I suppose the reasons why I got into Sunday School teaching were much the same as other people's. I like coming to church. We have nice biscuits. I like the first two songs which are always quite jolly. But I found the sermons really boring, and I enjoy cutting up card. And, of course, a profound sense of calling. And in the early days it was great fun. Apart from the children.
But the fun's not there so much any more. In past, it has just been that the "Roots" magazine has maybe had an off week and I've had to think about what the Bible is trying to say. I could cope with that. Even though young Daniel, whose mother is the vicar, would keep coming up with trick questions like "if Genesis is true, why didn't the dinosaurs eat the cave men?" In the end I had to ask the vicar. She told me Adam, Cain and Abel killed them all because they were fed up with the droppings. Especially the pterodactyl. You wouldn't want to get that in your eye.
And now something more sinister has happened. Somebody has been letting the Play-Doh dry out. You have no idea the stress that puts on you. Especially when you are making models of the animals on the Ark. I tell myself it was just carelessness. But there's always that nagging suspicion. Especially when you know that Radnor is after your job.
Radnor is 18. She's grown up in the church. It's three years since she left Sunday School of course. But she's told us her plan is to become a Sunday School teacher rather than stay in the service on Sunday mornings. But - mark this - we have no vacancies. So she sits around offering to "help". She says she will cover for us if anyone is away or ill.
But I think she is deliberately poisoning me. Last month, I had terrible stomach and head aches on Sunday morning. Radnor "stepped in" and was of course told what a great job she'd done, how everybody appreciated her help at short notice. Everybody giving her the praise I don't get every week. But my suspicion is that she had followed me and my friends down to the curry house where we had a meal the day before, pouring extra chilli in my Lamb Naga and putting something in the shots we drank afterwards in the night club.
And Radnor is "ever so good" at tidying up when the work has finished and we've sung the "Arky Arky" song. Although she drops hints that maybe the "Arky Arky" song is a bit old-fashioned. So I think Radnor has been deliberately leaving the top slightly loose on the Play-Doh to ensure it goes rock hard over the week. And sticking glitter on the Pritt Sticks so the first glue of the week is always really shiny and hard to spread. And I know she looks like she is being kind when she sharpens all the colour pencils. But I know she is deliberately breaking the leads to disrupt my sessions.
I have stressed to the vicar that she must never ever go to another church. She's been here 10 years now, but young Daniel and his dangerous views on dinosaurs will soon be too old for Sunday School. And once he's old enough for university maybe the vicar will decide it's time for a new calling. And if the next vicar is a man, and Radnor looks up with those sulky, soulful eyes and tells him she'd really like to be a proper Sunday School teacher and not an assistant - that's going to be it for me, isn't it?
I sometimes think that I'm reading things in that aren't there - letting my own paranoia and fears that I'm "not a very good teacher - always worrying about yourself and not helping us", as Daniel put it, get me down. I'd discuss it with the Sunday School leader. But I reckon she and the other teachers are breaking the biscuits while I get my cup of tea after Sunday School. I always get there last, as I've got to watch Radnor put everything away. Make sure she doesn't leave the lid off the Play-Doh. She does that, you know.