Boys and their games

July 27, 2019

They’d skive off games on Wednesday afternoons, bunk-off to the cinema, three or four of them together. Sometimes, though, there’d be just two, David and Paul. They’d go back to David’s house and muck about, more often than not taking turns at feeling each other up. As soon as one of them was near to ejaculating, he’d hiss ‘STOP’, grab hold of the other’s stiffy and start rubbing like there was no tomorrow. They’d edge each other this way for an hour or more. One time they did it for three full hours.

At some point during the proceedings they’d strip off their kit and lay together on Dave’s bed. Eventually, inevitably, each rubbing the other slowly, they’d both shoot copious loads of cum over David’s quilt – which they’d then have to try and clean-up before his mum got home.

c’est la vie.

book portal

When I was nine, possibly ten, an author came to our school to talk about writing. His name was Hugh Scott, and I doubt he’s known outside of Scotland. And even then I haven’t seen him on many shelves in recent years in Scotland either. But he wrote wonderfully creepy children’s stories, where the supernatural was scary, but it was the mundane that was truly terrifying. At least to little ten year old me. It was Scooby Doo meets Paranormal Activity with a bonny braw Scottish-ness to it that I’d never experienced before.

I remember him as a gangling man with a wiry beard that made him look older than he probably was, and he carried a leather bag filled with paper. He had a pen too that was shaped like a carrot, and he used it to scribble down notes between answering our (frankly disinterested) questions. We had no idea who he was you see, no one had made an effort to introduce us to his books. We were simply told one morning, ‘class 1b, there is an author here to talk to you about writing’, and this you see was our introduction to creative writing. We’d surpassed finger painting and macaroni collages. It was time to attempt Words That Were Untrue.

You could tell from the look on Mrs M’s face she thought it was a waste of time. I remember her sitting off to one side marking papers while this tall man sat down on our ridiculously short chairs, and tried to talk to us about what it meant to tell a story. She wasn’t big on telling stories, Mrs M. She was also one of the teachers who used to take my books away from me because they were “too complicated” for me, despite the fact that I was reading them with both interest and ease.

When dad found out he hit the roof. It’s the one and only time he ever showed up to the school when it wasn’t parents night or the school play. After that she just left me alone, but she made it clear to my parents that she resented the fact that a ten year old used words like ‘ubiquitous’ in their essays. Presumably because she had to look it up.

Anyway, Mr Scott, was doing his best to talk to us while Mrs M made scoffing noises from her corner every so often, and you could just tell he was deflating faster than a bouncy castle at a knife sharpening party, so when he asked if any of us had any further questions and no one put their hand up I felt awful. I knew this was not only insulting but also humiliating, even if we were only little children. So I did the only thing I could think of, put my hand up and said “Why do you write?”

I’d always read about characters blinking owlishly, but I’d never actually seen it before. But that’s what he did, peering down at me from behind his wire rim spectacles and dragging tired fingers through his curly beard. I don’t think he expected anyone to ask why he wrote stories. What he wrote about, and where he got his ideas from maybe, and certainly why he wrote about ghosts and other creepy things, but probably not why do you write. And I think he thought perhaps he could have got away with “because it’s fun, and learning is fun, right kids?!”, but part of me will always remember the way the world shifted ever so slightly as it does when something important is about to happen, and this tall streak of a man looked down at me, narrowed his eyes in an assessing manner and said, “Because people told me not to, and words are important.”

I nodded, very seriously in the way children do, and knew this to be a truth.

In my limited experience at that point, I knew certain people (with a sidelong glance to Mrs M who was in turn looking at me as though she’d just known it’d be me that type of question) didn’t like fiction. At least certain types of fiction. I knew for instance that Mrs M liked to read Pride and Prejudice on her lunch break but only because it was sensible fiction, about people that could conceivably be real. The idea that one could not relate to a character simply because they had pointy ears or a jet pack had never occurred to me, and the fact that it’s now twenty years later and people are still arguing about the validity of genre fiction is beyond me, but right there in that little moment, I knew something important had just transpired, with my teacher glaring at me, and this man who told stories to live beginning to smile.

