Monday, 17 October 2016


For audio click here 

You know when you realise too late that you've made a catastrophic cock-up? Well, this was one of those times. I was begging that Ray wouldn't curl his fingers into fists again. The first time no one had seemed to notice, but surely if he did it again, one of the year two pupils, or my teaching assistant or the deputy head would see it.  Where some people have love and hate tattooed across their knuckles, Ray had fuck you! Sweat was on my brow, my eyes were fixed on his hands, his words were barely heard, all I could think about were the letters on his fingers and the trouble I’d be in if Ray clenched his fists again. 
I'd known Ray for years, he'd been a drifter, a street person, in and out of prison and drunk tanks, not the sort of person to introduce to year twos maybe. But it was my plan to introduce them to all walks of life, and despite his background, Ray was an eloquent man with a story to tell. He didn’t glorify his life, he told the truth, but he spoke with humour and passion and the students loved him, or were scared of him, or both.
The only problem was those knuckles. I’d known about them for years. We’d talked about it, but they were so normal to me that I’d completely forgotten about them.
Ray clenched his fists again, just briefly, but enough for Jenny, my classroom assistant, to gasp. I sensed her look in my direction and look back at the hands of the man talking to her precious kids. Had the deputy head seen it too? I didn’t want to look at him to find out.
I realised Ray had stopped talking. I went and stood next to him and tried to smile.
“Any questions for Ray?” I said to the kids.
Maisie’s hand shot up.
“When did you last shave?” She asked. The other kids giggled. Ray ran his fingers through his Father Christmas beard and said that he didn't remember.
Little Tomas was next.
“What was prison like?”
Ray answered him repeating some of the things he’d already said.
Then Erin’s hand was pointing to the sky.
“Yes Erin.” She was the clever clogs, I knew this might be trouble.
“Um, Mister Ray, what have you got written on your hands?”
“Right I think we'll leave it there,” the deputy head marched forward and clapped his hands.
“Kids why don't you go outside for an early break? Give Ray a round of applause on your way out.”
The kids cheered and stood up. Clapping as they left the classroom.  

“Ray thank you for coming in, Jenny will see you out,” the deputy head said, and then turned to me. “Mr Edwards, a word?” 
Please if you enjoy these stories share them with friends, family, book agents, etc. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram :-) Thank you.  

No comments:

Post a Comment