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Saturday, February 16, 2019

She'll Be Apples: A School Camp Story

“I’m perfectly happy to sit here for four hours doing nothing and we'll all miss out on the fun activities we have planned, until someone owns up,” my Year Six buddy teacher, Mrs V, declared in a commanding manner to the thirty-seven students on our school camp last week.

She was an unyielding iron statue. She would take no prisoners. Even I was full of unease.

We all nervously perched on chairs on the veranda, breath held, awaiting the guilty party to stumble forth, red-faced and remorseful.

Even I felt guilty, although I knew I was innocent.

At least I think I was.

No. I was.

I was definitely innocent.

We waited a long anxious few minutes for the devilish miscreant to reveal themselves.

Guilty looks exchanged under seventy-four fluttering sets of lashes.

Mrs. V sat; immovable and unblinking.

“I can understand that whoever it was, probably thought it would be a nice treat for the wildlife,” Mrs. V persisted in feigned compassion, “but this is NOT our house and we CAN NOT leave rubbish behind.”

But even this guileful tactic failed to lure the perpetrator into a public and possibly embarrassing confession.

We sat in tense silence. Feet timidly shuffled. Crickets chirruped.

I began to wonder if Mrs. V was serious about not doing the activities because, to be frank, I wouldn’t have minded sitting on the breezy veranda for four hours instead of running around in the hot sun playing a game of ‘cat and mouse’ with a bloody parachute.

“Three honest people have already owned up,” Mrs. V persevered. “That took a lot of courage. This last person needs to prove to us that they too, possess courage and leadership qualities…”

She was very good at what she was doing I’ll give her that. Drawing out the felon with flattery and sweet talk.

No one moved a muscle.

Mrs V retained her grim demeanour and I stood beside her, my arms crossed and wearing a pained, twitchy expression which was supposed to communicate extreme disappointment but was really from indigestion after scoffing my salad.

Of course, I knew we wouldn’t really sit there for four hours but I did speculate about how on Earth she was going to back down if nobody owned up.

There were four, random apple cores wantonly tossed over the veranda rails, during lunch.

Mrs. V had vowed not to budge until the final culprit had come clean, and evidently, this was not going to happen any time before Christmas.

That’s the trouble with threats. You have to be prepared to go through with them. I was glad it was her and not me.

Finally, a little boy stood up and a collective sigh spread through the throng.

It was tiny Horatio.

Out of all the students presently ensconced on the veranda with their saucer-like eyes bulging in apprehension at Mrs. V, tiny Horatio was the last I would have suspected of such a devious crime.

“Mrs. V,” he lisped sorrowfully. “It wasn’t me, but I’d like to go downstairs and pick up the apple core and put it in the bin for you.”

I could almost see the relief flood out of Mrs. V’s body. She’d been given a get out of jail free card.

“Thank you, Horatio,” she said pointedly. “Now everyone, go to the toilet and meet up in the hall so we can start our activities...”

“We could get the apple core tested for DNA,” I suggested helpfully as the kids all rushed off in excitement in search of water bottles.

Mrs V pointed up at the security cameras and grinned broadly. 
“We could tell them we just had a call from Security saying that they have a film of four children throwing apple cores over the railings.”

“We could say the police are inspecting the footage right now,” I added gleefully.


The things you think of after the fact, eh.