- Vol. 05
- Chapter 03
A Bucket of Blue Steam
With sidelong wit the teachers would send out first years in their too-big uniforms to ask for useless things, the invisible matter which would raise exaggerated snorts of laughter from a class full of boys.
Among the favourites were the ‘glass hammers’, leaving shattered looks in the fever noise of ridicule and mild abuse, because everyone knew that there’s no use in a tool which cannot hack the infliction of sustained impact to drive a point deep down.
Or the ‘long stand’, the expectant boy who anticipated some apparatus worthy of the name, but then just waited before the truth sank in that he was standing long, and then frustrated he would leave to whoops and jibes, and an unsafe group derision.
But the ‘bucket of blue steam’ seemed to all intents and purposes the likeliest and most feasible thing to be sent for, and nervous, edging the hems of trousers with their hands, boys would innocently fall for this old trick just the once and then they became part of the group of cynical, who’d laugh at youthful gullibility.