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The International Writers Magazine: Guy Block's Last Blast

Chopping Block
Marc Cunliffe

"Ooh bloody hell," groaned Guy Block as he removed himself post coital from the young girl he had shared his bed with. Heaving himself down onto the clammy comfort of the pillows he breathed out deeply and exhausted and ran a hand over his hot brow. "I’m getting old," he said to no one in particular between panting breaths.

"Nonsense" purred Lise, a young Sociology lecturer newly joined to Hopemouth "That was fantastic," she said pleasing Guy immensely. "Much better than last time," she added before throwing the duvet off and padding naked to the en- suite shower as Guy twitched his head back as if he’d been hit. Well his ego had taken a strike definitely.

The water in the shower ran loudly sending steam billowing into the room. "I have to rush darling, I’ve a class at 9," Lise called out to Guy, who groaned despairingly and stared at the dusty ceiling above him.
Maybe he was getting old. This was the dark days of Hopemouth University

It was dark indeed, and that wasn’t just because most of the light bulbs in the dorms and corridors were faulty.
The VC, the fat greedy and ignorant old cow that she was has been forcibly moved in a bloodless coup over failing to put Hopemouth higher in the educational leader boards and a new regime has taken over led by a Miliband look-alike, complete with shit eating grin, named somewhat fortuitously enough in line with new labour, Mr Gordon Blair. If ever there were a bastard amalgamation it was in the name and the shape of the new VC.

And with him came a new company of security guards who stalk the concrete corridors, walkways and gantries in big black puffer jackets, ominously reporting to the VC’s office every half hour where no doubt, the little seen but always felt Mr Blair, resided taking great care and attention to their walkie-talkied torrents.

Rumour ran through the staff rooms whilst deadline fever ran through the students and a pantomime horse ran through the quiet corridors of the Sociology Faculty, as was often its want. Lise smiled wryly and quickly petted Guy on the cheek before entering her class for the day.

Quite why a pantomime horse appeared once more was anyone’s guess but Guy Block, Professor of English Literature, was reassured to see that in a sea of upheaval, some things never changed. Students still had an overwhelming capacity to dick about.

He was also relieved an pleased to see as he walked out onto the grounds, that in this new world order of Hopemouth, the ghostly wasted figure of Anarchic Anna, once the most beautiful and promising student of late 60's Hopemouth but for some years the resident bag lady of its grounds, was still in attendance. She caught Guy looking at her as he made his way to his room, her pinpoint eyes fixing on him causing him some distress, but even more distress when she asked with a throaty reed that still hinted at her once posh and enthralling tongue; "Did we ever shag?"

Like a football fan tuning into the news before Match Of The Day, he did not want to know the answer and looking away, Guy hurried on just as the black clouds parted sending a shower of fat rain down upon Hopemouth.
It never rains….

Guy had had a miserable start to the week, and he feared that today would not improve matters. There was something in the air at Hopemouth with this new regime and he didn’t like it. Of course what made matters worse, was the fact that at the start of the week, before the climactic yet tiring fun of the morning with Lise and after the alleged disappointing fun previously he had had further disappointment. He had midweek taken home a very attractive young girl student of his by the name of Amanda Fox, and fox by name, fox by nature. The crowning glory for Guy being that she habitually wore pigtails in his class. However that was the only crowning glory for having got her back to his place it appeared that hot though she was in the looks department, she was decidedly cold on pursuing anything extra curricular. Positively frigid, Guy thought. It appeared that he had made the terrible mistake that many men are prone to; the failure to read the signs correctly. For Ms Fox was of the touchy-feely kind of girlies and that was not a sign inviting you to shag her senseless, more a sign to show how much she cared about people and wanted to be friends with everyone. So ever the gallant gentleman, Block accepted his miscalculation and he asked her to be adult about it, not to let it interfere with the student/lecturer relationship, explained he would have been mad not to try by complimenting her on her great looks and thanked her for a good night before letting her take her leave suitably embarrassed but determined to keep it their secret.
…. But it pours.

