Alberto Bolero Contadero was always a little bit different from the rest of his school friends . Whilst the rest of his schoolmates in the Spanish hillside village were content to wear subtle pastel olive coloured workshirts to school , young Alberto had a penchant for bright colours especially yellow and pink thus earning himself the nickname ‘Bert the Shirt ‘ .
He was also a little bit different in the classroom . Whenever any of his classmates answered a question correctly they would stay seated and carry on with the remainder of the lesson . Bert the shirt , however , would always jump up out of his seat , make the shape of a gun with his hand and shout BOOM ! This always raised a few eyebrows but over time everyone just got used to it . A story went around the school that ‘Bert the shirt’ had watched the Adam Sandler movie Happy Gilmore , two hundred and forty seven times and loved the character of villian Shooter McGavin and that this was the reason for his fascination with turning his hand into a gun .
One term ‘Bert the shirt ‘ was put sitting next to another young scholar called Lancero Strongermo , or ‘seven eleven’ as he was known due to the fact that he scored 100% in seven out of the eleven exams he had taken . ‘Seven Eleven’ was used to being top dog in his classroom , scoring highest in the exams and hanging out with the teachers . He took some time out of school to try singing in a girlband but that didn’t really work out so he went back to school and found himself seated next to the younger ‘Bert the shirt ‘ who was now scoring 100% in the exams and wearing the crown that ‘Seven eleven’ thought was rightfully his . On the day of a big exam as ‘Bert the shirt ‘ reached down to get his pencil case out of his schoolbag he got a shot of a compass in the side of the bum . He let out a roar and the teacher just told him to wisht up . Poor ‘Bert the shirt’ felt that the whole class was against him but persevered and fought back . He gave ‘Seven Eleven’ a shoulder which saw him fly out of the desk and end up flat on his back on the floor of the classroom with a big sulky head on him . Bert went on to score 100% in the exam 4 % more than Seven Eleven and once again stood up , made the shape of a gun with his hand , pointed it at Seven Eleven and shouted BOOM ! which was replied to with a kick in the shins under the desk .
However , a few days later the teacher asked Bert the shirt to come up to his desk to have a look at something . Bert went up and saw that the teacher had his exam open on the desk next to a text book . The teacher told Bert that the two foolscap page answer to question 5 was word for word the same as what was in the text book , even down to a slight spelling mistake . Poor Bert the shirt had a rabbit caught in the headlights look about him but recovered quickly . The teacher said that he didn’t expect an answer straight away but that they would have to go down to the principal later and Bert better have a good answer ready by that time .
Bert the shirt spent his whole lunch break discussing the matter with his friend Alexandro Wine-o , who had found himself in a similar predicament the previous term and had been suspended for a fortnight because of it . Together they came up with what sounded like a perfectly plausible reason for the similarity and Bert the shirt strolled confidently back into the school after the break .
So confident was he in fact that he walked straight up to the Principles office , gave a slight knock on the door and walked right in . The Principal looked up from his desk and if there was anything he could help Bert with .
Bert replied that there was indeed ,
‘I have come to clear my name . My teacher has said that he found a slight similarity between the textbook answer and my own in the recent exam . You see there is a perfectly plausible answer to the cause of this . You see , my neighbours dog came into my house while my friend Alexandro was over playing . Alexandro wasn’t mad on the look of the dog and went home but you see I petted the dog and he rolled over . I leant over further to pet him but accidentally knocked my school bag over too and my book fell out onto the ground . The dog jumped up and then he did his wee all over the book . I had to run up stairs to get my mothers hair dryer and by the time I got back down the dog was gone . And you see , I spent so much time looking at the pages of the book while I was drying them with the hairdryer that I had a photograph of them in my brain when I was answering the question in the exam ‘
The principal sat there with a bemused expression on his face and asked what type of dog it was and which neighbour it belonged to .
Bert the shirt replied that he couldn’t remember exactly what type of dog it was or which neighbour it may belong to but that it was a bit of an odd dog alright .
The Principal nodded and then told Bert that they would have to follow the correct procedure and his parents would be called in and they would have an independent teacher from another school take a look at it also .
Bert the shirt strolled out of the office head held high confident that his name would be cleared , but would it really ?