After yesterday’s pathetic attempt at educating Cerberus I wake up without even the vaguest intent to try. I receive an email from teacher Mrs E about a maths competition which I ignore. Instead, I pat myself on the back for having spent most of the previous day grinding on with the day job, whilst Mrs M fled with the midget psychopaths to meet friends. In our country of curtain twitchers every visit to a dismal playpark while hailstones crack our skulls feels as I imagine jumping bail might.
We clock in as usual via the virtual classroom, but I don’t open the timetable. Knowing there is an all-class storytelling session mid-morning which unhelpfully coincides with a work team call, I leave Mrs M to forge ahead. From another room I hear Mrs E repeating a story which I must have read the boy 150 times and loathe without parallel.
Unfortunately both Cerberus and Medusa do not wish to engage in harmonious conduct. My work call is ten minutes in when I detect the hideous sound of grinding metal from out of doors. On exploration I discover the boy pulling a cast iron drainpipe from the side of the house. About to deliver a sound bollocking I am stayed by the sight of our pet rabbit, a regrettable lockdown one acquisition, peeking over the edge of a plastic bucket instead of from behind his usual chicken wire. On investigation it seems Cerberus either provided swimming lessons or tried to drown it. I forget the bollocking. Seems little point.
Work call is again interrupted; this time by screaming. Medusa has been bitten by the bunny. Cue blood and tears. I give the rabbit a wink. Despite his vacuous expression he clearly comprehends the bitter pill of lockdown. I don’t tell him his predecessor lasted only four days.
Mrs M seems to be having a bad day. The first indication is when she appears at the study door brandishing her laptop and a glower that would make Boadicea wet the bed. I concentrate even harder on my notepad, my nose touching the paper. I get no reprieve. Turns out she and a colleague have had a bitter exchange. I get the same story in varying forms for the next 11 hours, with increased outrage as the day goes on. I advise her to try and avoid being sacked. This acts as throwing tabasco in a stranger’s eye might. I wonder if she is going to punch me.
It does however precipitate me to leave the house with the boy. Whilst he spends large chunks of each miserable day indoors punching my testicles and cursing like a Greek, outwith Micawber Towers he often walks in a vegetative silence, not unlike the care home residents he corresponded with earlier in the week.
Before we turn the corner I spot a lumbering hunchbacked villager named John standing in the middle of the road with his own son. I assume he is waiting for a passing tractor to put them both out of their misery. I join them, Cerberus in tow.