There is a knock on the classroom door. Before Mr. Boggins can rise from his desk to answer, it opens. At the door is a police officer, and he beckons the teacher over. They step into the hallway, closing the door behind them. We look around, inspecting one another, silently beginning interrogations. Is it him, or is it one of us? We start thinking of the rumors we’d heard that week, the list of potential suspects. Someone said Josh Manensky had brought a magnet to the computer lab and dragged it across three towers, frying them all. An eighteen-year-old senior had gotten in a fight with a freshman and might be tried as an adult. We had all made salacious posts on message boards, which we’d heard the principal was monitoring. Maybe one of us had taken it too far. Or perhaps it was Boggins himself. A girl in the cafeteria said she’d seen him at Liquor Bonanza buying vodka, and that he was an alcoholic. Could Mr. Boggins be arrested for being an alcoholic? Could the girl in the cafeteria be arrested for spreading rumors? Could we be arrested for wanting Mr. Boggins to be the one getting arrested? William, the class clown, teetered towards the door and put an ear against the glass pane. I can’t hear anything, he mouthed, but by then, they’d already heard him, and he was in the hallway too.
Tucker Leighty-Phillips is a writer from Southeastern Kentucky. His work has been featured in the Adroit Journal, The Offing, Passages North, and elsewhere. If you enjoyed your visit to Tucker Leighty-Phillips’ stories, please sign the digital guestbook at the following link: https://www.tuckerlp.net/guestbook/twostories