Brett Cooper
Brett Cooper
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Colin Ward Colin18

Colin raises his hand in that slightly apologetic and fearful look, keeping his eyes down, clearly anxious that the question he has might result a torrent of whirlwind disapproval.  His eyes scan around the group searching for any sign that someone might somehow have the same question lurking in their mind.

He takes a deep breath.  A noise is heard.  Another.  Then a much louder,  disapproving drone.

"Yes, Colin," said Mr Cooper — somehow dropping the intonation of a question, perhaps in anticipation that Colin will no doubt be asking one of his painfully dull questions again.

"Mr Cooper, sir," Colin forces over his sandpaper tongue.  The silence indicates he should continue. "Well, what if your opening chapter, by its nature, has to break the rules."

The sigh from the from the front of the club room almost sucked the air away entirely.  Mr Cooper responded with a resounding regret that he was going to ask Colin to elaborate.  

No-one liked it when Colin elaborated. 

Mr Cooper asked with a slight tilt of his head just like all teachers know how to do.  The one that says: "go on."

"What if my first chapter is written with ambiguity, and the protagonist of that first chapter is ... or might not be... but might be ... the protagonist of the story?  Is it okay if that is the Prologue and not chapter one?"  Colin stopped.

"What?!" roared Mr Cooper, as if imitating that famous scene when Oliver Twist asks for a little bit more.

No-one liked it when Colin asked for a little bit more.  It was considered universally gruelling. 

"Well..." Colin stammered, "It's just that my Prologue is set in the past and is about a mystery boy.  Then in Chapter one, the book starts proper."

Mr Cooper's beetroot expression said everything.

Colin sat, stiffened by regret, hoping for a reply that might allow him to leave without a hospital visit — like last time, when there was that... accident with the board rubber.

Everyone was poised, waiting for Mr. Cooper's reply...