Read The Candy Shop Online

Authors: Kiki Swinson

Tags: #Fiction, #Erotica, #African American - Urban Life, #African American women, #African Americans, #Drama, #Drug Dealers, #Inner cities, #Street life

The Candy Shop (6 page)

BOOK: The Candy Shop
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“So, you’re telling me you know firsthand of what it sounds like when someone is using drugs?” I asked her in a sarcastic manner.

Mr. Baker jumped to Mrs. Early’s defense. “Now Faith. That will be enough. You’re interrogating her as if she’s the one who’s being accused.”

“Well, please allow me to apologize for my aggressive nature. But, I just cannot sit here and listen to this accusation when she did not actually witness Teresa using drugs. I mean, come on, Steve, this is a serious allegation, which could cost her, her job. So, it’s imperative that we investigate this thing thoroughly before we make any hasty decisions.”

Katherine spoke up. “And we will. That’s why I’m here.”

“So, what’s your plan?”

“Well, since you know that this school has zero tolerance for the sale or use of illegal drugs, I am here to enforce that rule, which has given me no other choice but to test Ms. Daniels.”

“And when do you plan to do that?”

“Immediately after we call her into this meeting and inform her of our findings.”

“What will happen if she declines to take the drug test?”

“You know the rules, Faith,” Steve interjected. “She will be terminated.”

Knowing that Teresa’s fate lay in the hands of these two crackers made me sick to my stomach. And what was so fucked up about it all was that I couldn’t do anything about it. My hands were completely tied.

But, something within me wanted to try my hand anyway, so I sat back in my chair, took a deep breath, and asked Katherine if she would allow me to administer the test.

Her answer to me was, “Absolutely, not! That’s my job.”

Shocked by her candor, I was at a loss for words. It was like homegirl had shut me down and I couldn’t say shit about it. I did, however, have my way when I asked them both if I would be able to sit in on the meeting when they addressed this situation with Teresa. So, as we all waited for her to show up, all I could feel in my heart was pain for her, knowing she had no idea that she was about to be fired. I mean, this was this girl’s livelihood and now it was getting ready to go up in smoke, without any notice. I just hoped she remained diplomatic throughout the whole ordeal. Acting belligerent would only add fuel to the fire.

Now, it only took Teresa several minutes to join us, but before she did, I thought it would be a good idea for Mrs. Early to be excused from the meeting. Having the two in the room at the same time would only exacerbate the problem. Not only that; it would be very unethical to have Mrs. Early witness Katherine and Steve reprimand Teresa. And it wouldn’t sit right with me, either. So, after Teresa entered into Steve’s office and took a seat, I gave her the “you’re in big trouble” look. And I don’t know if she understood it, but I figured she would soon find out.

“How is everybody?” she asked after taking a seat.

We all said, “Fine.”

But, immediately after, Steve pulled no punches and went straight for the kill. “Ms. Daniels, we’ve all called you into this meeting because of some disturbing allegations involving some misconduct on your behalf. So, we all felt that it was necessary to have you come in and shed light on this matter.”

Going into defensive mode, Teresa said, “What matter? What disturbing allegations?”

“I was informed this morning by one of the teachers that you were using illegal drugs while you were in the ladies’ bathroom.”

Teresa chuckled and said, “Who, Mrs. Early?”

“So, you don’t deny it?” Mr. Baker asked.

“Of course, I deny it,” she struck back. “Mrs. Early doesn’t know what the hell she’s talking about!”

“So, what were you doing?” Katherine interjected.

“Minding my business.”

“Well, we’re sure of that. But, you need to be a little more specific,” Katherine said.

“I wasn’t using drugs, if that’s what you’re wondering.”

“Then what were you doing?” Mr. Baker wanted to know.

Teresa fell silent after Steve asked her the exact same question as Katherine did. And then she looked to me, as if I could help her, but I couldn’t. So, I looked away from her. I couldn’t stand the sight of seeing her so defenseless. She looked so pitiful.

But, Steve wasn’t into the pity-party scene, so he asked her again, “What were you doing in the bathroom stall of the ladies’ room, when Mrs. Early approached you and asked if you were all right?”

I could tell Teresa was feeling the pressure mounting all around her. She looked directly at Steve and said, “I was minding my business.”

