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Basically, his reaction was a storm in a teacup, and Blair knew it, even as he muttered,

"This is blatant plagiarism!" as he finished reading the 6-page 'essay' on the hunter-gatherer lifestyle that Winston Symers had handed in.

Blair had stopped marking the many mistakes in grammar and spelling halfway down the first page, recognizing these as an idiot's attempt to disguise the fact that he had lifted entire paragraphs verbatim from several of the books and articles on the subject available in Rainier's library, cobbling them awkwardly together to make up the required length.

When he set the subject of the essay - at freshman level, calling it a 'paper' would have been too pretentious - he had known that, although he had, in several lectures, spoken about the lives of the few hunter-gatherer tribes still surviving, much of the response would, of necessity, have been acquired from those books and articles. Was it too much, he asked himself, to expect that the students would have had the initiative to realize that they were expected to put the information into their own words? Citing their sources?

The students whose work he had thus far read had all understood that although he had not spelled it out; so far only Symers had failed to do so.

He put Symers' essay to one side; he would, he decided, finish marking the rest to see if any others had done much the same thing before he put any comment on it. With a resigned shake of his head he picked up the next one.

* * * * * * * *

Although Blair had had to write 'cite your source' on several of the essays, Symers was the only onw who had actually simply copied - no, make that miscopied, because of the deliberate mistakes - the source material, and Blair's two-line response added to the end of the esssay had been blunt and damning.

He put the blue books in a pile, ready to be handed back next day, picked up his backpack and walked out of his cramped little 'office', heading for home.

As he parked beside 852 Prospect, he was still muttering to himself about 'idiots who think I won't recognize when something's just copied, even if he does make all those stupid cosmetic mistakes'.

Jim glanced towards the door as Blair entered, taking his attention for a second from the sauce he was stirring.

*Of course,* Blair thought, *he heard what I was saying... *

"Got a problem, Chief?" Jim asked.

Blair shook his head. "I don't, but Winston Symers will when I've finished telling him what I think of his work," he said grimly.

"Someone who just copied something from a book, instead of putting it into his own words?" Jim grinned when Blair nodded. "Aren't you making something of a mountain out of a molehill, Chief? You've been a TA for how long? Four years now? Are you saying this is the first student you've had who's tried to cheat?"

"No, there's usually at least one in every year who's lazy and tries to... well, cut corners. Ah, the idiot's not worth worrying about. He'll either learn from this or he won't. If he learns, fine. If he doesn't... he'll just continue getting poor grades. What's for dinner?"

"Macaroni cheese."

"Oooh - your special cheese sauce?"

Jim nodded. "Started it when I heard your car. You've got ten minutes - "

Blair laughed. "I'll be ready in five."

He was humming cheerfully as he walked across to his room.


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