tagNon-EroticLost and Found

Lost and Found

byRobertVance©

I am Canadian. Canadian spelling differs from American spelling so be advised.

This story is part of a series. Read 'Stalker' first.

***

I hated school. I had trouble sitting still in my seat and every lesson was a study in boredom, french class was the worst. The only good thing about french class was the supply teachers. My favourite trick was to raise my hand and ask in my most earnest voice, "Mademoiselle; how do you say seal in french?" The answer would always be 'un phoque,' pronounced fuck. No matter how often I pulled this stunt it never got old. My classmates always got a kick out of it too, all except for Paula, the little brown noser sat beside me until she asked to be assigned a new seat. She had absolutely no sense of humour and would glare at me whenever I pranked a teacher. I made it my mission in life to think of novel and innovative ways to bring levity to the classroom, Paula was less amused than the teachers. She was such a spoilsport!

Needless to say I soon became very well acquainted with the vice principal, Mr. Richards, who I called Uncle Dick. The first time I was sent to the office I was really quite nervous. When uncle Dick called me in I got flustered and sat down in his seat, behind his desk. I realised my mistake as soon as I sat down and found his family staring back at me from inside a picture frame. There was nothing to do other than brazen it out and pretend to be completely oblivious. Uncle Dick sat down across from me and we each pretended we were in the appropriate chairs. When his secretary brought him my file she looked askance but said nothing. A couple of kids waiting on the bench outside of Uncle Dick's office saw me sitting on his chair when the secretary opened the door. Their eyes widened and their mouths dropped open. So that was my introduction to public school's disciplinary system. Many detentions, 'I must not' lines and essays soon followed. My father got so accustomed to phone calls from school that he was on a first name basis with Uncle Dick and his secretary.

Somehow word got around about the office seating mix-up and the story got wildly exaggerated. The story went that I seated myself in Uncle Dick's chair and put my feet up on his desk, I of coarse never tried to set the record straight, but I did insist that I hadn't lit up a smoke and puffed away while being lectured. It was grade two after all!

Even though my antics exasperated my teachers and Uncle Dick, he joked after one of our 'meetings' that to save time he should just assign me punishments in advance. Paula seemed to resent me even more than the teachers did, go figure.

Something happened to Paula during the summer between grades four and five. She changed a lot, she became absolutely, well just absolutely interesting. I had always done the bare minimum to pass and go on to the next grade but Paula had become such a distraction that even my usual minimal attention to school work became impossible, I was in danger of failing grade five.

The funny thing is that I spent so much time concentrating on Paula that I forgot about my true calling, tormenting the teachers. I didn't see Uncle Dick for weeks on end so I was surprised when the intercom paged me to the office. For once Uncle Dick didn't keep me waiting on the bench outside his office, but ushered me in right away. He sat there and smirked like he had finally gotten one over on me. He sort of did. He started by reviewing my rather limited recent academic achievements and then he went in for the kill. He was a smart old bastard and he knew about my new found fascination with Paula, so he used me against myself. He didn't yell or threaten like he had in the past, he just said in quiet tones, "You know that girl will never talk to you if you don't smarten up." That was it.

So I did 'smarten up'. I quit acting up in class, I started to do some of my homework and I actually paid attention to the teachers and their lessons. Paula never did speak to me, or perhaps it was that I was too chicken to talk to her, but I did manage to pass grade five.

Grade six was a shock for me, a new school, new teachers and a whole new culture. I had gone from a small community public school to a large regional middle school and I was intimidated by the new environment. Twelve is an awkward age for boys, most of the girls are taller and more mature, not to mention more developed.

The difference in size between a grade six boy and a grade eight boy is enormous. While I still looked like a primary student, some of the grade eights looked like high school kids. The largest of them all was a bully named Brett Barber. Brett had been held back a grade and it was his mission in life to make up for this failure by abusing everyone and everything around him. It was dangerous for anyone or anything to be in Brett's vicinity, as his cruelty knew bounds of neither sex nor species. If you were a small animal or a small kid you could expect to be subjected to Brett's sadistic attention. For some reason Brett had particular malice for the girls and paid them special attention.

