Jennifer Wilson got in a pre-emptive strike. At least, that's what she told Miss Simmons when the science teacher noticed the three-deep ring of teenagers in the top playground half way through lunch and waded in to pull the two girls off each other.
“I was in fear for my life, Miss. I'm allowed to strike first if I'm in fear of my life. That's the law, that is.”
Miss Simmons turned to the other participant who looked, if anything, worse off than Jennifer. “Is that true, Chloe? Did you threaten Jennifer?”
“As if.” Chloe Good's mouth snapped closed from what certainly appeared to be open-mouthed wonder. “I wasn't doing nothing.”
“See, Miss? Double negative.” Jennifer's best friend Holly Taylor Pointed at Chloe. “She did mean to do summat.”
“Don't be a smarty pants, Holly. I think you'll find the concept of the double negative has entered the OED as expressing an empathic negative.” She looked from one girl to the other. “Right. Both of you can go and see Mrs Hammond. I'm sure she can get to the bottom of this when she calls your parents.”
“It's all right, Miss.” Chloe wiped a smear of blood from her mother. “No need to call me' da. I started it. It wo're Jenny's fault.”
“That's good of you to admit, Chloe. Award yourself three weeks of after school detention.”