Hanney leaned back on his chair so that the back created a forty-five degree angle with the floor. "You know the best thing about Buckshoot Billy?" he said, raising his eyebrows at Strange and me.
"Can't think of anything offhand," said Strange, sitting on his desk and tapping his upper and lower teeth with a pencil.
"Exactly," said Hanney. "Ain't nothing good about that heaped-up skeleton-ma."
"Yeah," I said, "he's one big crowball."
Hanney nodded. "Which is why we've gotta eliminate the scum-suck."
"Hallelujah to that my friend," I said, inspecting my nails for non-existent dirt.
Suddenly Harry the Gleam - who was standing guard at the door - stopped short the meeting with these words: "Buckshoot's comin' back!"
Hanney nearly fell off his chair – Strange nearly fell of his desk. Within seconds we were sitting properly in our seats, our backs erect, our eyes facing front. My heart was racing.
"Right," said Mr Franklin, re-entering the room and returning to his desk, "where were we?" He looked at the words chalked on the blackboard. "Ah yes – the English Civil War." He removed his glasses and wiped both lens. "Mr Hanney?"
"Yes, sir?" said Hanney, obediently.
"You strike me as a bit of a history boy, eh? Ha, ha! Tell me, Mr Hanney – what was the name given to the two main protagonists in the English Civil War?"
Hanney looked at me. I shrugged. Buckshoot Billy would live to fight another day.
18 November 2013