Chapter 13 - A Sprinkling of Happiness
The buses were rumbling up the tarmac road that lead to the car park as Lilly stepped out of the Reptile House with the vial of tears firmly in her grip. She could see their roof tops coming towards her amongst the avenue of trees. In a few minutes the drivers would leave their buses and make their way through the zoo gates in search of the children they would have expected to find being organized into tidy queues by their teachers. But right now, other than Miss Sharp, everyone in the zoo was still stuck behind the gate at the sea lions pool. She couldn't allow the drivers to find a hypnotised Miss Sharp still with the monkeys, teaching them mathematics, and she couldn't let the children be released until she had administered the antidote.
Lilly speed down the main path that wound through the zoo, as she ran past the pens and enclosures the animal all started to chant. "Go Lilly Go!" Thanks to Roderick the whole zoo now knew about the crocodile tears and the antidote, and inhabitants cheered Lilly on. Lilly held the vial aloft like an Olympic runner holds an eternal flame, past Rex who was wagging his tail whilst still diligently guarding a rueful Harry. Past the ostriches, who spread out their somewhat patchy plumage and clapped their wings in delight. Past Roderick, who roared most manly and gave his scariest snarl, whilst winking at Lilly. Past the Monkey House, where she skidded to a stop. A ball of dust enveloping her, to the delight of the monkey's, which love a comic entrance. Delight shown by a large amount of whooping that Miss Sharp would have quelled, if it was not for the sound of a raspberry being emitted from the centre of the plume of dust. With Miss Sharp released from her hypnotic trance Lilly speed on to further cheers until she reached the sea lion pool.
Lilly knew what she needed to do as she skirted the fencing that surrounded the pool area until she found a gap wide enough for her to squeeze through. Though she had quite enough of squeezing for one day she wriggle through to find the water storage tank that collected rain water off the stand roof. It was at about the same time as Lilly scooted up the ladder to pour the vial of tears in to the water that Miss Sharp, somewhat shocked after being woken, found her way out of the monkey's enclosure and hurriedly made her way towards the sound of crying children, children that were not necessarily crying because they were stuck behind the gate for the best part of an hour. After all, there was a nice big grassed picnic area, a play park with an ice-cream stall within the grounds that made up the sea lion enclosure. No, they were crying, well they didn't really know why, just because, just because of crocotearalitis! Lilly jumped down from the tank and followed the pipe that led away from it and towards a large lever. Taking a firm grip on the lever she pulled with all her might to release the water that fed the sprinklers that were dotted all over the grassed area where the children were sat crying soulfully. Within moments the sprinklers sprang into life and span round in circles, arcing water high into the air to fall like rain in fine drops, which fell in a mist, dancing with the sunlight that streamed through the droplets in a myriad of rainbow colours.
At first the pirouetting of the sprinklers spread pandemonium. Adults and children leapt from their places in a panic looking to escape from the unexpected downpour. But as they ran, mixed in with the rainwater came Shakira's tears; tears that at first caused confusion. Children and adults alike stopped where they were stood and looked at one another, and down turned mouths turned up and began to beam. And then there was a giggle, I may have been Vicky; it was hard to tell as the single giggle was met by another, and then more and then more. Everyone began to laugh and point in amusement at each other being rained upon. It may have been Vicky, it was hard to tell, that was the first to start skipping in and out of the sprinklers as they whooshed happy tears. Whoever it was, the change was instant and it affected everyone. Adults and children alike began dancing and laughing in the rain. Lilly couldn't help but smile and chuckle a little herself, as she watched from the lever and wondered if perhaps she had overdosed everyone a little; though being a teddy bear she believed that you could never have too much happiness.
Miss Sharp's confusion of finding herself with the monkeys and hearing crying that had inexplicably changed to laughter as she reached the sea lion pool, changed to annoyance; detention book annoyance! As she released the latch and stepped in, she could not believe her eyes. Children running amuck amongst the sprinklers, not only children, but adults, her fellow teachers, all shrieking in delight and running about. Miss Sharp strode into the clearing and reached for her book. "Well I never!" she began. "In all my years…" And then she felt it; a giggle rising from inside. "Children!" she said trying to stifle the giggle and frown as only Miss Sharp could. But the giggle could not be denied and all she could do was to put her hand over her mouth to try and stop it coming out. Neither could she deny the scene that unfolded in front of her was purely wonderful. And as she stood in the mist of the sprinklers she could not suppress her amusement, or the urge to join in with the fun. None of the children knew Miss Sharp could do a cartwheel, or a backflip, nor did they expect her to end up sat on a sprinkler when she came to rest; an event that only lead to further mirth and howls of laughter, the loudest laughter coming from Old Sharky herself. It was at this point that Lilly slipped away from the lever to where the children had stacked their bags, to find Vicky's and to slip back in unnoticed her mission accomplished.