Last week was world book day and like almost every other school in the country Pavers Primary encouraged all of the children to dress up as a character from a book.
Mrs Parks, the headteacher, being a canny individual, had asked Baz and Shirl from the Short and Curlies if they would be the judges and on the back of this if they would supply soft drinks for the children, of course, having such an important role they felt obliged to offer these for free.
Shirl was already unimpressed, she wasn’t that keen on children and even less so on excitable, dressed up children, but to add insult to injury Baz felt that they too should go in costume.
‘Are you joking? They are already stealing our profits, why would I make a fool of myself as well?’
‘Oh come on sweetheart, you’ll look fab, you could go as one of the Kardashians?’
From where I was sitting I couldn’t hear that well and I thought he said Alsatians, I’m sure that wasn’t right and did wonder if he meant a Dalmatian, although even then I couldn’t see Shirl in a dog outfit.
‘That’s not a book, you fool, no, if I’m dressing up I’ll go as something simple’.
On world book day the children walking to school were in an array of colours. There were wigs and gowns, feathers and hats and more painted faces than I care to count. I didn’t see many book characters but there were a large number of Disney creations on show.
Shirl was standing outside the Short and Curlies waiting for Baz, she had indeed gone for something simple, she had tied her hair back, drawn the shape of a lightening fork on her forehead and was wearing round glasses. It was clear to see she was Harry Potter but looked like an erotic version, her blouse was low cut, she wore bright red lipstick and had blue painted nails, personally I thought she looked slightly inappropriate for a school outing.
She seemed to be getting impatient when Baz finally emerged from the pub, he had covered his face, neck and hands in green and had what looked like plugs protruding from his ears.
Shirl looked him up and down, ‘Are you representing a gardening book? I’m not sure the children will guess, oh no, hang on, off course, you’re the pea from princess and a pea. Well its original I suppose.’
‘What?’ Baz looked a bit irritated, ‘I’m Shrek’.
‘That’s a film.’
He clearly decided not to grace this comment with an answer and they began to walk towards the school. Prithpal was coming towards them, he gave Shirl an admiring glance and then looked at Baz.
‘I didn’t think the jolly green giant was a book, I thought it was an advert.’
Shirl smiled but kept on walking with Baz torn between correcting Prithpal and keeping up with her, he chose the latter.
They passed the Spar where Gary was taking delivery of the bread, ‘Baz mate, you’re looking good, not sure that the incredible hulk was actually made into a book but A1 for effort’.
Again Shirl smiled but kept on walking, ‘Are they winding me up, I’m clearly supposed to be Shrek, have you put them up to this?’
She gave him a withering glance and he decided not to pursue the conversation.
Once in the school they found the children assembled in the hall and Baz felt a lot happier to see that there was a significant community of small people in green paint and plug like ears, there should be no doubt with this audience.
They made their way towards Mrs Parks and she greeted them warmly explaining that they would need to look at all the entrants to the book character competition and let her know the results, before taking to the stage for the prize giving. They chose a little girl who was dressed as an Umpa Lumpa, her mother clearly having taken out a second mortgage to make the extravagant costume and to cover the cost of the face paint.
Once on the stage they were sat next to the music teacher Mrs Sparks, who had been at the school since it was built, she was beginning to lose her sight as well as her hearing. When she spoke to Baz her voice seemed to raise to a shout, ‘ You look very good, are you the egg from Green Eggs and Ham, very unusual, I don’t think we’ve had that before, hang on I'll ask, Mrs Parks have we had the egg from …?’
Before she could finish her sentence, Baz let out a loud, aggressive response, ‘I’m Shrek’.