“You know that we have been building in the holidays? Doubtless you’ve already seen the small building to the left of the dormitories? Well,” as the girls nodded, “this annexe is to be the school’s Pet Room. Years ago we had one, until the school grew too large for convenience. The old Pet Room is now Upper Fourth Form room,” she added.
“We plan to keep many pets in there, in the charge of their owners and primarily the pet prefect. We will keep cats, parrots, birds, lizards and practically anything that is not a dog—or big or vicious,” she hastily said.
“Now, I wished to tell you girls first for several reasons. You are, of course, the prefects, the cream of the school, and you will always be the ones to set an example to the younger girls. I think sometimes that you do not realise your influence over them; but whatever attitude you take to this new venture will proceed throughout. In order to make this work I need your backing. And finally, I need a Pet Prefect to take on the duties of caring for and keeping records for the animals. I hope that the owners will take on the majority of the responsibility, but the prefect will have the ultimate authority.
“I’ll leave you to it. Please inform me of your decision as regards the Pet Prefect before twenty minutes past two.”
The prefects sat in stupefied silence as they grasped the situation. They recovered all too quickly to think clearly as regarding the matter.
“Holy hindquarters!” Mel Castle ejaculated.
“I vote Nellie for the prefectship!”
“Yeah. She won’t care what she does!”
The malicious ordinations rang out.
“Order! Order!” commanded Stacie. “Now, who’s interested in animals?” She spluttered the last word in unconcealed disgust.
One hand sauntered its way up into a cloud of silence. It was Nellie Russell’s.
“Done! And you’re a sub-prefect, which makes it much easier all round!” Stacie grinned.
“I’d rather not,” Nellie squeaked anxiously.
“Then why’d you raise your hand?” laughed Alyssa Tinton.
“You can’t protest. Stacie’s Head Girl and you’re just a sub. No one else will do it, and you’re the only one who is willing to have anything to do with animals. I mean, I like dogs, but parrots and lizards…” Mel scoffed, and the others chuckled.
“Done,” Stacie repeated. “Dismissed.”
There was a roar of approval and a hearty stampede to the common room.
Nellie sighed as Stacie stepped heavily towards Miss Timber’s office with the purpose of informing her of their decision. She was to be the new Pet Prefect.