What Happened to Baby Cameron?
by: E Walk
(© 2009 by the Author)

The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent. Comments are appreciated at...

Chapter 45 

The Superintendent


When I went to work on Friday morning, there was no one in the superintendent’s office.  I went to the phone and called Cynthia Wright who had been my secretary at the Michaels Advertising Agency, until she retired, “Cynthia, help.  I’ve gotten myself entangled in a big mess.  I need you to be my secretary at the School Superintendent’s Office.”


“Say what?”


“You heard me.  How soon can you be here?”


“Steve, I really don’t want to work full time.  In fact, I really don‘t want to work at all.”


“Cynthia, I’m only the interim Superintendent.  It shouldn’t be long before a qualified replacement will be in place.


“Okay, I’ll be there in an hour.”


I called the Maintenance Office.  A voice answered, “This is Tom Harvey.”


“Tom, it’s Steve Michaels, the Acting Superintendent.  I would like to meet with you immediately.  I want the locks on the Central Office facility changed immediately to keep the previous employees out.”


This Tom person responded, “Mr. Michaels, you should have all the entrances locked, except for the main entrance.  You might also call to see if you can have a policeman on duty.  These people are running like wounded banshees.  Find Nolan Stark, the custodian, and have him help you.  He’s a good guy and pretty much can tell you everything that’s going on in all areas of the Central Office.”


“Thanks for the advice, Tom.  See you in a bit.”


I went to the receptionist, “Could you point me to where Nolan the custodian might be hiding?”


The young woman laughed, “Wait until I tell Nolan what you said.  Who are you, anyway?”


“I’m Steve Michaels.”


“Sorry, sir, I didn’t mean to be flip.  Nolan’s office is at the bottom of those stairs.  However, I just saw him going into the Business Area with his cleaning supplies.”


I went into the Business Area.  A custodian was vacuuming.  I tapped him on the shoulder.  He turned off his vacuum cleaner.  I put out my hand, “I’m Steve Michaels.  I assume that you’re Mr. Stark.”


The gentlemen shook his head no, “I’m Nolan.  Mr. Stark lives in Texas.  Superintendent Michaels, I bow to no one.  How can I help you?”


“Mr. Harvey suggested that you were the person who could be of the most help to me, since there don’t seem to be many people around.”


“That’s because they’re scared of you.  You don’t look like an ogre to me.  You’re right, the building is almost deserted.  The only person in the Business Offices is Ginny Akers the payroll clerk.  She’s busy cutting checks for the people who were fired or quit.”


“Nolan, I’d like to talk to the young lady.”


Nolan led me into an office, “Hey, Ginny this gentleman called you a young lady.  I guess he needs glasses.  Meet the new boss, Superintendent Michaels.”


Ginny looked at me, “Look, young man, I’m old enough to be your Grandmother.  Who’s going to sign these checks.  The stamps we would ordinarily use are not valid anymore, since one of the people whose signature is on the stamp is no longer a member of the school board.”


I frowned, “Ginny, who told you to cut the checks?”


“I had a call from the Assistant Superintendent for Business Affairs, Mr. Coleman, at home, last night, telling me who was to be paid and how much.  He said he would be by to pick up the checks right after noon


“Ginny, Mr. Coleman has been fired.  He has no legal authority to order that the checks be cut.  Shred the checks immediately.  I have a question.  When do the regular paychecks go out?”


Ginny nodded, “The regular pay period goes from the first of the month until the first of the next month.  The money is sent out to be in the financial institutions by the fifteenth of each month.  We only have a handful of employees that still receive an actual check.”


“Ginny, after you shred those checks, come to my office.  We need to make some plans.  Nolan, for today, you’re my gofer.  There can’t be that much to clean, since there are so few people in the building.  I want you to notify everyone who is in the facility to be in the conference room at one o’clock.”


“Does being a gofer mean that I might be getting a raise, finally?”


 I stopped at the Human Resources office, and there was a young woman there, working on a computer.  She looked at me, “How may I help you, sir?”


“I’m the acting Superintendent, Steve Michaels.  What may I ask are you doing?” 


“I had a call from the Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, Miss Day, telling me to delete the information in certain files.  I can’t figure out what she wants me to do, since I can’t get into the files.”


“Good, close down the files and make sure that no one gets into them.” 


I picked up the phone and dialed Hank’s cell phone, “This is Hank Rodgers.”


“Cowboy, how soon can you get here to the Central Office.  We have some big problems brewing, and we need your computer expertise.”


“I’m at Tony’s office.”


“Good, bring him along.  It may take both of your legal minds to put out the fires.”


When I returned to the Superintendent’s office, Cynthia was sitting there,  “Where am I to work, and what am I to do?”


I was saved from answering by the arrival of Nolan.  He stopped when he saw Cynthia, “Aunt Cynthia, what are you doing here?  I thought you retired.”


“Nolan, Wonder boy Stevie called and begged me to come be his secretary.”


Nolan started to laugh, “That’s a good deal.  That means you’ll be the most powerful person in the school district.”


