(aka Bike, est. 2007)
Copyright© 2017 Angharad
This is a work of fiction any mention of real people, places or institutions is purely coincidental and does not imply that they are as suggested in the story.
I woke before the alarm clock sounded. I recalled the memories I’d recalled the night before, they were a long time ago, well for me they were, more than half my life ago. Goodness that made feel old. I thought about Mr Whitehead, he was a good old stick though I wished I’d known it when I was still in school. There were one or two teachers who weren’t too transphobic or should that be homophobic, as people didn’t tend to think about transgender in those days. Anyone who wasn’t one hundred per cent masculine was a poofter, that was me, but I was still hiding it as much as I could, except my girly hair and I as much wore it that way to annoy my dad. Then when I learned it upset Murray, that was even more incentive to keep it long.
There was another kid who wore his hair very long, but he was rather bigger than me, and had a moustache, both of those used to irritate Murray, but Hawkins’ size used to intimidate him. Occasionally we were both told to report to the headmaster for having long hair. On one occasion, I had the school handbook in my backpack—yep the Care Bears one—so I challenged Murray, who decided to lay into me while Hawkins watched.
“Both of you should get your hair cut to above collar length, you’re both disgraces to the good name of the school.” At this Hawkins smirked and although it drove Murray mad, the boy towering over him prevented him from pushing his luck. My relative diminutive size, however, didn’t give me any protection at all. What I lacked in muscle I made up with synapses and I produced the school handbook from my bag.
“I’m sorry, sir, but I can’t see anything in here which relates to hair length. All it says is hair should be clean and tidy and kept out of the way with a band or clips, especially in lessons which involve sport, science, machinery or food preparation.”
He snatched it from me and read the relevant paragraph. His problem was the two schools, the boys’ and the girls’ used the same handbook, so it had to apply to both or either.
“It says no nail varnish either, Watts, but I shouldn’t think that would stop you for one minute, would it?”
“Are you telling me I can wear it, sir?” I looked at my nails, holding them out palms down. They were a bit long and shaped—oops.
“No it bloody well doesn’t, you ridiculous faggot, get out of my office, this minute. You as well, Hawkins.”
“Yes sir,” we both replied but I also bobbed as I said it and Hawkins nearly wet himself.
“One of these days, Watts, you’ll push me too far and I’ll have your arse. You wait and see.”
“Wouldn’t that make you gay, sir?”
“You know what I meant, now gerrout.”
Walking down the corridor back to main part of the madhouse, Hawkins said, “Charlotte, that was quite a show. Be careful, girl, or he will have you, grumpy old psychopath he is.” He went off to his class and I went up to the biology lab, blushing like mad at Hawkins calling me a girl. Inside I knew he was right, but I couldn’t admit it, not here, they’d kill me.
Then a month or two later and I got forced into doing Macbeth’s missus, yeah what bundle of laughs that was—not—until Murray made me wear my costume around the school to get the hang of women’s clothes and also because I’d not been really entering into the spirit of the thing, they somehow thought I’d act more like a woman in the play if i was dressed like one. So Siân conspired with me to try and give Murray a heart attack by me borrowing her spare uniform and turning up in school wearing it.
That was when the bastard called me out in front of the whole school and introduced me as Miss Watts and told them not to harass me as I was helping the school produce the play. I nearly melted I was so embarrassed. Why I hadn’t foreseen such an event escaped me, it was so typical of him and walking round the place in a skirt and blouse did kind of draw attention to me. I just thought of it as a big joke, he obviously begged to differ. He also made me wear it for the whole period of the play.
The radio came on and I rose, showered and got the girls up. Thinking about my schooldays, I glanced at Danielle sitting opposite me at the breakfast table. She had enough mascara on to paint the outside of the house, then I found myself blushing when I remembered I also wore it to school that month with enough coats to clad an orphanage.
I dropped them off at school and took the VW to the university. “Greetings, oh great corrupter of young minds,” said Diane bowing, adding, “We who are about to file, salute you.”
“Just do the tea or I’ll make you work late,” I half groaned as I turned into my office. She nodded at the outer door and we could see Ron Cuttleforth walking towards it. “Oh bugger, what does he want?”
“You have a meeting at nine.”
“No, not with him, please—he’ll be there all morning.”
Cuttleforth, who all his students called cuttlefish for obvious reasons, was someone who regularly wasted my time and his own with outrageous requests for everything from more staff to electron microscopes—what does he think this is, a university or something? He doesn’t just come with one grumble, but he usually has two or three pages of them. Why he can’t retire, I know not, he’s well over the normal age of sixty five, but then Tom was older still and working across the campus, as hard as he’d ever done and apparently thriving on it. I wasn’t, I wasn’t cut out to be a professor, not when that means writing begging letters most of the time. I should be supervising research or discussing which exciting areas we were going to explore this year—right, just one snag, we were being cut back two per cent per annum—bloody Tories.
I knew one day I'd address him as Dr Cuttlefish, but thankfully it wasn’t today and just to keep me wondering if there is a dog, he only stayed an hour, he told me he was going to complain about me to the Vice Chancellor, who can hardly say very much or I’ll make him wash his own shirts. Sometimes I give new meaning to nepotism. It made me chuckle and Diane gave me a funny look when she brought me in a fresh cuppa, in my dormouse conference mug.
“You look happy, has he resigned?”
“If he had I’d be ecstatic but I suspect he’ll still be here when I’ve retired.”
She went off giggling. Heading for forty and she giggles—bloody retard.
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