Test Paper

A random drabble that came walking the dog again (she is my inspiration) with no real plot at all.

An Apology : I am working on further chapters of Working for the Enemy. I know where I am going with it, just not happy with how it currently is. I want it to be to the high standards worthy of this fandom so I am rewriting some parts and re-editing others. Please be patient with me. I also have another idea in the pipeline for a PM/Ironside crossover but it may just not sit well with a few people, (I do not want to offend anyone) so I'm holding back on that one until I'm certain it's the right move to make by posting or keeping it a personal writing exercise.

As always – Please stay safe

Disclaimer : I do not own the characters of Perry Mason or Della Street. I am merely amusing myself with them

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'I'm pretty sure that's not the answer they were looking for.' Della crossed her arms as Perry studied the paper, the twitch of a smile at the corners of his mouth.

'Technically it is correct though,' Perry shrugged.

'Don't play lawyer with me Mr Mason. The question is What ended in 1865? I'm sure the answer he wasn't supposed to put was 1864!'

Perry started chuckling as he continued to read, then threw his head back and laughed.

'Which answer was that?' Della moved his hand so she could read along with him.

'Where was the Declaration of Independence signed? – At the bottom.' Perry roared with laughter. Della's eyes narrowed at him.

'This isn't funny Perry,' she chided.

'What about this one…..' he tried to regain his composure. 'Explain the phrase Free Press – When mom irons my pants…..or….or….' Perry was almost beyond help at this point. 'Unscramble the words to make a sentence - a pen in goat My a – My penis is a goat!' Perry held onto the edge of his desk as he laughed.

Della now folded her arms and shook her head. 'Keep reading, you should see the rest of his answers. Mrs Hughes called me from the school. She was concerned, this isn't like George. He always passes tests with good grades. He's totally flipped out on this one.'

'I like this one,' Perry offered, 'Verbal reasoning questions, he should be good at these if he's like me.'

'Don't act like a proud Papa until you read his answer.' Perry read, Della waited.

'Read the problem and come up with a solution – Problem: You fall from your bike and cut your elbow. Solution, mom says get up and deal with it!' Perry grinned. 'I think our son might just be a genius. Name six animals found in the Arctic, answer 3 polar bears and 3 seals…..Come on Della how is that not a right answer?' Perry flopped into his office chair. His sides were aching.

Della looked serious as she could. 'Perry you're going to have to speak with him. This may be a little fun to you but what if he starts flunking other, more important tests on purpose like he has this one.'

Perry held up his hands. 'Alright you win, I'll talk to him where is he?'

'In reception. I had to collect him from school at lunchtime. He got clever with the science teacher. They thought an afternoon off might cool his jets.'

'Why what did he say?' Perry crossed his fingers and hoped it hadn't been an expletive then he really would have to deal seriously with George.

'They were doing some experiments with gas, liquid and solids. She asked in which state do the particles show most movement.'

'And?'

'Well I'm not sure California was the answer, neither am I sure that the state for the least movement was Georgia!' Perry tried to unsuccessfully supress a grin. Della gave an exasperated sigh and went to the office door. Opening it she waved her hand in invitation. George Mason entered and at least had the decency to look sheepish.

'What have been up to young man?' Perry tried his best intimidating courtroom voice.

'OH that's just great,' George immediately and threw his hands up. 'Convicted before I get a fair trial!' He exaggerated.

'STOP!' Perry boomed. 'You're not speaking to your friends now. Don't play clever with me. In a battle of wills, you WILL lose. Now what's with the attitude and this,' he waved the exam paper in the air.

'I didn't get anything technically wrong dad.' Sarcasm dripped from his eleven year old mouth. Perry's eyes narrowed dangerously and suddenly George didn't feel so clever or confident.

'Della, please leave us.' He requested quietly. Della gave an apprehensive nod after looking between the two of them once more, then slipped into her office closing the door behind her. Perry rose from his chair and walked around the desk where he perched on the edge. George shifted uncomfortably from one foot to the other as his father came closer. 'Sit.' It wasn't a request. George slid into the chair but turned his eyes up to meet Perry's in one final act of bravado. Silent minutes passed before Perry spoke again. 'What's going on with you George?' He still had the test paper in his hand and waved it in the air again. 'This isn't you.'

