Pink Bow Tie


It is the second day at my new school. I'm sitting outside the principal's office. Yesterday I saw a man walking along the street. He was wearing a pink bow tie. He asked me what I was staring at. “Your bow tie”, I said. It looks like a pink vampire. “

I did not know that he was the principal of the school, Splodge.

I’m looking at his secretary who is seventeen and very good-looking.

The principal asks me why I have dyed my hair. I tell him that I have not dyed it and that the reason why it has changed from black to white is a long story. I tell him the story.

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The day before I had gone home by train and in the carriage there were some strange people – an old lady, a mean-looking guy and a kid who was about my age, who was smoking. The conductor asked him to put his cigarette out because he was too young to smoke. He did not stop smoking but took out a box that looked like a radio and turned a knob. Then he started to grow older. When looked about 25, he asked the conductor: “Am I old enough now?” The conductor got so frightened he just ran away screaming.

The old lady wanted to know how he had done it. He threw the radio thing on her lap as he got off the train.

On one side it said OLDER and on the other YOUNGER. On the top it said AGE RAGER. The old lady pushed the knob towards YOUNGER and soon she started to grow younger.

She threw the AGE RAGER over to me and jumped off the train.

The mean-looking guy wanted it too. He turned the knob towards YOUNGER and became a mean-looking baby. Then he turned the knob the other way. He soon grew older and older and then he was dead. His body started to rot away. The door was locked, so I had to spend fifteen minutes with a skeleton. I was so frightened my hair turned white. When the train stopped, I got out of the window and walked home.

“That” I say to Splodge, “is the truth.”

“I don’t believe you!” says Splodge

“I can prove it”, I say. I give him the AGE RAGER. “You can go now”, Splodge says.

I go home thinking I will be asked to leave the school, but nothing happens. In fact, two things happen – Splodge disappears and his secretary gets a new boyfriend. He is about eighteen and good-looking, but I wonder why she would go out with a kid who wears a pink bow tie?


Shortcut activity


a) Who looked like a vampire?

b) Who is very good-looking?

c) Who was smoking?

d) Who asked him not to smoke?

e) Who died?

f) Who became eighteen?


Web resource

'Pink Bow Tie': Resources from the British Council

Lots of good activities!

The Paul Jennings File