He's Not Going
By sean mcnulty
I meet McGurk at his house at about eight in de morning. He comes out wit dis huge bag on his back as if he’s already in de secondary school.
--Why do ye have such a big bag? Shur ya only need a few pens. It’s just a test.
--I’m oweny tryin it out. And me mudder said I shud luk de part.
It’s de day of de entrance test. Attitude or aptitude. I can’t remember. Dey have to test us before we go into de secondary school. De questions are supposed to be easy enough, except for a few hard ones here and dere. Mr. O’Hare gave us some of de questions to practise in class during de week.
UNDERLINE WHICH OF THESE IS NOT A COMMON FOOD ITEM
Three books by Penelope Lively on a shelf
UNDERLINE THE WORD WHICH COMPLETES THE SENTENCE
Wheat is to Weetabix as Corn is to:
Questions like dat.
I’m a bit nervous about it but only because it will be de first time I’ve ever bin to de big school. It’s up on de hill near Cuchullain’s Castle. My bedroom window faces de northwest of de town and so I can see dat hill wit all de big old buildings on it. Dey all luk like castles to me. I know which one is Cuchullain’s Castle because I’ve bin up to it many times but I’m not sure which of de udder ones is de secondary school. I’ll find out today.
First tings first, we have to meet Dixon. He lives in Marian Park, which is on de way to de school, so we walk to his house to get him.
De Dixon house is de only one without a fence at de front. De grass in de garden is long and dere’s some broken He-Man toys lying around. Must be his wee brudder’s. A few years ago, I’d have fought tooth and nail to get me hands on dose toys, but I’m too old for dat now.
We ring de doorbell and wait. We can hear some shouting inside. It’s very early for people to be shouting inside of der houses. But I don’t tink it’s dat odd for de Dixons. Every time I’ve bin around to de house, dere’s shouting coming from inside. I’ve never bin inside de house, neither has McGurk. I’m a bit afraid of what it’s like in dere.
De shouting gets louder behind de door and den it swings open and Mr. Dixon is standing in front of us. He’s got a T-shirt on and it’s all mucky red, tomato ketchup or someting. He’s wearin slippers. Dey’re slippers from Dunnes Stores, de same ones as me own fadder’s except dese are black ones. My fadder’s are blue.
--Whut do yooz wunt?
When we tell him we’re on our way to de secondary school fur de entrance test and we’re here for Dixon, he turns back, shouts some more words down de hallway which are hard to make out, and den turns to us again and says: He’s not goin. He’s not goin to de secondary school. So he’s not doin de test. He’s a fuckin no-hoper. You lads have brains, he doesn’t. You lads run off now and do your test.
De door slams in our faces.
Me and McGurk luk at each udder but we don’t say annyting just in case Mr. Dixon can hear us. We walk away from de door and head on up de road towards de school.
--Do ye tink dey’ll still let Dixon into de school even if he doesn’t do de test? I ask McGurk as we walk.
--Ya heard his dad. He’s not allowed ta go.
--Yeah, but maybe his fadder will change his mind.
--I don’t tink so. His fadder’s mad in de head!
When we get to de top of de hill, I see dat de big school is not very big at all. It’s not one of de castles I can see from my bedroom window. It luks smaller dan de primary school.
Inside, we’re met by a tall teacher wit a moustache who makes us sit in a wide room wit big windows and de sunlight is shining in as if it was all planned to put us off. I thought we’d see udders from our class in de room, but dere’s no-one else, just me and McGurk. De udder boys dere must be boys from udder schools. Don’t know anny of dem. At least McGurk is here.
De test is easy. I can get past it. But de wide room wit big windows and de udder boys I don’t know and de tall teacher wit a moustache – all of dem have me shitting de bricks, worrying about what comes next in me life, once I get past dis part.
INSERT A WORD THAT MEANS THE SAME AS THE TWO WORDS OUTSIDE THE BRACKETS.
Beginner (* * * * *) Snack
Starter. Dat’s easy. Dixon wud do okay wit dese questions. His fadder doesn’t know what he’s talkin about.