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Short Story...

I wrote this short story over the last day or so and decided I'd pop it up here for you to have a butchers at. Enjoy.


The death of Fuse-Wire Maguire.
A Short Story.

He was a plain old-fashioned, old-time, one hundred and fifty percent, bastard of the highest order. That’s the reason I have no regrets about killing him.

His name was Mr Maguire and he was the head of the P.E department at the school. Fuse-Wire Maguire was his nickname amongst the pupils. Not without reason either. His temper was legend amongst pupils and teachers alike. Anyone who was witness to one of his rants knew without a shadow of a doubt never to cross him.

I was one of his most frequent targets for his rage. I wasn’t able to participate in most of the games on the curriculum as I suffered from chronic asthma during my early teenage years. He considered this a sign of weakness. Weakness was not to be tolerated in his class.

Whenever Mr Maguire spoke it was at a volume that shook the backboards of the basketball nets at either end of the gym hall. Outdoors he could make himself heard at a distance equal to two football pitches. Over the screams and yells of four football teams.

Not only was Mr Maguire loud enough to rival thunder but his speech was filled with foul language that would make a squad of the most hardened of army troops steady themselves on the furniture. The headmaster of the school once attempted to tell Mr Maguire to mind his P’s and Q’s and was told to “Fuck off, sissy boy.” in front of a canteen full of baying children.

He had a habit of calling the less hardy boys in the class by girls names. My nickname was “Gladys Goeslightly.” How much I hated him for this he never knew. During his class I would plot and plan the many varied ways I would like him to die.

The opportunity to watch him die however didn’t come for two years.

I had stayed on at school in order to sit my exams and Mr Maguire was assigned to be my guidance teacher. Less guidance I could not have had. The traditional role of guidance teacher was to spend time with the pupil in question and suggest possible career paths and generally assist in the formation of a useful member of society. Mr Maguire was never one for tradition. The only tradition Mr Maguire ever acknowledged was the ancient human tradition of making war.

During my short time in his class the government decided it needed to cull off some people in a place that we pupils couldn’t find on a map. Mr Maguire voiced his opinions on this. Often.

It was during one of his tirades that I finally snapped and told him he was a Neanderthal. The initial look of shock on his face was rapidly replaced by one of rage.
“How dare you question my intelligence you snot nosed little shite!” He bellowed. Flecks of saliva shot from his mouth and flew across the classroom.

Mr Maguire may have been a teacher, and therefore one of the people my mother had taught me to respect, but his opinions on this subject made my blood boil.
“What intelligence?” I challenged. “You’re a P.E teacher for gods sake. You’ve got the intelligence of a biscuit. The only reason you’re a P.E teacher is that the army wouldn’t take you because you’re a borderline psychopath with latent homosexual tendencies.” I continued, enraged.

Like a bolt of lightning Mr Maguire shot out of his chair and charged across the classroom. As he plunged through the desks and chairs of my fellow students, who were witnessing this spectacle with open mouths and looks of shock on their faces, he knocked people aside like they were made of paper.

When he was within ten or so feet of me I realised I had gone too far and had popped something in his head. I quickly shoved my desk forwards and rapidly stood up, knocking my seat backwards with the back of my knees. I quickly reached behind myself and grabbed the back of my chair before it scooted too far to reach and brought it around in front of me to use as a primitive barrier between him and I.

When Mr Maguire saw the chair come up he stopped his charge and skidded to a halt a foot or so away.
“Put the chair down.” He demanded.
“No way.” I said, my hands shaking as the adrenalin rush kicked in.
“Put the chair down. Please.” He asked, attempting to look calm.
“Why?” I asked. “So you can pull me out the class by my ear and make an example of me? No chance.” I continued.

“If you put the chair down now I won’t tell the headmaster you threatened me with it.” He said. His tone suggested some kind of trickery so I dismissed the suggestion.
“Get the hell away from me.” I said, poking the chair legs at him like a lion tamer facing the fiercest animal in the circus.

My actions pushed him further into a rage.
“If you don’t put that chair down now I’m going to take it off you and shove it up your arsehole!” Fuse-Wire bellowed like an enraged animal.

Suddenly the door of the classroom flew open and Mr Frasier burst in. “Filmstar” Frasier was the assistant headmaster of the school. His habit of walking around with a clipboard and shaded glasses on had earned him his nickname. He was the stern but unfair type of teacher who took time to listen to both sides of any argument before deciding whom to toady up to and agree with. He was despised by most of the staff and all of the pupils.

