Scrumping

So far, it was a crap day.

And out of all the days to be bad, this one, Monday, was perfect for crapness. All bad things happened on Mondays. Like Monday mornings, for example. They were always there at the start of the week. And French lessons with that beady-eyed Monsieur Jevoistout.

He always watched; he saw everything. He didn’t just have eyes on the back of his head – his entire bald head was just one great, big, massive all-seeing eye ball. Three hundred and sixty degrees of surround vision, visual acuity sharper than an eagle, and a blink refresh rate of never, Isaac’s French teacher never, ever, missed anything.

Like when Isaac climbed the old tree at the back of the school playground. It was an old apple tree with thick, tangled branches perfect for monkeys and seven-year old boys alike to climb and swing around in. Many branches almost touched the ground with their weight, but add a boy or two, and they drooped even lower. Hands and ankles clasped around branches, bodies swaying and little bottoms desperately trying to avoid touching the ground. Many mothers complained of muddy trousers to wash, thanks to that old tree.

It was last Friday, and Isaac had negotiated a bunk-up from a classmate. Now that he could reach a higher branch, he was able to pull himself up into the tree without fear of upsetting his mother on wash day. As soon as he could support his own weight, his friend ran away. It wasn’t a problem; getting down was always easier than getting up. And besides. Sometime loitering at the bottom of the tree was a sure way to attract unwanted attention from the teachers.

Ask any squirrel, and you’ll find there’s not that much to do once you’re in the tree. The fun is in the climbing. But in this case, there were apples, and Isaac was pleased to have found this treasure. He picked a few, aimed and used the ammunition to terrorise some first graders within throwing distance. The novelty subsided when they ran out of range, so Isaac filled his pockets with the golden delicious and dropped to the ground.

His friend joined him quickly with a warning.

“You’re in for it! Monsieur saw you!”

Monsieur was a man of patience, and let Isaac stew about his forthcoming punishment over the weekend. Which was now over, given that it was Monday. A Monday on which French ...

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Paul Sterlini
Nov 6 2021

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