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Specs chapter 5

by  Freebird

Posted: Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Word Count: 984
Summary: back with Barnaby's pov - not sure how the formatting will come out, with the eye test chart. Hope you can read what it says!
Related Works: Specs • Specs Chapter 2 • Specs Chapter 3 • Specs Chapter 4 • 


“How’s that, then?” The optician loomed over Barnaby, his oily smile revealing the tips of his canine teeth pressing slightly into his dry, thin lips. He rubbed his hands together with a sound like sandpaper and his tongue darted in and out nervously. “Do you like them?”
Barnaby glimpsed his reflection in the mirror and looked away hurriedly.
“Well? Are they comfortable?”
Barnaby slid the glasses slowly down to the tip of his nose and looked solemnly over the top of them. “They rub on my ears,” he said.
“Ah! That’s easily fixed,” hissed the optician, he whipped the glasses from Barnaby’s face and hurried into an adjoining room, from which was presently heard the hum of machinery.
Mrs. Brownlow studied Barnaby’s face anxiously. “Come on, cherub, cheer up. It’s not the end of the world, you know. Anyway, you only have to wear them for reading and watching TV.”
Barnaby’s face lit up. “So I don’t have to wear them for school, then?”
“Well, you do because you’ll be looking at your work closely, won’t you?”
Barnaby sighed. The optician slithered back into the room, wielding the spectacles triumphantly.
“Here we are,” he said. “Just pop them on and we’ll sit you in the chair and do a quick test.”
Barnaby plumped himself into the big, black, leather chair, enjoying the rude hiss of air that escaped as he bounced on the cushion. He looked straight ahead at the wall chart, showing black letters of ever decreasing sizes.
“I can’t see it very well,” said Barnaby.
“Push the spectacles up your nose,” suggested the optician.
“Up my nose?”
“He means push them further up so they’re not on the end,” said Mum. “Come on, you’re wasting Mr. Sneck’s valuable time.”
Barnaby did as he was told, and suddenly fell sharply back into his seat. Either he hadn’t looked very closely at Mr. Sneck before, or his eyesight was worse than he thought. Mr. Sneck was gazing directly at him; in the centre of his glowing green eyes, where the black decimal points of his pupils should have been, were definite dark pound signs. Just like this: £. Barnaby shook his head and looked again. The optician blinked slowly and paused for a moment with his eyes serenely closed. But as soon as he opened them again, there were the pound signs again. No doubt about it.
“Can you read the first line?” asked Mr. Sneck. His tongue appeared briefly; it was forked.
“” Barnaby glanced at Mum. She glared back at him. “Ummm... the top one is ‘G’.”
“And the next line has ‘I’ and then ‘V’...” Barnaby’s voice trailed off. The chart looked like this:






Barnaby removed the glasses and rubbed his eyes.
“Is everything all right?” asked Mr. Sneck, hovering close to Barnaby’s cheek.
Barnaby turned to look at him. His eyes seemed to be perfectly normal.
Barnaby put the glasses on again. Instantly, the heavy pound signs glowed in the optician’s eyes. Barnaby whipped off the glasses and snapped them into the plain brown case Mr. Sneck had given him.
Mum retrieved Dylan from a heap of magazines he had been tearing into strips and stuffing in his mouth. A streak of green ink was bleeding down his chin as was swept up from the debris of papier mache. Mr. Sneck cried out, and swooped on a mangled pair of glasses that had been hidden beneath the papers.
“Ah, no! I have made a mistake! These spectacles would be much better than the ones I have given you.”
Barnaby’s fist closed round the case in his hand. “But I’d rather have these.”
“No, no. You cannot have those. You won’t be able to see properly through them.”
“Oh, but I can see better than I’ve ever seen before!” Barnaby assured him.
Mr. Sneck made a sort of choking sound in his throat, and lunged at Barnaby. Mum walked between the two of them at that precise moment, so that Mr. Sneck ended up grabbing the front of her coat.
“Excuse me!” she said, in a voice that would freeze lava. “I think it’s time we were leaving.” She swept Dylan into her arms and marched Barnaby out of the door.
As they left the shop and emerged into the gusty swirls of paper chasing each other down the gutters of the high street, Barnaby clutched the glasses case in his pocket.
“Mum?” he ventured at last.
“Yes, cherub?” Mum was distracted, waiting for a space in the traffic so they could dash across the road to the parked car. Dylan tugged at her hair, wrapping it across her eyes so she couldn’t see.
“Did you notice anything...strange... about Mr. Sneck?”
“Strange? In what way?”
“Just – well, you know – unusual.”
“Barnaby, dear, you mustn’t make fun of someone with a speech impediment.”
“What’s one of those? Is it something to do with money?”
Mum laughed. “Wherever did you get that idea? No, it means you can’t say certain letters properly. Or should I say, certain ‘letterssssss’!”
Barnaby giggled. “Let’sssss go back to ssssschool!” he giggled, “or Mr. Golightly will go ballisssstic!”
Barnaby clambered into the car, pulling the door shut just as a big, black limousine pulled up at the kerb. A tall woman with orange hair and heels like daggers stepped out of the car. She stalked into the optician’s and spoke to Mr. Sneck. Barnaby could see them through the window. Mr. Sneck held up his hands and said something. The woman screamed at him. Mr. Sneck pointed. The woman swivelled round and stared directly at Barnaby as though she would like to fry him for breakfast.
Barnaby ducked down and pretended to tickle Dylan’s feet as Mrs. Brownlow pulled into the heavy traffic and sped away.