The Great Gatenby

The Great Gatenby by John Marsden Read Free Book Online

Book: The Great Gatenby by John Marsden Read Free Book Online
Authors: John Marsden
Gilligan a brand new sports car with a single flower placed on the driver’s seat, and . . .
    And this story’d go on for ten minutes without a pause, and through it all his voice would be absolutely matter-of-fact, his face wouldn’t show a flicker of humour, and if we started laughing at him he’d seem to get quite offended, till we really didn’t know whether to believe him or not. In between all these stories we’d also get to do a bit of Maths. Actually we did quite a lot because he moved fast, but he explained things well. I didn’t mind Maths at all. I admired the guy’s imagination, even though out of class he gave Melanie and me a hard time.
    Half way through the term we got hit with the first lot of official grades. God, when I saw that neat little list of letters my heart freeze-dried, my brain caught galloping hypothermia and frost rose in my legs like a speeding stalagmite. Man, I didn’t know it was going to be this bad! My parents were paying all this money to have me fail at Linley. I could have failed at Gleeson for free! I got an A in PE, a B in Art, C in English, D in Maths and German, and Es in History, Geography and Science. Melanie got As in PE and Art but her next best was a D. It was two pretty shaken students who headed up through the manhole into the Art Room ceiling, which had become our favourite place for a quiet smoke.
    â€˜Grades suck,’ was the first thing Melanie said, then she cried for a few minutes, but it was like she was half angry and half depressed. ‘I hate it,’ she said, ‘it’s so unfair. They put you down every time. God, I’ve been working much harder than I ever did at Ainsworth, and I’m still in the bottom set for everything.’
    Just then the ceiling collapsed under our weight, and we both fell through onto the floor of the Art Room, amid heaps of plaster, rubble and dust. It was the biggest crash I’ve ever heard; it sounded like World War Eight, and felt like it too.

Chapter Seven
    We sat there among the wreckage of the ceiling, white dust from the plaster rising around us in clouds. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I felt bruised all over, and just a little shaken if you want to know the truth. Melanie looked utterly amazed: she was sitting with her mouth open, gaping at me. We both had our cigarettes still in our hands, the smoke idly mingling with the dust. We were still holding them when a flying wedge of teachers, prefects and students came bursting in through the door.
    â€˜Oh my, oh my,’ I thought to myself. ‘This ain’t no way to fly.’ I started laughing, a little hysterically I guess. Then we were led away to the Headmaster’s office.
    We waited out there for some time before we got to see the man. His dog came by and I scored a swift kick somewhere in its middle; it yelped and skidded around the corner, the most life I had ever seen it show. Melanie started giggling and wasn’t able to stop for some time, so I guess she was a little hysterical too. Finally the Headmaster arrived, fresh from inspecting the damage, it seemed, since he was wiping plaster dust from his hands. He didn’t even look at us as he marched into his office. We had to wait another five minutes before he called us in. When he did, the conversation was short and sweet — six hours’ detention on each of the next two weekends, our parents had to pay for the ceiling, and if we got in any more trouble we’d be suspended or expelled. ‘Nice one Boss,’ I said to him, patting him on the head as he ushered us out. No, not really, just kidding. But I did have an almost irresistible urge to do it.
    God, what a day it had been. The first person we ran into was James Kramer; he raced us off to the Form Centre to find out what had happened. When we told him our punishment he said we’d got off lightly because the CCS swimming and diving meet was so close. Well, I

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