Mr Jones' eyes sparkled with what could only be described as guilt, guilt at being caught. He averted his gaze quickly, but not before I had registered the number of emotions concealed in his look. Mr Jones had looked at me for a reason, and although I couldn't quite decipher what that reason was, I knew it was something important. Seeds of suspicion had been planted into my brain.
Jones rehearsed in detail what we were supposed to be doing, lifting the scalpel only to remove an organ. Whenever he did so, shouts echoed throughout the room. He didn't once look at me as he finished the procedure. Finally, after all of the organs had been removed, and lay in their own bloody mess on a separate tray, Jones advised us to head off and select a rat from the dissection table, take it back to our own benches and begin hacking up a rodent.
Abbie slid away and chose a noticeably fat animal with wide cheeks as so they had been stuffed with grapes before death. Its two front teeth protruded out over its lips and gave it a comical appearance. Abbie went straight to work and made the beginning cut.
"Did you see the way Mr Jones looked at you?" Abbie questioned, breaking the silence and startling me back into the real world.
"Of course I did" I replied, not wanting to give anything about what I suspected away.
"It was as if he was worried" Abbie continued.
"Maybe he thought I was scared of the blood" I shrugged my shoulders.
"Yeah, but it's not like we haven't seen blood in a biology lesson before" Abbie commented. She handed me the sharp object she had been using to slice the rat's stomach open and said, "lucky dip. Whoever finds the heart first wins"
Abbie always turned everything into a game. That was what was so great about her. A boring lesson soon became a fun one when Abbie was around. For example, on a dreary Religious Studies lesson one day Abbie turned to me and whispered, "pull as many faces as you can at the teacher without getting caught"
My record was twelve. Abbie's was fifteen. Neither of us were ever caught. Another fine classic was count-the-wrinkles-on-the-teacher's-forehead, a game I excelled in thanks to my keen eyesight.
"Like a game of operations then?" I said.
"Yeah. 100 points for the heart, 75 for the lungs, 50 for the stomach and 20 for the rest. if you get a rib bone or part of the vertebrate you can have 10" Abbie laughed. "What about the brain?" I asked.
"The brain don't count because it's the only thing in the rat's head so it'll be a piece of cake to fish out" Abbie answered.
"You win and I'll buy you a can of coke at the canteen, and vice versa" Abbie suggested.
"Deal" I shook her hand and proceeded to play rat-operation, all worries about Mr Jones banished.