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Claire Thomas publishes an offensive drawing of the Royal baby in the school magazine

– Well, I mean thing is, I wanted to capture the horror of childbirth. I just thought it was an amazing moment because it was where they were just like animals before the propaganda starts. I mean I suppose it goes without saying, I’m a republican.

The headmaster was not impressed by this. He shifted his weight in his chair looking at Claire. He shifted his weight the other way.

– I mean, I certainly wasn’t evoking violence on an infant. You realise there is blood in a childbirth?

– Yes but, the children are not comfortable with that.

– The children liked it.

– Yes. The parents are not comfortable with that.

Claire let out a ten second breath with moaning undertones.

– You’re right. I’m sorry. It won’t happen again. See you round.

Claire got up and wandered out of Mr Weed’s office wistfully looking at his degrees on the wall. The last one made her laugh out loud.


Figure 1. The offending cartoon of the Royal baby, George Windsor.

The picture had made the previously bland woman a figure of great respect and admiration among the children. They started to pay attention to her slight disinterested tone. Often gazing out the window she would reel off the syllabus without any interest, but she couldn’t help herself from throwing in unusual observations on the material. She would talk about the manner in which the more subtle elements of a subject were sometimes omitted to aid simplicity, to the extent that it was occasionally necessary to include a fallacy in order for the simpler system to be consistent and that most crucially this didn’t matter in the slightest to progress of education. Where before these went by unnoticed, now they were spoken of after the lesson. Written down and repeated to anyone not in a class with her.

Today, she sat back in her chair looking benignly at 7B, heads down in a test. She looked at each in turn and said to herself ‘I hate you’. Each fleshy innocent appeared to her a gross corruption. She had come to find her job one of transmitting a field of force that might hold these people down. She wandered how they could go about their day without feeling dread and shame pulling them toward a noose. On a more positive note she looked at James Worthington. Being the best student in the class, she obviously despised him the most. She had given him a different test to the others after wasting an evening in despair after seeing the look on his face receiving the previous test score. His paper had questions such as ‘formulate a theory that predicts the values of prime numbers’, ‘write a beautiful sentence using four words’ and ‘solve the measurement problem’ among others.

She stood up and went into a small room which separated her classroom from another. Looking into that classroom, at Dr Brown pointing at some ridiculous diagram of an atom, she took out a pen and wrote in red felt tip on to his folder of lesson plans ‘Fuck Dr Brown’. She went back in to the class room, walked around the students a little and then aimlessly walked out of the school and back home. It was a matter of some amusement to her to ponder the manner in which the students finally left the classroom.

She sat on her toilet lid, legs crossed and leaning against the wall, smoking a cigarette. She looked over at her mother’s corpse. It was two weeks old now and rank with maggots. She moved gaze over a picture from Disneyland, stood up and threw the cigarette on to her mothers bed and walked out the front door; a cold banal manner without and within.

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A Portrait of a Provincial Nobody

    Words and pictures from Raph Shirley, in humorous weblog form.

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