After Lunch, Friday AKA — The Face Of Education Grimaces


Vinnie draws a machine gun on the back cover of his maths book. Daniel says Karl is a retard because he got 2 right in his test. Karl laughs and says it was more than last time. Charlie says he hates maths and can he have a detention instead of this stuff. Callum is marking his work from the Answers Page in the back of the book. Charlie says he can’t do it and will get a detention anyway, so why bother. The teacher yells at Luke to get his head in the window. Luke yells lessies! at some girls outside then sits down. Karl says he doesn’t know what the question means. Daniel says he can’t bloody read the question on the board, and aren’t teachers supposed to spell proper. Luke says, can’t you read man? You a retard or something man? Callum has got all the questions right and starts the next exercise. Mark and Evan are playing cards in the corner. Evan has his Walkman plugged into one ear and his head vibrates. Mark throws down three cards and yells, I win arsehole! Karl is writing Mother Fucker on Jason’s pencil case with a vivid marker. Charlie pulls out a silver knife his brother bought at Cash Converters and starts to sharpen his pencil. Luke says, Wow man, where you get that? None of your fucking business, says Charlie. Something small and sharp hits the side of Luke’s face. Sir, Ollie’s blowing spitballs at me! No I ain’t, you dork. Luke stands again to look out the window. Vinnie draws a big penis on Simon’s grid paper. The teacher says stop the nonsense and get on with your work. Simon says it’s too noisy to work in here, Sir. Mark says I’ve lost my pen and no one will lend me one. Can I go get a drink, Sir? Kahu says he needs a drink too. The teacher says no, you have just had lunch. Kahu says he’s going to piss his pants and needs to go quick. Vinnie puts eyes and a smiley face on his drawing. He elbows Simon in the ribs to look. Simon says Sir, Vinnie’s put a penis on my maths book. A chorus yells, ah, yuk! Callum finishes Exercise 12 on Factorising. He marks his own work. Daniel says go on, piss your pants man, as if. Charlie sends a note across the room attached to his ruler. Vinnie finishes drawing another machine gun in his maths book. A plastic ruler hits Luke in the head and he screams like he is dying real bad. Kahu picks up the ruler and the note. Sir, says Kahu, this note says you can fuck off. See Sir? Fuck Off! The teacher takes the note and asks Charlie to see him at the end of class. The pie that Ben is trying to eat under his desk is too hot. The teacher says what are you doing under your desk, Ben? Ben hits his head on the top of the desk and hot gravy dribbles down the cuffs of his shirt. Yuk! Sir, yells Karl, Ben’s got shit on him. Ben and Karl laugh.

In a far off distance, a bell sounds
Some wild beasts stampede through a canyon.
Callum says, thanks Sir.


Jessica Le Bas lives in Moutere near Nelson. In 1997 she completed Owen Marshall’s Fiction Writing Course at Aoraki, and has had work published in the ListenerJAAMPoetry NZTakahe and has work forthcoming in Sport 29North & South and NZ Books.