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Dan Keeble (UK)


I slide the glass beaker with the back of my gloved hand. It flies over the edge of the bench.  I’ve rehearsed my pitiful reaction. Mr Morton is helping Archie Reed. That kid gets all his attention. All chatter and clatter in the lab room stops. The liquid splashes target-perfect onto my teacher’s left calf and the beaker rolls along the wooden floor.  Mr. Morton spins around shaking his pants at the back of his knee. My eyes widen in the protective goggles. I whimper my apologetic line and add a shudder for good measure. His tight-mouthed face is saying, you little bastard. Instead, he grabs the shoulder of my coat to drag my face close to his. I’m shaking. But the lab coat is oversized for a skinny nine-year-old. All he gets is eight inches of white material. I get the smell of stale tobacco filtering through his moustache…