This is the first chapter of Bloom's Desk. I hope that you enjoy it--
Glen Davis didn’t believe in ghosts. But ghosts believed in him.
However, at this moment, such profound philosophical issues had no place within his mind. With his eyes clinched
tightly closed, Glen was focused upon the banging of the MRI machine. The dull thuds did nothing but kick off a new round
of the tooth-rattling throbs in his forehead. These headaches were part of the reason he had come to the doctor’s office and
then to the MRI machine. Next came the loud blaring of what sounded like a truck horn and the machine gun clack-clackclack
seemingly designed to twist his spine.
At thirty-seven, Glen had enjoyed relatively good health with only the scattered bouts with the cold and flu. Most of the other
teachers at Theodore Roosevelt High School suffered more from the constant stream of ailments students brought into the
classrooms. He had been teaching sophomore and junior English at the high school for six years and had no plans to
Finally, the slab under him slid out of the machine, and the nurse came back. “Looks like we’re all done.” She said trying to force cheerfulness into her voice that only sounded like forced cheerfulness. She was a fifty-ish, tall, unattractive woman who
brought with her perfume that had a slight vanilla smell. Rather than having a pleasant effect on Glen’s senses, it only made him aware of the room’s other odors.
There was the usual medical facility tinge of disinfectant and medication. Alongside those, Glen detected another odor. This one seemed to be the product of the fear and anxiety caused by the MRI machine. Whether in his mind or elsewhere, Glen heard the thoughts of a middle-aged man worrying about a newly-discovered lump in the left side of his throat. Then there was a little girl struggling to hold back the tears brought on by being forced into the mouth of the scary-looking machine.
Finally, loudest of all, there was an older slightly European sounding gentleman concerned about the cleanliness and health
effects of the MRI machine.
“No doubt there’s been a fair share of filth and despair shoved into this bit of machinery.” The observation was made in
the sort of calm, unemotional voice that one would have used for reporting the time. The detached comment continued,
“Probably not an enormous concern to the masses as they open themselves up to the unknown long-term effects of exposure to this sort of magnetic and radio wave energy.”
Glen caught himself about to respond to the voice.
His thoughts were interrupted by the nurse’s cheerfully-forced announcement as she left the room that he could get
dressed. He stood near his clothes on the straight-back chrome chair in the corner of the room where he had folded them and took off the gown. As Glen got dressed and then left the office, he took something of an inventory of his condition. Among a long list of things, the head pains were certainly something that worried him.
Perhaps the pains were simply the result of having to deal with an especially difficult group of students. Throughout his
half dozen years as a teacher, Glen had welcomed the new school year and welcomed the challenges offered by new
classes. He had gone as far as letting Principal Wells know that he enjoyed teaching the remedial English classes. This
certainly put him in good graces with the principal who was used to teachers regularly complaining about having such
classes dumped on them. The Advanced Placement classes for college-bound students were seen as rewards for the favored teachers. Conversely, the remedial and ESL classes were treated as suitable only for the newest teachers or those stuck at the bottom of the career rung due to some indiscretion that caused a flood of disfavor from administration to wash over them.
The fact that Glen requested such classes made him the object of amused reaction from other teachers.
“Mr. Davis, you are certainly a dedicated, caring educator.” Jim Fontaine, one of the oldest teachers at Roosevelt, was fond
of telling Glen. The comment initially seemed to carry more than a hint of sarcasm. However, as time went on and the two
got to know each other better, Glen thought he detected not simply sarcasm but perhaps some remorse over lost purpose.
Glen was not sure whether this observation was valid or just a product of a desire to win the approval of his colleague.
The two usually ate lunch in Fontaine’s classroom. The time gave each of them a chance to take a breather from the focus on students and lesson plans and exams and newly-composed teaching objectives and the all-important Yearly Academic
Progress used to evaluate teachers and schools. Sitting at a long table at the back of the classroom surrounded by atlases, maps, a faux-ceramic bust of Abraham Lincoln, and numerous volumes of the class history texts, the two shared lunch and
stories of lives outside the school walls.
Jim Fontaine had been widowed many years before and never remarried. He had served two tours of duty in Vietnam.
