“Pistol! They need you down at the main entrance. Somebody’s gotta call 911.”
“What? Where’s Mr Green?”
“He’s gone for the day.”
“Goddammit. Are you kidding me?” I grabbed my radio and took one more longing look at the clock before dragging my feet down the steps to the main entrance. It was the end of the day on a Friday. “Great way to start the weekend,” I grumbled.
Two Guyanese kids were waiting for me nervously.
“What’s goin’ on?” I said, even though I wasn’t really interested.
“Our friend just got kidnapped.”
“Did anyone call the police?” I said in a bored voice.
“Yeah, we called 911.”
“Okay, what happened? Wait, let’s go to the Principal’s office first.”
I mean, I needed at least a little back up here. I wear a lot of hats but it had been quite a while since I dusted off my Hostage Negotiator fedora.
I am rarely in the Principal’s office. The last time I was there, I was being reprimanded for missing my third faculty meeting in a row. My union rep did the talking for me though. I didn’t say word.
“Okay, what happened?” I asked the kids again.
“Woah! Woah! Woah!” I said, holding up my hands. “Slow down! Just calm down! Take a deep breath and start over. Slowly this time!”
I almost started laughing because I sounded like such a movie cliche.
“Okay. We were walking down the boulevard and this guy gets out of a car and tells our friend to get in. He said, ‘No, I don’t want to.’ So de guy pull up his shirt and show de handle of a gun and he said, ‘I don’t want no trouble. Get in.’
So our friend sits in the back seat of the car but he keeps his legs on the curb, so the guy throws his legs in the car and closes the door. So our friend opens the door and the guy closes it again and locks it. So our friend unlocks the door again and the guy opens it and pushes our friend into the middle of the car and locks it again and gets in and drives away. So I told my buddy to get the license number, and he remembered the first part and I remembered the second part, and we called the cops.”
“Did you know the guy with the gun?” I asked calmly.
“No. But he’s the new boyfriend of our friend’s ex.”
“Does he go to this school?”
“Nah, that nigga a drop out. He like twenty. He a dumbass. Just cuz he got that bitch pregnant. Now he all pissed over some dumb shit.”
“Does the girl go here?”
“Yeah, and she was in the car too.”
“Okay. What’s her name?”
“Her name Vaneeta.”
“Yeah, I know Vaneeta,” I said. I had just seen her that morning at scanning. She had given me a glowing smile and said she was “fine” when I asked how she was doing.
I called the homes of everyone involved but every single number was out of service.
We waited for the police to come and interview the witnesses but no police came. We called the precinct and asked what was taking them so long. They said it was a “shift change.” One of the assistant principals is married to a cop so she called him.
After telling him what happened, she hung up the phone and said,”He says ‘shift change’ is just code for them fucking around.”
The cops are just as jaded as I am, I thought, as I looked at the principal, leaning back in her big leather chair. Her eyes were half closed and she was speaking to someone on the phone about what she wanted on her sandwich. She eventually hung up and turned to me. “Dean Pistol, ahm leavin’ at fowah. Just make shoah ya clock out when yah done with dis and we’ll pay ya over time.”
I went back to the deans office to get started on the necessary reports and I ran into Dean Ramirez, who had deftly slunk out of sight when the call had gone out for this incident .
“What happened?” She asked, wide-eyed.
“Some kid got abducted,” I deadpanned.
“By who? ALIENS?”
She was serious.
“Yeah, Ramirez. Aliens. Be a gem and look up the violation code for an alien abduction, will ya?”
I didn’t have time to dwell any further on her ridiculousness. One of our students was still being held captive by a gun-wielding maniac, and the school’s response was apparently in my hands alone. But all I could do was finished the reports let the witnesses go.
As I was leaving the building, I ran into Jake. He stays late most days teaching night school so I told him what happened.
“Always on Fridays!” he bellowed. “Ooolways oowahn Frooyidays, tha shit hits tha fan!” He stared at me intensely for two beats for effect and then he belted out, “Just last Frooyiday, a kid had his fingahs chopped awf!”
“He had his what?”
“His fingahs! Two of ’em! Down ta heeyah!” He pointed to his second knuckle. “It was a doowah! Someone slammed it shut! Not oohwon puhpose! But they slammed it!”
“Was there a lot of blood?”
“Blood everywhere! They reattached ’em surgically!”
I was still trying to get that image out of my head as I punched my card in the main office and shuffled on towards the subway.
That evening, I was recounting the abduction story to a buddy through the blur of cheap beer.
“So how’d it turn out in the end?” He asked.
“Well, as the assistant principal put it to me, ‘An arrest was made and the victim is safe.'”
My friend laughed. “That’s a sentence you’ll never hear at my job!”