This is a bit of flash fiction, written in the Summer Arts Festival. The assignment was to write a conversation between two people who don’t understand each other, one of whom has some kind of dominance over the other. I’d call this a dysfunctional school, but this sort of incident can happen–we’ve had similar accounts on the insulin-pumpers e-group.

The small office was too warm, but Cyril never thought of shedding his coat.  Instead, he straightened his tie, pulled himself up in his chair and glared at the student standing in front of him.  “Well?”

The boy–what was his name?  Jerry?   Jimmy?  Jimmy, that was it–refused to meet his eyes and scuffed his right foot on the floor.  “I ain’t done nothing.  What you want to go pickin’ on me for?”  He shoved his hands in his pockets and turned his head, pretending to study the books on the wall.

“Speak properly, boy, and stand up straight.”  Damn kids today.  No respect.   Snotty twelve-year old, thinking he knew more than an adult.  And his hands were tied.  Couldn’t touch the little bastards, no matter how much a good spanking would straighten them out. “Trying to use a cell phone in class isn’t nothing, boy.  Now hand it here.”

Jimmy backed up a step, and his hand tightened around the phone in his pocket.  “Don’t have a cell phone.”  Sweat began to bead on his forehead.

Cecil stared at the boy, outraged by the lie.  “So what’s that in your pocket?”

“None of your business.”

Cyril stood up, lips compressed.  “Give it here.”

“No!”  Jimmy backed away another step, his eyes flickering to the closed door.

Furious, Cyril lunged toward the boy, grabbing the object the youngster held and pulling it away.  It was tethered by a cord to the pocket, and he jerked it free and threw it down.  He heard it smash as it hit the floor.

Jimmy screamed.  “You bastard.  He ran to the broken plastic case and picked it up, crying openly now.  “My mom’ll kill me.  I made her promise not to tell.  New school–I thought the other kids didn’t need to know.  And since the divorce…”

Cyril took the smashed electronics from the boy’s unresisting hands, and suddenly saw the words in the back of the case.  Insulin pump.