Eoin had had a tearful breakup with Senka. The termination had sickened him. It was not his doing. He had asked her not too. But he had to be honest with himself: at some level it was a relief. But the tragedy was for the best. It was hard to take. It came in the wake of an awful row at work.
That grey January he returned from his parents’ place in Ireland. It had been a so-so Christmas. Not too cold: 10 degrees on Christmas Day. As they had gone for a walk in the woods by the castle on Christmas Day a dog had ran into Eoin’s leg and hurt him. Being in the bosom of his family had been welcome for once. Usually there were heated arguments. But he had been through such grief that he was glad to be around them. His father had often been a tower of strength when times were tough. He had not breathed a word of his travails to his family. They had not heard of Senka or Eoin being jobless.
He flew back to London. He took a taxi home. The Algerian cabby was a garrulous type. Eoin thought of getting himself a driving licence and working as an illegal cabbie. What on earth could Eoin do? There was no use in trying to get back into his previous line of work. He had tested that to destruction. He was not cut out for it. The stress mad him grind his teeth. Ironically Eoin had gone into it because he did not want to do an office job. But much of teaching was an office job. He had been so irate at the end of the day he wanted to strangle someone. There were decent pupils but many were rats. It only took one arsehole to ruin his day. He was driven mad by the pointless paper chase.
Eoin was paying a high rent. His studio flat above a Pakistani restaurant was very central. He had ample savings. He took the bus down to Kingston and tutored his Oriental pupils. He made a tidy amount from that. They were the most industrious and obedient pupils he had known. They were also the dullest. There was a bit of work between Christmas and New Year.
New Year’s Eve he caught the train to his sister’s place in Berkshire. Which choo choo to get? None went to her actual station for ages. There was one to Reading but that was not close enough. Finally he got one. He had been due to babysit the children but he was late. Lucinda and Ivan were off to a party and they had to take their children with them. They would be back later to go to a neighbour’s party. It was a hefty 20 quid by taxi to their house deep in the countryside.
They had arranged it by phone. He got there and the house was unlocked as agreed. He sat there and there was a knock on the door. As he had been told Lisa came around. She was a 16 year old neighbour.
He opened the door to Lisa. It was the first time he had met her. She was tallish and slim. She had light brown hair. He made sure he stood as far away as he could when he shook her hand. He invited her into the very large drawing room. and sat her down on the sofa opposite his. He liked there to be a good 3 metres between him and her. He remembered all the child protection guidelines. Try not to be alone in a room with a minor. Never be alone in a building with a minor. Eoin turned on the charm. He knew how to be welcoming and affable when it came to adolescents. He asked her all about her riding hobby. She lived down the road and they had horses. He asked her about her accomplishments as an equestrienne. She was off to some public school next year and Eoin cooed about that. In reality he was not in the least impressed but he knew better than to tell the truth.
Later his sister and her husband came back with the children. Eoin cracked jokes with them all.
Eoin, his sister and Ivan then headed to the party down the road. It was at Lisa’s parents place.
There was a young blonde there. She was very tasty indeed – cradling her baby who was not one year old. She wore a tight grey press and nude stilettoes. Her skin was pale and barely madeup. She was very desirable but her personality was meek. Beside her was her chubby boyfriend. Incongruously he sported a tailcoat with his rugby shirt and denims. His thick black hair was geled back. He wore horn rimmed glasses and his flesh was rubicund. He chatted and chortled at a stentorian volume. Many people would have called him a dick. His name was Barnaby. Eoin started chatting to Barnaby. He turned out to be much more likable than he at first appeared. He was frank about being dim. He was a second hand car salesman. He and Eoin bitched about over regulation being the bane of their lives. Turns out that his girlfriend’s baby was not his – the baby was sired by the woman’s previous boyfriend.
There was an Aussie guy there. Eoin had a good chin wag with this middle aged chap. The Australian said he might return to Oz sometime – ”there’s a beach with my name on it if I want it”. The Antipodean was married to a Britisher of German parents. This plump faced plainy had resolutely refused to learn German from her parents. Eoin thought that contemmptible.
There was a a slender middle aged little Englishman in a tweed suit. We shall call him Geoffrey. Even if that is not his name it might as well be. His mid brown hair matched his suit. He acted a generation older than he was. Geoffrey spoke French to his wife who looked to be 30 at most. His wife wore a white dress with a black belt and black high heels. Her raven locks hung down past her shoulders. She was svelte and her face was very striking. SHe was demeure and Eoin had the hots for her. He spoke in French to her. She was taken aback. The conversation revealed that she was Swiss. It came to light that they had a baby named Alexei. They name the child this since it was the only name they could hit upon that was the same in both languages in pronunciation, spelling and gender.
Geoffrey was also in the auto industry. He railed against the lassitude of his Italian colleagues. He despaired and wondered how anything was done there.
