Dark Short Stories. Glue by Andrew McIntyre. Today, enjoy the story and collage by Andrew McIntyre, Yareah friends.
Dr. Ferguson stood, surveying the dining room, waiting for complete silence. Raising his vast bushy eyebrows, his yellow eyes burning with passion, he cleared his throat, “Gentlemen, today the Senior House play Number Four in the semi-finals, Junior House play Number Six. I expect every boy not engaged in compulsory activities, to attend the matches and give your support to the teams. Three cheers for the Senior House and the Junior House . . .”
“Huzzah . . . Huzzah . . . Huzzah,” we shouted, banging forks and knives, glasses, the cacophony merging into a steady savage tribal rhythm.
He smiled, raising his hands, and the noise gradually died down. “Gentlemen, you are dismissed. Tally Ho, let’s keep the silverware, Number Seven never loses.” He motioned towards the tremendous display of cups, trophies, and engraved plates arrayed behind him in the mahogany war memorial. Lists of the dead, gold against the black.
More cheers and shouting as the rabble surged towards the changing rooms. I waited, letting them depart. I was off-games with a broken wrist. Kick-off at three o’clock, I would make my way to the playing fields after a cigarette. Standing on the sidelines with the weeds and the milksops.
Henderson patted me on the shoulder, “Wish you were playing, defense will be crap with Payler on the wing, we might be pushed today.”
I smiled, “Thanks. Yes, he’s a ponce.”
“Only in the team because daddy’s the school doctor,” Henderson added. “Big gangly woman.”
I laughed, wandering up the stairs, the noise and the foulness of the changing rooms below. The workmen had been redecorating the Reading Room, a pleasant smell of sawdust in the air. “Hello Mr. Rawlings,” I said. A big, placid, friendly man, Mr. Rawlings was an awfully good chap. He’d even given me a cigarette now and then. I’d paid him back when we met at the Fountain.
“Arr lad, still in plaster I see, ‘ow was yer lunch today then?”
“Rather awful, actually, I must say, the usual you know, Mr. Rawlings.”
He stared, his head tilted, one eye much larger than the other, “Now tell me then, young man, what did yer have that was so awful then?”
“We had the most dreadful beef, and soggy vegetables. There was skin on the custard.”
“Dreadful beef, you say, dreadful beef, and no doubt ye had Yorkshire Pud too?”
“Indeed,” I agreed. “But it was terribly dry.”
“But you ate it up, though.”
“Well, I must confess, I did leave some of the beef, there was some string, you see.”
“Now look ‘ere young man, let me tell you something.”
Initially, I thought he was joking but, to my astonishment, I realized Mr. Rawlings was quite angry.
Gesticulating, he continued, “After Normandy, it was, we was pushing forwards, Jerries at us all the time, hedgerow after hedgerow, no supplies for a couple of days, I was so hungry, I found a half rotten potato in a field, emptied out the worms, and I ate that potato raw, raw y’hear, raw, and you telling me about you didn’t like the beef, and the custard . . . And ye had Yorkshire Pud!”
While he was shouting, I noticed a large pot of glue in the bin at the back of the room. Evo-Stik, big red and white letters. I waited for him to calm down, “And they use potatoes to make glue, Mr. Rawlings. By the way, do you need that tin of glue in the bin there?”
“Eh?” He glanced round. “No, you take it lad, almost empty it is, if you need it pity to waste. But you hear what I say, like, don’t you ever be complaining about good food, never. And no waste. Food is food, and potatoes especially. Y’hear?”
“Yes, Mr. Rawlings.” I picked the tin out of the basket, “Thank you Mr. Rawlings, and a jolly good day to you. See you at the Fountain, we’ll be down there this Saturday.”
He nodded, “Arr, we’ll be drinking some beer, roight enough.”
Wandering along the wooden corridor towards the study, I opened the lid, pushing my finger onto the brown mass congealed at the bottom. Burying my face into the tin, I inhaled. Gagging, I stopped, inhaling again, and I barged into the room, “Lads! Look what I’ve got!”