In the Wrong Hands

Synopsis

After the loss of his beloved wife Mr Saunders (Head of Science) spent years developing what he called, ‘sympathy drugs.’ A revolutionary medicine that would allow the recipient to experience the exact pain and symptoms a patient or loved one was living with.  No longer would a doctor have to say, “On a scale of one to ten how great is the pain?”  They would simply take the relevant drug and know.

Mr Saunders was delighted when a pharmaceutical company agreed to develop his four prototype drugs, with a view to bringing them on to the open market.

However, Mr Saunders had no idea that his contact at the pharmaceutical company was in debt up to his eyes and planned to sell the drugs on the dark web to the highest bidder.

Chapter One

The four, year seven friends, stood nervously together outside the office of their science teacher, Mr Saunders. They had seen him moments earlier, chatting in the playground with Miss Hibble and were therefore pretty confident that his office would be empty. The unlocked door of Mr Saunders office was closed shut.

Amy’s nerves began to get the better of her and in an effort to distract herself, she started to count the scratches that zigzagged underneath the metal handle of the wooden office door. Above the handle, centred in the middle of the door, sat a thick, square piece of opaque glass which housed dozens of horizontal and vertical lines of wire that criss-crossed with each other to create hundreds of little squares which distorted their view into the room.

The two boys Mac and Toby, checked to see that the coast was clear before urging Sarah to enter the office. Sarah slowly took hold of the handle, being extra careful not to make a sound.  Her hot sweaty palm slipped slightly as she pulled down on the cold metal. Her head was poised inches from the door, forcing her warm breath to rebound off the glass panel and hit her in the face.

Sarah opened the door ajar and peeked through the narrow gap to check that the office was definitely empty. She whispered over her shoulder to the others, excitedly informing them that they were good to go.

Mac, Toby and Amy bundled into the office behind Sarah, immediately closing the door after them.

Sarah stood next to Mac, the taller of the two boys and looking around the office she said, “Where do you think he would have put the test papers?” Mac ran his hand through his wavy black hair making sure that his fringe rested just above his left eye and looking like a model or a member of a boy-band, he shrugged his shoulders at Sarah, oblivious to the fact that she would have done anything to be his girlfriend.  Taking control of the search, Mac suggested that he and Amy check the filing cabinets, while Toby and Sarah check Mr Saunders’ desk. Sarah concealed her disappointment at being paired off with Toby, as she didn’t want to offend Mac, Toby’s best friend.

The two boys had been the best of friends for as long as they could remember, even though they were complete opposites. Mac’s cool friends referred to Toby as, ‘TG,’ which they assured Toby and Mac stood for Toby Greenwood, but behind their backs, they all knew that it stood for ‘The Geek.’ Toby knew the, ‘popular kids’ only tolerated him because of his close friendship with Mac and, whilst he would have preferred them to like him for being him, he knew that Geeks couldn’t be choosers.

Sarah cocked her head at Toby and the two of them made their way over towards Mr Saunders’ desk, which had science papers and books strewn all over it. Toby glanced over the mess, not daring to touch anything through fear of his DNA being left behind. He was especially aware of leaving any fingerprint evidence. Sarah stood at the opposite end of the desk to Toby and staring at the incredibly disorganised clutter she muttered, “And adults have the nerve to tell us we’re untidy.”

Toby started to wrap a protective layer of sticky tape around each individual fingertip as he nodded in agreement with her statement.

Sarah possessed an enviable mass of dark, thick, shoulder length hair, which she gathered up into a ponytail.  As she did so, she unwittingly snagged her hair on one of her earrings causing it to drop to the floor unnoticed. After twisting the ponytail into a bun she let go of her hair allowing the rich, shiny locks to drop over her right shoulder, exposing the left-hand side of her neck.

Toby had finished covering his fingertips with sticky tape and as he proudly held them up to show Sarah he said, “Now I can touch surfaces without fear of incriminating myself.”  He smiled, arching his eyebrows as he peered over the top of his white-framed glasses.

