"Warm" Welcome in Hell
Not often does one consider the hardships they must endure in order to progress through life to the point one has keys to a grand house in one hand and bales of money in the other. It's rarely ever considered to be a necessity to consider one's steps to achieve such dreams until they collide with life's barriers head first, where on some occasions the chance of recovery is just too late.
When I received news that I was to be moved from my old school to one of New England's darkest abyss' of educational inferno, you bet I had a major headache from that barrier. My body numbed to counteract the agony of which I felt within me to the point I wouldn't be surprised if the letter "congratulating" me on my enrolment to the Demon's Lair dubbed Bullworth Academy, had slipped from my fingers to the floor.
My eyes glared into the wall of the kitchen, the cream walls melting away as the colour was sapped into a dark void that displayed a dank building towering over its vulgar minions as they fought amongst themselves, some were buried into the putrid trash cans that spread across the land, others were poisoned by foul chemicals that intoxicated the atmosphere after one little rat destroyed its container. Amongst the chaos, a man as thin as thorns on weeds glanced over the madness of Bullworth, piercing through the crowds of unruly scum to hunt down any who dared have the sanity to resist such vile temptations.
The man had found his prey: me.
His eyes directly contacted my own, as he stared, my eyes began to flicker lightly in an attempt to block the hypnosis that his pupil less eyeballs cast upon me.
Just as I found my own consciousness wavering, my mother's voice broke the spell that that monster was near completing, and the void began to seal itself as my mother entered the kitchen and shook me.
"Come on Dolly Daydream, what's up with you?" my mother questioned as she placed the plastic grocery bags teeming with produce and clothes onto the table. She then looked under my seat, stretched her arm across it and picked it up. "I see you got your letter." She stated before taking the time to read it. As she did so, she gasped, "You're moving to a new school son! 'Bullworth Academy', hey that must be good, you're going to an academy!" she continued reading, oblivious to my subtle head shaking of more horror than objection. My mother added, "Well isn't that interesting? It's in New England, talk about an all expenses paid holiday huh? You'll be in there for three years. That'll make you old enough to live on your own and get your own job, and in America of all places! You must be honoured!"
From what I recollect, I believe I blew a gasket and for the one and only time, shouted at my mother, "Honoured? Are you out your bloody mind mother? Honoured? I'm being forced to attending Bullworth Academy which, in case you had not fucking realised, was voted the worst school in the United States probably ever since it was fucking built!" My blood had at this point rocketed to my face, which most likely helped contribute to my mother being even more frightened of me. "Not only will I have to live in that shit hole for three fucking years, but I'll be in a foreign country with no friends or family there, meaning even if I had the luck of being expelled, more likely than not, neither the school or yourself will punch me a ticket home, and I'll be damned to live in some city so derelict it would probably make ghettoes like the Bronx look like fucking suburbia!" I concluded, to which point my mother had been backed into a corner by myself, brandishing my teeth as if I planned to tear her flesh out for food.
I backed off slowly a couple of steps, feeling warmth from tears which began to seep from my eyes. I then turned and fled up to my room, breaking through the door upstairs, violently slamming it back shut and collapsing onto my bed, I totally fucked up now my mind growled as the tears evaporated onto my pillow, now mum will phone dad about my outburst at her, she mention the fact I didn't want to go to Bullworth and as soon as you say summer's over, dad will have you shipped off to New England to never see your family ever again!
It was then my door echoed two light knocks upon it. It was obviously mum.
"John?" My mother's voice piped from beyond my bedroom door, "John can you please open the door?"
My bed springs groaned in relief as I lifted myself to a seating position, my dirty blonde hair messed up on the side I rested on. I sighed before I ascended from my bed and approached the door, twisting its handle and pulling the door ajar, I looked at my mother's tear stained face.
"What?" I snapped, still feeling bitter over her initial arrogance to the situation.
My mother sighed and spoke, "Look John. I can see you are upset about this, and you know I don't want you to feel unjustly treated." She then looked towards me and concluded, "How about I contact this Bullworth and see if we can get a compromise?"
My eyes lit up as I saw hope from the suggestion which left from my mother's lips. A compromise, sure my mind gnawed at the back of my head in a bid to remind me that it won't guarantee my freedom, but hell, if I had a chance to get out of that monstrosity for an excuse of a school, then I was going to take it even if it meant I would have to do chores around the house for a year, heck even for until I moved house would be fine!
