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Back when I (Discofurby) was around nine or ten and still in primary school, the school I went to usually had drop-off time at nine A.M. and pick-up time at three P.M., but once a year, in the late spring, before term four, the pick-up time was set an hour early at two P.M. so that the teachers could interview the students' parents or other caregivers about their children's behavior/success. At two o'clock when my father didn't arrive to pick me up (usually my mother picked me up and my father dropped me off. I was a creature of habit back then so if for some reason my mother was dropping me off or my father was picking me up, I would be a bit miffed so Mum would make up for it by taking me somewhere fun after school and Dad would make up for it by giving me an Oreo cookie, but I had nearly grown out of the habit thing by then.) the teacher told me to go to the school hall, so I did. There, there were about twenty other kids, of all different ages. The principal said that any children who went to an after school club could go on their way, and set a few rules.

  1. You could play with toys, but not blow up any balloons, because they might pop and it would be too noisy and make a mess.
  2. You could eat and drink, but don't eat notoriously messy foods like popcorn.
  3. You could read, but only read aloud if reading to someone.
  4. No electronics.

To bide the time, the teacher's assistant Lynne and I read this book. I don't remember what it was called but it had puzzles/riddles in it, and it was about a young wizard who was about to inherit this magic garment called the Cloak of Illusion (do you know the book I'm talking about?)

At three, Dad showed up, and he told me a funny story.

He had arrived to pick me up at three, like usual, but the moment he arrived on the schoolyard, he noticed something was up. There were no parents waiting for their kids, and no students waiting on the playground and it was very quiet. He went into my classroom and the teacher was there, talking in a serious voice to a woman Dad didn't know. Dad wondered if it was parent-teacher interview time, as he knew it was soon, but when the teacher gestured toward the hall, he wondered if it was an assembly. In the hall, we swapped stories.

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