in the principal’s office

‘your son, he’s very… imaginative.’

‘he sure is. just like his mama.’

‘ha. well. i mean that he’s imaginative enough to bend the truth. and he does it a little too well. that’s my concern.’

‘i’m not so sure i know what you’re talking about. you’re calling my son a liar?’

‘no, i’m not. i’m just saying he has a capable mind. he also possesses the awareness to create convincing fictions that could in some minds pass as reality.’

‘whose minds?’

‘well other students. substitutes. me, the principal.’

‘isn’t it your fault that you’re stupider than my second grader?’

‘sir, if you’re saying that your son is only capable of fooling fools, well he’s probably… all i’m saying is this: the boy is very bright. i really do mean that. i’m just becoming concerned with the way he’s using that knowledge.’

‘and exactly what is he doing that’s so wrong?’

‘well to be honest he’s been telling all the kids about how all muslims want to kill all the americans. last week he wrote a story in class that was called, ‘isis ninjas.’ i’ve got it here. as you can see it’s about the isis ninjas who kill all the americans in their sleep. obviously it’s a violent read. that’s captain america, there. he’s the hero.’

‘yeah he loves captain america. and that’s a good drawing too. he’s a real artist ain’t he?’

‘yes. well, i suppose. anyway he’s been telling all the children that his story is real. that he only wrote down what he saw on the news.’

‘i mean, i could see it happening.’

‘yes. i guess it’s not impossible.’

‘that’s right. sure ain’t. could be happening right now. never know.’

‘your son has also been using his recess voice indoors. and has aggressively targeted the kids who say things he doesn’t agree with. last week he called other kids dumb or stupid over ten times. and that’s just not acceptable. the classroom should be a safe space for everyone. that’s why i wanted to have this meeting with you. so that we could discuss ways to maybe relax him a little bit.’

‘ok. i’ll be happy to discuss all this if you’ll admit that there’s a good possibility those other kids were being dumb or stupid.’

‘excuse me. the children are learning they are not stupid.’

‘look i don’t know if things changed that much, but i remember kids eating paste and stuff back when i was in second grade. shoving crayons in their noses. i mean all that’s pretty stupid.’

‘sir, it is about teaching kids to not call the people around them names.’

‘lady, that’s great. but isn’t he learning to identify certain stuff? bugs and trees and patterns and shit? if he sees a kid being dumb, why can’t he just call the kid dumb? isn’t that just part of a healthy development?’

‘because, sir, it just doesn’t work that way. unfortunate as that is in some instances. plus, who are any of us to call another person stupid? we’re all guilty of being imperfect.’

‘speak for yourself.’

‘you’re very funny. but to treat others like he does, that’s just breaking the golden rule.’

‘golden rule, huh? yeah i heard of it. never saw much sense in it.’

‘can you tell me one respectful habit you practice within your own home?’

‘hmm. well i’m the father. so i make sure i get the respect a father deserves from his wife and children.’

‘but how do you teach your children about respect?’

‘i teach them about respect like i was taught about respect. do what you’re told or else.’

‘or else what?’

‘i ain’t saying anything else. what’re you gonna do. report me to the dhs?’

‘please. i’m only trying to assess what it is in your son’s life that is causing him to act with such disruptive and disrespectful behavior.’

‘are you serious?’


‘you are fucking serious.’

‘language, please.’

‘well excuse me! me being so disrespectful and all i can’t help it.’

‘i did not say you are disrespectful. and i am not trying to intimate that to you at all. i’m just trying to understand.’

‘you are too. and how dare you, you fucking whore. i cannot even believe you right now. you bring me in here. call my son a liar. tell me he’s mean. i’m sitting here trying to help you out. you know, trying to find solutions to stuff with you and you then start telling me i’m disrespectful?!’

‘that’s absolutely not what this is.’

‘i don’t know what kind of house you grew up in, but my daddy taught me to never hit a woman. though right now i think it’d feel pretty goddam good.’

‘sir, please. let’s be adults. and you should know that any threat you make against me is enough to place you in serious trouble.’

‘i don’t remember any threat being made but that’s beside the point. the two of us, we don’t like each other. so i’ll tell you what. i’m gonna be the bigger man here and i’m just gonna go home. alright? i’m done with you. we’ll forget this whole thing ever happened how about that?’

‘maybe we should talk this over in a week. i can bring in some extra help to better assess the situation we’re in. how about that?’

‘ok, well in the meantime, i’m talking to your superintendent. what’s his number?’

‘her number is on this card. you just take that. or we can both call her together. i’ll be happy to put her on speaker.’

‘no thanks, sister. i’ll talk to her myself. let her know what a cunt she’s got working for her.’

‘ok, well i think you need to leave my office. we can discuss anything you’d like at another time. but i’ve got a school to run.’

‘at least today you do.’

‘right, off you go. bye-bye.’

‘seriously. i’m gonna get you fired. just watch. you’ll see. let a black woman try and tell me my son is disrespectful.’


‘are you alright?’

‘i’m alright.’

‘i heard part of what he said. what an asshole. seriously. i’ll totally stand up for you.’

‘i don’t think it’ll get to that. but thanks. he’s talking to cynthia right now. she’ll understand.’

‘yeah. she won’t let him–‘


‘well, i know this is a bad time, but i just had to tell you something.’

‘what is it?’

‘nina lux’s father just called. he’s on his way. i guess she had her phone taken away. he sounded mad.’


‘i know, right? fun!’

‘yeah. yippee.’


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