S is for Story

Part 1: Will 8B get revenge on the wicked Mrs Grun?

Once upon a time there was a cruel and heartless teacher called Mrs Grun. She taught in a pleasant school in the eastern suburbs and her students, a quiet, obedient class known as 8B, were modest, hard-working and well-mannered. Despite this, she was intent on making their lives a misery. They never had any fun in class, never went on any excursions and only rarely were allowed to visit the library. All this they could have borne without a murmur of complaint, but when Mrs Grun refused to let them go to the Year 8 Formal, the social event of the year, they were especially downcast.

Their predicament was made even more painful by the fact that Mrs Grun’s other class, 8U, a bunch of cashed-up bogans and rednecks who were coarse, vulgar and thoroughly unpleasant, had been told at once that they would be able to go to the ball. “Of course, my darlings,” Mrs Grun had said to them, cooing and smiling in her peculiarly repellent way, “no ball would be the same without you. I’ll be there in my turquoise and orange evening dress with shoulder pads and a bustle. I wear it every year. Perhaps we can have a photo together.”

When the students of 8B, however, begged to be allowed to go, Mrs Grun laughed unpleasantly. “You can’t go,” she said, and they could tell she was enjoying their distress and chagrin. “You have to stay at school and clean the quadrangle with old toothbrushes.”

“What?” they cried. “Why?”

“Because you are low, unworthy and undeserving,” Mrs Grun cried. “Because even if I were to let you go to the ball, you would have nothing to wear. You are all too poor, too ragged and too pitiful for words. Why, even your uniforms are threadbare. I daresay none of you have anything you could wear to such a special occasion, in any case.”

It was true. The students of 8B were all dreadfully poor. The allocations to classes always worked that way. The richest students were in 8U and the poorest in 8B. Most teachers were too kind to draw attention to this fact, but Mrs Grun was too nasty to overlook it. She mentioned the impoverished state of the 8B students at least five times every lesson.  Continue reading