After that the audience turned into a two person conversation, with gradually more and more of my classmates joining in because suddenly it was fun.

Mrs M was pissed and this bedraggled looking man who might have been Santa after some serious dieting, was starting to enjoy himself. As it turned out we had all of his books in our tiny corner library, and in the words of my friend Andrew “hey there’s a giant spider fighting a ghost on this cover! neat!” and the presentation devolved into chaos as we all began reading different books at once and asking questions about each one. “Does she live?”— “What about the talking trees” —“is the ghost evil?” —“can I go to the bathroom, Miss?” —“Wow neat, more spiders!”

After that we were supposed to sit down, quietly (glare glare) and write a short story to show what we had learned from listening to Mr Scott. I won’t pretend I wrote anything remotely good, I was ten and all I could come up with was a story about a magic carrot that made you see words in the dark, but Mr Scott seemed to like it. In fact he seemed to like all of them, probably because they were done with such vibrant enthusiasm in defiance of the people who didn’t want us to.

The following year, when I’d moved into Mrs H’s class — the kind of woman that didn’t take away books from children who loved to read and let them write nonsense in the back of their journals provided they got all their work done — a letter arrived to the school, carefully wedged between several copies of a book which was unheard of at the time, by a new author known as J.K. Rowling.

Mrs H remarked that it was strange that an author would send copies of books that weren’t even his to a school, but I knew why he’d done it. I knew before Mrs H even read the letter.

Because words are important. Words are magical. They’re powerful. And that power ought to be shared. There’s no petty rivalry between story tellers, although there’s plenty who try to insinuate it. There’s plenty who try to say some words are more valuable than others, that somehow their meaning is more important because of when it was written and by whom. Those are the same people who laud Shakespeare from the heavens but refuse to acknowledge that the quote “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them“ is a dick joke.

And although Mr Scott seems to have faded from public literary consumption, I still think about him. I think about his stories, I think about how he recommended another author and sent copies of her books because he knew our school was a puritan shithole that fought against the Wrong Type of Words and would never buy them into the library otherwise. But mostly I think about how he looked at a ten year old like an equal and told her words and important, and people will try to keep you from writing them — so write them anyway.

Joy Demorra
Meeting an Author

Diary 1st April

April fool’s day.

#

In which case should I write about the Fish woman leading a tartan clad army in an invasion of England? A fish unable to let go of the distant past; a Fish consequently obsessing about irrelevancies?

No modern leader of Scotland can ever live up to the example set by Mel Gibson. Now there was a first minister worth dying for!

“FREEDOM!”

Alas, freedom is not a quality found in Brussels. As the Irish like to say: “Imeacht gan teacht ort” which tells us everything, doesn’t it?

#

I would like my fiction to profoundly disturb. It should be an open door that leads where the reader would never normally have consented to go; a door that simply twists reality into mind warping arabesques…

#

School days in mind, again. Teachers, male and female, observing their young charges (us) during the lunch break. Noisy Cherubim and Seraphim are we, scattered around the playground in small gossiping groups (no ball games are allowed).

What thoughts filled the heads of those blackgowned masters and mistresses, standing together like big black bats beside the stacked milk crates?

Their job, after all, was to forcibly conventionalise us as potential miniatures of themselves. But children are such unruly barbarians, aren’t they So did they perhaps, these teachers, envision myriad bare bottoms, offered up as targets to their swishy canes?

We Cherubim and Seraphim had ‘normal’ bourgeois backgrounds. But many of us harboured infantile fantasies of burning schools, and the spontaneous combustion of hated individual members of staff.

Like Miss Boil…

Boil the Bitch” she was nicknamed. And bitch she most certainly was. Quick tempered. A firey Irish redhead, with a short fuse. She liked to group three rulers together on her desk; she’d use these to lash out and strike the backs of the hands of any child within easy reach – when the mood was upon her. She took an unspeakable delight in this, and the tears of her victims…the red marks on soft flesh.