I looked at Nolan, “Where is it that Mrs. Wright’s office would be and where is my office?”


“Ordinarily there would be a receptionist here to meet visitors.  Aunt Cynthia’s office is right behind the reception desk so she can monitor who is in the office.  If you will follow me, I’ll show you her office, then yours”


We walked into what was to be Cynthia’s office and it was more than adequate.  He opened the door to a much larger office, “Aunt Cynthia, can access your office through her office or through the main entrance which is out of sight of visitors.”


I sat down at the desk and tried to open the drawers, “Nolan, are we going to have to ruin this furniture to get into the drawers?”


“Never fear, Mr. Superintendent, I just happen to have a key to unlock the drawers.  You’d be surprised at how many times people forgot or misplaced their keys.”


I opened the center drawer and the first thing I saw boggled my mind, “Nolan, lock this and standby to make sure that the old guard doesn’t try to enter the building.  I hope you’re up to working overtime, today.”


Cynthia laughed, “That would make his parents happy instead of him coming home drunk, like he does most Friday nights.”


We were interrupted by the arrival Hank and Tony.  After the introductions, I had Nolan unlock the drawers to what had been Superintendent White’s desk.  I pointed to a letter that was on top of the litter, “That may shed some light on whose behind what’s happening.”


Both Hank and Tony sucked air when they saw what I was pointing to.  Hank looked at Tony, “Why don’t you and Mrs. Wright make an inventory of what is in all of the locked desks.  It would be great if we had a person from a law enforcement agency here to verify what you inventoried.”


Nolan had a suggestion, “Why don’t you ask the policeman who is on duty to come in and be your witness, so to speak.  We can always secure the main door so that people would have to ring a bell for access into the building.  I can get you some boxes to put the contents of the desks in, as well as some rubber gloves so you don’t leave fingerprints on the documents.”


I was liking this young man more and more, “What are you waiting for?  You secure the building first and get the young officer in here.  I saw the gloves on your cleaning cart.   I’ll go get them.”


Nolan departed and I went to payroll as Ginny Akers was coming out, “Mr. Michaels, what do you want me to do with this list that Mr. Coleman gave me over the phone?”


“Ginny, we need to give it to two of the school board members who just happen to be lawyers.  They’re in my office, now.”


When we walked in, I motioned to Ginny, “Mrs. Akers, has something that you might find interesting, as well.”


Ginny frowned, “Cynthia, what are you doing here?”


“Stevie, wanted me to come hold his hand and keep him out of trouble.  Ginny, these gentlemen are Mr. Hank Rodgers and Mr. Tony Romero.”


“Ginny, could you stay and answer the phones while Mr. Romero and Mrs. Wright are working.  I need to take Mr. Rodgers, I have another problem that he needs to solve.”


I took Hank to the Human Resources department and the same young lady was sitting there.  “Miss Riley, would you please tell Mr. Rogers what Dr. Day asked or told you to do.”


After the young woman explained to Hank what she had been told to do, Hank sat down at the computer and heaven only knows what he did, but it worked.  Hank skimmed through the information and groaned.  “No wonder the woman wanted the files deleted.  I’m going to send a copy of these files to my computers and a copy to Tony, and then I am going to lock the files, and password protect them, so only I can get into them.  The list of people who are going to be facing criminal charges is growing.”


It was just before one o’clock when the phone rang, “This is Superintendent Michaels’ office.”


“This is Nolan.  Mr. Coleman is here asking speak to Mrs. Akers.”


I handed Ginny a large brown envelop, “Here, take this and give it to Mr. Coleman so that he doesn’t catch on to what’s happening.”  The police officer and I went down a hallway so we would be on the other side, behind Mr. Coleman.”


Ginny was so cool, “Here you go, Mr. Coleman.  I hope these are what you wanted.”


Mr. Coleman opened the envelop and pulled out blank pieces of paper.  “What are you trying to do, you meddlesome old broad?”


I surprised the visitor, “You stupid man, any checks that Mrs. Akers could issue would have been no good, since the two people who's signatures would have been on the checks are no longer connected with the school district.”


Mr. Coleman wheeled around and pulled out a gun.  We should have taken you out before, Michaels.  You’ve ruined our lives and you’re not going to live to enjoy yours.”


The young officer was ready, “Mister, put that gun down.  I’ll get off two shots before you complete one.  Nolan, take that gun from the man before he shoots himself.”


We watched as Mr. Coleman was led away to an awaiting police car.  The young officer moaned when he returned, “Superintendent Michaels, I've been ordered not to let you out of my sight.”


Nolan started to laugh, “Mr. Michaels, Bill will use any excuse to check you out, in the bathroom.”


“Look Stark, some of us are more subtle than others.  We aren’t all uncouth like you.  Mr. Michaels, is there any way to get something to eat?”


I looked at Nolan, “Is there anyplace nearby that delivers?”


“Not really, why don’t I call and order some subway sandwiches.  We have sodas and drinks in the lounge.  I’ll go pick them up.”


Hank was listening, “Nolan, I’ll go pick them up, if you order them.  I think it would be best if you stayed here, since you know the persons who are involved.”


