Thursday, 5 May 2016

May Stories 2016/05

Class A1 Science. Thursday.

Chloe was copying the formula for vitamin E into her exercise book when she felt something hit the back of her head. Mr Donal, the chemistry teacher, was still explaining the process of metabolisation, which she could probably explain in her sleep. She lifted one hand to the back of her head, careful not to raise it too high lest Mr Donal think she was raising her hand to ask a question. There was something in her hair. She assumed it was a paper spitball, courtesy of Richard Adams in the back row. He'd made her life a misery since last year, when she'd returned to school after the summer break with breasts bigger than anyone's.

The spitball didn't budge. Not only that, but it was sticky as well. The more she tried to dislodge it, the more it stuck to her hair. The giggles from the back row increased in volume and she twisted her head to glare at them. Richard Adams, of course, and the two boys on either side of him, Christopher Trant and Adrian Wilkes. They were having hysterics. Trant picked something up from Adams' desk and leaned forward. “Want some chewing gum, Chloe? Oh, no. You've already got some, haven't you?”

“Oh! You filthy bugger.” With the knowledge it was chewing gum in her hair, Chloe's heart sank. Chewing gum was the worst thing in the world to get out of hair.

“Language, Chloe Good.” Mr Donal's Irish lilt could turn to the crack of a Belfast rifle in an instant. “Is there a problem?”

“No sir. Sorry, sir.” Chloe dipped her head, letting her fringe fall over her face to hide from the teacher's view. She wasn't going to be a tell tale as well. She might as well top herself if she did that.

“Please, sir.” Ellen Coulter, on the next bench, put her hand up. “Richard Adams threw gum in her hair.”

“Is that true, Adams?” Mr Donal stalked down the length of the chemistry lab with the speed of a City fan with a bottle. His meaty hand closed over the packet. “Is gum allowed in school?”

It was a rhetorical question, but Adams answered it anyway. “No, sir.” He stared down at the desk.

“As you're an expert on stickiness you'll be washing out the glassware every night for a fortnight.”

“Yes, sir.”

“You can sit down.” He turned to Chloe, still glowering. “Now, Chloe. What's the best way to remove gum from hair?”

“I don't know sir.” She could see this wasn't the answer he expected. “Cut it out?”

“I doubt your parents would be happy about that.” He looked around the class. “Anyone?”

Several hands went up and he pointed to a girl in the front row. “Christine Bailey?”

“Olive oil, sir. Rub it in and the gum will slide off.”

“Good. Anyone else?” He pointed to a red haired lad. “Stevens?”

“Ice, sir. Freeze it and crack it.”

“Excellent, but it takes twenty minutes and it's only ten until break. We can go one better than that. Can anyone think what it is?” He looked around the room. “No-one? This is a chemistry lab. What do we have that's cold?”

“Lisa McNally's heart?” A boy on the second row.

“I don't think so, Nesbit. I'm sure her heart is perfectly fine, just allergic to your calloused one.” Another hand went up. The polish kid. “Schrebniak?”

“Liquid nitrogen, sir.” The kid barely looked up from his textbook. Freeze the hair then just snap the gum off.”

“Very good.” Chloe? To the front of the class, if you please.”

Cue one mortified teenager.

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