A Comedy of Nothing

When three year 11 students try and sit the compulsory General Assessment Task for their final year of school subjects, things start to go terribly wrong.
They are mistaken for murderers.

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1. Chapter One: Because Those Three Said I Should Put Chapters In. (Now they're telling me I shouldn’t have capitalized every word. Now they're telling me it's too long... now they're begging me to stop. (Evil laugh).

 

Context: Three students - Elizabeth Stuart, Geoffrey McHood, and Victoria Bisset did not turn up on the day of the GAT. Teachers Mandy and Marion have been waiting for them to arrive at school for the past fifteen minutes. This is precisely how late they are. Unless these students have a good excuse for missing the GAT, they are in deep trouble, and will fail the test all together.  I have been instructed to carefully write the minutes of the meeting between these two teachers and three students. I wish to remain anonymous.

Mandy is now screaming across the school. She has spotted one of the three rebels. It is Elizabeth Stuart. She has brought her in for a confrontation.

Mandy: Miss Stuart. How has your week been?

Elizabeth: It's been pretty good, thanks. How's yours been?

Mandy: It would have been better if you had of showed up to the GAT.

E: Oh.

Marion: 'Oh'. I think that fairly sums up the situation. Did we not emphasize the importance of this test enough?

E: You did.

Marion: Good! So why weren't you there?

E: (sighs) I may as well tell you I was abducted by aliens, because you're not going to believe me.

Mandy: Why don't you try us?

E: Okay. Here are the main points: I arrived at the school, ready to do the GAT. The man asked me for my ID That was when I realized my purse had been stolen. Cards and VB had lost theirs too.

Mandy: Wait. Who are Cards and VB?

E: Geoffrey and Victoria.

Marion: We'll skip the logic behind the nicknames and move on.

E: Okay. Anyway, we went to look for our purses, or wallets or whatever, and eventually found them. So we gave our ID to the man, and he arrested us. Then he thought we were criminals and said his organization would kill us the next day. So we spent the rest of the week trying to escape, and have only just succeeded today.

At this point both the teachers stared at the girl blankly.

Mandy: Fortunately, you are only in year 11. So you can actually DO the GAT next year. I'm afraid you'll have to fail this time round.

E: I told you you wouldn't believe me.

Marion: If you see Geoffrey or Victoria, please send them in.

About a minute later, Geoffrey walked in.

G: Are you taking the minutes?

I nodded.

G: Could you please refer to me as Cards? Lizzie wants to publish this when you've finished.

I blankly agreed to do so.

Mandy: Good morning, Geoffrey. How are you this morning?

C: Yeah, I'm okay, seeming I only just escaped with my life from a bunch of good guys that were technically bad guys.

The teachers blinked.

Marion: Right. Look, Geoffrey, we need to know why you missed the GAT.

C: Can I do it today?

Marion: Well, that all depends on whether or not you have a good enough excuse.

Mandy: Where were you?

C: Away.

Mandy: You can't just go away!

C: How much are you gonna charge me?'

Marion: There will be no fine. But you will fail the GAT.

C: Oh. Okay then. Do I get to go now?

Mandy: Fine, but make sure you send Victoria in.

C: For reference, minutes guy, if you could list her as V or VB that would be really helpful.

I implored the boy to stop talking to me. I was supposed to be the silent party.

Anyway, Cards left, and VB entered about two minutes later.

V: I am SO incredibly sorry! I understand that I have to fail. Now can I please go?

Mandy: Wait! First you need to tell us where you were.

V: I was in a heap of trouble.

Marion: How, dear? This is what we need to know.

V: I got to the GAT, and my purse was missing, so I found it, gave my id to the guy, got sentenced to death, and we only just escaped today.

Mandy and Marion were curious by now.

Mandy: Have you seen Elizabeth this morning?

V: No. She's probably in class by now.

Marion: Well, I find it intriguing that your stories match up. However, it is only too possible that you both made it all up previously. We will discuss this matter further...

V: After school?

Marion: No, now. Go and get Geoffrey and Elizabeth, would you?