I nodded, "Yeah ok, thanks mum!" I replied, doing my best not to let the excitement of possibly escaping my doomed fate to hell to reveal itself to my mum, though judging by the fact she smiled when I said so, I bet she could hear my joy from the reply I gave her.
I slowly shut the door and went back to my bed, this time I decided to just lie on it and stare at the ceiling with puffed red eyes. I began to think more about the whole Bullworth situation, planning what I should do to prepare myself if worst came to worst. To my dismay, nothing seemed to come to my head, all that I seemed to get from my thoughts on my upcoming school term seemed to be that nightmare with that skinny man and his hypno-eyes, each time either the man varied in appearance or I varied in age and school attire. It became clear to me by the end of the summer that whatever compromise my mother had made with the school, it better have consisted of me never having to go to that hell hole of a school, or else the next time I see those pair of eyes, it'll be doubtful a solid shake from my shoulder will free me from the malicious glare of those eyes!
It finally came, the day that my life was suspended in terror; I was a plane and a taxi away from Bullworth Academy, the very grounds which may become my Auschwitz. The only thing which could have slightly comforted me was my mother's news considering her compromise with the school's rector or whatever Americans called them.
As I stood on the clear white slates of the airport floor and observed the schedule for my plane to Satan City, New England my mother began to whisper to my ear.
"Now John, I sent a letter to the rector, Dr. Crabblesnitch about your concerns." She explained, "And he says that if you pass your end of year school tests on all your subjects, then he'll allow you to go back home and go back to your old school!"
For some reason I believe I got the details in the wrong order, for my immediate reaction was to punch the air and scream with joy that I was going to go back home after a year! Only one year! Suddenly, I noticed another segment of my mother's news. "...if you pass your...tests on all your subjects..." in others words it was a case of one strike and you are out, unsurprisingly that didn't fare well in my mind.
For my mother's sake, I gave a small smile and quipped, "No biggie then." For my mother always knew that I was naturally a clever young man, a lazy one granted, but clever nevertheless.
The PA announced the flight to New England was now ready for boarding. Thus, after a farewell hug and kiss from my mother and a hug from my father, I ran off to my plane while waving back at my parents, in a year's time, fate will decide if I'll see them ever again!
The taxi stopped at the grimy gates of Bullworth Academy, I paid my fare to the grubby gentleman and left his taxi, he instantly drove away, as if the gates alone could crush his beloved though somewhat aged auto mobile.
I stared up at the plaque which read "BULLWORTH ACADEMY" over the arch of the gates, its letters somewhat faded at parts and obvious stains of bird urine merely encouraged my impression of the aged, derelict vicinity.
I almost began to turn back and walk off to a nearby bus stop out the area, when suddenly a voice caught me off-guard and almost made me jump onto the road.
"I hope you weren't planning on truanting on your first day Mr. Daniels." The voice said.
After my shock lead to getting my white trainers drenched in a remarkably deep puddle, I stepped back onto the pavement and looked before a woman in what I predicted was her mid 20s. She had brown hair and dressed in a black outfit that I once recalled a secretary wore in some black and white horror movie I saw during the holidays.
She then stated, "I am Ms. Danvers, the vice principal of this prestigious school that is Bullworth Academy!" she opened her arms into the air as if expecting fireworks though the nature of Bullworth would probably find firearms more fitting. She eventually put her arms down and explained, "Dr. Crabblesnitch, the principal, wishes to give his most important time to see you, so hurry up and get into the main building, his office is the first room you'll see up the stairs!" she pointed at the large grey building in the core of the school grounds, she then finished with her final statement, "Don't dilly dally boy! Dr. Crabblesnitch is a great man who doesn't deserve troublemakers to waste his time. A brilliant man he is indeed!"
I rolled my eyes at this Doctor's lap bitch (How fitting) and walked towards the main building, I passed a group of pupils wearing some blue sweater vests. While I won't say I heard everything they stated, I'm pretty sure I heard one of them sneered "pauper" as he passed by me, typical self centred Americans!
At a three-way split on the paving, I decided to look at where the other routes lead. To my astonishment, the paths led to the dormitories. On the left, a minute wreck of a building, where if it weren't for the screams of sick joy and terror that bellowed from the building, one would be oblivious to the fact that that tool shed of a dorm belonged to the male population of the school. While on the left, a building easily twice the boys' dorm's size, with a small patch of flowers surrounding it and paint on the walls that was easily more pleasant than that of the boys' dormitory, was by process of elimination, the girls' dormitory. Frankly, I could honestly see obvious bias even if I were to enter the school with only three brain cells in between my ears.
