This is the old SA4QE website. See the most recent posts at

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Bristol Grammar School riff on Kleinzeit

For SA4QE 2012 Roland Clare, English teacher and long-time SA4QE contributor, introduced his Year 8 class to Russell Hoban’s classic 1974 novel Kleinzeit and then gave them five minutes, at the end of the lesson, to write a paragraph inspired by it. These were the results. Enjoy ...


Kleinzeit had a sudden pain straight down his hypotenuse. He crumpled in pain.

‘Pah!’ said the man at the desk. But was there a man?

‘Get on with it.’ Kleinzeit walked through the underground while explaining things to the audience.

‘Wherever I am, whoever I am, I will get this sudden pain through hypotenuses.

Jude (12)


Kleinzeit suddenly jolted out of his seat as a vision of a dark figure popped up in his head. ‘What was it?’ said Kleinzeit. Several people turned their heads at his confused face. He quickly shut his eyes again as he realised what he had done. It was all very embarrassing for him so he started to walk away from the strange people that had looked at him in a very funny way. He had no idea where he was going but he wanted to go somewhere where things respected him. He started to walk towards his house, which was at least a couple of miles away, but that didn’t bother him in the slightest. He passed at a wedding-dress shop and he pictured a dog, wondering helplessly around wearing the bright white dress. It then turned around and said, 'All right mate?' and trotted off.

Owen (12)


Kleinzeit walked to the door, and the window said, ‘Why not use me, Kleinzeit?’

Angus (12)


Kleinzeit glided along the platform and entered the train. The doors slid shut. The train rumbled along the track. Sparks flickered out. He stumbled along the carriage, holding on to the rail as he went. He eventually found a vacant seat. He glanced at his copy of The Peloponnesian War. ‘Humph,’ he sighed. ‘As if I would read it,’ he thought to himself.

Milo (13)


‘Fine, be like that then,’ said Kleinzeit. ‘See if I care.’ He opened his attaché case and then closed it again. He could see what was not in the case.
‘Oh, but you do care,’ said the bed in the hospital.
The audience reassembled themselves, back into their places
‘What are you doing?’ asked Kleinzeit.

Happy Russmas!

Emma (13) 


It happened again, from a voice to another voice. It felt like there were lots of people in Kleinzeit talking.

‘Ha ha ha,’ said the clock, which wasn’t moving its arrows.

The tables were yawning and the pencils were bent forward, tired.

Happy Russmas!



‘Why am I here?’ The audience laughed. ‘Am I here?’ Silence struck. He feels alone, where is everyone? The audience in his mind have vanished. ‘Hello.’ There was a laugh, the audience were back, or were they, clapping was due, but again, nothing happened. ‘I’m not here, I’m dead, what do I do?’ He rests his eyes, a face appeared in front of him, he said nothing, nor did the face, but he felt a strange pain to leave this illusion.

Happy Russmas for tomorrow!



Kleinzeit left the office, noticing the Aquafresh sign on Mrs Howard’s door. He walked down the stairs, one, two, three … and so on until the last where he stopped, stooped and inspected a glob of chewing gum on the floor. ‘Hi, it called, would you mind not standing on me?’ ‘Sorry,’ muttered Kleinzeit. Kleinzeit went down in the lift and walked to the underground.

On the train he looked into the bag of the lady sitting next to him. On the other side of town the hospital bed chuckled, ‘In you come,’ it said, ‘and Sister will sort out that A to B problem.’

Spent five minutes on this, my Kleinzeit piece. Happy Russmas!

Freya (12)


I woke with a pain. I didn’t want to look. Then I heard it. Sounded like a hum. Then it happened again but this time my mind registered it. ‘Kleinzeit, you have finally come to your senses, well done.’ Then my mind started to wander away and I started to drift into a warm, loving sleep.

