Thursday, March 05, 2009

Souring the Rookie

Mr. Green was the best lunch patrol anyone had ever seen. He checked every schedule, looked at every ID card, and turned away every would-be gate crasher. In 14 years as lunch dean, Mr. Crusty had never seen his like. With Mr. Green at the door, he could move all the way to the back door, where nothing ever happened, and think about fishing, or unnatural sex acts, or whatever lunch deans think about when there's nothing else to do. It was as though fate had finally smiled upon him.

Thank goodness Randi Weingarten and Joel Klein had put pen to paper and given teachers perpetual building assignments. If he played his cards right, he could praise this kid to the stars and get him to volunteer again next year. Maybe he could recruit a whole cadre of Greens, and sit his ass in the back right up to his retirement. Maybe he could hold out another five years with kids like these.

But then it happened. Mr. Blister, the hall dean, asked Mr. Green to walk a kid to the dean's office. Mr. Green was more than ready to help out, and dutifully walked three hallways and four flights of stairs with the kid. When they got to the dean's office, two NYPD officers immediately placed the kids in cuffs and began walking him out of the office.

"Why are you taking him?" asked Mr. Green.

"Manslaughter," replied one of the cops, nonchalantly, and continued hustling the kid out.

Mr. Green thought about that kid, walking behind him, and of all the things that could happen to someone with a killer behind him. That day, in the cafeteria, Mr. Green was noncommittal. "Let me see your program," he told the kids, but he didn't check. He let everyone in. By the third day, the kids had gotten wise. The cafeteria was getting overcrowded, and Mr. Crusty had to move up front.

He tried flattering the kid, but he'd lost his edge. In two weeks, they reassigned Mr. Green to an office, where he continued to do such mediocre work that they eventually stopped asking him to do anything whatsoever.

Mr. Crusty never found a suitable replacement, and his plans for a tip-top lunch corps were crushed. His dreams thus broken, he took terminal leave at the end of January.
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