Bob Smarty Feels a Bit GlumMature

Bob Smarty was a young caucasian male who lived in Eastbourne on the Sussex coast. He was starting to obsess about a young American guy who'd chosen a traffic centre to kill himself and whose suicide note had been printed in all the papers. The young dead guy had looked like him according to the pictures of him on TV and in the newspapers: he had the same slightly wavy brown hair and glasses; the same taste in German army surplus jackets; the same not-very-successful black beard and the same lack of a smile. He also seemed to have a lot of the same views as Bob did. He didn't believe in talking to his neighbours; he felt school was all fucked up as the other kids just wanted to beat you up and all the teachers talked was bullshit 24/7; he believed society was too prescriptive - even stopping you "committing" suicide. Why would something you chose to do to yourself be "committing" anything?

"Right, I'm off for my dinner, now, rehearsal's at 19," said Bob's rather eccentric music teacher, Mr. Cornstorm-Field, spoiling his gloomy thoughts and forcing him to wake up.

Bob was sitting, as he always did at lunchtime, in the music corridor.

"Hello, Bob," giggled a girl from his year.

"Hi, Bob," giggled a girl from the year below.

Bob ignored them both. Why were they laughing? The whole world was laughing at him. Everyone hated him or just couldn't give a toss. How he'd love to come in with a gun...

"Excuse me, mate," said Mr. Turnall, the caretaker as he tried to lean over Bob and read a notice on the wall.

"Don't you think it's all fucked up?" asked Bob.

"What's that, then?" asked Mr. Turnall without looking at him.

"I mean the way our soldiers claim they're fighting for 'freedom'. They're not fighting for freedom. I mean we're not free, are we?"

"Dunno, mate. What's all this - 'this orange has been here for one week?' I'm not having that!"

Mr. Turnall tore the notice off the wall and stormed away.

Bob was just settling down to some more angry thoughts when a Year 7 boy interrupted him.

"Excuse me, could you sponsor me in the sponsored run next week?"

"No money," said Bob.

The Year 7 boy left. At last! Where had he got up to? Oh, yes. Freedom. There they all were like cattle being ordered around...

"I must find them," said Mrs. Layton, the Librarian as she entered the room. She addressed Bob.

"You wouldn't perchance know the current geographical location of the two car-droners who disturbed the tranquility of my library, would you?" she asked.

"No, I haven't seen them," said Bob.

"They were last seen speeding through this corridor pretending they were fire engines. You didn't happen to espy them, then? Humf. Dumf! I must find them," she said and left.

Bob was getting a bit agitated. A fair chunk of lunch had gone and he hadn't got as far with his thoughts as he'd like. He looked over. There was a girl. Yes, they were responsible for a lot of the problems in the world. They were always using you, teasing you, eating you up and spitting you out...

"So you're ill again, are you?" came the music teacher's voice through the wall. He was obviously taking a 'phone call from a colleague who was calling in sick. It'd be Mr. George, thought Bob.

"I really think something should be done about your and your wife's eating habits. Last time you were sick all down my trousers; all over my music..."

Bob decided he'd better take a stroll outside. He hadn't thought of enough swear words yet - it was getting very noisy in here.

Bob walked through the disused tennis court. He hated being outside (but then again he hated being inside). However the disused tennis court was his favourite place. He thought with brief satisfaction about the fact that people had once played here and that their fun had been stopped. He was also looking forward to being undisturbed until the bell went.

He walked around as slowly as possible with his hands in his pockets and his head cast downwards and thought about what a waste of time it had been for him to be born - yeah, cheers, Mum. He thought about all the foreigners in the country and how there'd be no point remaining alive because they'd take his job.

"Oy, are you that Year 13 boy that's always proper miserable?" asked Glennis, a rather pretty girl a couple of years below him.

"So what about it?" he asked.

"How come you're always miserable?" she asked.

Bob couldn't quite believe it: someone was actually interested.

"You know all this crap about 'the free world' and all that bullshit. We're not free. Soldiers get sent away..."

"I'm feeling a bit rubbish and all," Glennis interjected.

Bob found himself doing something he never did: asking about the other person and what they were feeling.

She explained that she had been in love with a boy her Woodwork class and he'd shown all the signs and they'd even gone to the cinema together but he'd spent the entire time on his mobile chatting to his mates (including a couple of girls - he'd flirted down the 'phone with them) and had then left her at the 'bus stop without even waiting for her 'bus. He'd given her a very half-hearted kiss and then promised to ring her but hadn't bothered.

Bob tried to take it all in. He found himself being angry with the boy in the Woodwork class. But, wait a moment, that would mean that the boy was in the wrong and not the girl... that couldn't be right, could it?

"You're proper good at listening," said Glennis, stroking Bob's arm.

"Yeah... got to go," he said and went back into the music corridor.

"Right, I'm back from my dinner now, rehearsal's at 19," said Mr. Cornstorm-Field as he re-appeared.

Bob rotated a pencil during the afternoon sessions and tutted when he was told to stop. He made sure he answered any question a teacher asked him in a low, dreary monotone and gave as little information as possible.

On his way home he bumped into Glennis again. She decided to fill him in on what she'd said to her best friend and what her best friend had said back to her and how she'd countered and then what the response had been... it had all obviously been very heated because she started crying. Bob didn't know what to do. He held his new friend in his arms and stroked her hair. Then he suggested going to a cafe together.

They went in and each took turns in buying fried oily doughnuts and coffee.

Glennis noticed Bob had a spot. She took him into the ladies' loos when nobody was looking and squeezed it for him. They then washed their hands together in the same basin. They then found another use for the loos...

On his way to school the next day Bob heard a child crying and yelling about his Action Man's head. For some reason Bob looked down. There was the little pink plastic head. He rushed forwards and offered it to the child's mother in his dreary monotone. She and the boy were very grateful indeed.

During the day Bob tried to have his usual thoughts but he just couldn't get into the swing of it. He found himself actually listening in one of his lessons. It was about slavery. It challenged his ideas to the core: white people had been the aggressors. That couldn't be right, could it?

At lunch Glennis and Bob were in the disused tennis courts. They could hear Mrs. Layton's voice as she spoke to the sponsored-walk boy.

"Did you witness a boy and a girl of more advanced years than your good self exiting via the music chamber door?" she asked.

"Oh, yes, they went that way."

"They have disgraced the entire school. I have had a perturbing report from the proprietor of a cafe. They operated in an inappropriate way in the lavatory located therein. Humf. Dumf! I must find them!" she said.

"Oh, shit - quick!" said Glennis when she heard Mrs. Layton's imperious tones. "Under here!"

She dragged Bob by the arm and they hid under the thickest bush on the disused tennis courts.

"I must find them," came the voice, fainter this time.

Mrs. Layton had obviously lost the scent.

Glennis laughed.

Against all his ideals and principles Bob laughed, too. 

Maybe the world wasn't as shit as it had seemed.

The End

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