Bemused, Sarah looked down towards the tape dispenser which, she had no doubt, was sure to be covered in his fingerprints. The two of them started to look for the test papers but it wasn’t long before Sarah’s attention was drawn towards a half hidden petri dish. Curious, she bent over to take a closer look at its contents. I spy sweeties, she thought to herself, as she eyed up the red, blue, yellow and green, peanut sized treats that sat inside the dish.

Meanwhile on the other side of the office, Amy grew increasingly uncomfortable with each passing moment she spent inside Mr Saunders’ private room, without his knowledge or permission. Even as a small child she’d been a strong advocate for right and wrong and she regretted ever agreeing to help her friends. She glanced over to some shelves that hung on the nearside wall and noticed a white photo frame pushed towards the back, next to a pile of science and medical journals. The photograph was taken in black and white and upon closer inspection, Amy recognised the young and quite handsome image of Mr Saunders, who stood facing inwards towards his young bride. The two of them were holding each other’s hands and they gazed lovingly into each other’s eyes, as though no one else on earth existed. Underneath the photo, inscribed on the bottom of the frame, were the words, ‘Forever in my Heart.’

Mac decided that his search had come to a dead-end and he asked Toby, Amy and Sarah if they had found anything.

“Nothing here,” Toby called out.

Amy turned towards Mac saying, “Nope.”

Sarah didn’t reply. Her attention was focused on stealing the four sweets. She had a quick look to see whether Toby, Mac or Amy were watching her and was pleased to see their attention was elsewhere. She used small movements to discretely move the clipboard which half covered the petri dish. She then stretched out the tips of her fingers until they rested on top of the four brightly coloured sweets. In a flash she gathered them up into the palm of her hand, popping them inside her blazer pocket before anyone could notice. She consciously blocked out all the times her parents had warned her to be aware of what she was putting in her mouth. The times they had said, ‘Never accept anything from strangers…especially sweets. Just because something looks good, doesn’t mean it is good for you.’

One for each of us, she thought to herself, although I’ll have to have mine after my dentist appointment later.

The sound of the school bell prompted Amy to look up at the clock that hung askew upon Mr Saunders’s wall. The time showing confirmed that break was over and she warned the others that they needed to make a hasty exit.  Disappointed that they hadn’t found the test papers, the boys headed for the door, followed closely behind by the girls.

Sarah was the last to leave the office and as she pulled the door shut behind her, she remained quiet about the sweets she had stolen.

Chapter Two

Before making his way to his office, Mr Saunders popped into the staff room to collect the year seven test papers he’d left in his pigeonhole earlier that morning.

Once inside his warm office, Mr Saunders leant back against the door, using the weight of his body to close it shut behind him. His reading glasses were straddled across the top of his head, taking up the position usually reserved for sunglasses. With his hands full of test papers, the head of science momentarily relaxed his body against the wooden door, taking a moment to breath in the familiar and comforting aromas that lingered in his office. After drawing in a few deep, calming breaths, the over-tired science teacher straightened up and pushing himself away from the door, he made his way over towards a beige metal filing cabinet, placing the test papers on top of it. As he did so his glasses slipped down over his forehead, landing squarely on the bridge of his nose. His eyes adjusted to the glasses in time for him to notice one of his year seven’s answers. Fer-mald-er-hide, he said to himself, before tutting with disgust. You still can’t spell Formaldehyde, Melissa Pike, even though it’s written into the question. As he turned towards his desk he looked up at his off-kilter wall- clock, which displayed both the time and date as, 10.55am Wednesday 15th June.  Mr Saunders detested Wednesdays. His wife had died on a Wednesday, changing his world forever.

I should have just enough time to ring Mr Niles River before my next class, he thought to himself. I’m sure I picked up his number from the kitchen side this morning. He routed around inside his trouser pockets and eventually pulled out a scrap of paper, declaring aloud, “Ah, here it is. Mr River, Breakthrough Pharmaceuticals 0989 – 787-3201 Ext 776.”

