When I got off my stop in Spring Valley, I figured I had made a mistake. The address didn't seem to match up with the building I faced. This place didn't look like any school I had ever seen. More like a movie star's estate. An ochre color concrete wall surrounded the grounds with an iron gate that could be closed across the driveway. The gate stood open.
I checked the address again on the court document. Right place. I stepped through the open gate and walked up the driveway.
In front of me stood an old stucco and stone mansion with old fashioned floor-to-ceiling windows reflecting the sun into my eyes, three floors, and a steep, red tiled roof. The driveway split into a circle, the building entrance covered by a roof extension, I guessed so that visitors wouldn't get wet stepping in and out of their cars in bad weather. Hardly seemed necessary, though, as it rarely rained in the Las Vegas area. In the middle of the circular driveway stood a fountain and a reflecting pool. An old statue of a blindfolded woman holding a scale in her hands. Justice is blind.
Got that right. In my case justice was blind, deaf, and dumb to the truth.
I approached double wooden doors and they swung open. A big guy with a buzz cut wearing a grey suit, white shirt, and red necktie held it open for me. I stopped. Hardly anybody wore a suit like that in this heat. Except for detectives. This couldn't be the right place.
"You a student?" the guy asked.
"First day?" he asked.
"That would be 'yes, sir,' to you. Come in."
Cool, air-conditioned air wicked the perspiration from my face. After riding in the hot, stuffy bus, it felt refreshing.
I followed the doorman to the other side of the lobby. Sitting at a desk behind a counter, another big guy wearing an identical suit and tie, surrounded by TV monitors and a panel with lots of dials and buttons. Fancy place, the lobby decked out with plush leather chairs, thick carpeting, and dark wood-paneled walls.
The desk guy looked up from the monitors and asked, "You have something for me?"
Remembering how the doorman warned me to be deferential, I said, "Yes, sir," and handed the court document to him. He read the document and consulted a computer display.
"The director is Dr. Boone," said the desk guy. "You'll need to empty your pockets of everything. Remove all jewelry. I'll hold your personal property for you."
I did as he asked and walked through a scanner.
Desk guy and doorman exchanged glances. "Follow me," the doorman said.
We went to the back of the lobby to a thick, wooden door with a wire-reinforced window. My escort punched a series of buttons on the keypad and opened the door. He led me down a carpeted hallway to a door hanging ajar. He eased it open and cleared his throat.
YOU ARE READING
The Story of SingTeen Fiction
[2018 Wattys Short List] - Sixteen-year-old Sing strives to do well in school so that he can find a decent job and provide a better life for his crippled mother and younger brother, Jacko. That goal becomes derailed when Sing is falsely accused of a...