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The Kid Stays In The Frame

I hated school and wanted it done and over quickly. That June however, teachers decided I redo my annus horribilis. I left my "fils--papa" public school for a catholic boarding one. The curriculum was identical and I was best in school second time round. The big change that year was the sleeping arrangements: I slept at school and It was fun: 16 of us on bunk beds in a dorm and I, on bottom mattress.

Legend had it that a pervert lurked at night. I laughed that myth away but 4 months later; I did wake up to a man fondling my d**k. I shouted "oh et HO!" got up and chased him away. I didn't see his face but saw him run across the moonlit courtyard. Shock adrenaline kicked in; I woke Gustave, our Senegalese supervisor: we had a look around the building with a torchlight, found little evidence and went to bed after an hour or so.

In the week-end, I went back home with my dirty laundry and my nasty story. I told my father about it and, acting upon it, the school held a meeting and told us things would be investigated. No police was involved: "non, non, non...". At the end of an inquiry, we were told it didn't happen, that I made it up... but my voice had been heard. That was comforting enough.

Last year, talking about it to my own children, my dad interrupted and told them that story was "une hallucination collective (some kind of mass hysteria)" just like Monsieur Trion concluded 20 years earlier. Oh, bo***cks! How II wish it was just fiction that fitted on a postcard.

Story by:

Emile Dumas

24 February 2014