Frankly, it seemed certain that Marco would get lunch detention. Frank Lee, our principal, along with the entire student body, literally witnessed Marco throw the bag of flaming poop at Mrs. Pompeo during the morning assembly. But much like a carnival worker who knows how to operate the jaws of life when a ride malfunctions, sandwiching a child onto the tracks, I knew how to get people off. And luckily, Marco knew just where to find me.
“Come in and close the door. I don’t pay to heat the hallway,” I snarl at him.
“This is your office? I didn’t expect it to be-”
“To be what? The women’s locker room? I’m not gonna say it again. Close the door and sit down.”
“I’m not comfortable being here, man. There’s tons of girls here. P.E. meets this period.”
“Jesus Marco, they don’t notice us.”
“They’re all staring at you and yelling at us to get out, dude.”
“Fine. We can meet in my conference room. Let’s hurry. Your trial with Principal Lee is next period.”
Things were off to a terrible start. This kid clearly didn’t have the charisma or name to weasel his way out of the grip of justice. He attempted to plead his case to me on the walk over to my conference room.
“Keep your mouth shut until we’re in the room. You have no idea who the prosecution will call as a witness. Mrs. Pompeo could have ears all over this hallway.”
“Hey as my lawyer aren’t you supposed to know who the witnesses are going to be?”
“I like to keep the element of surprise on my side. We will both find out together during the trial. We’re here.”
“You’re kidding. This is the conference room? But it’s the-”
“The Teacher’s Locker Room. That’s right.”
I questioned Marco brutally for the remaining 30 minutes of the period. I came at him from every angle. “Did you throw the poop?! How did you throw the poop?! Is your name Marco?!” That sort of thing. Finally, I thought we might have built a case. If Marco was just able to somehow cram himself into a tiny jar, he could claim that it would be impossible for him to have thrown the poop because he was in a tiny little jar. We stopped outside Principal Lee’s door.
“Remember our defense. It’s airtight. All we can do now for your sake, Marco, is pray that the scales of justice were made in Mexico. They’ll tilt in favor of one of their descendents.”
“I promise you, dude. My family is Italian.”
“My apologies–hecho en Mexico,” I said, cutting him off.
“Ah hello Marco,” said Principal Lee. “And you, unnamed lawyer kid, you’re not really supposed to be here but this’ll be fast so I suppose you can stay. Marco did you throw the poop?”
“Ok. I’m afraid I’ll have to give you lunch detention.”
“Ehem. Sidebar, Marco. Despite what I promised earlier, I actually do get paid whether we win or lose the trial.”
We started towards the door, my head held high, Marco crying about something or other.
“Oh and one more thing, Marco,” Principal Lee said. “Coach Stevens told me you missed P.E. today and so I’m afraid-”
“Another day of lunch detention?” Marco choked out through tears.
“Death. Alright you two boys run along. The hangman will send for you next period Marco.”