Spring to summer 1961
1. Timothy Leech was Chris Woodhead’s first friend after Chris arrived in Thornton.[more] He was in Chris’s class at Baines’ Endowed School, and more or less “adopted” Chris. He used to walk home with him. He was a useful sort of chap for Chris to know; after all, Chris was new to the area, whereas Leech knew his way around Thornton, so at the risk of being dominated by Leech, Chris relied on him to be a bit of a guide.
Alan Fairhurst and Timothy Leech sat together in class, and Chris sat with Rodney Greenhall; Fairhurst, Leech and Chris used to make a “threesome”.
Fairhurst lived near Chris in Ascot Road, Thornton; Chris lived at No.19 and Fairhurst at No.36 a little farther down and on the other side. After tea, Chris would go round to Fairhurst’s house.
As we have seen,[more] the Leeches were personae non gratae to the Fairhursts, or to Mrs. Fairhurst at least.
2. Now, Chris played a kind of double game, because he listened to all that Mrs. Fairhurst was telling him but still maintained contact with Leech—much to Alan Fairhurst’s disgust. And one day, while Chris was round at the Fairhursts’, Alan showed his indignation by locking Chris out; and through the kitchen window he accused Chris of being “in league with Leech”.
“You’re in league with Leech!” he screeched at Chris.
3. For earlier that day at school, Chris and Leech had been conspiring to get to sit together in class. Leech suggested that Chris should sit with him instead of Fairhurst.
“Well, how can we do it, Timmy?” Chris asked him.
“Well,” Timmy replied, “we just fix it so that Fairhurst sits with Greenhall.”
So Leech mounted a sort of campaign against Fairhurst; at playtime, he revealed the plot to depose him, to replace him with Chris.
4. Leech wore glasses: round, wire-framed, thick-lensed National Health glasses retained in place with clips like finely coiled springs wrapped round the back of each ear. And to try to scare Fairhurst (which wasn’t difficult; Fairhurst was rather a “softie”), Leech, staring intently at him, peeled these glasses off—and with a grotesque and rather frightening expression on his face, backed him into a corner, all the while chanting:
“You will sit with Greeeenhall!
“You will go to sit with Greeeenhall...!”
5. Of course, the plot didn’t succeed; they never pulled it off. After all, people were allotted their places by the teachers; they were not free to change, just like that.
6. After the abortive campaign, Chris went round as usual to Fairhurst’s house. What exactly happened next is not certain. It could be that while they were playing they had a disagreement and Fairhurst got Chris out of the house, locked the back door, and wouldn’t allow him re-entry; or (which seems more likely) it could be that Fairhurst didn’t let Chris in at all that evening. Either way, Fairhurst appeared at the back kitchen window next to the locked back door, and through the window told Chris to “Go away!”
“Aw, can’t I come in?” pleaded Chris, with a cajoling sort of tone.
“No!” snapped Fairhurst.
“Why not?” asked Chris, to which Fairhurst replied:
“YOU’RE IN LEAGUE WITH LEECH!”
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