Story A Day: Day 9: Nigel’s Past

The prompt

Write a story based on the Ugly Duckling structure

Nigel’s Past by Sojourner McConnell

Nigel was a handsome lad. He always looked his best, best clothes, perfect hair and expensive shoes. These were the things that mattered to him. He was sixteen and he had everything going for him. His parents were able to provide a lovely home with a room of his own. He had the best computer of all his friends. He liked to show them what all his computer could do. He had three hard-drives so that he could hold all of his pirated movies.


“There is nothing wrong with downloading them, I mean if you know where to go, they were free. I just know where to go.” Jamie, his friend just shook his head.


That’s not right, Nigel. Stealing is stealing.” Nigel did not believe that for a moment. He had the best that money could buy.


“Who really cares if I am watching movies that were still at the movies. It isn’t anyone’s business and if you don’t like it, then you can go home.”

Jamie went home that night. He did not want to stay there when Nigel was in one of his moods. When Nigel was at school or at football practice he was as nice as they come.But he had some terrible moods when he was feeling better than everyone else. Feeling like he was above the rules.



Jamie talked to his dad that night, “I just don’t get it. Why he doesn’t see that he is doing something wrong.”

“He doesn’t have parents that teach him right from wrong. It is a sad thing, more than a bad thing. He will one day realize he has to be aboveboard and honest if people are going to trust him and want to do business with him. He is a bright boy, he will learn.” His dad hoped that that was the case, for Nigel’s sake.


The next two years Nigel and Jamie stayed close friends.  They studied together and planned on attending the same college.  They even wanted to go into business together. They had grown up together and could not see themselves not remaining friends .  Nigel had come to depend on Jamie for instruction and guidance, where he could not from his own parents. His parents believed that they marched to a different drum. Nigel struggled with the different rules that they enforced and the rules Jamie insisted were better.

When graduation day came, Nigel and Jamie were both excited to share the day. They had worked hard for this diploma and nothing could put a damper on the day. Until the Principal, Mr. Glenn called Nigel into his office forty five minutes before he was supposed to walk.

“Nigel, it has come to my attention that you may have cheated on one of your exams. Do you have anything to say for yourself?”

Nigel looked over to his parents and his expression was pained and scared. “I did not cheat, Mr. Glenn. Who said I cheated?”

Mr. Glenn looked across his desk at the young man and shook his head, “I can’t tell you that, but your English teacher, Mrs. Davenport, said that your grade was exactly the same as Jamie Carmichael. You are his friend aren’t you? Did you copy off his paper? Did you just happen to look over see the answers, and jot them down on your own paper?”

Nigel was upset, mad as well as scared. How could he prove that he did not cheat, that he would never cheat on a test.

“I did not cheat, Sir. You can ask Jamie, we studied together for weeks preparing for this final exam. Ask him if you don’t believe me!”

“I plan on asking him. You can count on that. He will not be able to graduate if he made the answers available to you. Are you sure you do not want to confess anything? Now would be the best time, Son. Before this goes any farther and involves other people.”

Mr Glenn had requested that Jamie be placed in the vice principal’s office until he could question him. He stood and left Nigel and his parents in his office and went over to the office that housed Jamie and his parents.

Jamie, Mr and Mrs. Carmichael. I wish I could say it is a pleasure to see you, but we have a serious problem on our hands. Do you know what this is about, Jamie?”

“No sir, I have no clue. Can you tell me? Have I done something wrong? Forgotten to turn in a book to the library?”

“Oh it is much more serious than a library book. You have been accused of providing answers to your English exam to Nigel. What can you tell me about this?” Mr. Glenn sat back in the vinyl chair and folded his hands in his lap, awaiting an answer.

“Cheating? Nigel and I are being accused of cheating? I have never cheated a day in my life. I have always been honest. I study , I study hard and I can not believe anyone would think I would cheat.”

“Well,Jamie, the truth is, we think Nigel cheated off your paper. There is a question about if you were aware of him looking at your paper. As Nigel’s Friend can you unequivocally state that he would not cheat?”

Jamie swallowed hard, the memory of Nigel taking movies off the illegal website played vividly in his mind. He had told Nigel what he thought and called it stealing. Do I think Nigel was a thief and a cheat? The question rolled around in his mind over and over.
He tried to remain calm and he glanced over to his father. He could see the doubt on his father’s face. Jamie remembered that he had told him about Nigel’s movies.

Jamie looked at Mr. Glenn, swallowed and said. “No sir I do not believe Nigel capable of cheating on an exam. He has too much honor. We studied very hard together for this exam. Going over each chapter’s notes and end of chapter questions in the book. We did not cheat. I am positive.”

Jamie’s father looked at him and quietly asked, “are you sure? I remember there being questions several years back about some movies. Remember what you told me?”

“I should have told you before today, but Nigel found out that something he had been doing was not right and the next day he showed me where he had removed everything he had downloaded into his computer. He realized he was doing wrong and went out of his way to fix it. He is not a thief. He is an honorable person. I trust him with my life. He is not a cheat, we did not copy off each other. You have my word.”

Mr. Carmichael nodded then smiled. Mr. Glenn there was no cheating during this exam. I know Jamie and he knows Nigel and his word is good enough for me.”

Mr. Glenn stood and nodded at the family. “Your story matches up with what Nigel stated. You are free to go to the graduation. I will leave you now and go tell Nigel that he is free to go through with the graduation ceremony. Thank you for your time and your honesty.”

Nigel saw Jamie and hurried to him. “Did they accuse you of cheating too?”

Jamie nodded, “yes they did. Now they know it is impossible.”

“How do they know it was impossible?”

Jamie threw his arm around Nigel’s shoulders before speaking. “Because I told them you were too honorable to cheat on a test. I gave them my word, and since I am your best friend and know you better than anyone else, they knew it was the truth.”

“But what about those movies, didn’t you think I would cheat if I stole those movies?”


Jamie smiled, “No, I remember you removing them. I remember the day you learned that it was wrong to steal. I know you do not steal or cheat, and I assured them of that. My dad believed me, and Mr. Glenn trusted us to tell the truth.”

Nigel straightened his cap and gown. His face was bright with emotion.  “Lets get in line. It is time to Walk!”


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