Friday, January 26, 2007

Mirth and Woe: Science Lab II - The Trial of Blood

Mirth and Woe: Science Lab II - The Trial of Blood

In a previous tale of woe, I told of how myself and two other idiots blew up our school science lab in a futile attempt to discover the properties of coal. These properties, you might remember, were that coal did nothing at all, whilst our equipment exploded into tiny little pieces around us.

As an aside, I noted that the following week's biology class was entitled "The Properties of Human Blood". And you might be pleased to hear that blood was indeed spilled.

You probably wouldn't get away with it these days. In fact, I often wonder how they got away with it back then. Normal schools, I have concluded, would have got a supply of spare blood in from the local butcher's shop, as they are, by and large, people with enormous quantities of the stuff from all manner of animals.

In fact, Kathy Alderton's dad ran the local shop, and she often brought in lungs, brains and hearts for science classes, right up to the moment she left a bag of assorted offal propped against a radiator at the back of a French class, and was never asked again.

Unfortunately, we were with Dr "Tucker" Jenkins, and he was no ordinary teacher. He was not of this planet, with weird, piercing blue eyes and a desire to recruit the flower of Britain's youth for some sort of alien invasion. He would spurn mere animal blood for his lesson. He wanted fresh human blood. From virgins.

There was, as you might imagine, a shortage of volunteers for his evil scheme. So, Tucker produced a number of quite possibly stolen blood test kits from his case, and demonstrating on himself, asked who wanted to find their blood group. Finding that the small prick in the end of the finger was relatively painless, there was soon a small queue at his desk, all wanting a go. For many it would be the only prick they would see for many a year.

That may have been fun for a short while, but Tucker wanted blood, blood, blood for his own nefarious experiments with chemicals, enzymes an' stuff. Producing a glass conical flask, he wondered, if by chance, anyone might be willing to give rather more than just a drop of the red stuff. It would be fun, honest. And Tucker would be nourished, oh yes. He would be nourished.

Of course, being a pair of sick bastards, Ju-Vid and Sean volunteered immediately, and began hacking away at their extremities with the sharp end of a set of compasses until they were bleeding all over the place. Before long, the flask had filled to an alarming level.

"Err… that's enough lads," said Tucker, "We don't want to kill you. Not just yet."

The lads hardly dripped on the lab floor at all as they triumphantly brought the flask to the front of the class, one or two of the more sensitive types shrinking away from the scene of carnage as the thing was handed over to our highly esteemed educator.

Their reward, it turned out was to help the evil Doctor with The Great Experiment On The Human Blood. They were given a couple of pipettes containing certain chemicals (what they were, I've since forgotten, but their application in military circles would be devastating), and told to add a single drop immediately after Tucker had dropped in a few grains of some powder. More fool the Tucker, I say.

Quite naturally, and as any teenage lad would do in the circumstances, they ignored him completely and squirted in a whole tube of the stuff. Each.

For a few seconds, nothing much happened.

Then, bubbles appeared on the surface of the bloody chemical mixture. Big, violent bubbles. Outside, the sky darkened.

"Oooh, shit!" said Jenkins.

"Sir! Language!" admonished Lisa from the front row. It would be her last words.

"Pop!" went the flask.

"Spuuuuurgle!" went the blood as it exploded in all directions like a small, red volcano.

"Aaaaaaaaaaaargh!" went the first two rows of the class, which were, as dictated by years of schoolroom tradition, almost entirely female. This would be, if you were a reader of The Beano, be followed almost immediately by a sound effect that went something like "Glub".

The entire front of the lab was red, like a scene from The Exorcist. Tucker, Ju-Vid and Sean had taken the brunt of the hideous explosion, and they were smeared from head to foot in it. Tucker removed his goggles to resemble a tall, thin, red owl, and gazed across a classroom that was not dissimilar to a war zone. Girls, if the rumours we heard were true, who spent up to ten minutes each morning getting their hair and make-up done, instead looked like something painted by Jackson Pollock on one of his bad days.

There was silence. And then, screaming. And from the back of the room, laughter. Cruel, mocking laughter.

And, almost inevitably: "YAAAAAAAAAAAAAARCH!"

"Somebody", Tucker eventually said, "Somebody go and tell Miss Hannon."

"I'll go!" said Ju-Vid, almost too helpfully, "I'll get her."

"No. Not you. Somebody clean."

Miss Hannon, on encountering this scene of devastation, laughed as well. Teachers can be so, so heartless.

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