The SPaG Test – The Speakeasy #167

The SPaG Test

“You’re new ain’t you? What you in for?”

“Failed the spelling, punctuation and grammar test at Year 6. Never could get my head round where them apostrophes were supposed to go and as for an ellipsis, the less said the better. What about you?”

“Same, only for me it was the spelling. I put all the answers down as text speak but it seems like the examiner had no sense of humour. So I ended up with a six month sentence in this place.”

“What’s it like in here? I’m guessing it can’t be as bad as all the rumours you hear. Can it?”

“It’s worse mate! This is my second stint. I did a two month stretch at the end of Year 5 for getting my full stops, commas and exclamation marks in the wrong place. They reckoned I was doing it on purpose, had me marked down as a trouble maker, so I ended up here. The guards in this place are right bastards and as for the instructors … well. let’s just say you don’t want to get on the wrong side of them. Which Wing you on?”

“Wing J.”

“Well you’ve dropped lucky there. The chief screw over on that section is a Mr. Baldwin, not a bad bloke. Story is he used to be a teacher but got kicked out. Apparently he was one of those progressive types, you know, ‘learning for learnings sake’ and ‘testing ruins a child’s education’. Of course with this new breed of Ofsted Inspectors he didn’t stand a chance, so he ended up here. Poor bugger.”

“So what exactly happens here?”

“It’s a simple routine really. Try and get the hang of it early on and you shouldn’t have too many problems. They open our cells at 6.00am and we slop out, then go for breakfast. Then it’s straight to the instruction rooms. Depending who you’re instructor is, you might get time for lunch and a spell in the exercise yard, you might not. Then it’s back to your wing for an evening meal at 8.00pm. You’ll be back in your cell for 9.00pm, two hours homework and lights out at 11.00pm.”

“Bloody hell! I’m not sure if I’ll cope with that. Does anybody try to get out? Is there some sort of escape committee I could join?”

“Watch what you’re saying mate! Anybody hears you talking like that and we’ll all be in for it.”

“Sorry, but has anyone ever got out?”

“There was one lad, a friend of mine, we went to the same school, his name was Sam Chase. He was in here for poor spelling, punctuation and grammar and on top of that, he’d failed his mental arithmetic test. The poor bastard was being squeezed all ways by those sadistic instructors. He didn’t actually ‘escape’ but started acting really weird. Used to scream all night and then started banging his head on the desk during instruction.”

“So, what happened?”

“They let him out early. Last I heard he’d been sent to one of them special schools. He might have got out of here but Sam was never the same again.”




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