The Prodigy: Part Two

This is the second part of a fiction serial, in 836 words.

Whilst eating his cornflakes the next morning, Roger had a change of heart. He would wait to tackle Emily and her parents, ask around his colleagues to see if she was as good in every subject, or if her History talents were just a fluke. He drove in early, actually getting a space in the staff car park, instead of having to park on a side street nearby. Even though he was only forty-three, most of the other teachers considered him to be rather stuffy and old-fashioned, and only a couple of them were older than him.

He knew what they thought of him, but didn’t care. Tooo many years of living alone had made him stuck in his ways.

The early months with Diana had been wonderful. The white wedding, a short honeymoon in Paris, followed by moving in to the terraced house they were buying together just a short drive from the school. But marriage had changed his wife. She displayed snobbery, constantly talking about not being able to afford a better car, or more modern furniture. She complained about his books taking up too much space, forcing him to relocate them to the spare room. And she had insisted on buying the latest model of television, even though the weekly payments made things tight financially.

Then she watched it. Every evening, seven evenings a week.

She spent too much money on the housekeeping, buying only the choicest cuts of meat and expensive wine, which she insisted on drinking with dinner every evening. Very soon, they had debts that they could hardly keep up with. When Roger confronted her about those, she called him mean, tight-fisted, said he didn’t appreciate her good taste. And all this from a woman who was a copy typist for the local council, and he had met at a Jazz night in a local pub.

They didn’t see their first anniversary. Diana moved back in with her parents, then moved on later to the man who owned a big car dealership that dominated the nearby road junction. No doubt he had the money to make her comfortable. At least the debts were paid, and Roger bought her out of the house for a fraction of what she could have asked for. He agreed to the divorce when she asked for it, and she even admitted infidelity with her new lover to speed things through the courts.

That was a long time ago now, but he still considered he had made a lucky escape. After Diana, he sold the television, and didn’t bother with women again. He went home every night to peace and quiet. Eating whatever he wanted, and drinking cheap German wine if he saw fit to do so.

And he had his books.

Sarah Cook was already in the staff room. He knew she taught Maths to Emily, so came right out and asked if Emily was showing promise in the subject. Sarah was reasonably new, only two years at the school. Rumour had it that she thought herself above a surburban school like theirs, and was hoping to move on to something more prestigious. She accepted his offer of a cigarette before replying.

“The Hartmann girl? Somthing fishy there, if you ask me. I gave them a test last Friday, just to see who had any idea. It was a forty-five minute general question paper, and gave me a break before the end of the school day. Less than ten minutes in, and the Hartmann girl has her hand up. “Finished, Miss”. Sarah mimicked Emily’s voice perfectly. “So I walked over and took her paper, expecting it to be crap. But it was a hundred percent correct. Most of the others were on question three of fiteen questions, and Miss Smarty-Pants had done the lot in record time. If I didn’t know better, I would say she was at the standard of a school leaver. But she’s only eleven, so something doesn’t seem right”.

It was obvious that Sarah didn’t like the girl, but the fact she had nailed the Maths test just added to Roger’s worries. Sarah stubbed out the cigarette and picked up some folders. He knew she would be keen to get to Morning Assembly early, and to be seen to be early by the headmaster. Tom Morgan showed up then, taking off his bicycle clips and running his hands through his windswept ginger hair. He was Emily’s English teacher.

Roger walked over and asked him much the same question. How was Emily shaping up in English? Tom was making himself a cup of tea and answered without turning round. “Well her spelling is erratic, but her grasp of literature is first rate. I set them an easy homework of an essay on their favourite book, and she turned in six pages about Wuthering Heights that I would have been proud to submit myself. The girl has promise, undoubtedly”.

Wandering off to the main hall for the boredom of Assembly, Roger was feeling uneasy.

42 thoughts on “The Prodigy: Part Two

  1. Enjoying it very much so far, Pete. I suspect something is amiss, but I taught some brilliant students who couldn’t spell with a darn. That’s not unheard of.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. (1) “Whilst eating his cornflakes the next morning, Roger had a change of heart.” (He refused to follow the advice of Dr. Hartmann, who had advised him to forget about eating breakfast during heart transplant surgery.)
    (2) Roger Gale and Diana Ross had a white and black wedding. (A race to annul it ensued.)
    (3) Diana demanded to have modern furniture. She had grown tired of sitting on wooden crates, serving meals on a plywood drum meant for electric cables, and sleeping on a broken pallet buried beneath a heap of stinky carpet scraps.
    (4) Diana wasn’t an average copy typist. She really jazzed up her work! In fact, the local council even encouraged her to submit it to the Fox and Anchor Publishing Company.
    (5) Overheard:
    “Knock! Knock!”
    “Who’s there?”
    “Sarah who?”
    “Sarah Cook in the house? I’m famished!”
    (6) “Ariel? Something fishy there, if you ask me!”
    (7) What would a 43-year-old sex-starved teacher have in mind for Miss Smarty-Pants?
    (8) Emily’s spelling was erratic. For example, look at how she spelled her words in this introduction to a tale she wrote about a miller:
    Whan that the Knyght had thus his tale ytoold, in al the route nas ther yong ne oold that he ne seyde it was a noble storie and worthy for to drawen to memorie, and namely the gentils everichon. Oure Hooste lough and swoor, “So moot I gon, this gooth aright; unbokeled is the male. Lat se now who shal telle another tale; for trewely the game is wel bigonne. Now telleth ye, sir Monk, if that ye konne,
    somwhat to quite with the Knyghtes tale.”
    (9) Roger was feeling uneasy. Were the rumors true? Was Jessica Rabbit actually cheating on him?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t know anything about children who are prodigies, so I’ve no idea if such a child might excel in multiple subjects or what the significance is of erratic spelling. No doubt the tale will unravel…and what is it going to do for our bachelor teacher?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Intriguing. Usually a student will excel in one subject or discipline like languages or art or science, but rarely across the board. I’m wondering where you are going with this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There are child prodigies though… remember Ruth (can’t remember her surname) who studied Maths at Cambridge aged only 12? Her father was a Maths professor, and so I suppose she did have a head start.

    Liked by 1 person

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