Among other outrages I had seen Brett walk up behind girls and pull back their bra straps and then let them snap back. It was one of his favourite tricks and he did it often. Another time I watched in shock as Brett pulled a girls shirt up over her head and when she struggled to pull it back down he yanked down her skirt. I still don't understand how he got away with these things, but I think the girls were too humiliated to complain and the boys too intimidated.

About a month into the first term of grade six I saw a girl crying, backed into an alcove. She was trapped and terrified. Brett was taunting and grabbing at her while she cringed back, trying to get away. It was Paula. Where were the teachers? Was no one going to put a stop to this? I was truly horrified. When Brett half turned around to make sure his audience was suitably attentive, I walked up and kicked him in the nuts. He made a funny high pitched oomph sound and doubled over at the waist. The force of the kick threw me off balance. As I tried to recover control, my knee jerked up and connected with Brett's nose as he jackknifed forwards. I didn't mean or try to knee Brett in the nose, and if any one is to blame it's Newton and his damn laws. You see? I was paying attention in science class that day.

Brett had a bloody nose and lay on the terrazzo blubbering, yes, blubbering like a little girl! I was of a mind to stay and keep him company for a while longer but Paula grabbed me by the arm and dragged me away. I will never admit that she was strong enough to force me, but she was several inches taller and I would have gladly gone with her anywhere anyway.

Paula cried all the way to home room and I tried to reassure her, "Paula stop crying he won't bother you again and I've been in more trouble than this tons of times. This is no big deal. I had to meet the vice principal sometime, right? This is my chance!"

Paula looked at me as if I had two heads and shook her own sadly. I am pretty sure that Paula had never been sent to the office, except to receive awards, so she grossly overestimated the trouble I was in. Perhaps she even felt some responsibility and felt guilty. I reassured her as best I could and by the time we took our seats Paula had calmed down and had stopped crying. This whole time Paula never said a word. She seemed to relax until we heard the sirens. When the sirens got closer and I was summoned to the office she started bawling all over again, with an increased intensity. I winked at her and whistled cheerfully as I made my way out the door.

When I saw the bench outside the vice principals office I felt a wave of nostalgia, it was exactly the same as the one at my last school. I felt right at home. Is there a factory out there that makes regulation waiting benches for vice principals? Are there specs issued by Machiavellian child psychiatrists who've designed the perfect seat to make the occupants as anxious as possible? These things are more than wide enough to seat two uncomfortably, but not wide enough for three. My advice is to never sit on one. The seats are angled in such a way as to make it impossible to lean back without sliding off and they're harder than a church pew. Never sit on one of these benches, their sole purpose is to instil in you a sense of dread and make you squirm.

You're supposed to sit on that bloody bench and wait, imagining your fate with a sense of impending doom. That is your punishment, the wait on the hard seat. Nothing they can legally do is worst. Instead of playing along with their game, sit cross legged on the floor and read a comic book. I recommend Mad Magazine, laugh uproariously at every punch line,. You have no idea how much this will throw them off their game.

Well that day did not go as I had expected. After more than an hour the principal, not the vice principal, directed me into her office. Ms. Rossworm, as I learned later, was a former gym teacher. You could tell that she was not yet at home in her new pant suit that she'd recently traded in for her customary track suit. She still retained her spiky short hair style. I was no expert, but if you'd asked me she was never going to get married with that look.

Ms. Rossworm seemed unsure of what she should do with me. She was a new principal and I think she wasn't quite comfortable in her new office. In my rather extensive experience, principals do not get involved with disciplinary matters, that's the vice-principal's job. Not only was this turn of events unusual, it was unprecedented and I began to wonder if I might be in more trouble than usual. "So Peter, why did you assault Brett," She asked.

'Assault' Brett? This was serious! I decided right then to just let the truth spill out. "I didn't want him to do those things to Paula, she's never done a bad thing in her life, she's never even said a bad word."

"What 'things' Peter?"

