It’s been a few weeks since I wrote about these guys, but I had a little time this afternoon.

“What you going to do?”

“Well, what can I do? The school want to see Beth and I, they’ve suggested next Tuesday”, retorted Paul, as he carefully rolled a joint.

“It’s a bit ironic, don’t you think?”

“Ironic? Why?”

“Well, Jake getting suspended for taking drugs while you’re lying here… taking drugs.”

“Ah… the beauty of being a grown-up. You want some?” Paul lit the joint and took a long drag.

“No thanks”, replied Anna, “that stuff will kill you.”

“Don’t be daft. A bit of puff on a Sunday morning won’t do any harm. But suit yourself.”

Anna knew that there was no point getting into this. It seemed that everybody of Paul’s age lit up now and again, but she’d keep her body clean.

Next Tuesday, the hearing. Paul travelled out from London to meet up with his son, Jake, and ex-wife Beth. The three sat outside the headmaster’s office, Paul and Beth feeling almost like naughty children themselves.

“Ah, Mr and Mrs Simpson, please come through”. An officious man came out to meet them. Beth no longer used Paul’s surname, but that didn’t seem important just now.

They were ushered into the headmaster’s tidy office, although Paul shut out most of what came next. Yeah, yeah, yada, yada. The school seemed to appreciate that there was only a limited amount that parents could do but were concerned about anybody of Jake’s age being seen to be smoking anything while they were dressed in school uniform.

“That could have been a lot worse”, Beth whispered to Paul as they left the office.

“Let’s just get the fuck out of here. Do you fancy grabbing a coffee? Come on Jake”, he commanded. Jake had remained seated outside the office during their meeting, but they now whisked him up as they left. “You’re suspended the rest of the week but are back next Monday”. Paul suspected that the school dealt with something like this every week, so if they did anything more, there’d soon be nobody left to teach!

A half-hour later, they all sat in Starbucks together. Jake was relieved that he hadn’t been in more trouble. “No trouble? You little sod! Your mum and I both had to take the afternoon off work because of this! You know we’d talked about going for a curry at the weekend with Anna? Forget it. And the Liverpool game. You might think you got off lightly with the school, but let’s hope *these* punishments will teach you a lesson.

They sipped the rest of their coffees in silence, and ten minutes later, Paul announced “Look, I’m gonna head off. I need to get back to London.” The station was only five minutes away. Preparing to leave, he agreed with Beth a time on Saturday morning when he would come back over to pick Jake up again. As a parting shot, he said ruefully to Jake:

“There’s a lesson in this, buddy. Let’s hope you learn it.”

“Don’t take drugs?”, suggested Jake.

“Don’t get caught.”, replied Paul.

I wrote some backgrounds to these characters below:


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