Hank brought our sandwiches and we went to the lounge, except for Nolan and Officer Bill.  They sat at the desk so they could let any visitors or employees in.”


At one o’clock, Nolan, called the lounge, “Superintendent Michaels, the few employees who are present for duty are in the conference room.”


Tony excused himself, “I really need to get back to work.”


Hank nodded, “I’ll just stay in the background.”


I walked into the room with Cynthia and Ginny and went to the front of the conference room which was the Board Room.  I went to the microphone, “I’m Steve Michaels.  I’m the interim Superintendent, until a qualified person can be found to replace me.”


An elderly gentlemen stood, “I’m Elwood Hinkle.  Exactly what is your vision for this district?  Are you planning to make it into an image like this last group of nincompoops was doing.”


“Mr. Hinkle, I’ll strive to enable the district so that it is providing a quality education for all students, and making sure that they can achieve.  I can’t do this alone, it's going to take all of us working here at the central office, the building administrators and the staffs working in unison to make that happen.”


Mr. Hinkle wasn’t done, “Am I to understanding that you don’t plan to come in here and try to ramrod your ideas down everyone’s throats, whether they are good ideas or not?”


“Mr. Hinkle, I can assure you that I’m not going to ramrod anything down anyone’s throat.  I’ll be the first to admit that I never planned or wanted to be a Superintendent of a school system.”


The conversation was interrupted by  Nolan, “Superintendent Michaels, there a gentleman here who says it is urgent that he speak to you.”


“Show him in.  If it’s so urgent, why didn’t he make an appointment?”


Nolan brought a gentleman in his forties in, “Superintendent Michaels, this gentleman says he’s from the F.B.I.”


I went to greet the man, “What is it that we can help you with, sir?”


“I came to collect the personal records of all the people who have been implicated in this case.”


Hank stepped forward, “Sir, do you have a subpoena telling us we are to turn the documents over to you?”


“I don’t need one.  I work for the F.B.I.”


Hank was getting angry but was trying to maintain his cool, “You haven’t shown us any identification to prove that you a member of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Officer Cline, help the gentleman produce some identification before you take him and book him for impersonating a federal official.  Mr. Whoever you are, the personal belongings of all of the people who have been involved in this fiasco have been confiscated and are no longer in this facility.  The documents that we found will be used to make sure that you and your friends spend considerable time in a detention facility.”


After our unwanted visitor was taken away, I went back to the microphone, “People, thanks for being here, today.  You are the only people who can be assured of having a job on Monday.  The people who didn’t show up today will need to be rehired before they can work here again.  Each case will be evaluated on an individual basis.  Let’s put out the fires that we can, with a very limited staff.”


Hank had departed so he could pick of the boys.  I had a few people stop in and I had Cynthia send out a message telling the building principals and administrators that there would be a mandatory meeting at the central office at nine o’clock on Monday morning.”


As Cynthia and I were walking out of the building, shortly after five o’clock, she grinned, “You do realize that Nolan and Bill Cline are living together, don’t you?”


“Cynthia, how would I know that?  I was beginning to think that might be the case.  I guess I’d better check on them.”


The two guys were coming out of the building.  Nolan nodded, “The alarms are activated should anyone try to break in.  I changed the entry code and told the controllers to call Aunt Cynthia in case of an attempted break in.”


Cynthia reacted, “You'd better not have, Nolan.  Or I’ll make your life miserable.”


“Don’t worry, Mrs. Wright, the warnings will go directly to the police and fire departments.  We wouldn’t want you to loose your beauty sleep.”


After Cynthia had departed, I looked at the two guys, “Cynthia told me that you two were a couple.  How did it happen that Bill was assigned to the Central Office, today?”


Officer Cline answered, “The Central Office has been my beat for the last two years when the city assigned an officer to the high schools and junior highs.  No one else wanted the Central Office, so it became my beat.”


I took a gamble, “What are you guys going to be doing tomorrow?  Would you be interested in going to talk to the animals with our boys and us, tomorrow?  You might be required to do a little work.”


Nolan laughed, “By us, I guess you’re talking about you and Mr. Rodgers.  Aunt Cynthia said that you had young boys growing out your ears.  What would they think if we gay guys showed up together?”


“Probably nothing.  Let me give you the directions to the ranch.  We’ll probably leave there about eight.  I have no idea who all is scheduled to be there.  So come and plan to have a good time.”


To be continued...


Editor's Notes: It looks as if Steve is going to be a regular Dr. Doolittle, and maybe give lessons to the other people, as well.


I think the goons are going to find it rather difficult to get their hands on the evidence which they were trying to retrieve before it was discovered.  I doubt that the authorities are going have much sympathy for them.


I suspect that a large number of them will be spending some quality time in one or another of some small rectangular rooms, with one or more walls being made of a series of iron bars. These are not the kind of bars where you can purchase a beer.


It is also rather interesting that we didn't even see Cam in this chapter.  I wonder what happened to him. Grin.


Maybe we will find out in the next chapter.


Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher


Posted: 08/13/10