The Good Old Days

The bad weather kept a lot of kids at home today so the cafeteria was pretty calm. I took the opportunity to catch up with one of the safety the agents, Mike, and a frazzled music teacher who has also been banished to cafeteria

I asked them about a fight that had happened in the caf the day before. As Mike told it to me, the Dominicans and the black Special-Ed clique (yes, that’s how cafeterias break down) had been arguing over who owned a specific table. As lunch was finishing up one of the black kids threw a milk carton at the Dominican kids. When one of the milky faced victims demanded to know who had done it, one the black kids stepped forwards and said, “I did.”

Milk Face let out a snort, pawed the ground a couple of times, and charged. But after two  punches from the other guy, he hit the floor like a fat bull with a sword in its spine. Mike, the safety agent, jumped on top of him, and Dean Flint pushed the other kid through the exit doors. But then a kid who just arrived from Peru with a tattoo of devil fingers crawling up his neck, jumped on Mike’s back to help the Dominican. With one arm wrapped up in the Dominican’s shirt, Mike shoved Demon Fingers back into the crowd with his free hand (safety agents run quite large). But when Mike turned back to deal with the kid on the ground, Demon Fingers gathered himself and rushed him again, punching him hard in the side. This time let’s just say Mike did what he had to do to defend himself.

“That kid and his mom are saying that it was all just some kind of language barrier issue, and that he got pushed into you by the crowd,” I said to Mike. “They’re hiring a lawyer.”

Mike boomed, “I’ll tell that lawyer, ‘Your kid’s a liar!’ All the crowd backed up when I shoved him thirty feet back the first time! How he gonna get pushed into me when everyone’s backing up? Twice!”

“We have to get that kid out of here,” I said. He had only been in our school for two days and it was the second time he had assaulted a staff member. His own father even admitted that he was already a career criminal.

Since we were on the topic of crazy kids, Mike told a story about a student who roamed the halls of Patriot back before my time there.

“The kid was 6’3″ and 285 lbs,” said Mike. “Me and agent Gant could stand shoulder to shoulder behind this guy and you couldn’t see us. He was that big. So there was this little agent here at that time, Romero. He was about 5’8″.  And Romero caught the kid carrying a piece in the stairwell so he had to cuff him. He had to use two pairs of handcuffs to get his wrists together. And Romero’s walkin’ down the halls holdin’ onto this dude with one hand, and in his other hand he’s holding this big ass gun. Just like that. And he didn’t even come up to this kid’s chest. When they got to the office everyone asked why he was cuffed and Romero just laid a gun about this long down on the table. Blam! Yeah, they made a real pair those two did. When he took him into the precinct all the cops stopped what they were doing to take pictures of them two.”

Then the music teacher piped in, “When I was at Beach Shore, we had an agent way bigger than you, Mike. And there was this kid who was rollin’ people in tha bathroom. You know, goin’ through their pockets and slappin’ ’em around. When that agent caught him, he picked him up by the ankles like this, and started shaking the money out of his pockets. Then he held him out over the railing of the stairwell with one hand and told him that his arm was getting tired. That kid was crying, ‘Please! Please! I’ll never do it again. I promise!’ Man, he was strong. I’d never seen anything like that.”

“That must of been the eighties,” said Mike, shaking his head. “Can’t do that no more. Can’t do nothin’ no more.”

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