I plumb forgot that grades were due Monday morning. So as soon as my lunch period started, I opened up the grading document on my computer and began methodically entering arbitrary numbers next to each of my students’ names. Okay, Assad got to the country two weeks ago, doesn’t know one English word and drew a picture of a teddy bear in the essay space on his midterm. Let’s give him a 70.
Bam! The office door flew open and a teacher slid in like Kramer, “They’re goin’ attit in tha middle uh my rome!”
It was my “off” period, and I was busy, so as fascinating as it is to watch two thugs rip each other’s eyes out, I, just like a tree planted by the water, was not to be moved.
“Pistoool…” Said the secretary in a tone reminiscent of my mom’s whenever there was chore to be done, “they’re fightin’…”
Dammit, woman, am I not allowed even a single seconds’ peace?!
I slammed my grade book on my desk and walked into the hall. I saw several deans and agents huddled around a classroom door from which loud words of a decidedly uneducational variety were emanating. One of the agents frowned and waved me away as if the situation was completely benign, but I tip-toed closer and peeked inside anyway.
A young man was standing in the middle of the classroom screaming foul threats at the top of his lungs and gesticulating wildly. I recognized him. He has a face that is always pulled taut like someone riding a motorcycle on the highway and his normal expression mirrors those you see in mugshots accompanying the most unfortunate news stories. He’s had some practice with that one, no doubt.
Several large agents were finally able to usher him into the hall as he screamed over his shoulder back into the room, “SUCK A BLOODCLOT! YA BLOODCLOT! BUMBO CLOT!”
Once in the hall, he began whirling about as if trying to rid his body of a swarm of bees. He was right next to me but I stood my ground, not wanting to appear scared of catching a wild elbow to the eye, but truthfully I was a little concerned that I might catch a wild elbow in my eye.
His lips were ashen and I’m pretty sure I saw chunks of his esophagus jettisoning from his mouth as he screeched, “I ALREADY PUNCHED MY MOTHA IN THA FACE! I ALREADY HAD TO PUNCH MY MOTHA IN THA FACE!”
“Did he just say that he punched his mother in the face?”
“I AM BI-POLAR! I AM BI-POLAR! YOU DON’ WANNA MAKE ME CRAZY!”
A couple agents closed in on him with cautious, light steps.
“YOU A GIRL! ” He yelled back toward the room. “AS A GIRL YOU BETTA KNOW YO’ PLACE! TELLIN’ ME TO SUCK YO’ DICK? I HAVE A DAUGHTER!” He pounded his chest, “I HAVE A DAUGHTER!”
“Listen,” said the head agent, holding his hands out, palms up.
“NO! NO! LISTEN? LISTEN? YOU NOT LISTENIN’ TA ME!”
The head agent put his hand lightly on the kid’s shoulder.
“GET OFF ME! GET OFF ME!” He swung his arms in a big circle, dropping and empty bottle of water on the floor. When it landed, it made an ironically cartoonish sound.
We all stood there, measuring him up, waiting. Dave leaned over to me and in an exasperated voice said, “He needs to be restrained. They need to arrest him.”
The kid seemed to sense what was coming, so he bent down, snatched the crumpled water bottle, and with lunging steps, disappeared down a stairwell.
At least he didn’t litter.
We went back into the deans office and Dave started thumbing through the discipline code, looking for something to suspend him for. Meanwhile, Dean Flint was giving the riot act to two kids who had been accused of fighting with umbrellas in class.
“WE DON’T HAVE A FENCING TEAM! OKAY?” He boomed from his tuba-shaped torso. “WE DON’T HAVE A FENCING TEAM!”
“YA KNOW WHAT THAT IS?”
He waited for a response but only got half-conscious stares out of half-closed eyes.
He struck a dramatic pose with his 275 lb frame, holding one of the confiscated umbrellas over his head, “ON GUARD!” he screamed in their faces.
“It was an accident,” deadpanned one of the suspects.
Flint released his pose and clutched his lower back in pain.
“ACCIDENT? ACCIDENTS CAUSE PEOPLE!”
One of the secretaries whispered, “I don’t think they got it.”
I didn’t get it either. I walked to the other side of the office where a kid was sitting forlornly in a chair with his hands behind his back in the kind of uncomfortable position that could only mean one thing. Two cops were standing next to him. His mouth hung open, making him appear as if he didn’t understand much – of anything.
He had been caught with a girl in the stairwell, with his pants down, his sweatshirt pulled below his naked hips, and an opened condom wrapper in his pocket.
“Where’s the condom?” Asked the agent who found him.
The kid had nodded toward his midsection.
They took him in for Public Lewdness.