The Three Tecs
by Brian Taylor.
The notice was new. It read 'PLEASE DO NOT FEED THE SEAGULLS.' The temptation to disobey was too much for Nick and he threw the remains of his burger-bun into the early evening sky. A passing seagull, seeing the tit-bit tumbling through the air, swooped and caught it in flight.
Nick with delight: a delight that was short lived. The gull returned the kindness and released a 'package' of its own. It landed with unerring accuracy on Nick's right trainer and splattered over his trousers.
Fancy almost choked on her toffee crunch ice-cream while Choo creased up with laughter.
"Serves you right" he said. "Now let's go to choir practice."
It was dark when the three friends came out of St. John's. They unlocked their bicycles and set off to walk home because none of their bicycles was equipped with lights.
"Hey, be careful where you're pushing your bike." snapped Fancy, as they tried to negotiate the church gate. "You almost pushed me into the holly bush."
"Sorry," replied Nick, "I slipped off the pavement. Anyway, I do wich we could ride home. It would be so much easier ..."
"And quicker!" added Choo.
"Will you two stop moaning," said Fancy, "You both know the rules: no lights - no riding in the dark. Anyway, in a few weeks it'll be light enough to ride home after practice."
"And that's another thing.
I did think old 'Cleffy' would have cancelled choir practice on a Bank Holiday Monday!"
"It's odd that," mused Fancy.
"What is?" asked Choo.
"St John's having a choirmaster called Mr Treble and us giving him the nickname 'Cleffy'.
"Well I can't see anything odd about it," said Nick.
The conversation, about nothing in particular, continued as they followed their usual route home from church.
It wasn't long before the trio were turning into Beach Cove Avenue where their old Junior School was situated. As they crossd Watson Road which ran along the side of the school, Choo suddenly ran towards a white van.
"Wow! How cool is this? Look at the bullet holes in this van."
Nick peered through his rather thick glasses. "What bullet holes? I can't see any bullet holes."
"They're not real," observed Fancy.
Choo looked back over his shoulder. "I know they're just transfers, but I think they'd look really cool on my bike!"
Fancy and Nick looked at each other, raised their eyebrows and walked slowly away. They stopped at the corner of the street and waited patiently while Choo finished his close inspection of the van. When he rejoined them, the friends continued down Beach Cove Avenue.
As they passed the gates of the primary school, Fancy suddenly stopped.
"What was that?" she whispered.
"What was what?" asked Choo.
"I'm sure I just saw someone go round the corner over there ... by the boiler house."
They screwed up their eyes and peered carefully through the gates
into the darkness, but none of them saw anything.
Choo, who was into detective stories in a big way, began to rest his bike against the hedge. "I reckon this is a job for the 3-Tecs. We can squeeze under the gate."
Fancy grabbed his arm. "Hang on a second. Get up. If we're going to do this we need a verse and a prayer."
Choo scrambled back to his feet. The three of them stood facing each other thoughtfully for a few seconds. "I've got it" Nick whispered. "'Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.' Joshua chapter one, verse 9. You say the prayer Fancy."
In the twinkling of an eye, Fancy and Choo, the two thin ones, had wriggled under the school gate and, crouching double, were running towards the school wall. Nick, who was short and tubby, took a little longer than the other two. He found it quite a struggle to squeeze his bulk through the narrow gap. When he eventually joined the others, Choo motioned to him and Fancy to be quiet and to follow him. The three youngsters edged slowly along the wall towards the boiler house stopping every few yards to listen carefully and have a look around.
When they got to the corner of the building, Choo whispered in Fancy's ear, "You look around the corner. If there's anyone there they're less likely to notice your black face."
Fancy acknowledged with a thumbs up and eased past Choo. Very slowly she peered around the corner and took a good long look but there was nothing to be seen. As she turned back to speak to Choo and Nick they were all caught in the strong beam of a flashlight and a gruff voice said, "And who have we here?"
To be continued ...
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