Maurice Minor was struggling across The Big School playground with a large wooden object. It was a magnificent thing, painted in bright colours, with several rows of beads. Maurice headed up the school yard towards the East Wing of The Big School’s main building. Beads of sweat dripped off his forehead. He paused to wipe them off.
“What’s that? ” asked Little Effie of the Lower Third, pointing to the object, curious as ever.
“An aba what?”
“What’s it for?”
“It’s very, very special high tech equipment for adding up very, very big sums. This one’s the bees knees of abacuses. Top of the range!” replied Maurice.
“You see,” he explained, “Headmaster Humptytrumpty finds big sums very difficult. He’s done his best counting on his fingers, but every time The Current Wife says anything to him he looses count, and she says she’s fed up of smelly socks when he takes his shoes off to count on his toes. So she’s banished him into his office to do the adding up, and asked the governors to order him an abacus. I’m to deliver it PDQ.”
“Oh, OK. But why’s he adding up big sums?” asked Effie.
“Because when Headmaster gave that big speech to the governors he made all sorts of big, expensive promises. $54 billion for peashooters, $1 trillion for new school buildings, and that’s just for starters. The governors want him to add it ALL up, let them know EXACTLY how much it’s going to cost, and then tell them who’s to pay for it.”
“Well, I’m not paying!” said Effie, “I’m brassic!”
“Nor me! Effin’ skint again, that’s me!” agreed Maurice Minor.
And off he struggled with the abacus to find Mr Humptytrumpty.
Well, dear reader, let’s hope that Mr Humptytrumpty manages to add up his BIG SUMS correctly, AND work out who’s to pay for it all, because it’s obvious his pupils don’t want to!