Jem Russell gazed in awe at the schoolgirls before him, his eyes lingering on the lovely brown fabric of their uniforms. Something stirred deep within him. Jem wanted a Chalet uniform of his own. He turned and smiled at the woman standing next to him.
“Madge, they look splendid.”
“Thank you. I designed the uniform myself.”
“You are obviously a woman of many talents,” replied Jem, and then sinking down to one knee, “Madge, you are so far beyond me that I know I shouldn’t ask, but I can’t help myself. Will you marry me?”
“Yes!” cried Madge in delight, little realising Jem’s motives for the proposal. He wanted to get his hands on the design for the uniform, then he could make his own.
The wedding passed off well, and soon Jem was able to get his hands on his own, custom made uniform. All went well for some years. Whenever he could Jem dressed up in his uniform and pretended he went to the Chalet School.
The years past, Jem watched with horror as the girls of the Chalet School treated their uniforms with less respect than he felt the uniforms deserved. They wore them up mountains, slept in them, got trapped by rampaging rivers, and chased by madmen, all whilst wearing their delightful uniforms. To Jem’s mind this was not right. The uniforms deserved much better treatment. Deep inside Jem’s fertile brain, something began to tick.
However, before Jem’s plan could come to fruition Austria was annexed by the Nazis, and the school was forced to flee, first to Guernsey, and then to England. The privations imposed by wartime rationing meant that Jem was unable to replace his beloved uniform, which had been left behind in Austria. However Jem was able to content himself by making sure he carried a hanky at all times, and always saying “may” instead of “can”. Sometimes he thought Madge was looking at him strangely, but he didn’t care, and anyway, when the war was over, and he could put his plan into action, Madge would be dealt with appropriately.
In a cave, deep under the school Jem developed his evil plan. His need to be a real Chalet girl had driven him to extremes. He knew he could never really join the school, and so he planned to build his own, and he would populate it with models of the more famous pupils. He paid great attention to each Fete, just in case Tom Gay built a model Chalet School, but alas she didn’t, and Jem was forced to make his own. It wasn’t very good, and Jem soon got bored with playing it. He realised what he wanted was a life size model, populated by working life size model students and staff. He set to work to make this happen.
Jem’s obsession was now taking over his life. Dimly he was aware of Madge, quietly seething with frustration and annoyance. But as time passed he realised she was following him everywhere, trying to discover his secret. He caught her going through his wallet, searching his pockets and monitoring his phone calls. One day Jem found her trying to get into his study.
“Madge! What do you think you are doing?” Jem demanded, secretly feeling very alarmed, if she had got in to the study, she might have found the entrance to the cave and then all his secrets would be revealed.
“Jem! You’re having an affair aren’t you! You’re behaving so oddly, I know that you are, who is it? Who are you seeing?”
“I’m not having an affair,” Jem said soothingly, but he was worried, what if Madge found out about his passion for all things Chalet? Now seemed the time to start putting the plan into action.
“Why is your study door always locked? What are you hiding from me?”
“I’m not hiding anything from you, come in and see for yourself,” said Jem opening the door to the study and ushering Madge through. On the desk was an empty bottle of whiskey. “Sit down Madge,” said Jem, gently, and he reached for the bottle.
“Jem! You’ve been drinking!” cried Madge as Jem raised the bottle.
Jem looked at the bottle in his hand, “Yes,” he said, “but it is the only way I am able to cope.”
“Cope?” said Madge in surprise, “Cope with what?”
“The fact that you have gone insane,” replied Jem with an evil smile.
“What?” cried Madge in shock, “I’m not insane! Whatever makes you say that?”
“I’m afraid you are,” replied Jem suavely as he put the bottle down and reached for the phone, he dialled a number, “I just didn’t know how to tell you. Hello? Yes, Dr Russell here, the men in white coats please.”
“Jem? What do you think you are doing?”
There was a knock at the study door, Jem opened it, revealing the men in white coats.
“I’m sorry Madge, but your paranoia is getting too much.”
“Accusing me of having an affaire, stalking me, going through my coat and wallet. You will be accusing me of dressing up as a Chalet School girl next,” said Jem. “Take her away please, quickly, I think my heart will break” he lied.
The men in white coats advanced towards Madge.
“No!” she screamed, “He’s lying! Jem, how could you do this?”
But Jem was facing the wall; his shoulders shaking with what looked like suppressed sobs, but were in fact hysterical laughter.
“Come along now Mrs Russell,” said one of the men “Lets get this nice jacket on you, with its lovely long sleeves.”
Madge put up the best fight she could, but it was no used. She was trussed up into the straight jacket and bundled out of the door. She did not see Jem hand the men a wodge of dirty notes, held together with an elastic band.
“A pleasure doing business with you,” said Jem.
“Indeed. Anytime you need us let me know.”
“Thank you. I may need you to deal with my sister-in-law at a later date.”
“No problem Sir, and that way you qualify for the family discount.” And the man left the room.
Jem walked towards the wall, he moved a picture and pressed a button hidden behind it. The wall slid open to reveal his wife! Jem grinned at the brilliant likeness, removing the top of her head he pressed the “on” button. The model Madge opened her eyes.
“Hello Jem,” she said, “Time for coffee and cakes?”
“Excellent,” said Jem, “Off you go and fetch them, like a good little wife.”
The model Madge left intent upon her mission. Jem sat down in his leather armchair, lit a cigar and smiled. Everything was going exactly as he planned.