The Headmaster’s Ritual Slaughter

When I was a boy with never a crack in my heart, my school’s headmaster used to haul me to his office, flog me, and then while I wept contrite tears, he would tell me with a sinister flash of his ceremonial gown “I trust you, boy, as far as I can throw a grand piano.”

At the time, I felt beyond worthless and would walk around in a daze of flat keys only hitting a high note when I walked into my English teacher.

With hindsight, I now see the headmaster’s appraisal of me as a bit of a compliment. The “couldn’t be trusted” remark I have put to good use as a writer.

And I do take some pride in being compared to a grand piano. It commands attention, does a grand piano, and only the most accomplished masters can sit before its ivories and play masterpieces. It’s big, bold, with all that action going on behind the lid as felt-covered hammers strike steel strings.

But I still do have these recurring dreams in which I behead my headmaster with a piano string, toss his corpulent body into a deep lake, and watch it sink like a grand piano nobody will ever play again.


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