VB left the room and came back about five minutes later with her two rather annoyed friends.

E: If you're not going to believe us, why do we have to tell you what happened?

Mandy: We need to send the GAT examiners SOMETHING!

C: This will be very entertaining for them.

Marion: Sit down, all three of you.

They did.

Mandy: Now, begin at the beginning. Presumably you have one.

E: Yes. And it's a very good place to start.

Her friends laughed.

Marion: Do try to be serious.

E: I will. Now, let's see. Thursday? 9.30 am? That was it, wasn't it?

C and V: Yeah, that's it.

E: Okay. Well, as I said, we all arrived for the GAT. I don't know about the others, but I had been studying super hard all week. Well... maybe. Probably not. Not really. But I showed up!

C: So did I, just in case you missed that.

V: I HAD been studying hard all week.

E: You're a nerd, VB.

V: Thank you, Lizzie.

E: You're welcome.

Mandy: Please continue with the story.

E: Oh. Sorry. Anyways, we showed up. I saw Cards before I saw VB, because he nearly crashed the car into mine when he was parking.

C: I did not! You nearly crashed the car into mine!

E: Let's not go there. The main point is, VB didn't crash the car into either of ours because she was on the other side of the car park. So we walked towards the building together, along with my other awesome friend.

V: Aww, thank you for implying our awesomeness, Lizzie.

E: You're welcome, VB. Oops, I did it again. Anyway! We got to the door, and the others went in. Meanwhile, Cards, VB, and I were searching for our purses.

C: Wallet in my case.

E: Whatever. We didn't find them. And the scary guy at the door wouldn't let us in unless he saw our student card. So we went to find our - personal card and money holders.

C: Thank you.

E: I'm not going to say you're welcome again. So to cut to the interesting part, we went back to the guy and showed him our ID Then he was like, 'Your names are Elizabeth Bisset, Victoria Hood, and Geoffrey Stuart' and we were like, 'Yes', which was technically a lie because we're really Lizzie, Cards, and VB.

Mandy: And those aren’t your last names.

E: That too, but we didn’t really pick up on it at the time. So he looked at our ID again - if we're going to publish this, do you think I should get all detailed?

C: You may as well. If you're going to fail a GAT, fail well.

E: Alright. Well, the guard was big, and...

C: Ugly?

V: Scary.

E: But I already said he was scary.

V: So? He was.

E: Okay. The guard was tall, muscular, and extremely terrifying.

Mandy: He's quite a nice guy actually.

E: Not really. He looked at our ID and then at us. He did that six times - twice for each of us. Then he said.

'You guys are serial killers.'

I said, 'I knew I shouldn't have had cornflakes for breakfast.'

C: I don't mean to interrupt, but that was REALLY lame.

E: I thought he was joking! So yeah, he didn't really like it either. He said,

'You think I'm joking little lady?'

'Um... I thought you were right up until then.'

'Good. Because I'm not joking. I'm being quite serious. You guys are all coming with me.'

Cards tried pretending to be brave. 'How are you going to get all of us to follow you?'

C: I wasn't trying to be brave.

E: Yes, you were, Cards. Then the guard replied...

C: No, I really was being brave.

E: Okay, whatever! But just to let you know, to be brave means you were scared. If you were brave you just didn't show you were scared.

C: What?

Marion: Thank you for the English lesson, Elizabeth. Next time leave the English teaching to me. Now continue with your story.

V: It's true.

Mandy: We'll decide at the end of this.

E: Okay. Please don't interrupt me this time, CARDS. So after Cards challenged the tough guy, the tough guy was like,

'Who said anything about making you follow me?'

Cards face fell. Not like literally, but in a figure of speech way. See? Not even Cards denies that. VB looked a little worried too. I spoke next.

'Can we please get in?'

'You heard me.' The guard replied. And he picked as all up in such a weird way that we couldn't even be heard when we tried to scream. We were like 'AGH!' But because he had stuffed us against his shoulder, nobody could hear us. He threw us in his car, and got in the driver’s seat. Then he locked the door. The car was a like a Mercedes or something. Whatever it was, Cards and VB got really excited about it. Was it Spinny LiLi?

