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Thompson’s Lost Plimsole

Part 56

Thompson climbed down from his dorm window and waited a moment. It was well after lights out and Mrs Wormwood would, by now, have made her nightly visit to the food store in the kitchen in order to stock up on snacks for the evening. Thompson moved as silently as possible towards the storeroom window but a rustling noise from a nearby bush made him pause. He held his breath for a moment, listening for any movements. He let out a sudden gasp as a rabbit shot out from the bush. A moment to catch his breath and he set off again. Reaching his destination, he paused, and feeling assured that he was on his own, he reached up to see if the window was unlatched. It was. Thompson hauled himself up and was partly through the window when the storeroom light was switched on. Dropping back to the grass outside, he was grabbed around the neck! Thompson recognised the smell of stale sweat. It was the self-acclaimed giant killer and ponderous oaf, David. The face of Mrs Wormwood glared down at him from the open window, and struggle as he might, he was unable to  wrestle himself from the iron grip of his assailant. David was squeezing the breath out of Thompsons lungs which rendered the boy unconscious. He threw Thomson’s body over his shoulder and carried him back into the school, laughing like a demented Quasimodo.

When Thompson came round, he found himself seated in the Headmaster’s office. In front of him stood Mr and Mrs Wormwood, David and the Wormwoods son, Elijah. “You see, father”, said Elijah. “I told you he was up to no good”. Thompson glared at the boy, “You little sneak”. He tried to stand but was pushed back into the chair by David. Mr Wormwood moved slightly to one side exposing a small bottle containing some white powder which now sat on the Headmaster’s desk.  The Headmaster stood flexing his cane and then used it to point at the bottle. “What is this?”, he demanded. Thompson remained silent. Mr Wormwood brought the tip of the cane down onto Thompson’s leg. Thompson tried to stand but David held him tight to the chair. “I’ll ask again”, said the Headmaster. Once again Thompson remained silent, prompting the Headmaster to bring the cane down on Thompson’s other leg. “We can do this all night, boy. It’s up to you”. For all of his supposed Christian values, Mr Wormwood seemed to revel in inflicting pain. Still struggling to move, Thompson vented his anger at the Wormwoods. “My father is a major benefactor of this school and when he hears about your bullying, you’ll be the ones answering questions”. Mrs Wormwood stepped forward and slapped Thompson across the face, “That’s for trying to poison me”. “You can’t prove that I did anything”, replied Thompson. “Oh, but you were overheard by our dear boy, Elijah, talking to one of your friends. You gave yourself away. We could involve the Police, or we could simply set an example by punishing you in front of the whole school”. The Headmaster came into the conversation at this point, “And as for our conduct whilst in charge of this establishment, then after the success of our open day, I can now, happily call upon at least a dozen glowing testimonials for your father’s approval”.  Mr Wormwood leant in closer to Thompson. As he spoke, the gap in his front teeth allowed his spittle to spray onto the boy’s face. Thompson turned his face away and said, “Your breath stinks!” Mr Wormwood grabbed Thompson’s chin and pulled his face forward. Thompson kicked hard at the Headmaster’s shin, sending him reeling backwards in pain. The Headmaster, with his fist clenched, leapt towards Thompson but stopped short of hitting the boy.

 “No”, he said, “we don’t want you appearing in front of the school tomorrow with a black eye, now do we?” Addressing David, Mr Wormwood instructed him to lock Thompson in the coal cellar. “It should give you plenty of time to think about your transgressions overnight before you receive a deserved thrashing, and as I’m positive that you didn’t carry out your nefarious villainy on your own. I’ll make sure that this serves as a warning to everyone in the school, staff included, that my wife and I will not tolerate any insurrection or insubordination”. Thompson was bundled out of the Headmaster’s office and forced down the stairs of the coal cellar. The sound of the door being locked was followed by the sound of David’s laughter becoming fainter, until the only noise breaking the silence in his prison was Thompson’s own breathing.

Due to the commotion the previous evening, other eyes had seen Thompson being manhandled into the Headmaster’s office, and other ears had been pressed to the office door. Word of the evening’s events had spread like wildfire around the school. Breakfast had been taken in silence as usual, apart from the Headmaster’s regular sermon. However, on this occasion, although the meal had been eaten in silence, the Wormwoods had seemed a little unnerved by the fact that the boys were staring at them, and not with smiling faces. At the morning assembly, there was an air of anticipation in the hall, and an audible buzz could be heard around the room. The Headmaster stood on the stage with the Golden Plimsole in one hand, tapping it lightly on the other. The main doors to the hall were flung open as David dragged Thompson along with him. A small number of the senior boys rose to their feet. “Sit down”, demanded Mr Wormwood. The boys sat down reluctantly, but it was obvious to everyone that they were not happy at the way Thompson was being treated. Manhandled onto the stage and forced to stand next to the Headmaster, Thompson struggled in vain to release himself from David’s grip.

Mr Wormwood went into a lengthy diatribe outlining the crimes committed by the boy who now stood before them all, and if it hadn’t been for their dear son, Elijah, then Thompson may have been looking at a murder charge.

The Headmaster stated, that after a lengthy discussion in his office with Thompson, in front of witnesses, that the boy had agreed to receive punishment at his hand, rather than involve the Police. This wasn’t true of course, but apart from Thompson, who was there to argue with the Headmaster? It was well known in the school that the only implement that would seem to inflict any pain on Thompson was the Plimsole, and once again this information had been conveyed to his parents by Elijah. Another fact that the Headmaster had been pleased to inform this assembly.

