Shortcut to: Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part Seven
Zena squeezed herself out of the small doorway, and was amazed to see that there was another, much bigger door right next to it. She tried the handle, and it clicked open.
She stepped through into an office identical to that of the Head Master. The only difference was that she now stood waist-deep in hundreds of coloured plastic balls.
"Sorry about the mess," said Mr Bonathon. "My cleaner has been off sick all week and ... well, you know how it is. Take your eye off the ball for one moment and things just sort of build up, don't they? It's surprising you can see any carpet at all."
Zena looked around to see if she could see any carpet at all. She couldn't.
"So," said Mr Bonathon, pressing a big red button on the wall that sucked all but a few of the balls into a hole in the middle of the floor. "Take a seat. Tell me what's bothering you."
Zena started to make her way to the chaise longue across the room.
"Look," said Mr Bonathon with a slightly anxious air about him. "It's not Binglish, is it?"
"Bing," said Zena.
"Oh," sighed Mr Bonathon, sounding very disappointed indeed. "Another one. Oh well, I'll see what I can do, run a few short tests, that sort of thing. It's usually just a case of asking you to avoid eating postage stamps. On rare occasions, however, I have to call in Mr Jamin. But don't worry, I'm sure it won't come to that."
Zena swallowed. Who was this Mr Jamin, and what would he do with her? And what tests? She was no good at tests. What if she failed? Would she have to leave all of her friends and mover down a class? Two classes?
"Oh for goodness' sake, take that look off your face and stop being such a wet blanket! Now," he said, picking up a very rusty, dusty and fearsome-looking contraption. "Let's see how you far against The Tracheavinator!"
He began to wind the handle of the contraption, and it squeaked and creaked into life. Now that Zena could see it working, it appeared to be built entirely from kitchen utensils and gardening tools. The handle seemed to be part of an old egg whisk and, as he turned it, blades from a food processor whirred round and a rusty pair of garden shears snapped open and shut.
"I haven't used this in years," grinned Mr Bonathon with an almost demonic look in his eyes. "Oh well," he said, chucking it aside and turning back to the spot where he had picked it up. "Now, where's that tracheavinator? Aha! Got it."
Zena gulped. What would he bring out this time? She didn't have to wait long to find out, because no sooner had she thought that thought, than he turned slowly around, brandishing...
...what appeared to be nothing more than an ordinary pencil. And not one of those fancy ones with an eraser on the end of it. Nor one of those big bendy novelty ones. Just a good old-fashioned HB pencil.
To be continued...
Link of the Day: Raphael
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