A short story collection

A Town Like Malice (1)

The sun was especially bright that morning, it made it much easier for Daz to get up and do his paper round. It was the ideal job for him whilst he was still at school. He loved cycling; it was a big freedom for him. He didn’t care for much else. He happily rode around on his bike laughing as he threw the papers at people’s doorsteps. This made the chore of doing his round go quite quickly. He would give himself a point each time he managed to get the paper to hit the letterbox. It was all a huge joke to him, he couldn’t care less if the newspapers where creased. If anyone complained he knew nothing would be done about it. Paperboys were very hard to come by in this town. It was beneath a lot of the local lads.

It was quite a superficial place, the majority of it filled with large, beautiful, clean houses. The gardens were all well maintained, the up to date 4 x 4 washed with precision at the exact same time as the Sunday before, despite the fact that they’d never really come face to face with any mud or tough driving terrain for that matter.

The only shops in the town centre were expensive brands and not a trace of the regular high street brands.

Daz only had a year left of school, he couldn’t wait to leave. He only enjoyed mucking around with his mates. The school didn’t seem to care about them anymore, with the exception of some Teachers. Students could misbehave as much as they like and nothing much was done. Like many others he didn’t get to the grammar school, which started the segregation in the town, they were treated like failures at 11 years old.

Mrs Plumley Barnes was making a new start with the job she got down at the local school. It obviously helped knowing one of the Governors, their children went to the private school together. She liked to have her network of people that to her was how the world revolved. She’d often talked about her sons studying hard to get the right job, but the actual world of applying for jobs in an organisation where you or someone in your family hadn’t actually networked was quite alien to her. It crossed her mind from time to time that these things might happen but this was to other people, and besides she thought she knew all the influential people to make things happen in her charmed life. Her views were dominant and looking around her home and all that she had was proof of that. It was a school which had its fair share of troubled teenagers; it would be interesting how Mrs Plumley Barnes would manage to mask her disingenuine sympathy, particularly as her facial expressions showed what she was thinking. This environment was unreal to her. She knew she would return home to her comfortable large house, her successful family and be totally disaffected by anything she saw at the school.

The world has many Mrs Plumley Barnes. They try to do their bit for society by ingratiating themselves by doing what they believe to be of value to the ‘dregs of society’. It was a subject they enjoyed dropping into conversation at their dinner parties.  Sadly they would judge, rather unfairly at times, which would attribute to the misfortune of their target. Unfortunately Mrs Plumley Barnes was the sort of person that the teenagers enjoyed trying to ridicule, they could see her flaws. Whether it was the way she talked or how she was quickly stressed, it would leave her a bit of a target amongst the school. She wasn’t as street wise as she would like to be. She underestimated how much she knew or understood of the world.

It was the day before she was due to start her job. She rose early to start her new routine. Whilst getting water for her coffee machine she gazed out of the window happening to notice the paperboy on his round. She shook her head in disbelief as she observed him laughing whilst flinging the papers at the doors. ‘What is it with these youths’ she thought ‘they’ve no respect’. Forgetting about still wearing her dressing gown (she’d never leave the house without wearing the appropriate attire) she stormed out the house. She called out to him and once she had his attention, spoke in the most condescending manner. Daz just laughed and replied ‘So, what are you going to do about it?’ and cycled away. Mrs Plumley Barnes was quite indignant; she would go and complain to the newsagents. And so the web of the town’s intricacies yet again starts to synchronize.

 

Elle May ©

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