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Then What

William Cody Maher (2018)

Be careful

They are out there

Everywhere you look

Looking for loners

Transients

Drifters

Thinkers

You can hear the cop

We got a suspect here

A loner

We’re going to bring him in for questioning

Or a kid gets called into the principal’s office

You’re not happy here… are you son?

Is that a question mister or a statement?

You don’t seem to fit in do you?

Do convicts fit into a prison cell?

This is not a prison son although you may think it is

Not every prison has bars

Son… it’s come to our attention that some disciplinary action here is called for. We feel that given time anyone can learn to adapt to some basic rules of conduct. It’s not rocket science to say you don’t punch one of your classmates in the mouth just because he looked at you a certain way. You have anything to say to that?

I knocked out his front teeth. I guess my fists were not hard enough to get to the back. Ain’t that supposed to be where them wisdom teeth are?

Son, we know it has not been easy. I talked to your mother

She’s dead. How did you talk to her?

What do you mean she’s dead?

As far as I’m concerned she is

Well, she is worried about you

She ought to be worried about herself

Why is that?

Ask her

Look son…

I am not your son. Call me by my first name. They even do that with the president

Okay Joey…your mom said it has not been easy raising you

Did she say why?

Well she told me a few things

Did she tell you that it is hard to raise a kid if you can’ take care of yourself.

Did she tell you that?

Well no, she said some things…that she also did not have it easy…

I guess not with men coming and going…how many fathers does a kid normally have?

Life is like that sometimes Joey

Did she talk about dad?

Yes she did

Did she say that he was a drunk?

She told me

Did she tell you that I used to find his bottles buried in the ground and drink what was in them myself?

No, she didn’t tell me that

I thought if I did what he did I would be like him.

You wanted to be a drunk

No, I wanted to feel the pain he felt because he had to drink

Listen Joey…you know lately…well…not just lately…there have been some incidents

You mean shootings at schools

Yes, well…it’s the damnest thing…it spreads like a flu or something. It pops up one place and a few months down the road it’s somewhere else

What does that have to do with me?

It has nothing to do with you. It’s just…well, what I’m trying to say is…some of the student body…

What do you mean “student body” it sounds like a bunch of dead kids

I mean some of the students have come in here to talk to me. They say it’s not only that fight you had last week

It wasn’t no fight. I shut the lights out of that punk with one punch

And that other incident

Incident?

The female student you forced into the bathroom

I didn’t force her…she probably had to piss

We could have called the police

You know why you didn’t?

No…tell me Joey

You didn’t because you couldn’t prove it. It was her word against mine…and like any good law abiding criminal…I had the perfect alibi

Okay Joey…the kids say you don’t show up at recess in the schoolyard

I got better things to do

Nobody knows where you go

I go to the library. Ask the librarian when I am

She said you go there but she said you don’t read or anything. That you just stare out the window

You want me to stare at the bookshelf. I’m not crazy

Nobody said you’re crazy Joey

Maybe I am crazy. I don’t really care. Some things just don’t interest me

Like the schoolyard and games?

Yeah, games never interested me

Why is that Joey?

Because that’s all my mother played

How do you mean?

With me…was games against dad

Let’s get back to some of your fellow students

Namely?

Well, I don’t want to mention names

Why not? Let’s start with Louise

Why Louise?

I didn’t give her what she wanted

What did she want`

She wanted me

And?

I didn’t want her. Now, she comes walking in here and probably says I am queer or something

She didn’t say that

What did she say?

I’m afraid that’s between us

Listen…I got better things to do than to worry about what those kids have to say

They’re your classmates

I don’t know them and don’t want to know them. What is wrong with people just minding their own business

Nothing is wrong with it Joey…it’s just things can get bad and go from bad to worse

You mean I might come to school one day with an automatic weapon

I didn’t say that

There seems to be a lot of things you don’t say while you are saying them

You’re not dumb son

I told you not to call me son…Only my dad gets to call me son

Joey I mean

What do you mean?

I’m afraid we are going to have to take some disciplinary action

Do you mean a slap on the wrist or putting me in handcuffs?

We just are going talk to some professional people

You mean shrinks?

Different kinds of people

Cops?

Just people that want to help

People that want to help don’t put people behind bars or in strait jackets

Joey…look…okay…I’ll give you one more chance

It sounds like a movie

What does?

What you just said

One more chance Joey…then…

Then what?

 

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