As is the case with someone who has never fought in a war, Glen had a certain curiosity regarding life as a soldier. Even
after some forty years, Fontaine’s memories were clear even if he was still hesitant to resurrect them by speaking of the
experience. On days when something brought the war back to the history teacher, Glen listened intently and watched the
change in his friend’s face. From behind the bushy gray eyebrows badly in need of a trim, frantic anger shot out as he
told of having to drag fellow soldiers from exploded landmines. The well-worn lines of his face and neck momentarily vanished as he described shooting wildly at sounds in the dark.
For his part, Glen had also done a bit of traveling beyond the United States. However, his experience had been quite a bit
different than that of his friend. A few years out of college, he had taken a series of jobs teaching English abroad. The first job
in another country was in Taegu, South Korea. The completely unfamiliar setting intrigued Glen, and he spent many hours
simply wandering around the market area with the strange smells and even stranger sea creatures which resembled
something from another world. The racket of the market always seemed to ring in his ears long after Glen had left.
The foreign language simply sounded like chatter to his ears and the only thing familiar was the occasional “Okay?” which
jumped from the stream of noise. And he usually just smiled and nodded until it seemed acceptable to move on. This life as
an expatriate was appealing and led to teaching positions in Australia, Kuwait, and Japan. Living as a foreigner in these
countries, Glen got used to being on display as the foreigner. It was like living in an aquarium of exotic fish.
After about 8 years, Glen took another teaching job in South Korea. This time the position was in the city of Pusan. He met
Christine in the halls of the university where he was teaching English conversation to engineering students. As it happened, his future wife was taking an English conversation course in the classroom next to Glen’s office. The at-first-by-chance
meeting at the canned ice coffee vending machine in the lounge became a daily routine. The two spent a great deal of time
talking initially as a means of helping to improve her English and later as friends. As many of the students did, Christine had
adopted an English name for her language classes. Her real name was Jin-Young. After dating for nearly a year, the two
had married and come to the United States. After meeting Christine, Glen realized that the excitement that comes from
being an outsider was gone. The couple had settled in the Northern California city of Santa Rosa, and Glen took a job
teaching at Theodore Roosevelt High School.
While teaching hadn’t been a joy to him every day, he did have moments of satisfaction from the job. Although it sounded
a bit cliché, there were still times when Glen thought he saw a light of genuine comprehension come on in a student’s eyes,
and it was satisfying to know that his efforts had helped make that possible. Of course, it was all the other moments that
sometimes frustrated him and made teaching seem a ridiculous,waste of time. In particular, Glen found himself struggling
lately with discipline or as the newer materials renamed it in typically sensitive, politically correct, and completely unclear
fashion – “classroom management”. While he knew that this need to boost the discipline in his classroom could spring from
a failure on his part to spend enough time establishing the rules in his class, Glen also knew the comment he had gotten from Fontaine might be more at the heart of the problem.
One afternoon as Glen was describing a particularly difficult day, the older teacher had simply observed, “You want them to like you too much.”
“Of course, I want them to like me! I mean I don’t want tocome to class everyday thinking no one wants me there.” Glen
had responded with the first thing that popped into his mind.
Fontaine had chuckled and said something about how his view would change after a few more years of experience. But
Glen didn’t accept that his relative inexperience was the sole cause of the difficulties. He believed that today’s students came
to class with something of a chip on their shoulders. There was none of the respect or perhaps fear that he remembered from his school days. Glen was constantly amazed at some of the things he heard students say. In his day, he could not imagine saying “shit” or “fuck” if there was even the possibility of a teacher within hearing distance. Now students said those things to his face. And the threat of calling parents seemed to carry little if any weight.
In the past, telling a student that his or her parents would be called typically brought a sober look to the face of the student
and served to at least temporarily correct behavior problems. The last time that Glen had informed a student that his parents
would be called, the “management strategy” had motivated the student in question to respond with “Do whatever the fuck you
want” as he quickly exited the classroom to the laughter of his classmates. To punctuate the student’s response, when Glen had followed through with a phone call that evening, the mother of the student cut him off with “Isn’t that your job? Why are you
calling me?” It’s difficult to argue with parental wisdom like that.
