I READ the Daily Record headline again: "Parents turn on teachers". Hell, I'd overheard a few favourable comments made by guys in ties about some of the dames with kids at their schools, but had not previously entertained the idea that being turned on by parents was a general phenomenon.
I had just decided to call the Gillespie broad to ask her what it was all about when the phone rang all by itself.
It was from the Brain Surgeon. "We've got a vigilante on the loose," he said, "someone who read a report that the GTC wanted the power to fine teachers accused of misconduct. The way he's interpreted it . . . well, you'll see for yourself." He gave me the name of the joint. I sighed and made for my car.
The head met me at the door. "Guy's a fruitcake!" he rasped. "He's one of the old school. So far he's stuck a ticket on a probationer for sitting on his seat and you can see what he's done to Mrs Mauchline in the physics department." He led me to a staff base where a broad was sitting, unable to move, with a wheel clamp on her leg. "He caught her reading a book without any numbers in it," the rector explained. "She's been charged with conduct unbecoming of a physicist and is supposed to pay a C-note to be released."
"Oh my Auntie May," I groaned. "Get someone from technical to free her while I track down this sap."
I did not have to look too hard. From the other side of the school came the roaring of a diesel revved hard, followed by the raucous, unmusical crash of breaking plate glass. Holding on to my hat, I made a sprint for the commotion. The head was close on my tail.
When we got to the library, we froze for an instant. Our renegade had backed a tow truck through a large window and was attaching a chain to a young male teacher.
"What the hell are you doing?" I yelled. "Towing him away. He's been warned, but he wouldn't listen!" I edged towards the rig. It was an old model, without a lock on its fuel cap. My hand slipped into the pocket of my trenchcoat. "What's he done?" I asked.
"He's wearing Wallace and Grommit socks again! If that's not professional misconduct I don't know what . . ."
He stopped as the truck motor died. The Irn-Bru I'd poured into its tank had worked through.
As he made for the cab, the head slugged him with a copy of How Good is Our School?
We let the GTC pick up the pieces. I shook hands with the rector and began to head off, then swung round.
"Forgive me for asking, Bub," I said, "but are you turned on by parents?"