Keen to speak with Mr River before his next class started, Mr Saunders walked towards his desk, his head bowed low as he read out the written telephone number to himself. The edge of his desk soon came into his peripheral vision and he stopped just before it, to reach for the telephone. As he stretched out his hand towards the avocado green telephone, his gaze fell upon a sickening and terrifying sight. The petri dish that he had left on his desk, half covered over by a clipboard, was inexplicably empty. His mouth went dry as his brain registered the sight of the empty, well-known piece of science equipment which had earlier contained four of his prototype drugs. Drugs he had invented and painstakingly developed. Eyes wide open with disbelief, he stared at the empty glass petri dish.

“No…no, they must be here,” he faltered, gulping in air as though he were a fish on dry land. “I must have put them somewhere else without thinking. They’ve got to be here. They’ve just got to be here.”

Mr Saunders tore around to the other side of his desk, steadying himself with one hand on top of it as he pulled opened the top left drawer, closely followed by the second drawer, in the blind hope that the contents of the petri dish might be inside.

The stressed science teacher had spent many long and lonely nights over a number of years, developing the prototype drugs, which he called his, ‘Sympathy Drugs.’ They were to become a new and exciting form of medicine that would revolutionise how people treated those with real symptoms.

His first real success had been the red panic attack drug, designed to imitate side effects such as, heart palpitations, hyperventilation, profuse sweating, headaches, dizziness, trembling, hot flushes, shortness of breath and chest pains. The blue sympathy drug he had designed would enable people to not only feel the embarrassment caused through excess wind, but also the excruciating pain that can so often accompany extreme flatulence.  The green coloured sympathy drug was one of his most prized, but dangerous.  The green drug would paralyse a person for twenty-four hours after digestion.

His motivation for creating such drugs had come after watching his beloved wife suffer the effects of a terrible illness. One of the side effects of her disease had been memory loss. This cruel blow had been the inspiration behind the yellow sympathy drug which, when digested, caused sporadic memory loss.  The four drugs had passed the preliminary stages of testing and Mr Saunders had been only a few steps away from trying them out on himself.

Still unable to find the red, blue, green or yellow drugs, he ripped one of the drawers from his desk in anger, flinging its entire contents over the office floor. Papers, pens and sweet wrappers lay strewn beneath him and as mercury rises in a thermometer when placed in boiling water, so Mr Saunders could feel panic rising through his own body.   Incensed, he lurched forwards, violently sweeping papers and books from the top of his cluttered desk, scattering them everywhere. The empty petri dish was among the casualties and Mr Saunders watched as it catapulted from his desk, flew through the air and landed upside down upon the thin green carpet next to a pocket size periodic chart. He dropped to his knees and began scouring the floor around him, cursing the mess he had made during his earlier frenzied search.

“Where can they be?” he spluttered. “What on earth have I done with them? Are the late nights, and early mornings playing tricks with my mind?” He mumbled aloud to himself as he swept his hands over the carpet in front of him. “I’m so close… I can’t fall at the last hurdle. They must be here somewhere!”

The moment the words left his mouth his eyes caught a glint of light reflecting off a small something that lay tucked away by the front table leg of his desk. “What’s that, I wonder?” He reached out to retrieve the small foreign object and holding it firmly between his thumb and finger he returned to his chair.  Once seated, he carefully placed the item on to the desk in front of him. Before him, lay a diamond earring. Not paste.  A real diamond!  Years of using coloured chemicals had left his hands with a distinct tinge of yellow, which only served to emphasise the sparkle of the precious stone.  A long dark hair was entwined around the back of the earring and after a few moments, Mr Saunders decided that he’d seen enough detective programmes to know that he could be looking at a vital clue, if not evidence.  He placed his index finger on the earring and applying only slight pressure, he slowly moved it around in small circular movements, catching the light as he did so. As he played with the object, his mind played with him, switching on painful memories of the day his wife, Ally, had died.