Guy noticed an envelope on the floor as he opened up his room. With a creaking back he bent down to pick it up. And tore it open to find, a summons to the VC’s office at 4pm that afternoon.
This did not bode well.

So Guy Block did what any self-respecting man in his mid fifties would do, he panicked. It just had to be bad news. There had been much talk of economising and cost cutting the faculties and Guy imagined this meeting would be his turn to defend the English budget and try to adopt his square hole to fit the VC’s round peg. Oh what fun. To take his mind of it he embarked on marking dissertations for the rest of the day. It’s remarkable what horrors you would sooner face than a supposed bigger horror.

At three fifty, a security guard and one of the VC’s administrators entered Guy’s room. The admin bod, a white haired thin man with thick black eyebrows reminded Guy of those SS Generals one saw in old WWII movies, and indeed the way they flocked around Guy’s desk did not help diminish this appearance. Finally he spoke, as softly as all the best cruel enemies do, "Could you come this way Prof Block, The VC is expecting you." Guy blew out his breath and shoulders sagging left the dissertations and stepped out into the corridor and out onto the grounds to face a golf buggy style vehicle.
"If you’d care to step in sir?" said the gruff guard as the administrator took the first seat. Bemused Guy moved into the back seat. "This is a new idea of the VC’s," the administrator explained. "A great boon for his staff in a campus so large as Hopemouth."
"I’m surprised the last VC hadn’t thought of it," Guy replied as the little motor scurried them across the pathways. "After all she was the largest thing on campus." It was clearly a tough crowd, as his little jibe was ignored. But then, Guy thought, they could not see the ridiculousness in driving around in a little contraption like this so maybe they just had no sense of humour.

Finally, they had arrived at their destination and Guy was led into the VC’s oak panelled and leather chaired boardroom. Blair smiled wanly as he entered the room and raised a gracious hand at the seat before him.
"Prof Block, welcome. Mr Pascoe here, my senior administrator will be taking notes today," he said.
Guy didn’t like this.
"What’s this about?"
Blair smiled in that way that suggested he knew that was what Guy was going to say and that it had amused him privately that he had guessed right. After a sip of Evian, he allowed himself to explain; "Certain malpractices have come to my attention Prof Block. Malpractices you have made"
"What?" Guy flinched and spread a hand through his fine blonde locks.
"Unethical practices Prof Block with members of the opposite sex," Mr Blair explained. Guy could hear the hurried scribbling of Pascoe of the SS and felt his temperature rise. He had to defend himself.
"Now look, who has made these allegations?"
"Prof Block, with respect…" The VC began
"No! Ah um, let’s see…not Amanda Fox? Well the silly bitch, look nothing actually happened." Guy said and turning to Pascoe added "You write that down nothing happened, she didn’t fancy it so we parted, it's lies I can assure you"
"Its not Amanda Fox," said the VC.
Guy looked puzzled, he drew a deep breath as he gathered his thoughts and ploughed on.
"Madeline then? No wait...her boyfriend, he’s complained about me and her"
His guess was met with stony faces
"Tottie Love, then?"
The stone faces started to grow puzzled
"Abbie, the reader? Blonde girl, wonderfully short cropped hair, exquisite bum?"
The faces turned from puzzlement to alarm
"Millie? Help me out here, student or staff?"
"Prof Block I’m afraid you’re rather incriminating yourself." The VC rather sportingly replied
"Am I?" Block said absently
"Its sort of staff." Pascoe mumbled helpfully
"Well it’s not Lise! The new Sociology lass that’s for sure, I’ve just seen to her and well I know she was a bit put out by one of my performances but I hardly think she’d take that up with you"
"Prof Block" Pascoe beseeched hoping to stop this tirade of lust, but a Guy Block in full flow was a Guy Block hard to stop. As several ladies will confirm.
"Not that researcher? Look that was just a rumour, all I did was take her out for a social drink, very informal but above board and then give her an internal examination…well…I mean, ah not like that I mean I examined her work," Guy puffed out a sigh. "Um…." He trailed off.
"Perhaps this will help," said Mr Blair, the VC and he motioned at Pascoe who rose from his seat behind Block to the VCR and TV in the corner of the room. Placing a VHS in Guy sat confused at a grainy black and white picture fuzzed itself in and out of focus of two people clearly in flagrante.
"Do you recognise this Prof Block?" the VC asked.
Guy Block shifted in his seat and screwed his eyes up before summarising "Is it someone vacuuming?"
"No, no it is not, it’s an act of sexual intercourse," said the VC.
"Ah right, its doggie, ah yes I see it now."
"It’s you Prof Block, you and the bursar’s young daughter!" said the VC, his voice rising a little at the incredulity.
Block was silent for a few moments, his eyes transfixed at the screen. Finally he spoke "Whose room are we in?"
"It’s the bursar’s reception. Do you mean to say there was more than one occasion?" Pascoe said shocked
Block ummed a little
"Prof Block!" The VC yelled in both despair and annoyance "This is hardly Through The Keyhole!"
"I don’t know, she wasn’t the most accommodating fit you know, very innocent"
"Prof Block what have you to say for yourself?" the VC demanded
"I’ve got good taste?" Block offered
"Prof Block, the bursar has complained, a complaint that I cannot and will not ignore. Indeed you give me no option after your blatant confession to more of these improper and illicit affairs going on."

