WARNING! Contains some coarse language.
Bob Halliday was an eccentric. He was very much his own man who lived by his own rules. He was also a genius as well as a poet.
One say he received a knock on his door. On opening his door he was confronted by 2 17 year old girls carrying a copy of one of his books, ‘Words To Ponder.’ The girls were very shy but one of them introduced themselves as Jemma & Angela. They asked if he was Bob Halliday the poet. Bob said, “I am. How did you get my address?” Jemma shyly said, “From the phone book.” Bob turned & yelled at the phone, “You’re supposed too be silent!”
He then turned around and politely asked the girls in. “How can I help,” he gently asked. The girls continued to be shy until Angela said, “We were wondering if you would be kind enough to autograph your book for us.” Bob picked up a pen and briskly signed the books. The girls started giggling & thanked Bob.
When Jemma & Angela returned to school, word soon got to the Principal that Bob lived nearby. He wanted Bob to lecture his own poetry for a semester. He asked Angela & Jemma where Bob lived.
The following afternoon the Principal rang Bob & put his proposal to him. Bob said he would think about it & get back to him in 2 days. Bob decided to accept the offer. He would commence in 6 wee
On his first day Bob entered the room wielding a wad of A4 papers, deodoriser & a packet of cigarettes. He sat the paper on a students desk & got him to pass them along. As t.his was happening, Bob pulled out a table and placed it under a smoke detector. He climbed on top of it & removed the battery, taking the cover with him.
He sat down and lit a cigarette. The class whispered amongst themselves. “Don’t worry about this,” said Bob. “Just read the poem & give me your thoughts.” After a few minutes a few arms shot up. One by one Bob asked their opinion. They were all way off & Bob told them so. “With my poetry,” he explained, “There’s a ‘catch’ verse. A verse that explains it all. It may not be the 1st, last, 2nd, 3rd, 4th & so on but it’s in there. Once you find it, you’ve found the poem. Read it again & tell me the ‘catch’ verse.”
This time the class took longer until Angela shot her arm up. “Verse 3,” she said. “Well done,” said Bob. “Now everybody read the poem bearing in mind verse 3 is the ‘catch’ verse then explain the poem to me. Jemma shot her arm up and explained the poem. “Excellent,” said Bob. On Thursday I want you to write out a synopsis of the poem. That’s what we’ll be doing weekly.”
At the end of the class he asked Jemma & Angela to stay back. As he returned the battery to the smoke detector he emptied it’s cover of its 3 cigarette butts into his pocket & he replaced it. He then asked the 2 girls to keep his residence a secret. They agreed. As they left the class Bob said, “By the way, well done.”
As time progressed Bob noted that Jemmas marks were dropping. He asked her to accompany him to the footpath one Tuesday just outside the school to go over a poem. Bob lit a cigarette & asked Jemma straight out, “What’s wrong Jemma? Your marks are slipping.” Jemma looked embarrassed. Bob said, “You can tell me. I won’t tell a soul.” Jemma reluctantly told Bob that her parents were alcoholics, they fought all day & night & that she couldn’t concentrate. Bob had to come up with a solution.
The following Tuesday morning Bob was summoned to the Principals office and chastised about ‘mingling’ with students. Bob Blew a fuse. “Mingling? I was giving Jemma advice in my time outside of the school and school hours! Is it because she’s a female? I’m 52 for Christs sake! What if it had been a male?” The Principal said, “That would be different.” Bob replied, “Okay, what if it had been a gay male? You people are fucking weirdos!”
Bob went into the class fuming & chain smoked while the students wrote out their synopsis. All the while he was thinking of an option for Jemma….& he came up with one.
He held Jemma back after the class & suggested she come to his house, on the quiet, where she could study in peace. “You’ll have to take the back track, Jemma and won’t your parents miss you gone?” Jemma laughed. “Miss me? They hardly know I’m there.” So it was organised that every Tuesday & Thursday Jemma would take the back track to Bobs house on the quiet to study. Sometimes she would be half an hour, sometimes it could be 3-4 hours & Bob would get a pizza delivered.
Jemmas marks slowly but surely improved but Bob couldn’t tell her what he would be recommending to the Education Department.
With exam time looming, Bob set his class a lengthy poem. One to really test them. The students completed the exam, most of them looking, some of them looking dejected. Jemma & Angela held back, gave Bob a big hug & thanked him. The semester was over. Bob told them to visit him the following Saturday.
Between then & Saturday Bob would have the students papers marked, commented upon & marks given. From here it was basically a rubber stamp.
On Saturday afternoon Jemma & Angela turned up with a copy of another of his poetry books, ‘Ten Fingers.’ Bob made them a coffee & lit himself a cigarette. They chatted for a while about ‘Ten Fingers’ before Jemma asked, “Why are we here, Bob?” Bob jumped to his feet & said, “Oh yes. There’s something I want to show you.” He went to his bedroom and bought out a ream of papers. He rifled through the papers, mumbling as e went then went, “Aha! Angela!” He continued through and went, “Yes! Jemma!” He said to the girls, “You mustn’t tell anyone but these are your results. There’s just a rubber stamp needed. Besides, schools fucking over for now.”
The girls looked at their results and screamed. They had both received Credits. Bobs remarks were also very flattering.
When they left they asked Bob if there might be any chance of him tutoring ‘Ten Fingers.’ Bob winked & said, “Depends what sort of money they’re offering..