So, things have quieted down a bit. I'm back working at a school, which I'm enjoying and writing around it. Got no gigs coming up at present, but I'm quietly busing myself with a couple of projects which will hopefully come to fruition next year. The first, is something I've started back at the end of May, and is a collaboration with another writer and another poet. Don't wonna say too much for now, but it's certainly unlike anything I've ever done before. The second is an expansion really. Over the summer, I had a bit of time to take stock of things. There were two thoughts that came up; 1 I wanted to expand The 90 Sick E.P and 2; I want to do another show. So guess what? Yep. I'm going to combine them together. There's a lot of material I wrote and a few ideas that didn't get used. It's early days and these things take a while, but let's see what happens. Gotta' large up Malika Booker too (She's a really good poet, writer and lovly person), she gave up a whole afternoon to sit down with me at Southbank last month and school me on a few things. One of which, was having the balls to put my stuff out there, in written form, which I never thought would work with the stuff that I usually perform, them long-arse windy stories. Add to that my fears of it ripped apart by some spell-checking-grammer-don-smart-arse. Seems it was just a case of simply re-formatting into paragraphs, not peomy-type lines. Just done one aint I! And it was fun, it's below, have a butchers, straight from the EP itself, I'll stick the audio up too, you could read-along if you like...
The Fun Fax Kid, by Paul Cree.
It's a Wednesday afternoon, school's finished but I haven’t. I'm sat on that infamous naughty desk underneath the stairs, writing lines about property theft and deliberately disrupting class time.
I should be at home watching Byker Grove! Instead, I'm staring at the carvings etched into the well knackered wood, crude claims about people's mum's, alongside a rollcall of scratched in names, older brothers and cousins of mates, who've not gone on to achieve much. I'm sat here because of Alan. Little shit that he is!
It all started yesterday. Alan's bragging to Miss about how his cress plant's gonna’ be the biggest in the class. All the class's cress plants are lined up on the window sill, next to the wooden desks with the hinged lids, where me and best friend Richard sit, right at the back at of the room. Alan sits a few rows in front, sucking up to Miss and flipping the bird everytime she turns to me and Rich. As Miss inspects the cress plants, she catches me and Rich talking.
'Open up your desk lid' Miss says;
As if she knew it was gonna be in a state, and upon seeing how messy it is, texts-books, paper and felt tips missing the lids, looking like rubbish overflowing in a skip, she orders me, and Rich, who's
desk is just as bad, to stay in at break and tidy them.
'My desk is tidy miss.'
Butting in, Alan’s opened his desk lid, to reveal to Miss an annoyingly tidy pile of stacked books and paper, and that flippin’ Fun Fax Alan always has with ‘im! Choc-o-bloc with geeky information, and stickers, so smug pricks like Alan can cover his textbooks with cheesy slogans
and claim facts like it was ‘im that discovered it! When Miss walks away, Alan swings back round with a devious look on his face says;
'Oi, I bet you too dick-‘eads have the worst cress plants in the class. You two always come bottom in all the tests. You should be used to it, ‘cos you're both thick as shit!'
'Shut up Alan!' I replied
'Yea, shut up Alan.' said Rich, backing me up.
'YOU shut up!' Alan comes back angry, as he'd just forgotten the insults that had pea-shooted from his lips.
'No, YOU shut up Alan, we said shut up first.' I said.
'WHAT'S ALL THIS NOISE ABOUT?!' Says miss, turning round from writing
on the board and looking at us.
'Miss, THOSE 2 keep swearing at me.' says Alan!
Thing is, though I don't often do well on the tests, I know I'm not thick, and as for Alan, who always seems to do well, I know he's not that smart, not as smart as he thinks he is! I've seen Alan cheat on tests by using his Fun Fax, hidden inside the lid of his desk, or the times-table on the back of his packed pencil case, and he always seems to get away with it! Little shit that he is!
Miss turns back round to the board at the front of the class, Alan swings back round again;
'You two nobs, are like those characters from that new cartoon I seen on MTV called Beavis and Butthead, ‘cos you’re both thick and need braces, that's your new names yea, Beavis and Butthead!'
Alan follows this with a silly little giggle, which I'm assuming is taken from this mythical TV show which made everyone else in the class laugh! I feel the beginnings of a blizzard in my tummy, as if I was inside of a gently shaken snow glass, sat on a mantel piece, which I immediately want to suppress. I can feel my face going red.
'I've not heard of that cartoon ALAN! I don’t know what you’re talking about!' I said
'That's because your mum and dad CAN’T afford Sky! You've never seen MTV!' Alan replies, as he turns back to his desk, doing that stupid laugh again.
'My parents have got SKY. I've seen it' pipes up Richard! Out of nowhere!
'And HE’S me more like Beavis and Butthead than me, HE’S the one with goofy teeth who needs braces!' Pointing at me!
I pause; look at Rich for a bemused sec;
'what?' he says, 'you do need braces.'
Ignoring the fact that my best friend has just cussed me off, I then turn straight back to Alan, with his back to me, trying to think up the best cuss I can possibly cuss him back with…
'Shut up Alan!'
No reply. It just bounces off the back of Alans white shirt.
During the break, detained, me and Rich are tidying our desks, stuffing our faces with too many Nerd sweets. Alan keeps on walking passed the window, calling us Beavis and Butthead, doing that stupid laugh, which is spreading like hair nits amongst the other kids, ‘cos they're all doing it. Clenching our fists, me and Rich pledge revenge and plot a roadmap to our very own Count of Monty Cristo.
