Thursday, 9 June 2016

Maths Vs The Gang (part 5)

"I'm really glad they've sorted the sets out." Freya said, standing sensibly against the wall outside Mr Jordan's classroom in Math Block. "I mean, I don't have any problems with Sharon but, well, y'know."
"Yeah." Replied Steven, sprawling nonchalantly against the wall so that he could be the same height as the others. "She's the human embodiment of Tumblr."
"I wouldn't go that far." Sophie said. "Is she really human?"
"I'm glad you guys are back too." Chris said. "Some of the last set one students were, well, not proper set one students. Science will be so much nicer without them."
"Science can never be enjoyable. Not without Mr Andrews." Sophie said, putting her hand to her heart.
"That is a little bit weird." Chris pointed out.
"Only a little?" Asked Ali. "You know, I reckon that Sophie is a full on nutcase."
"Only a full on nutcase? That's awfully lenient of you, thanks Ali." Sophie said.
"Hello there." Said someone that, for a second, they believed was just a lost year seven asking for directions. Before Ali, who didn't particularly like the younglings of the school population, could tell them where they could go, she realised they were mistaken. The assumed twelve year old was actually their maths teacher, Mr Jordan. "Looking forwards to some fun maths?"
"Oh absolutely," Steven said, before muttering, "not that I'm expecting any."
"Come on in." Mr Jordan said, pushing open his classroom door and leading everyone in. The class flowed in like a reservoir flows through a crack in a dam, as long as you assumed it was a reservoir of uninterested, sweaty and tired teenagers. Looking around, Steven was quite confused. Despite the fact that he was now sat in the rightful Set One, forgetting any errors resulting from incorrect examination planning, there were still a lot of people from his time with Sophie in Set Two. He spotted Ellie Wright and Jack, as well as a few of the more disruptive students. His conspiracy was right! The school did want him to fail! "There's a seating plan on the board."
Steven was delighted to see that he was sat with Chris and so the two of them assumed their spots, just in front of the board. There was a poster just beneath it announcing the various things you were meant to do at the beginning of each lesson; get your books out, write the date and title, begin the provided starter. Chris and Steven did neither of them because that was Mr Jordan's class etiquette. Why do something when you didn't absolutely need to?
Mr Jordan left it a good ten minutes before saying, "Thank you and welcome to Mr Jordan Maths. We haven't got too long until the exams so we really need to buckle down and get to work. For that reason, this week we're going to just go back over the basic things like BIDMAS and the Law of Indices before moving onto exam revision next- what day is your exam on?"
Ellie rose her hand.
"Which day, Ellie?" Mr Jordan asked.
"Where's Alex and John, sir? Are they not in top set, sir?"
"That doesn't answer my question, Ellie."
"Oh my god, sir. I was only asking a question, sir."
"The exam is on Thursday, sir." Freya said.
"Right, well, I won't see you on Monday because of the Bank Holiday and not on Tuesday either because of this new timetable so we can start revision next Wednesday."
"Where are Alex and John, sir?" Becca asked from the back of class. "Are they really not in top set anymore?"
"I assume they're ill." Jordan said, with a strange glint in his eye. "Now, let's do some work, shall we?"
"I'll believe that when I see it." Steven said.
An hour passed and four questions were set. For the five radioactive anomalies, the hour passed slowly but when it finally did, they were glad to get out. Mr Jordan asked to speak to James and Cordie, probably the most intelligent students after Alex and John. "I feel sorry for them," Sophie said, "I'd hate to spend anymore time than I have to in here!"

