A pretty youth, pale and wan, enters the room. He is late, so late he could be a ghost.
“You’re late!” shrieks Ms Regan. “Why?”
The waif nods. “Christmas panto, miss!”
He wrote it.
She’s had it with this boy. He’s either late or absent – or too poetic. Much too poetic. His last late slip was a sonnet. His last essay was mostly metaphors. His imagination is surplus to targets. And he’s stroppy. When she asked him what he was reading he replied: “Words words words!” Teenage boys eh?
And he calls himself “Will”. Well, Will is well weird – with his flowing hair and pointy shoes and fancy earrings and Caravaggio tattoos and headphones full of Dowland – and that quill.
He sits bored at the back with his “rakehell” chum Kit, who got marched out of a Christmas assembly for rampant atheism. Off message!? Off trolley more like. They come to school quite knackered after clubbing it in a dive in Deptford with “Poetry Slams” and “Flash Fiction!” and gangsta rap from DJ Dr Mercutio for heaven’s sake.
“Why are you so late?”
“We have heard the chimes at midnight,” said Will, cryptically. Well, Ms Regan has long had an ample sufficiency of this teenage nonsense. She called in Ms Limpet the Freudian, who pronounced the boy mad and beyond therapy.
“He might be on something. Skunk? Mandrake root? His eyes are always in a fine frenzy rolling?”
He could well have ADHD? He’s certainly depressive. When she told him he had an Oedipus complex, just like Hamlet, he almost wept with laughter. But, there is no time for levity. Ms Regan dictates some more A* answers to the set text and Will nearly off his chair with mirth.
The boy just drives her bonkers. His work is dreadful, his spelling erratic, he can’t do comparatives and it’s full of flash images. His last essay got an E+ – at best. Who does he think he is?
The lesson ends. Ms Regan dismisses the class, turns off the whiteboard and prepares for his detention. He’s not there. He seems to have disappeared, like a guilty thing upon a summons, like a ghost into the December night. There’s some fancy scribble on a piece of paper.
“A pair of star crossed lovers, eh … the set text, I wrote it, my coz. W S.”