Publish Novellas 1 September 2021
EPISODE 7 – LAW ENFORCEMENT
Miss Chambers navigates the challenge of having a child fall ill on an unsanctioned field trip.
Frightful Anticipation, May 2010
Danielle is a close friend
With trepidation, Evelyn paces the hospital waiting room. The aroma of disinfectants irritates her, but she knows she has to be in there. Her heart is pounding in her chest as she wonders what could have happened with Ted.
Evelyn knew he was a sickle cell anemia patient before putting him with the Chambers Kids. In fact, the reason she admitted him was to help him.
She realizes what she did for some kids in Africa. She understands how, when placed on the same treatment, the kids would gain weight and be relatively healthy for years at a stretch. She remembers how they thrived under her care.
‘I should have started with him first!’ she thinks to herself as she paces the waiting room.
“Have you called his mother?” Danielle asks as she puts a hand on Evelyn’s shoulder.
“Yes, she is on her way,” Evelyn replies.
“It is going to be all right!” Danielle says.
Evelyn shakes her head and looks away. She knows better than to put faith in such platitudes.
As though on cue, she watches a doctor deliver sad news to a man who has been sitting in the waiting room before Evelyn. The man slides to the floor and drops his head in his hands, sobbing. She watches as the doctor mouths the words, “I'm so sorry for your loss,” and turns away.
Evelyn feels an urge to scream but she doesn’t. Instead, she says, “I hate hospitals.” The double doors slide open and Principal Snyder walks in with his Vice Principal Ms. Forrester.
“What is this I hear about an excursion? I didn’t approve any field trip, Miss Chambers….” His voice is low but firm. Evelyn looks at him with her still moist eyes.
“It is all my fault, sir, I just wanted to take the kids sightseeing and introduce them to some plants.” She demurs while hoping that he hasn’t talked to any of the kids yet and that she gets some time to remind them of their oath of silence.
“Cut the crap Miss Chambers, I know about the little Chambers Kids thing you have going on.” Evelyn casts a puzzling glance in the direction of the kids. None of them have spoken to the principal yet. So how does he know?
“I don’t know what you have been told, sir but we are just….” Evelyn tries to explain.
“Miss Chambers…. I haven’t been told anything. I have seen what you’re doing with my own eyes,” he chastises.
She looks shocked at him and casts a worried look in the direction of the students. Yet another family receives bad news and they are all crying together. It just suddenly becomes too much for her.
“Please come and continue this discussion outside,” she says while distancing herself from the antiseptic smell of the waiting room.
Outdoors, she takes in some deep breaths and prepares herself to be fired from her job on the spot. “Principal Snyder, I am so sorry about all of this. I didn’t mean to….”
He shakes his head and holds up his hand, cutting her off. “I knew you were trouble from the moment I saw you. A Ph.D. wanting to teach at an elementary school. The other shoe would eventually drop. I knew when you started talking to that group of detention kids. Your initiative is good, but it could get us all in trouble!
“Understand that I have no part in any of this. I am unaware of your club as far as we’re concerned. Unless you win a medal or some positive recognition, my name will not be mentioned with yours in the same sentence…. Do we have an understanding?”
The surprised Evelyn looks at him and shakes her head affirmatively. “Of course…” she says, as she turns around and walks back into the hospital waiting room.
But she comes face to face with Ted’s mother. “Was he with you? What happened to my son? What happened to him?”
The wailing woman throws herself at Evelyn who catches her and holds her in an embrace. The woman stays there, sobbing as Evelyn rubs her back.
Not Quite Relieved
Ted’s mother and Evelyn continue rocking in their embrace until the doctor comes out with some news.
“He’ll be fine. He slumped because he has low kidney function and was dehydrated. He is stable now and sedated. You can see him as soon as you’re ready Mrs. Bailey,” the doctor says.
The mother sprints after the doctor and Evelyn sits down in a chair. Watching her go finally allows Evalyn to calm down.
“How is he?” Danielle asks.
“He is stable and sedated. Thank you for coming out for me!” says Evelyn, while standing with her.
“You’re welcome. You know you are family.” The two women smile at each other. “I should go,” says Danielle out of concern for negative publicity.
“You should,” Evelyn replies.
Danielle walks away. Looking over her shoulder just before she leaves the room completely.
Evelyn sighs and allows herself to slip into a chair. Her buttocks barely touch the seat when the doors open and two police officers walk in. Evelyn’s eyes lock with theirs and she knows right away that they’re coming for her. She considers running, but she doesn’t. Instead, the men close the gap between them and talk to her.
“Good evening. Are you Miss Evelyn Cham…?” one of the officers asks while lowering the volume on his police radio.
“Yes, I am.” She cuts in. Evelyn’s eyebrows lower when she notices over the officers’ shoulders that the other students who had been there earlier are gone.
“I’m officer Ivanovich. I'd like to take your statement concerning the incident that happened during your excursion with your students today.”
“Oh, okay. Am I under arrest?” she asks.
The officer looks at her in bewilderment and inquires, “Should you be?”
“No, of course not,” she replies with confusion.
“Then you’re not. Not right now, anyway,” he replies.
She sighs and nods. “Can we go somewhere silent? This hospital is giving me some really bad feelings!” Evelyn asks.
“Sure,” the officer says as he leads her out to the parking lot.
She explains the sequence of events leading up to Ted’s collapse. Evelyn carefully omits details about the special class and the fact that the excursion was exclusively for selected students.
“Thanks, ma’am, we will be in touch!” the police officer concludes.
She smiles and waves them off with her sweaty palm. But this is not her last visit from the men in uniforms.