A Story by Peter Rogerson

Treasure can be found just about anywhere...


What I’ll do,” decided David Stokes when the teacher asked him, “is I’ll cheat.”

What was that, you horrible little boy?” demanded Mr Snuggs, “you’ll cheat? How dared you even dream of cheating? You’ll get a whole year of detentions if you do anything of the sort! What good will cheating do you anyway, I’m asking? Think of your future. Imagine you’re a man in the work place, and in troubLe for cheating…”

What work will I do sir?” asked David, interrupting Mr Snuggs before his speech became a full blown lecture and the rest of the class, absorbed by it, turned to grin at him behind their hands.

What work will you do, you nasty piece of vermin?” asked Mr Snuggs, and he closed his eyes as if drifting off to sleep, but he was thinking what kind of work might be best for such a snurge as David Stokes. He’d never liked the boy, not sine he’d caught him staring lasciviously at Miss Petite, the new French mistress who he actually fancied himself. But the boy was only twelve, so didn’t stand a cHance with such a fine young woman and her legs.

Then, after a whole minute that seemed like an age had passed he replied, “Stokes, I see you down the sewerage farm with a dirty great shovel, and moving all the excrement around until it’s where your bosses want it to be. Shovel it, Stokes! They’ll shut at you with masks over their noses so that the stench doesn’t get to them and make them vomit, and keep doing it until the whole steaming mass is safe and sound in its mound!”

David frowned as he pictured the scene, and then he had an idea and he grinned at Mr Snuggs who was trying not to vomit at the imagined fragrance from the sewage farm.

Sir, my auntie Beryl came calling at the weekend and she dropped her best diamond ring into our toilet and it got flushed away with her you-know-what. So if I were shovelling the whatsoever you said it was called, and turning it over so that I could see how nice the pile was, I might find that ring, mightn’t I? But it’s not just auntie Beryl who drops stuff into the loo. The old bloke next door, and he’s just about eighty years old and hasn’t a clue what he’s doing most of the time, he lost a pound coin down his toilet and spent the rest of the day complaining about it, until my dad gave him a quid and told him not to be so silly and to shut up before he bored everyone in Brumpton… But I might find the old man’s pound in all that steaming stuff, mightn’t I?”

It was a long question and Mr Snuggs was annoyed by what he saw as a decent piece of logic behind it. But David Stokes needed to be put in his place before, in the eye of the rest of the class, he and the boy actually changed places and the boy by pure chance reversed his status and taught them all a valuable lesson, which seemed quite possible the way the wretch was thinking. So he came out with his own killer argument.

In the olden times when I was a boy,” he boomed, “I’d have had to hold my hand out and have a nasty cane whacked on my fingers until I cried with all the pain, if I was as insolent as you. Pity is, I’m not allowed to sort you out that way because everyone’s got to be so soft with urchins like you these days, but I’ll think of something even worse, you wait and see”

But, sir, it was you who said I might get to work in the sewerage farm even though it’s not a farm as such but really only poo,” grinned David, “and it was me who saw the possibilities.”

Possibilities be darned,” growled the teacher, getting very close to saying be damned, which might have led him into serious trouble if the headmaster found out, and that headmaster had a habit of hovering exactly where he could overhear things that he might interpret as wrong.

You told us to be inventive,” David told him and added “Sir,” for good measure.

I told you to write an essay,” grated Mr Snuggs, “and make it short, about what it would be like to build a house on the moon. That’s not an impossible subject, surely? The moon’s up there in the night sky, houses exist and can be built, it would be very interesting to consider how that might be done. But when I asked you what you would do writing an essay on what must seem a fascinating subject to a boy of twelve, you said you’d cheat!”

Well, sir, as far as I know there’s no air on the moon, and no water and no people to live in any house that I might build so it would be a waste of time and effort building it in the first place, and I wouldn’t want to live in it either because I wouldn’t want to live in a place where I’m bound to die through lack of air. So shovelling shi… sewerage seems to me like a better alternative, so that’s what I’d be doing.”

I was wanting you to use your imagination, Stokes,” sighed Mr Snuggs, “do a bit of pretending if you like, because it’s when clever boys your age start pretending that they sometimes come up with a brilliant idea that makes them a fortune when the rest of the world finds out about it, and wouldn’t you like to have a fortune? Gold in your hands? More money to spend than you would ever need? A swollen bank account? You might even get to own the bank… But you’ll not do anything like that by cheating because there’s a fine old saying that cheats never prosper.”

Down the corridor an electric bell rang and the children in the class began gathering their things into satchels or duffel bags ready to charge out of the classroom when My Snuggs gave the word. All, that is, except David Stokes. He sat still thoughtfully.

Right, said the teacher when it seemed that the class would vanish without his order if he delayed any longer, “off you go! O the playground and maybe even to Stokes’s toilet!”

And they all went out of the classroom for the mid-afternoon break.

What are you waiting fo, boy?” almost shouted Mr Snuggs, wanting to get back to the staff room because he had a free period when break was over and free periods were rather precious, especially when yhey chanced to coincide with Miss Petite’s free periods.

Miss told me to stay here,” David replied, “I was cheating and I prospered.”

Cheating at what, boy?” asked Mr Snuggs, “look, boy, I must go to the staff room. Who wants to see you here in my room?”

Miss Petite, sir. I cheated in her test and she caught me and said this room was free and I must report here for extra work.”

In here, boy?”

Yes sir. She said this room specially. I was to stay here and she’d deal with me when there was nobody else about.”

Deal with you, Stokes?”

It’s like the sewage farm, sir. Most of it is crap, but there’s always the chance of finding a bit of treasure.”

Bring back corporal punishment,” muttered Mr Snuggs as the French mistress sporting the shortest of short skirts swirled in.

Bring back treasure, sir,” grinned David Stokes.

© Peter Rogerson, 23.03.23


© 2023 Peter Rogerson

My Review

Would you like to review this Story?
Login | Register

Share This
Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Added on March 23, 2023
Last Updated on March 23, 2023
Tags: classroom, cheating, teachers, French mistress


Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

I am 79 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..