"The stuff he does to the girls when there are no teachers around. Like the time he sneaked up behind Marcie Williams and grabbed her boobs and jiggled them up and down, or when he pulled down Josie Campbell's skirt and slapped her but."

Ms. Rossworm was shocked and she interrupted me before I could continue. "Brett Barber did those things, really? I don't believe it!"

I nodded and she sank back into her chair and pursed her lips." Peter could you wait outside in the reception area please? I have to find out what is going on here."

So I sat on my bench for another hour, until Uncle Dick walked in with a large file folder under his arm. He looked at me sadly and sighed, "Peter what have you gotten yourself into this time?" He didn't wait for me to answer and walked into Ms. Rossworm's office. This was bad, very, very, bad. Uncle Dick had abandoned his duties at his school to bring my 'file' to Ms. Rossworm. I had seen this file often enough and there was no mistaking it. Who but me had a file that took up four folders? I was now starting to feel quite uneasy.

Twenty minutes later my homeroom teacher, Mrs. Waters, walked into the office and sat down on the bench beside me. I tried to warn her about the uncomfortable nature of the bench. But before I could she started to slide off and had to catch herself by digging in her heels and grabbing my arm. After she'd steadied herself and releasing my arm, she looked me in the eye and whispered, " Peter, whatever you do, don't talk to the co.., the police. Tell them you won't say a word before your dad gets here." Oh great my dad was coming. 'I'd distinguished myself' enough in the past and he seemed happy that those days were behind me, he didn't need this. "Do you understand? It's important!"

Before I could do more than nod Mrs. Waters was summoned into the principal's office and my sense of unease grew into a full case of nerves. I took a deep breath and reminded myself of the very limited ways I could be punished; the 'strap' is like mermaids, everyone has heard of them but no one has ever seen one, at least not lately. They could give me a suspension and it would go on my 'permanent' record, big deal, I'd been threatened with that so many times that I had already made plans for a mini vacation with my comic book collection. What else could they do to me? If cops had not been brought into the picture the sweaty pins wouldn't be pricking me in the back of my neck, travelling up and down my spine. The best thing to do in a situation like this is to stay calm and keep cool, pretend that you haven't got a care in the world and that you are sitting on this particular bench because it is the most comfortable one in the whole wide world. So I did just that. I forced chuckles until Alfred E. Newman grew boring and then I started to glance at the clock while yawning, I had to let the secretary know how important my time was. Today the secretary was too busy to notice me. Since I first walked into the office she answered a constant stream of phone calls. They couldn't all be about me, could they?

I continued on like this right up to the moment the cops walked in. They were not in a good mood. The taller of the two, a man, spared me a glance while his partner, a woman, made inquiries of the secretary who directed him to the principal's office. The pin pricks grew in number as the cops disappeared into Ms. Rossworm's lair.

Things were not looking good but I was soon distracted by the arrival of Marcie Williams and Josie Campbell. Both girls were agitated, each imagining which of their transgressions had been discovered and how they'd have to account for them. I let them off the hook as quickly as I could by explaining that this was probably about what I'd done to Brett and they were in no trouble at all. Their expressions changed from worried to gleeful in an instant.

"You're the one who broke Brett's nose?" Marcie enthused.

"They took him away in an ambulance!" Josie smiled cheerfully."There was so much blood!" Both girls smiled with obvious satisfaction.

We chatted about the only thing we had in common, our shared dislike of Brett, until Marcie was called into the now crowded office. She emerged twenty minutes later and Josie went in to take her place. Marcie gave me a thumbs up as she returned to her class. Josie was a while longer than Marcie but when she emerged she gave me a big grin. Over the next couple of hours several more girls paraded through Ms. Rossworm's office. Although I didn't know any of them they were all extremely friendly with me.

Not long after the last of the girls returned to class the cops walked out of the office. I heard the male cop say to his partner, "I can't wait to tell that Barber prick how small this kid really is." The woman glanced my way as they left.

