CHAPTER 14

MR. JONES walked in with no preliminary spying. Dapper, smart, his jaw like that on a ventriloquist's dummy, he held up a slip of paper and called, not overloud: "Robertson, come out."

Brian heard a movement behind, and a gangly eleven-year-old walked to the front. Mr. Jones stood by the blackboard, hid Ceylon with a head as fiercely threatening as the cobra that represented the island. "So you're Robertson?"

He admitted it, though reluctantly; not knowing where to put his hands, he tried to get them into his trouser pockets but was baffled when their entrances seemed to have closed up against him. "Keep your hands by your side when you speak to me," Mr. Jones roared, smacking him across the ear. He held the menacing piece of paper up to his nose, chafing it like a fly so that Robertson got a smack on the other ear for trying to brush it off. "I've had a complaint about you from a lady who lives nearby. She says you broke her window with a football and used foul language when she came out to you."

Robertson looked to one side, and said nothing.

-179-

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