Mr Frasier immediately went into hostage negotiation mode. His arms were held outstretched and his hands were positioned in a way to denote a soothing atmosphere. His face remained open and he attempted to radiate a serenity normally reserved for Buddhist monks.

“Ok, Ok, everyone stay calm, it’s all going to be fine. Everyone is going to get out of here safe and well.” He said. A couple of the pupils in the class sniggered at his remarks but silence quickly returned when he continued his approach unabated. The tension he had injected with his dramatics had seeped into the collective consciousness of the classroom. I was in deep. This episode would go down in school history thanks to the rumour mill.

“No one needs to do anything rash here. Duke, why don’t you put the chair down and we can discuss all this nonsense.” He said to me in what he thought was a calming tone. Personally I thought it made him sound like a bigger dickhead than he already was. I didn’t let him know this as my focus was still on Mr Maguire in case he decided to use the distraction of Mr Frasier as an opportunity to wrestle the chair from my hands.

“If I put this chair down that swine will have my balls on a plate.” I said.
“Duke, Mr Maguire will do nothing. You have my word. We’ll go and see the headmaster and get all this foolishness sorted out. I’m sure it was all just a misunderstanding.” Mr Frasier opined without the knowledge of actually knowing what had caused this so called foolishness.

“Stick it up your arse Frasier.” I spat, lost in my anger. “You must think everyone is stupid around here. You waltz around stabbing people in the back left right and centre and think no one notices it. There’s not a pupil in this room that hasn’t seen it first hand and we’ve all seen the looks you get from the other teachers in the canteen. I’d stick my head in a crocodiles mouth before I trusted you.”

“Ok, Ok, there’s no need to bring personal opinions into this Duke. How about we bring someone in that you trust and we’ll all go to the headmasters office?” Mr Frasier suggested. I quickly took my eyes from the threatening spectre of Mr Maguire and glanced at Mr Frasier to see if he looked serious. I couldn’t tell.

“Ok. Get Mrs Black. I’ll go with her and no one else.” I said.
A pointed finger was all it took from Mr Frasier to get half a dozen pupils fleeing for the door. The opportunity to spread the news of a “hostage situation” was apparently too much for some of the pupils to handle. Perhaps one of them would actually make an effort to get Mrs Black.

The silence in the room was deafening for the next ten minutes as we waited for the arrival of Mrs Black with the exception of one of the stranger kids in the class who was attempting to stifle sobs and failing badly. Maybe memories of trouble like this at home had stirred deeply emotional memories within them and it had all got to be too much to handle. Or maybe they were just plain crazy. Chances were it was the second option.

The school itself was located in a lower class suburb of the city and subsequently contained a cross section of the housing schemes contained within the catchment area of the school. Some kids were always dirty, some always smelled, some always wore less than fashionable trainers and some were extremely vicious and prone to violence. It was little wonder the teachers were as screwed up as the pupils.

What category I fell into I’m not sure. I’m pretty certain I was never less than clean thanks to my mother being the proud type when it came to our personal hygiene. I only smelled when I had been smoking behind the school buildings. And I refused point blank to follow any kind of fashion other than my own and skirted along the edge of the school of faceless fish in the school system.

I wasn’t a hugely popular person but I had friends whom I trusted and classmates and acquaintances who would have my back if I got in trouble. Some of the teachers saw huge potential in me, others saw nothing but huge disappointment. Mrs Black was one of the ones who saw potential.

When Mrs Black arrived the look of disappointment on her face made me feel awful. I looked upon Mrs Black as a kind of mother figure and respected her for her attitude towards me. I realise now that I may have had something of a crush on her.

I think she saw me as some kind of son to her. She was as close to me as any of my friends or family. If ever I felt down or pissed off I could drop by the staffroom and she’d cheer me up in seconds. If she felt down I would do the same for her. We got along and enjoyed each others company.

These days our relationship would be seen as something sinister but back then was a more innocent time and a teacher showing any kind of emotional caring towards a child was nothing out of the ordinary. To all intents and purposes these people are our extended family. We spend as much time in our teachers company as we do our parents and their personalities shape who we become just as much.

“Put the chair down and stop being silly Duke.” Mrs Black said looking at me with a calm look on her face. There was no doubt in my mind that I was safe from Fuse-wire.

Upon seeing the look in her eyes and hearing the tone of her voice I immediately relaxed and put the chair down. Mr Maguire, who had been stood perfectly still the whole time like some kind of foul mouthed mantis, relaxed and Mr Frasier took a deep breath and began talking to the rest of the class about how his office was open if any of the pupils wanted to discuss this traumatic experience.