Fourth period, the class from 11:20 to 12:15, was the primary source of Glen’s difficulties. Until this year, Junior English had been his favorite level, but this group of students had certainly changed that. In the past, he had discovered juniors to be typically docile like a middle child in a family. Most of the attention and accolades for students was targeted to those behind and ahead of the juniors. They had yet to enjoy the excitement that comes from being a senior and nearing graduation. Juniors were also beyond the energy that comes from being a freshman and entering a new school environment. Soph-omores, on the other hand, kept some of the enthusiasm of freshmen and had yet to slide into the junior phase of apparent
weariness with everything around them.
This was exactly the type of student for whom Glen had become a teacher. The idea that he could be the teacher who
managed to ignite the spark of curiosity and understanding in a previously apathetic student was a big part of why he had
become a teacher. Glen liked to think that he had indeed been that teacher to many of his students. However, since the
beginning of this year, fourth period junior English had provided no such experiences. Instead, the students in this class
had provided frustration and conflict.
It may have been a bit unfair to place all of the thirty-two students in fourth period junior English under the umbrella of
difficult cases. However, classes are similar to people. Each has a distinct personality of its own. Glen was constantly
amazed at how a lesson that had gone so well and engaged students in one class could be met with indifference or outright
rejection in another class. The difference lies in personality. A variety of factors shape a class’s personality such as time of day, location on school grounds, as well as arrangement, colors and decoration of the classroom. But the two most influential factors in class personality seemed to be dominant personality types of students and the personality of the teacher.
As usual, this school year has begun a hopeful note. Glenalways found himself optimistically looking forward to facing
fresh classes. The initial staff meeting on Monday morning prior to the first week of school had gone as expected. Glen and
Jim Fontaine sat together at the end of one table in the school auditorium and offered smiles and greetings to fellow teachers. While everyone appeared cheerful and positive, it appeared to Glen that a number of them were simply going through the motions with no other goal than to put in their time until retirement. The pair also quietly commented on the probable longevity of several new teachers.
They had agreed on the futures of all the rookie teachers save one, Linda Gleeson. She was a thirty-ish, energetic, and
personable woman who had returned to college to earn a mathematics teaching credential after leaving a position with a
well-known computer company. Glen thought that she would not survive the shock of discovering that the classroom did not
offer the same quiet logical calm that came from working with technology in a lab.
“Miss Gleeson will be a Christmas casualty.” Glen had commented meaning that she would not return for the second
semester following the winter break.
“You are wrong, my friend.” Fontaine responded. “I see some hint of intestinal fortitude in that one. I think you are
being too hard on her. She appears to have a genuine desire to help others.”
“And you are a dirty old man! Is ‘intestinal fortitude’ code for nice legs?”
Principal Barbara Wells smiled with little warmth as she entered the auditorium. She had been in the principal of the
Roosevelt for three years, and her job had not always been secure. Wells had gotten some attention with her appointment
to the position as not only one of the few female principals in the district but as the youngest. Of course, this attention was
not always of the positive sort, and Wells seemed to be on constant guard against criticism whether warranted or otherwise. This perceived need to be forever vigilant against possible improprieties had clearly taken a toll on the principal. Her face carried the lines left from hours of scowling, and her thoughts were dominated by tactics for defeating those who sought to undermine her.
The meeting got started with the usual pep talk about having a good year and helping students acquire the tools needed for future success. Glen had heard the same speech or a very similar version a number of times before, but never had it struck him as less inspirational and more perfunctory than at this meeting. Glen’s impression that the speech might as well have been a reading of the phone book was confirmed by a look around the auditorium at teachers balancing checkbooks,
reading newspapers, doing crossword puzzles, or simply staring blankly ahead. As Fontaine had noted long ago, teachers make the worst audiences. The lack of attention and disrespect which they bemoan in their classes is on display tenfold in every staff meeting. Following the less-than-engaging words from Principal Wells, the heads of the various departments were introduced. Terry Larson, the Ichabod Crane lookalike, had returned to his role as head of the English department. It was a duty that Larson appeared to take very seriously and to his mind gave him an elevated place of importance among the school faculty. Next on the agenda was the introduction of a new secretary and three new teachers. Glen chuckled as he saw
Fontaine make a show of sitting up quickly and straightening his tie at the mention of Linda Gleeson. Glen had to admit she
was attractive even if he believed she would not long survive the classroom experience. By 10:30, the teachers were
dismissed to go their classrooms and begin the process of getting organized for the upcoming school year.
