“Whoever and wherever that person is,” Pat continued. “I thank him/her. My faith in humanity wavers at times, but I am ever the optimist inside. I do not plan on changing that characteristic.” The door opened, not the police, but Phyliss, the secretary, phone in hand. “Oh, yes, Mr. Bates? You’re wanted outside.”
Master Nate sat, his slouched dark form against the orange plastic, in the front pew of Pinkberry and pretended to read. He would look up and smile, as if suddenly noticing a girl from school, when he had been tracking her every move, and get her into conversation, hoping she would sit. That was his schtick.
Lauren was a Junior with medium length auburn hair, long lashes and a high forehead. She flushed when we told her our plan. “How bad will it be for him?”
“He’ll be fired, maybe jail.”
She sat down with him and asked if he wanted to come to a party. He said he couldn’t until she said it was just her. He walked at her side, just behind, letting his hand bump into hers. We went ahead and waited on the balcony of Kristie’s parent’s place. He came into the apartment like a burglar, looking for cameras, and moved cautiously into the living room, ready to flee. He stood at the window, looking out past the cedar hedge and our heads in behind.
“You want some tequila?” She said it too quickly and offered the bottle like it was a bomb, and it looked like he would go, until she sat on the edge of the couch and stretched out her legs.
“I’m more of a tea drinker.”
She smiled. “Oh, I like tea.”
“That’s my girl.” He stepped toward her and leaned on the back of the couch.
“You don’t drink at all?”
“Just my tea.’ He reached out like he was waving away a spiderweb and then had his hand on her hair.
“Master Nate.” My voice sounded like it was coming out the back of my head.
He looked up, frozen like a cardboard cut-out, his eyes wide, his arms dangling in disrepair. “What’s that?”
Kristie had already dialed, walking straight past him and stood in front of the door. “I’d like to report a rape.”
“What?” Master Nate’s face collapsed, the weight of it pushing out his pink-grey lower lip. “Rape? No.”
She glared back at him, the judgement already in. “Yes, he’s right here.”
“Vicks, that pedophile is still teaching kids.”
“There’s nothing I can do about it.”
“Fucking report it.”
“You don’t think I already did? I wrote the whole thing up, summary, dates, everything. There were two other girls involved as well. We made it very formal with a signed letter and gave it to the principal.”
“And nothing. Principal Kirk said our evidence was hearsay.”
“You’re kidding me.”
“His words against ours.”
“You should sue the school.”
“I don’t want to think about any of this shit again.”
She breathed out hard like she was smoking. “We have to fucking nail this bastard.”
“You can tell yourself that all you like, Vicks, but you know it’s bullshit. This guy needs to go down. And we can do it.”
“You’re not serious.” But I knew she was.
(Master Nate, Part One appeared April 25, 2014)
I stretched out in the grass, the lawn sloping away into an almost epically long view, the trees in a horseshoe at the far side and the city above. Kristie was asleep beside me. We had finished our finals, Third Year done, and summer was here. I breathed out lightly, almost happy, my elbow tucked perfectly in. That’s when I saw him surge out of the corner of my eye, my old high school teacher, Master Nate.
“Vicks!” He stood over me, awkwardly perving down my top. “How are you doing? What a day! What a day!” I closed my eyes and wished him away. But he was still there, his narrow eyes, big nose and lips like Ichabod Crane. “Who’s your lovely friend?”
His hand came jutting out, hairier than I remembered. “Nate Doyle. Pleased.”
He blinked hard, dark white spittle at the corner of his mouth. “What’s that, Vicks? What?”
I lurched up, banging the grass off my jeans. “I told her about you, Master Nate.”
His mouth opened and closed, a large-mouth bass gasping for water. “I would have done anything for you. Literally anything.”
“This is the guy?” Kristie zipped up her top. “Jesus fuck.”
“Vicks, no.” His eyes bulged, his chin jutted out. “Literally. Anything.”
“I should call the police.” Kristie got her phone out of her purse. “Let’s do that.”
“Lit-er-al-ly. An-y-thing.” He punctuated each syllable with a thrust of his hand.
“So what do you do? It’s just 9-1-1?”
And then he turned away and was suddenly crazily running, swerving toward the darkness of the trees.I thought about having a rifle, lining him up, breathing in, shooting, how he would fall, the little thing he was, and how that would be that.
Vicks stared after him and then at me. “That guy taught you?”
“He was the head of the department.”