Mrs Black escorted me to the headmasters office and I sat outside waiting as Fuse-Wire Maguire and Filmstar Frasier told the head their versions of what had occurred. Because of the barrier of a door I couldn’t tell what was being said but my feeling was that they would spin the story to make it look like I was a danger to teachers, fellow pupils and myself.

When the secretaries intercom buzzed it sounded to me like the tolling of a bell calling me to my execution. I entered the office and took a seat opposite the headmaster and attempted to explain my actions. Fuse-Wire and Filmstar sat on either side of him and said nothing.

Having heard my side of the story the headmaster dismissed us all and told me to wait outside until he decided what action was to be taken. I wasn’t waiting long until I was called back into the office and was told that due to my violent action towards a teacher I was to be expelled with immediate effect.

Fuse-Wire sat grinning as the headmaster told me that due to my expulsion I would not be allowed to sit my exams and Filmstar began a speech about how disappointed he was. As the realisation of what had happened sank in I decided that if I was expelled I was no longer required to treat these people with anything amounting to respect.

I let loose and told Filmstar that I thought he was lower than a snakes anus and then turned on Fuse-Wire. “You haven’t got the intelligence to teach shit to smell. If I ever see you in the street I’m going to beat the living piss out of you.” I said, making sure that he saw the rage in my eyes.

“I’ll look forward to that.” Fuse-Wire replied.

The headmaster made a comment suggesting that everyone calm down and offered to give me a lift me home. I declined his offer and thanked him for his time. The headmaster may have been the one to take the final decision on my expulsion but I knew that the main responsibility fell squarely on the shoulders of Mr Maguire and Mr Frasier.

When I got home my mother had already received a phone call from the school informing her of my expulsion. To say she was angry was an understatement. Over the next hour she shouted herself hoarse. I was under no delusions that I had fucked up.

The following day I was dragged to the job centre and humiliated in public by my dad. His annoyance was plain for all to hear and his constant threats to knock some sense into me made it obvious that if I even considered not getting a job I would rue the day I was born.

After speaking to one of the people at the job centre my dad managed to get me a place on a youth training scheme. I was to appear there at 8am the following Monday. I was officially one of the gainfully employed. School was no more and I had put my foot on the first rung of the ladder to becoming a working man.

Despite the fact I was now to all intents a working man I was banished to my room for the rest of the week as a punishment for my actions and my friends were told in no uncertain terms that I was not allowed visitors. Judging by my mothers attitude towards me chances were I wouldn’t be allowed out of the house even if it was on fire.

My dad drove me to the training scheme on Monday morning in silence. His anger had subdued but his disappointment was still palpable. As I got out of the car I said I’d see him later. Despite the fact that he hadn‘t said a word to me all weekend he wished me good luck as I exited the car. I figured he knew how nervous I was at the prospect of my first day in a job and had decided to cut me some slack.

The training scheme was nothing more than a giant waste of time. Because I had been expelled from school I had no qualifications to my name. I was therefore seen as being one of the multitude of morons that my former school spat out. No qualifications equalled no prospects.

The advisor at the training centre took a long look at my school record, a short look at me and said one word. Janitor. I was told to report immediately to the school I had left only days before and become a janitor.

I walked the four miles to the school. Taking my time to delay the inevitable and ruminated on how Mr Maguire and Mr Frasier had sent me careening on this path. If Maguire hadn’t been such a jarhead and Frasier hadn’t been a toadying little fart I would be sitting my exams and would have better prospects than I was facing.

My arrival at the school gates coincided with the appearance of the majority of pupils. I was welcomed as something of a celebrity. It seemed that my outburst at Mr Maguire had already become part of the school lore. Friends patted me on the back and people whom I had previously only had nodding acquaintance shook my hand and spoke to me as though I was a hero.

The hero worship lasted until the bell rang to call the students to class. As rapidly as my fan base disappeared the prospect of reporting for work rushed back. Suddenly I felt like a stranger in a strange land despite the fact that I was in familiar surroundings.

I reported to the head janitors office and knocked on the door. The head janitor was a man named Mr Hastings. He was a warm and friendly guy whose son was in my year. His son and I shared a few classes and for a while had been a close friend of mine.

I knocked on the door of the office and heard Mr Hastings’ voice tell me to come in.
“Hello son. How are you?” He said.
“I’m fine Mr H. How’s you?” I asked.
“I’m fine. I heard you were expelled last week, change their mind did they?”
“No. I’ve got a start as a janitor today Mr H. I was told to report here by the job centre.”
“Well in that case you can call me Alex. Grab yourself a seat and we’ll get started.”

