Homework is something that should be avoided. It is tedious and makes me feel rather peculiar. The Parents are very keen on homework (they are welcome to it) and would like me to be like an eager bookworm, racing home to get my hands on even more work and really enjoy it. They are mad. I say, how come teachers get paid to do work and we do not?
After tea at Miranda's house (double chips, meatballs and peas) I take my precious stick insect babies back home. As instructed by Miranda, the stick queen, I have not opened the lid of the shoebox; this is to make sure they do not leap out in a frenzy and attack. I have to say, I had not quite realised how vicious they could be until Miranda informed me of the unfortunate cat-mauling incident; I will have to keep my cat, Serena, out of their way. In front of the house, I check for curtain twitching from Mrs Next-Door. Nothing. She must be busy with her new dog. He is minute, noisy and she carries around under her arm. He is an armpit yap-dog and his name is Smoochy - urgh and shudder. The Parents are in. I know this because I can hear them arguing with Tony Blair in the kitchen (on the radio). So, this is a lucky break because it means I can sneak up the stairs...
'Wilfred, is that you?!' shouts Dad. 'Come and see my new tooth!'
He sounds a bit thrilled and this could mean an excting addition to his Big Teeth collection but I resist.
'Got some homework!' I yell.
Quick as a blink, Mum's head pops round the door. Too late, I realise my fatal error of judgement.
'Super!' she says. 'Do you want some help?'
'No, it's fine...'
Dad's head appears on top of hers. 'Homework eh? Come on, let's see it! Is that it?'
He points to my shoebox and they almost fall over each other trying to reach me. It is actually quite horrible, they are like some form of homework zombie types, feeding on the horror that is homework. Their clutching hands reach me and grasp...the shoebox!!!
'Not that!' I say, reaching for it. 'Don't open that!'
I can see the disgruntled sticks flying for them, stamping their little sticky feet in their hair and clothes; biting them...too late.
'Oh lovely, 'says Mum, 'you're growing cress!'
'What?' I ask and my mouth drops open as I stare at the matchbox wedged inside the shoebox.
'Look, you've already got the seeds on some cotton wool - we just add water and watch it grow!'
Tiny little dark brown dots lie in the box - these are eggs not babies! Some dribble plops out of my mouth.
'We'll water them,' says Dad and they dash back to the kitchen with the stick insect eggs.
'D'ONT!' I cry, 'YOU'LL DROWN THEM!'
I can almost hear Miranda laughing her fluffy pink socks off at her little joke. Oh ha. I think about Miranda and pitcure her covered in stick insects and all of them biting her very hard indeed.