Miles Kington: There's nowt so queer as Norfolk

'You are about to break the news that you are in the roller-towel business, when in walks the school bully'
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The Independent Online

Every day this week I am bringing you a complete holiday novel for those moments on the beach when you don't want a blockbuster, just an 800-word novel to fill in three minutes. So far we have had a thriller, a comedy and a marriage drama, so I thought today we might venture into more modern and controversial territory, with a complete interactive novel! What this means is that YOU are the hero of the novel and at certain points YOU will have to choose the right option before you can carry on. OK? Then let's have our interactive novel: Old Boys Never Die..!

Your name is Thomas Ellis. You are a young man of about 30, unmarried, unattached, who left school in 1988 and never went to university. At school you specialised in three subjects: physics, biology and chemistry.

Now, a dozen years after leaving school, you are one of the following:

1. A top physician.

2. A top physicist.

3. A top biologist.

4. A customer account executive working for a roller-towel company based in Romford, Essex.

That's right! You have worked your way up the roller-towel ladder to become what is, in fact, a trouble-shooter with your firm, and you are the kind of guy that gets sent in when the going gets tough and the roller jams up altogether and the money stops flowing...

So you, Thomas Ellis, are based in Essex, but one day you are sent to the north side of Norfolk to investigate some irregularities in a big prison (roller towels constantly going missing, probably being used in escape attempts), and as you drive through Norfolk, you start to get some very strange feelings. These feelings are caused by the fact that

1. You were forced to consume a hurried sandwich lunch while driving along.

2. You remember that farmers shoot outsiders in Norfolk.

3. You have suddenly developed a complete revulsion against roller towels.

4. You went to school near here.

Yes, indeed – you suddenly remember that you went to a rather ordinary boarding school in Norfolk called Candlemongers, where you spent five of the most miserable yet sometimes hilarious years of your life. The worst was represented by the school bully, Spencer, and the best was represented by the only nice master, Mr Lewis. In fact, as you drive within five miles of the place you have a sudden nostalgic whim to revisit old haunts and you go back to the school. At the school lodge the old porter asks you what you want, and on an impulse you say you have come to visit Mr Lewis.

"Mr Lewis?" says the porter.

1. "Oh, he left teaching and went into a small folk trio on guitar."

2. "Oh, he was sacked after being caught fixing exam results."

3. "Oh, he changed sex and teaches at a girl's school now."

4. "Oh, he lives in that house just over the ridge."

Yes, Mr Lewis lives nearby, so you go and knock on his door, and Mr Lewis opens the door, and, though at first he doesn't recognise you, schoolmasters are quite good at sending their minds back 10 or 20 years, and after you have mentioned a few names, he finally places you and ushers you in to have a cup of tea.

"So what are you doing now?" asks Mr Lewis, and you are just about to break the terrible news to him that are in the roller-towel business, although heaven knows that's not a lot worse than being a teacher, let's face it, when the kitchen door opens and in walks, to your utter amazement,

1. Liz Hurley

2. Jeffrey Archer

3. Lord Lucan

4. Spencer, the school bully.

Even after all these years you instantly recognise Spencer and his loathsome, arrogant features, and you remember all the physical indignities he subjected you to, and you ask him what he's doing here and he says with a smirk that he and Mr Lewis are homosexual partners, and you say you think you had better be going, and Spencer says: "Not so fast, Ellis! I think you are due one last beating up, don't you?" and he advances on you threateningly, and Mr Lewis flaps his hands hopelessly and says, "Oh, not another of your violent rages, John!" and...

I'm sorry. We've run out of space.

You're on your own now.

Good luck!

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