The Short Humour Site

Home : Writers' Showcase : Submission Guidelines : A Man of a Few More Words : Links

Writers' Showcase

Test Day
by Nick Allen

The invigilator stands at the front of the class checking her watch. Mine is on my desk along with my other exam essentials – a bottle of water, a few mints (sugar helps the brain apparently) and of course my lucky Simpsons pen. I know it’s childish to place one’s faith in such objects but it brings me a morsel of comfort.

While we wait for the ‘off’ I glance around the room at my classmates. Benson appears terrified [as usual] while the Baker twins are just looking plain bewildered. Smythe Minor meanwhile is sitting at the desk next to me and is looking as smug as ever. I pull out my tongue to annoy the prig, but he’s not looking and I’m nearly caught by The Invigilator, who happens to glance up from her watch at that moment. But instead of scolding me she speaks.

“Class, you may turn over your papers and begin.”

That’s it – no ‘good luck’ or anything.

The first few questions are a breeze, which was exactly what I was expecting, a gentle introduction for the timid of heart. But question five stops me in my tracks. Did we ever cover this? I’m darned if I can remember it if we did. But then I see what they have done, crafty blighters, and I’m away again. A quick glance at Smythe Minor tells me he’s having no problems at all – smoke is practically coming from his pen.

Focus, I tell myself, stop day dreaming! 

Question nine has me completely perplexed, but then I remember what father had said about employing a degree of lateral thinking to some of the questions and I’m off racing through the paper again.

Then Smythe makes a funny noise and I stop to look, and I can’t believe what I’m seeing. He has tears running down his cheeks and he’s scrunching up his paper!! I know he hopes for a career in law and I can see his dreams disintegrating before his eyes. I’d say something, but by now a teacher is leading him from the room quietly so as not to disturb the rest of us. I’m shaken, but finally make it to the end without any real problems. 

I’m in the hall and heading home when I realize I’ve left my lucky pen on the desk so back to the classroom to retrieve it.

Two teachers are talking quietly about the incident with Smythe, and I strain to hear what they are saying.

“I really can’t see that SATS tests for children of this age is anything but a bad thing,” says one teacher to another.

I pop my pen into my satchel and wonder to myself if teachers can ever really appreciate the stresses of being seven years old...