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Further adventures of Phil Harrass Private HMI

IT WAS the darndest case. All over the country, infant teachers were having their lessons disrupted in the same bizarre fashion when they read a particular story. The latest was a broad from a primary school in the central belt. I poured a slug of red-eye into the tea she was drinking as she shook in the staffroom and asked her to tell me all about it. Her account followed a by now familiar pattern.

"I was reading the story of The Bear Who Didn't Like School," she began. "I was halfway through the first paragraph, the one that goes on about Teddy being cross getting up for school and cross having his breakfast when I heard the noise of a diesel engine.

"Then a bus drove through the wall of my classroom, someone got out, said something that sounded like 'Go find a general', and shoved a bar of soap into my mouth."

There was only one thing for it. I had to set a trap. I borrowed a copy of The Bear Who Didn't Like School, a twin set and a wig. Next, I found a primary school with a disused classroom. Seated at the desk, I began to read like I had a roomful of enthralled brats in front of me. "Teddy was cross getting up for school. Teddy was cross having breakfast. Teddy was cross-dressing . . ."

It was then I heard the diesel roar and elt the room shake as a bus busted through the wall. "Gayfinder General!" yelled the sap who emerged from the dust. "You are promoting an abominable lifestyle!"

He advanced on me with his bar of soap but I caught him where it hurt with my right foot. As he doubled over I slipped behind and got him in an arm lock. "OK, Bub, sing!" I rasped.

"Good grief, you're a man!" he wheezed. "This is worse than simply reading stories of cross-dressing bears!"

I sighed and released him. I knew who he was now.

"Right, Soapy, back on your stagecoach," I ordered. "If you go around washing out the mouths of any more teachers you think are breaching Section 28 guidelines I'll make sure I tell the Feds."

"They'll be right behind me. Most people are," he replied.

This was my cue for a cheap joke, but I held back. Instead, I yelled: "If you've got half a million bucks to blow, why not put it towards my 'Save the APT' campaign?" But he was already backing his bus out of the classroom.

"Oh and cross-dressers aren't necessarily gay and vice versa!" I added just the same.

Then I slunk off to get out of the twin-set. I was all for equality and live and let live, but I didn't want anyone who knew me to see me dressed like that.

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