Thursday, January 08, 2009
Food for Thought
Lucy’s Biology teacher, Miss Graves,* kept, as most schools did, a tank of mice in the classroom. Unlike other schools, however, she bred the mice as food for the other classroom pets: a pair of asps and a tank of small black scorpions. She deemed it a privilege for a child to be allowed to lift a mouse by the tail (or in a glass for the squeamish – there were health and safety rules to consider) and feed the other class pets.
Lucy was fascinated. The expressions of the snakes as the mice were dropped into the vivarium was identical to the expression Miss Graves had when a pupil failed an exam.
*An appropriate name, her students thought, for she looked like something that had been dead for a very long time. Her breath (which smell not of coffee like the other teachers after morning break but of cinnamon and aniseed) was dry and rustly and her teacher’s robes were stiff like paper left in the sun.