Cheat Not, Steal Not

ESSAYS are a pain. I hate writing them. Last year, we used to have essay assignments every week. Imagine that, every week! I could hardly keep up with them, and I was not alone. This year, thank goodness, we get an assignment whenever the teacher gives us one. But still, I can’t stand them, call it writing trauma if you will.

So when this teacher, Madam Hoon, gave us an assignment late last month, I was so upset. It didn’t help that the very assignment itself was, shall I be honest, quite quite stupid. Fine, I’m not supposed to use the “S” word, so let’s just say the assignment was rotten and odious.

Dumb topic, dumb pictures!

Using someone’s idea without permission. That’s the dumb topic. And the dumb pictures we were supposed to write to? Picture one: some kid copying from an exercise book, someone else’s, presumably. Picture two: someone receiving an award. And the last picture: a woman with arms akimbo and brows furrowed in anger.

I really didn’t feel like doing this. The rebel voice in me was so strong that I was taken aback. I was all the more surprised by this: I had plans not to do it, but I’d still submit it. How, pray tell, was I going to do that? Simple, I was going to use someone’s idea without permission. And that someone would be Kammy. It was my idea of a neat revenge. You give me this, I’ll give you the same thing back.

I was going to be a copycat, a ninja copycat—agile, nimble, and hard to catch. Kammy was going to be the victim because she’s the star writer in class, always scoring 31 or more for her essays. And she is one of those weirdos who would complete an assignment on the very day it’s given. She’d do it in one quick spurt and then stick it under her school desk. They never go home because she’s a very untidy girl, and she just can’t bear to have more crap going into her school bag.

All I had to do was to get on recess duty on the eve of our submission deadline, and then offer to sweep and sweep and dust and dust so that I could shoo the other two duty girls away. Over the 30-minute recess, I did some diligent cleaning while the other two flitted about, and after, plenty of ninja copying when they trickled away to the canteen.

By the time I was done, my plan was to destroy Kammy’s essay, destroy all evidence of my crime. And to make this whole deed look even more professional, I was going to shred it all at home instead of simply tossing it into the classroom bin.

I saw through my whole plan. Success!

Alas, when the next day came along, I couldn’t bring myself to submit the essay. As we stood in front of the classroom, Kammy and I, getting an earful from Madam Hoon for not having our assignments in on time, I felt I did the right thing. It’s the best thing I could do, and possibly the best thing I’ve ever done.

To right that wrong that Kammy had to suffer, I couldn’t have done any better.

(547 words)


Therese Lee, Primary Six
April 2018

For more essays by Therese, visit Therese Writes.

This essay was written in response to the theme, “Using someone’s idea without permission,” and two pictures: (1) a kid copying from an exercise book, (2) a woman with arms akimbo and brows furrowed in anger

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