Mr Saunders’ wife had been everything he had ever wanted in a woman.  She was smart, kind, generous and funny. In his eyes she was the most beautiful person that had ever lived. She had been his best friend and soul mate, never to be replaced. He missed her.  On the day of her funeral, the broken hearted Mr Saunders had promised himself that whilst a cure for her illness still seemed a long way off, there was nothing to stop him creating a drug that would give a person the same side effects their loved one was suffering from. That way, genuine sympathy could be expressed, even if hope couldn’t.

As he toyed with the earring, Mr Saunders sighed before saying aloud, “I’ve devoted years to this project and I’m not going to have it taken from me. Not when I’m this close to helping so many others.”

Mr Saunders had dreamt, but never dared to hope that someone would take him and his discoveries seriously, so when Mr River from Breakthrough Pharmaceuticals had responded so positively to his letter, he had been overwhelmed, lost for words, especially as the drugs still had to be tested on humans.  It was imperative that he found whoever had taken the four prototype drugs from his office as quickly as possible. Not only had he promised Mr River the drugs, he also had serious concerns for the life and wellbeing of the thief. Rattled, he tried to remember how soon the mice had developed symptoms after digesting the drugs.

He recalled how the ‘fizzing stage’ had happened quite quickly with the mice, followed by obvious signs, but he had no idea how long the drugs would take to affect a human.

To confess to the Head Teacher that he’d been using the school’s science equipment out of hours for his own personal experiments would almost certainly end his teaching career and an admission to leaving potentially lethal and un-secured drugs on show in an unlocked office, could result in a prison term and prison was not an option. He’d seen the documentaries. He knew what went on in those places.

“Think man!” he said aloud to himself, racking his brains for a plan. He deliberately hit his fist against his right leg berating himself as he said, “You silly old fool. You have to find out who took them and you have to find out sooner rather than later. Why did you leave them on display? Why didn’t you lock them away with…?”   Suddenly an idea popped into his mind. He would tell the Head Teacher a half-truth. He would tell her that someone or some people had entered his office and stolen four personal items that belonged to him. His spur-of-the-moment plan wasn’t fool proof, but at least the culprit, or culprits, should know immediately that he was referring to the four prototype drugs. Pleased to have come up with a possible solution, of sorts, Mr Saunders popped the diamond earring inside the top pocket of his laboratory coat.

Before going to the Head Teachers office, Mr Saunders called in at reception and forcing a cheery smile he lied to the receptionist saying, “Hey Jan.  I found an earring in the corridor this morning on my way back from class.  If anyone reports one missing, can you tell them that it’s in my office, and they should come and find me if they want it back.”

“Sure,” she smiled, “although it’s probably just as easy for me to keep it here.”

Her interfering offer of help, flummoxed Mr Saunders and he thought to himself, If she keeps it here I won’t know who claimed it; I’d have to ask her and that might look suspicious. No, I’m not going to let her know I’ve got it on me. I’m going to pretend it’s in my office. He lightly drummed his fingers upon the wooden sill in front of the office window, smiling as he said, “Oh yeah, that would have been a good idea. I left it safe in my office but, if I remember, I’ll drop it in to you. I’m snowed under with tests at the moment, so if I forget just send them my way and I’ll hand it over to them.”

“Okay,” she said, her attention soon diverted by the ringing of the telephone.

Mr Saunders knew that time was against him in so many ways, and as he hurried towards the Head Teacher’s office, all of his hopes were pinned on the diamond earring. Find the rightful owner, he thought to himself, and I’ve found my thief.

