• Amy

'Chinese Whispers' - Short Story

by Karelle Tobias

TW: Self-harm, inappropriate relationships, ableist language

Interview 1 – Tanya Cunningham - Canteen

Sarah:


For the tape, my name is Sarah Jones, and today is the 13th of March 2019. The time is 11 am and we are in the canteen at Dreadwell Academy. Can you state your name for the tape?

Tanya:


Don’t you think you’re taking this whole journalism thing a little too seriously? I mean you’re already taking like a bazillion A-levels, and you know no one reads the sh***y school newspaper. And what’s with the recorder thingy?

Sarah:


It’s called a Dictaphone. Come on, you promised you’d co-operate. And my grades, unlike your own, are fine.

Tanya:


Um, hashtag rude. You know I’m only helping you coz you said I’d get a free brownie.

Sarah:


Tanya…

Tanya:


Alright, alright, I’m Tanya Cunningham.

Sarah:


Hello, Tanya. I wanted to talk to you about Dorian, or more specifically, the impact your relationship had on him.

Tanya:


You blaming me for what happened?

Sarah:


No, but you were the last one to date him before…everything.

Tanya:


Well, he had a lot of issues. Shagging boys was one of them.

Sarah:


And you can confirm that?

Tanya:


Well…no, but he was hiding something. He was secretive, he hardly ever wanted to sleep with me - I mean he’d have a hissy fit every time I tried to take his shirt off! Plus, he loved One Direction.

Sarah:


So?

Tanya:


Hello? What straight teenage boy likes One Direction?

Sarah:


What did he say when he terminated the relationship?

Tanya:


…I don’t remember.

Sarah:


Really?

Tanya:


…Don’t look at me like that! Fine, he called me clingy, but I know he was seeing some guy – Chloe said so.

Sarah:


How would she know?

Tanya:


She said it was the only explanation. You know it makes sense, who would wanna dump this?

Sarah:


Uh oh, heads up.

Danny:


Food fight!


Interview 2 – Chloe Bishop - Canteen

Chloe:


Look, I’ll be perfectly honest with you, I only said Dorian was gay to – oh hang, got a text…

Sarah:


We could do this another time if you’re-

Chloe:


One sec…One sec…One sec…Ok, what was I saying? Oh yeah – I said Dorian was gay to make her feel better.

Sarah:


You made it up?

Chloe:


I felt bad for her – the other day I went round hers and the place was a mess! Her mum was passed out on the couch, her baby brother hadn’t been fed, she was on the verge of a breakdown and to top it off her fella dumps her. I was just trying to be helpful.

Sarah:


So you told her that Dorian was having intercourse with Mr Keller?

Chloe:


No. All I said was that I saw him staring at Mr Keller’s a**. How was I supposed to know Abdi was listening?

Mr Sol:


Miss Bishop, why aren’t you in my class right now?

Chloe:


I think the real question is, why aren’t you?

Mr Sol:


You might be able to get away with bunking your other classes, but that won’t fly with me. Oh, and word to the wise – next time you bunk, perhaps you shouldn’t do it in the school canteen.


Interview 3 – Abdi Mohammed – Boy’s Changing Room

Sarah:


Can’t we do this somewhere else?

Abdi:


Nah, fam, I got practice in twenty minutes.

Sarah:


Yes b-but…. that boy over there’s…naked.

Abdi:


You ain’t seen a d**k before?

Sarah:


Ok, let’s just start. So, what exactly did you overhear between Tanya and Chloe?

Abdi:


Just that Chloe caught Dorian wanking off Mr Keller in ‘is classroom.

Sarah:


And you believed it? You and Dorian were friends for years, at least, before he stole Tanya off you.

Abdi:


He didn’t steal s**t! Anyway, it’s Tanya I feel sorry for. Can you imagine finding out ya man sucks on old wrinkly balls?

Sarah:


And Chloe actually said she saw them?

Abdi:


You callin’ me a liar?

Sarah:


No, but you told everyone that you slept with Lola Fisher, and that turned out to be untrue.

Abdi:


What you tryna say?

Sarah:


I’m just saying, Dorian was your friend, why didn’t you just ask him?

Abdi:


Last time I tried to help him, he told me to f**k off. Anyways, I was busy.

Sarah:


Last time?

Abdi:


He was hurting himself, innit. All these cuts on his chest. Wouldn’t let me help ‘im.

Sarah:


So why did you tell the whole football team about him and Mr Keller? Don’t you feel bad? If you’d said something, things might have gone differently.

Abdi:


S’pose. So when am I getting this free brownie?


Interview 4 – Edward Worthington – Sixth Form Library

Edward:


Very concerning news, disturbing, even.

Librarian:


Ssh!

Sarah:


But you’re the one who tweeted about it.

Edward:


Which I admit was rather reckless. I just found the news so disturbing that I had to share it with the world. I mean, poor Dorian – we would always joke around, he and I – like the time he threw my phone in the toilet, or when he shoved me off that wall that time.

Sarah:


From what I hear, he made your life hell. You sure this wasn’t some personal vendetta?

Edward:


I would never make such a vicious claim without any truth to it.

Sarah:


You just seemed very eager to tweet about this. You even claimed that you saw them driving home together. One tweet was very explicit in the kind of acts they performed in the school car park. If you were so concerned, why didn’t you tell a teacher? Or the police?

Edward:


They found out in the end.

Sarah:


But when the police questioned you, you had no evidence.

Edward:


What are you insinuating?

Sarah:


Nothing, I just—

Librarian:


Ssh!

Edward:


I think we’re done here.