Block ran a hand over his face. "I frankly do not believe this" he said from under his heavy palm. Spasmodically he jerked his hand away and with a twitch of his head launched into a measured yet vibrant speech; "My libido has been known in academic circles for some time. I have given a lot of my life to Hopemouth and in all those years my sex life was never a secret. Now you come along and decree it to be some depraved and disgusting act. Well it may be for you, you moronic looking cretin, but it isn’t for me or the people I call friends and colleagues. You said it yourself it’s an act of sexual intercourse. It’s sex, a discharge of fluid, that is all, but more it is an act of love or randiness that elevates your very essence and girls actually like it you know? They actually like a good rogering from time to time. Don’t be fooled that she was bent over there and I’m rather forcibly giving it to her," he said pointing an arm at the screen, "Its consensual, I didn’t have to beg for it, unlike you, and she enjoyed it. She enjoyed me. I have that gift apparently, I have a natural charisma that is quite attractive I’m told and if you do not believe it ask anyone of those names I have just mentioned that you have taken upon yourselves to consider as my confession and whilst you’re at it ask… err…um…." His hand grew ever more frantic towards the screen.
"Felicity," Pascoe helpfully mumbled.
"Felicity, that’s it, yes, bursar’s daughter, perky tits, wonderful vag" Block laughed and snorted and threw his head back, but found no one joined in. "Christ you poor dolts, don’t you realise it’s fun. It makes one feel ALIVE! And at my age to be able to still have the natural gift to attract divine young beautiful bodies, well frankly, you’d have to be mad to miss the opportunity."
"But you’re married?" The VC asked incredulously
"Bah, don’t hold that against me!" Guy snorted in amusement. "I still play the field, I love programming the missiles and hitting send I make no excuses for it"
"Prof Block please, I’m trying to be serious."
"As am I! I’m talking about my life here and my livelihood as it appears to be on the line."
"Please Prof Block, listen to me. Hopemouth University cannot tolerate an unethical approach to the lecturer/student relationship, especially when one is brought to my attention by way of complaint. Therefore it is my opinion that…"
"Opinions are like arseholes," Block interjected testily. "Everyone has them and yours has more shit than most"

