First, some Shameless Promotion — Fear Killer, a psychological suspense novel is now available in ebook versions. Paperback to come.
As you saw in the two previous posts custodians can deal with alien invasions and save recalcitrant teachers. But sometimes they have to deal with a more dangerous entity – a full-of-himself school board member.
The Custodian 3
The Custodian, somewhere around forty, wearing his usual khaki pants, dark T-shirt and cap pulled low, locked the doors of the boys and girls bathrooms in a small building that stood alone at the edge of the playground across from the rest of Grace Glass Elementary School. He placed a large sign in front that read Restrooms Closed.
While he pushed his custodial cart away to continue on his nightly route a sleek man in a slick suit and his ten-year old son approached in a hurry.
The Custodian stopped. Nodded at the man. Nodded at the kid.
“Open the bathrooms, will you. We both have to go.”
“Come on. My son is a student here. You can open it for a minute. We won’t make a mess.”
Lips tight, The Custodian shrugs – what can he do?
The boy said, “Dad, it’s okay. If the Custodian says they’re closed, they’re closed.”
“No, it’s not okay.” The Father raised his long face up to Custodian. He was so used to intimidating people, that when the Custodian’s steady eyes stared him down his face turned red to his shoulders. He almost poked him with a stubby finger, but thought better of it. “Look, I’m on the school board,” he blustered. “The ones you work for. I’m telling you to open that bathroom, right now.”
The Son tugged on his father’s suit jacket. “Dad, it’s closed. We can go in the bushes. Like camping.”
He slapped the boy’s hand away. “I’m going to piss in that bathroom. Are you going to let me in…, Custodian?”
A slow shake of the head was all he got for an answer.
“Then enjoy your last night as a janitor, Buddy.” He attempted to push the Custodian out of his way. That his “employee” didn’t budge and the Father was forced to go around, made him even madder. He jabbed a finger at his son. “You stay here,” he snarled and stalked off across the playground.
Hands in pockets, The custodian and the boy watch him go.
“I’m sorry,” the boy said. “You won’t get fired will you?”
The Custodian ruffled the boy’s hair, then tilted his head toward the bushes.
The boy went and pissed in the bushes. A few minutes later the Father stalked back across the playground, chin leading the way. He shook a fistful of keys as he passed. “The Principle knows who she works for. Come on, son.”
“I already went, Dad. If the Custodian says–.”
“I don’t care what he says. He doesn’t work here anymore.”
The Father unlocked the door, threw it open and disappeared inside. The door thumped shut with solid finality.
“Will he be okay?” the Son asked.
The Custodian gave the boy’s shoulder a reassuring squeeze.
They stood together – The Custodian legs apart, arms crossed, head down. The Principal behind the boy, hands on his shoulders.
“He does think a bit much of himself, but he is on the board. Couldn’t you–?”
“Ahh. Aaahhhh! Hel–.”
The custodian drew a deep breath. From his cart he lifted out a worn machete and a gouged baseball bat. Spinning the bat and blade to loosen up, he strolled to the bathroom door, unlocked it, and entered.
From the bathroom, mixed with the Father’s cries, came an otherworldly screech of rage.
The Principal said, “Well, after this I hope your father will understand that when the custodian says it’s closed, it’s closed.
“Yes, Ma’am. I hope so, too.