Before I’d even met my new class I’d received an email from one of them. I opened it with some trepidation, and was surprised to find she was wife to a deceased former Head of Delegation to the World Bank in West Africa. She had a spare $8 million dollars and would I like to be its beneficiary? Failing that, she was trying to shift some Chinese ductile iron pipes and fittings.
By now I’d guessed it was just a shared name, either that or I had a kid in my class who could come in handy for any underground dealings. Her first assignment could be overpowering the kid who told me he had a knife. I found out from the parents it was used for cutting his birthday cake but you can’t be too careful.
I developed a permanent crease between my eyebrows from using my ‘stern look’ far too often last year. It’s been over employed in the first couple of days with the new bunch too. Not that you’d think I could be capable of any kind of severity judging by the glowing character reference given to me by one of the teaching assistants. “Tim is so polite” she gushed “always helpful, kind”. I was pretending to be modest whilst encouraging her to continue. “He is such a good role model, so helpful” she went on “we’re so glad you returned”. At this point I realised she was talking about somebody else. This could mean only one thing, Bonaparte was back.
He surfed back into all our lives on a tidal wave of swarminess. The women cooed, the parents wept with joy and I reached for the nearest sick bucket. I decided though in a moment of introspection to make more of an effort to like him (if only to stop the perennial dry retching).
On the first occasion he drove past me, as I walked home. As a joke I smiled and did the hitchhiking sign. I forgot though that I was using a hand already full with miscellaneous items and without the use of my thumb it looked as though I was doing the w****r sign. His face fell as he switched gears.
Determined to apologise the next time I saw him I made sure my hands were permanently empty. Alas the very next evening I forgot about a chocolate I’d been given and placed in my trouser pocket. I soon found one of my hands covered in melted chocolate. I had no tissues, no nothing and so did what any self-respecting survivalist/adventurer would do and tried to lick the chocolate off the assorted items in my pocket, which included a brand new phone. Mr Bonaparte sailed past in the car as I was in mid-lick. Our eyes met. His became slightly wider. At least now I can plead insanity.