Johnny’s Failure — Part 3

Failure to Do Homework and Turn In Assignments

After Yogi left the room, Detective Frament called for the pizza guy. Still wearing the company’s baseball cap, he, too, faced the detective.

“So you must be Papa John?”

“No, actually, I’m not, but I wish I were.”

“Alright, ditch the hat, Ace, and tell me your name.”

“Sam.”

“And how do you know Johnny?”

“We were in some of the same classes, and we work together.”

“Where?”

“At the pizza place; in fact, I got him the job.”

“How many hours a week does Johnny work there?”

“Not that many: maybe 20 to 25, mostly on the weekend.”

“And what classes did you take with Johnny?”

“We took Philosophy on campus, and we took Composition I online.”

“Online? What does that mean?”

“It means we never have to go to class. We do all the work on our computers whenever we want to; it’s great.”

“You get to do the work whenever you want to?”

“Pretty much. Sure, there’s a few deadlines, but no biggie. Johnny was a little skeptical at first, too, but I’m a computer whiz, so I showed him how to do everything.”

“If we brought his computer in here, could you show me how this online stuff works?”

“Sure.”

Officer Smith retrieved the computer, and Sam quickly logged in. Detective Frament saw Sam type in a username and password and asked, “You know Johnny’s username and password?”

“Sure. I set everything up for him. Johnny don’t know squat when it comes to online classes.” As Sam sped through different web pages, he was excited to show off his computer knowledge, and he explained what he was doing to the detective. “See, this first page shows all the courses that Johnny took in the fall. Now if we click on the Composition course, we can see all the announcements, the handouts, the assignments, the grades, everything.”

“And how did Johnny do in this course?”

“I’m guessin’ he got a least a B, but let’s check.” As Sam waited for the grade to appear, he bragged about Johnny’s abilities. “Johnny’s a great writer; he helped me all the time with my essays, especially the research paper. . . . Oh my God! He failed the course. That can’t be right. No way.” Mystified, Sam searched through the gradebook and offered a running commentary.

“Yeah, he got 86, 88, 88, and 84 on the first four essays, but then there’s a bunch of zeroes, an 85, and more zeroes. What did he do? Is it possible he never turned in his work? I know he did these essays — and the term paper. He wrote about dredging the Hudson River; he read a ton of articles and said it had to be done. I can’t believe he never submitted his work.”

“Or maybe,” Detective Frament interrupted, “maybe, he missed those deadlines you were talking about, you know the ones you said were ‘no biggie.’”

Shaking his head, Sam had to agree with the detective. “Unbelievable,” Sam muttered.

Written by

Jim LaBate works as a writing specialist in The Writing Center at Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC) in Troy, New York.

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