This rocket is what the baby-children in the rest of the class were doing. They were screaming and jumping and throwing cardboard tubes in the air and generally not making a proper rocket. NO-ONE can see that propulsion is the key, like the cleaner said. If you get enough pressure you can WHOOSH yourself over the surface of the moon! What a dream!
Mr Chuckle has NOT come back and it is nearly the time to meet the astronaut. I AM NOT MISSING HIM. I decide no-one will notice me if I sneak back and don't touch any buttons or savage any insects and I make my way back to the basement. And there they all are, shouting and screaming in little groups dotted round a big white hall. Dexter is nearest to me and has been forced to make his rocket with Miranda and her Bug Club buddies. They are in a huddle on the floor, prodding at rocket bits; all except for Dexter who is pretending to read a book.
'Ten minutes to go!' yells Mrs Trundle from the far end. Good, she is busy with the Stupid Group. I remain undetected.
'Hello,' I say and bob down.
Dexter takes an interest again and picks up the plastic rocket bottle.
'You need to use this bicycle pump,' I say, picking it up.
'I knew that,' says Miranda and The Bug Club nods.
'Then you can put on this tube...'
'Yeah, that's right,' says Miranda.
'...And stick it to your bottle...'
Miranda opens his mouth. 'Shut up, Miranda,' says Dexter, 'Wilf is building the rocket!'
The Bug Club gapes. I wait for her to use her BIG voice but then she does not.
Instead she says. 'So, you escaped,' and she grins.
The Bug Club grin as well. I decide I have nothing to lose and I give grinning a go too. Soon we are all grinning like lunatics. I decide grinning is all very well but it will not win the rocket competition. I start pumping and the pressure inside the bottle is building up.
'Two minutes!' cries The Trundle.
'Stand clear!' I shout and the rocket flies, zooms, powers upwards.
And the rest of the class goes quiet and the only sound you can hear is the whoosh of the air and the pop of the plastic bottle hitting the ceiling.
'I could have done that,' says Miranda.