chapel. This evidence places the blame for what took place, squarely on the shoulders of someone in this room”. This statement from Mr Davies had the effect of generating a level of excitement not normally allowed when being addressed by the Head. He let the chattering go on for a few moments and then called for silence. “Due to the shameful actions of this individual, the old chapel was destroyed, our caretaker, Mr Twist, is still in hospital recovering from a gunshot wound, several police officers were injured and assaulted, as was Mr McQueen who I must say, fought bravely against the gangsters who were ready to take his life. However, I am advised by Mr McQueen that the swelling between his legs has started to subside. There was audible laughter from the boys of the Upper Sixth which set of a chain reaction among many of the other boys who knew a good double entendre when the heard it. Several of the younger members of staff were finding it equally difficult to stifle their laughter and an embarrassed Mr McQueen simply stared out of the window, reluctant to acknowledge the fact that he was the momentary object of collective derision.

Once again, Mr Davies waited for a moment and then shouted, “Enough! Not only was this individual the catalyst for all of this injury and destruction, but in his quest for pecuniary advancement, he sought to vandalise a priceless copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio”. There was an audible gasp from many of the older members of staff, two of whom fainted at the thought of this crime against the memory of the glorious bard. The Headmaster continued. “There is only one course of action left to me, a course of action that I personally find distasteful, however, these crimes cannot go unpunished”. Mr Davies called for the Head Boy, Bradford Snr, to come forward. “Mr Bradford”. “Yes, Sir”, answered Bradford. Mr Davies tossed a small key to him. “Mr Bradford, fetch me the plimsole”.    


Published by crispinunderfelt

All round good egg. Humanist and red wine drinker.

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