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Evans Tries an O-Level
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Evans, a congenital kleptomaniac, was imprisoned thrice and had managed to escape from prison. It was for this reason that he is called, ‘Evans the Break’. He was greatly skilled at impersonating other people. He expressed a desire to appear in 0-level German Examination which also was his effort to break the prison. The Governor contacted the examination board and arranged an O’level exam for Evans. The board contacted St. Mary Mags and requested Rev. Stuart McLeery to go to the prison to invigilate the exam. The Governor took utmost care to see that Evans would not use this opportunity to escape. Every care was taken to make Evans prepare for the exam. He was tutored by a German tutor for six months. The day before the exam the tutor wished him luck.
On the day of the exam, Jackson visited Evans cell and took away everything that may help him injure the invigilator Rev. Stuart McLeery. At the same time prison officer, Jackson, and a newly appointed officer, Mr Stephens, were making sure that Evans had no potential weapon to make a jailbreak during the exam. Evans had put on a bobble hat. Inside the hat, Evans concealed his cropped hair which he managed with merely a razor. When Jackson ordered him to remove that hat, Evans requested the officer Mr Jackson to let him keep it as he considered the cap to be his lucky charm. Evans’ cell was bugged so that the Governor could himself listen to what transpired in the cell. The invigilator Rev. S. McLeery too was searched so that he did not have anything that Evans could use to attack him in an attempt to escape. Having done so, they found that the parson McLeery had a semi-inflated rubber tube in his briefcase. On enquiring the reason for which the tube was brought, the person replied it was a cure for his extremely painful disease of piles. Having made a decent parson disclose a secret, the two officers felt embarrassed.
The exam began. Stephen, every now and then peeped into the cell. The exam went on smoothly. Exam began in full swing. The Invigilator remained reading his magazine, Stephens went up and down the corridor, the Governor himself listened to the loudspeaker that caught conversations from Evans’ cell and Jackson kept a watch of all the rest. The Governor received a call from the examination centrethat there was a correction slip. The Governor dialled the number to check but got the engaged tone on the other side. The Governor assumed that he was overreacting.
The invigilator instructed Evans to enter the Index No. 313 and Centre No. 271 on the sheet and begin the test. After the examination, McLeery left and being escorted out by Stephens who noted that McLeery replied to his enquiry in a more pronounced Scots accent. When he returned to check on Evans, he saw him in the invigilator (actually Evans) sprawled and bleeding. He assumed that Evans had attacked McLeery and escaped disguising as him. He informed the Governor. The latter was to be hospitalized but he insisted on guiding the authorities about the route Evans was to take. There was confusion as the second phone call had asked for the prison van and officers in a remand case. The Governor allowed the bleeding person to help after which he would be taken to the hospital. Evans disguised as the person informed them that he was alright and asked them to follow. Thus he escaped the prison. When the invigilator was not found in the hospital they went to the residence of Rev. S. McLeery only to find him”bound and gagged in his study in Broad Street”. He had been there, from 8.15 a.m. Now everything was clear to the Governor. Evans had escaped the prison.
Evans finally reached his hotel triumphant over his escape only to be shocked to find the Governor waiting for him in his room. The Governor told him that the Index No. and the Centre No. gave him the hint of Evans true location. Evans confessed his act and shared the details of his plot. But by taking the hint from the question paper the Governor reached the hotel where Evans was and captured him and came to know how he planned his escape and said that his game was over. Evans surrenders himself to the Governor. The Governor told Evans they would meet soon. The moment they drove away, the so-called prison officer – a friend of Evans – unlocked the handcuffs and asked the driver to move fast and Evans instructed that they turn towards Newbury. Evans, thus, had the last laugh.
Summary (2) :
The story begins in the Oxford prison where the Governor contacts the Assistant Secretary of Examination Board on the telephone. Evans, one of the prisoners, wanted to appear for the O-Level German exam. He was already taking private tuitions. The Governor, when asked by the board, confirmed that Evans was not violent but a congenital kleptomaniac. It was decided that he would appear for the exam in the cell and a person from St. Mary’s Church would invigilate and Evans should remain ‘incommunicado’.
All the preparations for Evans’s examination were made. He had escaped from the jail three times earlier and was supposed to be shifted to another house later. The Governor was very irritated by Evans and did not want to take any chance.
On June 7, at 8:30 p.m., the German tutor, who was giving private tuition to Evans, wished him ‘Good luck’ as he had his exam the next day. On 8th June, Mr Jackson and Stephens, the two jail officers, entered Evans’ room and took all the precautionary steps. They took away his razor after he shaved along with his nail scissors and nail file. They asked Evans to take off his untidy white and red hat but Evans requested them to let it remain with him as it was his lucky cap. At 8:45, Reverend McLeery left his flat and reached the prison. He had a small brown briefcase containing a sealed question paper, a yellow immigration form, a special ID card, a paper knife, the Bible and a newspaper. The exam was to be held at 9:15 in Evans’ cell. At 9:10, the Governor switched on the receiver. Evans’ cell was locked and prison officers were on alert. The examination started with the paper Do. 0251 and Index no. 313 and centre no. 271. At 9:40, the Governor got a call from the Examination Board that a correction slip was left behind and so the Governor allowed the correction slip with the spelling of ‘Golden Lion’. The Examination continued and Stephens kept a watch on the cell. At 10:50 Evans requested for permission to wrap a blanket around him. At 11:25, the exam got over. Stephens personally escorted McLeery to the prison gate. He was looking slimmer and his Scots accent was more prominent. Everything went off wet Stephens thought of having a last look at Evans before getting relieved and was shocked to find a man lying in Evans’ chair, covered with blood.
It was McLeery. Evans was reported to have escaped. Police and ambulance were called. McLeery showed the question paper and said that he knew where Evans was. The Governor instructed McLeery to be taken to the hospital. He was shown a photocopied sheet. Detritus Carter arrived and he took McLeery along with him to provide medical assistance to him on the Elsfield Way where Evans could be found as this was the message written on the question paper.
After some time, Carter reported that Evans could not be traced out and he had left McLeery at Radcliffe hospital. The Governor called at the hospital and found that there was no McLeery. Later it was discovered that the real McLeety was found gagged and bound in his house. Now the fact came to the notice that it was Evans who had stayed as McLeery in the cell.
Meanwhile, Evans was enjoying his freedom at a luxurious hotel. But he was surprised and shocked to find the Governor in his room. Evans felt defeated and confessed that there was no mistake in the spelling of Golden Lion but it had been done since the hotel had not been fixed. Correction slip was used to convey the name of the hotel and know what time the exam had started. The Governor told Evans that when he put 313/217 he knew that it referred to the middle of Chipping Norton. McLeery had worn two collars, two black fronts, etc. and Evans had changed all this get-up under the blanket. The governor was keen to know from where did he get blood to pour on his face. Evans admitted that it was pig’s blood in the rubber ring that McLeery had brought.
Now Evans is handcuffed and ushered into the prison van. The van left and it turned right from Chipping Norton. The prison officers unlocked the handcuffs and asked Evans where he would like to go.
In fact, they were Evans’ friends. Evans had once again outsmarted the Governor.