On his way out of the auditorium, Glen found himself standing next to Terry Larson as they waited for the doorway to
clear of others. While the two had never had a direct conflict, Glen had always felt some tension between the two. This may
have been his imagination or possibly a result of Glen’s failure to display what Larson felt was the proper level of respect due
to him. Glen smiled to himself at the awkwardness of the moment and then turned to greet Larson.
“Ready for another year in the trenches, Terry?”
“Oh, Mr. Davis, hello.” Larson responded with clearly contrived surprise. “I am sure that we have all been preparing
over the summer for a great year! In fact, I have some ideas I want to share with the teachers as soon as possible. I will be
scheduling a meeting in the next few days. Please check your box for the memo.”
“Sounds great.” Glen managed to say in such a way that Larson was unsure whether it was meant sincerely or
Glen headed into the school courtyard that served as a hub to the spokes of buildings housing the classrooms. The building directly across from the auditorium contained Room 46, his classroom. He made his way down the quiet hallway toward his room noticing the strong smell of cleanser and nicely polished floors.
At the end of the hall in the same faded green coveralls that he seemed to have been wearing since Glen had met him over six years ago was Tim Peck, the school’s janitor. Peck was mopping the already clean floor for the second time that day.
“The place looks great, Tim.” Glen’s voice seemed to startle the janitor who was lost in concentration.
“Oh, thanks, Mr. Davis. Welcome back.” No matter how many times Glen asked him to call him by his first name, Tim
continued to address him as “Mr. Davis”.
Glen was happy to see that his compliment about the school’s appearance obviously pleased the janitor. There
appeared to be a straightening of the tall black man who often seemed to be stooping. Glen noticed Tim watching closely as he unlocked the classroom door. As he entered, the janitor shifted his position so that he could see the teacher’s expression.
Glen was very surprised by what he saw. Rather than the scarred, unsteady, wooden box of a desk that had served him for
six years, Glen found a beautiful dark mahogany roll top desk placed in the front corner of the room so that he could work at
the desk while at the same time monitoring students.
Glen was startled and momentarily speechless. Finally, he turned to face the grinning janitor. “How…where did you get
“It’s been gatherin’ dust in the back of the workshop for longer’n I been here. Nobody usin’ it so I figgered you might
wanna have it, Mr. Davis”
“Tim, it’s great. I don’t know what to say.”
The janitor just shook his head and smiled as he walked slowly out of the room.
Glen found himself approaching the desk with almost a sense of awe. It really was a beautiful piece of furniture. The
dark shiny wood was almost black but with a hint of red and reflected his image as he stood gazing at the desk with a wide
grin which made his youthful face look even younger. The wood was cool to Glen’s touch. After he noticed that he had left
a smudge on the surface of the roll top’s hood, Glen buffed it out with the sleeve of his shirt. He reached down to open it
with the two shiny brass handles at the lip between roll top and the top of the desk. With almost no effort at all, the desk
A strong musky smell of oil and dust and mothballs and something else sprang from inside into Glen’s face. The odor
made him gag. As he fought to regain his breath, he staggered back from the desk a few steps. Glen waved his hand as a fan to disburse the odor for a moment before realizing that the smell was already gone.
There were various little shelves, drawers, and cubbyholes built into the desk under the hood. Glen instantly pictured his
own papers and grade book stored neatly in the area. The remainder of the desk’s top was an open, smooth, flat, shiny
plateau of wood perfect for work. Without thinking, the teacher began rubbing his hand over the top of the desk enjoying the
He was interrupted by a sound behind him and turned to see Linda Gleeson trying to open the door to the classroom across the hall. Her attempt was made more difficult by the stack of math textbooks she was cradling in her arms. Glen turned and started toward her to help. However, before he reached the door, the new teacher had dropped all but one of the textbooks.
