I couldn’t have been in school for more than 10 minutes. I walked into class at 7:15. The clock read 7:26. So it was about 11 minutes. I wasn’t far off. But it didn’t take very long.
BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! “Can we have Tanner Murphy to the office please?”
When the speaker cut out, my teacher, Miss Vella, shot a glance at me with her bushy eyebrows raised up, telepathically telling me to make my way to the office. She also probably wanted to say fuck you but seeing as her position would have opened up if she did, Vella held that fat tongue of hers. Vella hated me, but sometimes she couldn’t help but crack a laugh at what came out of my mouth. You could consider her a bit of a hypocrite. Most people are.
I sat in my chair for about another minute or two. Vella didn’t take her eyes off of me. Her frustration was building up. To avoid an argument, I got up and went.
This wasn’t the first time I was here. For some reason, I think the vice principal had a thing for me, which was weird because I was good looking for an underage male, but Lodi Springs was a regional high school with a student body exceeding 1,500 and a lot of better boys to choose from. Or at least that is what I thought.
“Principal Mendoza will see you now Mr. Murphy.”
I looked up at the secretary, shook my head, and shot her a wink, then I made way into Mendoza’s office.
Frank Mendoza was a righteous man with an old-school mentality. He didn’t have the patience for kids like me. Mendoza stood about 5 foot 7 inches tall, give or take. He had a full head of gray hair and a corny goatee to match. I guess he thought it made him look hip. He had a bit of a potbelly that he tried to hide. Mendoza would wear his khaki pants high above his belly button. You could tell he was unhappy with his body. Maybe that’s why he was such a prick. It was either that or his wife stopped the oral play long ago. I could be wrong, but the latter was my conclusion.
His office was small. But you couldn’t expect much from a Vice Principal in Lodi. He wasn’t even the head of the school, but for some reason, this guy had a hard-on like he ran the place and all the kids in it, owed him something. But I tell ya, I owed this man nothing. No matter what I thought though, he still had it out for me.
As I walked into Mendoza’s office, I figured I’d try to piss him off more than he already was.
“What’s up Captain. It’s like 7:30 in the morning you’re already hassling the soldiers? What the fuck is that about?” He didn’t seem to like my enthusiasm.
“Soldier? Mr. Murphy. You are the furthest thing from a soldier.”
“I wouldn’t say that. I have to go to war with you at least twice a week, so, I’d consider myself a soldier of some sort.”
Mendoza just ignored me and rolled his eyes as I made way to sit in the chair facing his ugly mug.
“Do you know why you’re here Tanner?”
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t know? Are you sure you don’t know?”
“Do you want my honest opinion?”
“Yes, Tanner, I do.”
“Well, then I don’t know. I have no idea why I am here. And that is God’s honest truth. You call me down so much though, I am starting to think that I get you off.”
“You heard me, Cap. I get you off. Maybe not me in general but something about me gets you off. The fucked-up part is, I have no idea why. You have a few kids and a pretty good-looking wife, telling from that picture on your desk. And don’t mistake my words. She’s pretty good-looking. I wouldn’t fuck her or anything but for you… she is pretty good-looking. So, my issue is that I don’t get why you like to get off on 17-year-old kids.”
Mendoza looked like he just shits himself as I wrapped up my statement. At the same time, he looked like he wanted to take my head off. Thank god I was still 17, otherwise, he probably would have pounced. Then I would have had to embarrass the man in his own place of business. He was smarter than he looked though. There was no need to exercise caution.
“Mr. Murphy, I would watch your tongue.”
“I honestly don’t think I need to.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means that I am fed up with this bullshit, Mendoza. You call me down here every week for some outlandish fucking reason that doesn’t abide by your morals.”
“First of all, I told you to watch your tongue. Stop swearing in my office. Second, what could you possibly be fed up with? I have been dealing with your antics for close to four years now. If anyone is fed up it’s me. And to get to the point, you were seen smoking a cigarette outside on school grounds this morning”
“ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!”
“No. I’m not and again, please…watch your mouth. I am not going to say it again Mr. Murphy.”
“There is a week and a half of school left. Then I’m gone. Vamoose. My time here will be done, and you’ll have to find a new student to get off on. And to be frank, Frank. Can I call you Frank?”
“No. You can call me Mr. Mendoza or Principal Mendoza.”
