|The incident described occurred just to the left|
(and out of sight) beyond the closed fire door
When I was a young lad at primary school, there was a boy in my class by the name of Ewan Shepherd, who giggled like a girl and was slightly effete. I never realised it back then, but looking back many years later, it struck me that such was the case. Ewan may well be a big manly man now, but it would come as no great surprise to me to learn that he made the journey to Denmark at the earliest opportunity after leaving school.
But Ewan isn't the star of this post - his is nothing more than a cameo role in this true tale from the dim and distant days of my childhood, when I was only about 8 years old. Ewan and myself were part of the double line of pupils waiting at the foot of the stairs one day, ready to ascend to the rooms above. One of us (Ewan I think) accidentally tripped as the line started to move, placing us slightly out-of-step with our fellows, and Ewan emitted a giggle. Suddenly, Mr. Halliburton, descended upon us and violently yanked us from the ranks.
Pushing us against a wall, he started to shout at us, and was either going to belt us or give us 'lines'. (Can't recall with certainty after so many years - it was one or the other.) I'd had an encounter with Halliburton before (see here) and was determined not to let him intimidate me. "I'm going to tell my dad about you!" I declared, and started to move towards the door leading to the playground. (I lived at the top of the road, so my house was nearby.) He grabbed me by the lapels and pushed me back against the wall, glaring at me menacingly.
At this point Ewan burst into tears, eliciting a look of contempt from Mr. Halliburton, who then eyed us while he deliberated his next move. An internal struggle seemed to be taking place - then he ordered "Get to your class!" As Ewan moved off, Halliburton pulled me back, lowered his voice and muttered "Don't ever threaten me with your father again." Yeah, that'd be right - adults wouldn't put up with his p*sh, but kids could be easily intimidated. Except for me that is.
I caught up with Ewan as he dabbed his tears away with the back of his hands. He forced out a giggle - "Hee hee - that always works" he whimpered, sheepishly and unconvincingly. Yeah, sure - but even so it was no excuse to abandon dignity and self-respect. However, Mr. Halliburton never tried to bully me or lay his hands on me again in all my remaining time at primary. That's what I call a result!
Soon: Another tale about the tears of Ewan.