The Cheat.

Another old story from my high school years:

Ivan was a dumb student. He had always failed the class tests and yet he never attempted to understand the subject being studied. He just didn’t care.

At the end of the fourth and final nine weeks of the year, the geometry teacher called him up to the teacher’s desk and announced to him, “Ivan, you have an F this quarter. You just have to study real hard for the final exam. If you get an A on this test, you can raise your grade to a C. I’m worried about you, Ivan.”

This put Ivan real worried, too. He never opened the textbook to do his assignments, but got the answers from all his friends. They were all wrong, but Ivan just didn’t care.

Now he did. NOW he did. Ivan was trying to find a way to cheat on this test. He was about to ask the girl when the test was when the teacher came up to the front of the classroom and began talking.

“Class, you have a test either today, tomorrow, or Friday, depending on which group you are in. Listen very carefully. I am going to divide this class into three groups. I am going to make the girl in the first row, the second guy in the second row, the first girl in the third row, sort of like a checkerboard pattern over the whole class, I will make you take the test tomorrow.

“The people I skipped in the pattern from group one will take the test Friday. This includes the second boy in the first row, the first girl in the second row, and the second boy in the third row.

“The third group is the absent students group. That doesn’t apply to you. You have the rest of the hour to review.”

Ivan was in group two, and so was his pal, Buddy. Ivan smiled.

That night Ivan called up Buddy.

“Hey, Ivan! Whatcha want?”

“Can you give me the answers on the test Friday? We’re not supposed to come to class tomorrow, so the students can’t cheat.”

“See, the problem is that we sit on the opposite ends of the classroom. We have to communicate by some secret code.”

“Shoot. Well, we’ll have to work out something.”

“I got it. You can see my feet in class, right?”

“Yeah, Buddy, why?”

“See, I can move my feet according to the answers. I’ll give you a code tomorrow.”

“You’re brilliant! ‘Bye.”

The next day, Buddy gave him the code.


Ivan smiled. He was going to do well on this test, he thought.

Friday, Ivan arrived at the classroom on one major worry, what if Buddy was absent? Then he was in deep trouble. After the bell rang, the teacher took roll and took the people who took the test already to the auditorium. When Ivan looked to the desk of his best pal, Buddy…

Buddy was absent.

Ivan gasped.

He wasn’t going to get out of the class alive, he thought.

Then, the teacher gave the test to Ivan. Ivan said, “I’m not ready for the test.”

“Today’s the last day of school. You must take it.”

Ivan sighed and began to take the test.

To Ivan’s relief, Buddy arrived late. Ivan watched as the teacher seated him in Buddy’s seat and gave him the test.

Then, Buddy stuck one finger up.

Problem one.

Buddy lifted one foot on its heel and then stuck the leg forward.


Problem two.

Buddy stuck both legs forward and spread them apart.


Problem three.

Buddy lifted both feet on their heels and laid them flat.


Problem four…

For the next thirty minutes Ivan watched Buddy give him the answers by leg movements.

Then Buddy finished first, and then turned his test in. Ivan waited a minute before turning his test in. Done!

“Have a nice summer!” called the teacher, but the boys slammed the door shut.

School was out!

Ivan watched his mailbox at home for the report card. It came, and Ivan tore open the envelope and saw his report card.

He made a 100 on his test.

Ivan cried for joy and danced constantly, then called Buddy up to tell him the good news.

“I did it! I did it!”

“Good,” said Buddy. “We’re now seniors. Imagine what that’ll be like.”

“Who cares!” yelled Ivan, “We’re out of school!”


The boys talked excitedly for a while, while the report cards displayed:


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