DW is a veteran, a father, a husband, and a teacher. He's published 9 YA/NA novels thus far. The story you're reading might be next.
Chore number three for the morning was to empty the trash in each of the classrooms. It was just after seven when Mort began this task. He made quick work of the first seven rooms. His target's room he saved for last.
Mort's careful planning to have time to investigate his target's room came to naught when Mr. Creighton walked in the door.
"Who are you?" Creighton asked when he spotted Mort putting the trashcan back by his desk.
Mort recognized his target right away. "I'm Mort, the new custodian. I just started this morning."
Mr. Creighton walked into the room and scowled. "What are you doing around my desk?"
Mort looked at the trashcan and then back at Mr. Creighton. "Really, mister, what do you think I was doing?"
"Don't get an attitude with me," Creighton said, hands on his hips. "Do you know who I am?"
Mort choked back a laugh. I probably know you better than you'd like. "No, mister, I don't. Are you somebody important?"
Creighton snorted. "More important than a janitor, I assure you."
"Is that a fact, Mr. Creighton?" Mort fired back. "Does being a teacher make you more important than a janitor, or is it your work in unlicensed pharmaceuticals?"
Mr. Creighton went pale and then tried to cover his fear with bluster. "I certainly have no idea what you're talking about. How dare you make such an accusation? I'll have your job for this!"
"You might want to keep your voice down, mister," Mort cautioned the teacher as he moved into the other man's personal space. "We've been watching you. We know about the dope you've been pushing on these kids. We also know about the kids you poisoned. I'm here to find out why and decide what to do about you."
Any bluster Creighton possessed dissolved, and he collapsed to the floor.
Mort nudged him with his toe. "Get off the floor and stop being so dramatic."
Creighton maneuvered himself into a sitting position. "Are you a cop?"
Mort backed away from Creighton and laughed out loud. " I haven't been a cop in a long time." He reached down and offered Creighton a hand up.
The teacher cum drug pusher ignored Mort's hand and struggled to his feet on his own. " What are you then, DEA, ATF, FBI?"
"None of the above," Mort said with a chuckle. "You might as well stop trying to guess. I assure you, you won't ever get it right."
Creighton moved around Mort and sat down behind his desk. "If you're not the law, then who the hell are you?"
"Nope, not from there, either," Mort said. He took a seat in one of the student desks after turning it around to face the teacher's desk. "Don't bother thinking about grabbing that little pistol you've got hidden in your top drawer. You can't hurt me, and the noise would only bring a lot of unwanted attention."
Creighton pushed the drawer closed and put both hands on his desk. He looked at the clock over the door to his room. "My students will start showing up soon. Why don't you get to the point?"
Mort nodded and rubbed his hands. "I'll get right to the point. We, the people I work for, don't really care about the drugs. If people, even teenagers, decide they want to do drugs they have the freewill to choose to do so. What bothers us is the dead kids. They didn't choose to take drugs with a fatal dose of poison in them. Poisoning their dope was your decision. What made you believe you had the right to decide those kids should die?"
Creighton licked his lips. "You people, whoever you are, have it all wrong. I'll admit I made some drug laced sweets. The kids were buying it off the street anyway. The stuff they were buying had no quality control. Some of it had no product in it. Some had bad product in it. I figured I could save the ones who were overdosing on the crap if I made some with a small controlled amount of product and undercut the street price. Those kids that allegedly died using my product got a hold of some doctored stuff. My competition won't attack me directly. They just want to put me out of business."
Mort leaned back in his chair and said, "Do you want me to believe someone got some of your product, doctored it up, and put it back out there to darken your reputation?"
"You don't have to believe me," Creighton said. He took a sticky note pad and wrote down a name. "Talk to this kid. He's the one who bragged to me that his uncle was going to put me out of business one way or another."
Mort chats with Mr. Bling
Mort took the note. "Where can I find this kid?"
Creighton took another look at the clock. "Right about now he's in the Boys Room dealing. He's dealing the stuff off the street. I quit making mine after those kids died."
"How will I recognize him?" Mort asked as he stood up and turned the student desk he'd borrowed back around.
Creighton snorted a laugh. "It won't be hard. He'll be the one with all the bling that all the other kids in there are gathered around."
"It's been nice talking to you, Mr. Creighton."
Mort left Creighton sitting in his chair. He rolled his cart into the hall and back to the entrance to the student bathrooms. From the cart, he selected a plunger with a stout wooden handle.
"All right, make a hole. Janitor coming through," Mort called out as he tried to push his way into the Boys Room.
A few of the students looked over their shoulders at him. Fewer moved out of his way. Mort shook his head and the plunger in his hand became short but effective cattle prod. Students who felt its jolt cleared out of the way more quickly. There was some cussing and some threats, which died quickly when the person muttering them looked in Mort's eyes. Soon Mort was face to face with the student dope dealer and they were alone in the bathroom.
"Who the hell you think you is, janitor? Where you get off running my peeps out of here like that?"
Mort didn't say anything but before the bling encrusted wind-suited punk could blink the cattle prod Mort was carrying got him right in his Adam's Apple.
"I'm so glad you're eighteen," Mort said, grabbing the punk by his right ear and levering him to his feet. "It is going to make my job so much easier."
The punk growled. "You gonna pay for that, bitch." Seconds later he was picking himself up off the floor again.
"We can keep this up all day," Mort said, waving the wand at the punk. "First I need to know what to call you. I doubt you go by your real name. What do you call yourself?"
"Why should I tell you, asshole? You won't live long enough to send me any Christmas cards."
After his third trip to the floor of the Boys Room, the bling laden punk looked up at Mort and said, "My name is Calvin. My boys call me CVR. The R be for retail. I'm a best seller."
"Mr. Best Seller, are you the one who sold the bad dope to those two kids who died?"
"Like I'm going to tell... aargh!"
Mort shook his head. "We were doing so well. Why did you have to go and mess things up?"
Calvin was shaking on the floor.
"Now, young man, please answer my question."
Mort's story continues in Episode 16
- Soul Collector, Episode 16, Tricky Mission Untangled
Mort completes his mission and winds up sitting in the bar from CHEERS, drinking a beer with the Angel of Death.
© 2021 DW Davis