Nancy Flanders sat perfectly still. Amanda Mateo fidgeted and rocked. Between lay a false statement and a pen.
Amanda spoke. “I won’t sign that. I’ll write my own report. I should have spoken to the police yesterday. I’ll write my statement and give it you right now. But I’m not signing that,” pointing toward the statement on the desk.
“That won’t be necessary. I’m afraid I’ll have to place you on suspension until the board reviews your case.”
“What? What case?”
“My statement makes it perfectly clear. You encouraged your student, David Thompson, to use hate speech towards students of color. You stood by while he physically attacked Hispanic and African-American students in your classroom.”
Amanda’s brows squeezed down until they nearly hit her cheeks.
“You are crazy!” she said. “There were thirty witnesses. No one’s going to believe that.”
Flanders wore a grin that said, “silly girl.” The grin infuriated Amanda.
“Go ahead. Submit it. And I’m submitting mine. We’ll see.”
Amanda grabbed the false statement from Flanders’ desk as she exploded out of the tiny chair and out the door. She ran down the hall to the main doors, groping in her purse for he car keys. She flung open her door, started the car, and drove out of the parking lot as fast as she considered safe.
When she rolled to stop at a red light almost a mile away she first noticed the tears that had dripped on her shirt and the snot that clogged her nose.
“Oh. My. God!” she yelled. “Oh my God!”
Amanda drove fast but she wasn’t heading home. She’d passed the turnoff that she took every night. She was just driving. She just wanted to get away.
She’d been driving aimlessly for thirty minutes when a thought occurred. She pulled into a convenience store parking lot and dragged her phone from her purse.
“Hey, Siri,” she said. After the beep,”Santo Domingo Police phone number.”
“Is this an emergency?”
“Let me see. I found the non-emergency number for Santo Domingo, California police. Would you like me to dial it for you?”
Amanda waited for the process to complete.
“Santo Domingo Police. Sergeant Baker. How may I help you?”
“Hi, my name is Amanda Mateo. I’m a teacher at Briarhaven Elementary School. One of my students was involved in a fight yesterday. I was a witness to the incident, but my principal sent me home before the police took my statement. I’d like to make a statement.”
“Can you come down to our headquarters? I can give you directions.”
The desk sergeant gave Amanda the address, and she punched the address into the Waze app on her phone.
“Thank you. I’ll be there in about a half hour. Who should I ask for?”
“Ask for Sergeant Mike Franklin. I’ll tell him you’re coming.”
“Okay. Thank you.”
“Anything else I can help you with?”
“No, thank you. Bye bye.”
Amanda put her phone in the cup holder of her car and followed the directions from Waze. But she didn’t get far before her phone rang. She pulled over to answer it, though she didn’t recognize the number.
“Hello?” she said.
“Hello. Amanda Mateo?” asked a man’s voice.
“Speaking,” she answered.
“Hi, Ms. Mateo. I’m Sergeant Mike Franklin with the Santo Domingo Police Department. I’m sorry to bother you.”
“No problem. Thanks for calling.”
“Listen, Ms. Mateo, I know you’re coming in to give a statement about the incident at school yesterday. Would you mind if we meet somewhere else? I can come to you. I texted you earlier, but I guess you didn’t see it.”
Amanda pulled the phone away from her so she could scan her messages. There is was.
This is Sgt. Franklin, SDPD. I’d like to talk to you about an important police matter. Pls call me at this number. Thx
“You don’t want me to come to the station? What’s going on?” Amanda asked.
Franklin let out a long breath. “It’s complicated. I can explain when we meet. There’s a Peet’s Coffee on El Camino Real. Do you know where that is?”
“Yes,” she said.
“Would you mind meeting there? I’ll be in uniform.”
“Sure. Okay. When?”
“How soon can you get here?” he asked.
“About twenty minutes?”
“That’s fine. I’ll be waiting for you.”
“Okay. On my way.”
Amanda hung up, entered the new destination in Waze, and took off wondering why the cop wanted to meet outside police headquarters.
“This is getting too weird,” she whispered. “Too fucking weird.”
to be continued
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Also published on Medium.