{ This is why I should not be allowed to drink coffee... }

TDTO: Life is Like...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When Patrick Doctor arrived at school, Jamie was the only person in the
locker room. He was leaning against a row of lockers, trying not to look too
pleased with himself, and not succeeding.

"You look as if you're enjoying yourself," Patrick said. "Would this be
anything to do with Valentine's Day?"

Jamie's grin broadened slightly. "Maybe."

"I take it you got a good crop of cards, then?"

"Aye, one or two." Jamie produced a collection of envelopes. "This one's
from Kirsty, and this one's from ZoŽ. And this--"

"My word, Jamie, that's a big one."

"Aye, it's from Samantha. And there's a lot written inside it, too, only I
didnae ken what half the words meant."

"Can I see it?"

"Of course." Jamie passed the card over. Patrick tutted slightly at the
nature of the cartoon on the front, then opened it. His eyebrows shot upwards.

"Well, well. What a saucy young lady."

"So what does she mean by this bit?"

"I think you're better off not knowing, Jamie. Did you get any others?"

"Aye, this one's from Victoria, but I couldnae make out what it said
either."

"Victoria?" Patrick reached for the card with alarm. "I hope Samantha
hasn't been a bad influence on her..." He opened the card, and was relieved to
find that Jamie's complaint merely related to the copperplate handwriting.
Victoria, it seemed, had graced her card with a few stanzas copied from a
volume of traditional romantic songs.

"And there's one from Fiona," Jamie said. "Ye ken, that lass we met last
year at the football tournament?"

Patrick looked up from the elegantly-written poem, distracted from growing
misgivings about just how innocuous the quaint old ballad might really be.

"Oh, yes," he said. "I thought she was rather smitten. Is that the lot?"

"Aye, that's it."

"Nothing from Gwendoline, then?"

"I reckon she's still not talking to me after that business wi' yon rubber
spider."

"Ah, yes. That."

"Och, it was worth it. Did ye hear her scream?"

"I think everyone in the building did." Patrick produced a couple of
envelopes. "These are mine. From Madeleine, and from Gemma."

"Oh, aye." Jamie glanced briefly at the cards. "Well, we'd better put these
away, hadn't we?"

He opened his locker, carefully placed his collection of cards within, and
closed it again. Turning back to face Patrick, he was surprised to see that
his friend had a puzzled expression on his face and a parcel in his hands.

"Where did that come from?" he asked.

"I found it in my locker." Patrick examined the label. "It's addressed to
me."

"Aye?"

"Looks like Edward Master's writing."

"He's a strange one," Jamie said. "He should be giving cards to lassies, not
presents to you. What's in it?"

Patrick cautiously removed the wrapping paper.

"It looks like a box of chocolates." He took a step back as Jamie eagerly
reached for the box. "Be careful, Jamie."

"Och, come on. If he's giving you chocolates he canna be all bad."

"I wonder." Patrick set the box down on a bench. "Have you ever heard the
saying that life is like a box of chocolates?" He cautiously lifted the lid.
"You never know--"

He broke off abruptly. With a panicked cry of "Jamie, it's ticking!" he
rugby-tackled the young Scot to the floor. They hit the ground at the same
moment that the box exploded; scorched fragments of paper, card and plastic
rained down around them.

"What was that ye were going tae say?" Jamie asked, apparently unperturbed
by the blast. "About life being like a box of chocolates?"

"Well, it's no good me saying it now. I mean, you couldn't say 'Life is like
a box of chocolates. It explodes when you least expect it,' now, could you?"

Jamie thought about this.

"Seems to describe our lives pretty well," he said.

[ "Doctor Who" characters belong to the BBC.

This Time Round was created by Tyler Dion

Then Do That Over by Paul Gadzikowski.
]

--
John Elliott

Thinks: This is what a nice clean life leads to. Hmm, why did I ever lead one?
-- Bluebottle, in the Goon Show