Late again. He sat on the step of the main school building where the office lady could see her through the window, just like she’d told him. It wouldn’t have been so bad if he wasn’t taking home his art project. It was big. Each student had to make a poster, but Ian wasn’t prepared to be the same as the others. He had made six posters and when they were put together, they made one big poster. Mrs Palstead said she was impressed, but he saw her roll her eyes as he presented it to the class and he knew that she didn’t like it. Now, the six posters were rolled up and being held together with a plastic bag from Aldi.
On top of this, they were doing tennis in class, and Ian had brought his racquet from home. It was in his dad’s special Slazenger bag. The one that held three racquets and strapped over his back. Ms Whip, the sports teacher, had told him it was not necessary for him to bring the racquet at all given the school had a full set (although she didn’t mention that it was Ian’s family who had donated them from his dad’s sports shop) and that it was a concern that something would get damaged or stolen. She also said that he should know this, as she had told him the same thing about his brand new soccer boots and his iPod Touch.
Now Ian sat on the top step with his posters in the Aldi bag, his Slazenger tennis gear, and his schoolbag filled with all his books. Mrs Palstead said he didn’t need to take them all home, but he liked to be certain. Besides, if he didn’t have all his books when he did his homework, he tended to panic a little.
The black convertible pulled into the ‘No Standing’ zone outside the school gate and his dad jumped out and ran over to get him.
‘Sorry, mate, I just – what’s all this?’
‘I’ve got some homework.’
His father picked up the Slazenger bag and looked at him.
‘What’s this doing here?’
‘I had tennis today.’
‘The school has racquets. I donated them. Remember?’
Ian looked at his feet. His father slung the racquet bag over his shoulder and continued.
‘Mate, this is a very expensive bag. Don’t bring it to school. Now, let’s go. I only hope I can fit all this in.’
The boot on his dad’s car was broken. It had been for ages. Ian had hoped he would be picked up in their Land Rover, but no such luck. In the end, the tennis racquet and his bag sat on the floor under Ian’s feet, then he was strapped in and the posters were wedged in on top of him. He could barely move, and could only see out of one corner of the car window. As his father drove them away, Ian was sure he could see two of the teachers looking out a window and laughing. Ian wished he could see past the posters so he would know what they found so funny.