by Bernard Beckett
This dark, humorous narrative is set during the First World War and, through exaggeration, shows the effects of extreme patriotism that can appear in wartime. Thomas, the narrator, hates Mrs Biggs, his teacher. He also hates singing. When Mrs Biggs finds him playing Catch the German, she punishes him by making him sing in front of the mayor. Thomas’s desperate attempt to avoid singing has unexpected results when Mrs Biggs and the mayor decide to smash the piano – because it was made in Germany.