After answering the questions on the form to the best of my knowledge Alex took me to the staff room and introduced me to the rest of the janitorial staff. As the majority of the staff had had dealings with me during my schooling the introductions were short.

I was given a khaki coloured work overall, keys to a locker and a set of keys for the storage cupboards. I put my coat into the locker and pulled on the first ever work clothes I had ever owned.

For the rest of the day I was paired with a janitor named Buddy Brown who taught me the ropes of the job. Mostly the job involved cleaning toilets or doing minor repairs. Buddy and I got on well and the day passed with little drama.

The following day I had my first run in with Fuse-Wire Maguire. I was in the canteen having lunch when I noticed him striding across the room like he was the lord of all he surveyed. Smugness radiated from him and a feeling of anger flooded over me. Buddy sat opposite me reading his newspaper and drinking a cup of tea.

When Maguire saw me sitting eating my lunch he couldn’t resist making a comment about how he knew I would always end up in a menial job. I bit my tongue and let it go. If I got the sack my life would be cut short when I got home.
“Get lost prick.” Buddy said between mouthfuls of tea.
Fuse-Wire said nothing and walked away.
“What the fuck?” I said.
“Hmmm?” Said Buddy, his mouth full of tea.
“Fuse-Wire didn’t let loose at you and start bawling you out.”
“That’s because I’m not a little kid.” Buddy replied, returning to his tea.
While I thought about this Buddy spoke up again.
“He’s a bully of the worst kind. He picks on kids who don’t stand up for themselves. But you know that already. I heard you were expelled for sticking up for something. Hope it was worth it.” Buddy said, confirming my thoughts about Fuse-wire.

“Look kid, that prick isn’t your boss. The only teacher you need to answer to here is the headmaster. The janitors are your workmates. Remember that and you’ll do fine.” Buddy said, folding his paper. “Now finish your brew. We’ve got work to do. The toilet in the science block is blocked again. Probably kids stuffing loo roll down it again.”
I laughed as I recalled doing the very same thing not that long ago.
“Bring back memories?” Buddy asked.

The rest of the afternoon was spent knee deep in sewage. I found myself cursing whatever pupil it was that had the idea of wedging toilet rolls down the toilet pans in the science block. As Buddy and I waded through the river of foul smelling water I apologised to him for the hassle I had caused him and the rest of the janitors during my schooling.

“Forget about it. If it wasn’t you it would have been someone else.” Buddy said as he fished in the first pan and withdrew a sodden loo roll. “One down, five to go. Roll up your sleeves and get stuck in. Where there’s muck there’s brass as they say.”

After unblocking the rest of the toilets and mopping the flood water from the toilets down the wall length urinal Buddy and I went to the staff room, got changed and made our ways home. On the way out of the school I bumped into Mrs Black and we chatted for a while.

As I walked home, having turned down the invitation of a lift from Mrs Black, I considered my lot so far. All in all I hadn’t done too badly. The janitorial staff were friendly, I knew most of the teachers and my friends were not all that far away if I felt like having a cigarette with them behind the drama department.

The next few weeks passed without incident and I settled into the routine of work easily. Exam time came and went and gradually my former classmates left for jobs of their own. I wished them all well and said I’d keep in touch. A few remained to carry on their education and sit higher exams and we would sit together in the canteen during lunch.

Summer holidays came along. My friends that had stayed on at school got summer jobs and the janitors and I got down to the serious work of repairing as much of the school as possible while the students were gone. I was almost surprised when I found out how much damage the school suffered at the hands of pupils but soon realised that I wasn’t the only one who occasionally found random acts of destruction amusing.

When the summer holidays finished I discovered that most of my former classmates had found their summer jobs so enjoyable that they started working them full time.

Only one of my former classmates had decided to continue education. Her name was Susan and she was one of the few people in my class that I didn’t know much about. We’d known of each other for almost six years but hadn’t really spoken. I made an effort to get to know her better after seeing her sitting alone in the canteen.

Over the next few months Susan and I began seeing more of each other out of school. We ended up dating each other, one thing led to another and I proposed to her after a particularly drunken night at the local pub. She accepted and we moved in together.

Then came the day Fuse-Wire Maguire came back into my life.

