When I arrived home the other day, my kid brother was sitting in the corner of the room doing his homework.
'What's your school show going to be this Christmas then?' I enquired. 'You said yesterday that they would be announcing it today.'
'It's "Oliver!",' he replied, without looking up.
'Well,' I responded, 'it's a good choice. There are plenty of parts for dirty, scruffy kids. You and the rest of Form 4c can go as you are - it'll save on costumes! Which character are you playing?'
'There's a really tough crook called Bill Sykes,' said my brother. 'He goes around bashing people all the time. He's got a dog called "Bullseye", cos it's got a black ring round its eye,'
'I know, I know,' I protested, 'you don't have to tell me about Charles Dickens - I've seen the film! But you're a bit small to play Bill Sykes, aren't you?'
'I'm playing the dog!' snarled my brother. 'The Headmaster decided a real one would be too much trouble,'
'Alright,' he continued, as I stifled a giggle, 'don't you laugh too; I got into a fight with "Basher" Bristow during lunch cos he kept on about it. We got sent to the Head for brawling and I told him it was all because of the stupid part he'd given me.'
'And did that persuade him to change his mind?' I asked.
'No,' answered my brother, looking up from his book. 'When he saw my black-eye, he said he was even more convinced that he'd made the right choice!'
See you soon