100 Days Project

Ben: 100 Writings / 100 Opening Guitar Hooks

various, random creative expressions / writings, inspired partially by 100 popular songs (songs that somewhat begin with a leading hook of a guitar.)

Day 65:

“Boom Boom” (1962) by John Lee Hooker

“Boom Boom” (1962) by John Lee Hooker


I could’ve been no more than 9 years old when the incident happened.  My teacher, Mrs Baker, decided to have a party for one of the students in the class, who birthday it was.  Balloons went up, party tape was skewed across the room and bottles of coke and sprite were laid upon tables – I was only young, but that was a big thing for me and the class.  We felt like Kings, especially in our naïve worlds.

By the end of it, we cleaned up and put rubbish into large green plastic rubbish bags (which had the tie – a novel invention in 1990.)  I saw Mrs Baker put an aerosol can into the bag.

“Miss, don’t put that in there – that’s gonna make a big fire, miss.”

I was sure and positive, and may I say pretty intelligent for such a young age.  I’ll be honest.  I don’t remember where I learnt that fact.  Must've come from my parents.  However, to my disappointment, Mrs Baker retorted.

“Nah, it’ll be fine.”

She shrugged it off via her voice and via her hand movement.  I knew this was wrong.

“Y’sure, Miss?”

“yeah, yeah – Pauline, put that in the rubbish!”

My brows inverted in doubt, but I let it go – what would I konw, adults know better.  I went to assist Pauline who was eating food out of the bin.

One Friday assembly, Mrs Tewake roused the school in a Maori song.  I can't remember which song it was, but I know it was a Maori song, because that’s all she ever played. 

The principal came onstage and said a few solemn words.  Had someone died?  Then he introduced the caretaker, Miss Harrison, who hobbled up in a tourniquet and crutches.  What happened?  There was loud shock from kids in the front row.  A large infantile-sounding sigh echoed from the back.  I wouldn’t have been surprised if a few kids were tormented by the fragile image of our once sturdy caretaker.

Our caretaker, Miss Harrison was one of the coolest adults in the school.  All the teachers had a streak of cruel discipline in them, as a primary teacher should.  However, she was a caretaker – and hence, void of children’s fear.  I have fond memories of her whistling tunes while throwing rubbish into the incinerator.

Though the primary was a Decile One school, still the image of a person in bandages was a frightening thing to see.  She came upon the mic and calmed the kids down.  There could’ve been a bit of sobbing.  But in her always cheerful demeanor, she told the kids that she was fine and that she needed a few weeks to recover.  Mr Michaels, a caretaker from Kingsford Primary, would be replacing her during her absence.  Then she ended her speech with a funny joke about her predicament – which I can’t remember.  But I do remember it was a joke – because the hall laughed.  In that glee that filled the room, I turned around and looked up to eye Mrs Baker.

She put on a crocodile smile.  She could feel my eyes on her.  But she wasn't gonna meet mine.  She continued looking forward, absolutely ignoring me.  No one else knew anything.  She did.  I did.  I shook my head in regret and looked towards the stage again, to see Miss Harrison hobble down from it.

I don’t remember talking to Mrs Baker about that incident ever again. 

But the reason I wrote this story down was the fact that I WAS FUCKING NINE YEARS OLD.  Man, I was so cool!