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#126: Herd

#126: Herd
Odd Spot - The Age - 06/06/2022

Rory didn't move his head as he scanned the room. He could see a seat just off to the side, next to a group of girls. He didn't know them, and guessed they wouldn't mind him sitting near them.

Keeping his head down, he hugged the wall. The doors at the other end of the canteen swung open. The room almost fell silent as a group of boys stormed in. Rory imagined David Attenborough narrating the tense jungle scene, noting all the animals were on the menu. The silence was an evolutionary tactic of not drawing attention to one’s self.

The smell of cigarette smoke permeated the room. These were the boys to avoid. At. All. Cost.

Rory had paused behind the colossal frame of Geoffrey. The camera would pan across to Rory and note the ability of this lone animal to mimic the environment, much like a cameleon.

Rory could smell the stale sweat. This close up, Rory could see the flakes of dandruff in the greasy hair.

Once the ambient noise returned to normal, he continued his journey. Small, well-hidden cameras would document his attempts to get to a seat so he could eat in relative peace. Much like the instinctual need of wildebeest to cross a crocodile infest river, he needed to eat. The canteen was like swarming the river in great numbers, overwhelming the predators and ensuring most of the herd survived.