Thursday, June 28, 2007

Story 19

[NOTE: This is part of a progressive story. The first entry is here. Check the blog label 2007Story for all entries]

     Daniel Call grinned as he walked into John's office. On the desk in front of the principal a piece of paper lay next to a blue envelope. John York looked up at Daniel and smiled.

     "Good news Daniel. You won't have to wear suits indefinitely."

     A confused look grew in Daniel's eyes and he forced himself to raise an eyebrow quizzically.

     "It seems our missing vice-principal has just had too much on his mind lately to let us know where he's been. Steve's mother-in-law was hit by a car and he rushed back to be there with her and his family. Things aren't looking good apparently. He didn't give many details, but he said he'd be back sometime next week and he'd call with more details if he had the chance."

     John held the sheet of paper out to the librarian-turned-vice-principal. Daniel took the letter and glanced at the words without really reading it.

     "I guess it would've killed him to pick up a phone on his way back east, huh? Took him long enough to finally let us know. Some guys have no consideration."

     Daniel dropped the letter back on the desk and looked back at John. He forced himself not to laugh at the hurt look on John's face.

     "His wife’s mom was just hit by a car and could be dead by now for all we know. Show some compassion Daniel. He's had heavier matters on his mind."

     Daniel stared stoically at John trying to ignore the accusation of insensitivity. He actually cared very deeply about Steve's reasons for not being at work and not telling anyone about it. He was actually very glad to see the letter sitting on John's desk being so readily and enthusiastically presented.

     "You're right John. I'm sorry. I've just been a little tense lately adjusting to these new responsibilities. That and I feel like I've just started gettin' the hang of things and now it sounds like I'm about to have the rug pulled out from under me."

     "I understand Daniel." John walked around the table and put his hand on Daniel's shoulder. "I think you've done a great job these past two days. As I mentioned when I proposed this to you initially, I want to help further your aspirations for administration. I think we can definitely work things out so that you can help out with administrative tasks that would put you on the track to make the move permanent someday if you so desire. In the meantime, enjoy the next week or so and keep up the good work."

     The conversation faded into small talk and Daniel's mind wandered. He thought about where Steve and his family and what their return would mean for him. He thought about what he would do with his last few days as vice principal.

     Walking to the parking lot with John York, Daniel pondered the character of his co-worker and wondered how it was that John could be so oblivious to the world around him. Perhaps it was because John and Steve had been friends for so long. Perhaps John was simply too naive or too trusting to imagine fault in anyone. Whatever the case, Daniel saw unpleasant surprises lurking in the Principal’s not too distant future.

     He watched as John York climbed into his car and drove away. Once John's car was out of site, Daniel turned around and walked back into the school and straight into the Principal's office to look over the letter from Steve again.

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