Mon Pere Est Mort
by Jamie Grant
For an oral exam, when aged thirteen,
my father was asked questions in French
by a visiting professor in trench-
coat and gold-rimmed spectacles, who was lean
with the thin, pursed lips of an enemy
interrogator. He pressed my father
to say what his father's métier
was — an awkward question, for how many
schoolboys know the French for 'Real Estate
Agent'? Adopting a tragic expression,
my father just replied 'Mon pere est mort.'
The professor blushed to commiserate;
when the results of the examination
were known, my father had the highest score.