"Shit, I got into Warwick".

“I have the grades for Cambridge, but they're still sending me to some post-war shitheap in the Midlands…”

"Shit, I got into Warwick".

“Name and number”.

“Sophie Towt, 1406490”.

“Here’s your slip. Buxom jumping girls to the left, teary drop-outs to the right, everyone else can continue straight on the path please”.

Inching forward in the Wanksfield High results day queue, the repetition of this command weighs on the absent minds of the adolescent masses awaiting news to the trajectory of their future. Yet — results in hand — Sophie has bigger things on her mind. She peels open the spittle-sealed brown envelope containing the arrangement of letters that determine in which middling sized town north of London she will endure the following three years of her life. Meanwhile, a local newsman obnoxiously shoves his out-of-date camera over her shoulder and fiddles with the focus as the blurred feed filters onto the flickering screens of unemployed daytime TV viewers – all of whom desiring nothing more than for her fawn-like eyes to well up as she contemplates the weight of her failure.

The crisp white sheet emerges from the envelope, and pulses race as a series of eyes, mechanical and otherwise, struggle to focus on the correct region of the paper detailing the indication.

  • Maths: 86 A*
  • Other Maths: 71 A
  • Physics: 73 A

“…shit.”

“what did you get?”

“A*AA, Miss Rubble, tell Edexcel I want a re-mark”

“Are you sure? You’re the least shit person in our school!”

“Exactly, I need to get rid of this A*, I need to have a life”.

Hence the confused dialogue continued, long after the newsman had disappeared to stare down the cleavage of a teary young ratings-booster with a bra-size to match her grades. Yet it became apparent that Sophie’s promised offer to read mathematics in amongst the ubiquitous grey of Warwick University is an unhappy medium. The other options; spacing out on an LSD come-down in a Cambridge riverside meadow as a protegé Stephen Hawking snorts cocaine from her bare skin while whispering the secrets of the universe into her ears; and flipping burgers for a few months before taking a £200 flight out to Vietnam to enjoy £1 meals, MD, pudgy white private school guys ‘finding themselves’, and philistine activities disguised as travelling amuse her interests far more.

Instead, she received confirmation of her accommodation in Westwood, caffeine-fuelled evenings filled with differential equations, a future of disappointing shags, and a promising career in low-level accountancy.

Whilst those around her obsequiously asked one another how they had fared, each hoping for the catastrophic failure of their peers, Sophie was ruddered gently towards Wanksfield High’s sole patch of greenery for an encounter with a deadbeat photographer for the local paper, wherein another bout of vitriol emerged. “I have the grades for Cambridge, but they’re still sending me to some post-war shitheap in the Midlands… no I won’t fucking jump for your stupid fucking photo”, said Miss Towt to the Wanksfield Gazette reporter.

Consoled by visibly confused emotion-hawks, she was asked what she wanted to do instead. In between batting away acquaintances hoping to justify their mundane results by discovering that her tears stood for failure, she sobbed “I’m going have to fucking go, am I not? Otherwise I’ve really fucking fucked it… I’ll either have to spunk a load of cash on some coloured stationery and pretend to enjoy it, or I’ll have to make my own fucking Bohemia, where only I’m invited”.

As a teacher disguised in civilian clothing took a break from directing groups of people towards a plastic table stocked with shit refreshments told her to focus on the positives, she replied: “how can I? Especially as my extended family are all so fucking proud of me, despite not having grades in anything ending with -ology, I can’t even express my disappointment with the fact that I’m going to some financial services factory in the middle of fucking nowhere with a giant alien dildo as it’s focal monument”. “Mind, at least I’ll get to see Warwick Castle”.