by Aaskha Manesh (P6 2021)

              Tim was a hardworking boy who always completed his work on time. He went out of his way to study for tests. He was an honest boy who never lied to his parents. He refrained from ever developing a bad habit or losing self-control. Tim was very systematic and always had a timetable ready before he reached home. The timetable was a schedule of all the activities that he wanted to do after school. As usual, when Tim was walking home from school, he was working on his mental timetable. Suddenly, Tim felt a hand smack him on the back, snapping him out from his world.

              “Hey Tim! Have you ever played Among Us before? If you have not, it’s an awesome game! You should definitely play it,” Tim’s friend, Alan enquired, explaining the game avidly.

              “Umm, sorry Alan but I have a lot of homework and revision to do. I can’t play right now,” Tim murmured bitterly, shuffling his feet while looking at the ground.

              Alan reminded him that all work and no play makes Tim a dull boy. Alan decided that he would still add Tim to a group where they discussed and played games together and told Tim to decide then whether he wanted to join or not. Tim bade farewell to Alan dejectedly and trudged back home with his shoulders slumped.

              When Tim reached home, his parents were not at home as they were at work. Tim immediately plopped down on his chair and began working on the Mathematics problems that his devious teacher had concocted. While working on them, Tim’s phone suddenly dinged as a notification for him appeared. Tim was curious about who had sent him a message.

              Tim glanced at his phone and saw that Alan had added him to the group and had asked if anyone wanted to play Among Us with him. Tim was in a dilemma where he was torn between playing with Alan and finishing his homework. Finally, Tim decided that he would take a break and see what all the fuss was about. Tim downloaded the game and joined the room that Alan had created. Soon, Tim was lost in the thrill of being the imposter, being able to kill all the crewmates and win the game. All the praises from his friends also got in his head, gushing about how he was a natural at the game. Tim started to lose track of time. Having not received these many praises before, Tim lost self-control and continued playing.

              After what felt like 30 minutes, Tim glanced at the clock and got the shock of his life when he realised that it was 5.00 p.m. and his parents would be reaching home soon. Tim hurriedly left the game and scurried off to his desk to finish his homework. His previous actions had affected his timetable so much that now, instead of being able to think before answering the question, he was now blazing through his problems at the speed of light.

              “Tim, have you finished your homework?” Tim’s mother questioned, as she entered the house.

              “Yes mother, I have finished everything!” Tim replied cheerfully, packing up his stationery and books.

              The next few days, Tim started gaming until late into the night and failed to submit his homework. Tim also started developing insomnia. He also started having sunken cheeks and a pale face. His teacher started noticing all these changes in Tim and kept an eye on him.

              One day, Tim was called up by the teacher and who asked why he had not been submitting his homework. Tim replied rudely that it was none of her business. After that encounter, the teacher called Tim’s parents to school and voice out her concerns about Tim’s changed behaviour and attitude. Tim’s parents also conveyed that they also felt that Tim was acting out of the ordinary and thanked the teacher for voicing out her concerns.

              “Tim, come here, can we talk to you?” Tim’s father asked Tim. Tim slumped into the sofa and suddenly burst into tears. He related what was going on to his parents and said that he knew that it was wrong but was unable to snap out of it. Tim’s parent’s sympathised with him and came up with a plan on how to help Tim overcome his addiction. Tim slowly went out for more walks with his parents and, for good measure, uninstalled the game.

              Then, one day, Alan approached Tim after school.

              “Hey Tim, why are you not playing with us anymore?” Alan probed with a forced smile.

              “Well, I’ve realised that I lost self- control when playing games so I stopped playing. Anyways, I learnt that self-control is key to success, why don’t you try that sometime!” Tim replied merrily before walking home.

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