WRITTEN BY SARAH SWATRIDGE
The school’s fundraising quiz demanded a different kind of knowledge, as Sharon soon discovered
“Fancy coming to the quiz tonight?” Kev the school caretaker asked Sharon who worked in the canteen.
“I’d be no good on a quiz team.” She laughed. “Besides, I’ve volunteered to do the catering. I could do with another pair of hands in the kitchen, if you’re interested?”
“Deal,” he said rubbing his hands. “See you this evening.”
Kev appeared with two glasses of wine. “I’ve been looking forward to this,” he told her. “I’m OK on the sports questions but other than that, I’m useless.”
“There’s not much I’m good at,” laughed Sharon.
“I don’t believe that,” Kev was quick to reply. He was nice like that.
“I was rubbish at school, although I’ve never been out of a job.”
“Excuse me?” called a voice from the kitchen door. “I’m the quiz master. Any chance of a jug of water and a glass? It’s thirsty work.”
Sharon fetched a tray with everything he needed. As she handed it to him, and thought he looked vaguely familiar.
The chilli simmered in the slow cookers, the baked potatoes were ready and the salad prepared. She could relax and enjoy Kev’s company. He’d been widowed some time and she’d been divorced for a decade.
The kitchen was situated at the back of the hall, the quiz master at the front. The room was packed with tables of eight. They’d raise a lot of money tonight to improve the Food and Technology Department as “cookery lessons” were back on the timetable.
The quiz master played a drum roll, then it was eyes down, ready to begin the quiz. Sharon glanced at Kev. It was good to have a bit of male company for a change.
“William Roach, actor, is best known for playing which TV character and in what famous programme?”
“Ken Barlow from Coronation Street,” Sharon muttered without a moment’s thought. Perhaps it wasn’t going to be as difficult as she’d imagined?
“In The Bible, what is Psalm twenty-three better known as?”
“The Lord is my shepherd,” she mumbled. She reached for her glass of wine and saw Kev writing down her answers on the edge of his newspaper.
The next question involved a football team. Sharon shrugged but Kev was confident. He got the next one too.
“What’s number three?” continued the quiz master.
“Cup of tea,” Sharon said automatically, “from bingo. Number three, cup of tea.”
Kev nodded and jotted it down.
By the end of round two there were only three questions they weren’t sure of, and two of them they guessed.
The food went down a treat, then it was on to round three…
“In gambling, what are the odds 100 to 30 better known as?”
“I’m not a gambling person,” Sharon was quick to say, “but I reckon it’s a Burlington Bertie.” She’d just worked out where she’d seen the quiz master before, and suddenly everything made sense.
Tension filled the air as they awaited the final question.
“During World War Two, doctors gave soldiers a laxative that would flush out almost any bug. In the Field Medical Planner, what number was it listed as?”
There was stunned silence except for a little gasp at the back of the room.
“Can you repeat that?” Table One said.
“Well,” Kev said rolling up his newspaper. “We got the highest score of the evening, most of that down to you! The bad news is… we didn’t enter as a team, so we can’t claim our prize.”
“It’s been a fun night,” Sharon said as she loaded the dishwasher. “It wouldn’t have been the same without you.”
“And you said you were no good at school!” he teased.
“I wasn’t,” Sharon repeated, “but life’s taught me a thing or two.”
Kev gave her an odd look.
“I thought I recognised the quiz master but couldn’t think where, until that question, number three cup of tea.”
“As in bingo, you said.”
“Exactly! That’s when it clicked where I’d seen him before. He’s the caller at the bingo club I take Mum to. Several of the questions were bingo-related. Once I’d made the connection, it was easy, except for the sport and a few general knowledge ones, but that’s where you came in.”
“I still don’t get that last one about the World War two laxative.”
“Doctor’s Orders number 9. I had no idea where it came from, and I wouldn’t have guessed it, if it hadn’t been the bingo man doing the questions.”
“I’ve never played bingo, and I can’t cook,” Kev said, “but if you ever need anything fixed, I’m your man.” Sharon turned to hide her smile. A single mum, she was a dab hand at mending things. The only thing she couldn’t fix was her broken heart. But perhaps she’d let Kev have a go at mending that?