But, that aside, here's a small sample of my writing: A class at Terry's school.
With the afternoon bell came Chemistry. The most hated of all subjects as far as Terry was concerned. He took his place on the second to last bench in the chemistry lab. Joe sat next to him. “I hope we do something interesting today,” he said.
“Me too,” said Joe.
Dr. Burke, the bespectacled balding chemistry teacher entered the room wearing his long white lab coat, bristling with fifteen different types of pens and pencils, and seated himself on top of the first bench, opposite the children. “Good afternoon,” he began. “Today we will investigate the properties of oxygen.” A groan went up from several of his bored students. “Miss Bromine will be along in a minute or two to help me distribute the equipment to each team of three. So, in the meantime, split yourselves into teams and decide which one of you will do the experiment, which one will observe and which one will record the results.”
Miss Bromine was the main reason why some kind of order existed in class. She was a particularly attractive young woman, or so rumor had it from some of the older children at school. Terry couldn’t quite see the appeal she held but he did like her long dark reddish brown hair, and Joe always said she had a way of looking at him that made him feel weak at the knees; whatever that meant.
Terry and Joe teamed up with Brian, a complete misfit of a student that was either in the Headmaster’s study or lying beaten up on the playing field eighty percent of the time. Why he attached himself to Joe, Terry couldn’t understand. Even more annoying was why Joe put up with it. Terry guessed that with Brian around, Joe didn’t feel so bad himself. Brian was insisting that he be the one that performed the experiment today. Even Joe realized this was not a good idea, and so the two of them were trying to convince Brian of his superior surveillance abilities so that he would accept the role of observer. Brian was having none of it and so, extremely reluctantly, they had to agree to his wishes and Terry took the role of observer, leaving Joe to record everything that happened.
The loud nonsensical chatter stopped suddenly and Terry looked up. Miss Bromine had entered the class, pushing a large filled trolley in front of her. A wolf whistle was heard from somewhere behind Terry.
“None of that kind of behavior, if you don’t mind,” Dr. Burke said, glaring towards the back of the class. He now had a rather red face and was looking a little embarrassed at Miss Bromine’s presence. To hide his awkwardness he moved quickly over to the trolley and started to distribute the equipment. Miss Bromine looked briefly at the floor and then helped him do the same.
“Now children,” Dr. Burke began, returning to the front of the class, “Today’s experiment is extremely simple. Watson, sit down, shut up and listen. You have four items in front of you. WATSON!” A boy on the third bench nearly had a heart attack and yelped involuntarily as a piece of chalk hit him squarely between the eyes. “You will see a candle, a taper, a stopwatch and a large glass jar with a lid. You will place the candle in the glass jar, take the lighted taper to it, close the lid on the jar and record what happens to the candle, every ten seconds over a one minute period. Any questions?” Watson looked up, thought about saying something, but quickly lowered his eyes again. No one moved. “OK, begin.”
What happened during the following five minutes could not be rationally explained, no matter how hard Terry tried, as he did several times in fact, during the following hours. For some inexplicable reason Brian did not think that matches were provided to light the tapers, that would in turn light the candles. He had got it into his head that the gas taps on the front of the benches would provide a source of fire for the experiment. It had all happened so quickly. Brian had opened the tap for the gas while Terry looked across at him with a puzzled look on his face. Joe was busy getting a match from the group next to him and didn’t actually see that part of the scenario unfold. Knowing that Brian was more of a klutz than he was on most occasions, Joe thought he would perform the dangerous part of the experiment, actually lighting the taper. Of course, he didn’t know that for five seconds now, gas had been pouring into their workspace and was rapidly filling the classroom.
Joe leant forward and struck the match at about the same time that Dr. Burke, smelling something odd, came to investigate. With a ‘whoosh’ that Terry, Joe and maybe even Brian would remember to their dying days, a two foot wand of flame ignited across their bench, vaporizing all the pens and pencils in Dr. Burke’s pockets instantly and setting his lab coat ablaze. Joe screamed, and reached forward to turn the gas off. Amazingly, Brian had beaten him to it, but unfortunately, all he had succeeded in doing was turning on the adjoining tap and that too had caught, and it was busily trying to catch light to his own lab coat. By now the whole class was screaming. It was at times like this that Terry wished he were back in Triluika, doing soldierly things. But those experiences had taught him something and so, without further hesitation, he reached forward, past the fiery mess all about him and turned off the gas taps. This was also roughly the same time that Miss Bromine chose to throw a large bowl of cold water over several people seated on the fated bench.
For an instant that seemed to last forever, perfect calm existed. Reality soon kicked back in, however, and Terry could see Brian crying, seated on the floor, mopping his face and poking at a small hole in the front of his lab coat. The top of the bench was a complete mess. There were several burns on the wood, and candles, jars and everything else were scattered in disarray. That just left Dr. Burke, who had taken the brunt of the disaster. Wiping soot from his face, it was immediately obvious that the previously balding Dr. Burke would henceforth be known as the bald Dr. Burke. He was also minus one eyebrow as far as Terry could see. As for his lab coat, there was a very large hole in it. In his sweater too. There was even a hole in an orange shirt that was showing a little from underneath. Dr. Burke had obviously had a very lucky escape.
Thankfully, Dr. Mallory, the head of Science, hearing all the screaming, had arrived in the classroom by this time and was busy taking charge. Dr. Burke was ushered away by Miss Bromine, sobbing into her shoulder, and Terry’s class was sent to the break room to relax and ‘calm down a little’. “We’ll deal with this in the morning,” was all Dr. Mallory would say, glaring at several boys as they left the class.
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