I took an early train to the big city. I had the gun and an address in my handbag. The address I got from the personnel files.
The big city is a dangerous place, I was glad to have that heavy piece of metal in my bag. I decided to take a bus, the underground metro could have been a bad idea.
It was a shabby tower block. I could not find the name Hargreaves among the hundred letter boxes, so I went inside. There was a very huge and very ugly potted plant.
Suddenly three ugly young men came running down the stairs.
“Oh yeah! You look good, lady. Wanna have some fun?”
“Nah! We're going to have fun with her. She can like it or hate it. Get'em off!”
I pulled the gun.
“Oh, look! She's got a toy gun. Watch me take it off her and ram it up her...”
I put two shots into the potted plant and destroyed it, very loud.
“Want some more, kiddies?”
They ran up the stairs – screams – two women came down the stairs. “Those boys, they ought to be locked up, they knocked us over. And look what they did to the beautiful plant. You saw them, didn't you, pet?”
“Oh, yes, I saw them.” And almost shot them. I showed the address to the two women.
“Oh, no, ducky! Right street and right number, but wrong part of town. But no problem, just take a dirty-one and you'll be there in ten minutes.”
I thanked them and caught a number thirty-one bus and was soon there.
Mrs Hargreaves asked me to come in and have a cup of tea, her daughter would be back soon. I expected some harmless small talk, questions about the school, but no, a tirade of hate.
She repeated the list of insults three or four times, Miss Hargreaves came in and I heard the list again.
I stood. “Miss Hargreaves, I have listened to your charming words, now, listen to me.”
“It is true that I'm an awful schoolgirl. I skip classes, I do what I like, I leave the school at night, I go to the village, I go hunting, I have affairs with other girls and with the teachers, I like boys too. Yes, I did kick the last head teacher in the head, twice, and I tell you, I enjoyed it. Yes, Mrs Hargreaves, everything that your daughter has told you about me is true.”
“You, Miss Hargreaves, have said that I am not the sweet-looking, defenceless, sixteen-year-old schoolgirl that everybody thinks I am, but that I am a cold, hard bitch of a girl, and that I should be thrown out of the school.”
“I may be the cold, hard bitch that you call me, but I am not a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl. I am a woman like you, Miss Hargreaves. I know how to look after myself – I've got a gun in my handbag and I know how to use it.”
“And what a joke! Tell your mother who runs the school. I do! Am I going to throw myself out? I don't think so.”
“Oh, I'm sorry. I did not come here to talk about me. No, I want to talk about you, Miss Hargreaves. I always thought that you were a very clever person, I think that you could go far, a big future. I liked the way you did the extra history teaching. But you were always so unkind to me. Only yesterday did I find why. And no, I not going to discuss that now.”
“I will tell you one more thing about me. I'm taking my exams at the end of the next school year and leaving for college. I'm taking my boyfriend with me – he wants to do engineering.”
“I came here to tell you two things. There is no need to be jealous of me. Please go back to the school, for you, for the girls, for the school, for Miss Stiltoe. No, she doesn't know that I am here. Go back, but not for my sake.”
“I think I'd better go now.”