Never before have I had a greater urge to snatch a phone out of a pair of hands. Hands with thumbs that defy speed boundaries as they fly across the white iPhone tilted away from me.

I’m only a few centimetres away from Cheryl, alternating between watching her thumbs, watching her eyebrows puckered together in a frown, and watching the classroom door for Mr Langley.

Luckily for her, Benjamin ‘Hotstuff’ Langley has left the classroom to answer his phone. The third time in the past half hour.

As our fairly new English and Form teacher, Langley should not be taking such liberties. But I suppose he gets a free pass (or three) because he looks exactly how male teachers should not look if proper learning is to take place.

“Hey, guys,” Sanele says, capitalizing on the lack of teacher in class, “did you hear about that bra from Laderville High?”

“Ja, who hasn’t? The dude was high as a kite!”
“You would have to be, to go skinny-dipping in the school pool.”

“Apparently he was on that new drug, bubble. It’s kak expensive – they’re calling it the–”

“–private school drug. I hear it’s like, undetectable in your blood and pee after a few hours.”

The class quietens as Langley walks back in, an apologetic smile on his face. This is Langley’s ‘I-know-you’ll-forgive-me-because-I’m-hot’ smile. A smile that should be banned in high schools because it makes girls swoon.

Not me, though. He once smiled at me and I admit that my knees may have wobbled a little, but then I spied a bit of lettuce wedged between his teeth. My knees have been quite stable since then.

“Sorry about that, class,” Mr Langley says, as he perches his butt on the edge of his desk. He does it so casually, as if he’s earned the authority to do such butt perches after a mere two months.

Two months of ruthless marking.

“So, I just wanted to check how everyone is coming along with the carnival prep.”

Mr Langley’s electric blue eyes scan our faces, and I’m reminded (again) of how much he looks like Bobby van Jaarsveld. I bet if Bobby were a teacher, he wouldn’t be so stingy with marks.

“Just three days more to go! No pressure.”

Of course, why would we feel any pressure? The Carnival Fundraiser is only the biggest Paxton-Wood College tradition. Not to mention the biggest fundraising event of the entire year. Who would judge us Grade 11s if our Halloween-themed fundraiser bombed?

“Mr Langley,” Naledi says. “I want to raise a concern.”

“And what might that be, Ms Moloi?”

Let me take a wild guess. Serial complainer Naledi is still unhappy about how we’d been paired up for the fundraiser. Or more precisely, how I ended up with Nate, and she with Cheryl.

“Say Cheryl and I raise the most amount of money from our Phantom Photo Booth–”

“How presumptuous of you, Naledi,” Nate interrupts, raising his eyebrow. He shoots me a grin and I can’t help grinning back, a warm, fuzzy feeling settling in the pit of my stomach.

“As I was saying, before Nathaniel so rudely interrupted me,” Naledi continues, glaring at Nate then me. “Suppose Cheryl and I win, yet I did all the work. I don’t think it would be fair to … share the prize.”

Of course, the prize.

The class is dead silent, eyes split between Cheryl and Naledi. Cheryl’s cheeks bloom a bright red, her nose flaring like it usually does when she’s angry.

“That’s a load of bullshit,” I say. “I’m sure Cheryl has done her part. She’s always meeting up with you during lunch and after school.”

“Oh, please, Jasmine! I’ve never seen Cheryl outside of school. And I can never find her during lunch. Your friend is probably too busy exchanging saliva with another slacker to care about this carnival.”

“That’s enough now, girls,” Mr Langley says, standing up. “This is a classroom, not a girl’s bathroom. Naledi and Cheryl, I’d like to have a word with you after class.”


Tell us: Are learners ever allowed to talk like this in class in your school? What would happen if they did?