THE BIG “C”

“Papers! Not one, not two but three papers all due on Monday!” exclaimed Hannah in exasperation. “One on the assassination of JFK, another on the Scopes Trial and…..”  

“Let me guess” interrupted Hannah’s brother Eric. “A 1,000 word book report on ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’.” 

“How could you possibly know that?!” questioned a puzzled Hanna. “You must be psychic!”  

Eric laughed. “Hardly! Mr. Cavanaugh hasn’t changed his assignments in years. I bet he still says the same thing.”  

Brother and sister looked at each other trying not to laugh as they simultaneously did their best Mr. Cavanaugh impersonations – “Remember class, the quantity of your work is second only to the quality!”   

Eric and Hannah cracked up laughing. 

“Well, kiddo, good thing our folks are at the cabin by themselves this weekend and I’m going to ‘Ozzfest’ with Kyle. You’ll have plenty of peace and quiet to get all your work done. Good luck, sis!” Kyle laughed as he waved Hannah goodbye. 

“I’m gonna need it!” she groaned. “My grades haven’t been very good lately.”

Hannah went to the den where she and Eric always did their homework. First she read her emails, then went on Facebook, YouTube and TikTok. Bored, Hannah got up to stretch her legs, perusing the multitude of books in the den. Her mother saved everything from when she and Eric were babies – albums of photos, drawings, assignments, awards and diplomas. 

On one bookcase there were neat rows of black binders from her birth to present day as a Junior in high school. On another bookcase were tidy rows of grey binders from Eric’s birth to his current class – a Freshman in college. Running her fingers along Eric’s binders Hannah stopped abruptly at a section labeled ‘ERIC’S HIGH SCHOOL ESSAYS’.  

“Hmm … I wonder?” Hannah asked herself. She looked for the binders from Eric’s Junior class and found the tab that read ‘MR. CAVANAUGH’

OMG!” Hannah gasped. “Let’s see what we have here.” 

With anticipation she ran her finger down the list of Eric’s essays, her eyes almost bugging out of her head when she spotted  ‘JFK Assassination’. Further down the list she found ‘The Scopes Trial’.

“This is too good to be true!” Hannah exclaimed. “Two out of the three essays I need are here! I’m sure Eric’s book reports are here, too … fingers crossed.” 

Sure enough Hannah found another binder labeled ‘ERIC’S BOOK REPORTS’. Opening the binder she located Eric’s Junior year section and poured over the titles. “Bingo!” she shouted gleefully. “There you are! ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’. Three for three!” Thank goodness her mother saved everything!

Taking all three of Eric’s assignments, Hannah sat at the computer station where she scanned and forwarded all the papers to herself. She then changed the dates, margins and fonts so her work wouldn’t look identical to Eric’s. Finally, changing his name to hers, she printed out the papers, returned the originals to the binders and put everything back on the shelves. 

Done!” she crowed,  feeling quite pleased with herself. “And I didn’t have to do any work. Now that’s what I call being one smart cookie!

Hannah spent the rest of the weekend hanging out with her friends at the mall and watching movies on Netflix. On Monday she confidently turned in her assignments. On Friday Mr. Cavanaugh handed Hannah a large folder. To her shock inside were her reports as well as Eric’s reports. All Eric’s papers were marked with a big red ‘F’; hers were marked ‘FC’

“Obviously you had no idea that I save all my students work. You also did not know that Eric failed his assignments” Mr. Cavanaugh reprimanded Hannah. “By copying his work you not only failed, you cheated. Therefore, young lady, I’ve given you the grade of ‘FC’ – ‘F’ for ‘Fail’ and ‘C’ for ‘Cheating’. Your parents have already been informed of this. I hope you have learned your lesson.” 

Hanna felt sick to her stomach; she never saw this coming. Her parents were going to be furious.  Would they ever be able to trust her again? 

Looks like this smart cookie’s plan completely crumbled” Hannah thought regretfully. 

NAR © 2019

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