“So you’re still denying that you were using illegal drugs?”

“Yes, I am.”

“So, you wouldn’t mind taking a drug test for us, then?”

“Am I going to be the only one being tested?” Teresa asked sarcastically.

“But, of course,” Steve replied.

“And why is that?”

“Because you’re the only person who has been brought before us with allegations of using drugs,” he answered.

“Well, I just don’t think it’s fair!”

“What don’t you think is fair?” Katherine asked her.

“I don’t think it’s fair that y’all have singled me out. I mean, if you’re gonna test one person, then you might as well test everybody who works here.”

Bomb!, was what I felt when my heart landed in the pit of my stomach. I couldn’t believe what Teresa had just said.

What in the hell was she doing? Because it definitely sounded like she wasn’t trying to take the fall by herself. And knowing that I had gotten high with her all day Saturday, which was only two days ago, would make me a likely candidate for a positive urine analysis. So, as bad as I wanted ask her what kind of game she was playing, I remained calm and held my composure.

“Well, I’m sorry, Ms. Daniels,” Katherine said, “but we have to follow a strict code and since you’re the only one who has been accused of violating it, then we have to enforce the policies and procedures.”

“Well, I’m sorry too, ’cause I am not taking that test.”

“If you don’t take it, then we’re going to have to dismiss you.”

“So, you mean to tell me that you’re going to fire me?”

“Yes, that’s exactly what we mean,” Katherine replied, giving Teresa a slight smirk.

“Y’all can’t fire me because someone told you I was using drugs.”

“You’re absolutely right,” Mr. Baker said. “But, since you’re not fully cooperating with us so that we can investigate this matter thoroughly, then you leave us no choice.”

“So, you’re telling me you’re not gonna use any other recourse to resolve this?”

“I’m afraid not,” Mr. Baker told her.

Teresa stood up from her chair and said, “I bet if I was the one who would’ve come running into your damn office, accusing one of your own of doing the same thing, you and this stuck-up-ass cracker over here would not have done shit! But since I’m black, y’all are trying to make an example out of me. But trust me, it ain’t gon’ fly, ’cause I am going to have both of y’all asses in court.”

“If you’re finished, then you can leave now,” Mr. Baker told her.

“Oh, I’m leaving. But you ain’t seen the last of me,” she assured him, and then she walked out of the office and slammed the door behind hers.

Witnessing every word thrown back and forth across the room had me speechless. I honestly couldn’t believe how Teresa was handling this whole situation. And then to use the race card really threw me for a fucking loop. So, as I got up to leave, I attempted to apologize to both Steve and Katherine for Teresa’s racial outburst. But he cut me off in mid-sentence and said, “There’s no need to apologize for her antics. Just do us all a favor by helping her pack her things and escorting her off the school grounds.”

“Will do,” I assured him, and then I proceeded to leave.

In the midst of trying to cope with all of the chaos, I managed to get back to my office without losing my cool. And as I was about to take a seat behind my desk, Teresa popped her head through the doorway.

“Why didn’t you tell me those crackers was trying to railroad my ass?” she asked me in a sarcastic manner.

“If you stop being so damn loud and bring your butt into my office, then I’ll tell you exactly what happened.”

Very eager to hear what I had to say, she walked in and closed the door behind hers. When she walked over to my desk and stood there as if I owed her something, I let her have it.

“First of all, why in the hell are you standing there like you’re a victim?”

“Because I am. Remember? I’m the one who just got fired!”

“But, you did that shit to yourself,” I lashed back. “I told you not to do that shit her at work, but you did it again, anyway. So, what the hell am I supposed to do when someone goes and rats you out to Steve? The shit was out of my hands.”

“Well, the least you could’ve done was take up for me. I mean, you didn’t say one damn word the whole entire time!”

“What in the hell could I have possibly said in your defense?”

“You could’ve argued the idea of them drug testing me.”

“I did.”

“When?”

“Right before Steve called your ass into his office,” I began to explain. “As a matter of fact, we were going toe-to-toe behind your silly ass, if you want to know the truth. But they weren’t trying to hear shit I had to say, especially after Mrs. Early had already been sitting in his office for about thirty minutes prior to my arrival. But, what gets me is the fact that you didn’t even tell me that you had the run-in with Mrs. Early this morning. So, how the hell do you think I feel, when I’m the last person to find out about it?”

