I enjoy life, but even at the early age of six, I think I learned that when everything seems perfect and enjoyable, there is one thing that can really complicate matters. Women.

Primary School from Hell
Chapter Ten: The Complication of Women

 [Continuing from]

Of all the things that haunted my nightmares about primary school, it was what lurked in the basement of that block of classrooms that scared me the most. There was a large wide open common area with rectangular pillars supporting the floors above. Everything was painted in battleship gray. The back and left side walls were lined with a continuous wooden bench for seating. Located at the front of the room, next to the narrow stairs that ascended to the big entrance doors, was a small canteen, that, back in those days, offered whatever sugar-infused, calorie-laden, cholesterol dripping, trans-fat sogged, tooth rotting treats you could desire; all for less than a dime.

No wonder the dentist had set up his office across the street.

Yet, that wasn’t the scary part. What was frightening to me was located to the right side of this common room. Several wide steps lead up to a low, wide opening that looked like the mouth of some forbidden cave.

It was the unlit basement of the corridor that connected the rear block of primary school classes to the elementary school in the front. Down here in the windowless basement, that corridor was rumoured to stretch on into eternity. Because there were no lights inside that opening, we could never disprove that theory. Everything beyond the first dozen feet, where the illumination from the common room area spilled, was pitch black.

 “Your not allowed in there,” the third grade prefect would warn, as he’d notice us standing near that opening of blackness, peering in. “It goes on forever,” he added, then walked away snickering. In my mind I didn’t think that would be much of a problem. Why would I ever want to enter a huge gaping maw of blackness in the first place? Unfortunately, prefects can’t be everywhere at once and as soon as that grade three had left us on our own, the words that have cased me so much agony in the past were uttered again. “I bet your chicken.”

I remember times earlier-the prefects occupied elsewhere-watching other brave souls walk to that boundary of light, pause before slowly taking that single step into the darkness, then start to fade from our eyesight; nearly swallowed by the blackness until the nerves shattered and they came racing back into the electric glow of the common room’s florescent light tubes.

That would never be me, I’d think to myself, I am never going to do that.

“I bet you’re chicken, Brad!” One of my friends taunted as usual. I smiled, I didn’t have to prove a thing to these guys since the day I sacrificed my sense of taste to the brass door handle weeks earlier. They could call me chicken all they wanted.


Then came a voice so sweet it made my knees wobble and my heart skip with thoughts of valentine’s cards and kisses on the cheek. Behind my friends, with eyes so lovely and lips so sweet, (sugar from the candy she was eating, probably) stood one of the prettiest girls in first grade along with two of her friends. She punched my buddy hard in the arm and stated loudly, “I bet he isn’t chicken!”

Leave it to a pretty woman to complicate my life.

 There would be no escaping that black hole.


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