The second rip tore the pants in two. There was a general gasp and the sound eight hundred teenagers holding their breath. The principal stood, holding the clipboard which, moments ago, she had dropped, and which was the cause of the double rip. Her trouser bottom flapped in the breeze from the auditorium doors, but she did not think the students could see this. She stood silently, staring at the clipboard. She had three paths she could take. She could joke, but that would lose authority. She could acknowledge, but that would also lose her authority. Or she could ignore it ever happening. She leaned into the microphone. She saw a teacher duck out of the auditorium and, a moment later, she heard distant laughter. Seem that Mr Doughton would be doing Saturday detentions for the next two months. She cleared her throat.

“Tomorrow is the annual swimming sports, where the houses will compete for the honour of winning. But, for those of you who prefer the less formal competitive events, there will be the usual Water Olympics with the Cork Scramble, Pool Pony races and the Duck Diving contest. I hope you all have a ripping time and for those doing the Duck Diving – bottoms up!”

The entire room burst into laughter. Mrs Dixon smiled, taking the laughter as if it were at her terrible puns rather than at the state of her trousers. She nodded and smiled, then backed away to her chair. She handed the clipboard to the assistant principal and received a look of respect and awe. 


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