 Chapter Three

Later that morning Sarah, believing her find to be sweets, offered one of the stolen drugs to Mac, moments before filing into the sports hall for an impromptu ‘emergency’ school assembly. Mac didn’t hesitate to accept the harmless looking treat, quickly popping it into his mouth before entering through the open double doors. The red panic-attack drug fizzed immediately upon contact with his tongue and it was all Mac could do to not spit it out. He forced himself to swallow the effervescent substance, which passed awkwardly down his throat, leaving behind a strong and bitter aftertaste. Mac’s mouth became very dry and he felt an overwhelming thirst, a thirst that reminded him of the first time his dad had tricked him into eating a sloe berry.   He instantly suspected that he had been given a joke sweet and had no doubt that his tongue would be a florescent red colour, but instead of questioning Sarah he smiled casually at her as he thought to himself, if she thinks I’m going to mention the trick sweet, just so she can have a laugh at my expense, she’s got another thing coming!   Amy stood next to him interrupting his thoughts as she said, “Stinky Saunders is on the stage with Mrs Droid, the fun- vacuum. You don’t think it can be about us sneaking into his office earlier, do you?”

Mac kept his tongue hidden behind tightly formed lips, as he mumbled, “No way!  It was only a stupid dare and no-one saw us in his office, besides, none of us saw the science test papers anyway, did we?”

Amy didn’t have time to answer Mac’s question or to ask him about his creepy lips, as the Head Teacher interrupted them, calling for everyone’s attention.

Mrs Droid was known among the students as the fun-vacuum. She earned this nickname through her highly honed ability to spot anyone, whether pupil or teacher, having fun from any distance and with the efficiency and control of a robot she would target the offender and remove any element of fun by citing Health and Safety regulations. Unfortunately for her, her first name was Ann, so instead of being called Mrs Droid, she became known as ‘Android the fun-vacuum,’ among staff and children alike.

The stern looking Head Teacher stood upon the stage wearing a tight fitting blue jumper that unfavourably showed off her spare tyre.  Her black lace up shoes and beige pleated skirt were as uncomplimentary as the jumper.  After a brief moment, Mrs Droid raised her hand to signal for the children to be silent.  With their attention on her she announced, “I want everyone, sat down, facing me.”

The sound of the children’s earlier chatter was now replaced by the scuffing of shoes and the thumping of bodies as the children unceremoniously crumpled to the floor.

With everyone settled Mrs Droid announced, “Something rather unpleasant has occurred this morning.”

There was an audible intake of air as the obviously innocent children waited with baited breath, to witness and enjoy the flushing out of any troublemakers.

Mac shifted uncomfortably on the hard cold floor. There was nothing different about his seated position, his legs were crossed as usual with both of his hands planted firmly either side of him.  However, this particular morning he felt a tingling feeling in both his hands and feet, making him feel very odd and uncomfortable. The sensations were soon accompanied by heart palpitations, which Mac put down to skipping breakfast that morning.

The Head Teacher continued, “Earlier, Mr Saunders’s office was broken into and….”

Hardly, thought Sarah, I just turned the handle and we walked in. This is typical exaggeration from fun-vacuum; she’s always got to make a drama out of something!

Mrs Droid continued, “I’m afraid to say that four, small personal items belonging to Mr Saunders were stolen from his office.”

This information instantly put Mac’s mind at rest as he thought, it’s definitely not about us looking for the test papers then, as none of us took anything.

A keen hand shot up from among the students and the Head Teacher smiled before saying, “Yes, Comfort.”

“If you know what was stolen, Miss, maybe you could do a stop and search.”

Beaming at the over-zealous daughter of the local policewoman, Mrs Droid the fun-vacuum said, “Thank you for your suggestion, Comfort Turner, but I’m sure that won’t be necessary as I have every confidence that the culprit, or culprits, will hand themselves in by the end of the day.”

Re-focusing her attention back on to the other hundreds of children seated before her, the Head Teacher applied her ‘Mona Lisa’ look. She was well known for it and its ability to make each and every child feel as though she was looking directly at them, no matter where they sat in the room. The look was followed by a perfectly timed and deliberate pause, allowing for the seriousness of her announced expectations to penetrate each child’s deepest thoughts and darkest conscience. Eventually she said, “This sort of behaviour will not be tolerated in my school and you would all do well to remember that students.”  After a lengthy and somewhat repetitive lecture, she dismissed the children, sending them back to their prospective classes, but not before reminding them that whoever the thief was, they would be found out and it would be far better for them to come clean sooner, rather than later.

