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Thompson’s Lost Plimsole

Part 54

Mrs Wormwood was absent from breakfast; it transpired that she had been in some discomfort during the night but would hopefully be in attendance at morning assembly. David hopped from one foot to the other, chuckling and grimacing like a malevolent troll as he ladled out the porridge, doing his best to spill some of this hot concoction onto the thumbs of the younger boys as they offered up their bowls. It had become a morning ritual and a test of speed between David and the boys. The ladle, mid-tip, would be moved around in a circular motion whilst the boys would try to match this action with their bowls. David would burst into raucous laughter at those boys who lacked the speed and dexterity needed to avoid the boiling goo.

Today was a Saturday and this was traditionally the one day in the week that the boys would be given permission to go into town for a few hours. However, for the last few Saturdays, Mr Wormwood had found plenty of work around the school with which to keep all of the boys occupied. Window cleaning, weeding the flowerbeds, scrubbing the halls and stairways, polishing anything that might need polishing and polishing anything that didn’t need polishing. A number of the boys had already written to their parents complaining about the new regime at the school, the lack of proper food and the bullying by the Wormwoods. Mr Wormwood had already received a number of letter from concerned parents, who were, after all, paying handsomely to have their sons educated at this establishment. Mr Wormwood had carefully made a note of the names of the boys whose parents had written to him; he would deal with these young troublemakers later, but at this precise moment, he was a little more concerned about whatever it was that was causing his wife so much discomfort. Mrs Wormwood shuffled unsteadily into the dining hall with her hands clutching at her stomach. She propped herself against the wall and appeared to be sweating profusely.

Mr Wormwood continued with one of his lengthy Biblical lectures whilst the boys ate in silence. Mrs Wormwood belched loudly which started some of the boys laughing. “Silence!” screamed the Headmaster as Mrs Wormwood let out another loud belch followed by a thunderous breaking of wind. Now all of the boys were laughing. Mr Wormwood tried in vain to make himself heard as his tearful and embarrassed wife struggled to make her way, backwards, out of the hall. Thompson looked on as Mr Wormwood and David assisted Mrs Wormwood back to her room. Mr McQueen stepped forward, raised his hand and at this signal the boys settled back down. Some wag at the back blew a raspberry which set everyone off again. Mr McQueen along with the other masters, sat down. “Let them laugh,” said Mr Scroop the History teacher, “These boys need to let off a little steam, I’m sure the Headmaster will be back soon enough to exact some more petty restrictions on them”.

Mr Wormwood had already written a number of letters in reply to the parental enquiries, inviting them to an open day at the school. “I’ll show them,” he thought. “No one gets the better of Nathaniel Wormwood”.


Published by crispinunderfelt

All round good egg. Humanist and red wine drinker.

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