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Funny Middle School Crime

Wednesday morning, Kevin and Kent were slow as usual getting ready for the bus. I couldn’t get them to turn off the ‘Mr. Bill Show.” Kent was reading the school closings, shouting really loud, “Buncombe County, Henderson County, Transylvania Counties.” Then he’d shout, “Where are those?” How the heck do I know? We just moved here.

I’d shout, “I think Western North Carolina,” like I did last time it was a little cold out. All I knew was their school wasn’t canceled or delayed.

I finally got them to turn off the TV, and then Kevin says he has to pay for his school photos. Of course, I’ve been too busy to get more checks from the bank. I didn’t have ten dollars. Andrew never gives me any money.

Just then, wouldn’t you know it, Little Andy flips his cereal bowl off the table and across the kitchen floor. The bowl shatters into like a million pieces.

I yelled at Kevin to see if he could find some money from his dad’s dresser. Then I have to yell at him to go the other way to get around the mess. He’s about to try to jump over it all. He’s in the ninth grade for heaven’s sake. Anyway, the kids probably know where Andrew stashes cash better than I do. By the time I got the mess cleaned up, the older kids are out the door and walking up to the corner for the bus stop.

So that’s what that morning was like.

That night, I’ve got a gumbo on the stove and remember that the sheets are still out on the line. It’s already dark, but I stumble outside to get them off the line, the sheets that is, couldn’t see a thing.

Anyway, I guess while I’m outside Andrew came in and went straight to our bedroom. He’s getting undressed. When I get back in the kitchen, the gumbo is boiling over, so that’s another mess.

Then I hear Andrew. He’s shouting from the bedroom, “Where’s my wine bottle?”

Naturally, I’m thinking, “does he hit the sauce when he comes home from work?” So I shouted back, “What wine bottle?”

He comes out of the bedroom; boxers, T-Shirt, and black socks. You get the picture. But his face is all red. “The big, old, green wine bottle on my dresser.” He’s still shouting, but now he’s only from me to you, what three or four feet, right? He’s like, “It was full of coins.”

I was still cleaning up the gumbo mess all over the stove, so I said that I had no idea. So he storms past me, and I heard him turn off the TV and start yelling at the kids. Then he comes back in the kitchen and yells, “Kevin said you told him to take it to school.”

I said, “What!” Now I may be slipping, but I would have remembered that. I was about to say, “No I didn’t,” when I remembered the morning about him needing cash at the last minute.

I saw Kevin slinking into the kitchen behind Andrew, who was scowling at me. I said, “Kevin, I told you to see if he could find some money in your dad’s dresser. I didn’t say take his little jug of coins, did I?”

“Yes ma’am,” he said meekly. “Sorry, Dad.”

So then Andrew asked Kevin, “Where’s the jug now?”

“Uh, it broke,” he says.

I’m just hearing about that this same time as Andrew, so I ask, “What happened?” I asked.

“I was in homeroom. That’s when we had to pay. I was trying to shake the coins out and it slipped.”

Then Andrew asked, “So where are the coins?”

“Mr. Polanski has them. I have first-period science, so he’s my homeroom teacher.”

I thought Kevin was about to cry, so I went easy on him. He’s in ninth grade like I said, but he can be sensitive. So I said, “Yes, dear, I know that.”

Then Andrew started yelling, “I want them back.”

Then Kevin said, “He said he’d count them up and pay me for them. He said he couldn’t let me get cut by any glass.”

Andrew kind of growls and says, “I bet he did.” You know, kind of through his teeth.

So I tell Andrew, “Now, let’s settle down a little.” Probably the wrong thing to say, but anyway.

It was quiet and we all just looked at Andrew, then he says. “Those were silver dimes, buffalo nickels, and wheat pennies. The face value was probably over four hundred, but most of them I hadn’t even evaluated, probably several thousand dollars.” 

I was shocked. I had no idea. He had that bottle forever, but I didn't know any of that.

Anyway, by then Kent and Andy were also listening in and everyone was really quiet, so I said, “Gumbo is ready.”

He just blew up. “I don’t want any bleepity-bleep-bleep gumbo! I want my g-d coins back.” He can make a sailor blush sometimes. Anyway, he stormed off into the bedroom and lickity-split, he’s out the door.