C and V: Spinny LiLi!

V: It was a Lamborghini!

E: Oh..... Your reaction makes a lot more sense now. But yeah, the car was black and cool. If we weren't being kidnapped, I would have quite enjoyed it. It had leather seats, and air conditioners, and...'

Mandy: Yes, that's all very good. But what happened next!?

E: Oh, right. Well he started driving. We couldn't see the driver and we couldn't see outside, so we had no idea where we were going. It was like a jail cell in a car.

Mandy: And none of you were frightened?

Lizzie gave a wide grin, and shared almost embarrassed looks with her friends.

E: We played Donkey Tom.

Mandy: What?

V: It's a card game we made up.

Marion: Oh. Such bravery? To be kidnapped and locked inside a black car and to be so relaxed as to play card games? Outstanding.

The three gave a nervous giggle.

E: Yeah, that's us. Outstanding.

Mandy: I'm sorry I interrupted. Continue, please. I don't want to be here all day.

E: Why?

V: She hates us.

Mandy: No, I don't hate you! Just your lies.

E: Yup, she hates us. So anyway, VB lost pretty much every game of Donkey Tom and Cards and I tied. We were just about to have a tie breaker when the car stopped. Cards quickly packed his cards up...

Marion: Wait. Is this how he earned the creative nickname, Cards?

E: Yes. It sounded cooler than Geoff. Or Rey. Or Geoffrey.

Marion: Ah, and so VB would originate from Victoria Bisset's initials, no doubt.

E: Yeah, that's it. Her parents kind of forgot about beer when naming their daughter. Do you want me to continue now?

Marion: Oh, yes, certainly! I'm sorry I interrupted. Do continue with your fascinating story.

E: Okay. The scary guy dragged us out of the car. He couldn't have been a very good driver, because he was inside a building - which (as we all know) cars should not be in. He very meanly dragged us down a long hall, and locked us in a cell.

'We have been searching for you for years! ‘He cried excitedly. 'It is a shame that you have wasted your young lives. Tomorrow you will die.'

'Wait!' I cried. 'Is the death penalty even legal in Australia!?'

'Umm...' The man hesitated. ‘It is in Bali - for serious drug smuggling offenses!'

'You're Balinese?' VB asked.

'No. But we are obliged to deal with you as the Balinese see fit.'

Cards seem devastated. 'We smuggled drugs into a country?'

'Feeling sorry now?!' The guard replied. 'Well so you should be! Too bad it's too late.'

Then he turned and walked off.

So we were doomed to die tomorrow, and there was no reception from our cell. There was no way of escape.

Mandy: Oh, so this is a horror story?

The three friends considered this.

E: No, I think horror might be a bit strong.

Marion: Perhaps it is very similar to how Shakespeare would have put it: A Comedy of Errors.

Cards burst into a fit of laughter.

C: A comedy!? A comedy of errors?! More like a comedy of nothing!

Elizabeth smiled.

E: That's what we can call our book!

Marion: Oh no. I fear we have been led off the topic again. I really am sorry; I'll try to stop changing the subject. You were sentenced to death with no way of escape.

E: Sure. Anyway, we were all quiet for a long time. We were trying to figure out how we could escape before our parents came to pick us up so that they wouldn't freak out.

Mandy: You weren't more concerned about dying?

The friends glanced at each other.

E: Not really. At any rate, we came up with nothing.

There was a long pause.

Mandy: So!? Wouldn't that make you dead!?

C: Well, not necessarily.

E: The next part's kind of hard to explain...

Mandy: Well get Victoria to tell it! Just finish this ridiculous lie that you've created.

Marion: It would seem Elizabeth doesn't know how to finish her lie.

V: It's not a lie. It's true! But I'll do the next chapter at any rate.

E: You got that, secretary? What was your name? ---------- Okay, sorr -Y, Mr. Personality.

For the record, I have a personality. I just had to remain anonymous for this task.

 

 

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