Finally, the story came out.
"When you and Grandpa were out shopping, I went into Uncle Andrew's room to look for my I-pad," he began. His I-pad is off limits except during school holidays and then only for two hours a day. Unless we hide it, he goes to wherever it was and takes it and hides it behind or under his bed. At the moment I've found a very good hiding place that he has yet to find. We always know when he has found it because he mysteriously spends hours in his room and is notoriously difficult to get up in the morning.
Back to Sam. "I opened one of his cupboards and I found like, ummm, errrr, a deck of cards..."
"Do you mean to say you were gambling at school?" I asked, a bit taken aback by that possibility.
"No..." he said hesitantly.
All the while tears intermittently streaming down his face and hands continually wiping them away.
"They had pictures of naked women on them..."
And apparently very lewd pictures they were, too!
"I took them and put them in my school bag and took them to school."
"So what were you showing them around and the teacher caught you?" I asked, wondering why considering his age and gender, I hadn't suspected it was something like this...
"No, I told this 'friend' and when I wouldn't show him, he grabbed my bag and went into it and took a bunch of them and wouldn't give them back." He explained. "He started showing and giving them to all
these kids and the Deputy Head found one of them."
So of course when the picture was found and the boy was questioned it all came back to Sam and Sam got called into the Headmaster's office to explain himself! Total humiliation. He was told that his grandparents would have to be told... He was terrified and afraid to come home.
Sam got to the house and walked around the block several times. He then went into the cellar, where the garage is, and hid in the Volvo which The Man insists on keeping. The garage is small and dirty and he hid for a while behind the car -- this getting rather dirty -- and then crept into the car itself. After quite a good while he decided he'd better get it over with and 'face the music'.
When he finished, I told him that he had been wrong in several ways, but that it was not the worst thing I'd ever heard. This seemed to calm him down a little. I told him I was also glad he was not in a fight, that that would have been worse to me.
"However, one," I admonished him, you should not have been looking for the I-pad, when told you couldn't have it; two, you should not have been invading his uncle's privacy and going through his things; three you should not have 'stolen' your uncle's property; and four you should not have been so stupid as to take them to school! You have," I continued, "created your own recipe for disaster." Then I took his blazer for the wash and sent him upstairs to change his clothes.
Seconds later he was back and quite agitated. "I can hear Grandpa talking to the school," he said quaking.
"How is that, I didn't hear the phone ring?" I told him to go change and listened to the conversation. It went something like this...
"Cards, do you mean playing cards?" "I don't understand. They have pictures..." "What kind of pictures?" Then in his most indignant English military officer's voice "I beg your pardon, I certainly do not have any pictures like that in my house!"
The school had called him on his cell phone -- which was totally surprising considering he almost never uses it, almost never has it turned on, and it is almost never in the same room as he is! It was time for me to intercede. "I know what it is all about" I yelled. "You'd better let me take it." Which he did...
(More anon ...)