MONDAY: The In Crowd


Copyright is held by the author.

MELANIE’S TIE’S loose, she backcombs her fair hair, her dark blue skirt shows her knees. She’s always getting called in to the headmistress. She even looks like Dusty Springfield. I bet Dusty’s nicer than her. The others crowd round her, they giggle, they sneak looks over to me, they smirk, no Hells-bells, you drip, you can’t come to the flicks with us, you need to grow up. Kevin’s coming with Melanie, some of Mark’s friends are coming, do you think they’d put up with you? Smelly-helly you’re such a swot, ha ha!

French, Chemistry, break times, lunchtimes, they’re all the same.


Auntie Sheila thinks I would benefit from the trip. She slouches, can you not get her into nylons, she’s 13 for goodness sake, boys won’t look at her. Has she got any friends? Nancy’ll look after her. Hong Kong!

Even the posh girl down the road, Chrissy, has only been to France.

I’ve fastened my seat belt, the engines are roaring. I’m pushed back into my seat, amazed at the force. As we level out I stare at clouds, cotton wool giants. Stewardesses in tailored jackets and pencil skirts glide up and down, leaning in to each passenger, taking orders.

“Champagne madam?”


Lucky I got the window seat. The Alps and lakes, those slopes that James Bond skis down, look like toys. We make a brief stop at Rome though I’m disappointed not to see the coliseum; the airport is Italian, modern, stylish. Next landing is Bahrain where men drift about in white robes and black sunglasses; Arabic sounds like hiccoughs between tinkles of glasses, feet slap on the wooden floor. On to Delhi and I sweat. At Rangoon airport, the last before Hong Kong, slight men in long skirts tucked up between their legs, heap crates on their backs.

Landing in Hong Kong is really scary, you can’t see the runway only the sea, in front, to the right, to the left. I breathe out as the wheels bump on to solid ground.

“No! Nothing to declare!” While I’m fixing the trolley back on to my suitcase a uniformed Chinese man sidles up, “Miss Helliwell, Mrs Nancy expect you.”

“Susan, how lovely. Ah Wong, my driver, will drop us at the club for cocktails. This evening we’ll have a little party, the young men are just dying to meet you!”


Your dad and me, love . . . Auntie Sheila means well . . . she’ll take over, thinks we should all be living the high life, one of the in-crowd. We’re not like that. You’re better off not missing school.

  1. Being different means Never Going Along. Dreadfully hard to do when your a Teenie, but amazingly powerful when grown up.

  2. Clever and fun but I didn’t “get” the closing paragraph. Somebody help me out!

  3. Dave:
    As I see it:
    Part One – Reality
    Part Two – A Dream Scene
    Last paragraph……..the shoes were clicked and she’s back home to Auntie Em….Oops, Make that Mum and Dad
    Apologies to Moira if I’m wrong.

  4. I second Dave’s emotion – for the most part I enjoyed this but the last paragraph had me scratching my head. The body of the story made it seem the young lady had gone to HK, but the final paragraph seemed to suggest only the parents went, leaving her behind? I’m confused….

  5. Nobody went to HK. Her parents decided that it was more important not to miss school than to be with Aunt Nancy’s in crowd in HK. The journey was imaginary, perhaps wishful thinking. That’s how I read it after my second mug of coffee.

  6. Thanks for all the comments. Thanks to Jazz and Michael Joll for their reading and clarifying — that was exactly my intention in writing it. Happy holiday season to all 🙂

  7. […] we re-post a favourite story or poem from the CommuterLit archives. Today we present the story, “The In Crowd.” Click on the link to […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *