Tensions

Steve noticed Gronk and Groate up ahead, posing as usual. Gronk spotted his enemy and wanted to provoke a reaction. He considered himself an expert in denigrating others as a way of asserting his own position. Gronk and Groate looked like they wanted to talk. Steve broke away from his friends, saying he would catch them up. The noise passed down the corridor and away. Steve was struck by the silence. Menace seemed to emanate from the invidious pair strolling toward him. Agitators on the prowl.

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Exam Season

It was hard work but, over the next few months, Steve wrote all his work into note books from memory. He wrote down the mnemonics and colour coded the pages just as they were on his computer. Steve worked incessantly on the revision notes and went over them time and again to ensure everything was ordered and retrievable. He even had time to memorise most of the Law text book in the final weeks leading up to the exams. Although tired, he felt ready. Everything was falling into place despite the setback.

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Dismay

Steve noticed his bag had been tampered with. A quick check inside and he saw the computer was gone. He felt like he could not breathe. Horrified, he looked in every pocket, but it was no good. Steve told his friends and they searched around the lockers and the classroom where Steve had used it last. He considered reporting the theft, but it would achieve nothing. Whoever did this would never give it back. Suspecting Gronk was behind it, he walked home. But he had no proof it was Gronk. The vendetta alone was not evidence enough. There was nothing Steve could do. He felt helpless.

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Damage

A disturbance broke out. People looked around. Shouts rang out. Screams. The girl lay on the floor, crying. Pathetic, Gronk thought. But he kept his eye on Steve Nobody. Go on, you idiot. Do something, Gronk urged in his head. Then it happened. Steve Nobody ran after Groate. And there it is, Gronk smirked. Groate probably would not get caught as Gronk had told him to empty the bag’s contents and throw it away on a path so it would be easily found, jump inside a classroom through a strategically opened window and discard the coat. But it did not really matter. The important thing was Gronk saw Steve Nobody’s backpack unattended. This was his chance. He created the opening with a masterfully executed plan. He made his own luck in life. He was the master of subterfuge.

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Predator

Gronk had to work out a weakness. Steve Nobody’s movements during College hours were obvious, but he seemed to have that bag glued to him. There must be notes or books or something inside which Gronk could get his hands on. He took to working out who Steve Nobody’s friends were. But there were so many. Everything Steve did and anyone he knew just irritated Gronk more. Most of his friends were lads, and some looked like they would be handy with their fists. He resolved to stay clear of them. Fisticuffs is not my thing, Gronk thought. But his enemy did talk to some girls as well. There was a small group of three which Steve seemed to have a laugh with. Two taller girls but one was quite petite. Gronk saw a chink of opportunity. And he needed his side-kick, Groate, to exploit it.

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Alarm

Gronk watched Groate casually stroll away and then he stopped. Looking both ways, Groate smashed some glass and set the fire alarm off. The bells rang out and pandemonium broke out. Doors flung open and crowds of students pushed and jostled out of classrooms to the nearest exit. The noise was deafening with the fire alarm, stamping feet, talking and teachers shouting. But Gronk loitered near the lockers and waited. As a few stragglers went outside, he made his move.

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Ploy

Gronk sighed. He needed a ruse to distract Steve Nobody. Something had to be done. Something out of the ordinary. Something extra special. And then a sly idea entered his brain. It was fool-proof and guaranteed to cause a stir in College. He knew later in the afternoon, Steve had a History lesson in a room opposite the locker area and close to a door to the rear of the College. It was going to be perfect. He sought out Groate and whispered his scheme. His friend nodded enthusiastically. And now all they had to do was wait. Gronk attempted to speak to Fathead, but got ignored. He saw that girl gossiping as she walked by and managed to make her giggle with a squirmy smile. The afternoon drifted by.

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Spy

Gronk became obsessed with Steve Nobody’s backpack. It was green and khaki, and looked military. But he never left it unattended, not even near the lockers. No matter how close Gronk got, the backpack was always either by Steve Nobody’s feet or on his back. He never even left the zips open to enable a furtive glance inside. It was beginning to annoy the hell out of Gronk. He began to stake out Steve’s movements. It was relatively easy as Gronk was often posing in the College corridors. He missed lessons as standard practice, but now he used his time to recce Steve Nobody’s movements. Gronk dreamed of a high-flying career as a spy. And his secretive observations in the corridors of Snookington Sixth Form College proved to him that career choice was a serious option. In any event, Gronk knew missing lessons enhanced his image and enabled him to hang out with the Posheys.

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Rubbing Shoulders

An added twist to Sixth Form life was there were a lot of girls there. Gronk had his eye on one particular female called Munterla Twonk. She had limp brown hair and was heavily built. He liked that and kept his eye on her. One day, she would be his girl. Until then, he watched her from a distance. She looked over occasionally and Gronk made sure he stayed in profile with his nose elevated at a superior angle. Often she would walk past and whisper in a gruff tone to her friends. Gronk made a point of making eye contact and did one of his best smiles, which made him look like he had shat himself. Her brawny features giggled back. It was only a matter of time before they would hook up.

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High Hopes

Gronk was not interested in his studies so he invested his time in posturing and posing. He stood tall in his smart clothes and considered himself well-to-do with a gritty edge. Mimicking toffish bluster, he tried to speak with the cut-glass accent of real Posheys. Even as a teenager, he was intent on ascending to something better, despite social mobility being frowned upon in the Snook. He wanted to be as narcissistic as the Posheys. His manufactured image carried the reward of sometimes allowing him into Poshey conversations. The impending uplift in status would stand him in much better stead compared to the idiots who actually studied. He viewed swotting with contempt and anyone who thought reading books was a way of bettering themselves was a fool in his considered opinion. Rather than going to boring lessons, he regaled loud stories about himself within earshot of Posheys in an attempt to garner favour.

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