How the custodian lost (but won); and how the Personnel Director won (but lost): a three-part story.

Part 1

“Get out of here! ‘RRRRaus!” shouted Fritz, the custodian when he found the high-schooler skateboarding in his beloved, but still pristine little amphitheater attached to the newly constructed elementary school, his pride and joy.

“Fuck you, asshole!” the kid sneered as he jumped over the back of the amphitheater and into the courtyard on the other side of the ornate gate that served as the intended entrance.

“At least it’s after school so the kids can’t hear this little jerk,” thought Fritz to himself.

With the surly adolescent outside the gate to the amphitheater, Fritz looked to see if the edges of the beautiful curving amphitheater steps created especially for elementary age children had been damaged any further. It certainly could have been this skater “grinding” the edge of his board on the steps last week. The damage left unsightly gouges in the cement that Fritz knew he would have to repair with painstaking patience since there would be no more school bond money for this kind of capital outlay. And Fritz had already begun to collect materials to do the repair job.

This was far outside of his job description but that is the main reason why I backed him for this job and why the principal of Silver Stream Elementary, an experienced man had recruited him to apply for a transfer to this new school. He believed his role was crucial for the success of the children and teachers. Every day he enlisted kids from every grade in developing pride in the beauty of the school buildings and grounds. No litter stayed on the ground for more than 5 minutes at Silver Stream.

A select group of 5th and 6th graders were allowed to work with Fritz from time to time and learn about his systematic and orderly way of working to get every part of jobs completed. Seeing tools lined up and hanging in a rationally organized way in the tiny janitorial office was the first time many children had seen a shop of any kind. Kids who had been in trouble did not get to work with Fritz as part of their punishment. Who could imagine this? The man was a walking miracle for a principal.

Fritz saw the skater outside the gate and said firmly, “You shouldn’t do this. The taxpayers built this beautiful school for the younger kids and you should help take care of it.”

The kid, Raymond, glided on his board a few feet toward Fritz so he could see the janitor through the fancy gate to the amphitheater. “You can kiss my ass,” Raymond said emphatically.

Fritz had enough of treating this nasty kid like one of his elementary aged children. “Ok, buddy. Now I know what you look like. I’m going to call the police and give them a description of you.”

Raymond took advantage of this opportunity to hook Fritz even deeper into an argument. “You’re so stupid, you’re just a dumb janitor, asshole. You couldn’t remember what your own dick looks like.”

“You filthy delinquent!” shouted Fritz. “Get out of here.”

Enjoying the rush of seeing Fritz get so angry, Raymond, the tough young skater (at least he was trying to be a tough young skater) maneuvered his board just outside the ornate wrought iron gate. Fritz stopped what he was doing and turned around. Raymond joyfully continued taunting the older man. “Dumb fuck janitor, Crazy Kraut Asshole,” he shouted. Fritz stared at him but he continued hurling insults from his position of safety. “Dumbfuck, Dumbfuck, Dumb….”

Raymond didn’t get the last part of the last ‘Dumbfuck’ because Fritz, amazingly agile for a man his age, had rushed the gate, reached his powerful hand through the bars and grabbled the surly and extremely surprised Raymond by the shirt. With three quick jerks, Fritz yanked Raymond first up off the ground and then back towards the gate banging his head against the bars, Bam, bam, bam. He then dropped Raymond so he fell onto his butt.

“Now get out of here,” shouted Fritz.

Raymond picked himself up and screamed as if his voice hadn’t changed. In a high pitched kind of squeal he yelled, “My dad is a Sheriff’s Deputy and he’s going to blow your brains out, you old Dumbfuck!” He pulled a baseball from his jacket pocket and threw it at Fritz, hitting him in the chest. Then as fast as he could, Raymond ran, looking backwards toward Fritz to be sure he wasn’t chasing him. Fritz opened the gate and picked up the nasty kid’s skateboard. Then he walked into the office to tell the principal, his trusted friend, about what happened.

Old Ned, the school principal knew trouble when he heard it. “Ok Fritz,” he said.

“The first thing we have to do is call Bill at the district office.”