It seemed to us at the time, that her pleasure was heightened when her blows landed on bare legs or arms. She was our form mistress and always condemned our slovenly dress or poor hygiene or careless homework – there was something almost fetishistic in her behavior! As if, deep down, she hated children. Hated us.

Once Ken B was caught picking his nose and eating the secreta. Boil, screaming, hacked at him with her rulers. Vicious blows to legs, backside. The rulers broke. Backing away from her, Ken tripped over a chair; ended up on the floor, his legs in the air supported by the chair – and the Boil grabbed and twisted between his spread legs.

All in that classroom were shocked by the unexpected severity of her outburst. It was bad even for the Boil. Worse, of course, for snot-eating Ken, who fainted through pain and the shock of what she did to him…

And what of Mr Varmā our teacher of mathematics? He spent most of his time having the class learn theorems. He enjoyed (apparently) having his pupils recite them from memory. The rest of his time he spent telling us, the Cherubim and Seraphim, of the mind blasting punishments that lay in store if we should fail in our recitation. He took particular delight in describing an occasion in some other school when he had caned a boy who’d failed to memorize his theorems –

‘I caned him and caned him and caned him ‘til the blood flowed…’ This recounted in the high, shrill voice of a closet sadist.

‘But surely not, I hear you cry.’ This must be an exaggeration or make-believe. Teachers like that couldn’t possibly exist!

Au contraire mes enfants.

The above is true. Certainly I’ve played with chronology. Miss Boil was form mistress at Chester Collage; Mr Varmā was maths teacher at Riverside in Harrow Weald. There were a couple of years between these unhappy encounters. But both were unstable individuals in positions they should never have held.

But we, the Cherubim and Seraphim, daily underwent psychostasy at their hands. We had to put up with the trials and tribulations; the ordeals and outrage. The pair of them were nutjobs who managed to fool the powers that be for a time. Ultimately, we, the Cherubim and Seraphim, should throw roses into the abyss in thanks that we weren’t devoured by these monsters.

#

You bury the past, but with a will of its own it digs itself free to confront you again. Was it not Max Beerbohm who wrote: ‘The past is a work of art, free of irrelevancies and loose ends.’ Well, recalling my past now, in relative tranquility, it seems full of ‘loose ends’ and ‘irrelevancies’…

handful

Diary 19th February

My interest in history?

It was the way our teacher approached the subject back in the day, made it so much different to my other classes. I can’t remember her name now, but I can visualize her face. I was seven years old.

It was a mixed class, boys and girls, and we all sat around listening to her, still as statues as she told us about the Stone Age, Neanderthal man and the first Homo Sapiens. It fired my imagination.

I remember working flint in the garden at home and making my own (lethal) Stone Axe, using a tree branch (suitably trimmed and stripped of bark) and twine. My first attempt at ‘historic’ reconstruction.

#

Dildos are great and vibrators are fun,
But nothing beats the strength of my tongue!

#

Just because it’s a bad idea doesn’t mean it won’t be fun…

#

I felt your mouth on me as I slept. I forgot about your teeth…Ah, my sweet vampire!

#

Trump, Trump, Trump…

Poor Donald seems to be floundering, out of his depth. He plays the media, of course, and they hate it. Each day in office he creates a new controversy and the media like a pack of constipated gripe hounds hurry to the sound of “their master’s voice”.

He has, without doubt, outraged the world with his attempted immigrant ban. But he’s certainly NOT the first president to do this. Back in 1882, Chester A Arthur signed his name to the ‘Chinese Exclusion Act’ banning Chinese for a period of ten years from entry into the US.

President Franklin D Roosevelt, elected four times no less, argued Jewish refugees posed a threat to US national security. Exaggerating the fear that Nazi spies could be hiding in their number, he limited the number of German Jews who could be admitted to 26,000 annually. (Less than 25% of that number were actually admitted).

Theodore Roosevelt, that tireless advocate of war and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize (one should never underestimate Scandinavian wit), banned “Anarchists” from entry to the US along with sufferers of epilepsy, beggars and importers of prostitutes. It was the first time ‘the home of the brave and land of the free’ banned people because of their political beliefs.

