by Louise Searl
nectar and coke
The shrill sound of the bell indicated the start of the school day at St.Saviour's School. Miss Cobra, Deputy Head, was on duty, checking uniforms and ensuring that no trainers were masquerading as school shoes.
‘Johnnie, where's your tie?’
‘Report to me at playtime. If it hasn't turned up by then you will be doing a detention after school.’
‘Cheryll, remove all that make-up.This is a school, not a film studio.’
Miss Cobra was not known for mincing her words. However, her quest to spot evidence of Johnnie’s, Cheryl’s and several other pupils' uniform malfunction that morning caused her not to spot a pupil wearing a hoodie slip behind her and make her way along the corridor to her classroom.
Members of Class 5B were waiting for registration, in their usual undisciplined manner. If anything the noise level increased when their form teacher, Mr Adder, hurried into the room, clutching several folders and looking harassed. A newly qualified teacher, he was beginning to regret his choice of career. In his anxiety to take the register quickly Mr Adder ignored the fact several members of his class were still wearing their coats, strictly not allowed. One of them was even wearing a hoodie.
‘Five B, Five B please be quiet. I need to take the register. No, Ali. you may not go to the toilet. You've only been in school five minutes. Now, please settle down all of you.’
Meanwhile in the school office the telephone was ringing constantly. Some of the calls were from parents explaining that their child was unwell and would not be coming to school. A couple were from children pretending to be their own parents, also explaining that their child was unwell and would not be coming to school. Mrs Viper, the secretary, had devised a cunning plan to catch the phoney phone-callers, and was busy ringing the place of work of one of the alleged parents, to check the story.
Class Five B, registration having at last been accomplished, made its straggly way to the first lesson of the day, science. Miss Cobra went to her office to draw up a long list of uniform deniers she would see at break. They would need to come up with an impressive reason for not being suitably attired and equipped, to escape an hour's after school detention, or even a two hour detention in the case of serial offenders. St.Saviour's School prided itself on its strict discipline policy and its insistence on adherence to the school's rules and regulations. The school's ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted rating had recently been downgraded to ‘Good’ and the slippery slope towards ‘Requires Improvement’ beckoned. Of course the quality of teaching was of prime importance, and newly qualified teachers such as Mr Adder, who were failing to live up to the promise they had displayed at interview. was another problem pending for the school's senior management team.
In the school office the telephone calls were becoming less frequent. The next call was from the local paper. Mrs Viper braced herself for bad news. In her experience calls from that quarter were usually based on reports featuring the misdemeanours of St.Saviour's pupils. This one was different.
‘I wonder if you can confirm that a pupil at your school was married over the weekend?’
Mrs Viper was not the head's right hand woman for nothing.
‘No comment’ she replied swiftly.
‘It's strange that she should get married on Saturday and be back in school on Monday.'’
‘It would be if it was true,' replied the secretary.
‘Don't you want to know who it is?’
‘I'm sure you're going to tell me’.
‘The girl's name is Medusa Gorgon and she married a bloke called Poseidon.’
Far away, the goddess Athena had heard the news two days previously. Her beautiful hand maiden Medusa, the only mortal Gorgon, had broken her vow of chastity. Athena had acted swiftly.
In the science lab Medusa Gorgon was at last being told to remove her hooded coat. As she took it off the children nearest to her starting screaming. In a few seconds the whole class erupted in chaos, and Mr Anaconda, the science teacher, had run for his life, The children could not believe their eyes. In place of her beautiful blond hair Medusa's head was alive with snakes, hissing and flashing their forked tongues in and out. Some of them dropped to the ground, writhing in every direction as the children rushed out of the lab. Medusa, the child bride, shook her head, but as some snakes fell off more and more appeared, frantically swaying around her head.
News of what had happened spread like wildfire throughout the school and most teachers told their classes to leave school immediately and go home, and did the same themselves. However Miss Cobra was made of sterner stuff. With Ofsted still uppermost in her mind, she stayed in school, standing in the doorway nearest to the labs. Medusa, on her way back into the main building, her hair writhing freely, stared at Miss Viper, who stared back. The Deputy Head turned to stone.