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Football crazy
Hasan makes a newspaper
The Wicked Prince
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Rabia reads a lot
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Fighting in School
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Uncle Shine
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Fighting in School

‘You’re a cheater,’ I told Hamza.
‘Say that again,’ said Hamza.
‘You’re a cheater,’ I told him.
‘Oh, I am, am I?’ he asked me.
‘Yes,’ I said, ‘you are.’
‘OK,’ said Hamza, ‘we have a fight at break, right?’
‘Right!’ I said.
‘Silence there!’ shouted the prefect who was on duty.

Next lesson was geography. Haris, who was sitting beside me, said he’d hold my bottle for me when I fought Hamza at break, and he advised me to hit him on the chin like boxers on the T.V.
‘No, you want to punch him on the nose!’ said Waqas, who was sitting behind us. ‘One good punch, wham! and you’ve won.’
‘Wrong!’ said Rufi, who was next to Waqas.
‘Smack his face — that’s what Hamza doesn’t like.’
‘Fool! How often have you seen boxers smacking each other’s faces?’ asked Kashif, who was sitting fairly close to us, and he passed a note to Jimmy who wanted to know what it was all about only from where he was sitting he couldn’t hear.
Unfortunately, the note happened to reach Kamran and Kamran is teacher’s pet and he put up his hand and said, ‘Please, miss, I’ve got a note.’
Our teacher looked surprised and she asked Kamran to bring her the note, and Kamran went up to the front looking very pleased with himself.
Our teacher read the note, and she said, ‘It seems that two of you are planning a fight during break. I don’t know what about, and I don’t want to know. But I warn you, I shall ask Mr Qureshi after break, and the culprits will be severely punished. Haris, come up to the blackboard!’
So Haris got asked about the rivers of Punjab, and he wasn’t very good because the only ones he knew were the Ravi which flows through Lahore where he went for his holidays last year. All our gang could hardly wait for next break; they were arguing like mad, and our teacher had to bang the table with her ruler and Zeeshan, who was asleep, thought it was meant for him and went to stand in the corner. I was worried, because if our teacher gave me detention there’d be trouble at home. Or suppose our teacher had me expelled? I had a big lump in my throat and the bell went for the end of the lesson, and I looked at Hamza and I realized he didn’t seem to be in any hurry to go down to the playground either.
Out there, all the gang were waiting. ‘Let’s go to the far end of the playground,’ said Kashif. ‘We’ll be private there.’
Hamza and I followed the others. Then Zeeshan turned round and said to Kamran, ‘Not you! You told on them!’
‘But I want to watch!’ said Kamran, and then he said that if he couldn’t watch he was going to go and tell the prefect this minute and no one would be able to fight.
‘Oh, let him watch!’ said Rufi. ‘After all, Hamza and Atif are going to get punished anyway, so it doesn’t make any difference whether Kamran goes and tells on them before or afterwards.’
‘We’ll get punished,’ said Hamza. ‘We’ll get punished if we fight, Atif. For the last time, do you take back what you said?’
‘Don’t be so daft! He isn’t taking anything back!’ said Haris.
‘No fear!’ said Kashif.
‘Right, off you go,’ said Waqas. ‘I’ll referee the fight.’
‘You, be ref?’ said Rufi. ‘Don’t make me laugh! Why should you be ref?’
‘Don’t let’s quarrel over that!’ said Jimmy. ‘We’d better get a move on. Break will soon be over.’
‘Scuse me,’ said Hamza, ‘but the ref is most important. I’m not fighting unless there’s a good ref!’
‘Hear, hear!’ I said. ‘Hamza’s dead right.’
‘OK, OK,’ said Rufi. ‘I’ll be ref.’
Waqas didn’t care for that, and he said Rufi didn’t know the first thing about boxing, he even thought boxers smacked each other’s faces.
‘A smack from me is every bit as good as a punch on the nose from you!’ said Rufi, and wham! He smacked Waqas’s face. Waqas was furious, I’ve never seen him so furious before and he started fighting Rufi and he tried to punch his nose but Rufi wouldn’t keep still and that made Waqas even angrier and he kept shouting that Rufi was a rotten sport.
‘Stop it! Stop it!’ yelled Haris. ‘Break will soon be over.’
‘Why don’t you shut your big mouth, fatso?’ asked Kashif.
So Haris asked me to hold his currant bun for him and he started fighting Kashif. I was really surprised at that, because Haris doesn’t usually like fighting, specially not when he’s eating a fruit bun. But he never liked being called fatso. I was busy watching Haris and Kashif, so I don’t know why Jimmy kicked Zeeshan, but I think it could have been because Zeeshan won a tennis ball off Jimmy yesterday.
Anyway, all the gang were fighting like mad. It was terrific! I started eating Haris’s fruit bun and I gave a bit of it to Hamza. Then prefects came hurrying up and separated everyone.
‘There! What did I tell you?’ said Haris. ‘All this fooling about, and Hamza and Atif didn’t even have time for their fight!’
When the prefect told her what had happened our teacher was very cross, and she gave the whole class detention except for Kamran and Hamza and me, and she said we were an example to the rest.
‘You were dead lucky the bell went!’ said Hamza. ‘I could hardly wait to start fighting you!’
‘Don’t make me laugh!’ I said. ‘Cheater!’
‘Say that again!’ said Hamza.
‘Cheater!’ I said. ‘Right!’ said Hamza. ‘We’ll have a fight next break.’
‘OK,’ I said.
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