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The Pry Mintser regrets... a short story from "Twists & Turns"

THE PRY MINTSER


It was a big honour, everybody kept telling me, to meet the pry mintser when he came to school. I would meet him and shake hands and it was an honour – that means it is very good. I am very good at drawing. Everybody likes my pictures and I won the competition to do the picture and it was judged the best in the whole world by children. My drawing was a picture of the pry mintser. It was called Portrait. And he’s smiling and got big eyes and he’s everso nice and I did my picture just like that. Everybody said, ‘It’s amazing and incredible and unbelievable and him just a kid. It’s a special talent he’s got,’ everybody says.

And because I won, the pry mintser will come to our school while he is in the town doing something else as well. He will see me and shake hands and it is an honour because they say, ‘Your picture is the winner and it is so perfect like him.’

* *

It was exciting. I saw him coming. He needed two cars. ‘That’s because he’s so important, and has lots of baggage,’ my friend William said.

And two people with him had guns. ‘I bet that’s to make him behave himself,’ Mary Atkins said. ‘My mum waves a stick at me.’

We had the assembly with all the school there, and there was all the talking and clapping and they gave me my prize. And there were some people with cameras there and they made like a film of it.

When we came off the stage I said, ‘He didn’t shake my hand and that was supposed to be the big honour.’ So I followed him when he came down. And I went up to him with my hand out for him to shake and I said, ‘You didn’t get the honour, so here I am.’

But he just looked at me. And he looked at my hand. And he had a funny look. And he didn’t want to shake my hand. So I said, ‘It’s your honour and you deserve it.’ But he didn’t want to. He didn’t say so, but the way he looked at my hand. Well, I left it there sticking out at him and I smiled more. And he looked and his smile wasn’t there. He looked at my hand like it was dirty. It wasn’t. ‘It’s clean,’ I told him. ‘I licked it clean again, like I did when I went on stage and wiped it on my shirt.’ There was a bit of chocolate down the back of it, but not enough to bother about. I licked most of it off, anyway, before I reached out to him.

His face was gone all like froze and not liking me. I don’t know what he was thinking, but he didn’t have any smile in him at all. His eyes went pointy like little finger holes and his nose twitched. Then he went away.

I looked at my hand where I still had it sticking out for him. ‘I don’t think he wanted the honour after all,’ I told William.

We looked at my hand again. ‘It looks alright to me,’ William said, and licked the big smudge of chocolate off.

* *

So I did another picture of him with his not-smiling face – looking all beady and cross. My teacher said, ‘That’s very good and very different and did he really look like that?’

And I said, ‘Yes.’

The lady with the man with the camera came back the next day and talked with my teacher and then talked with me, and they took another photograph of me with my new picture and they said, ‘Can you look sad instead of happy?’

* *

There was eversuch a lot of fuss about it. Some people said my number two picture was exactly like he actually was. And it was on the television and the front page of a newspaper – it was my picture of him and they said he had showed how nasty he was really.

Somebody wants him to be not pry mintser anymore because he didn’t want the honour to shake my hand. The newspaper man said, ‘This just shows him like he really is.’

‘It speaks voll yumes,’ the lady on the television said. But the pry mintser didn’t speak to me at all.

My mum says, ‘I bet he wishes he did now. They really want him to be not pry mintser anymore.’






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