Chris (13)


…and began to write a television commercial for Bonzo Toothpaste…

He wasn’t meant to be writing about toothpaste, but he didn’t see why he shouldn’t. The dandruff made it all the harder to read his writing. Just the way I like it, he thought. At exactly 12:15 pm, three men walked into his office. Kleinzeit had been expecting them, but in 37 more seconds. Why can’t people turn up on time? He wondered. The interview was interesting, considering it was about share profits and net profits, and a guessed estimate figure for next year’s employment growth. Actually, Kleinzeit found this boring, especially when the men explained why he would be getting a pay cut. ‘You see, Kermit, we are looking for people who have original ideas, for our razor blade advert, not for Bonzo Toothpaste,’ says the first man. ‘You see Kasper, we think that you can’t quite compare with our sparkling team of interesting people.’ says the second. ‘Again, Kolton, your work doesn’t reflect the company in the light we are expecting.’

Happy Russmas!

Ada’ora (13)


Everyone spilled out of the train as if water was being poured out of a jug. How can something look so similar to something else but not be the same as the thing they resemble? Everyone slowly burst out into the bright sunlight. Why is there light and dark, why not one thing? But no there has to be two of everything, not one but two just to confuse everyone. Or is it just me? Do I just stick out like a sore thumb in the crowd?

Happy Russmas!

Anisha (12)


‘Well, have you thought,’ asked Kleinzeit, ‘about the possibility of another me? Or another you? Do you consider me to be me? Or me to be Kleinzeit? Who should I be? ME. A figment of my own imagination? Do I exist…the mirror does not care…I take it, you do not care either…perhaps, I do not care myself. Is it my decision…whether I care, or is it Kleinzeit’s?’

Some phrases I thought I could include somewhere:
‘Sister? Whose sister? Mine?’
‘I see through my heart, not my eyes. I speak through my heart, not my mind.’.

Shazaan (13)


He got up. The train was grinding to a halt. People from all directions were packing up their newspapers, which they had had on the table, but hadn’t even looked at. ‘Ha ha, keep on coming,’ laughed the hospital bed, ‘It’s not long now, only a matter of time.’

‘Until what?’ said Kleinzeit.

‘All in a matter of time, don’t you worry. And when it comes you may not know for you are blinded by your own existence.’

‘Push off,’ said Kleinzeit.

Eddie (13)


As he closed his eyes a vision swam into view, a wheel of fortune that said ‘Who are you?’ It showed types of people, from socialist to communist. I wonder who I am, thought Kleinzeit. Dr Pink came on stage and said, ‘And our next contestant is a man called Kleinzeit!’ Kleinzeit shuffled on stage and walked over to the wheel, which would tell him who he was. He spun it! It revolved very quickly but didn’t slow down … what was happening? He woke up, before staring around him, closing his eyes again.

Benny (12)


People flowed his way, crashing into him as if he wasn’t there. Was he there? If people saw him they would try and avoid him. They would, wouldn’t they? If he was there they would say, ‘Sorry mate’ or ‘pardon me’. But they didn’t … they just pushed past, knocked him off his feet and dived into the bright city above.

‘Come on. Come to me.’ said the hospital bed. ‘If that mean man rushing to get away hurt you I’m sure Sister and her nurses can help. They can let you rest and they won’t disturb you unless necessary. You can eat what you want and everyone will make sure you’re … okay.’

He took one step forward and then one step back, before carrying on up into the city above.

Happy Russmas!

Laura (12)


The bed laughed again. Kleinzeit felt he wanted to go to it, but not to go. ‘You know you want to. The oxygen tanks are ready and the charts are up to be scribbled on. A to B, A to B all the time,’ hummed the hospital bed.

Happy Russmas from Bristol

Jamie (13)


I opened my eyes. A sharp pain flashed through my body. What was it? I tried to get up but the pain was too great. I did not know if it was a serious problem to do with my internal organs or just a tweaked muscle in my back.

Tom (13)


‘Push off,’ said Kleinzeit, as he walked away from the empty mirror and went to his job. He was walking through the underground, hiding his face, and then walked on to one of the trains. He had an attaché case in one hand and in the other under his arm the Thucydides, the Penguin edition of The Peloponnesian War. It was a book he carried around although he had never read it or even started it.

Happy Russmas tomorrow.

Patrick (12)


The webmaster would like to offer huge thanks to the children and Roland for sending these pieces.


  1. These are wonderful. What a very talented bunch of young people! Thank you Roland and Y8.

  2. Brilliant stuff! This is what it's all about.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.