Following on from the first chapter I posted a couple of days ago, here is the first part of the second chapter of the potential novel idea I’m toying with. To be honest, I’ve only written four chapters so far, so there isn’t a lot more past this, but I felt that posting these updates might help inspire me to keep writing! Do enjoy, and do comment below with your ideas, comments and feelings about the story thus far.
Staring at the boy’s doughy face, a glistening globule of drool threatening to make a break for it from the corner of the boy’s mouth, the offending pen held out in front like a dangerous weapon, Steven fought a battle with the question he found himself considering on a more regular basis.
“Why do I fucking bother with this shit?”
Whilst his restraint maintained just enough of a grasp on the muscles that work his jaw so as not to shout that aloud in a child’s face (a sacking offence everywhere else; an accepted part of behaviour management at Mayfield), the question circled around his head like a Spirograph – moving around but not really going anywhere.
It was only period one of a five period day, and already it felt as if the world was conspiring against Steven. A misplaced set of keys (found by the front door) led to a missed train (by thirty seconds, the doors closed in his face) which left him no choice but to get the slower train (eight stations instead of three, a whole fourteen minutes longer).
This type of school journey wasn’t the exception, more the norm, and usually it wouldn’t have mattered to Steven. However, as he entered the wrought-iron gates, a hand forcing the tail of his shirt back under the control of his trousers, he remembered his line management meeting had been rescheduled for this morning. More specifically, four minutes ago.
Although many things seemed to go unnoticed within Mayfield’s four walls, tardiness to meetings was definitely frowned upon by members of senior leadership. Unable to control the pupils satisfactorily, they instead seemed to offload any lingering frustrations onto the people who worked hierarchically below them. It was jokingly referred to as ‘The Mushroom Approach to Management’ by the lesser members of staff; they were often left in the dark and fed bullshit, or so it seemed.
Following a dressing down by his head of department, a lecture that took longer than the minutes the meeting had been delayed by and was delivered with a twinkle in the eye, Steven’s general performance over the past two weeks was thoroughly scrutinised; a rigorous and important step to allow any professional to reflect, grow and improve on their ability to perform the role that is asked of them.
Three minutes later, a broken down photocopier was Steven’s next nemesis. Arbitrary opening and closing of drawers seemed to have little effect, as did his next move of twiddling and moving the various knobs and levers inside the machine. Even a swift kick (after a quick blind spot check for potential eye witnesses) made no difference. A trip to reprographics was the only real option left.
The reprographics room was a place that was best avoided unless truly necessary. Down several flights of stairs, in the bowels of the school, the room seemed to encapsulate every issue at the school, packaged neatly in a ten foot by six foot room. The corridor outside was faintly illuminated by the one working bulb; the walls damp to the touch. Any attempts to open the door had to be accompanied with a food, as the rusty hinges squeaked in protest. A man who had the appearance more akin to a hobbit than a human sat in the corner, flicking through dog-eared copies of White Dwarf magazine. This movement and the occasional grunt was the only real indication of humanity, the man clearly not employed for his social skills. A request, a grunt, some whirring and a flutter of paperwork. Simplicity in itself, yet one couldn’t leave the room without a desire to wipe their hands down the front of their trousers or skirt, whether they’d touched anything inside or not.
Upon receipt of his photocopying, Steven offered cursory thanks before exiting the room and making a break for the stairs. Pupils were already beginning to cluster in cliques, finding the most awkward and inappropriate places to stand as if on purpose. The corridors of the school already felt like a maze, why not have a few obstacles on the way just to make things that little bit harder? A tall, shaven-headed Year 11 stuck a foot out as Steven barrelled down the corridor, but a quick jump took him over this hurdle, a daily ritual that had begun to feel like an in joke between the two.
Unfortunately, his focus on the outstretched Doc Martins left him off guard. Raising his head at the last second, the collision with the Deputy Head was unavoidable. Papers, coffee, a pair of glasses flew through the air, the debris of a particularly academic crash. Laughs echoed loud and long down the corridor as pupils walked by, no desire to assist either of the fallen staff members. Scrabbling around on the floor for the glasses, the crunch that followed was inevitable. Even without seeing the outcome, Steven knew that the third pair of glasses this term would be necessary.
Not that he would have required glasses to notice the seething anger of the Deputy Head. The violent red colour that his face had turned would have been visible from across the playground, let alone from two feet away. Grabbing his papers off of the floor, Steven jumped to his feet and began to hurtle back down the corridor. He knew he’d pay for the collision later, but he had five periods to teach and was already running late for period 1. Thinking to himself, Steven pondered that the Deputy might even enjoy the delayed gratification that an after school rollicking would allow him. It’s the simple things that get you through the day, after all.
Breathing heavily, Steven afforded himself one last moment of relative sanity before he opened the door.
“Good morning, Year 7.”