Shadow Boxer by Myles Boisen
SHIRLEY GLOCK AT PARENT CONFERENCES
by Paul Lewellan
At 7:08 p.m. a statuesque woman with a chiseled face and confident gait walked up to Joe Beidermanís conference table in the high school cafeteria. "I'm Shirley Glock." Joe rose from his seat to greet her. "You must be Mr. Beiderman."
Officer Glock was six feet tall. Even in a Pleasant Valley Metropolitan Police uniform and Bates duty boots she was an attractive woman. "Who is your child?" Joe asked as he shook her hand.
"Iím Bill Nutley's wife," she said. Wild Bill Nutley was a nationally recognized eco-terrorist and an occasional guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
"You're Colt Nutley's mother?" Joe couldnít hide the shock in his voice.
Shirley smiled. "Guilty as charged." As he pulled out Colt's grades, Shirley sat down and signed in. "I kept my last name when we got married. So did Colt's father," she joked. Shirley removed her trooper hat, revealing close-cropped platinum hair. Joe imagined her dressed in a black cocktail dress, seamed nylons, and three-inch heels. She smiled again. "Iím sorry Bill couldnít be here," Shirley said coyly. "He's spiking sequoias in Northern California."
"I spoke with your husband last year when I had the twins in class." Joe noticed she wasnít wearing a wedding ring.
"Thatís right. I got a 10-90 just as I pulled up to the school. Someone was stealing ATMs with an end-loader. Wild Bill picked up the slack."
"No need to apologize." Joe nodded his head sympathetically. It was a gesture he'd perfected over the years. "Colt speaks highly of you both as parents."
Wild Bill had abandoned a career in petty crime after Shirley arrested him for shoplifting Certified Organic carrots at Greatest Grains. She married him and raised the kids as Wild Bill completed his degree St. Ambrose University. Now he was a field supervisor with the Nature Conservancy. Every time he built up enough vacation days, Wild Bill freelanced in the forests.
"I do my best." Shirley smiled a third time. Every tooth glistened. Her gums were a healthy pink. She'd flossed before she left work. Her lips looked healthy, too. "Itís tough when Bill gets a hair up his butt about some freaking endangered weasel. Meanwhile I'm pulling night shifts and working security part-time for Per Mar to pick up extra cash for Colt's college fund." Joe tried not to stare at Shirleyís enormous nose. "Not that the twins are any trouble," she said.
The twins, Smith and Weston, had been in Joe's Honors English class. More sympathetic nodding. "They were top-notch students."
"But Colt is a pisser." Shirley leaned toward Joe, making him self-conscious about his eyes drifting to her light blue uniform shirt, now tightly stretched across her chest. "I told Colt 'either/or.' Either get a 3.00 GPA this term or live in a tree with your dad."
Joe glanced down at the grade report. "The fresh air might clear his head." He pushed the report toward Shirley.
"He can handle the work. He just chooses not to sometimes."
"Yes. Like his father." She sighed. "Just so you know," she said as she leaned toward Joe, "Wild Bill's trip to redwood country isn't just about trees."
"I see." Joe started nodding sympathetically and then stopped himself. "What is the trip about?"
"It's a trial separation. The twins are comfortable with it. Colt isn't."
"It could be why he isn't concerned with school. Maybe he wants to join his father?"
Shirley hesitated. She wasn't a woman who normally hesitated. "What do you suggest?"
"Grade point averages are determined by semester grades. Colt's grades are midterm grades. They don't count."
"But do you expect they'll get any better by the end of the semester?"
"I suspect they'll get worse." Shirley wasn't surprised. "That's why you should withdraw him from school and send him out to his father for a couple months. Let him start fresh with the new semester. A few week's living in trees may give him a fresh appreciation for school."
She nodded. "I'll miss him. With Smith and Weston at college, the house seems empty."
"Get a cat."
"Cats are worthless." Shirley was adamant on the point.
Joe paused. "A small dog?"
"I spent eight years in the canine unit. Dogs are more trouble than men." She leaned back and appraised the situation. "Tell me, Mr. Beiderman, how have you coped with your divorce?"
"Not well," he told her, uncomfortable with the way she was looking at him.
"Yes," Shirley said. "I can see that." She leaned forward. "Maybe you should get a cat?"
Shirley laughed. "I'm joking." She glanced at the long line of parents waiting behind her. She pushed her chair back and stood up. "Perhaps if we had more time we could find a mutual solution."
He rose to face her. "Conferences end at 9:00."
"Perfect." She said softly. "That will give me time to change."
"You look good in uniform.
"I'll look even better if I change." She pulled a business card from her uniform pocket and scribbled on the back. "This is my cell phone number. If you have second thoughts, leave a message. Otherwise Iíll meet you at Bigelow's at 9:15." Bigelow's was Joe's favorite brewpub, noted for its Baltic porter. He spent most evenings there.
"How did you . . .?"
"Oh, Mr. Beiderman, I know all about you." She lowered her voice. "Soon I'll know even more." She touched his shoulder. "I'm certified in interview and interrogation by Reid and Associates."
Joe melted into his chair. By the time he realized Shirley Glock was gone, another parent had taken her place. "I'm Diane Wilkison," she said with a twinkle in her eye. "You must be Mr. Beiderman."