Interview 5 – Kate Casher – By School Gates

Kate:


I-I don’t feel comfortable doing this.

Sarah:


It’s just a few questions. I’m sure you have some free time in your busy schedule.

Kate:


But I—

Sarah:


Weren’t you the one who started the rumour about Dorian and Mr Keller’s wedding?

Kate:


No. I mean, maybe. But, I mean, they did spend a lot of time together. After Mr Keller was suspended it just made sense.

Sarah:


Where did this rumour regarding a wedding even come from?

Kate:


It was just a joke, I didn’t think people would believe me.

Sarah:


You told everyone they were married.

Kate:


No, n-not everyone.

Sarah:


It certainly made you popular, didn’t it? I mean everyone completely forgot about you wetting yourself in P.E.

Kate:


I have to go.

Sarah:


Don’t you feel responsible? Hey, come back!


Interview 6 – Winnie Onquay – School Grounds

Winnie:


It was crazy! Blood everywhere!

Sarah:


And you were the first one on the scene?

Winnie:


Mhm, the girls’ toilets was rank, so I snuck into the boys’ one, and Dorian was just lying there, blood squirting out all over the floor. Scared the s**t out of me!

Sarah:


And what did you do?

Winnie:


I called for help, obvs.

Sarah:


And then you live-streamed the aftermath.

Winnie:


I might have taken some shots for Facebook…and my blog. But I’m practically a celebrity, you get me? I’ve got to keep my fans updated.

Sarah:


And you didn’t think it was insensitive? Especially for his parents.

Winnie:


I heard his dad didn’t give a s**t about him anyway. And if he’s gonna try and kill himself in a public place it’s all up for grabs. I don’t know what he had to moan about – I heard Mr Keller bought him a car. And he always got an A in his class. I even heard they were trying to rope Mr Sol into it.

Sarah:


Do you honestly believe any of that? Your own sister—

Winnie:


I don’t wanna talk about her. Cutting your wrists ain’t gonna fix anything. It’s selfish. If you can’t handle it, don’t f**k your teacher.

Sarah:


You don’t know he was sleeping with him.

Winnie:


I heard they had a sex tape.

Sarah:


What? Tell me, when people were talking about your sister’s attempted suicide, how did you feel?

Winnie:


Soz, I’m gonna be late for dance rehearsals – see ya.


Interview 7 – Colton Keller – Mr Keller’s House

Keller:


Miss Jones, what are you doing here? This is extremely inappropriate, if people see you…

Sarah:


Sir, I just want to report the truth.

Keller:


Journalism is what got me in this mess in the first place. Every newspaper I read has me painted as some sex-crazed villain. One gossip blog even has a juicy little article on all the underage sex parties I supposedly threw!

Sarah:


But you acknowledge there was a bond between you and Dorian?

Keller:


He needed a strong male role model; he certainly wasn’t getting that at home.

Sarah:


Why not? What’s wrong with his dad?

Keller:


With all due respect, Miss Jones, get the hell off my property.


Interview 8 – Dorian Donovan – Dorian’s House

Sarah:


Dorian, we don’t have to do this now. You haven’t been out of the hospital that long.

Dorian:


It’s fine, it probably won’t be the last time.

Sarah:


Huh?

Dorian:


Joke. I guess not a very funny one. Cool Dictaphone, by the way.

Sarah:


Oh, thanks, my mum bought it for me after my Gran died. Mind if I sit?

Dorian:


Guess not.

Sarah:


I just wanted to get your side of things. I already spoke to Mr Keller—

Dorian:


You did what?

Sarah:


This article needs to be as authentic as possible.

Dorian:


It’s a s****y school newspaper. You should’ve left him out of it.

Sarah:


Why do you care?

Dorian:


It’s called having a conscience. I was going through some stuff and he was nice to me. Then all of a sudden people were giving me funny looks and next thing I know, teachers are sitting me down with the police and my mum’s bawling her eyes out. All my mates stopped talking to me. It was all over Twitter.

Sarah:


And just for the record, none of the rumours are true?

Dorian:


No. I ain’t even gay. And neither is Mr Keller. He loves his wife, and now she probably won’t ever let him see his kids again.

Sarah:


None of that was your fault.

Dorian:


I know that.

Sarah:


Is that why you did what you did? That day in the boys’ toilets, that isn’t the first time you’ve cut—

Dorian:


I just wanted it to stop. Everyone was talking about it. None of my mates would talk to me. It was all over the news. I even had to make a statement with the police.

Sarah:


And how has your father been during all of this? It’s just, Mr Keller—

Dorian:


Why, what did he say?

Sarah:


Well, not much…

Dorian:


I thought this article was supposed to be about the dangers of spreading rumours, not about my f**king dad.

Sarah:


It is, I’m sorry.

Dorian:


Oh, give over! You don’t give a s**t about me, you just want to write your story.

Sarah:


No—

Dorian:


Would you give a f**k if I told you my dad beat my mum every day?

Sarah:


I—

Dorian:


Would you give a f**k if I told you that he called me a p***y when he visited me in the hospital? Would you?

Sarah:


Dorian—

Dorian:


Do you know what the saddest thing is? You’re the only person that’s come to visit me. I’m stuck in this s**thole where my mum’s too afraid to breathe coz of her f**k-up of a husband, and the only friend I did have was a f**king teacher that everyone thought I was shagging. And to top it off, now everyone knows I’m some emo loser.

Sarah:


I-I’m sorry.

Dorian:


Why do you keep saying that?

Sarah:


I-I-I-

Dorian:


Are you f**king r*****ed?

Sarah:


No I j-just wanted I mean get the story to get the I just…I just…


Interview terminated.

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