For a moment Block thought old Pascoe was going to faint. The VC did his sickening smile once more, looked down at his pen and straightened his tie before continuing; "As I was saying, it is my…opinion…that an enforced sabbatical may be an ideal solution at this awkward time"
Guy sat up in his seat "A sabbatical? You mean a suspension"
"Well, technically yes. But please remember either term means not definite. We are not about to let a highly esteemed Professor of your calibre go just because of a few, ahem, peccadilloes. Therefore, and with the knowledge that the bursar is set to retire in around a years time we have decided that a suspension or sabbatical abroad on the lecture circuits may please all concerned, allowing us to be seen to have done something, you to have a career at Hopemouth still and you may be able to get some writing done too, then eventually the dust will settle and it’s welcome home." The VC explained.
"Where do you have in mind?" Guy Block asked
"Iceland. Then wherever you fancy taking in next. I’m told you do very well on the circuit." The VC smiled cheesily.
"Why can’t we just say sod the old duffer bursar, the fucker’s never liked me. Explain to him that his girl had to be deflowered at some time or other and just let me get on with it?" Block asked, throwing the dice one last time.

Mr Blair sucked the air in before speaking as if just about to give a rather expensive quote on your plumbing system; "We can’t do that, because I am the newly appointed VC, this is my decision, the decision I made and the decision I am happy with. To let this pass will show a weakness on my part and make no mistake, I am not weak," he followed that with that smile again.
"I can’t really say no then can I?" Block asked
"No, you can’t," the smile grew cheesier.

Guy Block stood up and with a slight bow said "Thank you, VC" and left the room.

The following morning, in his room, Guy Block surveyed the years of stuff he had accumulated. Sod it, he thought, take what really matters, leave the rest for Blair’s security to store, and with that he grabbed his old Penguin copies of Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Women In Love and opened up his drawer. After a moment or two rifling through bits and pieces he found what he was looking for and when he saw it a smile broke broadly out across his face and his eyes grew misty. There in his hand was an old fraying photo of a stunning young blonde haired girl, with no imperfections whatsoever, just starting out in life with innocence in her eyes. Her face was turning side on to the photographer, chewing the corner of her lip absently, clearly she had just been told to turn for the camera. It was Wendy; the first girl student Guy Block ever truly fell for way back in 1974 at the start of his lecturing career and his love games. Carefully he placed the picture in the inside pocket of his jacket and after a brief look at the empty chairs before him, turned on his heel to leave. Only to be confronted by the bounding tall and elegant shape of his dear friend and colleague, Emma Latimer.
"I’ve just heard," she said stepping her weight onto one foot.
"Yes, it’s true I’m off," Guy answered.
"Finally caught you at it then?" she said lustily, but they both knew she was putting a front on.
"Yes, fair cop. Good shag to go out on though, bursar’s daughter," he snorted and she chuckled throatily in the way that drove her male students wild with desire. Slowly they both left the room, Guy locked the door and handed the keys to Emma. " Say goodbye to Lise in Sociology for me," he said with a conspiring wink.
"You did?" Emma asked and received a nod in reply.
"Ha!" Emma laughed and placed a tenner in his hand, she had lost the bet. "You dirty old rogue"
"Less of the old" Guy joked back and then his smile left him, as he knew this was goodbye. "Um I’ll be staying with Rhiannon my daughter for a week or so first, be good to get the chance to build bridges and then I’m off, Reykjavik calling."

Emma stood there without a word just letting the information sink in. She could hardly believe it. Guy lifted up a remonstrating finger. "Now, don’t be like that, come on girl, things to do, water the plant for me, keep fighting the VC and bureaucracy, oh and no nicking anything, I’ll be back" he said and hugged her. "The weed is in the top left hand drawer," he whispered in her ear causing her to giggle that husky Grigot and Gauloises laugh once more.

They held the embrace for a moment and then Guy made to leave. He walked a few steps before turning to face her once more. "I will be back," he said, and with his characteristic little twitch he moved off, his thin frame pacing down the corridor and out into the big wide world.
"I hope so," said Emma, a little dumbstruck, a tear formed in the corner of her eye as she watched him go.

© Mark Cunliffe December 2007

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