Weekend Theme: Gasconade
They say teachers are a fount of stories. I don’t know about a fount of stories… but I do have one.
Let us call the child George ( and let it be said in a Joyce Grenfel kind of way.) If you don’t know what I mean, click the link!
George was a master criminal. A bear of little brain and a source of much amusement to staff. A kinesthetic learner – who could get into trouble at the drop of the hat. The Deputy Head was one of the old school. A fair man – if you got on the right side of him; a tyrant otherwise. He taught English and RE and PE; and only took bottom sets. He was as old as the hills and believed in chalk and talk.
What George did to bring him to the Deputy Head’s office that day, I cannot remember. All I remember is that I hadn’t been a Head of Year very long; and was called in to play good cop to the Deputy’s bad cop.
I also need to state that George has an Estuary accent; the Deputy has a Belfast accent, and I don’t say anything. It’s not my role.
So there’s George: “But i aint done nuffin, Sir….”
“Don’t lie to me, boy.”
“But, Sir, I aint. I ain’t Miss. I aint.”
“We know you did. We have witnesses! Now it would be better if you confirm what we already know.”
I need to state now; the only witness we had was a pigeon. But the way the Deputy “larged” up the witness – hinted there was a whole legion of them; was something I shall never forget. “You were seen, boy.”
“They’re lying sir. I didn’t do it. Honest.” I was surprised he didn’t ask to know who had seen him. Not that the Deputy would have told him.
I learned later, that George only asked for witness names when he knew he was innocent.
However at the time, all I knew was what I saw in front of me. A small Year 8 boy, trying to get out of trouble. He blustered, and blustered and blustered
Clearly irritated by this impasse, the Deputy went on the offensive. The voice became harsher; the tone less forgiving. If an Irishman could have been part of the Inquisition this man would not only have been a member but president.
“You were seen boy” he repeated.
George – in a last desperate attempt to avoid the consequences – spread his arms wide, palms facing upwards. His eyes became wider, bluer.
“But Sir,” He thrust the hands under the nose of the Deputy Head. Most of us would have recoiled, as two grubby hands came into close proximity to a nose; but our Belfast boot boy stood firm. Most kids would have recoiled in the face of such sangfroid. George did not. The hands went wider, closer to the face.
“But Sir… These are innocent hands…Would these hands lie to you? ! Sir…”
The response was fast. Very fast. Really fast. And it was loud, so loud it must have broken noise pollution laws.
“Those hands might be innocent …” he roared. “But your eyes? Your eyes are lying BOY!”
The master criminal crumpled and was led away to Isolation.
I learned much and the Deputy just smiled. “I knew we’d get him. ” he told me grandly.
Who is the gasconade in this story?
I’ll leave that to you to decide.
I do know one thing: it’s not me!’
For other takes on Sidey’s theme, click here