Luke Walker A.W.O.L.
Joe’s sixteenth funny face was not easy to maintain as it was beginning to hurt. With eyes wide, tongue sticking out and skin pulled tight around his cheek bones by his fingers, it was difficult to speak.
“I’m sorry!” Luke said, “It’s not working. I pressed the button four times but it didn’t take a picture.”
Joe retracted his tongue and massaged his face.
“Gis a look.”
Luke handed him the camera.
“It says MEMORY FULL,” Joe explained, “how many pictures have you taken?”
“I dunno,” said Luke as he put Dad’s camera back in his bag, “are we nearly there yet?”
They wouldn’t be there for another half an hour but the boys had already finished their packed lunches. Joe had suggested they save some for later but Luke thought it wisest to eat everything now so they’d have less to carry.
“How much longer ’til we get there?” Luke asked no one in particular.
It really was too much to expect people to sit still for two whole hours. And Mrs Tebbut’s insistence that the coach would not be making any stops along the way did not allow for the fact that some people’s need to quench their thirst with a lot of lemonade might lead to other needs. He tried to think of something else.
At 11.03 the coach pulled in to Parking Zone B at Dillingsgate Zoo.
“Ok, class 4, pay attention!” Mrs Tebbut called everyone to order. “You may leave whatever you don’t need on the coach but remember that once you’ve left it you won’t see it again until home time. So, if you think you might want it at any time during the day, take it with you now. You must stay in your allotted group, with your allotted adult, at all times. You must be back at the coach by 4.45 so that we can leave promptly at 5pm. Ok, have a nice day everybody.”
Glad that his teacher had finally finished her speech, Luke hurried to the front of the coach. He was in Mr Eden’s group, with Joe, but he couldn’t line up yet because he had urgent business to attend to. He told Joe to tell their group to wait for him and then ran towards the zoo entrance, looking for the toilets. When he returned, six minutes later, Mr Eden’s group was not there. Mrs Tebbut’s group was. Mrs Tebbut’s arms were folded.
“Luke Walker. What did I tell you not ten minutes ago?”
“Erm, something about if you leave it you can’t have it ’til you go home.”
“I told you to stay in your allotted group with your allotted adult at all times.”
“Oh yeah, I know but I jus’ had …”
“But nothing. If I tell you to do something, I expect you to do it.”
Luke looked at his shoes. There was no point trying to explain about the lemonade. He knew that the less he said, the sooner he’d be able to catch up with Joe. His mind started to wander. He wondered if he’d be able to play with the monkeys; and swim with the polar bears; he wondered where the gift shop was and whether he’d be able to get a souvenir pack of cards, or badges with animals on. He could certainly do with a few more badges.
“Luke! Did you hear what I said? You will be in my group instead of Mr Eden’s so that I can keep an eye on you.”
Luke’s eyes narrowed and his lips tightened. He was supposed to be in the same group as Joe. They’d been looking forward to going round the zoo together. This was a very annoying turn of events.
to be continued ….
( You can read the whole story here 😀 )