George had braced himself for an onslaught that didn't materialize and let out the breath he had been holding. He began blinking rapidly searching for an answer but didn't have one.

'Nothing,' he finally offered shrugging his shoulders. 'It was just a bit of fun. I thought you'd find it amusing.'

'Mrs Hughes called your mother and she had to collect you. You've been excluded from class until next week. That's not amusing.'

'It's one way to get Friday afternoon off.' George smirked for half a moment until he saw his fathers jaw tighten.

'The answers you gave on the test are I guess correct on a technicality, however the attitude isn't. Having you sent home from school early, isn't.'

'Sorry Pop.' George managed.

'It's not me you have to apologise to. It's your science teacher and more importantly, your mother. She didn't deserve to have to deal with that call and drop everything to collect you.' George flushed.

'No Sir.' He hesitated. 'Everyone's going away.'

'What?' Perry looked puzzled. 'What do you mean?'

'Perry and Lily are away at college and Tom has just got in and he'll be leaving soon too. You're always at work and now I'm getting older, mom's probably gonna spend more time here.'

'And you think you're going to be left at home on your own?' George shrugged again.

'That's not going to happen, you're too young to be left on your own.'

'I'm almost twelve.'

'Still too young for my liking.'

'That's just it Pop. I don't want to be on my own, and I don't want Mom to be sad.'

'Sad?'

'I heard you two talking after Tom said he'd got in at college. Mom didn't sound happy everyone was leaving.'

'I'm sorry you heard that.' Perry's voice softened along with his eyes. 'It's hard for parents when the kids go out on their own,' he explained, 'but it's also part of growing up. I guess it's hard on the younger ones too especially as there's an age gap. Maybe it wouldn't be as hard for you if you were a little older, I'm not sure.'

George shrugged again as Della re-entered. 'Everyone still in one piece?' She enquired in soft tones. George lept from the clients chair and threw his arms around his mother nearly knocking her off her feet. Della hugged him hard. 'Sorry mom,' he mumbled into her shoulder. 'What's my punishment?' He flashed her the well practised smile, displaying the inherited Mason dimples he knew she had a hard time resisting, in the vain hope of escaping with little or no consequences for his exploits. 'I'll be happy to sit with Gertie the rest of the afternoon and keep her company,' he offered.

'What and help her eat the rest of her chocolates and read her movie magazines whilst swapping gossip?' Della was sceptical. 'Noooo young man. I have something better in mind. You get to dust the law library shelfs and,' she was cut off by a groan from George. 'And,' she continued, 'You're on washing the dishes duty for the rest of the weekend.'

George's shoulder slumped as his arms slipped from his mother. 'Mom ' he groaned. 'That's a cruel and unusual punishment and as you are well aware working in a law office, forced child labour is against the law. Ask my lawyer.' He threw is father a look of desperation. Perry was attempting to bite back a smirk. Della countered with a murderous glance daring her husband to come to their sons defence.

'Sorry son,' Perry joined in the debate. 'As your lawyer I have to recommend you take the deal from the Prosecutor.' Della produced a dusting cloth which George took from her. His steps were heavy as he made his way to the law library. 'George,' Perry spoke as his hand was on the door knob. His son turned with hope on his face.

'Yes dad?'

Perry waved the test paper in the air. 'I think your answer to question 20 was spot on. Most definitely a Mason test answer.'

George finally grinned from ear to ear. 'I just knew you'd like that one!' He disappeared behind the door closing it behind him. Della moved to stand next to Perry by the desk. He slipped an arm about her waist and pulled her close.

'And what was the Mason family answer to number 20 again. Remind me.' Della tried to grab the paper but Perry held it above her head out of reach. Tilting his head up, he read.

'Question 20. Name three things you want to do in the future. Number 1. Find a girlfriend. Number 2. Kiss my girlfriend often. Number 3. Rule the courtroom like my dad or the rest of the world like my Mom.'

Fin