“Excuse me please.”
“Why? Who do you think you are?”
“More to the point, who do you think you are?”
“I’m number one in the queue, that’s who I am.”
Doreen looked the obnoxious fat boy up and down, “And never missed a lunch by the looks of things.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means whatever you want it to mean. Now move yourself or I shall have to move you.” Doreen fervently hoped the fat boy would move himself as she didn’t give much for her chances if he called her bluff. He clearly weighed more than she, and in this situation bulk was an advantage.
“Just you try it. I’ll report you if you lay a hand on me.”
“I wouldn’t dream of touching you. I rather hoped you could be persuaded to allow me to pass.”
“You got that wrong. You’re just a lunch lady, nobody takes any notice of lunch ladies.”
Doreen sighed, just a lunch lady, she thought. She knew she was more than that. She was the kindly soul to whom children flocked when they fell in the playground, couldn’t open their crisps, had a fight with their friends. She always had a pocket full of tissues and sticking plasters.
“Well, you'd better start taking notice of me or you won’t be getting any lunch and I’m sure that would be the most dreadful outcome of all for you.”
“You’re the one they say is a witch,” he sneered, turning towards the growing queue of hungry children, looking for backup.
“Don’t be so rude, Damian,” said one brave little girl. “Lots of old ladies have hairs on their noses and chins. It’s what happens when you get old.”
Whilst grateful that someone was on her side Doreen was a bit miffed at the ‘old ladies’ reference. She was only just 60.
“Yeah, don’t be so rude,” muttered several others emboldened by the first show of support. “Get out of the way, we want our lunch.”
“I think you are making yourself very unpopular by stopping the children entering the classroom to get their lunch boxes.”
“I don’t care. I’ll always be more popular than you, Witch. Nobody likes a witch.”
“You really are a nasty little boy,” said Doreen, drawing herself up to her full height. She looked down onto Damian’s head, she could see a couple of nits wriggling about in his hair. No wonder he was grumpy, she thought.
“And you're not even a real witch. If you were, you’d easily get past me.” Damian was beginning to panic, the hungry children behind him in the queue were getting braver, calling him names and saying they wanted their lunch.
This was just another problem for Doreen to solve, as she saw it. “Last chance, Damian. Move!”
He faced her down. She pointed at him with a spindly claw-like finger, her pupils reddened and she whispered, “Down boy”.
She stepped over the boy and headed for the classroom.
© Author to be revealed at the end of the challenge
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