And more recently, Jimmy Carter banned Iranians from entering the US. His attorney general, Benjamin Civiletti, ordered all Iranians with student visas to report to U.S. immigration within a month or face possible deportation. Almost 60,000 students were registered as requested, 430 were deported and 5,000 left voluntarily. There was no great outcry or gnashing of teeth at the time by the moral majority.

And then President Ronald Reagan, dear Ronnie, inventor of the Star Wars project and ex-FBI informer, banned HIV positive persons from arriving in the US. This law was influenced by homophobic and xenophobic sentiment towards Africans and minorities at the time. Again, the media paid little attention.

So perhaps the problem is NOT the immigration ban as such, but is more about President Trump’s ‘style’ of government? He is NOT seen as “presidential” by the media, possibly?

Perhaps they are comparing him with those rather dim presidents in the past? Rutherford B Hayes, for example. Hayes and his wife known as Lemonade Lucy were high society butterflies. Of course, his opponent in the 1876 election, Samuel Tilden, was elected president by a quarter of a million votes. But Congress and the Supreme court, showing they could act just as forcefully and illegally as any president, reversed the election and the poignantly blameless Rutherford became know thereafter as president Rutherfraud.

Or then again, perhaps it’s Trump’s wealth the media and his opponents take issue with? The US, of course, has never had a ‘poor’ president. Even George Washington was a millionaire (his fortune honestly acquired via marriage). From that day to this, holders of the presidential office simply became increasingly more wealthy – that had to be the case in order to finance their political campaigns. And the media flourishes on the hundreds of millions of dollars spent at election time for television advertising – air time that increasingly avoids anything political, while indulging in ever more disgraceful character assassination.

Or then again, perhaps it’s the way Donald backcombs his hair pisses off so many people? I don’t know. It’s a mystery. He’s not a very ‘revolutionary or original’ president; most of what he suggests has been done before – like the famous wall between US and Mexico,  a build already commenced by another, earlier president!

No. Ultimately, I see Donald Trump as one of the prosperous few making wide-ranging promises to the restless many – his personal goal, to depart on that magical ego trip of White House residency. But will he keep those promises? Are they even realistic or realisable? Only time will tell…

Untitled

February 1, 2017

snow-and-water

There is not much one can do
when winter’s sun plays the ghost
and trees with flailing arms, seem repentant
of days gone, with summer cherry kisses
disappearing. The glistening white on fields
is reminder to a past which has lost ways.
School. The fields are no longer green.
Swishing of cricket bats – the sound, inviolate
Childhood is one such switch over.
Yet love the summer houses look pale
as winter merges with these quiescent hills
witness to thunderous rains and clapping of clouds.
Sounds merge with clouds and the hills as if lying supine
wait patiently for the crow, another season.

Ananya S Guha

a-ride-in-the-snow

Diary 20th November

They say time flows in strange ways on a Sunday. Why that should be so, I don’t know? But because of it, vision can become strangely distorted, the commonplace manifest elements of the unfamiliar – but I still bring you your usual cup of tea in bed.

#

Wet and very windy outside this morning. A wild, restless night.

#

The Imam’s greatest fear? A woman who can read and write apparently…

However, there are in this world any number of males, regardless of race, creed or colour, who treat women as if they were a kind of mindless masturbation device. A woman is raped in Dubai, complains to the authorities and is promptly arrested for her involvement in ‘extra marital sex’.

Unfortunately, the patriarchical society existing in the United Arab Emirates sees no difference between rape and consensual sexual intercourse. Perhaps, because these males regularly force themselves on their women, they feel this to be the norm?

The area’s human rights record generally stinks. The local interpretations of Shari’a law also stinks.

An Australian woman was recently sent to prison for 11 months after reporting a gang-rape to police. She was surprised, no doubt, to be treated like an offender rather than a victim. The bemused and bewildered police officers asked why she’d made such a complaint? Didn’t she enjoy the sex?

In the United Arab Emirates, as in many other countries using Islamic law, a rape conviction requires either a full confession from the perpetrator / s, or the testimony of four adult male witnesses to the offence! DNA evidence and medical reports count for nothing! Nor does the testimony of a woman.