While he was gone, I fed the kids, and we talked about their school and homework. I also asked Kevin how he paid for the pictures, and he said that Mr. Polanski said he would pay the fifteen dollars and just deduct it from the amount he would pay me for the coins.

Well, that’s when I remembered that it should have been just ten dollars. There was a five-dollar deposit. When I asked Kevin, he said everyone was paying fifteen dollars.

Eleventh grade, packet pickup was Thursday, the next day, so that was Kent’s day. During the day I had found a ten-dollar bill, so I gave that to Kent and told him that if the man didn’t give him his photos for it, then he was to go to the principal or call me.

I got the kids to bed and I’m up doing dishes, and about ten I get a phone call. It was the police. They said that Andrew asked them to call and tell me not to worry, that he was okay and he should be home shortly.

The police! I wasn’t worried until then. I had my robe on when he arrived at about ten forty-five. He was looking a little sheepish. He had a cloth satchel in his hands and when he set it down I heard coins jingle.

I said, “It sounds like you got your coins. How’d it go?”

He laughed a little. “Was Mr. Polanski a good teacher?”

“I guess,” I tell him, but I did remember that Kevin says he’s the teacher that spits when he’s lecturing,” Then I’m like, “Was? What do you mean, ‘Was’?”

He motioned to the kitchen and we walked away from the kid’s doors.

I heated up some gumbo and told me that by the time he figured out where the teacher lived, he parked out on the street and walked to the front door. As he passed the living room window he saw Mr. Polanski at his coffee table, coins spread out in piles. He had a magnifying glass and was looking at each coin.

Andrew said that what really got his goat is that the teacher was so animated, laughing and pumping his fist while he was sorting the coins. He almost turned around and called the police right there, but then he said he decided to handle it ‘man-to-man’.

He said he tried to be nice, but Polanski wouldn’t let him use his phone to call the police. Then Andrew realized that if he left now, Polanski would hide the coins. Andrew didn’t have an inventory. He told Polanski that some of the coins were from his grandfather. There were like a family heirloom that he wanted to pass on to his sons, but that didn’t seem to matter to Mr. Polanski.

Andrew tried to call the police from the teacher’s house, but they started fighting over the phone. The teacher ran out into the yard to call the neighbors for help. Andrew said it would look better if he was out there asking the neighbors for the police also. So they're both out in the yard calling for someone in the neighborhood to call the police. I wish I could have seen that.

Eventually, some neighbors came over, and the police eventually showed up. The police hauled them both off with all of the evidence, the coins that is. They were both interviewed separately. When they were separated, that was the last Andrew saw of Polanski, but Andrew said he must have told the truth about what happened, because the police basically gave him his coins back.  

If the police report is written it will be obvious that, Mr. Polanski was trying to take advantage of a student. After the police report works its way through the system, Polanski will probably be fired or moved to another school.

I told Andrew we’ll have to celebrate by finishing the last bit of the gallon of cooking wine in the big green jug. Probably five years old, "Blech". He said never mind and that he would find a better way to keep his coins.

Anyway, back to the photos. The next day Kent told his friends about the deposit money and by the time all these ten dollar payments worked their way through the system, the principal had to get involved. The photographer’s paperwork defiantly said ‘deposit’ and not something like ‘sitting fee,” just like I thought it did.

Kevin said he heard a school announcement about it and the photographer had to refund money to the ninth and tenth graders too. What, about seven-hundred fifty students? That's about a three thousand-dollar scam he had going. Anyway, Kent said that he doesn’t think the photographer knows it was us who blew the whistle on him, so we’re safe.

Kevin came home with a five-dollar bill, which I guess is really Mr. Polanski’s, so oops. 

Anyway, so that’s how it’s going with me.

How about you?

“Well,” the woman sitting across the table with her mouth agape, said. “Well, I was going to say I got my nails done, but never mind.”

February 16, 2023 01:00

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4 comments

Ralph Aldrich
12:58 Feb 23, 2023

fun story

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Karen McDermott
16:36 Feb 19, 2023

Haha, loved that surprise ending!

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Dan Taylor
20:15 Feb 19, 2023

Thanks! (Fact is funnier than fiction.)

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Mary Bendickson
21:42 Mar 04, 2023

That's a funny middle-school crime. I have a son named 'Kent' and a son-in-law named 'Kevin' who went to school together and majored in mischief together so got extra pleasure from your tale. Also have had days like that myself.

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