Chapter Four

Before allowing the children to leave the main hall, Mrs Droid reminded the ‘culprit’ or ‘culprits’ that they had until the end of the day to come to her office and reveal themselves to her.  Once in the hallway, Mac, Toby, Sarah and Amy found themselves swept along with the tide of children heading for their next classes. Among the pushing and shoving, Mac said, “None of us took anything… did you?

Amy and Toby replied immediately, assuring Mac that neither of them had taken anything from Stinky Saunders’ office that morning, Sarah just laughed aloud at his question.  Mac asked her what she found so funny.  Sarah raised her eyebrows, creating lines in her forehead as she said, “Nice one, Mac.”

“What?” he asked bemused.

Sarah stood a head height above the other three and looking down at Mac she slowly repeated his question back to him. “None of us took anything… did you? What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Nothing,” said Mac defensively. “I only said it like that because… well, I know that I didn’t take anything.”

Offended by this, Toby ushered the group into an empty space between some lockers to the left of the girls’ toilets and as a throng of students diverted off towards their respective classrooms he said, “Are you saying that it must have been one of us then?”

Mac’s heart began to race and beads of sweat pushed through his forehead as he quickly justified himself saying, “No!  I didn’t mean it like that. I don’t think it was any of us. Do you?”

Toby held Mac’s gaze as he forcefully said, “We told you that none of us took anything Mac.  Are you saying that you don’t believe us?” Toby motioned towards Sarah and Amy, saying, “Back me up here guys?”

Whilst it was a spooky coincidence that four items had been taken from Mr Saunders office, Sarah had convinced herself that the assembly couldn’t have been about the sweets she had taken and with this in mind, she agreed that Mac was bang out of order to imply that any of them had taken anything.

Amy had been quietly watching Mac, concerned that sweat was now pouring from his forehead, she squeezed his arm saying, “Are you okay, Mac? You don’t look too good.”

Sarah agreed with Amy’s observations, taking them as an open invitation to offer her opinion, “Yeah… now that Amy’s mentioned it, you do look a bit rough. Your face looks white and your breathing seems a bit erratic.”

“Thanks a lot,” said Mac sarcastically, still convinced that Sarah had given him a trick sweet. He rubbed his temples, feeling a headache coming on as he asked the others if any of them felt uncomfortably hot.     Unwilling to discuss his body temperature Toby said, “I wonder what got taken from Stinky’s office. Do you think it was money or something?”

“Don’t know,” said Amy. “Fun-vacuum said it was four items, didn’t she. If it had been money, I think she would have said so.”

Sarah stood firm in her decision that it was a mere co-incidence she and the thief had taken four things each. Besides, she told herself, who would report missing sweets?

The now quiet corridors signalled that they were the only four yet to get to their classrooms.  Aware of this, Amy suggested to Sarah that they head off towards their next lesson before getting landed with a ‘late-to-class’ detention.  Moments after the girls had left the two boys, Mr Williams, the Year Seven Geography teacher, turned the corner and seeing Toby and Mac he called out, “You two. What are you doing standing around?” Caught red handed, the two boys watched Mr Williams march towards them saying, “We’ve already lost valuable teaching time listening to the fun…” Toby and Mac waited for Mr Williams to add the word vacuum to the already spoken word, fun. He only had to add that one word to become, in their eyes, the coolest teacher in the whole school. Aware of his verbal slip, Mr Williams proceeded to head towards the two boys; each step affording him only a few precious seconds to think.  He knew that he had to salvage the situation and keen to turn his mistake into another word he said in a northern accent,“Tastic!  The fun-tastic Mrs Droid.”

