The Friday before the party, the day in question when Mrs. Curtis saw Vashti livid outside of Moira’s house, started out like any other day. Vashti went into work thinking of the five thousand things she had to do that day, and how she was going to do it all in eight hours. She didn’t even have enough time to pour herself a cup of coffee before her supervisor pulled her into his office, a grave expression on his face. Vashti thought of the million things he might want to talk to her about, but couldn’t find anything about her job performance that would have put him in such a solemn mood. They had their differences, sure, but he respected the work she did with the kids; Vashti was certain of that. She sat in the chair across from his desk and waited for him to speak. She knew from experience that he liked to take control of a meeting and things would proceed more smoothly if she allowed him to speak first.
“Vashti, we’ve had a complaint about you,” he said slowly, looking at her from over the top of his bifocals. He was a slight, nervous man who was constantly popping Tums because of his ulcer. He wasn’t cut out to be in a supervisory position, but he wasn’t good with kids, either. The board figured he’d do less damage as a supervisor than as a counselor. Still, Vashti didn’t speak. She had a hunch that she would want to reserve her words until Mr. Benson finished with his speech. “A woman called up this morning. Said she is thinking of pressing charges against you.”
“What?” Vashti couldn’t help interrupting. “Who? A mother?”
“No, not a mother.” Mr. Benson’s eyes shifted away from hers so he was gazing at a point just above her left shoulder. He picked up his pen and started fiddling with it. He was one of those men who had to have something to do with his hands even if it’s only to jingle the coins in his pocket. He took a deep breath and let it out explosively.
“Who, then, Mr. Benson?” Vashti was careful to keep the impatience out of her voice, but she wanted him to just tell her. She had been on the job for less than a year and was still considered the new kid on the block. This was exactly what she didn’t need to feel more confident doing her job.