The Tempo of Tempura-Chapter Six- Mr. Mauk meets Miss Kasich and Vicki comes to the high school
“Fine. Cameron Rankin gets the scholarship.”
A big smile broke across Mr. Mauk’s face. He took a moment to savor beating Travis in a game of brinkmanship. Mrs. Rankin and Cameron will be out of his wispy remaining strains of hair with the news.
“Good. That’s settled.”
Travis wiped his cheek as the privacy window rolled down. He took a stick match from a box. His former teacher’s wrinkled forehead served as a fine place to strike the flame.
“G-D it. That hurt.
“One more thing, Jeff.”
“I won’t forget this. And neither will he.”
George made a gun gesture as he clicked his tongue. Travis gave his stone-faced employee a nod. The message was unmistakable to Mr. Mauk.
“Are you threatening me?”
“Yes, I am. Now, get out before I have George help you out.”
Mr. Mauk did as he was told. The limousine sped away as Mr. Mauk grabbed his briefcase from his car. He pressed his security card to the scanner as a young, blonde woman in a tight white tank top and grey sweatpants approached him.
“Good morning, Mr. Mauk. I am Miss Kasich. Your new marching band director.”
“Your breasts are busting out of your shirt. We wear professional attire in this school, Miss Kasich.”
“We are an institution of learning, not a strip club.”
“I am sorry, Mr. Mauk. It will not happen again.”
“See that it doesn’t.”
Mr. Mauk felt good being in a position of power once again. He was nobody outside the walls of that high school. There was no doubt, however, about the power he wielded inside the school. Mrs. Kasich picked the wrong morning to bring her strong-willed ideas for the music program.
“I’d like to change the marching band’s format. Mrs. Burris was great, but she was a dinosaur. It’s time to move the marching band into modern times. I want to play hip hop tunes and add some props. It would be great to take the kids on an international trip, too.”
“That’s Doctor Burris. She did an outstanding job with the program. The marching band won numerous awards under her leadership. She also stayed under budget. That’s all the school board cares about these days.”
“Yes, but I think.”
“This school district is not paying you to ‘think,’ Miss. Kasich. It’s paying you to keep up the status quo. You might be a pretty, young thing, but that’s not going to get you very far in education.”
“What did you say?”
“I said, ‘You might be a pretty, young thing, but that’s not going to get you very far in education.’”
“Mr. Mauk, that is sexual harassment.”
“Are you serious? It was a compliment. That’s all. I was just trying to be friendly.”
“That comment and your previous one about my attire makes me feel uncomfortable. In fact, I might go so far as to call this a ‘hostile work environment.’”
Mr. Mauk realized that for all Miss Kasich’s youth and beauty, she was not joking. Miss Kasich took out her cell phone. Mr. Mauk grabbed her by the wrist and ripped the cell phone from the young woman’s hand.
“Hey, what are you doing? You touched me. Give me my phone back.”
“Look, we have gotten off on the wrong foot here, Miss Kasich.”
“You sexually harassed and assaulted me. I am filing a report with the union. You’ll be out of here by lunch, you pervert.”
Mr. Mauk saw visions of his career and pension going down the drain. He had casual relationships with his staff. Most of the female teachers accepted his comments and incessant physical contact as part of the job.
“Come on, I am sorry. I am friendly with the entire staff.”
“Mr. Mauk, if I want a friend, I’ll buy a dog.”
“What can I do to make this right? Please, I’ll do anything.”
Miss Kasich leaned back in her chair. Her soft golden locks fell upon her shoulders. Mr. Mauk’s cell phone buzzed in his pocket, but he ignored it.
“My changes for the marching band. That’s going to happen. Do you get me?”
“Fine. But, stay under budget. Got it?”
“We’ll see about that.”
Miss Kasich stood up, and she walked to the door. The reflection in a vanity mirror of Mr. Mauk ogling her ample assets left the young woman amused. A wicked grin crept across Miss Kasich’s leather-tanned face. She paused as she turned her head towards her new boss.
“Just one more thing, Mr. Mauk.”
Miss Kasich posed like a swimsuit model. The waistband of her grey sweatpants lowered to reveal a pair of sexy, black-laced panties. Mr. Mauk’s eyes grew as his new marching band director uncovered enough of her firm backside to remind the old principal he was a man.
“Being ‘a pretty, young thing’ may not be enough for me to ‘make it in education,’ but this is. You have a great day now, Mr. Mauk. You’ll be seeing more of me soon. That is, if things go my way at this school.”
