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Guy Block Lecturer extraordinary

Block Party
Mark Cunliffe

Guy Block knew it was going to be a bad night out.
This was why he had stood looking into the mirror as he was getting changed and uttered the single word…

The reason Guy Block was going out was because it was the birthday of one of the new lecturers at Hopemouth, a rather nice young polite quietly spoken R.E. Professor by the name of Prebble. A man who on starting at Hopemouth was immediately given the nickname ‘The V necked virgin’, on account of his choice of clothing and the almost certain knowledge that he had never got his rocks off in his life.

Now Guy did like the ‘V necked-’ sorry Prof. Prebble, but his trepidation for the night was still there, principally because he knew that it would hardly be a wild, fun night and also because Prebble was a young chap celebrating his 30th birthday and Guy Block was not 30 he was….
Well he was nearly…
That is to say he was in his fifties.
Quite a bit into his fifties.
But well no, still in his fifties.
With a sigh of resigned fate, Guy left the house and ambled on down to the Campus Bar as if a cloud of gloom followed him.

On entering Guy could see that apart from the students, there was only Prebble there for the party, the other faculties had all promised to attend but were clearly late. Prebble waved a hand from amidst the meat headed crew cuts of the bulky and threatening Phys Ed students and the incredibly tiny frames of young overseas students from China and the Asiatic. As Guy struggled through this mixed throng he was immediately put in mind of crowd scenes Miss Saigon or Good Morning Vietnam.
"Glad you could make it" offered Prebble as Guy bought him a pint of bitter and himself a G and T.
"Oh no wouldn’t miss it for the world" Guy lied though his teeth "Erm ah, where’s the others?"
"Ah they’ll be here" Prebble said with a small smile
Ah the stupidity of youth.

A half hour later and Prebble was at the bar getting a drink, whilst Guy sat at his usual alcove and looked out at the pretty young female students. He was feeling reflective, no doubt brought on by the whole birthday thing, and found himself pondering how he had spent most of his life sat in Campus Bars over the years attempting to pull. All that had changed was that he had gotten older.

There was the 60s of course, when he went up to Cambridge and was armed with Dylan LPs, tied-eyed jeans and a shaggy blonde main, the legacy from childhood; a pudding bowl cut now finally growing out.
Any success with girls?
Not a chance…well, would you?

Then there was coming down from Cambridge, the early 70s, when Guy was at his hip youthful peak, long hippy hair all straggly with accompanying beard and beads and badges on his corduroy jacket. Sometime later Guy got his first post at Hopemouth, who said lighting didn’t strike twice? But back then Hopemouth had promise, much like Guy himself.

As Space was beginning to be conquered so too were women for Guy Block and more often than not he was kicking over lava lamps mid coitus as ‘The Old Grey Whistle Test’ flickered on unwatched.

The late 70s saw Guy as a prime mover when it came to campus life, as he moved from campus to campus and lets face it he was hot. Not a girl would turn him down despite his ill-advised experimental perm, which made him look not unlike Art Garfunkel.

These were the days when every young female student was to be found clinging onto the tails of his Stasi style ankle length leather jacket, and he loved every minute of it, safe in the knowledge that Francine, his steady and right on equal life partner agreed to an open relationship and he dug that. He was newly published, he was innovative, and he was at the centre of the free thinking world and heading for Mecca; Trenton University.

The Eighties saw Guy suffering from the inevitable problem of the tide going out and Trenton was clearly not the most free thinking place in academia. Still he had some good times, sitting in such an alcove as this whilst Lloyd Cole and Echo and the Bunnymen were piped through, his sleeves rolled over his tweed jacket and his bright blue jeans ready to unzip at a moments notice as he pulled several young ladies who each had simply loved how his book spoke to them and them alone in a very personal and dare we say it, quite sexual way.

If the Eighties saw the tide going out, the nineties to now saw a drought the size of Francine’s wizards sleeve after the birth of the terrible twins, which in itself was now equally dry. A divorce always seemed to be on the next terms horizon, but like creativity, or they themselves in the bedroom, it never came.

In the Nineties, The Manics reigned supreme and Guy still did rather well on occasions on the sex front, having more than a design for many a young female student’s life, but his book was remaindered at Black’s for £1.50, a forgotten and dusty artefact and the whole affair, or rather affairs, began to get a bit seedy. Until finally a move back to his roots, to a University that was once a golden dream of the 1960s and now a crumbling decrepit concrete block with falling tiles and failing students;
Hopemouth University.
Abandon all hope.
If he had a drink in front of him he’d weep into it, but Prebble was being very slow at getting served…the polite little shit.

