Cool Runnings

7 Sep

It was 1994 and the Winter Olympics were in full swing in Lillehammer, Norway. Being only 10, I didn’t really have much interest in it and neither did the rest of my class; we were more concerned about playing Cops and Robbers, putting upturned drawing pins onto each other’s chairs and singing the wrong words to hymns in assembly. Playtimes were spent swapping Panini Football Stickers (with a shiny was worth AT LEAST 2 normal stickers), trying to push one another into the thorn bush and or sticking ‘itching powder berries’ down the back of someone’s shirt. Life was good; I had no worries in the world and not a great deal of homework to contend with at that age – as long as I went home with a new sticker for my Panini album, I was happy.

My teacher at the time was Mr.Marsh; feared by many, he was the only male teacher at my primary school. His booming voice would stop a misbehaving child in his or her track. Some were known to have spontaneously wet themselves after being shouted at. Now, Mr. Marsh was not an ordinary teacher. He would try and make learning fun; we listened to every word as he spoke, such was the enthusiasm of the man. We’d already completed a class project earlier in the year where we had various ‘airports’ dotted around the classroom, complete with toy planes. Daily timetables were drawn up and it was up to the ‘Air traffic Controller’ and ‘Pilot’ (specified daily) to move the correct planes, at the correct time, to the correct airport. It was not unusual to see children wandering about in the middle of a maths lesson, to move a toy plane to its next destination. This taught us geography and time management skills apparently. I didn’t care – it was fun.

Mr. Marsh also loved sport. Not only did he teach us in year 5, but he doubled as the PE teacher for the whole of the school. He was sport mad, so to him, the Winter Olympics were a big deal. I remember the beaming smile on his face as he broke the news to us about our next class project one morning.

“Class”, he started, his deep voice bouncing off the walls of the classroom, “for our next class project, we will be holding a bobsleigh tournament. You will work on your own and will compete against each other”

Our ears pricked up. Even the cool kids at the back of the class stopped whispering and passing notes.

“We will build a bobsleigh track in the classroom. Not a full size one for you to race down, but one that will fit a matchbox car. The only rule is, your matchbox car will have to look like a bobsleigh. You will have to use card and any other materials you want, to make the correct shape, decorate it in the colours of any nation you choose, and attach it to your car. We will then hold time trials to see who is the bobsleigh champion. We will build the course this week and time trials will be Monday and Tuesday of next week”. It was Mr. Marsh’s own little way of getting a class of 10 year olds interested in the Winter Olympics.

We couldn’t believe our luck – we were going to be coming to school to race our cars! Even the girls in the class didn’t seem fussed by this. I was over the moon; a keen collector of matchbox cars, I was sure I had the perfect car to beat all the opposition.
The course was built over the next few days. Mr. Marsh provided a plastic track from some sort of toy car race track (Hotwheels or something similar). This was attached to wall at the side of the classroom, running down at quite a steep angle so that the cars could pick up speed. It was about 7-8 metres long, then doubled back on itself sharply, and ran along some desks that were pushed together alongside the wall. The first part of our project was to decorate the wall with a winter Olympic theme, complete with spectators. I think Neil drew a yeti somewhere in the background. This was the boring part on the project. On the Friday, we all had to bring in the car that we wanted to use in the bobsleigh tournament. Mr.Marsh supplied those who hadn’t got one (mainly the girls) with a car from his collection. I carefully cut out two shapes that vaguely represented the side profile of bobsleigh, and blu-tacked them to the side of my car, which was a black Porche if I recall correctly. I had chosen this because the wheels seemed to go the best out of all of my collection. I gave my bobsleigh the number 12, and coloured it in black, green and yellow; the colours of Jamaica. We were even allowed to oil up the wheels of our cars – It was one of the best days of school ever. I actually wanted the weekend to go quickly, as Monday was the day for testing our cars on the track and making any modifications if required, ready for the time trials on Tuesday. Most of the class couldn’t wait either and a friendly rivalry had already sprung up amongst classmates.

Monday came, and one by one, we were allowed to take our car to the top of the track and release it, seeing how well it performed. Giving the car a push was not permitted. I waited with great anticipation for my turn; my surname begins with ‘W’ so I was one of the last as we were going in alphabetical order. I was sure that the other kids would be so jealous when they saw how fast my car went. Finally my time came and I stepped up, make-shift bobsleigh in hand. I let go and it whizzed down the track at some speed, much faster than most. When it came to the curved bend, the bobsleigh almost shot over the top. ‘Ah, skills’ I thought to myself, ‘I can win this’. My main competitor, from what I could tell, would be a girl named Sarah Bow, who’s bobsleigh had also nearly left the track, such was the speed of it. I hadn’t noticed anyone other bobsleigh do this. I went home Monday a happy child, brimming with confidence about the following days competition.