Toby kept blinking, trying to maintain constant eye contact with the geography teacher, without laughing at his obvious cover up. Mac sighed, unable to hide his disappointment.  Mr Williams noticed that Toby was playing with something in his left hand and quick to use the opportunity to re-stamp his authority he said in his usual southern accent, “What’s that you’re fiddling with Toby?”  Toby looked down at the blue, sweet Sarah had slipped into his hand moments after the emergency assembly had finished.

“It’s just a sweet, Sir,” he said, showing Mr Williams the blue prototype drug, designed to mimic the often painful and embarrassing symptoms caused through excess wind.

“Are you allowed to eat sweets during class-time, Toby?”

“No, Sir but I’m not in class.”

“Exactly.  You’re lucky I don’t give you both a detention.”

“But, Sir we were just…”

“Hand it over.”

“Can’t I just put it in my pocket, Sir?”

Mr Williams held out his upturned and open palm as he said, “Hand it over now, Toby Greenwood. I don’t want to have to take this further.”  Toby begrudgingly handed the blue spherical object over to Mr Williams, who then dismissed both boys with a warning. Once alone, a dreadful thought flashed across the young geography teacher’s mind. He looked longingly at the sweet he had obtained from Toby and whilst aware of how disgusting it would appear to any onlooker if they were to see a grown man, let alone a teacher, eating something they had just confiscated from a students bare hand, he quickly popped it straight into his mouth. As the blue flatulence drug stolen by Sarah, given to Toby and confiscated by Mr Williams, fizzed away on the geography teacher’s tongue, he remained blissfully unaware of what he was digesting.

Mr Williams immediately regretted eating the sweet, which left him with a bitter aftertaste to contend with. Entering a noisy classroom full of excitable children still keen to discuss among themselves, the ‘break-in’ of Mr Saunders office and any or all, possible suspects, Mr Williams said in a loud voice, “Right!  That’s quite enough noise from you lot.” The children calmed down and Mr Williams tossed his sling-bag onto the desk at the front of the classroom. They watched as he made his way towards a large map on the far wall. A few of the more attentive children noticed a pained look settle upon their teacher’s face, followed by a few faltering steps.  Half facing the children, half facing the map Mr Williams said, “Today, we are going to study this country. Can any of you bright sparks tell me the name of it?”  Unfortunately for Mr Williams, his question was immediately followed by the most incredible, trumpeting fart.  So loud was the expulsion of wind between his buttocks that it sounded like a bath fart; the sort that bursts through the water, ricochets along the bath sides before exploding into a mass of stinky bubbles; notoriously louder than any air fart. Mr Williams was clearly embarrassed.  The class of children were unable or unwilling to contain themselves and freely roared with laughter at their teachers’ hilarious body malfunction. Mr Williams remained in the same position, acting as though nothing had happened.

“That’s enough class,” he shouted. “The next one to laugh will get a week of detentions.” Their raucous laughter was replaced with a giggling, that continued semi-hidden behind their hands and books.

“Now,” said Mr Williams trying to hold his nerve and his buttocks together at the same time, “I’ll ask one more time. Does anyone know the name of this country?”

Relieved to see Stephen Earl thrust his hand into the air, Mr Williams said, “Yes, Stephen.”

The spotty little boy sitting towards the back of the classroom said, “I’m not sure, Sir and it’s only a guess, but, is it…”

Mr Williams could feel the gasses in his stomach pressurising to dangerous levels as he tried to hurry the pupil for an answer, “Spit it out, Stephen, I haven’t got all morning!”

Stephen smirked before saying, “Is it… ‘Parp’ is-stan, Mr Williams?”

Mr Williams stared at the grinning boy, knowing all too well he’d turned the country of Pakistan into a flatulence joke. With his pride at stake, Mr Williams said, “See me after class, Earl.”

Stephen smirked as he said, “Yes, Sir.”

Harminder excitedly thrust her hand above her head saying, “Is it one of the Canary Islands, Sir? Is it, ‘Fart’aventura”

“No,” shouted Aisha feverishly, “I’m pretty sure it’s the Guff of Mexico!”

The whole class and Mr Williams erupted… only in two very different ways.

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