Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Incident at Confederacy Elementary. The Spray Bottle and Meudle

Aida Grimes in the Last Picture Captured of her Smiling in 2003

I had a free morning and thought to fill one of my extra hours by volunteering at Confederacy Elementary School in Cloverdale. I stopped in the office to register and pick up an assignment. 68 year old Aida Grimes met me at the counter. This was Aida’s 37th year as Confederacy Elementary’s secretary.

“Where would you like to help today?”. She said. Aida looked off balance for 9:15 A.M. Her upper lip quivered, matching the twitching in her right eyelid. This nervous condition was caused by an office crowded with the Army of Darkness, a 6th grade boy's gang led by Meudle Merrick. The morning playground monitor found them throwing snowballs at cars dropping children off in the student depository. Meudle Merrick and his Army are office regulars. Each boy has his own chair, tagged with his initials carved into the armrests. When I arrived the boys were having a fit over the custodian’s actions the night before. Acting on the Headmasters orders, the custodian refinished the arms on the office chairs hence removing their tags of ownership. Of course, it was the secretary that had to deal with the result.

“Where’s the Headmaster?” I shouted over the layered sounds of prepubescent boy’s voices. Aida slightly tilted her head toward the his office door.
“He’s in his office,” she responded.
“Leaving you to deal with this?” I answered in a sympathetic tone.
“No, he’s got one of our fourth graders and his mother in there. The boy doesn’t like using the,” she switched from speaking to mouthing the word, “u r i n i a l s. Likes to use the w a l l instead.”
“Yea,” Meudle Merrick shouted. “He pisses on the wall.” The rest of the boys roared with laughter as they gathered in a huddle to exchange high fives and fist pumps.

Meudle Merrick Shakes a Fifth Grader down for his Lunch Money

A stream of ice cold liquid shot over my shoulder straight into Meudle’s face.
“What the ...........”. Meudle covered his face with his hands.
“I’ve had enough of you Muedle Merrick.” Aida's said while vigorously pumping ice water into his face from one of six spray bottles she keeps in the small refrigerator under her desk. I stepped out of the way giving her full access to the boys. She took advantage of the situation and pulled out a second bottle to better dispense her wrath. Zeus used lightning to punish the mortals that displeased him. Aida used her spray bottles, and very effectively I might add. The boys scurried around the office, diving for cover under the chairs and coffee table. A few escaped out the office door into the hallway. Merdle was one of them.

Aida hurdled over her office desk with the agility of a woman half her age and pursued her prey down the hall. I followed at full throttle, not wanting to miss one of the most exciting things to happen in Cloverdale in the past six months.
“YOU GET BACK HERE MUEDLE MERRICK,” she shouted as she ran after him down the 3rd grade hall. A few teachers stepped into the hall to see what the commotion was all about.
“BACK TO YOUR ROOMS NOW!” Aida shouted. Every door in the hallway shut in unison.

It looked like Muedle was going to escape. He changed directions for an outside door.
Aida held out the spray bottle, stretched her arm to full length, took careful aim, and fired several streams in mid stride. She aimed for the floor under his feet. Muedle’s gym shoes lost traction on the slippery floor sending him head over heals toward Miss Thornberry's 2nd grade class walking toward the gym with their arms folded. Miss Thornberry screamed. Her students scurried to get out Muedle's way just before he slammed into the brick wall near the drinking fountain.

Muedle laid on the floor in the fetal position moaning in pain.
“I think my arm’s broken,” he sobbed.
“At least its not your head,” she said. “Get up and march back to office.”
Muedle struggled unsuccessfully to get up. I felt pity for the delinquent and offered a hand.

Muedle and I walked side by side back to the office. Aida Grimes followed several steps behind with spray bottle at the ready in case Muedle had a change of heart.

It was just another day at Confederacy Elementary.

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