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Thompson’s Lost Plimsole

Part 29

The young miscreant at the school had received six of the best with the Golden Plimsole in front of the whole school. The Headmaster had been unable to take the young felon into town to be interviewed by the police, due to the business with the mass breakout of prisoners, so he ordered the boy to be outside his office the following morning straight after assembly. Bradford Snr and two Prefects, both prop forwards in the school rugby team, formed an escort to ensure that the accused appeared for his hearing on time and with little chance of escape.

Inside the Headmaster’s office, a small tribunal had been set up comprising the Headmaster, Mr McQueen, for whom a soft cushion had been found, Mr Murphy, the games master and the school secretary, Miss Fudge. Whilst waiting for the knock on the door, Mr Davies glanced over at Miss Fudge. There was something different about her today, her hair was normally tied back in a tight bun, but now it was down and flowing over her shoulders. His attention was drawn away by the awaited knock. “Enter”, called Mr Davies. He thanked the two prefects before dismissing them, but asked Bradford Snr to remain and take a seat. The boy stood before the assembled jury and looked down at his feet. The Headmaster addressed the boy by advising him that this would be his opportunity to give a full explanation of his actions, which culminated in a shoot out at the old chapel. He also advised the boy that Miss Fudge would be taking notes for presentation to the local authorities. Mr Davies glanced again at Miss Fudge. Not only her hair, but also her blouse… Normally her blouse would be fully buttoned and covered with a hand-knitted cardigan. The cardigan had been dispensed with and the blouse had two buttons undone, revealing a slim neck adorned with an attractive set of tiny pearls. Mr McQueen coughed in order to awaken the Headmaster from his seeming daydream, it didn’t work so he coughed again, but a little louder this time and realise that coughing loudly also affected other parts of the anatomy. He winced at his self-induced pain and readjusted his cushion.

Mr Davies looked at the boy standing before him. “Well?” he asked. “We are all sitting here awaiting your explanation, Thompson”.

Thompson took a deep breath and began. Once he started speaking, Miss Fudge had to write fast in order to keep up . The Headmaster looked over at Miss Fudge again and this time noticed her hands, she was wearing nail polish. Did she normally wear nail polish? He couldn’t remember. Had he ever looked at her hands before, he must have done? He glanced up and saw that she was also wearing lipstick, nothing outrageous, but a nice subtle shade that seemed to make her lips appear fuller.

Thompson explained that he had been approached by two men in town who, on noticing his school uniform, had questioned him about the supposed Knights Templar treasure hidden beneath the old Templars’ chapel. Thinking that he might be able to make a few quid out of this enquiry, he had informed these men that he knew where he might lay his hands on an old map indicating where the treasure was thought to be buried.  In order to pull off this scam, he would need to acquire a sheet of old paper, and it was well known amongst the boys at the school that there was a Frenchman who owned an antiques shop in town, who, for a shilling, would forge letters purporting to be from the boys’ parents or alter end of term reports to show higher grades. The Frenchman had charged Thompson a guinea to write various directions and instructions in old French and to age the paper even further, giving it an air of authenticity.  Thompson had then also added his own scrawl to make it look as if someone in the more recent past had owned the map. Thompson had spun such a story to these two men that they willingly parted with ten pounds to secure the map. A guinea for the Frenchman and eight pounds nineteen shillings for himself, an absolute fortune. Thompson stated that he thought that no one would miss the page from the old book and that the whole business had just been a lark. He hadn’t realised that it would go as far as it did and regretted ever getting involved. He said that he had also been threatened to keep quiet. The fire in the chapel had been an accident caused by one of the crooks kicking over a paraffin lamp and trying to put the fire out with his monk’s habit, which in turn caught fire.

The revelation about the French forger shone a whole new light on this whole business. Mr Davies knew the Frenchman and the Frenchman knew Mr Davies. Antoine Leroux was the cousin of Dominique, Mr Davies’ wife, and had secured the position as a teacher at Hookemin Hall for Mr Davies, with forged papers. If the police were to start questioning Antoine, then these revelations may come to light and would paint the Headmaster as being no better than Thompson. Now deep in thought, he looked down at the floor. “Heels… Miss Fudge was wearing heels”, thought the Headmaster, “She always wore sensible shoes, flat and unattractive”. Miss Fudge was still wearing her usual tweed skirt, but the shoes and the blouse now made the whole ensemble seem more feminine. Mr Davies also noticed that each time she paused from writing,  she would place the end of her pencil between her lips. This time she noticed that the Headmaster was staring at her. Emily looked straight at Mr Davies, removed the pencil from between her lips and ever so slightly, with the tip of her tongue, licked the end of the pencil and flicked her hair back over her shoulders.

Thompson’s grandfather was a major benefactor to the school and if Thompson were to be expelled, then this might impact on the school’s finances. Perhaps he could pass off Thompson’s involvement as schoolboy high jinks and lay the blame for the rest of the business firmly at the feet of the desperadoes who were now all on the run. Miss Fudge was still licking the end of the pencil. Mr Davies watched, transfixed and gave a little shudder.


Published by crispinunderfelt

All round good egg. Humanist and red wine drinker.

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