Mrs. Strent was the sort of woman who kicked puppies and was very comfortable smacking people with a cane. She wore her hair in a no-nonsense platinum blond bun and put on mountains of perfume to stop people from coming too near her. She was inevitably the woman who was walking through the lobby when you happened to be riding around on your bike, and the sort who always seems to have a bad smell in her nose–why else would she wrinkle it? Mrs. Strent was most happy on a days when the clouds spit just enough rain to make everyone miserable, and was never seen on a sunny day. She had been known to put her baby in his play-pen for hours at a time, trying to teach him to read.
Her son, the aforementioned baby, grew up to be the exact opposite of his mother in every way. He was called a wild child in three of his school reports and often given detentions and tardy slips. AWKHe was usually the person neighbors pray will not end up in the house next to them, and always seemed to be in some kind of trouble. He had an aptitude for not tucking in his shirt, and an attitude that had caused several teachers to quit their jobs. He was usually covered in an undefinable mess of lunch, mud, gum, and whatever else he had fallen in on his way home. His name was Walter Isaac Mortimer-Charles Strent III.
Mrs. Strent was searching for the perfect school for her little Walter Isaac Mortimer-Charles. All his other schools were simply boorish. None of them used a cane, and all of them agreed that there was nothing they could do for her son. So, she went back to school hunting.
Riverside School for Young Gentlemen was a charming building, brightly lit, with children bubbling through the hallway. It was cheerful, the teachers were kind and very good at their jobs,, but everything was just too encouragingly happy. She insisted that any school had teachers that allowed children to make mistakes and then discipline them. One young boy was spelling cat ‘kat’. “Gah…” she choked, collapsing into the tour guide’s arms.
Darwing School was a gray brick building, which made Mrs. Strent hopeful that this would be the school. The children had to wear uniforms, but they chittered and chattered and sang in the halls. She caught sight of one pair of girls running around holding lipstick and scissors, chasing after a boy wearing a gym uniform. No, no, no…this wouldn’t work for her Walter Isaac Mortimer-Charles. No singing for him! And absolutely no running from lipstick wearing girls! “Bah,” she muttered, pressing herself to the wall as the children raced past screaming.
So, finally, she arrived at Harrington Halls. The building was gray, there were towers and not a hint of a pastel. Mrs. Srent nodded to herself. Acceptable on the outside, she thought. They entered the school and she found silent, gray clad children bustling to and fro. There were two distinct aisles, with children rushing about with stacks of books. She had just completed the tour of the ‘sometimes functioning’ school dungeon, and watched the children in detention writing lines 14,000 times. The teachers snapped and screamed at the students, but Mrs. Strent merely nodded and smiled.
“This is the school,” she sighed.
Age 12, Grade 7