Telling the truth

For all the Luke Walker chapters click here 😀

Story continues from yesterday:

Isabel, meanwhile, had arrived at school a few minutes early and was making her way to the I.T. lab while it was still empty.  Entering the corridor at one end she saw a cleaner leaving the computer room at the other and disappearing into the stairwell.  There was no one else in sight.  She had timed it perfectly.  Within moments she was sitting at one of the desktop computers.  It took a worryingly long time to start up but once it was running she inserted her memory stick and opened the document she needed to copy.  She clicked Select All, and Copy, before signing in to the school intranet network.

Then she clicked Compose;
selected To All Users;
selected High Priority from the drop down menu,
and typed in the subject bar:  BOYCOTT CANCER RESEARCH UK

Just as she was about to paste in her message the screen froze.  The school bell declared the time to be half past eight and Isabel frantically moved the mouse in circles on its mat, trying to get the cursor to reappear.  But nothing happened.  She tapped Ctrl, Alt, Delete and opened a Task Manager.  She selected the only task running and clicked End Task.  She could hear footsteps out in the corridor and tried desperately to make her shaking hands behave.  She told herself to focus and began again.

Compose
To All Users
High Priority
Subject: BOYCOTT CANCER RESEARCH UK

She right clicked in the message box but there was nothing to paste.  Her text was no longer on the clipboard. Desperately she pulled out the memory stick and re-inserted it.  She double clicked on the icon, opened the document, selected all and copied.  Again she right clicked in the message box and this time was able to select Paste. With great relief she clicked Save and was rewarded with the notification Sending … at the top of the screen just as the door opened and the IT teacher walked in.  Before turning to face him, Isabel swiftly clicked Start, Shut Down and then switched off the monitor.

“Hey!  What are you doing in here?” asked Mr Frakes suspiciously.

“I left my memory stick here yesterday,” Isabel told him with a smile, “just came to collect it,” and she held it up to show him.

Mr Frakes, noticeably relieved to see that it was only Isabel, congratulated her on remembering where she’d left it and encouraged her to get to registration.  It was done.  She could breathe again.

Isabel slipped into her form room where Tania waited expectantly.  Her eyes asked the question and Isabel nodded.  So far so good.

“I answered to your name on the register,” Tania told her, “so you won’t be marked late.”

“Thanks,” said Isabel.

“So, how did it go?”

“Good I think.”

“Did you send it to all the teachers?”

“All users.”

“All users?  That’s everybody!  Staff, students, everybody!”

Isabel grinned. “Yes indeed!”

“Well done,” Tania grinned back, “very very well done.  So now what?”

“We’ll see.”

****

Mr Flanagan closed the register and told his form to head out to afternoon classes.  Luke and Joe walked against the tide and approached the teacher’s desk.

“Problem boys?” Mr Flanagan asked.

“We can’t sell these,” said Luke, putting his ten concert tickets down on the desk.  Joe did the same.

Mr Flanagan looked disappointed in them.  “Well you haven’t tried very hard, you’ve only had them a couple of days. Give it a couple of weeks before you give up.”

“No,” Luke explained, “we mean we won’t sell them, not if they’re gonna give money to CRUK.”

“Cruck?”

“Cancer Research UK.”

Mr Flanagan looked from Luke to Joe and back again.  “Why? What have they done to deserve your disapproval?”

“We think the school should give the money to a good charity that won’t waste it on animal testin’,” Luke explained.

Mr Flanagan looked at the ceiling, took a deep breath and then looked at his watch.  “I’ve got a class waiting boys and you’re supposed to be in your next lesson.  We’ll talk about this later.”

“When?” asked Luke.

“I don’t know.  Tomorrow,” he suggested brusquely.

“Tomorrow’s too late.  We need you to tell ’em before Mufti Day to give the money to a different charity.”

“I’m not going to do that,” said Mr Flanagan firmly.  “Cancer Research UK is a very worthwhile cause.  They do a lot of good work.  They help a lot of people.”

“Maybe they do,” Luke conceded, “but they also do a lot of bad, cruel work and you never know what your money’s gonna go on.”

Mr Flanagan shook his head despairingly, as if he’d heard it all before.  “They’re not cruel Luke, they’re doing vital research.  It’s not a happy fact but they have to use animal models to see how the disease grows and spreads in a living body.”

“But it’s not the same in animals as humans,” argued Luke, “so it’s pointless.  They’re killin’ ’em for nothing.”

“You’re talking about highly qualified scientists.  Why would they do it if it didn’t work?”

Joe read aloud from one of the leaflets.  “’There are, in fact, only two categories of doctors and scientists who are not opposed to vivisection: those who don’t know enough about it, and those who make money out of it.’  Dr Werner Hartinger wrote that, in 1989.  He was a German surgeon.”

“What have you got there?” asked Mr Flanagan, taking the leaflet out of Joe’s hand.  “An animal rights leaflet. Surprise surprise.  Don’t you think this might be a little bit biased?” he asked condescendingly.  Immediately regretting his irritated response, he took a breath and tried to be patient.  “Look, boys, I really don’t have time for this now.  Let me lend you one of my biology textbooks.”  He picked through the pile on his desk.  “Here you go,” he offered them a copy of Animal Models For The Study Of Human Disease.  “Take this home with you and read the first chapter.  I think it’ll help you understand the issue better and if it doesn’t we can set aside some time to talk more.”

Joe shook his head.  “No thank you,” he said.

“We don’t need to read that,” said Luke.  “We already understand the issue.  We already know for a fact it’s wrong to poison animals, and give ’em diseases, and cut ’em up and kill ’em.  Even if it did help humans that wun’t make it right.  But it don’t help humans coz animals are different to humans and different animals give different results in the experiments so why would they think humans would give the same results?  And how would they know which animal results would be the same as humans?”

“Ibuprofen causes kidney failure in dogs,” said Joe, “and Aspirin causes birth defects in mice and rats.”

Mr Flanagan put the textbook back down on his desk.  “Time to go boys,” he said flatly.

“Adverse drug reactions to medicines that were proved safe in animal tests, kill a hundred thousand people every year in America,” recited Luke.

“Leave!”

Luke tentatively stretched out his hand to retrieve the leaflet from his tutor’s grasp, before both boys did as they were told.

****

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Story continues tomorrow, but if you don’t want to wait you can read it here now 😀

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vegan, vegetarian, vegan children, vegan children’s story, creative writing, juvenile fiction, vivisection, animal testing

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