Naomi Marshall was handing back her seven year olds assignments and paused at Hattie’s desk.
‘I was interested in your piece Hattie,’ she said.
‘Thank you, Miss Marshall.’
‘I haven’t graded it yet though, as I wanted to talk to you first. Could you see me after class today please?’
‘Yes, Miss,’ Hattie said, wondering if it meant she was getting a D because she’d cheated a bit and would have to do it again.
When the bell rang to announce the end of class and break, Hattie stood nervously in front of her teacher’s desk, hands clutched behind her and rocking from one foot to the other.
‘This is a very imaginative piece of homework Hattie, especially from someone your age. Did you base it on something you saw on television?’
‘No Miss! We don’t have a telly, Daddy says it’s too expensive and we shouldn’t be watching some rubbish when we can be outside playing, reading or doing our homework.’
‘I see. And are some of these things true?’
‘Oh yes, Miss. Tony gets told by his boss where to go and to make sure he collects the money. If he doesn’t get paid, he’s in big trouble, and the person who didn’t pay is in trouble too.’
‘Oh. It’s rather violent though don’t you think?’
‘Tony got into a fight once, but he said they’d been drinking and that he was trying to rip them off.’
‘You say here that Tony carried a knife and wasn’t prepared to leave anything unless he was paid. Is that correct?
‘Kind of. Tony was given the knife by his boss for something and he said he forgot to give it back.’
‘You also say that Tony was given a new car by his boss in order to collect the money.’
‘Well, Tony only had a bike and that made it difficult for his deliveries as well.’
‘And Tony is your brother right? The assignment was to write about your brother if you remember.’
‘Um, not exactly, but he could be! My brother’s only a year old and really boring. I didn’t think you’d want to know about dirty diapers, the number of times he throws up each day, how he screams sometimes or when he got his first tooth.’
‘Who’s Tony then?’
‘He’s my sister’s boyfriend, and he’s got a pizza delivery round!’
Hattie went home with a big smile on her face and an A for her essay.