Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My First Client


When I first started I thought most of the requests for help would be for violent sorts of acts.  Surprise me! Not so much, though I do get them. A twelve year old playground bully was actually my first problem to solve.
A bully can be a serious problem. In this case my client’s son Todd was being pushed around at school. The typical things: stealing his lunch money, throwing his books over the fence, tripping him in the hallway, punching him when no one was looking.  Mom had tried everything. She talked to the principal first, who said he would look into it but did nothing. The bully’s parents were called to the office but the boy denied everything and the parents threatened to sue. Then, of course, the bully went after poor Todd even more aggressively. She went to a lawyer who sent letters to the school and the parents but explained that without some sort of evidence, such as an injury witnessed by someone else, there was nothing to be done. The poor child was now refusing to go to school, was wetting the bed and the parents were taking him to a shrink. Mom was frantic.  The boy’s father was no help, offering to teach him to box and stand up like a man. So mom contacted me through the site.
I think this is one of the toughest cases to solve. The bully is a minor so criminal charges are of little effect. I couldn’t just go beat the crap out of the kid or kill him either – I have to make the remedy somewhat equal to the crime so this is the scenario of the solution.
Monday Morning
I stop by Target and pick up a blond wig, some jogging pants and top with a white blouse and athletic shoes – mom attire – and buy a cheap stroller, life size baby doll whom I named Cindy, and a pink child’s blanket. Then I got the costume on and went to the school, parking around the corner from the playground.
Pushing the stroller down the sidewalk, I stopped from time to time to adjust Cindy’s blanket and talk to her, hoping no other mothers will come by and want to peek at her. The playground at the middle school was fenced on the sidewalk side but open on the end, so I went in.
Mom had provided me with a photo of the bully from the school yearbook (I was astounded that a seventh grade class had a yearbook) and I spotted him.  After a while I managed to find him alone and walked over. A mom with a stroller is pretty unthreatening.
“Tommy?” I asked as I approached him. He stopped and looked at me, I got closer.
“You are Tommy Manville aren’t you?” Of course I’m making this name up. Can’t be too careful.
“Yeah.” He was curious, didn’t recognize me, but I did know his name so that was something. And I was not a sleazy guy in shades and a dirty baseball cap so he wasn’t afraid – yet.
“Let’s sit for a minute,” I said pointing to some bleachers nearby. The rest of the kids were some distance away. “I feel a little dizzy from the sun. Oh. I’m a friend of your mother, and I have a message for you. You can call me Mrs. Kravitz.”
“Okay, Mrs. Kravitz.” He followed me and the stroller and we sat on the bottom bench of the bleachers. He was not the big kid that I had imagined, and was about the same size as my client’s child.
“Okay.  I want you to look me in the eye and listen very carefully.” He turned and did.
“I am not your friend and I am not your mother’s friend. I know exactly what has been going on with you and Todd. I’m not here to listen to you deny anything because we both know what’s true”
He sneered, “What are you, his aunt or something?”
I reached over and grabbed his wrist. He tried to pull away, but my training had taught me certain pressure points which can be incredibly painful if applied correctly.  I just gave him a little taste.
“Don’t yell out. This is only going to take a minute.  Here’s the deal. You leave Todd alone. That’s it.  You don’t have to apologize or be his friend - just pretend he’s invisible and the problem is solved and you will never see me again.”
“You can’t tell me what to do. I’ll tell my dad and you’ll be in for it.” He looked around for help.  I gave him another little poke.
“Pay attention. I am not anyone your mother or dad knows and neither does Todd’s mother. I don’t have a baby, I just found this one, borrowed it, you might say, at the mall for cover. I hope it's still alive." I looked at the stroller briefly, then continued. "The thing is that if I hear that Todd has been hurt, that he is being harassed, or that he won’t go to school, I’m going to blame you. I don't care if you tell me you were in church being baptized at the time, I am still blaming you. Then I’m going to see you again.  You won’t know when. You won’t know who to look for because I won’t look like this next time. It might be in the mall, or while you’re riding your bike, or even while you’re playing with your computer in the family room in your basement. I've seen you in there on that big yellow sofa. Then if you make me do that, you will see what real pain can be. I don’t think you’ll like it.”
Throughout my talk he had started to break down and was now crying.  He had stopped trying to squirm away since my grip caused pain when he moved.
“So you have to be sure Todd is going to be okay and no one else is going to  pick on him. That's your job. And it's not one you can quit. The severance pay is a bitch. Now I’m going to go. I want you to sit right here until I am out of sight.  Remember though that if you cause me trouble,  or try and yell out, you will pay for it. If you want to take a chance on telling your dad, just remember that I can hurt him too. So, be a good boy, leave Todd alone from now on, and all will be well.”
I pushed the stroller leisurely back the way I had come, waving to  Tommy from the sidewalk. He waved back.  Then I left town after dumping my disguise, the stroller, and Cindy in a dumpster.
Mom emailed me a couple of weeks later saying she was sending the other half of my fee and thanked me for Todd.
My first case came out great from my perspective. I got paid, stopped a bully, and made Todd’s life happier. Tommy might have a few nightmares, but I think he deserved them and will probably think twice before pushing other kids around again.
By.  SS

Watch for the novel Human Pest Control coming soon when I find an agent

1 comment:

  1. when i was a little girl i was harrassed. skinned knees and stolen kisses. hiding and scared.