Mr Jefferies has never had brain freeze. So when he sat on a bench facing the sea, he plucked out the stake of chocolate and stuffed the ivory whip of ice-cream into his mouth without a single wince or squint. He was a champion. They said it was because he had a cool head. But to him it was worthless if you couldn’t teach it.
Froth was sipped from the glassy sky almost as quick as Mr Jefferies licked out half of his cardboard cone. His phone shuddered in his pocket. He ignored it. It shivered again. Who’d be trying to bother him, he wondered. People ought to be able to sort things without him. But he cared about the kids. He worried about where they might end up if he didn’t fill out the forms, or do the budgets, or get the right teachers or answer the phone. So he unsheathed his choc-ice of a mobile phone and answered it.
‘Hello?’ he said, licking the melting cream from the crease.
‘Where are you?’
‘What? Why? You should be here.’
‘It’s Wednesday. We’ve done assembly without you, but the governors are insisting on knowing where you are. You okay?’
‘Well… I’ve lost my collar stiffeners. I can’t go to a meeting looking like this.’
With eyes like frozen dreams, Mr Jefferies ate, slug slow, the thimble-end of his melting cornucopia, and wondered where the plastic collar-things had pinged to. He snapped in half, whacked his palm to his brow as shards of ice sliced through his head. A cold front had collided with a warm front in his northern hemisphere. And for the first time in his life, a brainstorm was on the way.