Old School Tie

Entry by: Alobear

9th July 2015
Old School Tie

Cal looked at himself in the mirror and liked what he saw. His new suit was well tailored and showed off his broad shoulders. The creases in his trousers were sharp, the turn-ups neat and at just the right height above his brightly polished shoes. His freshly ironed shirt was crisp and white, the cuffs just showing at the ends of his jacket sleeves. His curly brown hair had been tamed by exactly the right amount of hair gel, and his complexion was mercifully clear. And, best of all, his tie lay flat against his chest, the gold crests glinting on the navy silk.

A low chuckle from behind him brought him back to his surroundings and he looked around to see his girlfriend, Felicity, standing in the bedroom doorway.

“Admiring ourselves, are we?” she said, crossing the room to put her arms around him.

“Don’t wrinkle the suit!” Cal squeaked, pushing her away.

“Sorry!” she laughed, indulging his petulant behaviour. “You look glorious, oh handsome one.”

Her flippant tone fed into his anxiety and he felt the need for some proper reassurance. “You really think so?” he asked, cringing inside at the desperation in his voice.

“Yes, honey,” Felicity replied more seriously. “Now, you’d better get going. You don’t want to be late. Knock ‘em dead!”

Cal’s confidence was returning. “Oh, I intend to,” he said. “Besides, I have a secret weapon.”


The large, oak-panelled doors towered over him, as Cal approached his destination. His heart was thudding in his chest as he pulled the left hand one open and stepped inside the court room. Today was his first day arguing cases before the magistrate’s court, as a member of the Crown Prosecution Service, and he felt a weird mixture of apprehension and excitement.

As he made his way towards his assigned place, he caught the eye of the first defendant’s barrister, already at his desk. It was Tom Dickinson, whom he recognised from university.

“Hey, Tom,” he said, as casually as he could manage.

“Cal, my man,” Tom replied with a grin. “Ready for the big leagues?”

Cal stroked his tie and felt himself smile. “Oh, yes.”

Tom evidently noticed the motion and peered at the tie more closely. “Hey, isn’t that a St Oswald’s school tie?” he asked.

“Yes, yes it is,” Cal replied, allowing some smugness to creep into his tone. His secret weapon was primed and ready to win him the day.

But Tom laughed delightedly, not the reaction Cal would have expected.

“Oh dear,” Tom said. “I think your research might have gone awry. Didn’t Horley go to St Oswald’s?”

Horley was the magistrate who was due to sit in the court that day, and his previous attendance at Cal’s school was exactly why Cal had chosen to wear the tie.

“Yeah,” he said warily. “What’s wrong with that?”

Tom smirked. “Rumour has it he absolutely hated school. Worst years of his life, I’ve heard. People think something really bad must have happened to him there. He hates to even be reminded of the place. Bad luck, eh?”

Before Cal had a chance to react to this news, a side door opened, and Judge Horley himself stepped up behind the bench. His steely eyes swept the room, coming at last to rest on Cal. His gaze narrowed, zeroing in on the offending tie, and his brow lowered in a frown.

Cal’s heart sank. So much for winning the day. He had gambled on his old school tie – and lost.