The first day Barney Cheapshot arrived at our school there was something about him that said trouble.
He had that devilish look in his eye, and you sensed it as he stood in the door to our classroom and surveyed the scene in front of him.
It was as if Barney was deciding which kid he could easily exploit to his advantage.
It wasn’t long, and Barney was proving himself to be the biggest pest in the classroom anyone ever imagined.
He would borrow pens and pencils from other kids, he would then refuse to return them saying he needed them when in reality, he did little in the way of school work.
The girls in our class quickly grew tired of him once he started to be rude to them, pull their pigtails and try and stand over them by demanding they share their recess with him.
As for us boys, we saw him initially as a guy to boost our recess and lunch games, but Barney wasn’t into games, in his world games were a distraction from his desire to create as much havoc as often as possible.
I remember our teacher, Mr Grownup, was often frustrated by Barney’s behaviour. On arriving at class, Barney would go through this elaborate charade of saying he didn’t have his book or pens. Mr Grownup would ask him to open his school bag and discover the books and pens inside. Then the pantomime revolved around getting Barney to open his book, find a pen, which he would claim wouldn’t work and so on until having gone full circle, and wasted most of the lesson he would finally get to work just as the bell went.
“You’re a pest Barney Cheapshot,” the teacher would say, “I don’t know why I bother, you are a waste of space.”
In hindsight, this was the end Barney desired. He had bettered the teacher, and so was content, his work was done.
The only time I saw him do anything different was the time Sally Lawler’s mum suffered a bad car accident, and the school was asked to put in to raise money to help in her recovery and to provide for the family as Mr Lawler had recently deserted the family and they needed help.
Barney surprised us all by coming in with a donation and then offered to sell raffle tickets in a raffle to raise money. He had a generous side and one no one ever suspected of him.
All that didn’t last long as Barney was more your pest than anything else.