Copyright© 2015 by Bill Offutt
"Mr. Williams," the principal called loudly as Bud stood behind the backstop watching batting practice, "can I see you a minute?"
"Keep it low," Bud yelled at his third-string pitcher. "Yes sir," he said turning to the clergyman who had recently replaced the man who hired him.
"We're coming up for accreditation as you know, and they are trying to get all the paperwork in order."
Bud nodded, only half listening.
"Mrs. Patrick told me today and there are some things missing from your personnel folder." The white haired man blinked up at Bud.
"Things missing," he said taking off his baseball hat and scratching his head.
"Yes, yes, transcripts she said. Anyhow, please see her in the morning. I think this business has her rather harried and nervous."
"Okay, thanks," Bud said. "I'll do that." The man walked away and Bud turned toward the baseball diamond, a very sick feeling in his belly.
Bud got to school early the next day and went right to the office. He smiled at Mrs. Patrick. "Boss says something's missing, in my stuff I mean."
"Oh yes," she said, digging a manila folder out of a pile on the side of her metal desk. "I'm glad you stopped by. Yes indeed. Let me see." She flipped open the thin folder and then looked up at Bud. "It's almost empty. There's your contract, your schedule and the transcript from MJC; nothing else."
"That's funny," he said. "You think my stuff got in the wrong place, in with somebody's else's?"
She shook her head, bobbling her blue-tinged curls. "I've been through all of them, Mr. Williams. I had to for this crediting business. There are all these forms you know, just reams of them."
"Let's see, a TB test, that's missing and you have to have that, and your college materials, your degrees, teaching experience, certification, all that sort of thing."
"Oh," Bud said, "I don't think Reverend Hurley ever told me about the TB test, but the college transcript, that should be there."
"I'll look again," she said. "University of Maryland, right?"
"And MJC, but you have that you said."
She nodded and pursed her lips.
Bud left the office, mind in turmoil. He was, he guessed, on the verge of falling in love with David Martin's mother and on the brink of losing the best job he ever had. For some reason he thought about the theater usher job he held for less than a week when he was fifteen.