By Simon Lelic
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Additional resources for A Thousand Cuts
I’d like to see him,’ she said. ‘He won’t—’ ‘Talk to me, I know. ’ The doctor was tall, dark and strange looking. When he tightened his jaw, his cheeks bulged in two sharp points just below his ears, as though he were attempting to swallow a screwdriver sideways. ’ ‘He is still recovering. ’ The doctor held open the door and allowed Lucia to slip inside. She entered the room and listened for the sound of the door closing behind her. When it did not come, she turned and thanked the doctor and waited for him to retreat.
An iPod, black, with its headphones still plugged in and its screen cracked. Mobile phones. And shoes. There was a surprising number of shoes. Girls’ shoes mainly but also trainers and boots. To one side a single brogue, size ten or eleven. A pair of glasses, the lenses intact but one arm snapped off. A handkerchief, white. She tried to ignore the state of the hall and to picture it as he would have seen it: every seat full, the children silent for once given the circumstances of the assembly, some of them crying and trying not to.
Present company excluded, I hope. And when Mr Boardman retires, as one day he surely shall, who will I find to replace him? A Chinaman perhaps. A Ukrainian, if I’m lucky. Instead, I get history teachers. History. The study of swords and stupidity and scandal. Just what a teenager needs to prepare himself for a life of fiscal and behavioural responsibility. If it were up to me we would not offer it. We would teach mathematics and grammar and physics and chemistry and economics. But the parents want it.
A Thousand Cuts by Simon Lelic