Silly-Savvy Miss Lacks Lustre

Disclaimer: This is a sample chapter from a WIP book. The story, including all characters and locations referred to, is a work of fiction. Please read, like and comment.

I smile.

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I, Faith Vicars,  need this job. I need any job. I’ve just completed my teacher training and I need money, ie. I used up my luck with free higher education, courtesy of the six years of fully-funded courses I enjoyed before student loans were introduced.  Two of these years of dossing were paid for by European Social Funding. Thumbs up to Germany!

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Tragically, the bank manager is now after payback for my student-loan funded teacher training course. I had to stretch out a seventh year of study with something, and the plasticine I bought for that Year 1 maths lesson didn’t come cheap!

And neither did my failed effort to salvage the remainder from the hairy classroom carpet do anything to salve the wound to my purse.

To be fair, then the odds, on this occasion (with only two fellow interviewees) are pretty good. Surely, even I’m in with a chance?

I take in the competition.

Candidate 1: A very pretty, bubbly and beaming twenty-two year old, wearing a smart- floral dress and a formal jacket with kitten-heeled court shoes. She’s always wanted to be a teacher and looks like she was born fully kitted. In addition to the baby, her mother’s amniotic sac contained:

    • Teacher’s Diary, dated September to August, for the year 1996
    • Smiley face stickers
    • A bumper pack of red biros (Bic)
    • An ‘Emergency Lesson’ handbook (unlikely to ever be needed)**
    • A Trust Fund to be released on her 22nd Birthday – the contents to be used for all of the extras teachers are expected to bring to the job, e.g. pencils and rubbers for the tiddlers, stickers, ink stampers, tissues, bog roll, shoelaces, hair-ties, paper clips, felt-tip pens, highlighters, class sets of My First Dictionary, and so on, and so on …

When she beams, she has the most beautiful white teeth – the sort straight out of a Colgate advertisement. Being the jealous type, I cannot but help pose the question (not out loud): Are they false? I know, of course, that they are not, as well as I know that she’s already got the job, before she’s even had the interview.

Candidate 2: Late twenties. Frown. Round-bigger-than-her-face glasses. Boy’s short-back-and-sides haircut. Slacks and mismatching blazer. Chunky-black-lace-up shoes, looking a little scuffed, i.e. teenage boy’s trainers. Doesn’t really want to be a teacher, but failed the sight test for her application to be an Army Pilot, and figures she has an alternative role (still within her skills-set) to play in making primary-school classrooms look like bombs have hit them.

Candidate 3: Me. Faith Vicars. Mid(to late)-twenties, frizzy Ginger, as orange-faced as a giant freckle,  and a touch vacant-looking. But wearing a smart maroon-coloured skirt suit (okay, so what if it clashes with my hair), with shiny, but sensibly flat, court shoes, and sporting a fake corner-mouth smile. (Telepathically communicating with God’s firstborn: Dear Lord Jesus, Please don’t let the kilt-pin holding my wraparound skirt around me, rip away from the cloth when I have to stand up again! Amen.)

The three of us stare each other out and make small-talk in the waiting area, whilst one-by-one, we are called up and taken out for our interrogations.

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Candidate 1 is still beaming when she returns. Candidate 2 is looking cross; she has been asked whether she has a boyfriend and is rightly unable to fathom why that is relevant. Candidate 3 is … me. I’m zapped out.

The Headteacher who interviewed me was pretty scary. On entering the interview room, I immediately clocked onto her fake smile, and began to shake. I answered the questions as best I could (not very well) and then, out of relief to get to the end, gave her a huge smile back (genuine), then legged it back here to await the final verdict.

I already know the final verdict. Candidate 1 will be returning to this very location come the start of September.

The Headteacher enters. I’m surprised to see how tiny she is, now she’s out of her throne. About five foot, one inch, but with the face of Mrs Trunchball.*

There are no surprises.

Candidate 1 gets the job. I prepare for departure (still smiling with relief).

“I would also like to offer a second post. As it happens, one of my teachers has just, handed in her notice and I will be appointing a second NQT. Faith Vicars, I wasn’t sure about you at first – you looked rather nervous and lack-lustre!”

Lack-lustre? How dare she?

“But, when you were about to leave, you smiled and I saw your true potential. You will be an asset to our school. I would like to offer you a teaching position, also for September. Do you accept?”

Oh! Oh, oh, oh! do I really have to? Yes, I need the money. I have no choice. And, anyway, I quite like Candidate 1 – we’ll get on really well together! Shame about the actual working part of the whole thing, but one can’t have it all, can one?

“Yes, of course. Your school is fantastic. I really look forward to working here!”

And, so the working life of my doppelganger began.

Copyright owned by Jay Cool, July 2019

P.S. If any publishers out there like this diary so much that they want to do a deal with me for the whole series, before I self-publish the rest of the tale on this blog, get in touch ASAP!

Images of ‘Bundestag & German Flag’ and ‘Giraffes’ from Pixabay.

*Mrs Trunchball is a character in Roald Dahl’s  ‘Matilda’, available from
Waterstones.

Disclaimer: Any commission received from links to  booksellers will help to fund the cost of my mid-life-write-as-much-as-I-can gap year. Your support is much appreciated.

**Unfortunately, Candidate 1 cannot be persuaded to part with her family heirlooms, but here are worthy equivalents for any teacher-readers unable to find the exact items on Amazon.

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