Tall And True Short Reads
Back to School – Chapter One
Episode 18 (4 April 2021)
The wooden bench in the hallway outside the headmaster’s office was hard. It made you squirm. But once you’d sat on it, you daren’t wriggle to relieve the creeping pins and needles. Because if you did, old Heavy-Handed Hamilton would look up through his glass office door and note your fidgeting.
Back to School – Chapter One
Season One: Episode 18 (4 April 2021)
Read Back to School: https://www.tallandtrue.com.au/young-adult/back-to-school
Podcast website: https://www.tallandtrueshortreads.com
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Buy Robert’s short story collections online:
• Amazon Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Robert-Fairhead/e/B086HZ36NM
• Rakuten Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/au/en/author/robert-fairhead
I wrote a version of Back to School when I lived in England in 1992. In the original handwritten draft, the working title for the story was A Second Chance. But when I typed it up on my old Amstrad PC, I changed the title to Another Chance. And finally, when I shared the short story on Tall And True in 2017, I renamed it Back to School.
I left high school at sixteen, the same age as Charlie in the story. For many years, I dreamed of being sixteen again, back at school, and studying for my final exams. And one day in 1992, I decided to exorcise those dreams by writing this short story.
Chapter One – The Office draws on visits I made to the headmaster’s office during my turbulent school years. Like Charlie’s headmaster, Heavy-Handed Hamilton, mine was a disciplinarian and a stickler for the school uniform. He threatened me with the cane and expressed his firm belief during one visit to the office that I wouldn’t be returning for my final year of high school.
I wonder what my headmaster would have said if, like Charlie, I’d asked to come back to school and sit my exams?
I hope you enjoyed Chapter One of Back to School. You can read this and all my short stories, blog posts and other writing at TallAndTrue.com.
Chapter Two, A Dream, will be in your podcast feed shortly. In the meantime, please check your feed for other short story episodes of Tall And True Short Reads. And follow or subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it via your favourite listening app.
And don’t forget to tell your family and friends about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True writers’ website.
Podcast Theme and Sound Effects
- Slow Clock Ticking: https://freesound.org/people/Julien%20Matthey/sounds/457651/
- Page-turning: https://freesound.org/people/Kodack/sounds/256475/
- School bell: https://freesound.org/people/13FPanska_Stranska_Michaela/sounds/378394/
Podcast recorded in Sydney, Australia, on the land of the traditional custodians of the Eora Nation.
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