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21 October 2017 @ 10:22 am
_The Boy_ part 3  

He suited up for the school interviews. And had to start with a talk with the current school's irate administrator.

"How do you expect the child to learn anything if he's not here?"

Ebsa eyed the woman. "Did he wear his glasses today?"

"His what?"

"Glasses. So he can see what the teacher is putting up. So he can read?"

Stiff back, frowning stiff lips. "Oners do not have defective eyesight."

"Oh? Huh. No wonder he's doing so poorly. You don't even check underperforming students for something so basic and easily corrected?"

Icy tones. "And how long did it take you to discover this problem?"

"Bout an hour. I'm the biofather, never met the kid before yesterday."

"Oh, well, what an inspirational support figure."

"Indeed. No doubt you'll be glad to know that we are going to take a look at a couple of other schools, so if you'll send for Axbe . . . "

"He's in the Boy's Counselor's office. Because of the fight this morning. Which he started."

"Well let's go talk to them, shall we?"

"They took my glasses and stomped on them." Axbe glared at the counselor. "I didn't start it."

"They? How many?" Ebsa sighed internally. I know this dance all too well.

"Four. Asto started shoving me around, then Uhji grabbed my glasses and twisted them. I tried to get them back, and they started tromping on them and shoving me."

Ebsa swapped an enquiring glance from Administrator to Counselor. "So . . . what is the value limit of stolen or vandalized goods that triggers a call to the police?"

A duet. "What!"

"Well, you've apparently not only not noticed a student with vision problems, you've allowed a gang of bullies to harass . . . Umm, how old were these four? I mean, ten year olds . . . "

"Fifteen . . . " The Administrator was suddenly belligerent. "We shouldn't even have to take little bastards like this."

"Hmm. I'd say rather, that you shouldn't be allowed to take children like this. So, how long has Axbe been in this hostile environment?"

"He's been here all year."

"And he's passed how many requirements?"

"None. He doesn't do his homework."

"Ax, how long have you had trouble reading?"

Hunched shoulders. "Always."

"Umm, can you read?"

Hunched shoulders. "Sort of."

Ebsa glowered at the Administrator. "So. How did that not get seen?"

"We don't have time to cater to every . . . " The Administrator shrank away from Ebsa.

"So you took Madam Aparicio's money and the state allowance. Warehoused the boy and let bullies beat him up, and taught him absolutely nothing? Just this morning . . . did you realize he was wearing glasses, which were taken from him and destroyed?"

"Now, see here! Don't take that tone with us. We can have you removed from the premises, you know!"

"Yes, and I can report this to the Board of Education, and get your license revoked."

The Admin stiffened. "Who do you think you are! Do you really think The Board would listen to a, a . . . "

"External Directorate Agent? Only one way to find out." Ebsa eyed her. "Or you could refund the entire year of Madam Aparicio's board payments, pay for Axbe's new glasses, and concentrate on getting your bullying situation in hand before the precious little children injure or kill someone."

"Agent!" She shoved further away from him. "You mean Action Team, don't you! No wonder the boy has problems with his temper. It's a wonder his mother allows you near him!"

"Ax, got anything to pack?" Ebsa hadn't missed that he was wearing yesterday's clothes.

"No. They took everything. Again."

"And a problem with theft." Ebsa shook his head. "Very unfortunate. C'mon kid."

Ax bounced out, grinning. "Wow. All Madre does is slump and nod. That was cool."

"I enjoyed that a bit, actually. I hated school, too. But at least I wasn't boarded."

Ebsa ignored orders from behind them. Something about signing out . . .

He reached out mentally and tripped the electronic locks on the front doors.

Do they actually lock the kids in? Like prisoners?

"So, you need some clothes. Let's take care of that, while I order new glasses, then we'll see about the Donatello Academy."

He moderated the brat's choices at the fabmart, and made sure he got one "nice" outfit. "Umm, socks, briefs?"

The kid colored up.

Ebsa added those to the order.

"So . . . does your mother have a place where you can shower and change?"

Glower. "Ain't taken you there, Pervie."

"No problem. Take all this there, and leave it for now. Come back cleaned up and in the nice clothes."

Glare. They walked to the Optician, picked up the new glasses, then Ebsa dropped him off on a street corner.

He scooted back into a better part of town, found a coffee shop and composed a letter to the Board of Education, and copied it to the Administrator, and, with a few minutes search for the contact address, the owners of the school.

I understand how difficult the educator's role can be. But if you're going to collect the bonus for precocious magical emergence, you need to actually educate those children, and protect them from the older students. You need to provide a safe environment and be alert for problems the less experienced parents might miss. I trust this is an unusual incident, but I suggest you check and be sure of that.

Which was more diplomatic than he felt. He made sure to include all his contact information. All on the External Directorate site, both physical and electronic.

Then he drove back and picked up the surprisingly studious looking Ax.

It's the glasses. No wonder the kid got beaten up. Of course . . . attitude . . .

The Donatello Academy had a high fence. The solid stone fence angled subtly inward at the top.

That's . . . interesting. And locked doors as well.

Administrator Ihhu looked Axbe and then Ebsa over. "Hmm, well, at present we only have four other children in the fourth tier. That makes it easy for individualized study, which many of these precocious students need."

"Indeed. Do you test prior to placement? I'm afraid that Ax's mother did not spot his need for corrective lenses, so I'm worried about gaps in his acquisition of the basics."

