Jump the Gun Part 1
It was a beautiful spring day and a Saturday. I was the master-on-duty at Rothesay-Netherwood, a private boarding and day school located outside Saint John.
One of my senior rugby players was on gates. (Ref: Out on a Limb, Feb 3). Bottom-line, he was required to report to the duty master every hour, on the hour. He had to present a card which was to be signed, and he could be up to five minutes late. If he was later than that, he ran the risk of being assigned an additional day on gates.
Calvin was a polite and respectful fellow. I don’t recall what led him to being put on gates but I believe it had to do with repeated failure to complete assigned work. He was a good rugby player and a great tackler; an asset to the team.
I was seated on the front steps of School House chatting with a student. It was coming up to 2:00 in the afternoon and I knew Calvin would soon be appearing; at least, I hoped he would. As one of his coaches I had an interest in seeing him off the discipline program and able to travel with the team.
2:05 – no sign of Calvin
2:10 – still no Calvin
Approaching 2:15 Calvin came flying around the building on a bike much too small for him.
“Mr. Caines, I’m sorry, I know I am late. You are never going to believe it but I have a good excuse.”
“OK, Calvin. Let’s hear it.”
Calvin then proceeded to tell a most bizarre story. He and his girlfriend, another boarding student at the school, were out for a stroll in the wooded area at the back of the campus. They would have been about 500m from the school buildings and on the other side of the hill. They were walking along one of the trails when a townie approached them holding a handgun. Calvin said that the guy was about his age or a bit younger and was demanding his money back.
“His money back? What are you talking about?”
“I don’t know. He kept saying he wanted his money back and waving the gun.”
“OK, then what happened?”
“I tackled him.”
“YOU WHAT? A guy is waving a gun at you and you tackle him?
“Well, I thought it was a toy gun, and when I approached him he turned and started to run. So I chased him and tackled him to the ground. It was a great tackle, Mr. Caines. You would have been impressed.”
“So what happened next?”
“The gun fell out of his hands. When I got up, I pick up the gun and squeezed the trigger. I shot two bullets into the ground. It was a real gun.”
“ARE YOU SERIOUS? Then what happened?”
“I threw the gun into the stream, the guy started crying and we took off back here.”
“So where is J now?”, (J was his girlfriend).
“Oh, she went back to Quinn House and I came here.”
“OK, so you are telling me that a local kid approached you with a loaded handgun and said that he wanted his money back. You tackled him, discharged two rounds from the gun then threw it into the creek.”
“Yeah, that’s what happened.”
“Well, you are right. I don’t believe you, but that was quite a story.”
“BUT IT REALLY HAPPENED! Honestly – I am not making this up.”
I decided to call his bluff. “OK Calvin, tell you what. Why don’t you go back out there and get the gun for me.” I wanted to see how he would react to this challenge.
Without hesitation he said, “OK, I’ll be right back.” He jumped on the bike and took off around the corner. I was still convinced he had made the story up. He was a nice guy but desperately wanted to get off gates and continue playing with the rugby team. I wouldn’t put it past him to fabricated a story. As they say, if you are going to tell a lie, make it a big one.
About fifteen minutes later Calvin returned. I hadn’t moved. As he jumped off the bike I said, “So, did you find the gun?”
“No”, he replied.
“Do you still expect me to believe you?”
As he walked toward me he said, “I didn’t find the gun but I found these.” He extended his hand and showed me two empty shell casings from a 45 calibre gun.
My jaw dropped.
To be continued ……………………..
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