The Complaint

One afternoon, as he was about to leave work, Blake found a handwritten note in his mailbox. The note was from the school’s principal: “See me today.” It had been sitting under the day’s notices since morning.

Blake slung his workbag over his shoulder and left the English office. With the heavy bag his steps echoed unevenly down the corridor. Spring had come—the doors of the classrooms were open, and heat radiated from the walls, the desks, the students. He skipped the elevator and walked down the polished cement staircase, which was cool and pleasant when you were alone.

The principal’s office was insulated by a secretaries’ warren, with a waiting area. As he entered, the two secretaries glanced up at him with mild curiosity. One smiled. She was Payroll.

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