Chapter 14

“Geoff, what have you done now?” Marika Johnson demanded of the student sitting in front of her desk as she walked into her office. She tossed her giant brass key ring on the desk and placed the walkie-talkie in a charger on the credenza behind her. “I’m not in the mood for any of your foolishness,” she warned as she sat in her chair and leaned forward on her arms. She wore a mustard colored pantsuit with shiny gold earrings and matching bracelets that jingled when she walked.

“Mom, please, I go by Starsky now, you know that,” pleaded the student, and six foot tall slender African-American boy wearing a washed-out red American Eagle hoodie and very dark jeans. He slouched in the chair wearily.

Geofferson Starskell Johnson, I do not have time for this nonsense. You can’t keep getting yourself sent here. You know I’ve got to treat you the same as everyone else. Every time you come in here, you put me in a position. You know that.” She grabbed the yellow slip from his hand and read it out loud. “Geoff would not surrender his cell phone when it rang in class.” She put her hand out and he reluctantly pulled his phone out of his pocket and handed it over. “A Master’s in Education, and look at me, babysitting a bunch of phones for people too stupid to switch them to vibrate.”

She glanced at the phone as she placed it in her top right hand drawer.

“I locked the screen so you can’t be all up in my business” said Starsky.

“Boy, I pay for your business, I’ll get in it all I want, you understand? Remind me to get this when we go home today. Go back to class and don’t cause any more trouble,” she dismissed her son.

“Yes, ma’am,” he answered as he left, closing the door behind him.

Marika consulted the daily calendar on her desk. She had 20 minutes until her next meeting, with an aggrieved parent who had instructed her son to surreptitiously tape record the calculus teacher to prove he was racist. After that came a mother who wanted an English teacher to force her daughter to choose a different topic for her research paper. Mom didn’t think the Loch Ness monster was a sufficiently meaty academic topic for a college-bound senior. Marika closed  the calendar and unlocked her top left hand drawer where she kept items confiscated on campus. She pushed aside a Swiss Army knife, a Playboy magazine, and a tattoo kit, to unearth a slender book entitled “Love in Cairo: A Swarthy Affair.” She settled in for some reading and made a mental note to shop for an eBook reader after Thanksgiving, so she could indulge with a measure of privacy. Education professionals really can’t be seen reading Harlequin romances.

Her down time was interrupted by a call from the front office. She picked it up and spoke with the school secretary. “Are you kidding me?” asked Marika. “You’re not kidding me? Ok, I’m on my way.”

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