“I didn’t say anything to you because I didn’t think that she realized what I was doing.”

“Well, she did.”

“Well, do you think I can appeal their decision?”

“You can try. But, I don’t think it’s going to work.”

“So, when do they expect me to be out of here?”

“As soon as possible.”

Teresa shook her head in disbelief and started carrying on like her life was about to come to an end. “Faith, what the fuck am I going to do? I’ve got bills!”

“Don’t we all?” I commented nonchalantly.

“But you ain’t got shit to worry about because you still have a job.”

“Well, after that stunt you pulled earlier in Steve’s office, I’m surprised that I still have a damn job!”

“Whatcha talking about?”

“I’m talking about that statement you made to Steve and Katherine, about how they needed to test everybody who works here. I mean, what part of the game was that? Shit, you know I would’ve been dead meat if they had decided to test me.”

“Believe me, I wasn’t thinking about you when I made that comment. I was just grasping at straws and trying to get them to see that they were discriminating against me. That’s all.”

“Well, I’m sorry your plan didn’t work. But, do me a favor.”

“What’s that?”

“Don’t you ever put me on the spot like that again.”

“Well, I told you I didn’t mean for it to come out the way that it did. And so that you know, it won’t happen again.”

“Thank you very much,” I replied, literally about to bite my bottom lip off from being so frustrated with the whole ordeal.

Minutes after our discussion ended, I helped her pack up her things and walked her out to her car. But, before she left, I assured her that I would be stopping by her place a little later to check up on her.

Later that day rumors started circulating rapidly about Teresa being terminated. A few of the teachers—with whom I had become very close with over the years—approached me, wanting to know the details. So, I told them in so many words that Teresa elected to quit. I only said this to save her the embarrassment.

Taking No Shorts

When I made it to work the next morning, I found out from a memo placed on my desk that I was going to go through some of the same events that had happened the day before. This didn’t sit right with me at all. And I began to feel sick to my stomach. But, before I started overreacting, I made a call to Steve’s office. He answered on the first ring.

“Good morning, Steve. How are you?”

“I’m okay. What about yourself?”

“I’m fine. But, I have a quick question.”

“Shoot,” he replied giving me the go-ahead.

“Well, I got this memo in my hand and I see that we’re going to start implementing random drug testing. So, my question to you is, if we’re going to start doing this, then why does everyone have to submit a urine sample today?”

“Because I spoke with the superintendent about yesterday’s fiasco and he and I just want to make sure that nothing like that ever happens again.”

“Are you planning to test everyone today?”

“Everyone who showed up.”

“So, when will it start?”

“Some of the staff have already completed the drug screening. So, Katherine and I are looking to wrap things up by noon today.”

“She’s here?”

“Yes, she’s here. As a matter of fact, she’s in the teachers’ lounge, helping Mr. Barino take the urine samples. So, when you’re ready, stop by there so they can get you all squared away.”

“I have to take it too?”

“Yes, of course. Everyone does. I even had to take it.”

“Well, after I take care some of this stuff on my desk, I’ll swing by there too.”

“Sounds good,” Mr. Baker commented and then the line went dead.

After I put the telephone down I became a nervous wreck, thinking about all sorts of things. The first thing on the top of my list was the fact that I knew my drug screening was going to come back positive.

And when it did, I was going to be without a job. My career was going to go right down the fucking drain! How fucking stupid could I have been to let Teresa pull me into her trap? This shit is all her damn fault. If she would’ve listened to me and kept that getting-high shit at home, then she would still have a job and I wouldn’t be on the verge of losing mine. See what friends will do for you! They will fuck your life up if you let ’em, which was exactly what was about to happen to me.

While I was going through one of my self-persecution episodes, I got a knock on my office door.

“Who is it?” I asked.

“It’s Kimberly,” She answered.

Since it was only Mrs. Lawson, the school’s counselor, I didn’t hesitate to give her the okay to enter into my office. And from the moment she entered into my immediate circle, she could sense that something wasn’t quite right with me. She said, “I don’t like the long face. So, smile.”

BOOK: The Candy Shop
11.14Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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