By Simon Lelic
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Extra info for A Thousand Cuts
I asked him, gesturing at the name on his CV. It’s shy-kov-skee, he says and I ask him where it is from. It’s Polish. My grandfather was Polish. I see. And do you speak it? No, not really. Not really. I know words. Some useful, most less so. I can’t spell any of them. You see what I mean? He was making a joke of his inadequacy. At an interview, for pity’s sake. I did not laugh and we carried on. Why teaching, Mr Szajkowski? What has motivated you to become a teacher? Szajkowski nods and for a moment appears to contemplate.
I almost throw up. I have to swallow it back down. But I’d rather eat vomit than eat in the canteen again, I swear. Banks, though, he doesn’t hardly notice. He lives in a council. I live in a council too but a better one. We’re trapped in there for a bit. We can’t find a way out cept for the way we’ve just come in. In the end we jump up over the counter. I kick at a tray of glasses with my foot, not on purpose, but some of the glasses fall and they break. Banks starts having a go, tells me to be quiet, but no one hears.
It smelt of plimsolls. Rubbery, sweaty, the yield of scores of scrabbling feet. The assembly hall, she knew, doubled as the gym. There were climbing frames, folded to the walls and locked in place. She shut the door behind her, just as he had done. He would have looked to the front, she assumed, at the stage and whomever had been speaking. The headmaster. Travis. Lucia’s eyes, though, caught on the climbing frame opposite her, on the ropes that bisected the rows of bars. One of the victims had hauled themselves upright, had used a rope to try and help them escape the onrush of bodies.
A Thousand Cuts by Simon Lelic