“Mr. Base! Excuse me, sir, Mr. Base!” Mr. Kirk yelled.
Thomas walked across the school lot towards the metal detectors. He groaned when he heard his name but smiled. Thomas turned his head in the direction that an unknown voice had come. An older man with a greyed afro limped to him on a cane.
The man’s skin looked weathered, deeply creased lines covered his forehead. The scowl on his face made him appear to be in pain. He shuffled to Thomas as quickly as he could. Once he had made his way to Thomas, he let out a long breath.
“Yes sir, how can I help you?” Thomas asked.
“You left a message ‘bout my one of my young ins’ showed up to school drunk. I’m B.D Kirk. I’m not her daddy, but I mess with her mama sometimes. I told her that you called me, but she had to go to work.
I sat the girl down yesterday evening, cause she come home crying. I was finna ask her what the problem was, but she was sniffling too hard. I just went on and laid down. When I got up this morning, she was gone. I’ma try to help see to it that she where she posed to be. I’m crazy ‘bout her mama and them kids. Now, what’s going on?” Mr. Kirk gushed angrily.
“I don’t know. Look, sir, I am a teacher. I have no idea what is wrong with these kids! The school does not allow me to check them outright. I am tired of meeting parent like this for the first time! What’s wrong is we teachers need support. We need for parents to show up.
We need for them to help us, help their kids, and our future. I appreciate you coming, but the child had to have other problems before she got to a drinking problem. I’m not saying you did nothing wrong; I’m just saying that we can’t keep losing these babies to bullshit.” Thomas replied calmly.
“I hear you. Back in my day, somebody would have whipped her little ass, sent her home to her mama. Then she would have got another whipping for getting the first one. It wasn’t anybody taking no mouth and attitude off these kids. Now, they got cell phones, laptops, and all this here modern stuff and no damn direction, respect, or common sense!” Mr. Kirk said.
Thomas listened while the man went on about everything from slavery to chain gangs. He squared his shoulders, closed his eyes, and took and a deep breath rather than interrupt the man. Still, Thomas needed a moment to keep his peace. When he opened his eyes, he saw a young girl that looked a lot like the student they discussed. He blinked several times and leaned to the side.
“There she goes right there.” Thomas said.
Mr. Kirk eyes followed in the direction that Thomas’s head had nodded. He clutched his cane tighter and squinted. The girl walked, with a quick pace across the field, and then darted into the school doors. The men turned and looked at each for a moment. Abruptly, Mr. Kirk nodded at Thomas, threw his hands up, and limped away.
“Where are you going?” Thomas asked.
“You a busy man and I’m retired. ‘Spect you got a class of children waiting. Thank you for your time, my brother. We much appreciate what you do. Let me get out your way: got to see a man about a mule.” Mr. Kirk mumbled.
Thomas rolled his eyes and shrugged his shoulders. He looked around the area that surrounded the school, once more. The city had come through and boarded up most of the vacant homes, others marked for demolition. Houses that were sellable, now easily identified and awaited families. The usually unattended fields were cut and cleaned. The rebirth of Detroit was well on its way.
The liquor bottles and trash that used to flow freely in the wind. no longer littered his every step. For Thomas, in that fleeting second, an idea that had seemed so far away had seemed closer to a reality. The combined efforts to have a positive impact showed. Thomas sighed and then grinned.
“Won’t he do it!” Thomas exclaimed.
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