This week, my shame comes foil wrapped as processed cheese triangles.
Last week, it was the Dairy Milk in the microwave that would not melt.
Mrs Rimmer had given me the uncomprehending look from under her monobrow,
Had encouraged the class to judge me for not knowing how a microwave works.
But only after letting me nuke the block for nigh on twenty minutes,
Waiting for the puddle of chocolate that did not come,
Because there was more fun to be had that way.
This week, she’s ready for it.
She’s standing over me as I open the tissue thin Poundland carrier,
And out it all comes.
The packet of digestives fit only for hamster bedding.
And the Dairylea triangles.
A full six-pack.
We’d not skimped.
She doesn’t need to ask, and so she does.
“What do you think you’re going to do with those?”
And then she turns to her audience, the one she carries with her,
Always within sight,
Always appreciative, always applauding,
No matter what the rest of the class happen to be doing with themselves.
Or each other.
She wants me to tell her what we’re making,
What I’m going to attempt to make out of cheesy sandwich spread
And crushed biscuits.
And I could name the popular dessert,
I could be party to the shame she wants me to feel,
On behalf of the parent who’d spent all that was left of that week’s benefits on these items,
But I am learning.
Despite Mrs Rimmer, I am learning.
So I give her my best smile and I ask her, instead.
“Why, miss, what would you do with them?”
Sometimes Doctor, always writer, Mike Hickman (@MikeHicWriter) is from York, England. He has written for Off the Rock Productions (stage and audio), including a 2018 play about Groucho Marx and Erin Fleming. Since 2020 he has been published in Agapanthus (Best of the Net nominated), EllipsisZine, the Bitchin’ Kitsch, the Cabinet of Heed, Sledgehammer, and Red Fez.