The sounding of the bell found twenty unhappy students slumped behind their desks.
"As many of you have guessed," Mr Lancaster said from the front of the classroom, "we will indeed be having a pop quiz today. You can thank Kate Bones for giving me the idea." The classroom of fourteen-year-olds turned in their desks to give Kate looks ranging from peeved to downright murderous.
"Alas that I spoke true," groaned Kate, her near-sighted eyes peering owlishly over his thick glasses. "Now long it shall be ere I have joy again."
Beside her, her best friend Allison shook her head in disappointment. "The darkness ever spreads."
Mr. Lancaster licked one finger and began to sift through the stack of fresh test-papers. "I'd recommend you take your time and concentrate on this test; I can't imagine many of you will want to miss out on the Halloween festivities this weekend."
"This is what shall come to pass-- if you should fail," Allison whispered to Kate, giggling, and Kate gave her a nasty look. It was true that her parents were slightly displeased with current science mark, and another failure might indeed keep her from Jake Smith's Halloween party this weekend.
The science block classroom was oppressively hot, and none of the grade-nine students were pleased to be locked up in it for a double period with the stern Mr. Lancaster. Worst of all, the science classroom was right over top of the band room; below, twenty out-of-tune saxophones were taking "My Bonny Lies Over the Ocean" from the top on more time.
As Mr Lancaster began doling out the test papers, Jake Smith leaned back in his chair. Jake was easily the best-looking boy in the grade, and Kate couldn't help admiring him. Mr Lancaster slapped a paper down in front of him with a little less affection. Jake had a reputation as a bit of a troublemaker.
"Mind you get down to work, Mr Smith," said Mr. Lancaster dryly. "Your mark is not exactly illustrous..." he started to move away.
"Sneaking off and sneaking back, you old villain," growled Jake under his breath; but unfortunately for him, Mr. Lancaster heard.
"Take this note to the office," he snapped, scrawling something on a scrap of paper and handing it to Jake with an unyielding hand. Jake swallowed. "And don't even think about coming back to class until you've done it!" Mr. Lancaster added to his retreating back.
"It's most unfair!" said Kate hotly. "Instead of clapping him in chains, Mr. Lancaster goes and rewards him for his cheek!"
"Rewards!" said Allison. "I can't imagine a more severe punishment! Condemned to go a hopeless journey, a reward?"
"All right, quiet down," said Mr Lancaster distractedly. He went up to the blackboard and fiddled with his chalk. Downstairs, a bari saxophone blared out a rasping note. Mr Lancaster blew out his breath in frustration. "When will their rehearsal be over? It's driving me mad!"
"Drums..." said Kate with a snicker. "Drums in the deep." Allison covered her mouth with her hand, laughing, as the band started on their next song; it featured more timpani than perhaps was strictly necessary.
Mr Lancaster could be seen visibly gritting his teeth; for a moment he looked undecided, then he sighed and began to backtrack, picking up the test papers he'd just given out. "Looks like I'll have to rethink this," he said shortly. "I can barely concentrate with all that racket, and I bet you guy can't, either. We'll have the test tomorrow, and I'll make it a big bigger to reflect the extra study time."
"I wish this test had never come to us," groaned Kate, putting her head in her hands.
Allison nodded unhappily. "So do all that live to see such times; but that is not for us to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time we are given."
At that moment, Jake Smith sauntered back into class. "You're lucky today," commented Mr. Lancaster. "I've moved the test to tomorrow."
"I return to you now, at the turn of the tide," smirked Jake, slapping a high five with his buddy, Pete, before flopping into his chair, shaking his black hair out of his icy blue eyes.
Kate sighed longingly. "My precious..."
Unfortunately, Pete caught her staring hungrily at Jake; sniggering, he nudged Jake and oh-so-inconspiciously pointed her out. Jake followed her gaze and laughed. "All shall love me... and despair." He and Pete broke into hysterics.
Burning with embarrassment, Kate turned away, a hot flush building in her cheeks...
Author's Chapter Notes:
Sheer stupidity, so enjoy. ^.^ Quotes are somewhat paraphrased and bolded.