Just then the lumbering dinosaur that is Prof Barley West, head of Sociology roamed into view and immediately made its way to its prey, namely the bar. He returned with Prebble and the round of drinks.
"Sorry I’m late" he rumbled as he threw a double scotch down his neck before clambering towards the second drink he always bought himself, "There’s been a right cock up at the Soc faculty, our absent minded colleague Leigh Way forgot to take any classes this week, the daft bugger thought it was term break"
Boozy Barley sank the next scotch down in one as Guy recollected the kinds of stupidity that the unfortunately named Leigh Way would often get into.
"What happened?" Prebble asked
Barley eyed him up and down, clearly he had forgotten he was leading the conversation, Guy prompted him with a subtle "Get on with it you old fart!"
"Oh yes, well the students thought it a bit of a laugh at first, they decided they’d stay over in the classroom for the night, they’d been there three days by the time any of us twigged. It was like Lord Of The Flies, each of ‘em had gone down the food chain at a rate of knots, burning Haralambos and making totem poles to Laurie Taylor. One poor little girl was tied up with the pulley for the blinds and gagged with a board duster, whilst one chappie was scrawling Marx quotations across his chest and trying to set fire to some Functionalists"
Prebble sat aghast.
"Still it will make a wonderful experiment, an entire culture with no outside affectations or sociological bias to tarnish it. Once its published it’ll set Way up for life of course" West enthused.
"You mean he won’t get the sack?" asked the incredulous Prebble
"God no, oh no offence there padre, no course he won’t, he’ll be getting gongs galore" confirmed West, "He’ll just need to fib, tell the VC it was all planned, real experimentation at the chalk-face all that crap"

Typical, an almighty cock up of epic proportions and somehow the campus comes out ok. Welcome to Hopemouth University ‘V neck’ and prey to your God.
"Anyway, happy birthday! Where is everybody?" West said slapping Prebble hard on the back before going to the bar again.

A little while later, everybody, or as near as a newly installed lecturer approaching thirty can get to everybody, were in attendance. Including Guy’s nemesis, Psychology lecturer Prof. Graham Andrews, or ‘Liver Salts’ as Guy liked to call him. Largely because of his surname being linked to that brand of digestive medication but also because if anyone gave Guy Block rampant indigestion it was Andrews. He hated his preening, holier than thou, control freak ways as he waltzed around Hopemouth, and he despised his popularity with the VC and some colleagues and students.

In fact Guy would often use his sarcastic humour against ‘Liver Salts’, one joke was often fondly remembered around the faculty….
What’s the difference between God and Prof Andrews?
God doesn’t walk round the campus thinking he’s Prof Andrews!

Sadly for Guy, when it came to jokes, his entire physical being would always ensure that others had the last laugh.
The enemy sidled over; "Hallo Guy, still here? Thought you’d have pulled by now?"
Arrogant little bald prick thought Guy as he saw ‘Liver Salts’ playing to a little audience of appreciative admirers.
"Not losing it in your old age?" he said searching the room for his fans as he flashed a dentist’s dream of a smile. Luckily however, Agnes May Breckenbaur, the visiting rotund dwarf of a History Prof from America had captivated quite a large part of the campus by challenging the Engineering faculty to an arm wrestling contest.
"Fnarr!" Guy snorted, "Hardly, still at least some of us continue to have it in old age, erm…" Got to correct that Block, "… mature age. Some poor bastards never have it"
Round one to Block.

The party then headed off into town for the evening meal.
C’mon Block thought as he tucked into a salad starter, right now he’d give anything for the halcyon days of his esteemed sexual prowess. Back then he’d have caught the waitresses eye as soon as he sat down and made the first move over the starter. Easy it was, so bloody easy to pull.
After all it’s not rocket salad is it?
But right now he was in fact sat next to Prebble who was trying to start a conversation about religion and Milton or some such and not taking the hint that Guy does not want to talk about it at all. In point of fact the only time Guy wants to mention God tonight is when he is inside someone, and preferably someone young and bendy.
Where is that waitress?
Ah. Here she strode back towards the salivating group, some salivating for food, Block for her. A willowy vision of loveliness in a starched white shirt that failed to hide her pert breasts, she was very, very nice. A choir of angels singing could not do her entrance justice.
Time to lean in for the kill Block
"I- "
"I must say that was splendid miss" Interrupted Prebble
The little fanatic!
"Yes, yes" Block cut in, "I erm really enjoyed mine too"
"You’ve hardly touched it?" she replied, she even spoke beautifully.
"I mean, the presentation of it, the crisp lettuce laid out, magnifique!" Block crowed.
"It’s my birthday today" Prebble informed her before asking her for her name
"Mary" she replied, "and happy birthday"
"Ah the name of Our Lord’s mother" the religious nut replied, Block could hardly believe his ears and was about to intervene when she replied, "Yes, that’s right, my mum and dad are very religious"
"I see, erm look do I know you from somewhere?" Prebble continued
"Yes I was thinking that too" Block attempted with a wan smile, "Hopemouth’s a small University town perhaps your boyfriend is a student here? You do have a boyfriend I take it? Pretty girl like you what?"
"Well actually Prof Block, Prof Prebble, I’m a student at Hopemouth and I sometimes attend the Church Hall just up the road and no, no boyfriend, I’m saving myself see"
Oh good God.

Block dabbed his lips and left to go to the toilet, feeling Andrews’ eyes on him all the while, though whether this was real or imagined he could not say as he did not look back. Has it come to this? Block thought as he stared into the mirror in the gents: being beaten to the chase by a virginal RE lecturer?
Oh well good luck to him, he’s almost thirty, about time he sampled the original sin. A match clearly made in heaven.
What a bad night it was.
‘Bollocks’ said Block into the mirror once more.

© Mark Cunliffe Feb 2007

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