by Alyson Faye
In the annex room just off the oak floored hall at 9.20am on Tuesday, Miss Evans, Head of Year 8, was squaring up to a tiny undersized boy, wearing no obvious school coat or sweatshirt. Miss Evans stared over the top of her half moon glasses at her regular nemesis.
“Parker, you are late! This is the third time this month. It’s just not good enough.”
Parker’s cheeks were flushed pink except for two sooty black smudges. “Miss, sorry ever so. It weren’t my fault Miss.”
“Was not Parker.”
“You what Miss?”
“It was not your fault.”
Parker beamed. “That’s right Miss. It weren’t.”
The Head of Year sighed. It was always hard work with Parker. The boy was small but slippery. Eels in a bucket came to mind.
“Why are you late on this occasion?”
The silver plated ink pen hovered over the gilt inlaid ‘Lates Books’ like a dagger positioned for the kill. Parker eyed it swallowing hard. His full name, Benjamin Nathaniel Parker, appeared in the hefty tome far too many times. He was doomed. He rubbed his nose with his sleeve. Then stopped when he spotted Miss Evans’ frown.
“Well you see Miss. It’s Harvey. He’s dead.”
Miss Evans counted to five, very slowly, in her head.
“And Harvey is whom exactly?”
“Me hamster Miss. He died last night. Well it’s worse than that. He topped his-self.”
Parker’s eyes were like saucers. They were shiny as though on the verge of tears.
“You’re telling me your pet hamster committed suicide Parker? That is what you wish me to write in the Lates Book?”
Parker’s face lit up. “Yes please Miss.”
Relief poured out of him. At last they were making progress. He felt he should add more details to his story.
“He threw his-self off the top of his Ferris wheel and cracked his head. Splat! Like a nut.”
Parker smacked his hands together on the word ‘Splat.’ At the hand clap Miss Evans dropped her pen and a spray of violet ink spattered across the cream linen page.
Parker stared sadly at the ink drop pattern, “Bit of a mess that page Miss. Perhaps you could tear it out?”
Parker’s Tall Tale
Miss Evans watched the tips of her fingers turn purple. Her left eye began to twitch. Parker gazed up at her like a spaniel she’d had as a pet years ago. Hopeful and friendly.
Taking a deep breath Miss Evans made her decision. “I’ll overlook it this time Parker. Fresh start, clean slate.”
“Really Miss? Thank you Miss.” His smile split his face in two.
Miss Evans watched Parker jog off, his shirt tails hanging out of his trousers, weighed down by the bulging satchel on his back. Miss Evans made a mental note to speak to the Drama department on behalf of Parker. He had the makings of a fine actor.