Toward the end of the final school year, Steve was studying hard. With books borrowed from the local library, he was glued to a makeshift table in his bedroom and memorised notes until late in the evenings for months on end. Pupils from Goodson were not given homework, so Steve studied in secret. The teachers had no idea of the ground he was making up. Steve sat the end of year exams and felt he had done well. The school had a tradition of collating the exam results and placing the pupils in order of merit. And the day came when the marks were due to be read out in assembly.

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The very next day, a faction from Dundiston School entered Snookington’s grounds to complain about the previous day. Four Dundiston lads met the headmaster just outside the main school building and remonstrated about Snookington starting the fight by shouting abuse. Two Snookington pupils looked at each other and grinned. They whispered, ducked down and shouted “Abuse!!!” The Snookington boys threw books and pens at the Dundiston contingent as they ran to the school gates and away.

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As the whistle peeped, Bosworth kicked off. Snow began to fall and it was far too cold for skilful play, but the two sides pushed for victory. As the game went on, boys from Dundiston School turned up. Only ten or twenty at first, but soon over a hundred stood with hands in pockets, glaring. They were not there to watch the football match. The Dundiston boys wore dirty clothes and many were skinheads. Angry shouts rang out. The three teachers huddled up in discussion, looking furtively about.

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Inter-House Football

A distraction to this age-old bad feeling was the rising tension between the schools of Snookington and Dundiston. Sporadic skirmishes broke out between the two schools. The boys of Bosworth House felt a particular outrage at the Outsiders from Dundiston. Most of the lads from Goodson had an affinity with Dundiston boys, given they were all Outsiders, but inter-school distrust manifested into the two factions of Outsiders being adversaries. Divide and rule was the order of the day.

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The leader of this group of Posheys was a stocky boy called Gerard DeVilliers. He liked to be the centre of attention and thought Outsiders were an affront to humanity. He loved his nickname of Fathead as it seemed to encapsulate his smart brutishness. In his crew were Harvey and Hugo who were best friends and, even for Posheys, had a reputation for pomposity. They were proud to be associated with Fathead. Completing this band of top snobbers were Snoops, who liked to talk about himself, and Snipes, who considered himself a magnificent young man. And they all despised Gronk. That said, Gronk was a Bosworth boy, so they listened to him sometimes, even if it was with knowing smirks.

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If anything, school was an escape from the stresses of Steve’s home life. Being a Goodson Outsider, he was in the lowest sets for all subjects and the teachers treated his lessons as free time. As the children messed about, Steve sat at the back of class and chatted with friends in between bouts of boredom. But increasingly he picked up a book and read. Self-teaching was the only way someone like Steve would get an education.

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Steve’s life at the house was far from harmonious. There was probably fault on both sides, but the damage had been done early on. Arguments kicked off over something and nothing. Their fraught relationship may have stemmed from his parents being unhappy he spent so much time away from home, whilst Steve felt picked on whenever he was at home. It was a no win situation. Being in the firing line, he was always on edge in the house. The relationship was fractured and time did not heal. His father often yelled “You’re not good enough” while Steve bit back and shouted “You don’t know me.”

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Time To Leave

“I can’t remember how many times we’ve had to pull you up on your behaviour. We see your surly looks and the way you try to avoid us. It has to stop!! Why can’t you be more like your brother? He does what he’s told without question. But you disappear all day at weekends and try to keep away from us whenever we come home. There’s you doing your own thing, like always. What’s wrong with you?!? You’re not a true Nobody. You may think you’re strong-willed, but you’re flawed…” Steve’s father glared with menace. “Flawed to the core. Sooner or later, you’ll be found out. And then you will fail again and again.”

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It’s About The Light

On the other side of the village, Steve Nobody was in his bedroom listening to music. His homework was finished and bag packed. It was a strict school for Outsiders, so he had polished his boots ready for the inspection at assembly in the morning. Everything was in order, so he just chilled in his room. His parents were out at the pub, like most evenings. Steve liked it when his parents were elsewhere. It was only Steve and his elder brother in, and they did their own thing. Steve turned his head as an engine revved outside. It was his parents. Things had grown fractious of late and arguments were rife, so he stopped the music and flicked the light switch off. In the darkness, he got into bed and listened. The door opened and he could hear his parents stumble into the house. Footsteps hit the stairs. His light was switched back on as Steve’s mother stood in his room.

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