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Speccy Al 4

by  Freebird

Posted: Sunday, March 7, 2010
Word Count: 988
Summary: Quite a short chapter (hacked it a lot) - might end up combining is with the next one.
Related Works: Speccy Al • Speccy Al 2 • Speccy Al 3 • 


At the school gates, Alistair climbed out of the car. He blew out his cheeks, clicked his tongue and scuffed his shoes against the kerb.
“Go on, off you go,” encouraged Mum. “You might be missing something exciting.”
“I’m going to school, Mum.” Alistair slammed the car door and saw Mum wince and shake her head at him.
“Just make sure you wear them!” Her voice was muffled behind the glass.
Alistair arrived back in school just as singing practice began. He slipped in among his classmates at the end of a row and wriggled out of his coat. He laid it on the polished floor beside him; the glasses case bulged in the pocket.
Wayne was sitting in the middle of the row next to the projector, where it was his job to press a button that would beam the words onto a screen at the front of the hall. Now he leaned forward and whispered, “Where’ve you been?”
Alistair made his fingers into a pair of glasses and pressed them to his eyes.
Wayne’s brow furrowed. “Dentist?”
Alistair shook his head and rummaged in his coat pocket. He fished out the glasses case and held it up.
Wayne raised his eyebrows, and was about to say something else when the headteacher, Mr. Golightly, swept into the room. He was a tall, gangly man who had never gone anywhere lightly in his life. “We shall begin,” he said, solemnly, “with a song we all know, which is does it go, Mrs. Frecklebotham?”
Mrs. Frecklebotham, the tiny lady at the piano, taught the reception class and was shorter than all of them. She couldn’t reach the pedals and sit on the piano stool at the same time, so a small child knelt on the floor at her feet and pressed the pedals every time she pointed her left toe.
“Oh, dear,” she said, flustered. “I seem to have mislaid the music. Shall we learn the new one instead?”
“Very well,” boomed Mr. Golightly. “Children, we shall learn a new song this morning. Wayne Carver? Wake up, please. ‘You’re Special.’”
Wayne beamed. “Thank you, Mr. Golightly. And you’re not as bad as everyone says you are.”
A muscle in the headteacher’s jaw twitched. He spoke very slowly. “No, Wayne. The song is called ‘You’re Special’, and every person in this room is waiting for you to press the appropriate key so we may all share in your special experience. If you would be so kind?”
Wayne obliged, and a haze of indistinct shapes danced on the screen in front of Alistair’s eyes. There was no escaping it; he would have to wear his glasses. He drew them glasses out of the case and put them on.
His mouth fell open.
Standing at the front of the hall was a grey-green creature resembling a large slug, oozing slime onto the polished floor so that it collected in the grooves and formed a pattern. Three eyes on stalks swayed from the uppermost end of its body, swivelling in three different directions. A single long tentacle sprouted from the chest region and swung deliberately to and fro in time with Mrs. Frecklebotham’s atrocious accompaniment.
The creature waved its tentacle towards each line in turn, and everyone began to sing. Alistair remained slack-mouthed, unable to command his tongue to form the words. The creature raised a tentacle, quivering and moist, and pointed at him.
The girl next to Alistair nudged him in the ribs. “Go on! It’s you. Stand up!”
Alistair swiftly removed his glasses.
“Alistair Brownlow,” said Mr. Golightly, “you are not even moving your mouth. What’s the matter? Can’t you see?”
“Yes, I’ve got...” Alistair waved his glasses feebly.
“Can’t you read?”
“No, I...”
“Then you shall have to come to my office at lunchtime to learn the words. Sit down.”
At the end of singing practice, as the children filed out class by class, Mr. Golightly walked over and laid a heavy hand on Alistair’s shoulder. Alistair leapt and cried out.
“For goodness sake, Alistair,” tutted the headmaster. “I’m not a monster, you know!”
Alistair scuttled away towards the cloakroom, where Wayne was warming the backs of his legs against a hot water pipe. He watched as Alistair hung up his coat.
“What’s up?” said Wayne. “Did you have some teeth out?”
“I didn’t go to the dentist; I went to the optician,” said Alistair. He held up the glasses case. “I have to wear these.”
“I wouldn’t mind wearing glasses,” said Wayne. “They make you look brainy.”
Alistair looked around quickly before squatting down beside Wayne. “But these aren’t ordinary glasses. You won’t believe...”
A hand swooped down and snatched the glasses case. “Speccy, Speccy, Speccy Al,” chanted Tony Macaroni. “Or shall I call you Four Eyes? I’ll try them on, shall I?” He opened the case.
“No!” Alistair leapt up and knocked the case out of Tony’s hand. The glasses fell out onto the floor. Tony smiled, and raised his massive lace-up shoe over them, ready to stamp down and grind them into the floor. Alistair held his breath.
“But I’d be doing you a favour wouldn’t I?” snarled Tony, lowering his shoe so that it just missed the glasses. “We want to see you wearing your glasses, don’t we, Speccy? It would be very bad for you if you didn’t.”
Tony picked up the case, threw it at Alistair’s head, and stomped off to the classroom, sniggering to himself.
“Just ignore him,” said Wayne.
“I will. He doesn’t bother me,” said Alistair. But tears pricked his eyes as he stooped to retrieve his glasses.
Wayne reached out for them. “So what’s so special about these, then?”
Alistair shrugged. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”
“I might. I believed you when you said that Elspeth was half orang-utang.”
Alistair smiled for the first time that day. “This is better than that. Much better.”