Flash Fiction #181


PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

Skool Daze

The two grade 11 lads were fascinated to see a tiny bit of pure sodium violently react with water in a lab sink, the heat generating hydrogen, and skittering it across the surface.

One day they were given the lab as a study room. The two monkeys students dropped a much larger piece into the water. Its weight sent it to the bottom, where it produced a large bubble of hydrogen, and the heat to set it off.

The resulting small explosion doused them and the lab, wiped out overhead fluorescent fixtures, and blew a pencil case through a window.


Rochelle’s reminiscences about teachers, reminded me of this fact-based bit of high school hi-jinks. Go to her Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Friday Fictioneers

24 thoughts on “Flash Fiction #181

  1. KT says:

    Hydrogen… the beginning of all the elements. The beginning of all material things in a way. Love this!


    • Archon's Den says:

      On this day, it was the beginning of an embarrassing minor disaster, a repair project for the school maintenance department, and a bill sent to some parents. Just a normal day in the life of teenaged boys. Glad you liked the look back at ‘my education.’ To be clear, I was writing a French exam at the time, but I learned from the mistakes of others. 😆

      Liked by 3 people

  2. The Hook says:

    Boys will be would-be terrorists…


  3. Dale says:

    Boys! Well… maybe a few girls but 😉


    • Archon's Den says:

      Girls would do something like this??? No!… Girls are all sugar and spice – and the occasional catty comment.
      What surprised everyone about this fiasco was that these two had the highest mark averages for males, in the class. 😯

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dale says:

        Ummmm…. not all girls, yanno. I was never one to hang out with the catty girls. Had more fun hanging upside down on the monkey bars with the boys… And having a good average does not a good boy make 😉 Often times the smart ones are so bored, they choose ways to get into trouble! 😀


  4. Must have been boys who did this! Great little story. 🙂

    Susan A Eames at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos


  5. draliman says:

    Ha, result 🙂


  6. Daniel Digby says:

    You hit on something really interesting that was only discovered a little over 3 years ago. The sodium explodes BEFORE any hydrogen is produced! The process has been understood for a few decades and was demonstrated in the late 1950s on Continental Classroom, where I first saw it. It’s called electron solvation, and in the demo that I saw, the sodium turns liquid ammonia deep blue and as you add more, it turns bronze colored.

    In the case of sodium and water, if there is a clean surface on the sodium, it releases its outer electron to the water molecules in an unusual chemical reaction that has only been recognized for a few decades, and in the case of water, the reaction is so violent the the current released exceeds the current in a lightning bolt, and the sodium blows itself apart.

    It is only afterward that the electrons captured by the water have a chance to react and release hydrogen, often causing a secondary explosion.

    Here is a video released by Phil Mason, who made the discovery while he was visiting a chemistry lab in Germany. His paper is listed in the video.


    • Archon's Den says:

      I’m always learning something. 55 years ago I learned not to put any piece of sodium, larger than a finger-nail clipping, into water. Today, I learned why not. Interesting, informative video! Thanx for the research. 🙂


  7. Margaret says:

    Wow. After the comment just preceding mine, I’m feeling all intimidated. I was just going to say that I love the bit about the pencil case flying through the window. And your story was based on fact you say? Tut tut.


    • Archon's Den says:

      Oh, don’t feel badly. Daniel is one of two regulars who are great researchers.
      Perhaps sadly, the pencil case is the only part of this story that is fiction, but I had to justify that strange protuberance in the photo. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Boys will be boys…duck, here comes a pencil case!

    Click to read my FriFic tale!


  9. Dear Archon,

    My son and his friend once fried donuts in the back of the chemistry class. Fortunately they didn’t blow it up. Fun stuff, these memories.




  10. gahlearner says:

    Isn’t chemistry fun? I love the pencil case, very imaginative interpretation of the picture.


  11. A great sense of curiosity, those boys, so glad no one got hurt. I love chemistry! =)


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