Skip to main content

Having a Bad Day


"Excuse me officer," I spoke to the security cop through the locked gate posts, "I'm supposed to teach here on Monday. Do you know when it might be ... reopened?"

He looked me up and down. "Campus is closed. Kids burned down their dorms."

"I saw the sign, so I figured  ... wait ... what? really? The KIDS burned down their dorms?"

"Yep."

"Oh man ... Well ... can I talk to ...um ...  " I looked at my notes, "Mrs. Cunningham?"

" 'Bout what?"

This fascinating discourse didn't appear to be going anywhere. "Here's my business card," I handed it through the bars.

He studied it for a loooonnnng time. "I'll get Mrs. Cunningham."

"Thanks." Rent-a-cop disappeared down the gravel road behind a row of buildings. He reappeared (in what seemed like) three hours. He slowly unlocked the gate and told me to hop on his golf cart. We drove past three buildings that looked like they held classrooms and pulled up next to the administrative building. I was escorted into Mrs Cunningham's office.

She greeted me and asked me to sit down.


I had that queasy feeling of being in the "pricipal's office". Mrs. C. had red hair, frizzed in a 70s style. She was probably in her 40s but what did I know? I was just 22 ... everybody older than me was in their 40s. She had been at that school for 15 years.

"Mr. Momberg ... can I call you Joel? Let me explain what is happenning here. The FBI is investigating a fire that was set in three dormitories. One of our students was arrested last year in another state for suspected arson and is a prime suspect. We'll be open on Monday for regular classes ... so you will have access in the evening to classrooms ....."

I was numb. What had I walked into?

She talked about the student population ... 90% black inner city kids from the northeast who were sent to BHMA in Camden because they couldn't be managed at home and their parents didn't want to deal with them. What made things worse was that the "nice" folks of Camden didn't want them here either so they were shunned when they went to town.

I was exhausted. I laid down in my tiny efficiency motel room staring at the ceiling. I fell asleep with my clothes on. The next sound I heard was the operator waking me up at 6AM with a sweet southern "Mornin'!" Sleepily I made my way to school, found the classroom and opened the door ... my heart racing a mile a minute. I looked at all the faces staring back at me (no smiles). I tried to be upbeat ... hip.

"Hi, guys. My name is Joel and I'm your new reading specialist."

Dead silence. There was one sound coming from the corner of the room. I couldn't make it out at first ... then I saw them. They had sunglasses, black berets, black teeshirts and staring right at me.


The sound was the paper cutter, sitting next to one of the students, slicing up and down ... the handle in his right hand.

I was having a bad day.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

SAMMY: The Novel (An Overview)

I finished writing Sammy:The Novel. 

So ... I called my good buddy and excellent writer, Dave Scheiber, to help me write an overview to pique the interest of publishers. The stuff that Dave wrote made me want to read my own book! We combined our efforts and here's what we came up with:

SAMMY (An Overview)

Sammy Levine, 86-year-old resident of Star of David nursing home, was not happy with his daily existence and dreamed of taking one last trip with his wife Esther (presently residing in an urn on the third shelf in his room). Sammy was careful about not exposing his plan to anyone, especially his son, Barry, who dutifully visited regularly and tried to make sure that he lived out his remaining days comfortably.

Through a carefully choreographed plan, Sammy managed to access personal information on three recently deceased residents from the nursing home’s computers. Then he applied for and obtained three new credit cards. Armed now with available cash and credit, he loaded up Esth…

Close Call

I was just putting the finishing touches on my new novel, Sammy, which will be available to order in November (shameless self promotion!) ... when I started thinking about some of the characters in my past life. One character I've actually written about in the past just popped into my head. It's a repeat story but I hope you enjoy it ... again.

When I was a Freshman at LSU, our dorm was set up like a suite with two adjoining double rooms and a common kitchen and living room. "Suite" really makes it sound much fancier than it was. Actually, living room makes it sound much fancier than it was. The walls were cinder block and the living room was about 100 square feet. I don't think four of us could even stand up in there at one time.

One of the four guys in our suite was the place kicker for the LSU Tigers. His name was Phil and he was from Bogalusa, Louisiana. He had the bed next to mine. Phil was about 6'8" and weighed well over 300 pounds. He was a big …

Princess Grace's Diary

We surprised our little princess, Grace on Friday with a last minute visit to Savannah. She and her BFF Stella had a joint princess birthday party.

It was of course no surprise to Deb and me that the trip had a few surprises for us, too.

It started out with a light show at the airport (we chose to fly rather than drive the 12 hours back and forth for one day). Lightning strikes were coming fast ... so the tarmac was closed until it settled down. We had to get to Atlanta in time to catch what had become the LAST flight of the night to Savannah at 11:20 PM.

We made it ... barely ... and fell asleep at 2 AM.

Up at 8 and out the door via Uber to The Landings (a mere 45 minute drive) and just in time to see this adorable duo.

Big brother Cole was  one of the "hosts".

Pony rides were there for the guests.

Matching Princess cakes (of course).

Lots of fun.

At about 2, Deb and I headed back to the airport with Nikki driving and made it in PLENTY of time to find out that there were n…