I sat down outside the door wondering what to do next when a whistle came from above me. My friends had not deserted me. Their heads peaked out from the window above indicating to go around the corner to the windows beneath our own dormitory. I quickly ran around the corner and then hunched down while waiting for further instructions. When I heard the above bay windows open I looked up again see two heads peaking down at me, and what appeared to be a rope dangling between them. The rope came closer and closer to me and as it slowly wound itself like a snake on the ground and a cotton bag whipped past my ears. How very clever indeed. Although I could no longer see the heads of my fellow risk takers I placed the cider in the bag and then tugged on the rope.
I watched as the heavy bag made its way up to the bay windows on the third floor and turned towards the doors. The corridor was clear of supervisors as I sneaked inside and headed up stairs. I ran up the winding stairways that led to out dormitory expecting to see my two mates ready to imbibe ourselves with our new drink but was shocked to see a supervisor standing there. Holding the cider, the bag, and the rope. His face was not a happy face. ‘Report to the headmaster tomorrow morning.’
I was doomed. It could only mean one thing. The cane. I looked at my two supposed friends who sheepishly had their faces glued to their study books, refusing to look me in the eye. ‘Do you both have to be there tomorrow?’ I inquired. But they just looked back at their texts. Clearly a deal had been struck. An admission of guilt. The handing over of another in exchange for their freedom. I lay in bed worried about my fate but there was a wry smile across my face. Depending on how many strokes I received I could be ahead in the red stripe’s stakes.
A red stripe across your arse was a mark of respect and I was already lagging behind by two. Another idea had struck me. My mother had just bought me some incredibly new-wave trendy trousers which so far had only seen an uproar in laughter each time I had worn them. Despite them being worn by New Romantics ABC on Top of The Pops. They always made my legs appear larger than they were, owing to the extra layer of cotton lining underneath, that created the balloon effect. But they were perfect protection for the cane. I lay there with a big smile on my face. Victory would be mine. Victory would be mine. I just now had to work out how to get back my bottle of cider from Mr Hardcastle. Mr Hardcastle was a religious nut who sang Christian songs as he wandered the corridors keeping the peace. He didn’t drink alcohol but the others did. Another plan needed to be hatched and with the extra stripes on my ass, I could lead, and they would have to follow.