The fact is, debilitating gender stereotypes and assumptions about women threaten women’s personal safety – and not just in the UAE, either.

In the United States of America reported sexual assaults against women occur statistically at the rate of one every two minutes (US Justice Department survey). According to an old Federal study, National Violence Against Women, the total figure of sexual assaults against women is nearer five every two minutes.

And in the UK approximately 85,000 women are raped in England and Wales each year (These figures are assaults by penetration and attempted penetration). Nearly half a million adults are sexually assaulted in England and Wales every year. One in 5 women aged 16 – 59 has experienced some form of sexual violence since attaining the age of 16 (figures come from An Overview of Sexual Offending in England and Wales).

Heartbreaking and totally unacceptable statistics. The biggest threat to women in today’s world, it would seem, is the male of the species.

In-feckin’-credible!

#

Memories of school days this morning: of unexpected turmoil, teachers, traffic, telly and the torture of masses of homework. Anxiety over ‘O’ levels. First love. Heavy petting. And parents, red-faced with rage, devotedly hating each other – and so much of that hatred spilling over on me as an innocent bystander at the wreck of their marriage.

I remember it mostly as a time without smiles…

#

D’you remember going for a sleigh ride in the snow on Christmas day? We were in Switzerland, remember? That old man wrapped fur blankets round us to keep out the cold, and we rode up through the trees, our breath steaming in the crystal air. It was magical, wasn’t it?

#

Magic has the power to experience and fathom things which are inaccessible to human reason. For magic is a great secret wisdom; and reasoning against it is nothing else but an extreme folly.
Paracelsus, De Occulta Philosophia

School, poetry & love…

August 5, 2016

blooms

Some of my earliest memories are of school and of poetry. In particular the hours of homework spent with my copy of ‘Sound and Sense’, trying to scan various poems and to understand how the sounds of language can be used to create mood and meaning.

What, I used to ask myself, is the point?

The school I attended was private (that should be with a capital P), one of those facilities developed for people reasonably well-off, but not stinking-rich: a place for upper middle-class couples to rid themselves of the embarrassment of a potential lower-class lout or loutess, without the gut-wrenching cost of Harrow, or Eton or where-have-you.

We had to learn an awful lot of poems by rote in school. Generally an unpleasant exercise, I have to say; although I must admit Walter de la mare’s “Silver” struck a chord in me. It carried its own thrilling music within the words. That particular poem, I recall, was memorised for one of the LAMDA examinations (They took place every year).

Another poem that we all had to learn by heart was by W H Davies, aka Supertramp, titled “Leisure”:

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this is if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

That poem, I believe, was published in Davies collection “Songs of Joy and Others” in 1911, though first published around 1906 in some periodical or other. But I still feel it in my…My what? My soul? I’m not certain. But I still feel it as something magical, despite my having had to learn it by rote to pass an exam and acquire another bloody certificate (Oh, how the school loved those bits of paper; certificates went some way to justify the horrendous fees they charged to educate/imprison us).

Another poem we had to learn was “The Highwayman” by Alfred Noyes. This I suspect was selected at the time to appeal to the romantic/tragic nature of the girls, and the melodramatic/ bloodthirsty nature of the boys (because, oh, yes, the school was co-educational!).

The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees,
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
The road was a ribbon of moonlight, over the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding –
Riding – riding –
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.

Later in the poem it was Tim the ostler that impressed me most. I saw him as the embodiment of Quasimodo – although lacking that individual’s unfortunate physical deformities, and, of course, the bells. But even so –

His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair like mouldy hay,
But he loved the landlord’s daughter,
The landlord’s red-lipped daughter,

But love, loving the red-lipped daughter of this publican, was something I could identify with. For I was in love then, first love, with a grey-eyed girl whose hair was ‘bound and wound about the stars and moon and sun’, and who I totally made a prat of myself with on a first date – so that the second date became, not just improbable, but an outright impossibility.

