The Leaving Certificate


As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a monstrous insect.

’Will you look at this shit?’ Cavana said, stubbing out a Marlborough Light.

’Humf ?’ Kelly was only half listening, absorbed in his own corrections.

’Listen to this,’ Cavana continued, and read out the whole first paragraph. Kelly, who’d been engrossed in a particularly puerile misunderstanding of Dickinson, took a moment to respond. ’That,’ he said, pausing to rub at tired eyes. ’Is quite simply, bare faced cheek.’

’Isn’t it? Isn’t it?’ agreed Cavana, shaking his head.

’There’s always one,’ he said, quoting the Tayto add; thinking how much he would enjoy a jumbo pack of Cheese and Onion.

’There’s always one,’ Kelly agreed. ’You going to show that to the supervisor?’

Cavana thought for a second, took a look at the enormous box of yet to be corrected manuscripts.

’Yeah, feck it. Serve the impertinent shit right.’

’Aye,’ Kelly agreed. ’Will you grab us a bottle of Fanta from the machine while you’re at it?’

Cavana frowned.

’Fair enough. Diet or regular?’

’…into a giant..’ The Supervisor trailed off. Cavana nodded expectantly.

The supervisor, doubtless cranky at having been disturbed from a sound snooze, puffed himself up, tapping at the manuscript.

’I’m glad you brought this… Filth to my attention.’

Cavana nodded again, happy to have impressed the man whose job it was to review every marker, at the
end of each corrections period.

’It’s this sort of outrageous…’ the supervisor paused, reading further on into the story.
Looking up, he held the paper at feeler length, as if it stank.

’Did you finish it?’

’I did,’ Cavana replied a little embarrassed, his antennae erect.

’And, how does it end?’

’Well,’ said Cavana, looking away. ’They sort of…’

’Speak up Cavana!’ the supervisor boomed, slipping into the role of teacher.

’The sort of kill him,’ Cavana managed to choke out, clacking his cerci nervously.

’They sort of kill him,’ the supervisor echoed, dropping the manuscript and rearing up, so that two of his three pairs of legs waved imposingly.

’Automatic F,’ he bellowed.

After a moment he relaxed and readjusted himself.

’I’ll inform the department.’

’Very good,’ said Cavana, happy to have the decision taken from his hands. Gingerly, he retrieved the manuscript from the floor where it had fallen, and scuttled away; his carapace, if anything, impossibly, a little flushed.


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