Learning Life’s Lessons
“How far to the County Fair Richie?”
There was a giggle from the back and Patsy turned around in surprise to see what was happening then looked uncertainly at Richie.
“We are going to the County Fair?”
“Well we were, but when your Dad made it a 9pm curfew we may have a change of plans.”
There was laughter again from the back. “Shall we hand around the beer Richie?”
Patsy looked at Richie, “My Dad would definitely not be happy about this scene. Why don’t you just stop and let me off and I’ll call my Dad to pick me up. You guys are something else, I had a better opinion of you.”
Richie’s attitude changed, and the mask slipped. “It’s time you grew up Patsy have a beer with the rest of us and be sociable. You know the saying, a person who wants friends should show themselves friendly.” Patsy saw him accept a can over his shoulder and she felt a can tapping on hers.
“I’m serious, let me down here!”
“Why don’t you just give your Dad a call and tell him you’re having a good time!” Richie downed the beer in one gulp and put his hand up for another which he downed. He could feel the effects of the couple he’d had at home before leaving to meet the group and was in no mood for sensible discussion.
They passed a patrol car and the guys in the back leaned out the window and shouted insults at them. The patrol car started up and turned on the roof flashing lights.
“Show them what this chariot can do Rich!” The noisy rabble at the back were shouting wildly and waving out the back window as Richie pressed the gas pedal to the floor. But the seven-seater was not meant for racing. It was meant for pulling a boat or motor home, so the police patrol was quickly by their side and motioning them over.
“Don’t worry, my Dad knows how to handle these guys Richie slurred.”
The patrol car pulled in front of them and Richie cursed. He pulled to the left and sped past the officers who jumped back into the car and were in pursuit this time calling in backup. Within ten minutes patrol cars were coming from all directions and soon had Richie cornered. In the meantime, Patsy had been on her cell phone reporting what had happened to her Dad Jason Sommerville who recorded the conversation. She left it on record.
“Out of the van and down on the ground all of you!” They were surrounded by officers with guns drawn. There were a few giggles from the rabble as they complied, and Patsy felt intense humiliation as she did the same. She had her cell phone on record as she realized this could end up with her having a criminal record with its natural effect on entering good universities in future. She felt anger at Richie and his so-called friends. They’d ruined her life.
The police wagon pulled up at the station and ordered the cuffed students out and into the station for processing. As Richie was loudly proclaiming his father had influence and would be soon there to get them out the police hardened their attitude and began the laborious task of preparing a case for the courts. There would be blood tests for alcohol readings to bolster their case. All except Patsy came up over the legal limit.
Jason Sommerville had been tracking his daughter with his phone app and was soon at the station to see what he could do. He was quite distressed and blaming himself for being hoodwinked by this young hoodlum who he’d entrusted his daughter to. He cried as he talked with his daughter behind bars and determined to do anything in his power to rescue her and pay back this young criminal for what he’d done to Jason’s family. Somehow the media had sniffed this as a good story and a helicopter had broadcast it as it happened on the evening news. It would be big news at Patsy’s school next day.
There was no school next day for any of them as legal matters were settled, bail set and then they were released. Some cheered in the hallways as Richie and his gang returned the day after and Richie resumed his swagger. But most distanced themselves from the group. This was a private school with a reputation for excellence and they could not afford to upset future rich benefactors. The whole future of the school depended on rich parents and well-heeled benefactors. So, the guilty group were summonsed and threatened with expulsion, but this was downgraded to probation after a phone call from Josef Vanderlan. A donation of $50,000 found its way into the new building program as a reward. The faculty were upset at Patsy’s non-attendance though and a phone call to Jason Sommerville bought an angry Father and a reluctant crying Patsy to the office for interview. Jason took charge of the meeting motioning the faculty members present to be quiet while he made his speech. He reviewed the conversation Richie had with him that evening and played the recording of the whole episode in the van with it clearly stated Patsy wanted nothing to do with the event.
Faculty members who were the assigned disciplinary committee fidgeted through the interview. They were up against two influential people and caught between. At first, they tried to persuade Jason his daughter being in a police roundup required probation at which Jason exploded. Not only was he taking Richie to court but the school also for further humiliation caused to an innocent student. Jason turned to Patsy.
“Do you want to stay in this school with its unhealthy student environment? I can send you to any school you nominate.”
At this the faculty urged Patsy not to take such a step. She was one of their emerging best students and such legal action, though possibly defensible would be further bad publicity.
“Dad most of the students are not like Richie and his gang. I want no part of them anymore. There are plenty of serious students who love wholesome activities here and I feel good about being in their company. No more moves Dad please. I can deal with this my way.”
The discipline committee members looked relieved and promised to see she was well protected from what had proved to be unwholesome students. They were on probation and would be watched to see they bought no further dishonour to the school.
At the appointed court session both lawyers put their cases for the defence. The prosecution put their case for a record to be kept of the misdeeds and held against them in court records. There were too many young people defying rules and endangering the public. A stand needed to be taken that this kind of illegal activities would not be tolerated.
Patsy’s defence lawyer requested permission to call Jason as a witness and further permission to play a recording of the event that took place. Permission was granted. Jason told of the approach, the instructions given about his daughter’s safe return from the County Fair and the recordings made on his phone and his daughter’s phone through the whole event. The Judge called Patsy to his office and asked her to repeat her version of what had happened which he compared to the two cell phone recordings. He shook his head as he listened in and then dismissed her while he thought of what judgment should be forthcoming.
Then when he emerged again and bought the court to order he delivered his judgment. The case against Patsy was dismissed. The case against the rest confirmed prosecution’s version of the events. Each would be subject to a fine and a record kept of their misdemeanour, further they were subjected to a month of community service to be supervised to see it was done. When they returned to school after the court case they were shunned by the rest of the students whose angry parents communicated their dissatisfaction to the school board. The probationary period was extended and one by one these offending students dropped out of school rather than face the rest of the student body each day.
Richie’s father Josef found himself shunned too by those who’d been close associates before. The unwritten rule of the rich is that anything is tolerated unless it becomes a public scandal, then the offending member of the club will be put in quarantine to see their scandal doesn’t spread to their own murky underworld of business dealings.
Patsy grew up appreciating the supporting family she had but feeling sorry for those like Richie whose learned lifestyle reflected the lifestyle of his parents. The experience also taught her trust is something which should be established over time rather than granted without a thorough knowledge of those she was to mix with in her adult years.
“© Copyright Ian Grice, ianscyberspace 2018 All rights reserve