But I digress. Good ol’ Alf packed it all into his poem: alliteration; simile; metaphor; onomatopoeia; you name it, and you’ll find it there somewhere! And, as if that were not enough, the final stanzas of the poem confront us with a pair of ghosts, forever meeting at the inn window. How could that fail to capture and inspire young minds?

You’ll note the stanzas of this poem are always six lines long. It will also be obvious that the fourth and sixth line of each stanza is half the length of the other lines. The rhyming scheme is simple (AABCCB). And generally speaking there are six feet in every line (hexameter), but (have you noticed how there’s always a BUT?) not all those feet are the same: some have two syllables, others have three. Take as an example the first two lines:

The wind / was a tor / rent of dark / ness among/ the gus / ty trees,
The moon / was a ghost / ly gall / eon tossed / upon cloud / y seas,

The slashes denote each of the six feet, and the bold type shows where the stress should be placed. Short two syllable feet are called iambs and possess an unstressed syllable followed by stressed syllable. The longer three syllable feet are anapaests – two unstressed syllables followed by a stressed syllable.

Oh, how my young head ached!

But Alf’s poem is half iambic, half anapaestic, see? Simples!

The anapaestic feet, of course, suggest the galloping horse throughout the work while the iambic feet keep the poem grounded, preventing it from becoming too “jaunty”. Between the iambic feet and verbal repetitions, the poem develops a measured, suspense-generating tone.

Still with me thus far? Why is any of this important? Well, it isn’t really. You can read Alf’s poem (aloud, like me to the cats, this morning) and enjoy it immensely. However knowledge of Alf’s skill in constructing his poem, can only add to your pleasure. Although, that said, I think it was Mark Twain who said ‘the only problem with dissecting a frog is the frog dies’ or words to that effect.

Even so, today, more than at any other time, people are putting pen to paper and writing poetry. They have no idea of the technical skills or the “rules” behind the construction of good verse. So they write and call what they have written ‘free verse’, not recognising its mediocracy in the process. Or if not free, then experimental.

Consider the case of the artist Picasso. At an early age his skill and knowledge of drawing and painting was incomparable; he painted in a totally naturalistic style. But then his style changed. He began to experiment with different forms and techniques. By the time his paintings were depicting highly geometric and cubist shapes (and totally confusing many members of the general public in the process), it was only too easy to forget that he was totally grounded in the traditional, conventional methods of painting and drawing. He had developed those skills over a long period of time. He didn’t just slap paint on canvass and call it free art.

So you see, knowledge of the poets craft – metre, layout, form, rhyme, syntax, etc – is important. Especially if you want to write verse yourself. But even if you don’t, some knowledge of poetics will enhance your appreciation of a poet’s skills (or lack of same) when you encounter their verses.

Oh, well, that’s it for now. I have got to go clean the windows. Have a good day.

consensual

They call this passion…bent over a desk, Wiseman’s fat cock half up me. He was a hatchet-faced relief teacher, employed to cover two terms that year.

We were in the upper fifth: a big, high, yellowing room, three floors up in a Victorian building of crimson brick with cream stone dressing. Like all the classrooms it smelled of lavender floor polish and disappointment. Its normal occupants were at games for the next hour. Wiseman wouldn’t be interrupted.

Earlier he’d tried to kiss me, but I’d turned my head away. Instead he’d nuzzled my neck, the smell of him sour like milk on the turn. The old bastard quickly, skillfully unfastened my trousers, pulling them down round my thighs. Then he bent me over the desk.

Seconds later, I felt the head of his cock brushing me. He got it between the cheeks, pulling them wide apart with stubby thumbs. I could tell he’d done this before…he was just too certain, too practiced in his moves. Not gentle, though. He forced it up an inch at a time until I felt his balls pressing against me. He used it like a battering ram.

He’d done this with me before, of course. First time was in the small bog on the second floor – officially the “staff” loo, but everyone used it. I’d wanked him off in there like there was no tomorrow, my hand a pale blur on his short, fat thing. The sink creaked under his weight as his cum splattered the green vinyl flooring. He gave me a quid, insisting on my silence in return.

