I was invited to my first Security Committee meeting today. It’s the first time I’ve met with the principal in the entire three years that I’ve been a dean. Why today then? Simple. There was an important visitor in the building and they wanted to create a false impression of course.
As we walked to the meeting room, the important visitor raised his arm and pointed to a blur of teenagers. “I think… I think there’s a fight over there!” Two deans ran out of the meeting to deal with it. I guess this is why they never invite us to these things, I thought. Can’t take your eyes of the crowd for a second.
The meeting was ridiculous so I won’t go into it any further. That’s not what you’re here for anyway. You’re here for blood. And that’s what you will get.
Five minutes after the meeting finished I was clearing the halls near the main entrance when I noticed a scowling kid with a wooden cane limp by.
“What happened to him?” I asked an agent.
“You ain’t heard? He got hit by a car. He just woke up from a coma.”
“Damn,” I grimaced. Now, this kid was as mean as the meanest mean and I never thought I would catch myself feeling bad for him. But damn.
I watched him make his way toward the exit when, with the suddenness of all the fucked up things in life, a large blurry figure streaked from stage right and devastated the limper with five lunging rights to the face. Pushed off his feet onto a table with a gruesomely dripping face, the coma kid awkwardly tried to swing his cane at his attacker with his pinned arm while he desperately grasped for a hand hold with the other. They both fell to the ground but that cane was still swinging so I stood back and watched from about ten feet away. Usually during a fight, other kids join in the beating or start jumping all around it, possessed like demons by the violence, like they’re at some kind of evil rave. But this fight was different. More brutal. No one wanted to get anywhere near it.
Once enough agents arrived, they managed to pull the attacker off. We all stood back while the victim struggled to get himself to his knees. No one wanted to help him because no one wanted to get blood on them. And blood was everywhere. It looked like someone had poured overly-aged wine over this kid’s head. He held one hand over his gaping face and grasped for his cane with the other. I thought he was about to open the kid up like a pinata so I yelled, “Get him!” Still no one moved. He stumbled to his feet and hurried straight toward to the exit, trying to hold his nose together as he walked. He had lost this battle. But he’d be back. Don’t worry.
Strangely, he didn’t seem to need his cane anymore. I wondered if he was faking the limp and had brought the cane to school for protection, knowing that this might happen. It’s a common ruse gangs use in order to carry a weapon on the streets of New York.
An agent grabbed his shirt to try to stop him from leaving but he pulled away and the entire shirt ripped off in the agent’s hand. And there he went, a seventeen year old boy, walking down the sidewalk at 1 pm, with a cane, no shirt, covered with blood.
Because he left the building, I couldn’t document his injuries as evidence, so I had to take photos of the fluid-spattered floor instead. It took three pictures to get it all in. The deans office camera doesn’t have a panorama setting.
“Don’t slip in it, Pistol!” Said one agent.
“Ew he steppin’ in it!” Yelled another. “Don’t track it all over the place!”
The custodian waited patiently until I was done taking pictures before he started in with the mopping.
I tried all three phone numbers we had for the kid to let his guardian know he was injured on the street somewhere, but all three numbers were disconnected as per usual.
I imagined someone stopping him on the sidewalk and asking, “What the hell happened to you? Shouldn’t you be in school?”
“Just came from school,” he would sputter.
“What the hell? Which school?”
“Patriot High,” he’d say, spraying the man’s shirt with thousands of tiny red dots.