Jane arrived at school late, half way through the day’s second class with the grand title of ‘Social Etiquette”. It was Jane’s least favourite lesson; a total time-waster devoted to the notion of catching the right man. This, combined with the non-existent academic demands of the lesson, probably explained its popularity with Annabelle Purvis and the members of her brat pack.
The brat pack drew the teacher’s attention to Jane’s late arrival with a cacophony of caterwauls.
“All right girls,” The teacher said, quietening the class. “You can explain your late arrival after class Miss Thomas, now sit down.”
Before Jane could answer, Annabelle caustically commented in a ‘butter wouldn’t melt in the mouth’ voice. “I know why Mrs Crew. She just lost track of the time. She was out paddling with her friend. ”
The brat pack burst into supporting laughter. Mrs Crew held up her hand, “That’s enough of that Annabelle. Now all of you get back to work, the nail polish won’t apply itself dears.”
At lunchtime, Jane sitting on her own in the corner of the main quad was finally able to get a call through to the hospital. Ruth quickly filled in the details of what had happened after the rowing accident earlier that morning: She had regained consciousness in the ambulance and then spent a couple of hours at casualty with her Dad before having a CAT scan of her head.
“No damage,” Ruth said. “But I’ve got to stay in here until tomorrow.”
“You sure you’re okay?” Jane asked.
“Fine, they just want to keep an eye on me.”
“What about the CAT scan?”
“Jeez, you are worse than my Dad.” Ruth said with a laugh. “The CAT scan found nothing, okay?”
Jane smiled to herself. “Nothing. Not surprising for an airhead I guess.”
“Watch it, Jane Thomas or you’ll be the one with a bang on the head and trust me it won’t be an accident.”
Jane laughed and was searching for a smart retort when she her attention was caught by the sight of the brat pack. “Oh shit, just what I need Annabelle and the sheep coming this way.”
“Talk about airheads!” Ruth joked. “Have fun. See you later.”
“Yeah, I’ll come straight after school.” Jane closed her mobile phone and looked up at the girls now standing around her.
“What d’ya call that?” Lou, one of the less bright members of the pack said pointing to the phone.
“A phone,” Jane replied, trying to keep her voice friendly.
“Nah it’s a fuckin antique. Shelly said.
“Boring just like you,” another pack member chimed in.
“That’s enough girls,” Annabelle intervened with mock concern. “Not everyone can have the latest like us.”
“Not everyone wants to!” Jane snapped
“Yeah? But, you’d have an iPhone if you could!”
“Now Lou, you know times have been tough at her Dad’s deli. He can’t even buy her a decent bag.” Annabelle said as she grabbed Jane’s back pack.
“Give it back, bird brain.” Jane demanded.
“It’s a Target special, can you believe that?” Annabelle threw the bag to another girl.
Jane jumped up and grabbed one of the bag straps. In the resulting tug-of-war, Jane lost grip of her phone and it fell to the ground. The phone broke in two. The other girl let go of the bag as Jane bent down to up the phone.
The brat pack laughed.
“Leave me alone, bloody morons!” Jane shouted, just as the principal, Mrs Clutch, entered the quad from a building behind the girls.
“Miss Thomas,” the Principal said in a firm clear voice. “Two hour detention after school today.”
In the next episode, “Ralph Returns”, Ray Purvis is not impressed with Ralph Fly’s news about the Crystal shop or his surprise purchase.