“Mr Fat, I’m afraid I can’t take your playground duty for you today. I’m escorting Officer Ho to lunch,” said Scholar Fong Siew. Her words were firm and confident but her tone and demeanour were not.
The sports teacher stepped forward so that he could more easily loom over the shorter Scholar Fong. “I’ve got a pre-competition meeting with the interschool gi-team and then I’m seeing the under-15 baseball team about their new uniforms for the provincial tournament.”
“And you just happened to arrange those meetings for a day you knew you had playground duty on.” Scholar Fong’s voice was flat and unsurprised.
“Why not when I know you’ll do the playground duty for me?” Mr Fat smiled down at Scholar Fong in an unfriendly fashion from a head and shoulders above her, completely ignoring Officer Ho.
“Today I already have a commitment,” she replied, tilting her head to look back up at him, “so I can’t help you.”
Mr Fat began, “Do I have to remind,” then Officer Ho coughed. Quite sharply.
“I’m sure we would all be much happier, Mr Fat, if you did nothing to suggest to me that I should give a practical demonstration of the current doctrine on the use of reasonable force as it applies in law enforcement.” Officer Ho appeared to be loosening the muscles in his neck and shoulders as he spoke, his small but significant movements suggesting limbering up.
“You’re what? Some sort of pencil pusher to be sent out around the schools like this?” Mr Fat sneered down at the shorter man. “I haven’t done anything-”
“Not yet,” admitted Officer Ho, “but you sound exactly like someone who’s about to.” He smiled beatifically.