"Hey! Why are you not following the school dress code?" I heard a loud bellow call out, before a pupil in a dark blue jacket gripped me and placed me in a head lock.
In an attempt to free myself, I replied, "I'm...new here! Please-let...me go!" While having great difficulty explaining myself while being choked by this fellow's arm covering my mouth.
The pupil released me from his vice and then ordered, "Then go see Dr. Crabblesnitch this instant! If you dare mess around, I, as a prefect, have every right to apprehend you just as I did earlier. Now move it!"
I sprinted off away from him, almost in fear of being man handled again.
I didn't take long for me to enter the belly of the Bullworth beast. Inside, I spotted a trail of girls dressed in what I went off on a limb to guess were the cheerleader outfits following a ginger headed pupil who looked to be only a head off being my height. This image seemed rather fitting of the school hierarchy, those who had an advantage over you were to be beaten up if you wanted to be respected, and otherwise you became pond scum!
I reached the principal's office, ignoring the icy glare of a certain Ms. Danvers and passing through the large mahogany doors into a wide office of a Dr. Crabblesnitch.
The principal raised his eyes from his papers and looked towards me, he then stated "So, you must be that student from England, John Daniels am I right?"
"Well not necessarily English sir, I'm actually-" I began, but the old man's stare cut me short, I sighed and finished, "Yes, I'm the student from England John Daniels, sir."
"Very good, sit down." He stated, to which I obeyed, sitting on a small wooden chair opposite his long solid wooden desk, he continued, "I've been looking over your previous records Daniels and I have to say, you must be the one of the few students to be sent here without a bad record!"
A look of surprise was painted across my face when I heard this; I began to think of why I was sent here if I clearly didn't deserve it.
"Although I was expecting and hoping as much, after all if you didn't have a good record up to now then this little idea of mine wouldn't work. You see Daniels; I wanted to prove that any pupil, bad or good, can have a great future under the Bullworth education! So with your school's consent, I got you to be my proof by the end of your school life."
That made me ticked, my old school, St. Connors, the very same one I helped improve with my test results, after school activities and the like abandoned me here? In this asylum for a school?
"Your mother however seemed reluctant and told me about your opinion. So we compromised with you leaving at the end of this year if you pass your final exams in all your subjects. That way, you can return home and I get my evidence to prove this school as a great school! A win-win situation you may say."
Sure, a win-win situation meaning that I get beaten up by every scum bag in here until you are satisfied that I have been tortured enough I began to think. My stomach churned and compressed itself under the possibilities that I may be forced to stay in this rotting ground of malice for longer than the year which I had been promised.
Crabblesnitch then began some 'keep your nose clean' speech while I humoured him into believing I could give a hell about how he wanted me to behave in his festering shit hole. Ms. Danvers then intervened with a platter holding a chattering tea pot with matching cups and a small tray of biscuits.
"I have made you your tea Dr. Crabblesnitch." Ms. Danvers said like lathered honey sweetness while placing the platter on his desk and giving him a small curtsey of some kind. I could have sworn that woman would demand to be buried with that old codger if he were to keel over!
Dr. Crabblesnitch rose from his chair to the point that from where I was sitting, his eagle monument behind him was inches away from grabbing his head.
"You are most kind to me Ms. Danvers." Dr. Crabblesnitch stated, "May you please take this boy to his dormitory for him to get into his school uniform, we wouldn't like him to start lessons dressed so...inappropriately." Glancing over my casual attire, focusing predominantly on my muddied trainers.
"But of course Dr. Crabblesnitch." She sweetly replied to him, sadly her sweet nature instantly vanished before me as her reply to me consisted of, "Come along boy!" and a stern voice as she pushed me out of Crabblesnitch's office. Once out, she then concluded, "Go straight out the building and keep going until you reach a split just short of the school entrance, turn right, enter the dorm, turn left and your room should be the last one on the left. Your uniform will be there, now get lost!" she spat while gesturing her hands for me to leave.
After a short journey consisting of two kicks to the groin from some red headed girl and being chased by some thugs in white polo shirts, I eventually entered the boy's dormitory.
"What the hell have I got myself into?" I asked myself, gasping for air and cupping my family jewels in agony as I stood next to the water fountain.