Friday, June 22, 2012

Mirth and Woe: The Bouncy Castle

"Shoes off lads," said the bouncy castle man, taking our money at the junior school fete.

We piled on and hurled ourselves about, careening off the walls, spanging around, bouncing off badly-drawn pictures of Disney characters, flying into each other and against other small children who went down like machine gunned. I was having a whale of a time until I realised that I was the only person left on the bouncy castle.

Then... Silence.

Someone had switched off the air pump, and eyes were upon me. The disapproving eyes of Mr Morgan, my former year head bore into me, and he beckoned me toward him. I sidled off the rubbery behemoth as best I could when the floor is sinking under your feet. Small children were pointing at me, and parents gave me that "You utter dick" look that I thoroughly deserved.

"Bit big for this, aren't you Coleman?" he said.

"Just a bit," I agreed, fleeing sans shoes to the coconut shy with the embarrassment of being told off by a former teacher making my ears glow red.

I was twenty-one, having left the junior school ten years previously, with a precocious wispy growth of facial hair and a white Top Man jacket. Twenty-one, and already too old for the bouncy castle.

On the bright side, at least he remembered my name.

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