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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: The Imaginarium

A sad story of how Simon, a vulnerable adult, is duped by a scheming school pupil.


In the pretty, leafy village of Hackman’s Gate, Simon waited for the bus that would take him to his job as a Caretaker’s Assistant at a comprehensive school… a job he had performed for the past ten years. Eternally enthusiastic, Simon loved his work. He was a loyal and committed individual and ‘right hand man’ to Bob Mason, the school’s resident Caretaker. Bob had taken Simon under his wing and, over the years, the two had developed a close working relationship. Bob looked out for Simon, felt protective of him and, in return, whatever he asked him to do, Simon would jump to it with unwavering fervour and his trademark smile.

“Morning Simon, how are you today.” The bus driver asked cheerily.

Simon dug deep into his pockets and handed over his bus-fare. “Yes, good,” he said, taking the ticket before sitting in the same seat he had occupied every working day.

“Right young man, we’ve got a busy day ahead. This morning we have to get the hall ready for tonight’s performance of the school play.” Simon nodded his head, his grey eyes shining.”

Bob continued. “Mr Hedley also needs the school to look super clean and tidy, so this afternoon, I need you to pick up every scrap of litter from the school corridors and in the grounds.”

Simon smiled up at his boss with admiration and awe. “Yes, Boss.”

It took some time for the two of them to arrange the chairs in the huge hall. Simon hummed happily as he fetched and carried the stacked chairs, for Bob to arrange in neat rows.

They finished just as the buzzer blared through the school signalling the start of lunch time, the corridors soon echoing with the deafening babble of pupils headed for the canteen.

Before they left, Simon paused to admire their handy-work. “That’s magnastic Bob,” he declared.

“Yes Si… magnastic,” Bob echoed, their palms connecting in a high five.

“Oy Alice, pick up that crisp packet you’ve just thrown on the floor,” Bob ordered. “Simon’s got better things to do than litter pick after you lot all the time.”

Alice turned round with a swish of her long blond hair, her blue eyes blazing with hate, her face defiant. “You talking to me Mr. Caretaker, who the hell do you think you are?” Her gang of followers giggled appreciatively.

“I’m telling you to pick up the crisp packet, or there’ll be consequences.” Bob insisted, his rugged features, tight and hard. 

Staring daggers at him, Alice picked up the discarded packet, and stomped off, her followers trailing after her.  Oh, there’ll be consequences alright, Alice vowed to herself.


After lunch, armed with his litter picker and bin bag, and with his trademark enthusiasm, Simon set about the time consuming task of clearing the discarded litter from the school grounds. At break time the pupils filed out and huddled in groups, some with their heads bent over their cell-phones, others secretly smoking, while the younger ones played a rowdy game of tag. Simon was suddenly distracted from his task by someone calling out his name.

“Simon, come over here, I’ve got something for you,” Alice called.

With his bin-bag and litter picker, Simon made his way down the grassy bank towards her. She ran her fingers seductively through her silky blonde hair, her school shirt unbuttoned to reveal an ample cleavage. She reached into her bag and pulled out a bag of sweets. “Do you want one, they’re scrummy.”

“Yes please,” he said, advancing towards her but, just as he was about to reach inside the bag, she pulled it sharply away.

“You have to kiss me first,” she said, pouting.

“Go on Simon, you’re not going to turn down an offer like that are you,” Ellie encouraged.

Simon beamed… his innocence about to be violated. As he walked towards her she grabbed him by the collar and gave him a lingering kiss.  

“Did you get that Ellie?” Alice demanded.

Ellie smirked at the image on her phone. “Here, look for yourself, perfect.”

“Wh, what about my sweet.” Simon felt confused, tears pooled in his grey eyes, his lip jutted.

“Oh dear, they’ve all gone.” Alice laughed, snatching the bag of rubbish Simon had collected and emptying it onto the grass, before flouncing off with her herd of admirers.

Simon lowered his eyes… wounded and bewildered, he picked up his litter picker and resumed his task.


Simon sat with Bob at his side while Mr. Hedley, the Headmaster, explained the gravity and possible consequences of his inappropriate behaviour.

Bob was furious, he knew full well Simon had been set up by Alice, but his desperate pleas fell on stony ground.

“I cannot make allowances. As a member of staff he crossed the line, so the disciplinary procedure must be followed to the letter.”

“But he doesn’t understand, for heaven’s sake the lad has Downs Syndrome, this is all just so, inappropriate and unnecessary. Simon, just tell Mr Hedley again what Alice said and did to you.”

“She had sweets, and then said they’d all gone.”

“But what about the kiss,” Bob pressed.”

“She told me to kiss her.”

“Look John, you know Simon as well as I do, he will always do what he’s told to without question, that’s the way he is. It was not a pre-meditated act of any kind, he was hoodwinked by that scheming girl who just wanted to get back at me.”

“Bob, I hear what you’re saying, but this is a school and Alice is fifteen. This is a serious allegation and we have to follow procedures.”

Bob placed his arms around Simon’s small shoulders, and let the tears flow unchecked.

Simon was suspended pending an investigation into an allegation of gross misconduct. After ten years of exemplary conduct and with great sadness, his parents decided to remove him from the school.

Simon’s happy disposition, and infectious enthusiasm remained undaunted. Seated at the kitchen table in the cosy cottage, he turned the pages of one of his many, dog-eared agricultural magazines, gleefully pointing to a shiny, red tractor, oohing over its impressive wheels. He called over to his mother… this is magnastic!

Submitted: February 04, 2018

© Copyright 2021 Sue Harris. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:



This kind of despicable behavior happens all the time, Sue. And there's really no excuse for it....people just do things because they can. I'm glad you showed that Simon stayed himself. So well-told in your unique style, Sue!

Sun, February 4th, 2018 9:52pm


Thanks, Hully. This is based on a true life experience, although the characters and setting are fictional. Extremely upsetting.

Sun, February 4th, 2018 1:57pm


Wow, Sue, I suppose it's true what they say that truth is stranger than fiction. I had no idea this was a true story. Excellently penned! I like what did about Simon here. Well done:)

Mon, February 5th, 2018 12:20am


Thank you JB. Yes, sadly this was based on a true story, although the characters are fictional. 'Magnastic' was his favourite word.

Mon, February 5th, 2018 7:16am


Aww, I remember this one from your short story collection. It's still a hard read for me, since I teach an autistic 7yo girl and I could see a lot of other people's misunderstandings of her in Simon's story. Even if I don't like the subject, I do love your descriptions and the warmth you brought to the story- sad, but beautiful.

Mon, February 5th, 2018 7:44pm


Thanks so much. I feel issues like this should be aired. It was a very upsetting incident for the family to deal with. Sadly he died suddenly a few months ago, so that's the reason I re-posted, as a tribute to his sunny personality, his positivity and guileless nature. He had something to be envied and it was a privilege to have known and loved him.To 'Simon', life was just 'magnastic' and his passing left a gaping void. People can be very cruel in their assumptions about special children and adults. But they are special, in the true sense of the word and should be treated with dignity and respect.

Mon, February 5th, 2018 1:12pm

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