“To all parents, chip day will be Thursday, not Friday as previously advertised.”
“Hooray for chip day!” The chorus was deafening.
Nearly two hundred 13-year-olds chanting in unison filled the dusty old gym hall at St. Luke’s Secondary School.
Once the singing of the national anthem was out of the way and the chip day chant was over, they left the hall five at a time by the stairway at the back, marching past the dog eared, yellowing posters reminding them of their duties as citizens.
Up the stairs, through the double doors and twenty metres down the corridor was the nurse’s office.
It had been a storage room in years past. Some of the old shelving still remained. Where once there were brown cardboard boxes full of cleaning supplies, now there were brown cardboard boxes of tongue depressors and bandages. Facing the shelves, with your back turned to the corner desk, tatty swivel chair, and rusty framed examination trolley, you’d be forgiven for assuming the room hadn’t changed its function.
When the first group of students had arrived at the door to the office, lined up like soldiers stood to attention, Mrs. Charamurthy, a biology teacher first, school nurse second, was deep in conversation with a tall gentleman wearing a smartly tailored blue suit.
“I hear such terrible stories, Mr. Hayley. I understand this is all mandatory, but are you quite sure it’s safe?”
“I can assure you Mrs. Charamurthy, the procedure is entirely painless. The students won’t feel a thing.” He flashed a brilliant smile, and handed the chipper to the nurse.
Mr. Hayley took a step back, and Mrs. Charamurthy called in the first student.
Steffi Grimes from 7B strode into the office, chin up, arms at her sides, and presented herself before the nurse. With some trepidation, Mrs. Charamurthy held back Steffi’s shoulder length chestnut coloured hair, placed the tip of the pistol-like chipper device to her neck, and pulled the trigger. With a barely audible click, the procedure was complete.
Mrs. Charamurthy let out the breath she hadn’t realised she was holding, and smiled.“Next!”
Peeking nervously out from the cover of readership, attempting to judge whether I'll be chopped to bits if I wander over to the writers' side.