Thompson was forced to bend across a table with David grasping the boy’s wrists. The Headmaster struck Thompson’s backside whilst David called out the number of strokes. “One, two, three, four, five, seven, five, err, five”. Mr Wormwood cared little for the numbers being called out as he gleefully watched the tears rolling down Thompson’s face. Thompson tried in vain not to show any signs of pain to his tormentor. A number of the other boys were on their feet whilst Mr Wormwood continued striking the boy, with Mrs Wormwood holding Thompson’s head to face the assembly. At each whack, David laughed out loud. A voice from the crowd shouted, “That’s enough!” The Headmaster was taken aback, “Who said that?”  “I did”, it was Mr McQueen. The Headmaster dropped the Plimsole and rushed down from the stage. “How dare you question my authority?” At least a dozen members of staff were now standing behind Mr McQueen, all of them voicing the same sentiment. Mr Wormwood was incandescent with rage, the staff members had to shield their eyes from his outpouring of spittle. “I’ll have every single one of you fired”. At that outburst, the group of masters parted like the Red Sea. A clenched fist attached to a heavily tattooed arm, which in turn was attached to the heavily tattooed games master, Mr Murphy, made contact with the Headmaster’s nose. This sent him backwards rendering him unconscious. An almighty cheer went up from the boys, which prompted David to let go of Thompson and rush down from the stage to defend his brother-in-law. It took two punches to knock David insensible, one to the stomach and one to the chin. As David fell to the floor, the younger boys, who had been the recipients of his bullying, were on him like locusts, punching and kicking. The Wormwood’s son, Elijah, found himself surrounded by a group of Thompson’s friends who carried him outside and stripped him of his clothing. There was a large patch of stinging nettles at the rear of the school which is where Elijah was deposited. At each attempt to extricate himself from this torture, he was pushed back in. Meanwhile, Mrs Wormwood, in a blind panic, had made her way from the hall to the kitchen.

The kitchen staff had also been compelled to watch Thompson being punished and they had followed Mrs Wormwood back to the kitchen. The Headmaster’s wife ordered Mr Wilde to make her a cup of tea and to fetch her a large slice of cream cake to settle her nerves. Mrs Wilde carried out this request, and, on her return, promptly tipped the tea into Mrs Wormwood’s lap. “You stupid old cow”, shrieked Mrs Wormwood, at which, Mrs Wilde pushed the whole cake into the woman’s face. Wiping the cream from her eyes, Mrs Wormwood demanded that someone fetch her some water to clean her face. One of the Kitchen staff returned with a bucket of water which she promptly tipped over Mrs Wormwood’s head. Now with cake in her eyes, soaking wet and a metal bucket on her head, the Headmaster’s wife stumbled around the kitchen as Mrs Wilde and the kitchen staff hit the bucket with metal ladles. The Wormwood family kept a very low profile for the next few days, leaving Mr McQueen to take charge.  During all the excitement, no one had checked on Thompson. His room had been found to be empty of his personal possessions and the Golden Plimsole was also missing. His parents and the Police had been informed of his disappearance, as had the Board of Governors.  Mr and Mrs Wormwood could not explain how a number of unusual payments to their personal bank accounts had been made. However, Miss Fudge, the school secretary, had signed an affidavit stating that she had witnessed the signatures of both Mr and Mrs Wormwood on all of these transactions. This, together with the disappearance of Thompson, and the signed testaments of various members of staff, led to the Wormwoods being relieved of their posts.

The sun shone brightly as Mr and Mrs Wormwood, their son, Elijah and Mrs Wormwood’s brother, David, made their departure down the long driveway towards the school gates. The Wormwoods were adamant that they hadn’t stolen any of the school funds and had been compelled to return the funds that they claimed, had been mistakenly deposited into their accounts.  Miss Fudge had been truthful in her statements to the school governors as she had seen the Wormwoods sign the various cheques. What she failed to admit was, that with a deft placing of the paperwork and sleight of hand, that the Wormwoods believed that they were signing for school supplies and services.

Newly appointed Headmaster, Mr McQueen, viewed the departure of the family from Hell from his office window. About three quarters along the road,  a large number of the rooks took to dive bombing the Wormwoods whilst cawing loudly.  Mr McQueen chuckled to himself as he watched the heavily laden Wormwoods attempting to fend the birds off.  A sound behind him drew his attention away from the window. He smiled, opened his arms wide, and then embraced his soon to be bride, Emily Fudge.


Published by crispinunderfelt

All round good egg. Humanist and red wine drinker.

8 thoughts on “Thompson’s Lost Plimsole

  1. I must confess that I cheered out loud as I read how Mr. McQueen spoke up to the bully. And then when Mr. Murphy socked Mr. Wormwood a good one on the nose, I couldn’t contain myself. This whole episode was wonderful. But…what has become of Thompson? What has become of the shoe?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, true. Will Mr Underfelt step in with further explanations? Will his tongue be loosened? Surely he can knot leave us hanging? C’mon C, we’re waiting for the othertshoe to drop… or is that ‘clop?’

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear readers,

    After a few shenanigans with the Hallifield Light Opera Company, we may find ourselves back in the 1950s where the Plimsole was rediscovered in the school lost property box. However, young Thompson has a different road to travel at present, but fear not, he will return. Thanks for sticking with it…

    Liked by 2 people

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