Being in the deans office I am privy to a lot more gossip than I was as a mere teacher when I had nowhere to drink coffee and shoot the shit, and no secretaries to eavesdrop on. Still, information is hard to come by in our building. I think a lot of it has to do with a fear of the media getting a hold of something negative. Students die and guns get confiscated and you’re likely never to hear a word about it.
But a few days ago there was the distinct, malodorous scent of upheaval in the air. After rooting around a bit, I managed to pick up a lead that either the principal or the school were soon to be put on the chopping block. Then in the office, I heard Francesca say to someone in a hushed tone, “With all the things going on the building…”
I interrupted bluntly, “Is the chief getting fired?”
She shot back suspiciously, “Where did you hear that?”
“I don’t know. Didn’t you hear something?”
“No. What did you hear? That’s how rumors get started you know!”
“Well I just heard you say ‘all the things going on in the building.'”
“I was talking about how we’re gonna get closed down.”
“Well, that’s what I’m talking about.”
Just then, Dave walked in, “What are you guys talking about, Pistol?”
“I don’t even know,” I responded. “What exactly did you hear, Francesca?”
“All I know is that someone said there was an emergency cabinet meeting this morning.”
“So it’s happening?” I asked.
“Well, the assistant principal was in tears.”
“I heard Chief Big Hands was crying too,” added Dave, referring to the principal.
Then he cupped his ear in the direction of the secreatries in the other room. “Ha! Did you hear that? Vicki just said that she heard the Chief was getting fired from the ladies at the nail salon!”
I chuckled at the thought of a bunch of nail-salon workers jabbering back and forth in another language about the inner workings of Patriot High. The rumor mongering was now reaching dizzying heights.
“Well,” said Francesca, “Mr. Greene told me that it’s definitely not gonna happen. But Mr. Kryzinski and Mr. Salvatore swear on their mothers that it is.”
Dave looked at the discipline file he was holding and said, “So does that mean I don’t have to call this parent? I mean, if we’re getting closed and all.” He stood there for a moment as if he were grappling with a legitimate conundrum when the bell rang. He tossed the file on the nearest desk, grabbed his coat, and headed towards the door. “I’ll see you guys tomorrow,” he said. “Unless we’re closed!”