Spencer came out of the hall with that mad grin, turns and gives a two fingered sign to the closed door he had exited from.

‘Bollocks’ he said and wafted out of the anti room. 
It was my turn next.
My name, my surname reached me through the Mahogany door to the dining room which on Wednesday was Tuck Shop served out of the end window to us in the quad.
I open the door and walked in. The man who shouted my name sat on the raised platform in the dining hall reserved for senior staff and guests. he was alone in the vastness of the hall that would soon become a cachofinous Malle of boys, cutlery, crockery and and chatter.
‘Come in boy, don’t dawdle, I haven’t got all day to find a future for you.’ 
‘Yes sir’ I mumbled.
‘Come, come and sit in that chair and be quick about for goodness sake. ‘
I take it he meant the upright dining chair which stood alone in the echoey room where I ate 3 meals a day and before bed, dressed in dressing gowns with twisted piping on the collar, pyjamas with cords and those soft slippers with a plaid pattern, carpet slippers I remember they were called, we boarding boys thinking of home were served cocoa and digestive biscuits. We were allowed only two but somehow these biscuits became a sort of currency between boys wanting favours, letters wirtten and even seeking protection from the bully boys.
‘Stanley is it, Ralph Stanley, mm’
‘Yes sir,’ I answered
‘Louder boy, louder’ the man from the Public School Careers Asvisory Service insisted.
‘Now do you have any idea what you want to do when you leave school in a years time, hey, boy?’ 
He was a round little man in a brown bouble breasted suit severla sizes too small. He looked like a parcel I might have received from home, brown paper and string tied tightly and knotted loads of times.
‘Er, no sir, I replied.
While he fiddled with sheets of paper I looked up to the ceiling. I couldn’t believe there were so many circular rings of fat adhered to the crazed ceiling plaster, missiles of small butter pats flicked with those bendy knives with cream plastic handles and ‘ Sheffield Steel’ on one side of the blade.
They looked like the holes in the walls at the entrance to the Blackwall Tunnel A taxi driver taking me to the airport to fly home to Africa said it came from a German blast nome in the war, and not yet removed, a kind of reminder I thought of the way that killed my two uncles on my fathers side.
‘ well boy, it seems you like travelling.’ 
‘Yes sir,’ I replied hoping he could hear me. Perhaps he lost his hearing in the war? 
‘ you live in Africa is that correct.
Yes sir
He paused to look at his notes again.
I waited. In the since I could hear the pot sna d pans clanking in the kitchen and with it the unmistakeable smell of boiled cabbages.. It smelled like wet cat fur.
‘Now then, you art master says you at god at drawing heh. What do you like to draw hey’
I have no idea a what he’s. talking about. I liked drawing but hated art, well the art master. I once saw him list a boy off the ground by his hair for not washing a brush he had been sung. I need an answer for My Parcel.
‘ err, I like drawing trees sir.’ This was true, I did like drawing trees, palm trees mostly, arching leaves with long fringes.
‘ palm trees is it. You love drawing palm trees I’m told.
Yes sir.
Well that a bit of luck then because I’ve got just the job for you.
I was interested because scruff white in the year above me came back and told me about Nottingham. He was at the art college and said Nottingham was brilliant, there being 7 women to every man because of the lace industry. That was good enough for me.
My parcel cut into my thoughts. So you like to travel, you like trees, he paused, then what about a job with The forestry Commission in Sarawak hey. You can start the day after you leave school.


About 2far2shout

outstanding in my own field OU creative writing A215 2011 slow traveller wild swimmer day dreamer Short Story winner
This entry was posted in challenges. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Spencer came out of the hall with that mad grin, turns and gives a two fingered sign to the closed door he had exited from.

  1. Lucid Gypsy says:

    Poor Ralph, does he know where Sarawak is even? It’s great to see you, where’ve you been all this time?

Comments are closed.