It was 6 p.m., or close to it. Hatsu could feel it. She could feel the chill of impending death seeping into her bones. She could taste her own terror as her stomach churned with fear and butterflies. Her hands were shaking and her jaw was aching from being clenched too tight.

         It was 6 p.m., and her father would be home soon. Hatsu feared what he would say to her about this. She dreaded the scolding that she was about to receive. Something like this had never happened before, not in her family, not in over one hundred years.

         It was 6:01 p.m. She could hear the front door opening and closing. It wouldn’t be ling now. She heard her mother greet her father. Hatsu’s heart began to beat faster. She heard her mother explain the devastating situation to her father. Hatsu cringed and shrank down in her seat; wishing to god that she could make herself disappear.

         It was now 6:09 p.m. and her father stood before her. Hatsu looked up at her father’s disapproving face. His hateful glare said it all. Hatsu closed her eyes and waited, but the blow didn’t come. Hatsu opened her eyes and looked up at her father.

         “I’m sorry.” she said, sheepishly.

         “Hatsu, I’m not mad. It’s just that…” her father began, his hateful glare softening into a wicked smile. “Do you know how embarrassing it is for you to flunk math? Our family name is Chimedes after all.”

         Hatsu gave him a weak smile.

         “I know dad. I’ll try harder, I promise.” swore Hatsu.

         “I know you will, because until your grades come up, you’ll have to wear this.” said her father, as he placed something on her head.

         Hatsu frowned as she recognized the huge orange cone. She slipped off her bed and looked in the mirror. There she stood with an orange triangular cone on her head with the words “Math Dummy” written in large, bold, black ink.

         “Aw, Dad.” whined Hatsu. “Do I have too? This thing is so stupid.”

         “Yes. Because as long as you wear that I KNOW you’ll try harder.” he smirked.

         “I think I’d prefer the spanking.” groaned Hatsu.

         “The sting of the belt wears off and no one can see your shame. This, this will stay with you until the next math test.”

         That said her father whipped out the Polaroid, snapped a photo.

         “Dad!” cried Hatsu.

         …and went to hang the photo on the refrigerator door.

         “Better pray that this photo doesn’t find its way into the yearbook.” teased her father, as he waved the picture tauntingly, and left the room.

         “You wouldn’t!” she shouted.

         “Not if you pass math I won’t.”

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