The Next Day

I took Lulu in on the second day of her school trial. How was it? Let’s just say that we weren’t late. Lulu complained but hey, I was driving. We sat behind reception, waiting for someone from class to come and collect her. Lulu had maths first thing and we were keen to see which maths set she’d be in. InterHigh doesn’t run sets; all their classes are based on mixed-ability. This secondary school Lulu was trying out in is set-driven and we were interested to see where her maths ability lay.

While we were waiting for someone to pick her up, we could hear the receptionist taking calls and dealing with enquiries. This morning there wasn’t any reports of crying phone calls though. Instead, our ears tuned into what she was saying. We weren’t spying, I promise! We couldn’t help it.. it was because her conversation was so strange.

‘Mr. Johnson called,’ she said. ‘There were four strangers in his geography classroom this morning. Apparently, when he asked these people who they were, they just got up and left the class.’ Pause. ‘No, they weren’t wearing any kind of uniform.’

What the ****, I thought?? After the shooting threat yesterday, My left eye began to go again. It twitched like a paranoid butterfly.

‘Are you sure you want to do this Lu? You could home with me.’

Even as I said it, I know she wouldn’t be game. Lulu twitched on the chair. ‘No, I need to try out this maths class.’

We kept our ears open but didn’t hear anything else. Then Jas Strickleton came to pick up Lu. Together, they disappeared down the hall.

Meanwhile, our town began to light up with this school threat. It hit the national news, police gave re-assuring statements and the general feeling was that meerkat mentality was in full swing. If there was a snake in the bush or even an errant tissue on the floor our town would know about it. I went home with a list of things to do, but found myself unable to do anything. Delphine and I ended up watching three movies in a row.. three! The Christmas Chronicles (thank you, Kurt Russell), Benji (the not-so-bad, new version) and the re-make of Footloose. I admit I liked it better than the first one. Meanwhile, Delph stayed on the sofa-bed and blew her nose. Yep; a cold before Christmas. Finally it was time to pick Lulu up again. We raced to the front door.

Half-an-hour later: ‘How was it Lu?’ Totally caj btw.

Lu raised her eyebrows at our attempts at cool. ‘It was ok. The disruption in class is a bit difficult to get used to. I had to tell the girls in science to stop talking. I couldn’t hear anything the teacher was saying. And they called me a ‘try-hard’! I was like, thanks. Maths was pretty good though. Oh, and a boy teased me, so I told him he was so ugly, the only thing he’d be able to date was an ugly whale.’ She slammed the car door shut. ‘All in all a good day.’

I nodded. ‘And the thing about the disgruntled kid? Any news on his threats?’

‘Yeah, we had a special assembly. The teachers stood there and told us how safe we were. That nothing bad was going to happen.’ She snorted. ‘I was like, what about the four strangers in the school this morning? And how can you make sure your school is safe when you can just walk into it and there’s no sign of police presence?’

My eyes got big.. well, bigger than they usually are. ‘Did you say that out loud? In front of the whole school?’

She chuckled. ‘I thought about it. But then I thought about that scene in Mean Girls when that girl gets called out for not going to that school..’

I started to giggle. This was good. ‘You mean the “She doesn’t even go here!” scene?

She nodded sagely. ”Yep. I realised it was totally me, so I didn’t say anything.’

I smiled, still remembering the movie. Plus, I was really, really glad to see this kid. ‘Smart call Lu.’

The next day, we heard that there was indeed police presence at school. Was it officers in full-body protection guarding the school’s entrance? Kevlar vests and machine guns strapped to their chests? Nope. It was a police lady with blue tinsel wrapped around her hat.





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