A Tea Bag with Cider

Posted: April 22, 2011 in #fridayflash, Short stories

The sun didn’t just shine, it penetrated a ray of hope from the clouds.  A warm, calming feeling that was unexplainable.  The light of the atmosphere was jolly, care-free and heated up the town like warm yellow custard trickling slowly over your favourite sponge dessert.  Slowly the town began to wake and the roads became busier and more alive.

Charlie and his mate’s were making the most of changing the meaning of study leave, to mean leaving their studies behind, whilst they enjoyed the freedom.  Charlie’s school books hadn’t even left his bad, which had been flung into the corner of his room on the last day of school.

It was 11am and he happily walked along the street towards the local park and playing fields. His mates would meet there, as they had done for the past few days. He could feel the prickly heat on his brow, as a shallow breeze silently whispered past, unable to compete with the suns rays.  He’d managed to catch the corner shop off guard by buying some cider so early in the morning, he hadn’t been asked for identification.  The shop keeper was too busy stacking today papers and unloading the fresh milk and bread onto the shelves.

He felt elated by the weather, the ‘free time’ and the alcohol he’d purchased ready for todays antics.  Yesterday his best friend Jim had fallen in the river whilst climbing a tree, prompting the others to all jump in fully clothed and splash about under the old willow tree.  The day before the girls had brought along a disposable BBQ and sausages, which they cooked whilst the boy played football in the field.  What would today bring?

As Charlie lay on the grass, with the big bottle of cider as a pillow in the crock of his neck, he looked up at the sky.

“Yo!” Jim shouted from across the park.

“Jimbo!” Charlie laughed, as he stood up holding the bottle of cider, like a trophy at the World Cup.

“Nice one Tea!” Jim smiled, and pulled out a small bottle of vodka.  Most of his mates had nicknames.  Charlie’s was ‘Tea’.  His best mate Jim had given him the nickname Tea, because he was in hot water more than a tea bag, forever getting into trouble and making the wrong decisions.

Not far behind Jim were a three more members of the crew, each one baring some sort of treasure for the gathering.  The group sat drinking and laughing in the warm summer sun, their skin slowly pinking like slow cooked king prawns, with the more exposed parts of their flesh glowing from the heat.

“Where are the others Tea?” Jim asked, taking a refreshing slurp from the almost empty cider bottle.

“No idea,” Charlie laughed.  “It is strange that all of the crew that are in my Geography  class ain’t here!”  His eyes suddenly widened.

“Tea, you doofus!  Its the geography exam today!”

“Shut up Jim! You ain’t funny, now pass the summer juice,” he smirked as he took hold of the cider bottle, “Its one of me 5-a-day ya know.”

“Tea I’m serious mate.  Alan told me yesterday he had geography exam today, the first one of many.  None of us take geography!”

Charlie’s eye widened and like a cartoon character his eyeballs almost popped out of their sockets.  “You’re kidding right!”

“No mate honest.”

“Shit.”

*   *   *

Charlie had never run so fast to school, in fact he couldn’t ever remember running to school.  With the heat on his back and the under-age alcohol in his body, he felt like a solar powered car.  He made it to the school gates just as the bell began to ring for the beginning of the exam.

“Tea, where you been?” his classmate Alan shouted.

“I forgot.  I ain’t even revised!”

“True teabag style that is!  You got no choice now,” Alan said, as he passed him a spare pen and Charlie straightened up his top in a desperate plea to look presentable.  “Come on we gotta go in.”

The rows of desks in front of them, looked so formal and definite.  He sat at his allocated desk and took a deep breath.  He was going to have to work extra hard to remember all he’d been taught in his lessons, which wasn’t much considering.

He usually sat at the back of the class doodling and making plans to go out with his mates, only occasionally looking up at the mention of volcanoes which partially interested him.

He put his head on the desk and instructed his mind to help him out just this once.  He closed his eyes and begged for the alcohol to go away so he could just think about the equator; names of oceans; different climates; and other stuff he knew he should remember but the sun had sizzled any existence of it away.

The bell rang two hours later indicating the end of the exam.  Unfortunately, and in true ‘Teabag style’ this was also the only time Charlie had lifted his head up from his desk.

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Comments
  1. John Wiswell says:

    I particularly liked that only volcanoes made him look up in class. I can appreciate that mindset.

    minor typo in paragraph two: “mate’s” for “mates”

  2. Debs says:

    I think this is a good story. The character, Charlie, pulls you straight in and I got to like him despite his flaws, so felt devastated by the end. I love the way this makes you think about what’s happening to ruin his life. There are a few typos though which tripped me up from time to time; like ‘bad’ instead of ‘bag’. With a bit of polish I think this could move from a good story to a great one.

  3. Helen says:

    Well, you can’t help liking Charlie “Tea” – you certainly captured the carefree nature of this boy.

    I spotted a few typos too, but I think this could be developed into something bigger. A nice story.

  4. Richly worded; great slice of life. Thanks for sharing it!

  5. Icy Sedgwick says:

    I’ve known people like that…although I was also the one who’d be looking at them askance that they’d rather be sitting outside in the sun than getting some work done. >.< You really captured his panic!

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