The fatal beating

“Now Mr. Perkins, its good for you to come in. I realized that you are a busy man but I don’t think this matter could be discussed, through the electric telephone”

“No, no absolutely not Headmaster. If Tommy is in some sort of trouble, I’d like to nip it in the bud”

“Quite frankly, Tommy is in trouble. Recently, his behaviour, has left something great deal to be desired. He seemed to have no interests in school life, what so ever. He refused to muck in on the sports field. And its weeks since any masters have received any written work from him…..”

“Dear me….”

“Quite frankly Mr. Perkins, if he wasn’t dead, I’d have him expelled!”

“Expelled???? I beg you pardon!”

“Yes, expelled! If I wasn’t making allowances for the fact he is dead, he’ll be out on his ears”

“Tommy is dead????”

“Yes, he’s lying upstairs in sick bay now. Stiff as a board and in bright grim. This is I fear, typical of his current attitude. You see, the boy has no sense of moderation. One moment he is flying around like paper kite and the next, he is completely immovable. And beginning to smell!”

“How did he die????”

“Is that important?”

“Yes I think so!”

“Well, it all got to do with the library. You see, we had a lot of trouble with boys taking out library books without library cards. Your son was caught and I administered a beating during which he died. You’ll be glad to know the ring leader was caught. So I think we will not any more trouble with library discipline. You see the library card system……….”

“You beat my son to death????”

“So it would seem. Please, I am used to be interrupted. You see the library card system was introduced…………………………….”

“Exactly, what happened????”

“Apparently the boys were slipping into the library and taking the books!”

“I mean during the beating!”

“Oh that! Well, one moment he was bending over and the next moment he was lying down…….”


“Dead-ish. Mr. Perkins, I find this morbid fascination of yours with your son’s death quite disturbing. What I am talking about is his “attitude” and quite frankly I could see it where he gets it from”

“To beat him to death????”

“It’s perfectly obvious to me when he first day he arrived here, I wondered then as I wondered now, he might turn out to be a different boy indeed if you had administered a few ‘fatal beatings’ earlier”

“Are you mad????”

“I am furious! In order to accommodate the funeral, I had to cancel afternoon school on Wednesday”

“This is preposterous!”

“Yes it is. Or at least it was if it was true!”


“I’ve been joking Mr. Perkins. It’s my strange academic sense of humour. I’ve been pulling your legs”

“Oh oh ho……..Thank God!”, the relieved man said

“I wouldn’t cancel afternoon to bury that little shit!”

This was a sketch by remarkable British comic, Rowan Atkinson, playing the Headmaster and Angus Deayton as Mr. Perkins (Tommy Perkin’s father). I first saw this sketch when was aired, after it was filmed at Boston University, circa 1992.

Rowan Atkinson love to play the characters of headmaster/schoolmaster, vicar, drunken father-in-law, amongst other things in his stand-up sketches. This sketch clearly depicts the attitude of a typical dinasouric-regimented-bourgeosie-public school Headmaster, who will time and again vehemently stress on issues like ‘discipline, attitude and the life of an academician’.

I was introduced to Atkinson’s work in the late eighties, through “Black Adder III” and later “Black Adder Goes Forth”, both aired by BBC and my favourite British sitcoms. Of course there’s the “Mr. Bean” series, which caught his fame for slapstick comedy this part of the world. Then there were the “Thin Blue Line”, him playing a lame police inspector in Gosforth, a village near to his Newcastle hometown.

There are these two other favourite sketches of mine in this BU staged performance called “No one called Jones” and “The dating lesson” but somehow I cannot publish it here (Its too vulgar!) 🙂

Published in: on September 16, 2007 at 00:29  Comments (6)