Little Effie stood at the top end of The Big School playground, you know, the end where it slopes up to the bikesheds so it’s easy to see everything that’s going on, and watched, quietly. Effie often stood there, watching, and occasionally asking a pertinent question of a passer by. It was amazing how much she found out about what was going on that way, and she frequently passed her findings on to the Lower Fourth to put into their underground newspaper. And, as was his habit with girls, Headmaster Humptytrumpty ignored the fact she was there; he never did find out that she was the one who had informed on the leaks in the Gym Showers.
But today Little Effie was puzzled. Maurice Minor, the technical whiz kid, was criss-crossing the playground, carrying boxes. He would walk out of the West Wing with a medium sized box, walk across the playground and take it into the school canteen, then walk to the school gate and pick up a much smaller box which he took back into the West Wing. After she’d watched him do this a dozen times, Effie just had to know what was going on.
“What’re you up to Maurice?” she shouted.
“More new technology,” he replied, “Headmaster Humptytrumpty is replacing his carrier pigeons. They’re old tech now, too slow, need too much birdseed, inclined to get lost. Cook’s put pigeon pie on the menu tonight.” The old, grey pigeon in the box he was holding looked up at him, mournfully.
“Nice,” said Effie, “so what’s he replacing them with?”
“Two large flocks of state of the art, super fast, small, streamlined, very clever, bright green budgies.” he said, “They’re called Tweeters.”
“How does that work then?” asked Effie.
“Well,” he replied, they’re trained to carry messages from one place to another on small cards in their beaks, which they hang on a big board called a Tweeter Feed. Then anyone can read the message. The only downside is that the cards are small, they only hold 140 letters, but we’re working on that. Doesn’t affect Mr Humptytrumpty though, he’s rich enough to have lots of Tweeters, so he uses three or four at a time if he needs to.”
“And,” continued Maurice, “Mr Humptytrumpty’s biggest flock of Tweeters is at his big beach hut by the sea, his holiday home, so he can send lots of messages from there. Between you ‘n me, I don’t think he likes living in the school much.”
“So, where’s the school’s Tweeter Board then?” asked Effie.
“Come on, I’ll show you,” said Maurice, “it’s in the school hall where everyone can see it.”
And, sure enough, on the far wall of the school hall, under the big panel with the names of past Headmasters, was a big notice board. At the top of the board was the writing, in big capital letters, “TWEET OF THE DAY”.
“We got it second hand from Radio 4,” explained Maurice proudly, “I saved us a fortune by not buying new.”
“INCOMING!” warned Effie, “Duck!”
“No, budgie!” said Maurice, as a bright flash of green bounced off the back of his head and hit the floor.
“Ouch”, said Maurice.
“I told you to duck!” said Effie.
“Bugger”, tweeted the budgie as picked itself up off the floor, shook its wings and flew up to the board, where it hung its message on a tiny hook before flying off again.
“Watch out,” warned Effie again, “there’s more on the way!”
She and Maurice watched as several more Tweeters arrived and hung up their messages.
“What do they say?” asked Maurice.
Effie read the messages. “Oooooooooh!” she said, “ex-headmaster Bo can’t tap dance can he? Can he? Bo wouldn’t be found tap dancing, would he? Tapping just doesn’t sound like something Bo would’ve done. Bo, tapping, no!”
“Excuse me, tapping, who, what?” asked Maurice, and turned to read the day’s tweets.
“Relax,” Maurice reassured Effie, “I’ve never seen Bo tap dancing, and old Humptytrumpty hasn’t offered any PROOF! If he wants to accuse Bo of TAPPING, he’s going to have to give us his PROOF!
Ex-headmaster Bo tap dancing! Dear reader, my imagination is doing flip-flops! But, if Headmaster Humptytrumpty wants to accuse Bo of TAPPING, he’s going to have to prove it.