This is part one of a story about my high school, Catholic High, as my friend Jack Wingfield (a fictitious name for a real person) told it to me. Other names have been changed as well.
OK, if you must hear it again. It began on a Thursday, at least for most of us anyway. That was the day when Father Tribou came on the intercom during, what was for me, Latin II with Father Galvin; we were going over verbs.
We were interrupted when the speaker in the corner of the room, above the door, made a loud pop. Then we heard the familiar breathing and all of us knew who it was before he began talking.
Father Tribou wasn’t yet the principal at Catholic High, but everyone knew who ran the place. He was the one priest you didn’t mess with, and when he came on the intercom, everyone got quiet.
“Boys, there is a problem.”
Wasn’t there always, I thought.
“It has been brought to my attention that someone has decided to practice their penmanship by writing vulgar words in one of our library books.”
I looked over at my best friend Ricky Blaylock, who already was smirking a little.
“There are some of you out there, I realize, who refuse to grow up and you must think something like this is a pretty good joke. You imagine in that warped little mind of yours, that perhaps you have done something, for posterity’s sake, so you’ll always be remembered. Well, that may be true, because after I find out who you are, and I will find out, it will be a memorable event.
“However, and this is the part you really need to listen to, I can offer you something better, for acting like a man and turning yourself in. Trust me, it will be much more pleasant than if you choose not to, and instead make me come get you. So don’t wait, the longer you do the worse it will be. Come see me now.”
The intercom popped off and the room was silent.
“So who do you think it is?” Blaylock asked me at lunch. I had been thinking about it, not so much who it was, because there was no way to figure that out, but rather how Father would find out, because he always did. And after, what the consequences would be.
“I don’t know. Was it you?”
“Hell no, I had enough trouble with him when Crenshaw and I broke into the medicine locker in the weight room last year. I thought we were dead.”
“How did he catch you guys on that anyway?”
“Crenshaw wimped out in the hot seat.”
“And he gave you up too?”
“He folded on me like a fat man’s accordion.”
“Funny, he told me you were the one who caved.”
“That’s false! Anyway, all I know is there is someone out there in one of those classrooms, or in this cafeteria right now, who has a problem. And if he doesn’t realize it then he’s dumber than a box of rocks.”
“You don’t think he’s turned himself in yet?”
“Maybe, but I doubt it. Father would have told us. He likes us to know when he wins, which is always it seems.”
“Why were you breaking into the medicine box anyway?” I asked as we walked up the stairs.
“Crenshaw said that when he dislocated his shoulder in wrestling that time, that Coach Pruss gave him something for the pain that was great, that’s what we were looking for.”
“Dumber than a box of what?”
“Shut up Wingfield.”
To be continued.
Jay Edwards is editor-in-chief of the Hamilton County Herald and an award-winning columnist. Contact him at email@example.com.