‘Discretion is everything in these matters,’ he said. ‘You understand? I doubt anyone would believe you any way…if you were to say anything, that is. I’m a happily married man with two teenage daughters – ’

He put his cock in my mouth and almost choked me in the annex one lunchtime. The annex was supposed to be locked during lunchbreak, but he had a key and took me in there. Afterwards I skived off for the afternoon, went to the cinema and he covered for me…

Bent over the desk in the upper fifth, I could see out the window. Trees and shops along the High Road, the corrugated roof of the bicycle shed on the farside of the quadrangle. The air was like glass drinking summer rain, like a tightrope holding our ends down. He enjoyed the tightening and clenching of my body, I could tell. His breathing became ragged, the desk creaking with each rough thrust. Our belt buckles rattled together and he moaned ‘Lovely, Oh, so lovely’ shooting his load way up where the sun will never shine.

He pulled out. I stayed as I was for awhile. Bland acceptance of the inevitable, you’d call it. I used my handkerchief to wipe the muck running out of me, then wedged it between the cheeks and pulled up my pants.

‘Get yourself some tuck, boy.’ He gave me a handful of coins. His normally sallow complexion was flushed. ‘I’ll cancel those two detentions you have for this Friday evening.’

‘Thank you, sir.’

We were all living on the darkside of the moon back then. Even when Wiseman was feeling me up, I was thinking about girls, their panties the colour of clouds. Their budding breasts. Their scent. That’s what made me hard for him. He liked to see mine standing stiff. I wondered about his daughters, imagined them half-undressed for my pleasure…

I hated the man, despised him, his lusting for lust. I Hated the school, too. I was so full of rage back then, I could have set the feckin’ sky ablaze. But Wiseman’s days with us were numbered.

He was so much his own worst enemy and was anything but wise. His only sincerity was his often repeated desire for secrecy. He was a thief who abused his position. He stole smiles from the faces of various boys and locked them in the prison of his rough lusts. I wasn’t his only conquest / victim / cum-slut. There were others, trapped in silence, who accepted his favours, his gifts and treats. He was cunning, yes. But stupid, also.

He didn’t know when enough was enough. His lust for fresh flesh was out of control. He tried it on with John T, and John reported him to Mrs M, our form mistress; she went straight to the headmistress – and Wiseman was out the door an hour later. No big fuss, no police, no wringing of hands: discretion then was everything. The school’s name, its reputation was everything. And Wiseman, undismayed, would have found himself a new position, new boys to bend over desks…

atack

“What I remember best about my teens was drinking cider and Bacardi Breezers round a friend’s house on Friday nights in the summer, getting seriously fuzzy-headed on them, then making out with the other girls there. These were our girly nights, you know, and we’d all be a little messed-up with the booze.’

Dee was seated slouched on the two seater sofa, he legs draped over Gabriella’s lap. She was drinking a mojito with so much mint in the glass it looked like the New Forest on a wind-swept day.

‘I tried it on with all of them at one time or another,’ she said quietly, smiling at her own confession. ‘I scored big time with both Julie Brown and with Barbara Sherborne – Babs was a very curvy girl for her age…Curvy like her mum, who was Irish, sort of top heavy curvy.’ Dee used her free hand to exaggerate the size of her bust. ‘Her dad was Afro-Caribbean and ran his own cab company in Wembley. We were sleeping over at Claire’s place and Babs let me finger her. Then she put her hand in my PJs…

‘Yay. Handjobs without kisses. Was she gay? Dunno. Don’t care…We both came, eventually.

‘Julie and I got it on, but on another occasion. She started it. She kissed me on the neck at bedtime. Sucked on me till I had this hicky from hell. She called it her brand. Honestly. She’d put her brand on me. Great big purple bruise like a Tequila Sunrise on my neck. I looked like I’d been with Count Dracula. She was older than me by a year or so. Skinny girl with boobs like pimples and slightly bulbous blue-grey eyes. Both of us were awash with Strongbow and Bacardi Breezer that evening. We were really totaled…

‘Anyway, I slipped my hand up her nightdress and started fingering her. She didn’t stop me, so I assume she didn’t mind. She had on these baggy white knickers. Passion killers. A little later she plunged her hand in my PJs, started feeling me up. We were both too pissed to reach any sort of climax…But it felt good, just the same.’

