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Meanwhile, at McKinley High, all normal activity had been suspended while everybody thronged the corridor, watching the latest.

Jack Lambert had been walking to class, striding slightly ahead of her companions, when a large boy in a football jacket had barged right past her, knocking her aside. Furious, Jack yelled after him that he ought to watch where he was going and mind his manners.

The jock turned back, laughing, and said, “You talking to me?”

“What do you think?” retorted Jack.

What he thought proved unrepeatable, and to Jack, at least half of it was incomprehensible. He took a threatening step towards her. She slapped him across the face. The corridor exploded into the deafening sound of teenagers yelling, “Fight! Fight! Fight!”

The battle of Jack versus jock was short-lived, and had barely had the chance to get off the ground when a woman in a red track-suit waded in and shoved them apart. Jack had been told to stay clear of the fearsome Coach Sylvester, who terrorised the school. She saw the other Chalet girls wide-eyed, watching the scene from a safe distance.

“That is enough,” the Coach bellowed through the megaphone, and then lowered it and regarded Jack with a look of disgust. “For this they cut my budget – to fly over a bunch of hooligans in uniforms?”

“I...” Jack began, indignant.

“Not interested,” Coach Sylvester interrupted.

Much to Jack’s outrage, she found herself led to the office of something called a guidance counsellor. A petite red-haired woman was behind the desk.

“Well. Jack. That’s an interesting name,” she observed. “I don’t know how it is at your school, Jack, but here at McKinley high, we frown on brawling in the corridors.” She neglected to mention, of course, that outside the building, brawling was perfectly commonplace.

“We never fight at the Chalet School,” Jack protested. “And that boy started it.”

“I’d like you to read these,” said the counsellor, passing Jack a sheaf of colourful leaflets. Jack flicked through them. They had titles in large, bright lettering such as Managing Your Anger Issues, Don’t Pass The Blame! (featuring a circle of guilty-looking cartoon teenagers passing a bomb between them), Why Bullies Bully, and Help! I Can’t Control My Temper.

Jack just about managed not to growl as she left the office.



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