Gleeson’s back was to Glen and before she realized he was approaching, she responded to the textbooks scattered on the floor, “You motherfuckers!”
Glen stopped dead in his tracks. “The new computer teacher might have a chance after all.” he thought.
Linda Gleeson heard the squeak of Glen’s tennis shoes on the tile and turned to face him.
“Oh, I didn’t realize that anyone else was here.”
“I guess not!” Glen’s wide grin was again stretched across his face. “My ears are still burning. I didn’t realize in addition
to working at a computer company you had spent time as a merchant marine! Just so you know, here at Roosevelt High
School, we don’t go in for that kind of salty language.”
Gleeson looked at Glen with no evident emotion. He felt his face getting a little hot and realized that once again his mouth
had made him look like a complete jerk. Linda Gleeson continued the stone-faced gaze long enough to make Glen feel
like a worm to be dissected in a laboratory. No, he realized. Hedidn’t feel like anything more than a student who had gotten
silently and efficiently smacked down by a teacher.
“Hello, I’m Linda Gleeson. I’m going to be teaching computer science.” She held her hand out to Glen and flashed a
very professional if not very friendly smile.
Glen shook her hand lightly. “Glen Davis, sophomore and junior English teacher and on occasion amateur comedian.”
“Well, keep your day job.” Gleeson turned back to unlock the door of her classroom. Glen had the distinct feeling that he
had been, as his students said, “seriously dissed”.
He began gathering up the fallen textbooks. Glen felt like a scolded child and avoided meeting the teacher’s eyes. He
carried the pile of books into the classroom and put them on thefront table. Glen had not been in this classroom for several
years and was surprised to see the nice arrangement of updated computer keyboards and monitors in six rows of six desks.
“Thank you, Mr. Davis.” Linda Gleeson’s voice communicated more dismissal than gratitude.
“Anytime, Miss Gleeson.” Glen tried to pack some extra cheer into the reply. If his fellow teacher noticed the effort, she
did not show it.
Glen returned to his classroom and began unpacking his supplies of writing paper, journals, folders, pencils, pens,
whiteboard markers and erasers. After about an hour, he headed over to the book room to pick up class sets of this year’s books. On his way out, he could not resist a glance into the classroom across the hall. Miss Gleeson was searching through a large white box at the front of the room. Glen moved on quickly for fear of being discovered spying on the new teacher.
As he entered the building housing the book room, Davis saw Terry Larson in line at the half door at the entrance to the
bookroom. Larson was lecturing Tracy Bridges about something, which was probably unimportant in everyone’s mind
except his own. Bridges, the mid-twenties, tall, thin, blond, second-year English teacher was listening dutifully to the
ramblings of the department head. Having seen enough to change his plans, Glen spun on his heels and went back out of
the building without having been noticed. He walked across the courtyard to the main office and once inside to the left down
a short dark hallway to the teachers’ mailroom. Inside, it took just a moment for Glen’s eyes to make the adjustment from an
unlit dark hallway to a room brightly lit with overhead fluorescent tubes.
“Welcome back, Glen!” Even without being able to see the face, Glen knew the voice belonged to Larry Barnes, a
chemistry teacher. While the two were not particularly close, he and Glen had both started teaching at Roosevelt the same year, and this fact meant that they shared at least a frail bond. Glen liked Larry but other than their place of employment he saw very little in the way of common interests.
“How are you doing, Larry?” Glen asked.
“Oh, you know, ready for another year of shaping young minds.” The chemistry teacher laughed loudly for too long.
Glen instantly remembered why he and Larry were not closer.
Glen found a collection of memos and envelopes stuffed into the 6 by 8 inch slot, which served as his mailbox. He scooped them out quickly, said goodbye to Larry, and headed back to his classroom.
Upon entering his classroom, Glen’s attention was immediately seized by the commanding figure of his newly
acquired desk. The dark presence was imposing enough that it seemed to eclipse the remainder of the room’s contents. Rather than replace the contents of the black wire book carousels at the corners in the back of the classroom, Glen found himself sitting at the desk staring blankly ahead. Meanwhile, the tall empty carousels stood silently looking on like a pair of skeletal sentries.