'I'd take him.' Rich says
'Yea I reckon I'd take him as well' I said
'Yea but I’d beat him ‘im up harder, I’ve been doing press ups'
'Yea, but I'd put him in a headlock, you've seen me arm wrestle, I’ve got strength there'
'Yea but I'd elbow drop him.'
'Yea but I’d elbow drop him then put him in the super-sharp-shooter.'
'Yea but I'd elbow drop him, put him in the gorilla-press, throw him out the window from the first floor, then jump out myself and body splash him!'
The emergency cobra meeting continues, as we empty our desks of all the unfinished school work
and half eaten sandwiches. Just as I'm loading up my gob with another handful of Nerd sweets, I casually discard the empty box on the side behind me, and my gaze turns to the cress plants on the window sill. In particular, That Fun Fax sticker-clad plant pot, right in the middle, hogging all the sun light, and wonder how it is, that ALAN’S cress plant, actually looks like ‘im!. I stop chewing and just stare.
I hock back! Sounding like a snorting pig at a trough, lean towards the window sill, then unleash a thick wod of rainbow coloured flem directly into the soil of that bellend Alan's plant pot! Rich laughs and then follows! Spitting right into the same spot! We go back forth in a flem rally, covering Alan's cress plant in a monsoon pallet of food colouring, sugar and e numbers, making Alan's Cress Plant look like an abstract Van Gough! We watch the venom of our combined saliva slowly seep into the soil, we hi five and laugh, admiring our handiwork.
The class come back in from break, Richard and I are schtum. The cress plants are lined up on the outside of my peripheral vision, like soldiers standing to attention, having just been witness to sabotage. Those annoying little giggles are playing out in stereo around around the room, subtlety conducted by Alan at the front, sitting on his desk with his Fun Fax, blissfully unaware of what's just happened, and everytime Miss turned round to the board, Alan swings round to me and Rich and mouths 'Beavis and Butthead.' I just smile. The sun's out, it's all calm inside the snow glass.
The next day I walk into class to be greeted by scene I didn’t quite expect! Alan is standing next to the window sill! Alan is crying! Alan is being comforted by Miss. I slowly shuffle over to my desk…
Alan's cress plant is dead! No one else’s Cress Plant has died! Just Alan's! It's as if we unintentionally hit the target at a carnival shooting gallery, and there's a now prize winning Goldfish swimming under the eyelids of me, and Rich, who's just arrived and seen it too! But we’re both a bit surprised; we didn’t intend to kill Alan's cress plant. We didn’t actually think about what would happen if we spat in it. We just thought it would be a laugh. ’Cos Alan's always giving us shit!
Alan 's touching the leaves tenderly with his hand. All the shoots are draped down the side of the pot, and are dry and yellow, looking like anorexic vines suffering from jaundice, and when Miss lifts the pant pot, there's a little multi coloured stain on the plate underneath! Looking like the liquid bit in the bottom of the bowl after eating a whole load of Neapolitan ice cream!
Alan rubs his teary eyes and looks up, to see me, looking at him, his eyes immediately dart to the side, behind where my desk is. But then His face suddenly frowns?! I follow his sightline, and that’s when I see the empty box of Nerd sweets sitting there casually on the side! He looks back towards me, he looks mean, he looks angry!
'It was Beavis and But’ead.' he said all hysterical;
'They did it Miss, they did it!!'
'Alan, stop being silly and sit back-down.' Said Miss
Alans states at me Rich, a hard stare that could strip pant off walls, and he remains quiet for the rest of the morning.
At lunchtime Alan's no-where to be seen. But me and Richard are too busy feeling proud of our unintentional murderous achievements to be concerned about this. After lunch we came back into class for our Geography lesson Alan's already sat down at his desk. Miss says that were going to be studying capital cities Alan immediately shoots his hand up, as fast as the donkeys arse on that Bukooo board game;
'I know all the names Miss. They're in my Fun Fax.'
Which he instinctively goes to grab, but it's not on his desk! Alan makes a real show of trying to find it, until Miss can't ignore it, As Alan gets more and more distressed and I don't think Miss wants anymore tears.
'Ok class, everybody take a moment to look for Alan's Fun Fax.'
10 minutes and No dice, the Fun Fax has disappeared! Lobbied furiously by Alan, Miss decides to inspect the desks. Lids fly open and she gradually approaches the back. She gets to me and Rich and
Suddenly I feel very scared. I open my messy lid…and THERE IT IS! Sat there, next to an empty box of Nerd sweets, in all its smugness is AlAN’S MUGGY FUN FAX!!
It was Beavis and Butthead Miss! They took my Fun Fax!'
I'm gobsmacked! When the bellowing begins, my snow glass turns to Ice and I freeze. Just nodding my head to everything Miss says, about how we deliberately concocted this plan to disrupt class time and distress Alan, who was already upset, even though we didn’t do it! Miss doesn’t know we killed his cress plant, but I wonder if she’s giving us too much credit, planning all that?! We’re not that smart! And we’re sentenced to afterschool detentions, writing lines on the naughty desk about property theft, and deliberately disrupting class time.
For the rest of the day me and Rich are sheepish. I can't help thinking how unfair life is, and every now again, as if just to remind us, Alan let's out that little giggle. Confirming the class's hierarchy and where we both sit, Little shit that he is!
And as I sit here, and finish carving words to that effect into the naughty desk, underneath the stairs, annoyed as I am, I can't help thinking, when visualising those dry cress plant leaves, the rainbow stain on the plate, and the tears in Alan's spoilt eyes, it was all worth it.
©Paul Cree 2015