It was a cold day late in the year. A boiler had packed in and I was sent to the boiler rooms to see what the problem was. I checked things over and discovered that the pressure gauge was acting up. A spare was available in the stores so I decided to replace it despite the fact that I would have to knock the heating off in the science and P.E departments. Technically this was against the rules as there were pupils in those departments but I figured that the science block Bunsen burners would keep everyone warm enough and anyone doing P.E would be sweating anyway.

About an hour after I shut the heating off I heard the squeak of rubber soled shoes on concrete and turned around to see Fuse-Wire Maguire approaching with an angry look on his face. As soon as he saw it was me he let loose.
“What the fuck do you think you’re doing? I’ve got pupils in my class practically freezing to death.” He bayed. The veins on his neck were bulging and his face was as red as a baboons backside.

“Calm down monkey man.” I said. “The heating will be back on in half an hour.”
“Who the hell do you think you’re calling monkey man?” Maguire said, sizing me up.
“I called you monkey man, now why don’t you piss off and let me get finished. The quicker I get this done the quicker the heating goes back on.” I said, ignoring Maguire’s threatening posture.

Maguire didn’t relent. As he stood shouting at me I continued working on the pressure gauge. The more attention I paid to the gauge the more Maguire’s pressure gauge rose. His anger level grew and so did his voice.
“I’ll have your fucking job for this!” He bellowed.
“Yeah yeah, whatever.” I said, continuing to work.
“Just you wait until I see the headmaster about this! I’ll make sure you never work here again.” He spat.

His fury pushed me beyond my limits. I spun around and faced him. Fuse-Wire Maguire took a step towards me in what I considered to be a test of my nerve. I stood still, remembering what Buddy had said about Maguire being nothing more than a bully of defenceless kids.

When I didn’t move Maguire decided that I wasn’t yet intimidated enough and spoke again. “You were a waster when you went to school here and now you’re wasting your life working as a janitor. How fitting.” He said, leaning towards me in an attempt to unsettle me.

His words hit a nerve somewhere inside of me. I thought of how my life had turned around in the past few months. I had been expelled from school and had landed a menial job in a meaningless school where mealy mouthed pricks like him lorded over scared kids.

I had had enough. “Either you fuck off right now or I’ll split your skull open.” I snapped, brandishing the large wrench I had been using to tighten a valve. Seeing this happen made Maguire swing a punch at my head.

The punch glanced off my cheek and before I knew it I had smashed the wrench into the side of his head. A sickening crack accompanied the wrench hitting him and he dropped to the floor. I looked down and saw thick looking red blood seeping from a large gash in his head.

Panic swept over me as the reality of the situation sank in. I dropped to my knees and checked if Fuse-Wire Maguire was breathing. I couldn’t tell so I took his wrist in my hand and checked for a pulse. I couldn’t feel one. The shock of not feeling a pulse made me drop his arm like it was a rattle snake.

“Oh fuck. I’ve killed him.” I said.

I immediately realised that if anyone walked in I would be facing a murder charge. I had a history of violence towards Fuse-Wire. He was lying dead at my feet with his skull smashed in and I was holding a wrench covered in his blood.

Disposing of the body was easier than I could have hoped for. The main body of the school was heated by a coal fired furnace. With a little effort, and the handle of a broom, I managed to heave him in. The flames flicked and licked at him and his skin began sizzling.

The smell reminded me of the meatballs served in the canteen.

The wanderer returns...

To let you all know how things are going in the life of me.

I have a £30 phone bill that needs paying asap. (Christ only knows how it's as much as that, I never phone anyone. Line rental? Don't get me started.)

Scottish power have begun threatening me with a visit to discuss payment of their outstanding bill. (And we all know that Scottish Power is facing financial ruin if I don't pay my bill as soon as it lands on my doorstep. They only made roughly £600 million in profit in 2006 so I imagine 2007 was a lean year for them.)

The council are chasing me for £50 in unpaid rent. Another one that puzzles me. My rent is paid BY the government TO the government and yet they still screw it up. (Must be short a few million due to the overspending on the Scottish parliament building and the tram system that is being put into place as I type. Which, by the way is massively overpriced, useless as far as travel anywhere outside the city centre is concerned and extremely unnecessary. Oh yeah and it's going to turn out to be another cock up as it'll spiral out of control and end up costing three times as much as we were initially told it would.)

But on the sunnier side of things I'm not too far from finishing my college course (I have one more section to finish and possibly a rewrite or two and that's that done.) I'm off to Florida on a family holiday next month and I'm a ball hair off of being back in full time employment.

Apart from that it's all pretty much same shit different day.