Gabriella sipped her gin and tonic. ‘What a naughty thing you were, Dee,’ she said. ‘I always thought you so peachy clean! Church school and all that.’

‘We had our moments. Mostly we talked about boys. I had a terrible crush on this one boy, Bobby his name. Short, chubby-faced chap with blonde hair. God, I’d have let him do anything he wanted to me.’

‘And did he?’ Gabby asked. ‘Did he do whatever he wanted with you?’

‘No,’ he didn’t. ‘And part of the reason for that, the great non-event of my young life, was one of those evenings round Clare’s.

‘I was bed sharing that night with Susannah Radebe. Her dad was an estate agent and worth an absolute mint. She went horse riding and show jumping. Read Jackie and Bunty for girls. And was full of herself…

‘Anyway, awash with cider I tried it on with her. Big mistake, it really was. She went through the roof. She made so much fuss that Clare’s mother had to intervene. Darling Susannah told her I was, quote, “Unnatural”. And if that wasn’t bad enough, she wanted to sleep in another room. Where she’d “feel safer!” I could easily have strangled the little minx.

‘The whole thing was beyond embarrassing. In fact it was the kiss of death for our Friday night drinking sessions. Clare’s mum called a halt to them after that. But worse, word spread about it and delectable Bobby got to hear I was a dyed-in-the-wool dyke. A lesbian who delighted in forcing herself on other girls. That was that. End of my first, perfect love match…’

‘Do you remember your first grown-up kiss?’ Gabriella asked her. ‘I remember mine. It was with a boy at school called Colin Grapebatch. My heart was pounding so hard. I could feel it in my head. Just gazing into his eyes, our faces moving closer. I couldn’t breath…

‘I was shocked when I felt his tongue flick in my mouth, but also aroused by it. He was older than me, more “experienced”.’ Gabby made quotation marks in the air with her fingertips. ‘I knew at the time I’d remember that moment forever. His body pressed close to mine. His lips much softer than I’d imagined. And then his tongue. I nearly fainted away. I could hear these feathered wings flapping in my ears…’

‘Ahhh, that’s so sweet, Gabriella. I wish I’d known you back then.’

‘You wouldn’t have liked me. Not then, Dee.’

‘Yes, I would. We could have been sweethearts. Could have had hot makeout seshs together.’

‘And renamed the days of the week?’

‘How so?’

‘Moanday, Tongueday, Wetday, Thirstday, Fuckyday, Sexday, Suckday…And the months too…’

‘That’s too much…but then, why not? I think the thing I love most about you is when you start making your O-face, Gabriella. I see that and…Well, things happen inside me. You know they do. I’d have loved to have seen it when you were a school girl, my finger on your button. We could have had oodles of fun…Ahhh, so many missed opportunities.’

‘No, no, it would all have ended in drama, exhaustion and extreme chafing, Dee, darling. I know it would. I was all about pretend. You’d have hated me…’

‘What about you Peedeel? Early memories of romance? Special girls…?’

‘At school? The smell of girls, I remember mostly…minty breath from chewing gum, nicotine on slender fingers, or salt from the packets of crisps eaten in the playground. Damp cotton, shampoo, dreams. A thousand and one smells. There was one girl in particular with storm grey eyes I loved from afar. I was too nervous to ask her out, though.

‘Then one lunchtime in the dining hall she was sitting on the table beside me, and she leaned over and said, “You’re nice. I really like you.” And I just shrugged and looked away, my face on fire with embarrassment. Can you believe I did that…?’

‘I find it hard to believe,’ Dee said gently.

‘She opened her heart and I responded with stony silence. Nothing scares you more than your own negativity. But my response to her that day would have been like a slap in the face with an iron glove. She never spoke to me again…So, a view inside the outsider. Portrait of the artist as a tongue tied twerp…’