In one conversation he overheard his sister saying that a child but a huge strain on even the strongest marriage. Eoin blanched at that. Imagine if he had a child coming with someone he did not know.
Next day Eoin went to the cinema with his sister and sprogs. Then he was dropped the station and went home. He had spent a little too much over the festive season.
School was not beginning for a few days yet. He tutored a Chinese girl a bit.
Eoin felt sick at himself for the termination of his offspring. He said there was no sense in self recrimination. He was not very horny.
He went to the doctor about his leg. The doctor told him not to walk so far. He also said he wanted the snip. The doctor was very reluctant saying he may want children in future. Eoin was insistent. He was not going through the nightmare he had just experienced all over again. The doctor point blank refused. It was wrong of the physician to impose his views on Eoin like this. Eoin requested a different GP. He was given a female GP. She listened respectfully and pointed out that this was irreversible. Eoin said he was not stupid and knew that. He had pondered this extremely carefully. The doctor signed her approval. Odd how easy a termination was to obtain but how much of a rigmarole there was for a vasectomy. He coughed up his 400 quid and had his date set. He went for the op and never looked back. He could stick it anywhere he wanted now without consequences.
He had a few hours work a week with a Bangladeshi in Surbiton. He tutored this dyslexic boy. As Eoin had tonnes of time but little dosh he walked as much as he could.
He walked from Acton to Raynes Park sometimes.
Term began and he had less work. In the weekdays this were depressing. There was too much free time. He would get up late and leave the flat after schools had began. He did not wish to be recognised.
He tried sperm donation. He volunteered for medical experiments.
he went on gumtree. Saw all sorts of jobs. Baggage handler in Schipohl. Should he go for that? He inquired about working on the tube. They were laying people off. There was the Max test. What if Max saw him do it?
He regularly lunched with Kyrle who was also out of work.
He did a few days of sandwich delivery.
Eoin had booked a holiday for February to Grenada. He had done that when times were good back in October. In the end he cancelled it and got most of the money back.
Eoin went to Oxford and did a few hours for Mr Greene. Eoin also taught for Mulberry Bush. Now well paid and very bureaucratic but any work was welcome.
What could he do? He had fucked up the Master’s. It would take years to get into a profession. He had not the dosh.
He told himself to thank his lucky stars. It could have ended far, far worse. He had to be grateful for a roof over his head
He did some tutoring in Southall too. He was breaking even. He walked to work through the snow. He would leave the house hours before he needed to be somewhere – walk all the way. Spend time in a public library if needs be. He even applied to be a headmaster in Pakistan. It seemed comical but those people were such crashing snobs they might even take him due to his education. In the end they did not reply.
It came to March and exam season was beginning. His work picked up. He was busy most nights and all weekened. He was raking it in.
Then he contacted an agency called Bonner. Bonner was run by a Wykehamist. He went to meet Bonner. Bonner had the manners and appearance of a failed funeral director. But Bonner did have a huge business.
Eoin had changed his CV and got friends to give false references. Eoin had bent and stretched dates. Things looked a lot more acceptable.
Eoin was coining it all through April, May and June. He knew that summer school work was plentiful in July and August. Eoin did not take a holiday. He had had enough of travel. He needed to make money not to travel. He had had too much free time when he was without work. It was mostly cash in hand he got. The life of a freelance tutor in London was most agreeable.
In the mornings he volunteered for the Tory Party.
In July he went for a trial with Russian family in London. They were on holidays in Spain. They found Eoin most acceptable. He instantly clicked with their 12 year old son. After a week he went back to London. The word came that he had the contract. That August they took him with them to Sochi.
In September they returned to London. That is when he became a tutor for them. Bonner got their cut. He had Bonner pay him cash.
The family lived in Primrose Hill. He was there every evening and all weekend. It was a superb lifestule.
When the lease was up on his room he went to rent a place in Camden Town – closer to work.
He managed to get himself made a Conservative candidate for the council. He was glad to be in Camden – away from his enemies.
May the next year he was elected to the council. It brought him a steady income. He could only attend the committees that met in the mornings.
Life was looking up. He started doing standup comedy on the few weekday evenings he was free. Sometimes he had worked but was able to get to the gig after 9 pm.
Then he met a doctor named Jenny. They started a relationship. Jenny had a congenital heart condition making it impossible for her to have children. Eoin had no wish to have kids so they were a perfect match. She already had a 2 bedroom flat in Camden.
That September tutoring was slow. He bit the bullet for an intensive driving course. He passed.
Eoin got himself on the Tory candidate’s list. He had to fight a seat in Newcastle first. It was rock solid Labour.
The next time he was selected for an either way seat in the West Midlands. He narrowly lost. Finally he was selected for a safe seat in the Home Counties.