Who’s Guilty?

Who’s Guilty?

by Guest Author, Angie Brown

Mr. Callahan, a physical education teacher, was standing below the upper hallway talking to other teachers when a large piece of chalk hit him directly on the top of his balding head, with such force as to bring tears to his eyes. With a shocked look on his face, Mr. Callahan raced up the stairs, passing pretty Miss Gertie Levelle, the school’s top student, who was on her way down the stairs. As he reached the top of the stairs, he confronted a group of boys milling around in the hallway. These students had assembled in the upper hallway and were waiting for classes to start.

“Who dropped that chalk?” he roared. No one answered. Yanking a note pad out of his coat pocket, he said, “I want names.”  Hurriedly, he wrote: Frederick, Finley, Cassidy, Holson and Green.  “I want you fellows in the Principal’s Office after classes.  Every one of you,” he ordered.  The bell rang and the students began filing into their respective classrooms.

One of the group, Rob Finley, a druggist’s son, spoke up first, “I guess we’re in for trouble.”  The town lawyer’s son, Sam Frederick, had thoughts a little more serious, saying “I sure don’t want any black marks against me.  I’m gunning for a scholarship.” John Cassidy, the well-fed lad whose parents operated a local restaurant, had a more optimistic feeling.  “It can’t be all that bad”, he said, “You know how Callahan makes mountains out of mole hills.” Eric Holson was a preacher’s kid and was rather worried.  He said nothing, but when he related the incident to his parents, his father promptly gave him one of his sermons. The farm boy, Russ Green, didn’t like being detained, but, as he was one of the group, he had to go along. Needless to say, the boys weren’t anxious for classes to dismiss.

After school, the boys seated themselves in the Principal’s Office and the door was closed.  The Principal, Mr. Bigalo, said, “I have here a report from Mr. Callahan that someone deliberately dropped a large piece of chalk on his head this afternoon.  I ask the guilty one to step forward.”  There was shuffling of feet, but no admission. The Principal continued, “Gentlemen, you may not think this is a serious matter, but dropping even a small item like a piece of chalk on a person’s bald head can be a painful experience.  There is tremendous force there, as was proven by Mr. Callahan’s reaction.  We’re not going to let it happen again.” Still, there was no response. The boys were kept waiting about an hour.  Finally, Mr. Bigalo said, “Tomorrow you will all come again, and every day, until the culprit is found.  You may go.” The boys left, grumbling to each other on their way out.

Now, just prior to the incident, pretty Miss Gertie Levelle, arms bulging with books and paraphernalia, had walked to the end of the upper hallway and adjusted her load on the top of the railing. On her way to the Home Economics Room for her sewing class on the first floor, she was hurrying down the stairs with a better grip on her belongings, when Mr. Callahan came running up the stairs to confront the boys. During the sewing class, after cutting out her cloth, Gertie was ready to mark her corduroy fabric.  As she spread it out, she looked around for her marker, but couldn’t locate it anywhere. “Miss Jordan,” Gertie said, “may I borrow your chalk.  I seem to have lost mine.  It was a brand new piece, too.” Miss Jordan was about to open her desk drawer when she suddenly stopped, thought for a moment and said, “Gertie, I think I know where we can find your new chalk.  Let’s go see Mr. Bigalo.”

And the moral of the story is…things aren’t always as they seem.

(For more short stories by Angie Brown, click HERE.)



By Angie Brown, Guest Author

Being gifted in sketching and painting, my sister and I decided to enroll in an evening class of oil painting.  Thrilled to be back in school, we completed the first year.  My sister dropped out then, but I started my second year.

After class on this one particular evening, the students seemed to be in a hurry and left, leaving me the last one of our class to depart. The stairs to the first floor were dimly lit, but I could still make my way down. I had to get to the telephone, which was located in the lobby, to call my husband to pick me up.

Suddenly, all the lights went out, and the building was in total darkness. I was familiar with the first floor, so I knew my way there. By placing my hand on the wall I could slide it along slowly past the closed classroom doors. Reaching the lobby, I saw a streak of light coming through the main door from an outdoor street lamp.

Fortunately, I could also make out the outline of the telephone booth. As I approached it, I could see that the inside of the booth was completely dark.  Now, how was I to see the numbers on the rotary wheel?  After feeling around for the dial, I trustingly hoped I would hit the right numbers. I only had one dime of change in my pocket, one chance to get the right numbers. I carefully dialed the numbers and waited anxiously. Success: I heard my husband’s voice!  With great relief, I desperately shouted, “Please hurry. The lights are out. It’s dark in here, and I’m scared to death.”  Now I would have to retrace my steps along the wall to the door where I would be picked up. I stood near the door trembling for fear that someone else was still in the building and would snatch me in the dark. The outside was just as dark.

Finally, after what seemed like hours, I saw my husband’s car. I dashed out and jumped into the waiting open door.  It was then that I realized I had been all alone in the big, black, building.

(For more articles by Angie Brown, click HERE)