School Boy Fags
Do you get me, rest of school? Has it sunk in?
Oh yes. I am plain-clothes.
I come-and-go pretty much as I please.
Not really. But good enough. I have 'study breaks'. I am allowed to leave the premises during lunch hour. You aren't. I am. You know those study breaks? That means I don't have to be here at all. You do.
I am SIXTH FORM. The ELITE.
Have you seen TopGun? We are like Tom Cruise after he proved himself to be not gay and just had some non-gay father-issues and that the IceMan chap was just generally frustrated. About non-gay things. It is by no means a homoerotic film. Kelly McGillis actually looks very feminine in that basebal cap. And bomber-jacket. And not like a drag-queen at all. Not that it would matter. It is my understanding that neither Tom Cruise nor Val Kilmer have the slightest interest in ladyboys or drag-queens. At all. They have both been married and that. Anyway, TopGun is not a gay film. But I wouldn't watch it now of course.
Of a lunch-time, me and my friends, after our lunch, fancy a smoke.
We're all grown-up now don't you see. All of sixteen-getting-on-seventeen-some-of-us.
We retire to our 'spot'. Said 'spot' is a fairly pleasant suburban street not too far from the school.
We call it the 'Wall.'. Because, if we are flat on our arses, the 'wall' covers our entire existance.
To us, our presense on this FOOTPATH (which it was) meant nothing to us. This was our space. There were between half- and one-dozen of us.
To the outside world it probably meant 'Hello. We are here. And any other citizens of this street that has decent business here can fuck off.'
There were probably plenty of people who felt us a menace. We were just having a cigarette.
There's about a dozen of us. A FIGURE appears around the corner.
General exodus. Leaving only me and Fuck Off. (So named with reference to his general attitude. He's in prison now. Heroin and that.)
Me and FU decide against running. I mean We're sixteeen. It's just undignified. And scarpering when you're trying to finish a cigarette is just not cool..
FIGURE resolves itself. It's only the fucking HEAD.
Previous Headmaster was a fool. Short. Balding. Obssessed about the rubbish out the front of our school street. Empty of soul. The 'rubbish thing' beacame the hole that would fill his heart. No-one had the nerve to tell him it was just a dirty street.
This guy took over. His hair was great. He had that ability to say whatever would agree with whoever was in the room at the time.
He was way ahead of his time.
'My office. 30 Minutes..'
Images of all sorts of unappealling stuff.
No matter how Blairite this man was - and these were days long before anyone knew who Tony Blair was - the Head's Office is the Head's Office.
Shit shit shit. We are fucked fucked fucked.
We sculk. 'Here to see the Head' we mutter.
Headmaster's Secretary looks at us like the scum we are. Well, we must be. We're here to see the Head.
'Sit.' She says. Barbara Wodehouse and that.
'Wait.' We wait. Shit. It works.
Her phone buzzes. She listens.
We enter the Head's office. Nobody good ever sees the inside of the Head's Office. No-one except the very awful see the inside of the Head's Office. I would like to say that 'it was fun - we got to make like we were notorious'. But we were shitting our pants.
We sit in front of his desk.
This is the closest I have ever been to the Head. He doesn't look good. Being sixteen, I am quite familiar with this particular look.
HE WAS ON THE LASH LAST NIGHT!
It occurs to me that he needs this petty shit about as much as we do. Is it possible he is human?
The Head rubs his eyes.
'Look,' he says, 'I know you are desperate for a fag about lunchtime. But the staff [he says the word as if it causes him some distaste] - the staff are really making this their mission at the minute. My advice. If you go a bit further up the road, there's an alley they never check.'
We mumble agreement and, sensing the conversation is over, bumble our way to the door.
The Head runs a hand through his very-good hair. 'Thanks guys.'
'Erm. Oh. I mean. Yeah. Thanks. No. Erm. You're wel - shut up you twat - come on.'
We both spend a week walking about with a what-the-fuck-just-happened look about us. And then, out of respect, gratitude and deference to our new personal hero, made extra care that our cigarette-smoking habits did not infringe upon local residents and - most importantly - the staff.
Note to any managerial-types: I'm not saying it works. But why not try? What have you got to lose? People calling you a wanker behind your back for ever? You can live without that, surely?
Not that I can talk. I had staff and was awful. It made me feel like a BIG MAN.
(That last bit is not true. I mean, I had staff and that. I was important you know. Actually yes, I was quite horrible. But in a 'I'm being ironically horrible' way and anyone who didn't get it was 'FUCKING FIRED!'. But not really. Until they got the joke. People just started being very quiet around me.)