Michael jumped at the knock on the door; almost knocking the paint can off the stepladder.
“Coming.” Michael said as he wiped a little paint residue off his hands.
“Are you Mister Michael Parks?” The policeman said.
“Yes, I’m Michael Parks, my dad was the mister part though.” Michael said. smiling as he opened the door.
“Mister Parks, were you at Elm Springs Elementary School yesterday?”
“Yes I was, I was there with a couple of other teachers. We were finishing up the class records and archiving them to the county’s servers.”
“Mister Parks, I’m going to need you to come down to the station with me. We have a few questions for you.”
“Do we have to do this now? I’ve just started painting the kitchen and my wife will kill me if I don’t get it done today. My wife. Don’t make her angry, you wouldn’t like here when she’s angry.” Michael said trying hard to keep his hands from shaking.
“I’m afraid this can’t wait sir.” The policeman said.
Michael saw the serious look on the policeman’s face and decided to forego his next joke.
“I’ll be right with you, let me change shirts and wash my hands.”
Michael fumbled with the buttons on his shirt, anticipating what was in store. It was just a joke, just a bit of fun, and no one got hurt. Michael thought.
Michael had never ridden in the back of a police car before. He stared at the smooth plastic cover where a door handle would normally be. I guess it’s pretty obvious that they’d not want you to roll the windows down. Michael thought. Walking into the police station Michael saw the reason for his delightful ride; what comic books would call his arch nemesis: Dolores Wagner. Michael had taken no more than three steps into the station when Dolores stood and stabbed her finger in his direction.
“That’s him! He’s the one that vandalized the school. He’s the one who defaced and destroyed government property. He’s a terrorist and should be locked up.” Little flecks of foam stood in the corners of Dolores’ mouth as she spat each word at Michael.
“Oh come on Dolores. A few styrofoam peanuts in one of the teacher’s file cabinets, and some hand lotion on door knobs doth not terrorism make.”
“Again with the wise cracks. Hmmm Mister Parks?” Dolores face assumed it’s smug shape. Where Michael was concerned Dolores typically had only two looks: twisted with rage, or smug when those she pressured into action would come down on Michael.
“I suppose you have forgotten about car theft haven’t you Mister Parks?” The vein on the side of her neck throbbed in rhythm with her speech.”
“Oh Jesus Dolores, I just shuffled peoples cars around in the parking lot. It’s just a bit of fun to kick off the summer. I mean, you remember what it’s like to have fun don’t you Dolores? You just put your lips together and… well, you know the rest.” Michael said, not able to keep from bouncing his eyebrows a bit at the last part.
“You see officers. He can’t even take his crimes seriously.”
“Mister Parks, I would advise you to hold up until we have time to discuss the situation with you.” Sergeant Overton said, lightly placing his hand on Michael’s shoulder. A subtle glance in Dolores’ direction, and Overton’s face dropped with resignation. “I believe Ms. Wagner, as the director of Water County Schools is going to press charges. And Mister Parks, with this happening on government property this could be quite serious.” This does actually fall within the law.
“Are you serious?” Michael said, the surprise lifting his eyebrows as much as Overton’s had dropped.
“Serious Mister Parks. Deadly serious.” Dolores said coldly.
“Serious sir. Sadly.” Overton sighed.
And so began a most interesting summer vacation for Michael Parks, the former math and science teacher at Elm Springs Elementary School.