11/22/63 by Stephen King

11/22/63 by Stephen King

Author:Stephen King [King, Stephen]
Language: eng
Format: epub, mobi
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Published: 2012-07-24T04:00:00+00:00



A few days before the end-of-year testing cycle began, Ellen Dockerty summoned me to her office. After she closed the door, she said: “I’m sorry for the trouble I’ve caused, George, but if I had it to do over again, I’m not sure I would behave any differently.”

I said nothing. I was no longer angry, but I was still stunned. I’d gotten very little sleep since the blow-up, and I had an idea that 4:00 A.M. and I were going to be close friends in the near future.

“Clause Twenty-five of the Texas School Administrative Code,” she said, as if that explained everything.

“I beg your pardon, Ellie?”

“Nina Wallingford was the one who brought it to my attention.” Nina was the district nurse. She put tens of thousands of miles on her Ford Ranch Wagon each school year circling Denholm County’s eight schools, three of them still of the one-or two-room variety. “Clause Twenty-five concerns the state’s rules for immunization in schools. It covers teachers as well as students, and Nina pointed out she didn’t have any immunization records for you. No medical records of any kind, in fact.”

And there it was. The fake teacher exposed by his lack of a polio shot. Well, at least it wasn’t my advanced knowledge of the Rolling Stones, or inappropriate use of disco slang.

“You being so busy with the Jamboree and all, I thought I’d write to the schools where you’d taught and save you the trouble. What I got back from Florida was a letter stating that they don’t require immunization records from substitutes. What I got from Maine and Wisconsin was ‘Never heard of him.’”

She leaned forward behind her desk, looking at me. I couldn’t meet her gaze for long. What I saw in her face before I redirected my gaze to the backs of my hands was an unbearable sympathy.

“Would the State Board of Education care that we had hired an imposter? Very much. They might even institute legal action to recoup your year’s salary. Do I care? Absolutely not. Your work at DCHS has been exemplary. What you and Sadie did for Bobbi Jill Allnut was absolutely wonderful, the kind of thing that garners State Teacher of the Year nominations.”

“Thanks,” I muttered. “I guess.”

“I asked myself what Mimi Corcoran would do. What Meems said to me was, ‘If he had signed a contract to teach next year and the year after, you’d be forced to act. But since he’s leaving in a month, it’s actually in your interest—and the school’s—to say nothing.’ Then she added, ‘But there’s one person who has to know he’s not who he says he is.’”

Ellie paused.

“I told Sadie that I was sure you’d have some reasonable explanation, but it seems you do not.”

I glanced at my watch. “If you’re not firing me, Miz Ellie, I ought to get back to my period five class. We’re diagramming sentences. I’m thinking of trying them on a compound that goes, I am blameless in this matter, but I cannot say why.


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