“I’m gonna call you Einstein,” said Adam.
“What’s an stein?” Henry asked.
“What are you on about?”
“We are mates, yes?”
“Of course we are,” said Henry.
“Well, mate you are not like a razor.”
“Why are you talking in riddles?”
“A razor is sharp, yes? And you are not,” Adam answered.
“Because I failed maths?”
“Yes, and no, you are the stupidest person I’ve ever met.”
“That’s not nice, I’m never rude to you,” said Henry.
“No, I’m sorry. I’ve had a few bad days, that’s all.”
“Who is the best footballer in school?” asked Adam.
“Ump, I suppose you are. I don’t understand the sport.”
“No, I guess you don’t. I got dropped by Mr Smithers, as team captain. It pissed me off.”
“Why? You’ve got more time to watch TikTok.”
“I hate that rubbish, and I want to impress Lucy.”
“Lucy? Why? Oh, I get it, you fancy her?” said Henry.
“Brilliant, genius. That is why I am not happy with Simon or Mr Smithers.”
“Give me strength. Simon is now captain, and Mr Smithers gave him the job.”
“I see. But what about Lucy?”
“Lucy’s dad runs the weekend adult team. I am big and strong enough to play men’s football, so…”
“You want to get in Lucy’s good books?”
“I also want to get in her knickers, and be captain, and play for the adult's team. Not too much to ask.”
“No, I suppose not,” Henry was lost, his face clouded over.
“Has your mum got any Coke and a cake?” asked Adam.
“She’s always got both, why?”
“Because I want some, come on,” Adam said as he jogged away.
“Hang on, slow down,” Henry sputtered.
Adam was leaning against the front door when Henry arrived.
“Come on, back door,” panted Henry.
Coke and cake were served in the dining room.
“I need you to do me a favour. Only a small one.”
“Sure, what do you need?” asked Henry.
“That slimy sod, Simon has taken my job as captain of the football team. And, my girlfriend, Lucy, seems to have a thing for Simon, I think it’s only because he is the skipper.”
“Because if we win the cup, the captain is presented with it, and they like a pretty girl to kiss him for the local paper’s report. She thinks she will be front page and start her modelling career.”
“Oh, I see. So what do you want me to do?”
“Simple. I want you to stick a note on his back.”
“Why?” Henry asked.
“Because it will say, ‘I’m an idiot,’ or something like that, he’ll walk around all day with everyone laughing at him.”
The boys' arms were around their shoulders as they marched upstairs to their rooms. As the first lesson ended, Adam slipped a square sheet of paper with extra sticky tape across the corners. Henry tried to conceal it without getting tangled with his jacket.
Science next meant a walk to the ground floor. Simon chatted to Lucy as Henry crept nearer, with the message outstretched. As he touched Simon’s jacket a scream from behind.
Adam gave Henry a push, Henry clattered into Simon, they both bounced from stair to stair.
Adam made a show of bouncing from the bannisters to save Lucy from falling. He then looked around and shouted, “What was that for Mr Smithers? You could have injured somebody.”
All the children turned and glared at their sports teacher. He stood open-mouthed.
At the bottom, Simon was wailing. Henry struggled to his knees. The school secretary was on the phone, matron rushed from her office. Three teachers heard the commotion and aided the injured. Adam grinned.
“What is going on?” bellowed the headteacher. Children were dusting themselves and their friends. Stretching joints and testing for bruises. A ginger-haired boy held a handkerchief to his bloody nose.
“It was his fault,” said Adam, pointing at Mr Smithers, as he made his way to the bottom.
“Sort out any injured pupils, then get in my office,” said the head.
Adam’s grin got wider Mr Smithers glared at him.
A siren screamed in the distance. Within seconds, ambulance staff rushed stretchers through the entranceway.
Simon’s leg appeared broken, he grabbed his ankle twisting it at a painful angle. The boy with the broken nose was aided to a seat in the vehicle.
Other students were queuing outside the matron’s room. Gradually the uninjured children were led back to their classes. Henry was causing concern. He had been leaning against the wall; he slid down until he sat on the floor, tipping sideways, he passed out.
“Quick, nurse, what has happened to him?” shouted one girl.
Lucy was there in an instant, she lifted his head and rested it on her lap.
“Okay, young lady, let me take him.” The ambulance driver signalled a stretcher across, Henry was taken to hospital.
“That wasn’t part of the plan,” said Adam to himself with a smirk.
Voices were raised in the head’s office. Mr Smithers defended himself, with the head determined. “I’m going to sort this out. Children don’t just fall down the stairs,” said the head.
Lucy was called in to give her witness statement. Then, Adam was called.
“Mr Smithers said you were at the back, and you were playing about with Henry. Is that true?”
“I was near the back, true enough, but, I tried to grab poor Henry when Mr Smithers gave him a shove.”
“What?” said the head, “Have you got anything to say for yourself, Smithers?”
“Sir, I was answering a text message. I did not touch any pupil.”
“So, you didn’t push Henry, but bundled into him, because you weren’t paying attention to where you were walking?” asked the head.
“No, sir, I didn’t touch anyone.”
“Both of you, back to your classes. I need to decide what I’m going to do.”
Smithers pulled open the door and stormed out. Adam caught Smithers's ankle, with his foot, causing him to trip against the door.
“See sir, look how clumsy he is,” said Adam.
Smithers grabbed Adam’s throat and raised his hand.
“Get out of my school. Do not enter until I summon you,” said a red-faced headmaster.
Adam smiled the rest of the day. That evening he went to visit Henry.
“What are you doing here?” he asked Lucy.
“I could ask you the same thing,” Lucy said.
“I came to see my best friend.”
“The friend you call Einstein?”
“How do you know?”
Lucy slammed a piece of sticky paper upside down on the hospital bed.
“You gave him that? You planned the whole accident, right?”
“No, would I write so badly?”
“You mean the grammar and spelling?”
“How did you know what the sign says if you didn’t write it?”
She turned the paper over. The message said, ‘I is a idoit’.
“There, see, only Henry could write that.”
Simon limped in.
“I thought you had a broken leg?” asked Adam.
“Just a twist, I won’t join training tonight, but I’ll be fit for the weekend game. When we tell the head what happened, I don’t think Smithers will pick you.”
Henry sat up smiling and winked at Lucy.
“My boyfriend might not be a genius student, but he is far from stupid. He saw through you,” Lucy said. Three friends laughed, as they would never stop.