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Recently, I’ve been using the “word of the day” feature on my phone’s dictionary as a fiction prompt.  Today’s “word” was give-and-take, which I personally view as three words, but that’s beside the point.


Give-and-take, noun.  An exchange of views on some topic.


The sudden appearance of the German master had Jackson and Anders hastily straightening up from their half-crouches and brushing ineffectually at their trousers.

“And just what is going on here?”

His voice was soft like silk, with a hidden iron core.  Mr Sanderson never raised his voice to get the attention of the students – in or out of class.  There was no need; his very presence caused everyone to stand in silence.  Jackson gulped.

“Nothing, Sir.  Just a friendly debate, a little give-and-take.”

Mr Sanderson raked his eyes over the pair.  They fought the urge to fidget, both uncomfortably aware that their shirts were not perfectly tucked in, their ties slightly skewed.

“It seems to me,” he said, “that there was a little more take than there was give.  I note that Mr Anders has misplaced his lunch in the excitement, and that you have found it, Mr Jackson.  I will assume that you were merely returning it to him?”  Somehow he managed to make the statement sound like both a question and an order.  Frantically Jackson nodded, and held out the plastic box to the younger boy.

Anders glanced at Mr Sanderson before hesitantly taking it and clutching it to him.  Mr Sanderson gave him the slightest of nods, so small that he was almost sure he had imagined it.

“Mr Anders, I fear you must find other companionship for now; Mr Jackson and I are going to have a conversation about the quality of his latest essay.  Come,” he added sharply, looking at Jackson, and swept off towards his classroom.  Jackson’s shoulders slumped as soon as the teacher’s back was turned, and he made a rude gesture.

“I saw that.”

His eyes widened comically, and he scuttled down the corridor after his teacher.

Anders smiled, and went to eat his lunch.

The Author

Nicola Higgins is a 30-something martial artist who runs two Brownie packs and works full time. She somehow still finds time to write.

Her favourite genres are near-future and alternate world science fiction and fantasy.

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