The stillness of the room was broken by the sound of knocking on the classroom door. It took Glen a moment to react
to the sound. He turned to see Jim Fontaine looking curiously through the small glass square in the door. Glen jumped up and moved to open the door.
“Sorry, I didn’t realize it was locked.” Glen said as Fontaine came into the room.
“I see the reason for the added security.” he replied as he saw the new addition to the classroom. “That is certainly a lovely
piece of furniture!”
As Fontaine approached the desk, Glen suddenly felt somewhat possessive and stepped between the two. “I needed a new desk, and Tim found one in storage.” he exclaimed quickly trying to distract attention from the subject.
Fontaine looked at his friend a little surprised by the fervor of his statement. He then took in the lack of progress in
arranging the rest of the classroom. “Good idea to pace yourself. You don’t want to finish prepping in one day.”
Glen was a puzzled by the comment until he looked at the clock and saw the time. It was 3:25. He had been sitting at the
desk for over five hours with no idea where the time went. But the loss of time didn’t bother Glen as much as the throbbing
pain in his head. Instinctively, he began rubbing his temples.
“Are you feeling all right?” Fontaine’s concern was genuine.
“Yes. I guess I just lost track of time. Spent most of the daydaydreaming. Don’t tell anyone, okay?” Glen made the request
in seeming jest, but there was a slight touch of sincerity.
“Your secret is safe with me. Besides, truth be known, I have spent many of my days engaged in very similar activity.”
The concern of the older teacher had not been completely dispelled.
Glen avoided making eye contact and instead started toward the door. With Fontaine standing between Glen and the exit, he found himself somewhat caught up in the movement and swept out the door. Glen turned off the lights and locked the door in almost a single motion.
“See you tomorrow.” The words seemed to be all that was left in the place where the English teacher had stood just
seconds before. Before Fontaine could voice a reply, Glen was out of earshot. In previous days, Glen and Fontaine could
typically be seen walking together toward the parking lot and perhaps standing next to their cars continuing their
conversation. Instead, the older teacher watched as his friend hurried to his car.
Glen felt his breathe coming hard as he sat in the dark green ’67 Mustang. Across the nearly empty parking lot, he could see Fontaine slowly loading his bag into his car all the while looking at Glen. The look of puzzlement mixed with a dash of
concern and perhaps a touch of hurt on his face was visible to Glen even from the fifty-foot distance. The pain in Glen's head
pushed Fontaine out of his mind.
He looked at himself in the mirror, and the face he saw appeared tired with dark circles under bloodshot eyes. He
wondered at this exhaustion since he could not recall any particularly tiring activity during his day. Of course, there was
a four-hour gap of time of which he had no recollection. This fact made him uneasy. However, losing a few hours was not the
main source of Glen's unease. The primary thing troubling the teacher was his new desk. He pictured the deep, dark wood
with his refection trapped inside. The hood of the roll top creeps slowly open. In his mind, Glen walks slowly toward the desk.
He gets closer and hears some creaking sounds from the wood. Another step and he is reaching out to close the hood. His
fingers near the brass handle. A few more inches and-- the hood slams shut with a bang.
The sound shook Glen from his vision. It took him a few seconds to realize that he was sitting in his car, another few
seconds to realize his car was parked in the middle of an empty parking lot, and another few seconds to realize that the parking lot belonged to Roosevelt High School. Adding to the surprise was that the place was dark. This should have been no surprise since it was 11:14 p.m. Glen looked at his watch in disbelief. It seemed to be working fine. But if it was correct, it would mean that he had been sitting in his car for nearly eight hours.
He opened the door slowly as if hesitant to let the outside world enter his refuge inside the car. Glen stepped uneasily on
to the pavement of the parking lot. He almost expected the ground to give way under his foot. The ground remained solid,
and Glen stood beside the car. In the quiet night, he could hear the humming of the fluorescent light and moths fluttering wings on the light pole a few feet from him. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. The parking lot was empty aside from Glen and his car. The bushes surrounding the parking lot on three sides were back lit by a full moon and added to the shadows dancing around the dark place.
