Day 5 had to be a story based on an item in the room. I chose a pencil case. Don’t ask me why. I could have chosen a piano, or a Poptart, or a bottle of bug spray (it’s a very eclectic room). But no. I chose the pencil case. You can find the challenge here.
On the whole, it was a suspicious-looking pencil case. What if she’d written the quadratic formula inside it? I bent my head and tried to concentrate on the exam, but that pencil case kept bugging me. I couldn’t help it. My head shot up and I fixed my eye on it. Pink, the whole thing, with little frills. She could have had a knife in there, for all I knew. Why had they let her keep it on the desk? I’d even had to take the label off my water bottle, for crying out loud.
I shifted in my chair to get a better look at it. Pencil cases were always very sly things – they tended to move when you weren’t looking. I kept my eye on it – but then I had to sneeze.
The hall erupted in a chorus of “bless you”s, and the anxious teachers walked around trying to make them shut up.
But the pencil case had moved. It was on her right hand side now. Tricky things, pencil cases.
Of course, I never expected it to actually have something in it. It was just my way of avoiding equations that seemed nothing but meaningless scribble. So it was a huge surprise to me when the door of the hall burst open and several monkeys came sliding in.
I leaned back in my chair, positive I wasn’t seeing this right. Exam brain, that’s what it was. Costumes, surely. They had to be costumes.
One of the monkeys came towards me, his furry mask slipping off. ‘Hi, Audrey.’
‘Not my name,’ I reminded him. ‘Are you coming to get me out of maths?’
‘Not exactly. I’m coming to get Melanie’s pencil case.’ He yanked it off her desk and held it up above his head. ‘I’ve got it, everybody!’ From inside the pencil case, he withdrew a slip of paper and cleared his throat. Every eye in the hall was on him, and he noticed it. I hated people like that. ‘Dear Mum…I know you’ve always said that being gay is against your religion, so I guess you’ve got a choice: me, your daughter, or your religion?’
The hall erupted into cackles, and Melanie put her head on her desk. She wasn’t a particularly nice persons by all accounts, but that was out of line.
‘Not on, Ben,’ I growled, standing up.
And, to my eternal surprise, I punched the side of his face so that he toppled over like the monkey he was.