Arthur Brain

A short story:

Arthur Brain. That’s the name. Well, that’s my name, and before you laugh because you think you’ve seen a joke, don’t. Just don’t, all right. I’ve had that kind of nonsense since primary school. The little tykes thought they were so smart.

‘Hey, Arthur,’ they’d goof. ‘Hey, Arthur, what’s it like with only half a brain?’

Thought they were like Ken Dodd or someone. Didn’t bother me though. They were the half-wits and wouldn’t come to more than half a dozen marbles. Marbles, which, incidentally, I won from them more often than not. Never could read the slopes. Get them down in the corner and go second and the slope did the rest.

But I don’t think about it now. I’ve moved on. Yep, moved on and away. Looking for the light while they flounder in the dark.

‘We all flounder in the dark,’ said Mr Barnes, ‘but if you know you’re looking for the light then that’s all right.’

I suppose he left his mark on me. He was a teacher when he said that, but hadn’t always been. He’d gone out, left the hole and figured it out. He’d figured most of it, I’d say, and he said it didn’t matter where our bodies ended up because it was the mind that counted.

‘Out of you lot,’ he said to the class,’ I expect ninety percent of you to settle. The other ten percent won’t settle. You’ll keep on looking and striving and wondering where the sense is in anything, and if you’re lucky you might figure it out. But the rest of you: you’ll settle for sure.’

He didn’t elaborate, but, soon after, I remember the head explaining that Mr Barnes had been called away and wouldn’t be taking Geography any more.

Shame. But it was clear he had more figuring to do. And we couldn’t hold back a ten percenter like him.

The little half-wits cheered, and I knew they were in the ninety percent and I was probably in the ten. Twenty in our class. I wonder sometimes who the other one might have been.


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