School for Scumbags
Serpent’s Tail, Feb 2008, $14.95
Looking back at his career over the last two decades Wayne Banstead knows when being a thief imprinted on his brain. He had been kicked out from several schools due to his inability to conform to what the headmasters called the norm until his final headmaster Mr. Atkinson anointed him “a born thief”. Lashes only increased his delightful smirk as he now recognized what he wanted to be once he left school. Thinking further back he agreed with Mr. Atkinson that he was born to be a nipper even purloining from his family and enjoying in a perverted sense the clouts his father gave him.
Feeling brazen, he does what all kids have time to do which is robbing the tuck shop. However, Wayne does it in daylight so witnesses can identify him and carries in the open an air gun. This time when the school boots him out, he is sent to a special place for repeat delinquents like him. He attends the Gatlin School for Misdirected Boys where the dregs of teenage society are sent. There he obtains the perfect education that will enable him to return to society as a respected member; he studies how to get away with criminal activities.
SCHOOL FOR SCUMBAG is an entertaining first person satire that rips the skin off those whose solution to everything is out of sight out of mind storage that has made the private prison industry a wealthy service entity. The story line lacks action for the first half as the plot looks deep into what makes Wayne tick (from his perspective); the action picks up late in the tale as Wayne deals with the pros outside the classroom. Fans who appreciate an amusing lampooning of society will enjoy attending reform school in which the teachers instruct the students on bettering their criminal skills.