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The Watch is one of Michael Rosen's longer poems on Artifice Design.

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The Watch07:56

The Watch

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The Watch.

My Mum and Dad gave me a watch, not a posh watch, good enough to tell the time by though. And it went well enough, until one day at a camp, we were playing Smugglers and Customs over the sand dunes. I was a smuggler and I had to get twenty-thousand pounds through the customs for us to win the game. Twenty-thousand pounds written on a piece of paper. There were three ways to get past the customs. One, by running so fast, the customs couldn't catch you. Two, by going creepy crawly so they couldn't see you and three, going through the customs with it hidden somewhere. I chose three. I chose to hide it on me somewhere, but where? "I know!" I said, "I'll stuff it in my watch!" and I took the back of my watch, folded up the piece of paper with the twenty-thousand pounds written on it, slipped it into the watch and clipped the back of my watch on. So then I went creepy crawly over the sand dunes, they saw me, they grabbed me and they searched me. They looked in my pockets, they looked in my shoes, they looked in my socks, they looked in my jumper, down my jumper, down my shirt, in my armpits, they even looked under my watch but they never thought to look in my watch did they? So, they let me go. And when I got to the other end where the other smugglers were, I said "Hooray! I got through!" and I opened up the back of my watch and there it was, twenty-thousand pounds! I took it out, handed it over and we had won the game! I snapped the back of my watch on, looked at the time and...my watch...it stopped...it's broken...I broke it.

That evening, I told my brother all about it and I said "Don't tell Mum or Dad about it or I'll get into trouble. I'll get it mended secretly." So there we were, tea time, and my brother suddenly goes "What's the time, Mick?" and I-I-I went all red and I-and I kind of flustered and I go "Umm, err yeah, sorry err," and I look at my watch and I go "Umm, yeah it's umm about Six O'Clock." "No it's not!" says my Dad, "It's Seven O'Clock!" and he sees me going red.

"Is your watch going wrong?"

"Err, no it's okay!"

"Let's have a look!"

"No no it's alright! It's alright!"

"Let's have a look! Let me have a look at it!"

...

"It stopped! It's broken! How did it get broken?"

"I dunno."

"What do you mean you don't know?"

My brother was still laughing all over his face without making a sound. So then, I told my Dad all about the Smugglers and Customs and hiding the money in my watch. He was furious.

"We gave you the watch so you could tell the time! Not for you to use as a part of a secret agent smuggling outfit!  Well don't expect us to buy you presents like that again!"

I was so angry with my brother for getting me into trouble, inside, I was bubbling. So as soon as tea was over, I went down to our backyard where there was an old cherry tree and I broke a twig off it and it was all prickly and flaky and covered in a kind of grey slimy muck. So then, I took this twig back upstairs into our bedroom and I'll tell you what I did with it, I shoved it into his bed and as I shoved it into his bed I though "This'll pay him back! This'll pay him back! This'll pay him back! He's gonna get into bed tonight after I'm asleep and he's feet are gonna get all prickled up and covered in grey mucky slimy stuff!"

Well later that evening, I was doing some homework and I had some really hard sums to do. I couldn't do them! I was stuck! And my brother, he sees me scribbling out all these numbers and the page is a mess! So my brother, he says "What's up? Do you want a bit of help with your sums?" What could I say to that? First I go "No no, no it's alright." but he goes "No come one! I'll lend you a hand!" so I say "Okay." and he comes over and he helps me. He's sitting there right next to me! My enemy! Showing me how to do my sums! And then he said "Now you try!" and then I could do them! So there I was friends with him! Grateful, I'm saying "Thanks! thanks for helping me!" but, in the back of my mind, I know something! The twig was still in the bed! I didn't know what to say! All I could see was the twig sitting in his bed just where his feet would get it! Even if I went and got it out, there'd still be a heap of dirty prickly bits left in his bed! After he showed me how to get all the sums right! So I go "Look umm, when you go to bed tonight, there'll be a twig in your bed." so he goes "A twig in my bed? A twig in my bed? How did it get there then?" so I say "I put it there." and my Mum and Dad heard that so my Dad goes "You put a twig in his bed? Did I hear that right? You put a twig in his bed? Might I ask why did you put a twig in his bed?" and I just couldn't say it. I just sat there like a lemon! I couldn't say it was to pay him back for telling on me about the watch because they wouldn't think there was anything wrong with him doing that! So I just sat there and then I said "I don't know." *faceplam* what a stupid thing to say and my Dad goes "You don't know why you put a twig in his bed? You don't know why? The boy's going mad! First thing he does, he smashes up his watch and the next thing, he's going round stuffing twigs people's beds! He's going stark staring mad I tell you!" I didn't think I was going mad, and I don't think my brother did. I bet he knew why I put the twig in his bed!

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