There was a heat wave hitting the southeast of England and I was seven years old, without a worry in the world. Every day I went to school and every day I had the same teacher, Mrs Burgess or “Mrs Burger Bum” as my friends and I called her. She was a fat and nasty woman in her mid forties.
She wore thick glasses and had and evil smile which frightened me. Class was so boring; we were never aloud to speak with our friends because miss always became annoyed. I found myself feeling so down in her classes and I just wanted to leave and go to a play.
Playtime, however was a complete contrast, we could do anything. The girls always used to play on the hard concrete with the skipping ropes playing games that never appealed to the boys. Instead the boys played tag and army games, hiding behind rocks and in mud trying to shoot our opponents. At the height of all our fun we were disrupted by the sound of Mrs Burger Bum ringing the school bell, telling us playtime was over and it was back to living hell under the supervision of Mrs Burger Bum. My main friends then were Ben, Jack, Dan and Joe.On a typical weekend all of us stayed around each other’s houses overnight, abusing our mother’s kindness and forcing them to lay out a sea of mattresses. Ben was always the first to doze off and as always made the loudest noise, enraging the rest of us.
As friends we never really behaved properly, we were normally messing around, having fun at other peoples expense, never obeying adults and generally not respecting others. One day as we were all perched around a picnic table, sweltering in the heat and munching on our packed lunches, jack told us a story.The story was a complete lie but we were immature fools so we believed him. The story began with a haystack in the field next to Jack’s house. Jack “borrowed” the farmer’s tractor and used it to scoop up hay and pile it on the stack until it was soft and high. Jack then pinched some objects from a shed nearby, not knowing what they were he threw them on. Jack ran back to his house to collect something and came back to the haystack with a match flickering with the wind in his cupped hand. Jack knelt down, lit the hay and as fast as a horse can run he retreated to the safety of his tree house.
The flames spread like a pack of bloodhounds chasing a petrified fox. The objects were in fact fireworks and hey flew into the air with staggering beauty making the most spectacular display of fire Jack had ever seen. Returning back to reality with my friends and I around the picnic bench we all seemed to have the same idea at once. We didn’t realise what it would mean to us and how much trouble we would be in, but we planned one of the craziest and stupid things ever without any fear. The next day Daniel arrived late to school, we all asked him if he had “it”.He had and as we counted every second until the clock reached half passed ten, when we rushed out side as if we were bank robbers running from armed guards.
With all of us huddled around a tree we put our plan into action. There was one small snag, our plan wasn’t working at all; not one thing was going right. Back in the classroom we revised our plan keeping it as quiet as possible and making sure the plan never reached Mrs Burger Bum’s ears. We all came up with suggestions and joined them to make a new plan.Lunchtime came Jack and Dan raced off to the medical cupboard before the nurse got there to grab some cotton wool. Joe went to the library to fetch a newspaper, while Ben and I roamed the school searching for a suitable place to execute our mission.
We found the perfect spot-the outside of the girl’s toilets. Joe, Jack and Dan spotted Ben and I and we all came together perfectly to make complete our plan. Dan used “it” – a lighter he stole from his mum’s bedside table to light the cotton wool and newspapers, which we had placed in the corner on the outside of the girls toilets.
As Dan was trying to light it Mrs Burger Bum came around the corner, Ben and I rushed to the corner and performed a ridiculous, although unsuspicious act. Mrs Burger Bum strutted away without a second glance and Dan got back to work but this time the rest of us were on guard. The cotton wool caught beautifully and made deep red flames that soon set the wooden casing of the girls toilets alight. The worst thing suddenly happened – the bell went and Mrs Burger Bum came back to see the roaring flames, fortunately by this time we had scattered to the other side of the playground.
Although I stood next to Mrs Burger Bum and let her know the school was on fire! This was to try and put the blame on someone else. Everyone was quickly rushed away from the blaze, while the teachers grabbed as many fire extinguishers as they could in a pitiful attempt to tackle the deadly blaze. The fire continued to spread, engulfing the whole of the toilets but within minutes of me informing Mrs Burger Bum the fire brigade arrived at the scene, yielding monstrous hoses, which extinguished the raging fire in minutes.
The whole school the streamed into the main hall to find the head teacher, Mr Giddy.He didn’t come across as angry or furious; instead he seemed more relaxed and understanding, although he would never really understand why we did it. Mr Giddy posed the question “Does anyone have any information about what happened toady? ” Everyone’s hands shot up like a Mexican wave as soon as the words left his mouth, everyone’s apart from ours. This was very disconcerting. How could everyone have known it was us? Were we going to be found out? These questions whizzed around my head, panic ran through my body but I would be strong and show none of these emotions.
When Mr Giddy was asking around though the only response he got was “it was probably a year six”, this helped us seeming as we were in year two. As I glanced around I suddenly realised that Joe was not with us, there were only four. On closer inspection I noticed he was sitting near the front, his faced masked by the sea of hands, his own amongst them! I didn’t say anything to anyone but slowly we all realised just what he was going to do. We also realised, deep down, that it was the right thing to do. How could we live with what we did?How much more trouble would we be in if they found us out instead? Simultaneously our hands went up, causing Mr Giddy to notice us out of the corner of his eye and he figured we must have some useful information.
“Rodger, what have you got to say? ” the words left his mouth like needles poking and penetrating deep into my body. My heart sank and I was petrified as I prepared to say what I had to say. “it was us” a long and unnerving silence surrounded the hall when the words flowed out. I heard nothing except my own heartbeat, which was beating like a drum. Who” Mr Giddy said as if I was joking “Daniel, Ben Jack and I” I replied in an innocent voice, not noticing at the time I had missed out Joe.
Mr Giddy then asked if anyone else was involved. The whole school slowly raised their hands one after another and I mustered an uneasy smile. Soon everyone had been dismissed – including Joe. We were left there with the teachers closing in on us like vultures. We were swiftly moved to Mr Giddy’s office where we had every single detail squeezed out of us. Mr Giddy showing no pity even though our faces were flooded with tears.After a while we got to Joe’s involvement, he was immediately called to join us in our discussion.
Mr giddy tried to prise everything out of us but we just couldn’t explain why we did it. This really helped us because it all portrayed to Mr giddy as a childish act. When we had told him all we could Mr Giddy started the punishment. First came a phone call to our parents.
He forced us to let them know what had happened over the phone and get our parents to come to the school. Our parents burst in one by one and each strolled across to their offspring. The caused Mr Giddy to drop his nasty act and instead appear very concerned.
None of our parents seemed that cross, especially my mum she looked more worried and she never did tell me off. The parents each had long talks with Mr giddy and were shown the mess we had created. For the next six months of school our playtimes, our only relief at school from Mrs Burger Bum, were spent in Mr Giddy’s office. We wrote letters of apology to the cleaners, the fire brigade, teachers, parents and the pupils.
We had to read these letters out in assembly in front of the whole school, a cluster of angry parents and a representative from the fire brigade. This was painful but the most painful part was loosing all our fun.The six months passed slowly and really changed me as a person.
I had time to think about what I’d done. Also to think about the way I behave in general and by the end of the six months I don’t think Mr Giddy remembered why we were in detention. When we got out of our hibernation we had been turned into the most popular people in the school, everyone showed us tonnes of respect. That didn’t matter to me though because I wasn’t proud of what I did, and I still aren’t. I don’t think the others are either but it was an experience that changed all our lives for the better.