A Real Headmaster

I lean back in my chair and sigh. When, as a very young child, I was first sent to the headmaster’s office, I never dreamed that I would spend every day for most of my life in that same office. I run a hand over the highly polished walnut desk and place my tea on a tiny wicker coaster.

There is a knock at the door. I hastily stash my comic in a handy desk draw and adjust my tie. I hide my cream cake, take my feet off my desk, put on my jacket and adopt a low, stern voice,
“Come in,” I say. Hopefully, they believe that I always have this severity about me. Yes…it’s Jessica. Again.

The secretary stands in the doorway so that she can’t escape. I study the child over my glasses.
“Headmaster,” the secretary says, “Miss Butler just can’t get her to work. None of the other teachers will have her.”
“It’s quite all right, Miss Prim.”
I smile reassuringly at Jessica as the door closes. She sneers back. I offer her a chair. She says she wants to stand.

“Well Jessica.” I sigh, “Is your mother still in hospital?”

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