Getting better

“Morning Zak” the Head Teacher said to me. She quickly corrected herself but the damage had been done. Zak and I have become the same person. It’s like we’re joined at the hip, thankfully metaphorically, not physically. If conjoined I would have to share the pain from the many punches and kicks he receives from children ‘under my radar’.

Zak consistently contributes to his own downfall. He really is the most objectionable child I will ever meet. Today he managed to annoy a child to the extent that when the child retaliated, he was withdrawn from today’s trip. Despite being the clear provocateur, Zak was able to come along. I don’t fully understand why the School has so consistently refused to exclude him. I assume it’s to give the parents a break.

Today’s trip was to a Bowling Alley. While children buzzed around us, I asked a Teacher about the lessons learnt from Zak being at the School. He expected that next time the School would fight just that little bit harder, before accepting a child so clearly incapable of a mainstream education. Alternatively, have two teaching assistants for the one child, that way at least the number of internal exclusions are shared.

The Amusement Arcade was a brief stop, but long enough to be deluged with requests for coins. It was like being surrounded by hundreds of homeless people, although the homeless remember to say ‘please’. “Try that again” I said “this time remember to say please”. “Please Tim can you give me £1?”. “That’s better, No”.

We ended the day at the park, where little white lies tumbled out, albeit from a well-intentioned place. I stopped the children bothering an ant’s nest using gross emotional manipulation. “Why have some of the ants got wings?” one asked. “They’re the parents; all the others in the nest are children”. “So every time we step on them…” the sentence didn’t need finishing. I even got them to stop chasing pigeons, by dramatically revealing that pigeons are known for having weak hearts. I therefore maintained that chasing a pigeon till it has a cardiac arrest is murder. It’s amazing how something said in an authoritative fashion can sound so believable.

I was eventually undone by my faux-wisdom as Zak and I were threatened by a wasp.

Me: so what did I tell you to do if ever this happens?

Zak: keep still

Me: good boy, so keep still, the food is away, the bags are zipped up, it will leave

Zak: ok

The wasp continued to buzz around us

Zak: it’s still here, I’m scared

Me: don’t worry, keep still, it will eventually get bored

The wasp continued to buzz around us

Zak: it’s going to sting me

Me: it’s more scared of you than you are of it

The wasp continued to buzz around us.

Me: ok the usual stuff isn’t working, after three, we’re going to run over there (points in random direction) 1, 2, 3 Go!

I spent the journey home trying to avoid explanations of some of the park toilet’s graffiti. One of the teaching assistants approached me on the bus. “Zak made me cry” she said. I assumed Zak had recounted a heart rendering moment from his childhood. Instead he’d accidentally crushed her knuckles. I also tuned out of a game of ‘spot the number of black cars’ after I discovered the child next to me was colour blind.

The events of the day were not over. As Zak and I kicked a ball around the back playground, he asked to get some water from the front playground fountain. A few moments later a teaching assistant arrived, asking where Zak was. She told me there were three children wandering around School looking for him; they had a score to settle. I dashed full throttle through the School, only to find him innocently looking for caterpillars. “Wot?” he said, startled by my breathlessness. I’d run out of lies to tell but the truth was still a touch too far. “Have you seen Melvyn?” I innocently asked.


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