Short story 4

Two young boys rolled on the tarmac of the school playground, hitting each other viciously. George ended up on top and he continued to punch the other boy’s face, who could do nothing about it, being restrained by George’s weight. It was very unfair.

The air raid warning sounded, but they carried on. George was carried away with unreasonable anger.

Miss Littlejohn emerged into the playground. “What are you doing? Didn’t you hear the siren? And haven’t we got enough trouble in the world?” She was nearly in tears. The boys carried on. “Stop It!” She pulled them apart.

“He called me a dirty gypsy, just because I live in Groton,” complained George, “not in a posh district like him.”

“That doesn’t matter. There are bigger problems than that in the world. Get into the shelter quickly.”

They joined the noisy caterpillar of their classmates, making their way down the steps into a long, very large, pipelike, concrete structure; half buried in the ground and covered with earth. Wooden seats were fixed in on either side. As they sat down George’s antagonist put out his tongue. George ignored it. He had cooled down.

Loud bangs could be heard outside, in spite of the covering earth.

“Let’s all sing.”Miss Littlejohn nervously suggested.

After the third song and their repertoire was running out, Miss Littlejohn started to read a story to distract the children. The bangs and the stories carried on for some time.

 Eventually, although the bangs had stopped, the stories continued. Time passed, and it was time to go home, but the All Clear had not sounded so they all just remained sitting there.

Parents started coming to collect their children; one or two at first, but then lots of them. Hours passed and the All Clear had still not sounded. There were few children left, just George, Joyce Wilkinson and one or two others.

“Can’t I go? I know the way. “pleaded George.

“No! It’s dangerous!”

 “Then, just as the other two were collected, Joyce’s mother came.

“You live near to George’s house, don’t you? Could you take him home? His mother does not seem to be coming.”

“Of corse.”

It was six months later when George had been away from school with whooping cough, the bombing had stopped and the war was going better.

“Now we have learned a lot of new stuff while George was away,” said the English teacher, in a cheerful voice, “Joyce, Tell him what we have learnt.”

Joyce slowly rose to her feet. “Well. Er. You have a verb which is a noun.  Er, um, it’s a predicate,” she looked up at the ceiling,” Um, Er Um and then a subject, Er…Then you put in an object”

“Stop!” interrupted the English teacher, “Sit down! How can George possibly understand that?”

Joyce sank to her seat

“George. What was that all about?”

Up stood George,  “Well. Er. You have a verb which is a noun.  Er, um, it’s a predicate,” George paused, “Um, Er Um and then a subject, Er… Then you put in an object””

The class burst into uproarious laughter. George beamed.

“Well that says more about George as a pupil than you as a teacher.”

George caught Joyce out of the corner of his eye. She was sad. He felt guilty. He was sorry. ‘Is sadness catching?’ he wondered?


Fill out the form below, and we will be in touch shortly.

Thank you, Keith Beal