The Brief-Case Affair – The Prologue

Here it is, the start of The Brief-Case Affair, my first comedy crime story starring Kevin and Marjorie Shakespeare. This is a work in progress so please feel free to make any comments (good or bad – I don’t mind as long as they’re constructive) at the end of this post. The more comments I get, the better a feel I’ll get for how this is being received, so please don’t be shy.

The Prologue

All right, take your seats, please. Hurry up now. Take your seats.

Settle down, Robert.

I don’t care if William has your pencil case. That is no excuse for sitting slumped on your chair with your tie askew, your jacket still on and your finger in Maisie’s ear.

I really couldn’t care less if it’s called a Wet Willy, Robert. The simple fact is we do not lick our fingers and stick them in anyone’s orifices.

No, Robert, not even our own.

No – ‘a Wet Willy for William’ is not acceptable either; no matter how alliteratively pleasing it may sound.

All right, can we settle down, please? Now, we are continuing on from our previous lesson. Now, who has done their homework on Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers?

I see. In that case has anyone read the passage with the policeman?

Yes, Matilda.

No, Willy Russell isn’t called Willy because he was given a Wet Willy. Willy Russell is called Willy because it is a diminutive, or shortening if you will, of the name William.

No, Maggie, that doesn’t mean we can start calling William Willy – not unless that is what he wishes to be called, that is.

Mr Priestly, that is not acceptable in my class.

I couldn’t give a tinker’s toss, Mr Priestly, threatening to drop your trousers to expose your willy to the class is neither big nor clever.

No, I’m not referring to its size – I’m referring to you, Mr Priestly.

Frankly, I don’t care what Kirsty says about your willy. It is neither relevant to this class, nor conducive to the educational atmosphere we are trying to create…

I’m trying to create it.

I really don’t think that is any of your business, thank you, Kelly.

Sorry?

Ah, now that is a very good question, Victor. Who can answer Victor’s question?

He asked what an orifice is.

Victor did.

An orifice.

That’s an office.

No, that is not the same thing, Matilda.

The appearance of several similar letters in a word does not make the words the same.

Does anyone have any sensible ideas of what an orifice is?

Nobody?

Well, orifice is a noun used to describe an opening into something. Frequently we use it to describe particular openings into the human body like a nostril. In this instance, I used it to describe the opening more commonly referred to as William’s ear.

Yes, Suzanne?

Suzanne, I really wish you’d pay attention in class. It really is important that you are alert and on the ball from the moment you arrive. Everything we talk about could be vital to your exams.

Ah – that is why I am the teacher and you are but a humble student.

Yes, well I know you’re not particularly humble. Perhaps if you followed Charlie’s example, you’d be getting better grades…

Charlie! What’s so interesting outside the window that you can’t pay attention to my class?

I don’t think it is.

I definitely don’t think it’s a canary – it looks more like a tit to me.

I think you are confusing yourself there, Martin. Charlie couldn’t possibly be a tit. Apart from the anatomical differences between tits and humans, Charlie doesn’t have the distinctive yellow, blue and white patterning that makes that bird a clear example of the common, garden-variety blue tit.

Yes, Martin, the difference, of course is that the blue tit has those colours naturally. Charlie has blonde hair and insists on caking her face with blue make-up. That’s entirely different.

I don’t think we need to refer to other people’s breasts in such a derogatory term, do we William?

Sorry, Suzanne?

Well, if you were paying attention, you’d know exactly what’s going on.

Excuse me?

What about my orifices?

Oh, I see. Yes. We were talking about orifices. Yes, Robert was trying to put a Wet Willy into William’s orifice, and Victor wanted to know what an orifice is. Does that answer your question?

Yes, Matilda, I imagine you can put real willies into orifices, but I have no intention of going down that line of conversation. Now, I think you’ve distracted me enough for one day. Can you please open your books to page…

Mr Priestly – I will not ask you again. I’m sure Maisie doesn’t appreciate that bouncing next to her ear.

Oh really, and what makes you so sure she does?

Well tell her to put it away. She shouldn’t have that out in class anyway.

Now who can tell me what the significance of the policeman visiting the two boys’ parents is?

Anybody?

In Blood Brothers.

The play we’re reading.

Yes, that one.

Michael?

I’m not sure that’s entirely relevant. You are, of course, correct. I did have a minor run in with the police over the holidays, but I don’t see the relevance with the question at hand…

What’s it like to spend time with policemen? Well, I spent my time with two detectives actually.

Yes, Robert, I suppose you’re right – detectives are not all too dissimilar to policemen.

Yes, well actually they are not all too different to anyone else in the world, really. They are human after all. They are flawed. They tell lies. They make mistakes just like anyone else.

Well, I was just happy to oblige really.

Yes, Harvey?

You’re dad said what about me?

Well, that’s just typical of the… of the small-minded and insignificant views of people who… who… who… know nothing about anything. Just because your dad read something in the paper, he thinks he knows all about it and thinks he… and thinks he has the right – no, the social status – to comment. At the end of the day the only people who know what happened are my wife and I, the police, and anyone who was in court when the case was brought before the magistrates. Anyone else is about as ignorant as… as… as something very ignorant indeed.

Your dad was one of the magistrates?

Well, there you are then. That just goes to show how invalid his view is. The case was too big for the magistrates. They had to send it straight up to the Crown Court. It was too important for it to be wasted on the limited abilities of such small-minded people…

Oh yes, Matilda, I would love the opportunity to set the record straight.

You’re right William. I should write a book about it. It would be a real corker. And, given my classroom experience, I know the sort of thing the exam boards want in a story: foreshadowing; creative descriptions; real hard-hitting drama that cuts right to the heart of civilisation. I wouldn’t be surprised if it would get selected as a set text for future GCSEs. Yes, you’re right. I should write it.

Oh. I couldn’t possibly tell you the story now, Suzanne; we’re far behind the course as it is.

Well, I don’t think it would be appropriate. I mean – it’s not really relevant to what we’re talking about in class today, is it?

Yes, I appreciate your input Robert, but I don’t think inserting a character called Wet Willy into my narrative will really help with my particular predicament.

Yes, yes – that’s true. I suppose I’d be giving you a taste of a future set text that could be in the syllabus. I tell you what, why don’t we put it to the vote? All those in favour?

Anyone against?

Well – I’m deeply touched. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced so much support in my life. And you’re not concerned you might miss out on something important from Blood Brothers if we do this?

Very well then. I am, if nothing, a slave to my students’ needs. I suppose I had better tell you my tale. Feel free to take any notes, and if I say anything that sounds really quotable and brilliant, please do jot it down. Knowing me, I’ll forget it by the time I get home…

Mr Priestly. If you don’t put that away, I’ll cut it off…

What do you think so far? Please feel free to let me know. They’ll be new chapters posted every couple of days so stay tuned for the next one.

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