(In his cubby, Colin sits in front of a computer with a bulky screen. The shelf above him is filled with equally bulky manuals. The standard desk and chair with a modern lamp and telephone barely fit in the cubby.)
Stuck him in a corner. Colin’s voice carries, especially when he’s on the telephone. Other workers complained so I had to put him in the corner. You can hear him anyway, and sometimes people leave the building because of it..
(She comes out of her office with a six-sided folder in her hand; she looks business-like, as she tries to maintain her professionalism.)
They all have a heavy caseload. And we can’t control what comes in. The world would have to change. For one whole day…wouldn’t it be wonderful? One whole day without a new case. If they just stop coming in for one whole day. Stop, and for one whole day everybody gets along. No fighting. No abuse. And for us, that includes touching. Then we could go home because every child went to school happy. And we’d be out of a job. For one whole day we’d be out of a job, but that’s not realistic.
(She goes to Colin’s cubby and sticks her nose in.)
Do you have court today?
Yeah. One o’clock.
(Handing him the file)
I hate to do this to you.
What do you have?
How often lately have you had to go to the hospital and we have a newborn with a homeless mother? The mother addicted to something. Baby jaundiced. The mother isolated because of lice. You know the rest. The hospital is concerned about this or that, and we’re supposed to sort it out. Out there somewhere there must be a day, a single day, with a long white beach, palm trees, and gentle breezes.
Thinking of Florida and your vacation?
Yeah. Thinking I need one…if just for a day.
(Colin’s telephone rings.)
More business, I suspect. Be sure to breathe now.
(As she goes back to her office, he answers it. He holds the telephone receiver between his shoulder and his ear, so that he can read about his new case while he’s talking.)
Yes, I’m Colin Rogers. You sound like you’re angry. I’m your friendly anger expert. I’m not trying to be funny. I am funny and a comic on weekends.
(An obviously upset Martha enters the office and walks straight to Colin’s cubby.)
Excuse me for second. Martha! Wait.
(Speaking to the person on the line.)
(Back to Martha.)
Amy? Wait a second. Let me get rid of this guy.
(Back on the telephone.)
I never accused you of being a predator. I would never do that. Would you hold for a moment, please! I have another caller.
(Turns back Martha.)
Yes, the school called. Well, she…she… Oh, my God!
She did what? Honey, calm down! I didn’t mean… Give me a moment.
(Back on the telephone.)
Could you please call me back in a few minutes. No? You bastard! No, I didn’t call you a bastard. And I didn’t call you a predator. I would never do that. And I never discuss cases over the telephone. No! You say you were convicted of molestation in June of 1996. And you’re not a predator. Again I didn’t call you a predator. I would never…
(He grabs a pen and a progress notepad and begins recording what the caller is saying by scribbling as fast as he can.)
Convicted of child molestation in June of 1996. And you went to prison…in what state? California…and Florida…in Florida and California…convicted and you’re not a predator. No, I didn’t call you a predator. No, I wouldn’t…those were your words. You need to slow down. Yes, I know you’re angry. I can hear you’re angry. Wait! Wait! You’re angry…getting angrier.
(Martha has become angrier and angrier until she can’t stand there any longer; at which point she storms out of the office.)
In California in 1996…and Florida when…never convicted in Florida, only accused there of… okay. For the record, I’ve written down what you told me. And for the record, you still claim you’re not a predator? He hung up! And Martha’s gone.
(Colin thinks about running after his wife and would’ve had his supervisor not stopped him. She has another new case for him.)
I know I just gave you one…what’s the matter?
I don’t know. Something about Amy. At school. Did you see Martha?
She was here. Now she’s gone.
No. She shouldn’t have run off. What’s up?
After losing two husbands, I should know. Better find out what’s going on.
No, she should’ve been more patient. She’s an adult and should act like one. She’s resourceful and can take care of whatever is going on with Amy. Anyway Amy should be in school. I’ll call the school later. Now tell me what you got for me. But remember I have court at one o’clock. .
Okay. It’s up to you. I really hate doing this to you.
If you say that one more time, I’m going to punch you in the nose. No.
(Indicating the six-sided folder)
Now let me have it.
Okay. Better call the social worker before things get stupid at the hospital.
(While the supervisor retreats to her office, Colin picks up the telephone but decides not to call. He begins reading the new report but can’t concentrate on it. Finally he wrestles a heavy phone book out of his bottom desk drawer and tears through the pages.)
Carrillo Middle School. Here it is! 777-0707.
(He dials the numbers.)
Carrillo Middle School? The counselor’s office, please. Hello, I’m Mr. Colin Rogers. I believe my daughter…Amy Rogers… The principal is handling it? Then I want to speak to the principal. That’s impossible? Why is it impossible? Then you tell me what’s going on. You can’t tell me over the telephone? I’ll come…no, but… I think my wife…I think she’s on the way. If I know her, she’s almost there. She’ll be there shortly. She should be walking into your office in a few minutes. Have her give me a call, as soon as she gets there, please. On my cell phone, please. Yes, she knows the number.
(After he hangs up, he closes his eyes for a moment, bites his lip, and shakes his head, all before he stuffs the new report into a briefcase filled with brochures and forms. But before he can leave the office, his supervisor catches him.)
I’m sorry. Another emergency. Say so if you can’t.
(Colin nods and swallows.)
I hate to do this to you. Are you sure?
(Colin nods and blinks.)
Sgt. Molina just called me. She told me that she didn’t have a detective right now and for us to work the case.
I may take an extended lunch hour today.
Take it. But don’t forget court.
Yeah. One o’clock. I’ll be there.