Tuesday came and it was the final day of our Winter Olympic project, the day that we’d all been waiting for – the race competition. Excited voices filled the classroom that morning, every child was confident that their bobsleigh would win. I kept quiet; I knew that it was a two horse race between myself and Sarah Bow. After class registration, we had an opening ceremony. Every competitor had to go to the front of the classroom, say an interesting fact about the country they were representing and place their bobsleigh on the desk before returning to their seats. Mr. Marsh waited until the 25 or so small bobsleighs were lined up, and declared that we would be starting the day with a history lesson; competition would commence after break. What a tease.

We came into class after break time and the competition started. All did not go according to plan. The first couple of bobsleighs seemed to ‘stick’ to the track and wouldn’t go down it. Closer examination revealed that there was a cheat amidst us; the wheels of the toy cars had been stuffed with blu-tac. Picking up my car I noticed the same thing had been done to mine and the wheels were slightly bent. I was quite distraught – my hopes of winning the competition had been dashed. Mr. Marsh hit the fucking roof!
“Who has decided to cheat and ruin this for everyone?”. The walls shook such was the ferocity in his voice. No-one owned up, no-one daren’t look up; every child in the class had their eyes fixated on their desk. Mr. Marsh was clearly disappointed that someone would do such a thing. He explained that he would ‘come down like a ton of bricks’ on the person responsible for cheating, should he find out who had done it. Fortunately, such was his love for this project, he let us have until lunch time to fix our bobsleighs and competition would restart in the afternoon.

Rumours circulated during lunch break about who the phantom tamperer could be. One name kept springing up; Sarah Bow. Rat-Catcher Simon told me that he had seen her go back into the class during break time and a couple of other kids confirmed this. For me, that was enough evidence. She was a competitive little cow – it was widely known that her mum had completed her Mozart project earlier in the year and she had taken all the plaudits, as well as the book token first prize. I was fuming. My bobsleigh had no chance of winning, the bent wheels meant that it was now one of the slowest. If I couldn’t win, I was going to make sure that Sarah Bow couldn’t either.

I scoffed my lunch down faster than usual and left the canteen. I made my way towards our classroom, pausing only briefly for a quick sip from the water fountain – my throat was dry; I was going to do something devious, but I didn’t know what. The classroom door was open slightly, and peeking through I saw that the room was empty. Outside, I could see other members of my class playing ‘Tag around the bush’ and Mr. Marsh watching over the playground, wearing really tiny PE shorts. I entered the room and pushed the door shut behind me. On the desk in front of me were all the bobsleighs. My eyes scanned the desk quickly, looking for Sarah Bow’s, all the while I was listening intently for any sounds of someone coming. If I got caught it would ruin me, my reputation would be in tatters as I would surely have been prime suspect as the phantom tamperer.

I saw Sarah Bow’s bobsleigh, (a red and white one, I think it was Canada) and I grabbed it in my hand. I examined it –not a trace of any damage to the wheels; she must have tampered with everyone else’s, I was sure of it. What I did next still confuses me to this day. Not really knowing what to do with the bobsleigh, I dropped my trousers and inserted it into my anus. Now, this was the first time I’d ever put anything up there (not that I’ve put anything else up there since), and I was surprised by how quickly it slipped up once I’d got the nose of the car in. ‘Wow, it’s like it’s actually driving up me’ I remember thinking. At the time I was worried that our pockets or bags would be searched once Sarah discovered her bobsleigh was missing, so my arsehole was the only place where I could safely hide it. Once composed, I went into the playground and joined my friends, my bum pulsating slightly.

An upbeat vibe filled the classroom upon our return after lunch. Even Mr. Marsh seemed to have calmed down and was eager to start the competition. I stayed calm, I was perspiring slightly but I kept my cheeks clenched tightly, my stolen prize stayed put. I knew that Sarah Bow would go mental when she discovered her bobsleigh was missing.

To cut a long story short, she broke down in tears when it came to her go and she couldn’t compete. I think Mr. Marsh may have had his suspicions about her already, he just shrugged and said, “You must have misplaced it”. My heart swelled with pride and my buttocks ached with pain – I had stopped Sarah Bow winning and it was just what she deserved. I think Andrew ‘Carrot Nose’ Littlejohn won the competition in the end. I came in the bottom 3, but I wasn’t fussed. The highlight of the whole project for me was seeing Sarah Bow’s devious little plan all come unhinged. I waddled home that afternoon content with the world and had the most refreshing poo of my life to date. The Canadian bobsleigh slid slowly out of me and I picked it from the toilet bowl with some tissue paper and buried it in the garden.

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