What’s in a Name?

Not so fun pun:

Bored and board.

Bored: 

a feeling of unhappiness because something is not interesting. That can be something like playing football every single break or lunchtime because nobody has any other ideas about what we could be playing instead.

Bored (verb):

when you make a hole in the ground to search for something. That’s what they do to find coal and oil or gold. In a film about prisoners during a war, the prisoners dug a hole (bored a hole) that went under the fence and the outer walls so the they could escape. I can’t remember what the film was called. 

Board:

a flat plank of wood that can be used for floors or ceilings or even to stop people from getting into unused buildings;

a flat piece of wood or cardboard used to play games like chess or Monopoly;

meals provided normally when you are staying somewhere and paying for it.

You don’t have to be special to pick out the one that I am or even suggest that I am almost all of the above, apart from the verb. Neuros love playing with words as they think they make them seem clever. Mainly, it is not so clever to look for ways to confuse people.

Usually, I was in a constant state of confusion. It was worse when I was younger as every day was like coming back to a game of chess that I had been working out the previous day but finding that all the pieces had been shifted during the hours of darkness, and all the rules had changed. No matter how much I tried to memorise, I could not predict what was going to happen next. And, on top of that, there were the faces of the neuros (some smiling, others not) who were all frustrated and confused by the way I had forgotten how to play the game. Or, they were angry with me for letting everybody else down. Or they were angry because I wouldn’t do what was obvious to do and I wouldn’t follow the rules. And if I wasn’t following the rules, I was being deliberately bad and bad children should be punished, but the government (or the do-gooders) had stopped neuros from hitting children or from locking them up in prisons that they called asylums in order to keep them out of the way so that they didn’t upset anyone any longer. This was before the do-gooders and the liberals and the human rights activists. 

Fun tip:  don’t type ‘dogooders’ into a search engine. I got into trouble over that when I was at a place that they called school but was really a prison.  

“There you go again, going off the subject and avoiding the question. That way, you’ll never get anywhere. Try to answer the question before it’s too late, please.”

I looked at her and had to confess that I had forgotten the question. She was patient, she did not smile, though she did not let her face turn to stone.

“Why did you come here?” she asked again.

“I came here because I come here.”

“No. Try again.”

I took a breath.

“I came here because I am a student who boards here.”

“No.”

I tried again.

“I came here because my parents wanted me to come here.”

“Getting warmer.” 

I wasn’t but her voice sounded encouraging. 

“You know that patience can be mixed up as patients. I could be your patient who always frustrates you but you could have lots of patience with me. Good, eh?”

“Not so good. Off the point. Avoidance tactics. Again.”

As she said that, the sounds of the house changed around us. Demonic had grown ‘bored’ of his fire and was coming up the staircase. The echo-girl and me exchanged looks. We were both very concerned. I froze, but she did not.

“We run,” she said calmly. “We run very quietly.”

We were fortunate because Demonic had not expected the echo-girl to return. He was coming up the stairs but he wasn’t running. He probably expected me to be asleep. I wasn’t. That was fortunate. Another fortunate thing was that the upstairs corridor had two staircases. One staircase led from the Great Hall and that was the one that demonic was currently climbing. The other staircase led down to the kitchens and was not so grand. It was used much less than the Great Hall staircase and then it was only used by staff or boys who wanted to avoid being seen whilst escaping lessons, or trying to get into the kitchen for a midnight snack (nobody ever succeeded in getting anything as the kitchen was always kept locked). As the reverberations of his steps began reaching the mid-point (the stairs were split so as not to make them too steep), the echo-girl was persuading me along the upper corridor with its hidden sonic alarms – creaks to you – and I felt as if this was the beginning of something, an adventure that was exciting and scary. Just as we reached the end and turned onto the less-used staircase, Demonic’s angry steps announced his intent.  

I know that some of you may have an issue with my nick-name for Dominic but I have to say that, if the previous one was just funning, this one was looking as if it was well-merited; Demonic had changed. He was something significantly different from his former self, something darker. Neuros tended to do that. Some of them hid their true faces from the rest of the world and only let them out when they thought that nobody else could see. Demonic was like a kid who would pull the wings off a butterfly if he thought that nobody would ever realise it was him. But Demonic did not have to be afraid of being found out here because there was nobody around to see him doing the stuff he l wanted to do. He was at the extremities of his freedom and being so close to the borderland that separated acceptable from the utterly unacceptable allowed him to take trips across the border whenever he wanted. The noise from the floor above us told us about what was left of his acceptable mind, his rage was flooding over into primeval grunts, snarls and screams. Things were being smashed against ceilings and walls – my hairdryer was probably done for.

“No time for thinking about your hair,” echo-girl said. “We have to be thinking about finding a way out of here. With the way you are, it could be quite a task.”

“The way I am? What do you mean by that?”

A movement of her shoulders, the most imperceptible of shrugs suggested that I was not facing the full truth of events.

“You mean that I am responsible for what’s happening? You’re saying that I did this. That it was me who sent the other boys away?”

She looked at me again. It was a look that suggested forever. Whilst I was waiting for that look to end, I was drawn towards it, sucked in by it and then digested. Looks don’t tend to be like that, even if they come from a high-powered auto. They had a special name for that, Asperger Syndrome and that was what they had called me and many of the other boys. But girls couldn’t be Asperger, could they?

“Yes they can. It’s just that you haven’t seen any, or you are not aware that you have seen any.”

“Just a moment. Is that how you are able to read my thoughts and finish my sentences?”

“No. The reason that I can do that is that I can get inside your head. It’s interesting. You should try it sometime.”

But I was inside my head. I was always inside my head. It was everything else that was outside of it. Even the Asperger. 

Asperger Truth:

He was actually a Nazi who killed kids to purify the race. It was only because certain kids with Autism were really intelligent that he allowed them to live. We may have been socially awkward with ill-defined speech and movement but our brains were very valuable. Who needed good table manners when you were part of the Third Reich?   

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