THE BIG “C”

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

“Let me guess” interrupted Charlie’s sister Erica. “A 1,000 word book report on ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’.” 

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

Erica 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!”   

Erica and Charlie cracked up laughing. 

“Well, kiddo, good thing our folks are at the cabin this weekend and I’m going to Six Flags with Kate. You’ll have plenty of peace and quiet to get all your work done. Good luck, bro!” Erica laughed as she waved goodbye to Charlie. 

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

Charlie went to the den where he and Erica always did their homework. First he read his emails, then went on Facebook, YouTube and TikTok. Bored, Charlie started looking through the drawers of the desk. There were recipes, catalogs, magazines and at the bottom of the pile was a binder marked “My Junior Year” in Erica’s handwriting.

“Hmm … I wonder?” Charlie asked himself. He looked through Erica’s binder and found a tab that read ‘ESSAYS‘. 

Sweet!” Charlie exclaimed. “Let’s see what we have here.” 

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

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

Sure enough Charlie found another label which read ‘BOOK REPORTS’. Pouring over the titles, he shouted “Bingo! There you are! ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’. Three for three!” This was an incredible find. Charlie wondered if Erica even remembered her binder was there.

Taking all three of Erica’s assignments, Charlie sat at the computer station where he scanned and forwarded all the papers to himself. He then changed the dates, margins and fonts so his work wouldn’t look identical to Erica’s. Finally, changing her name to his, he printed out the papers, returned the originals to the binder and shoved it back under the pile. 

Done!” he crowed,  feeling quite pleased with himself. “And I didn’t have to do any work!

Charlie spent the rest of the weekend hanging out with his friends and watching movies on Netflix. On Monday he confidently turned in his assignments. On Friday Mr. Cavanaugh handed Charlie a large folder. To his shock inside were his reports as well as copies of Erica’s reports. All Erica’s papers were marked with a big red ‘F’; his were marked ‘CF’

“Obviously you had no idea that I save all my students work. You also did not know that Erica failed her assignments” Mr. Cavanaugh reprimanded Charlie. “By copying her work you not only cheated, you failed. Therefore, I’ve given you the grade of ‘CF’ – ‘C’ for ‘Cheating’ and ‘F’ for ‘Fail’. Your parents have already been informed of this. I hope you have learned your lesson – the lazy student will cheat and malinger and by doing so will always fail.”

Charlie felt sick to his stomach; he never saw this coming. How could he have been so stupid? He didn’t notice that none of Erica’s papers were graded; they were just copies of her work and not the actual reports she handed in. Charlie knew his parents were going to be furious with him. It was bad enough that Erica failed; he cheated and failed.

No point in putting off the inevitable any longer. Time to go home and face the consequences” Charlie thought as he dejectedly walked out of the classroom.

Mr. Cavanaugh shook his head. “There’s one every year. When will they ever learn?”

NAR © 2019

Reposted for Fandango’s #FOWC http://fivedotoh.com/2023/01/12/fowc-with-fandango-malinger/

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