Friday afternoon Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!
The words reverberated around the playground of St. Andrew's like the backbeat of drums at a live gig. The bell for the end of the day had echoed half as loudly fifteen seconds before and with it hundreds of boys had bolted out of homerooms, toilets, offices,corridors and bike sheds, sniffing the taste of freedom for another week. Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!
With each round of the chant more and more boys diverted from their quest for freedom and converged on the top oval. Everything was in place for the undertaking of one of the most revered rituals in an all-boys school: it was a Friday afternoon, the windwas blowing, there were no teachers around and two skinny Year 9 boys had been conned into believing that the other had said something about his mum.
I wasn't really into the mob fight thing, and I felt sorry for the two kids who by now probably wanted to bawl their eyes out and run home, but it didn't stop me loving the chaos it created. Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!
Right on cue the staffroom door swung wide open and out came security. Normally the PE blokes were the first to make it out, maybe because they were fit or maybe because they didn't want to miss out on the action. This time the charge was led by Waddlehead, aka Waverton, the deputy principal; he was old, but when he was wound up he could move. He powered across the oval flanked by a collection of year coordinators, and the rest of the teachers who hadn't already bolted to the pub for Friday-afternoon drinks. Thedoor to Mr. No-Show Kennedy, the principal's, office, remained shut, as usual.
The two skinny Year 9 kids, who had just managed to grab each other's shirt collars and kind of swing each other around, had absolutely no idea the posse, led by Deputy Waddlehead, had arrived. On instinct, most of the mob legged it upon their arrival. Unfortunately the two heroes took the mass exodus as a sign they were off the hook, and let go of each other's shirts, grinning stupidly at one another, completely unaware that they were seconds away from impending doom. Still grinning, they turned around to see where everyone had buggered off to. It was then that their eyes fell on the procession. Fear froze on their faces. Waddlehead deliberately slowed down on approach. Like startled animals they remained glued to the spot, mesmerized. No one did anything. Then,with the slightest lift of his chin and a razor-sharp point and curl of his index finger, Waddlehead seized his prey. The two prisoners turned back toward the school and made the long, slow walk across the oval.
No, it wasn't going to be a good weekend for those two buggers, no matter how much they swore to their mums that they were only sticking up for them. From the Hardcover edition.
Excerpted from Will by Maria Boyd. Copyright © 2010 by Maria Boyd. Excerpted by permission of Ember, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.