Bailey and his Homework

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‘I don’t feel like it. I never feel like it. Why would anyone prefer to do their homework when they could lie on the bed and listen to Def Zone?’

Sharon shrugged and looked down at her done, and he knew that she remembered feeling almost exactly the same. Life hadn’t been straightforward back in her own schooldays, when Duran Duran had been her reason to rise each day, and the prospect of dragging herself out of bed and away from them was too horrific to contemplate. She’d told him this many a time when it suited her – but now now.

‘When I was your ages I had two jobs, was studying for my grade 7 on the guitar, and was one of the first girls in our area to join the scouts. I was always busy. Always happy.’

Bailey sighed and stared up at his mum, defiance seeping from every pore.

‘Yeah, and look at you now. Single parent, dull office job, and a shabby little car that’s just embarrassing. Big time.’

Sandra sighed. ‘Do you think that much of me?’

‘No, I think less than that.’ With this nasty comment, Bailey turned to one side and faced the wall – away from his mum. Only barely maintaining his composure, he sighed deeply.

‘So, why can’t you, or won’t you, do your homework at this moment?’

‘I can’t, and won’t do my homework, owing to the fact that I’ve already done my homework.’

‘What subjects?’

‘English. Design Tech. Computers…’ Bailey turned to face her again.

‘Show me.’ Hands on hips stance. Bailey knew she wasn’t buying it at all.

‘Show me,’ his mum pursed her lips at him.

‘I’ve handed it in.’

‘Oh yes?’

‘Yes. Yesterday and today.’

‘I don’t believe you.’

‘Well, it’s true.’

As if to emphasise the point, Bailey span himself round on the bed and struggled to sit upright, all in one less-than-fluid movement.

‘You never believe ANYTHING I say!’ He struck his preferred post of both defiance and hurt-little-boy now. ‘Why do you hat me so much? I bet you wish I’d never been born…’

He knew his mum was used to this. He came out with it once every few days. Of course, Bailey also knew how irrational he was acting, and how he was clearly trying and almost succeeding at manipulating his mum, but somehow his need to NOT do his homework won out. Even thought it was due in the next days’s first period, and even thought he wanted to succeed at school as much as, if not more than anyone in his class – in his year, even!

Somehow, something compelled him on.

‘Anyway, I can’t do homework that I’ve already done – and handed in – and the other homework I’ve got is for next week sometime. I’ve got loads of time.’

Bailey scratched his armpit and smelled his finger.

‘Anyway, I need a shower as priority. Homework can wait.’
Bailey stormed from his bedroom, motioning his mum to join him in leaving the room.

‘Come on then, thought you only came in for my dirty uniform.’

He stomped into the bathroom, proceeded to take a half-hour shower, and trudged back to his room, towel round waist, and spots round shoulders glaring angrily while recovering from the heat.

He prepared to throw himself onto his bed, turn up his music, Def Zone’s brand new fourth release – and to begin an experimental chapter of his daydream about Katie Plant, their bass player – when he realised his mum was still in his room, and had likely been for the entire time he’d been showering. Oh God, what might she have found?

‘Why are you still here?’ His shriek was shrill and girlish, and his eyes, like those acne pustules gracing his shoulder blades, glared a fiery red.

‘Get out of my room,’ he yelled.

‘I, ermm, fell asleep,’ Sandra said.

‘You didn’t. That’s so clearly an excuse. You’re been rummaging haven’t you?’

Bailey caught the towel that threatened to fall and expose him.

‘And what about your excuses?’ his mum said quietly bit with determination. ‘I checked your school planner, there are three pieces of work due in tomorrow. Two pieces for the day after, and I know for a fact that you’ve had four detentions this month.’

‘That’s not true. The teachers are liars. They are our to get me. They enjoy getting me into trouble. They are all…’

‘For God’s sake, shut up, Bailey. Put your terrible music on, get your books out and start writing.’

In the end, the argument-like conversation with his mum had taken him much longer than would the homework he’d been procrastinating about. He was grateful that his mum hadn’t snooped even more, given that there were three bage of MDMA in his sock drawer, a replica handgun behind his tshirts, and near enough half a kilo of weed, triple wrapped and stashed in a Tupperwarre pot at the back of his wardrobe.

Let her think he was a typical procrastinating teen. Let her think his excuses were the worst thing he would ever be doing. Let her live in happy ignorance, for now.

#meredithschumann #author #authors #fiction #shortstory #shortstories #homework #teenageboy

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