Jim, Joan and Patricia Pound at a signing of Jim's book, "Basildon Memories" at Waterstones in Basildon.
|In The Beginning
A Children's Story
“How dare you insult my mother!” screamed Agaton, leaning forward, his fists raised, his heart pounding and his face distorted. Although he was two years younger than Cosmas, the bully of their Greek school, Agaton was ready to defend himself. He was afraid but he was not going to show it. He was determind to stand and fight. The other pupils stood in a circle, laughing and jeering, hoping the bully was going to get what he deserved. How dare Cosmas insult his mother, saying she was fat; pregnant, yes, but fat, no! Agaton’s throat went dry as Cosmas launched himself forward, his fist flying. Agaton was expecting it and stepped back, blocking the blows just as his father had taught him. Suddenly, the world went black as one of Cosmas’ fists caught him. In a dream, he heard a roar. It was his teacher, pushing through the crowd. “You know we don’t fight to settle our quarrels. What’s this all about?”
Neither boy replied; they kept to the code. No one snitched.
“Right, I’m giving you twenty press ups!”
The class jeered as they got down. Agaton smiled as he dipped into his first press up. This was easy, he could do thirty! He grinned as he saw his enemy struggling. It was then that he became aware that he could not see out of his right eye.
Back in the classroom, Agaton squinted up at the blurred outline of his teacher, standing above him “Agaton, go home and get that eye fixed!”
As Agaton opened the door of his house his mother went white.
“You’ve been fighting? Who was it this time?”
He was always sticking up for the smaller boys. He shook his head and kept to the code, saying nothing.
“Your Father will have something to say about this when he gets in!”
Later, Agaton heard his father push on the door and his heart missed a beat. He was in trouble!
“Where’s that brave son of mine? I’ve heard all about it! Do you know he stood up to that bully, Cosmas, We’re going to sort him and his father out tonight. Everyone is complaining. His father is a senator and he thinks he can get away with murder! Well, he can’t! Come here son! ”
Agaton held his hand over his black eye and was still worried he was in trouble. Suddenly he felt his father’s strong arm on his shoulder. “That’s my boy. You don’t know what you’ve stirred up! Half the city is on Cosmas’ and his father’s side , mainly because of who he is and the other half are fed up with their sons being beaten up. Tonight we are going to sort them out. He’ll have his hangers on with him, but who cares, I’ve got my brave son. ”
Agaton’s mother stood with her hand over her mouth. Her men might get hurt; what could she do to stop it?
As Agaton marched down the cobbled streets he felt a glow of pride as his father’s hand rested on his shoulder. The lighted torch he held in his hand flickered in the dark and reflected on the faces of the men behind them. The word had spread quickly through the city and the citizens looked out and cheered the marching army, at last the bullies were going to get what they deserved! The band turned the corner and there before them stood the enemy, swinging clubs and swords and urging them on. At their head stood Cosmas’ father. “So you want to teach me a lesson, do you? Well, come on then!”
Agaton’s father took one pace forward and his men closed in behind him. This had to be settled once and for all. Suddenly, out of a side road, came the sound of singing and there was Agaton’s mother, leading the women of the city. They halted between the two opposing armies.
Agaton felt a lump in his throat as his mother raised her voice.
“There is another way of settling this argument without spilling blood! We could have games and dedicate them to the gods.”
Swinging his sword, Cosmas’ father took one step forward “No! We’ll settle this now.”
Pushing through the crowd, Cosmas’s mother stood by the side of Agaton’s mother and snarled . “You’ll agree to this if you know what’s good for you!”
Cosmas’s father knew what she meant “No more delicious honey topped- pies and who would do the washing?”.
He sheepishly raised his voice “Alright men, put down your weapons. We’ll settle this at the games.”
Both sides cheered, and thus started the first Olympic Games. And by the way, Agaton won a gold medal, for boxing!
~ by Jim Reeve.