The red button on Principal Cayce’s phone was blinking. Of the eight square buttons on the device it was the only colored one and, incidentally, the only one he ever used. He picked up the receiver and clicked it.

“Yes, Shelly?”

“Sir, I have a Mrs.Laine out here and she’d like to talk to you.”

He twirled the coiled cord in his fingers. “Laine? I don’t recognize the name.”

Shelly, as usual, did. “Her son, Marc, transferred in after the break.”

“Oh, right, right! They’re new. So, I suppose it’s about…”

“Yes, sir.”

Principal Cayce nodded, even though there was nobody to see it. “Okay then. I’ll take care of it. Send her on in.”

He hung up the phone and the little red button popped back into place. Moments later, his door opened and he stood to greet the woman. He extended his hand across his desk.

“Hi there, Mrs.Laine. I’m Principal Cayce. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

She hesitated for a moment, and then came over and shook his hand. Distrust wasn’t an unusual reaction. New parents were often geared up and expecting a fight. They wanted to yell and shout from a justified position of outrage. Principal Cayce had found, over the years, that the best way to nip it in the bud was over-politeness and a permanent understanding smile. He got right to the issue before she had a chance to speak.

“I expect you’re here about the bottomless pit,” he said.

To be continued…

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