“Alright, well Frank” Mendoza just stared at me. His patience was being tested, and it was worth watching that plastic smile form.
“Let me tell ya. My back is sore, and it has been for at least two years now. You got me spending too much time on it. So, I think it’s about time that I lay my foot down instead of letting you lay me down. If you’re going to fuck me one last time, let’s have at it, but I’m telling you nothing about our relationship is consensual Frank. Nothing. And by the way, it’s Vice… Principal Mendoza.”
Mendoza stared at me for a few seconds after I finished. Refusing to utter even one word. I guess he had no response to my absurdity. He then looked down behind his small little desk and opened up a drawer.
Out of the drawer came a green card. That’s what they were called. Green cards were the slips that the school administration used to write students up. They were about the same size as a small traditional index card and were forest green in color. At the top of the card, it read: LSR HIGH SCHOOL DISCIPLINARY ACTION SLIP.
The heading was followed by a series of questions and other information that was to be filled out by whatever teacher or administrator was writing me up. Mendoza looked at me as he put the card on his desk and grabbed a pen from another drawer.
“Despite your filthy mouth and rebellious attitude towards school regulation, I’ll go easy on you this time, Tanner, seeing as you do only have a week left in this school. As long as you have fulfilled your graduation requirements that is – which to my knowledge, you somehow have. I have decided to write you up for one lunch detention, instead of suspending you for using tobacco products on school grounds. However, I would like to ask you one question before you return to class.”
Mendoza rolled his eyes again. I don’t know if he couldn’t stand the name his mother gave him, or if he couldn’t stand my disrespectful attitude. Most likely the former. However, I actually never felt myself to be disrespectful. My father taught me that you have to give respect to get respect. Mendoza never respected me as a person or a student in this fine educational institution, or so I thought. So why should I respect him?
Mendoza leaned over his desk to hand me the green card, asking, “Where do you see yourself in the future, Tanner?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean what would you like to do with your life?”
With a giant smile, “I think I am going to be a Vice Principal in the southside of suburbia.”
Mendoza just looked at me. He looked like he was holding in a little bit of a smile, but I doubt it. The man never smiled, unless it was plastic. At least not in the years that I was acquainted with him.
I proceeded to walk out of the office, went to my locker to grab my smokes then hit the parking lot. Figured it was a good time to light one up. The stress had gotten to me.
The Lodi Springs Regional High School graduation went on as planned and was quite a dull affair, or so I had heard. I couldn’t bring myself to go, and my mother was in support of a private at-home celebration. My older sister had graduated a few years prior, and as excited as my mother was to see her first-born graduate, she could not make it through the first 15- minutes of the two-and-a-half-hour ceremony. Snoring away without a care in the world. Quite the scene to have caught, if I may say.
About three weeks after the end of the school year, my diploma arrived in the mail. With it, came a letter from the one and only Frank Mendoza. Old Frankie boy just couldn’t let me go without having the last word.
Dear Mr. Murphy,
I hope this letter finds you in good health. Since you refused to walk in your graduation, I wanted to congratulate you in some way. We never got along much during your years at Lodi and I’m sure you know why. I have never had a student test me like you. As a scholar, you are a very capable young man. But as a person, your rebellious attitude may be your demise, or it may very well be your greatest asset. I couldn’t tell you. That is for you to find out for yourself further on down the road. Your rebellious lifestyle reminded me much of myself at your age. I know it’s probably weird hearing this from me, but I was on the wrong path when I was your age. There came a point when I was able to straighten my life out. That is why I decided to get into teaching, and how I ended up where I am today. In sum, I thought I could lead kids down a better path than I was on. In a sense, you are my greatest failure. I just hope that you find some sort of stability before your adolescence is truly behind you. Good luck with your future endeavors, Tanner. I wish you the best from here on out and will be sure to let you know when I retire, in case you want to take the position. I will warn you though, being a Vice Principal isn’t as glorious as it may seem. You may meet yourself one day.
Lodi Springs Vice Principal
Captain Frank R. Mendoza
After reading the letter, I couldn’t help but wonder. What was this guy’s middle name? It had to be Richard. Frank Dick Mendoza…what a guy. No matter how much I had to get out of Lodi, I never thought I’d miss pushing Mendoza’s buttons. This letter assured me that I would.