The thought of going back to the classroom was absent from his mind until a voice from nowhere placed it there with a
whisper. “Go open your desk.” The idea made no sense to him, and Glen brushed it aside as just one of those ridiculous
thoughts that pop into your head from time to time. Those thoughts like telling your boss what you really think of him or
throwing a rock through the church’s huge stain-glassed window were impulses that might very well come to anyone.
However, sane people paid no attention to them. Glen certainly counted himself among the sane and paid no attention to this
thought. That is, until it was repeated.
The male voice had a slight European accent, “Go open your desk.”
Without giving it a conscious thought, Glen began walking slowly back across the parking lot toward the school. Just
before he reached the curb of the sidewalk separating the rough pavement of the parking lot from the smooth sidewalk and lawn of the campus, Glen asked himself just what exactly he was doing. That was certainly a good question. Why was he
heading back to his classroom in the middle of the night to look inside of a desk?
Before he could find an answer to that question, Glen found himself surrounded by bright light.
“Stay where you are!” Glen was actually relieved to discover as he turned around that the command did not come from some inner or disembodied voice. This voice had come from the police car idling behind him in the parking lot. He followed
this voice without question. The doors opened on both sides of the car. From the passenger side, a tall black officer with very
short hair and a bushy mustache emerged. He stood next to the car for a moment as he unsnapped the leather strap holding his service revolver in the holster. Through the windshield, a young white officer with red hair and freckles could be seen
speaking into the radio hand piece. Glen thought that the officer looked young enough to be one of his students.
“Keep your hands where I can see them.” The black officer barked as he approached Glen. The proximity made his height
even more striking in comparison to that of the English instructor.
“Officer, I’m sorry. I am a teacher here and needed to get something out of my classroom.” He struggled to keep his voice
sounding nonchalant like standing in the parking lot of Roosevelt High School in the middle of the night was a
completely common occurrence.
“I need to see some ID.” The officer did not seem the least bit impressed by Glen’s nonchalance. If it had any effect on
him, it seemed that he was irritated by it. “Take it out slowly!”
“The call was from Christine Davis looking for her husband Glen Davis.” This voice came from the officer in the car.
Glen took his wallet from his back pocket slowly and removed his driver’s license. The black officer took the license
from him and examined it.
“We found the missing husband!” he called back to the patrol car. “You’ve got one worried wife at home. You better
have a good story for her.” The officer chuckled slightly as he moved a bit closer to Glen checking for the smell of alcohol.
Not finding any, he looked at the teacher with curiosity. “So what is so important in your classroom?”
Glen stared blankly at the officer for a moment and could think only of the desk.
“I mean what was so important that you came to school at eleven o’clock at night to get?”
It took him a second to answer. “Oh… I left my briefcase with…uh…my phone there.”
“Okay, let’s go get it.” the officer said as he began moving toward the school.
It was then that Glen again heard that other voice that didn’t come from the officer or the police car or anyone else within
sight. “Go open your desk. There’s a surprise inside!”
Every bit of Glen’s determination was needed to keep from responding to the voice.
“No, I’ll get it tomorrow.” Glen quickly replied and began walking back to his car. He had the strong urge to get as far
away from the school as possible.
The policeman jogged to catch up with Glen before he reached his car.
“Mr. Davis.” he called.
Somewhat agitated by the delay in getting away from the place, Glen spun around to face the officer. Despite his
advantage in height, the black officer found himself stunned and threatened by a look of rage on the teacher’s face.
“Here’s your license.” He handed the card back to Glen and noticed the previous fierceness had vanished from his face.
“Oh, thanks.” Glen answered sheepishly as he took the license. He opened the door and got inside his car. He lowered
the window to hear the officer.
“You head straight home, okay?”
He replied quickly, “I will.” And then he raised the window.
The tall black officer walked slowly back to the patrol car while watching Glen. He watched as Glen’s car left the parking
Back in the police car, the black officer simply observed, “Not sure what’s going on there, but I think someone is gonna
be in trouble at home.”