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The Social Worker

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These flash stories are all part of an early series with similar themes

The Social Worker
By Larkin

It seems like I have been here forever just waiting and waiting. I saw my Mom talking to some people out in the hall and I saw Danny's Parents walk by but I didn't see Danny anywhere. He must be here too otherwise why would his parents be here? A policeman came and brought me down the hall to another room. He shut the door and left.

The room had a few chairs and a table and curiously, no windows. To say I was worried would be an understatement, but why? There was a large clock on the wall like the ones in schools. It just didn't seem to move at all. If it did it moved very very slow. There was a large mirror on the wall. It didn't take a genius to figure that one out.

Finally the door opened. I looked up and saw a tall woman carrying a brief case and a stack of folders. She came in and put her stuff down by one of the chairs. She was very pretty and dressed more formal than any of my teachers. She looked at me and gave me a warm smile and started organizing some papers and forms in front of her.

After she had gotten everything straight she gave me a big smile and said, "You must be Francis. Is that what they call you at school?"

I shrugged my shoulders and said, "Sometimes."

"So what else do they call you?"

I said "Francis."

"You mean you don't have a nick name or something like that?"

Normally, I wouldn't care but she was embarrassing me.

"Sometimes they call me Dusty, but maybe you could call me Francis if it is alright with you."

I like to reserve my nickname, Dusty just for my friends.

She was puzzled at my response. She told me her name was Dianne Carver and that she was a social worker and a psychologist. "You can call me Dianne if you want."

She looked over her forms. "Francis I'm here to ask you some questions. Now don't worry, you aren't in trouble and we asked your Mother and she said it was ok. The only thing I want you to do is to be truthful because it is very important. Do you think you can do that for me?"

I nodded yes. She was quiet for a moment and was writing things down on the form. "Now, your full name is Francis Lake"

She looked up at me for a confirmation. "What was your date of birth, Francis?"

I rattled off, "December 3rd, 1999."

"That would make you twelve, thirteen this December, right? Francis, do you have any brothers or sisters?"

I said, "No."

"And you live with your Mom, right?"

I said "Yes."

It was obvious to me that she already had all this information but I guess she was double checking what I said against the forms.

She went on, "And, what about your Dad?"

I was silent.

She paused for a long moment and then slowly and carefully said, "Francis, I know about what happened to your Dad, I just needed to know if you knew. Suicide is a terrible thing but you must remember that it wasn't your fault."

If she knew, why did she bother to ask me? Why would it be my fault, I was only two at the time.

"Francis, what school do you go to and what grade are you in and do you like or dislike school?"

"I'm in seventh grade and I go to Warren G. Harding Middle School."

I thought for a minute, "It's ok."

"Do you have many friends at school?"

I said, "Pretty much."

"Francis, what do you mean when you say, `Pretty much'?"

"I don't know, pretty much I guess?"

"Francis, when I say that, I need to know if you have a lot of friends, some friends or maybe just a few or none. Can you pick one of those?"

"I don't know, I guess I have a lot of friends."

Francis, when you think of friends, are some of your friends special friends that you spend time with?

"I guess I have both kinds."

"How many special friends do you have? You know the kind of friends that you spend time alone with?"

"I don't know, they don't stay the same, they change."

"Would you consider Danny McGuire a special friend?"

I had a feeling that I had to be very careful about what I said.

"Francis, think very carefully, is Danny a special friend?"

Reluctantly I said, "I guess."

"Francis, explain to me what a special friend is?"

I was thinking that this whole thing was about the old Brooks house getting broken into but every kid in the neighborhood has been there.

"Francis, tell me about the time that you and Danny spend together?"

Now I looked puzzled. I tilted my head and looked towards the ceiling as if an answer was hanging there in space.

"Danny is about a year older than you, isn't he?"

I said, "I guess."

"Did Danny ever touch you in a place he shouldn't?

I made a frown like I didn't understand.

"Francis, you've heard of the concept of good touch and bad touch, haven't you? Well I think you are old enough to know what I am really talking about, aren't you?"

What is she trying to find out, That Danny and I did things? How would she know?

"Francis, in the beginning of this interview I told you that you were not in trouble. I also asked you to tell the truth. If you don't tell the truth, you will be in trouble and lying is a crime. Think about where you are. You are in the police station and we need the truth."

My impulse was to clam up tight.

There seemed to be fire in her eyes. "If someone touches someone inappropriately it hurts people. It hurts people like you and we must do something to stop them from hurting other people."

She drove on. "When was the last time you and Danny were alone together?"

I said, "Yesterday."

"Francis, I want you to think very carefully and I want you to tell me the truth. When you met up after school, and you were in Danny's room, tell me step by step what Danny did."

She knows! How can she know anything? Danny would never say anything and I know I wouldn't.

I said, "We played Playstation."

She could have asked me what game, but she didn't.

"Well that's not what Danny told us. He said you two did a lot of other things."

I have no idea where I got the courage but I said defiantly, "Like what?!"

She was trying to trick me into saying something I didn't want to. It is embarrassing enough to be asked questions about what I did with my dick and what Danny did with his to begin with but this lady wanted to make a federal case out of it.

My rebelliousness angered her and she raised her voice. "If I find out otherwise you will be in serious trouble!"

She sat down and tried to regain her sweet facade but it was too late. I wouldn't answer any more of her questions. I was made to sit alone in the room another hour and then was finally released to my Mom. She didn't know what she was doing when she allowed me to be questioned. Ms. Carver turned out to be the prosecutor. All her talk about telling the truth!

Danny caught on and did the same thing as I did. Clammed-up. We're not criminals, we're just boys and boys do stuff like that.

Had one or the other of us broke down and confessed, the consequences would have ruined our lives.

............And all over what, two boys having a circle jerk, what's the big deal?

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