At fifteen I was recruited into a life of crime. I was still at school and ten cigarettes is what they offered me. I demanded a pack of twenty and could see that this was a market where I could prosper. And so it began, my career in crime. Once a month an assignment was chosen and when I delivered the goods, a meeting would be set up to hand over my loot.
It was all preparation for the big job in June. These errands were tests to make sure that on the big day there would be no disappointments. I stuck to my end of the bargain and the cigarettes came rolling in.
As June came ever nearer the pressure and the stress was more palpable. On the day it was still going to be a bit hit and miss but I was better prepared than if I hadn’t been recruited. The day itself was hot and sticky but I went in, sat down and waited to start.
I was able to answer the Shakespeare questions. The twentieth century short story ‘compare and contrast’ was almost identical to the first essay I had submitted to English teacher. We had always known the poetry would be rockier but I came out of my O Level English Lit exam that afternoon ready for a smoke and feeling confident.
Now I am the English teacher. However, I do not resort to bribery with my students. My teacher’s methods were unorthodox but I have been lucky. I’ve never had a student like me.