Mr. Henman is retired, yes you guessed it, tennis player! He'll pick you up by your ears and drop you on your head if you talk about Tim Henman or tennis in a bad way. As I said he's a retired tennis player. For sixteen years he tortured other tennis players and umpires alike with his skill and bad attitude. Now he spends his days torturing us. Mr. Henman is pure crazy! Last week he asked the class if there was anyone who had not handed in their money for the school trip. No one raised their hand, but, I knew that my friend Timmy Anderson had not. He lives alone with his mum and sister and they sadly can't afford the trip. Mr. Henman knew it too! I knew he was trying to make fun of Tim.
"You'd better raise your hand," I whispered, leaning close to Tim.
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"I'm not going," he said.
Tim didn't answer but I knew. "Don't let him find out," I said out of the corner of my mouth. "Otherwise, you know what he's like he'll say something to the whole school!" I could tell that Tim got nervous after that. He shifted in his seat and wouldn't look upfront. Mr. Henman goggled at Tim in the way a hungry lion would look at a raw steak. I could tell he had some diabolical plan brewing in his head. As the bell rang everyone went for lunch. I was walking with Tim and as we passed the teacher's lounge I noticed that the door was left partially open. This was it this was what I had been waiting for! This was my opportunity, I had to take it. I could sneak inside and listen to the teachers talking. I could prove that they were aliens or something worse.
"Go on I'll catch up," I told Tim. He jogged and caught up with my sister Nicole.
I checked the hallway to make sure no one was coming. When I was certain it was safe, I strolled over to the door. I pulled it back a little and stuck my head inside. I couldn't hear anyone so I quickly slipped in and pulled the door behind me. A walled coat rack separated me from the actual lounge. Still, it was quiet and I guessed that all of the teachers were down eating their lunch, peered around the corner, and saw an empty room. As it was empty I decided that I would try again later and turned to go back out. That's when I heard someone coming. I was almost hysterical as I raced around looking for someplace to hide. I saw a door across the room and hoped it was another way out. I was still thinking when I heard the door open. I sprang across the room like a rabbit and in no time I was on the other side of the door.
I pulled it shut and quickly realized that I was in a closet. It wasn't a solid door but one with wooden slats that ran across it. I could see out the door and hoped that whoever had come in wouldn't notice me. I almost fainted when the Headmaster and Mr. Henman ambled into the room. Mr. Henman sat at the little table and the head poured each of them a cup of coffee. They were only a few feet in front of me. The head sat opposite Mr. Henmanю.
"Have you finished collecting for the school trip?" the head enquired.
Mr. Henman looked at him for a minute and then said, "Yes. All done. Everyone is going this year." The principle took a sip of his coffee and said, "I hope this is not like last year. You can't keep paying for your kids to attend these things."
"It's not like that at all," he said. "The kids raised money this year to help each other out. They're all paid up."
"You're sure?" he pressed her. "Last year you paid out of your pocket for almost ten kids, Jim."
"I'm sure," he said.
The head said, "Good." He finished his coffee and left the room. Now I was really curious. What was he trying to pull? Was he trying to set Tim up for something? My ears were burning red. Mr. Henman took something from his pocket and put it on the table. I squinted and saw that it was a small calculator, then he pulled out a pencil and a piece of paper. He worked something out on the calculator, wrote it on the paper, and then replaced it back in his pocket. Then he pulled out his mobile. Mr. Henman dialed a number and I was able to listen in on his call.
"This is Jim Davidson," he said. He looked around the room as if he was expecting someone. "Yes, I'm calling about my car payment this month. I'm afraid I won't be able to make it." There was a long pause and then she spoke again. "I guess you could come to get it at Pemberton High." That evening as I rode the bus home, I saw Mr. Henman walking from school. Earlier, I watched a man tow his car from the car park. And I noticed other things that I guess I just never paid attention to. He didn't have a nice coat like the rest of the teachers. Mrs. Bailey had a real nice pair of suede boots. Mr. Henman sported a pair of old tennis shoes. He didn't look mad though, In fact, he had a smile on his face. I don't know if I'd ever seen him smile before. Maybe he was one of those people who weren't concerned about the number of possessions he owned? Maybe he was one of those people who was just happy to be living in such a prosperous area and working to help further children? Or maybe he was just a man with happy thoughts in his mind? I arrived home amazed by the look that had shone from Mr. Henman's face, as I saw him walking from school. Had that been nearly any other human being, but especially the adults that I know, they would have been in tears. Boy did I learn something about teachers that day? Especially Mr. Henman. I learned that he's not as crazy as I first thought he was, but a happy, contented man who was often misunderstood. I don't think I'll tell Tim, though. Sir wouldn't like that very much. He's not crazy, but neither am I!