Saturday, September 26, 2020
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The Crusade

Nostalgia has a way of glossing over the tediousness of school hours, leaving sweet, sepia toned memories of one’s alma mater. Eckleton was no different. A quaint forest on one side and prim plantations of a wealthy neighbour on the other, Eckleton stood proudly on a small hill. The forest held creatures that were almost docile compared to the wild inmates housed by the dormitories of this school.

One had to reach the third year to be granted the acknowledgement of personality. Jimmy, a first year and essentially at the bottom of school hierarchy, had been lucky enough to gain the enviable position of being the house prefect Perry’s fag.

At the beginning of Perry’s final term, Jimmy was summoned for an errand that would prove to be extremely rewarding. Perry was expecting the printed copies of the annual school magazine. As always, he ordered Jimmy to gather a few of his colleagues and collect the luggage of three cartons, from the town post office and carry it to school.

Now the fags weren’t shy of labour and took pride in being useful. More importantly, they looked forward to any chance of visiting the town, for luxuries like visit to the barber’s and the local confectionary store. Jimmy got permission signed from Perry for no less than six first years to accompany him for the job. Four hands per carton and a conductor, the math was simple.

It was customary for any student who was granted leave, to take a detour through the forest on their way to town. While Jimmy and his knights (as the fags on a mission called themselves) walked through the thickets, they ran into Waldon, the school bully and Perry’s arch nemesis, hastily arranging dried leaves at the foot of a large oak.

Red in face, he rounded up on the cowering knights, taking hold of Jimmy’s collar and raising him till his toes left the ground. He reeked of a familiar smoky smell.

“You speak a word of this, and I shall personally pound you rodents to pulp, understand? Now get going!”

Jimmy and his knights did not need a second more to scamper off.

***

While trudging back up to the school, Perry’s cartons in tow, Billy the smallest knight asked in an even smaller voice, “Will you be telling Perry about Waldon?”

Jimmy thoughtfully chewed on the éclair he had treated himself with. 

“No need Billy. The mystery of Dean’s missing cigar case is solved. Your bravery to watch over Waldo’s new hiding place will not go unrewarded.”

An anonymous letter along with the butt of a cigar waited outside Waldo’s study. Any harassment from Waldo, and the cigars within their decorated case, along with Waldo’s handkerchief, recovered ingeniously by Jimmy, would find their way to the Dean’s office. Waldo had been subdued.

For though the school encouraged excellence in many sports, the sport of smoking the Dean’s stolen cigars was greatly frowned upon. Peace prevailed over Eckleton.

Glossary:

Fag: A junior pupil appointed to carry out minor chores for a senior pupil

***

Photo By: Nik Shuliahi

This is an entry for Five00-9, #Vintage. Find all the entries here: https://writers.artoonsinn.com/category/five00/five00-9/

Join ArtoonsInn Room8 on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/WritersAndReadersRoom/

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Sai Surve-Rane
Sai Surve-Rane
Sai Surve-Rane is a periodontist and a mother with unspent literary energies.
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