Ax looked huffy about that.

Crocodile smile from the Admin. "We specialize in such things, with special tutoring."

And extra charges. But if that's what he needs . . .

A glare from the kid.

I need to give you some lessons in shields.

The look went speculative.

Can you not hear people? You need to be able to keep them out of your mind.

"How about a tour?" The Admin lead them all over the building and grounds.

The students' rooms were small but nice enough. Private . . . apart from not having locks.

No matter what he says, this looks like a penitentiary. The kids are not allowed to have any control.

"Yeah." Hunched shoulders.

The background noise around the classrooms was a bit loud, a bit sharp.

"How do you deal with bullying?" Ebsa glanced around, no students wandering about.

The Admin waved upwards. "We have constant surveillance. Nothing goes unobserved. Especially outside. The student all have exercise and play periods at different times for different tiers, so the younger, smaller students never feel intimidated by the larger students."

"Excellent."

They circled back to the front doors.

"Send me a contract to look over. His mother has veto power, of course. And his stepfather will no doubt have something to say about it."

They shook hands and left.

Once in the car, Ebsa looked over at the boy. "On the surface, it sounds like exactly what you need. But I don't like the feeling I got from it. You pick anything up?"

Nod. "Something about they'll like a nice little boy. I dunno who though, just some adults."

Ebsa pondered that, trying really hard to not think too loudly.

"Right. Well, that's all the excitement for today. Now, since I've managed to tic off your old school, do you have a place to sleep tonight? Preferably inside the enclave?"

Rolled eyes. "No. Not in the enclave, they won't let mi madre in."

"Umm . . . So she's not actually living with Jorge? I thought they were married."

"Well . . . yeah, but he lives wherever he wants, and that's not the enclave. He hates the Clan."

"Hmm. Right. Well. Let's go talk to your mother."

***

Jorge spotted him from across the dining area and stalked forward.

Ebsa stopped just inside and waited for him. Axbe edged away, looking worried.

I wonder who he's worried will get beaten up? Me or . . . his step-father. Damn, I'm going to hope the kid is on his side, aren't I?

"Well, Kitchen, fancy seeing you here again. Slummin' around Low Town like you're something grande."

"Jorge, long time and so forth. Rumor has it you own half of Low Town, these days." Ebsa kept his attention unfocused, in case Jorge had some friends along.

"Yeah, and I don't appreciate you moving in on mi familia."

"No contendre. I just ran into the boy by chance, yesterday."

"Estupido. Tu never could speak Spanish worth shit. You'd better mean nolo contendere. Which ain't Spanish. It's legal Latin crap." The older man curled a lip. "And now you've got the boy in glasses, like a sissy. Like Multitude."

"What? You expect me to pony up for a first class lens molding?" Ebsa paused as if he'd just realized that hadn't been the wisest thing to mention.

Jorge grinned and took the bait. "I'll add it to the list. But right now? Vamoose. Pronto."

"Right." Ebsa faded back. Tomorrow morning. Same place. Beach clothes. He thought it good and hard, and hoped the kid both picked it up and wanted to see him again.

 
 
 
(Anonymous) on October 21st, 2017 08:16 pm (UTC)
Board of Education Letter
I understand how difficult the educator's role can be. But if you're going to collect the bonus for precocious magical emergence, you need to actually educate those children, and protect them from the older students. You need to provide a safe environment and be alert for problems the less experienced parents might miss.
(Anonymous) on October 21st, 2017 08:18 pm (UTC)
Re: Board of Education Letter
The quote button posted instead.
What I was going to say is that as the letter is to the Board of Education the "you"s in it should probably be "they"s.
matapampamuphoff on October 21st, 2017 09:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Board of Education Letter
Yes, I've got it backwards, as if writing to the school and copying to the others.
(Anonymous) on October 21st, 2017 09:04 pm (UTC)
Head's up to Ox
Ebsa being Ebsa, he is going to have to give OX a head's up about a big possible problem at the Donatello Academy won't he?
matapampamuphoff on October 21st, 2017 09:38 pm (UTC)
Re: Head's up to Ox
I believe the proper response is tum, te, tum, te, tum . . .
muirecan: Withersmuirecan on October 22nd, 2017 02:19 am (UTC)
You do not dis a warriors son or more importantly a warrior.
matapampamuphoff on October 22nd, 2017 12:45 pm (UTC)
Let's just say that in the same situation, Ra'd's reaction would have been quite different.
muirecan: Withersmuirecan on January 20th, 2018 07:43 am (UTC)
Would any of the school still been standing when Ra’d was done?
matapampamuphoff on January 20th, 2018 03:02 pm (UTC)
Now there's an interesting vision. Ra'd "discussing" things with school administrators. He already has a poor opinion of these schools.

"Of course she beat them up. What do you expect when you let bullies roam unchecked? The other children are forced to defend themselves."

"We do not . . . "

"If _I_ were civilized, I would protest, then back down and apologize, then explain to my daughter that she has to allow the other children to beat her up, steal her money, and vandalize her possessions. Unfortunately for you, I am not at all civilized. I suggest that you do at least a minimal job of warehousing these children--bullies and nice kids alike--and keep them safe . . . or I will deal with the problem directly."

"How dare you threaten children!"

Ra'd stood and leaned over the principal's desk. "Children? The main problem is you." He let the silence hang for a long moment, then turned and walked out.