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Bruce’s reputation as a particularly creative troublemaker had grown to near-mythical proportions and had naturally preceded him, causing the staff to feel as if a terrorist attack was imminent.
The school’s principal – an old codger going by the name of Archibald Pringles – lost no time in contacting Bruce’s previous schools, but didn’t like what he heard, and so he thought, plotted, planned and had whole meetings about “the new student”.
He alerted the computer staff, personally tested the fire extinguishers, ordered the First Aid Room to be restocked and briefly toyed with the idea of asking the insurance company to review the school’s comprehensive cover against accidents.
Security staff was briefed, and an extra paragraph was added to their job description. Pringles was taking no chances.
St. Barber John looked and felt like a fortress and the atmosphere was electric!
Then, July 1st arrived.
At 7am, just as the school gates were about to open, the wintry sky turned a sickly shade of grey and with an ear-busting thunder crack a rogue lightning bolt incinerated the school’s only tree.
The massive oak tree had graced the front yard for the past sixty years.
It had been planted by a certain Adenoid Pringles, the current principal’s great grandfather, to commemorate the school’s grand opening.
Now, it was toast.
Teachers and security guards alike exchanged worried looks: this looked like a bad omen, for sure.