Literary Maneuvers May 2019 - "At Sea" - Page 2


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Thread: Literary Maneuvers May 2019 - "At Sea"

  1. #11
    Note: Being ‘All-at-sea’ is a british expression for being ‘at a loss’ or confused.

    AT SEA

    “Are you at sea, Grimes?”

    “No, sir.”

    “Are you all- at- sea?”

    “Would you like me to repeat myself, sir?”

    There was a sudden uneasy silence in class, condensed and filled with ugly anticipation. Master Teller stopped his pacing at the front of the class and looked down upon young Grimes, sat at the back. The pupil was expected to look down respectfully at his book, or the floor or, indeed, at anything other than the master’s eye. But the youngster, chin up, held the stern look of Teller and refused to even blink.

    “So you say Jupiter has four moons?” said Master Teller.

    “It does have four moons, sir.”

    “Despite me telling you it has seventy nine?”

    “Yes, sir.”

    “Are you calling me a liar, Grimes? Or a fool?”

    “I can’t infer things for you, sir. Only you can do that. For yourself.”

    “You impudent little monkey. I want you to go to my office downstairs. It’s unlocked. At my desk, on the right hand side, third draw down, you’ll find my cane. Go and fetch it. Now.”

    Grimes stood and left the classroom. Master Teller looked over the other schoolboys who dutifully looked down at their books. The only sound in the room came from without – an occasional vehicle passing outside.

    Everyone jolted in their seats as the door opened and Grimes entered with Master Teller’s cane.

    “Stand there!” snapped Teller. “Is there any point to my classes? How many moons orbit Jupiter?”

    “Four, sir!” responded Grimes, with voice raised and cheeks flushed.

    “Not seventy-nine?”

    “Yes, seventy-nine. But four Galilean moons, sir.”

    “You clever, horrid, despicable little bastard.”

    There was a long silence. Master Teller held out his hand, palm flat, facing the ceiling. “Go on then, Grimes.”

    Grimes raised the cane and swiped down heavily on the master’s hand.

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