A few minutes before the final bell rung, Mrs. Waters and Uncle Dick emerged from Ms. Rossworm's office and Uncle Dick sat down beside me. I didn't bother warning him about the bench and nearly slid off before he caught himself. Serves him right. I was quite sure he had some roll in it's design. "So Peter, your punishment is a one day in-school suspension, which you've served toady. Your father is waiting outside to take you home. I just have one question for you." Here it is again, he's going to ask the same question again. He's demanded an answer so many times that he must realise by now that I won't ever give him a straight answer. After all, I wasn't about to admit to any involvement in the whole 'snakes in the Porsche' episode. He's been trying to find out ever since the incident where I got 'all those snakes'. He surprised me though. "Where is my Mad magazine? I kind of miss spy vs spy." I sheepishly pulled the rolled up copy from my back pocket and handed it to him. It had a great cover. Alfred E. Newman is in a gym shower with some other guys. They had conventional tan lines while Alfred had the opposite, a tanned ass but lily white every where else. He's smiling mischievously over his shoulder while the other guys appear to be quite unsettled. Uncle Dick smiled and said, "Peter you never disappoint."

I couldn't let him have the last word ." If you enjoy it so much why don't you get your own subscription?"

"With you in my school I didn't need to." Smart ass. But he had a good point.

"I guess Ms. Rossworm will be getting the next one then? Maybe you can borrow it from her."

He paused and smiled broadly. "You might be surprised."

The short drive home was spent in a long silence. Dad had long since given up disciplining me for my various 'performances', he was too tired and worn down and besides punishing me didn't do anything to change my behaviour. Until today there had been no recent cause to do so anyway. When we got home my father began getting dinner ready and I sat in the living room turning over the day's events in my head. I was so caught up in my thoughts that I didn't hear the doorbell ring.

"Peter we have visitors." I turned my head to find Paula and her mother standing in my living room. My Dad and Paula's mum retreated to the kitchen to make coffee and Paula sat on the chesterfield beside me.

"I brought you your books and homework so you wouldn't fall behind." What nonsense. Paula knew that the chances of me doing my homework were way less than fifty-fifty. She could tell from my expression that I didn't buy her explanation for her visit so she added," I wanted to do something nice for you after what you did for me today."

I was so shocked to have Paula not only talk to me but actually be in my living room that words deserted me. The best I could manage was my best no-big-deal shrug and a bored, "No problem."

Paula wasn't satisfied with my attitude. "Don't you know that you could have been expelled and sent to Highland Grove?" Highland was a remedial school that taught vocational skills to rejects and delinquents. I would never admit it to Paula but I had spent several hours today sweating about the possibility that I might end up there. "Brett's father called the police and demanded that you be charged with assault! His lawyer spent the whole day threatening Ms. Rossworm and the school board with law suits if you weren't 'dealt with'. I heard Mrs. Waters talking to Mr. Richards about it!"

Her words cut through the Gordian knot that my tongue had become. "Look Paula, I've seen how that bully treats the girls and it'd been bothering me, but before today I never had the guts to do anything about it."

"You can't do anything like that again Peter! If you do they will expel you. The only reason you got away with it today is because everyone hates Brett and all the girls told the police what he was like."

"I get it Paula, and to tell you the truth I didn't plan any of that to happen, I just snapped. I hate bully's"

"I do too Peter and that is why I'm so glad you aren't one of them anymore."

"I've never been a bully!" I growled in anger, amazed that anyone could ever think so. "Who did I ever bully? When?"

Paula spoke very softly, in sure but kindly tones. "Peter you bullied our teachers and you did it for years."

I was completely mystified. "What are you talking about?"

"How do you think the French teachers felt when you embarrassed and humiliated them in front of the class? Do you think Mr. Richards likes that everyone calls him Uncle Dick? He just goes along with it now because the new teachers and little kids think that's what they're supposed to call him. I know that Mrs. Kazinsky has a weight problem, but did you have to get everyone to start calling her 'Special K'? That's probably why she changed schools! What about Mr. Harvey? He nearly had a heart attack when the pigeons flew out of his desk when he opened his drawer! Did you think Mr. Robinson liked it when all those snake started slithering around his feet, by the way, where did you find that many snakes?"

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