Lunch time came and, with it, the noisy bustle of the lunch hall. It was comparable to the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul in the way that it seemed to thrive with life and commotion. Conglomerations of students gathered around inappropriate tables- four students taking up an eight seater and six students squeezing onto four seaters. Water leapt from bottles and crumpled up polystyrene containers were pushed into the huge red bins, dotted around like recycled plastic sentinels. The walls held posters advertising an E-Safety week from 2012 and pieces of environmental art created by the summer schoolers. Someone had taken the twenty pence tag from a sandwich wrapper  and stuck it on, but somehow Chris doubted it was worth even that.
In the canteen proper, where Ali was avoiding the throng of Year Sevens who seemed to cling to ankles like barnacle clung to the hull of a ship, there was war afoot. In a strange rendition of the Hunger Games' plot, students were brutally murdering each other in a fight to grab the last packet of Squares- which should really have been entitled Rectangles- or, the most coveted of all the food, the last slice of stuffed crust pizza. The smell arising from the kitchens where the apron clad angels known as dinner ladies performed their delicate ballet of serving was the sort of smell that would kill Jamie Oliver at five hundred metres. His puffy little eyes would have welled up in horror as he caught the scent of food that children actually liked. Pizza, burgers- there were even hot dogs like the ones Molly had infamously choked on in Year Seven. It was a veritable paradise of unhealthy nosh.
On the other side of the Canteen were the four podiums around which disgruntled dinner ladies charged students. At least four times a Student Council meeting was the placement of these podiums discussed and not once in the last fifteen years had such an action been taken. Ali paid and then stepped onto the other side, passing the trays of plastic cutlery. A yob whose name had graced the lips of every shouting teacher in the school at least fifteen times that day already took half a dozen of each instrument so he could parade around, throwing them at unexpecting students. Ali rolled her eyes and continued, passing a sign on the wall declaring that Tootoot was coming. Four years they'd been there and it still hadn't arrived.
She reached the eight seater the other four were sat on and took her rightful place, next to Steven and diagonally opposite Sophie. Steven was pointing at two students on a four seater close by. "Is it me," he began, "or do they look like a pair of unemployed coalminers? Like, look at them. They aren't talking, they aren't eating, they're just sat there, staring into space, wondering why their precious trade union didn't protect them better."
Sophie shook her head. "I worry about you sometimes, Steve. I really do."
"What do you mean only sometimes?" Ali said. "I've never heard such cr-"
"Hello there." Said a teacher they called Olly Murs' Cousin on account of the fact that he looked vaguely like Olly Mur if you squinted and didn't know what Olly Murs looked like. "You're Chris, aren't you?"
Chris nodded. "Yes, sir."
"Mr Phillips wants to see you."
"He never wants to see us." The others sulked.
"Do you know where I could find," Olly Murs' Cousin consulted a scrap of paper scrawled over with his awful handwriting, "Freya, Steven, Ali and Sophie? He wants to seem them too."
"Hallelujah!" Steven cried. He jumped up, swinging his bag over his back. "Let's go!"
"Can I finish my pizza?" Ali asked.
"No!" Steven shouted. "This is the opportunity on a lifetime!"
"We've got Computer Science with him for two hours tomorrow." Chris said.
"I don't care. We need to go see him!" Steven cried.
"Calm down." Sophie said. "Else people might start to think you feel towards Mr Phillips as I do to Mr Andrews."
"Wouldn't be surprised." Ali said.
The five of them walked out of the Lunch Hall and up some steps, towards Mr Phillips' room at the top. They passed a teacher screaming at a Year Eight, but she didn't seem to have realised the misbehaver was still wearing his earpods so couldn't hear anything being shouted. Chris knocked once on the door and then opened it. The classroom was empty and delightfully cool compared to the lunch hall. Mr Phillips was waiting for them with a smile on his face. He was about the same height as Chris, so a little shorter than Steven, and had a head of light ginger hair. He had the amazing quality to be terrifying to the naughty kids but lovely to the behaving students. It wouldn't be wrong to assume he was their favourite teacher. "Have a look at the board, guys."
They looked at his smart board and their smiles wiped away. A newspaper article on the Gazette's website read, 'Bridge Saved By Mysterious Heroes and Lots Of Seagulls.' He changed tab and there was another tab which read, 'Dawn of Seagull Man?'
"Can I give you a piece of advice?" He asked. "If you're going to be superheroes, at least hide your identities well."
"How did you know it was us?" Freya asked. "We're really sorry by the way."
"I have certain powers myself." He said. "I need to share something with you."
"What is it?" Steven asked.
He pointed to the cupboard. "Have a look."
Tentatively, the Gang wandered over to the walk in cupboard and discovered it looked pretty much the same as it always did. But, as Mr Phillips reached in and pulled a hook on the wall, they realised they were wrong in their observation. A computerised voice said, "Lift Going Down."
"Step in." Mr Phillips grinned.
The six of them stepped into the cupboard and began to head down into the cave beneath the school...

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