Miss Kasich covered her curvy behind and opened the door. Her ponytail jiggled behind her head like a stripper at a seedy nightclub. Mr. Mauk sat dumbfounded as his cell phone buzzed again in his front pocket. He pulled it out to check his voicemail.
“Hello, Jeff. It’s me, Darlene. I wondered how you were doing. How do you like Miss Kasich? She might look like a pushover, but you should be careful. Miss Kasich will have your big, old balls in a jar on her desk or in her mouth if she doesn’t get her way.”
Mr. Mauk shook his head. The alcohol in his desk drawer was calling his name. He threw his coffee cup on the table. He opened the whisky bottle and filled his cup as his intercom button buzzed.
“What is it, Mrs. Kent? I’m a little busy.”
“Sorry, Mr. Mauk, but your daughter, Vicki, is here to see you.”
“Oh, give me a second, and then you can send her in.”
Vicki had never come to school to see her father. She had not even been back to the school since her graduation day. Mr. Mauk poured his coffee cup of booze on the little green and white-flowered houseplant on his desk.
“Well, this is a surprise. I thought you were going shopping with your mother today.”
“We are. But, I need to tell you something.”
Vicki’s eyes closed as she took a deep breath. Her hand shook as she tugged on her bright yellow t-shirt. She let out a sigh before sliding down in her chair.
“I am going to the police to report what Travis Poling did to me.”
Mr. Mauk wished he had not wasted the booze from his coffee cup on his little plant. Tears dropped from Vicki’s face. Her father shuffled some papers on his desk and picked up a black pen.
“You have nothing to say about it? That’s typical of you. Always work first and family a distant second. No wonder mother hates you.”
“See, it was a long time ago. He has all sorts of lawyers and money. And, really, it is your word against his. And well, with your reputation back in high school, it’s just not a good idea.”
“My ‘reputation’? What is that supposed to mean?”
“Nothing. Travis mentioned that, well, you know? Never mind.”
Vicki looked at her father. Her tears stopped and Vicki’s face reddened. Vicki bit hard on her lower lip until blood streamed down her chin.”
“What did Travis say? You tell me right now!”
“Stop hurting yourself. Please just forget I brought it up. Okay? Look, why don’t I take the rest of the day off? I’ll even let you have my credit card. We can get some lunch at Gomen’s.”
“Not until you tell me what Travis said about me. I have to know.”
“Travis said you got around in high school.”
“And, you believe him? You think your daughter is a slut. Is that it?”
Mr. Mauk bit down hard on his own moustache-covered-lip. He looked at the silver clock hanging behind his daughter. It was a gift from the school board for twenty five years of ‘Excellence in Education.’ His prowess for pedagogy did nothing to help him with his daughter now.
“Travis was convincing. And, you were not the easiest daughter to raise in high school. Were there others?”
“A lot, okay?”
“More than a hundred. Is that what you want to hear?”
“My daughter of all people. Jesus.”
“Come on. You were not the best father to have in high school. It was tough being the ‘principal’s kid.’ Let’s just leave it at that. It’s clear you think I’m lying.”
“I want to believe you. I am your father.”
“You should believe me. I am your daughter after all.
There was no doubt both father and daughter failed to connect with each other. It was impossible to lay the blame for that entirely at either’s feet. In the end, the role of the parent trumped any skepticism that remained within Mr. Mauk as an educator.
“Okay, I believe you. But ‘boys will be boys.’ Right? I mean, Travis was just a high school kid.”
“I know. But boys have a lot going on inside at that age. Hormones and all.”
“I see. So a girl like me should just bend over and take it whenever it suits a horny adolescent male’s fancy. Is that what you are saying?”
“Come on, now. You know that’s not what I mean.”
“Sure the ‘f’ sounds like it to me. Why would any girl wear clothes if some boy is going to rip them off her body anyway in a fit of lust? God, that’s f-ed up. Jesus, dad. ”
“Language, young lady. This is an institution of learning, not a whorehouse.”
“Not that anyone would be able to tell the difference in this office from what mom tells me.”
“Hey. That’s enough! What I do here is none of your business.”
Mr. Mauk’s office phone intercom buzzed. Vicki took the opportunity to wipe her tear-covered face with her shirt. Vicki pulled a tissue from the box on her father’s desk.
Vicki was oblivious as to why the outside of the box was sticky. The truth was Mr. Mauk’s wastebasket was overflowing with crumpled, wet tissues. A most macabre shrine to how hard a part of him took his mistresses’ exit from his life so to speak.
“Mr. Mauk, it’s your wife. She wants to come to your office. Shall I buzz her in?”