He waited for an hour. He checked his watch again to make sure that he hadn’t missed the meeting time. Ten more minutes. Just enough time to arrive and not seem overly early. Checking himself in the mirror one last time, he decided it was time to go.
He reached behind him and picked up the backpack from the car seat then headed toward the school. It was an older building, probably constructed in the early part of the last century. The stone exterior had a very vintage appearance with etched glass windows and a very formal entrance.
The interior looked newer. It was clean, almost sterile in appearance, and the floor had the appearance of glass, and he thought to himself that this must be one of the shiniest floors he had seen in a long time. He saw the sign on the wall that said “Office” and made his way to the door.
Entering in, he approached the front counter and introduced himself to the woman standing there.
“Mr. Keating to see Principal Jones.” The elderly lady smiled at him then checked a clipboard.
“The principal will be with you momentarily.” she said. “You can have a seat over there.” She motioned toward a row of chairs on the wall.
Mr. Keating thanked her then headed to the chairs, sitting down and looking around the room. There was a bulletin board on the opposite wall with a calendar of upcoming events, including a formal dance celebrating the upcoming Fall Festival. The artwork on the flyer was nothing spectacular, but somehow it made him think back to his own days of being in school.
As he reminisced, the door to the office opened an in walked a looming figure. He stood a proper 6 foot tall, his suit fitting him finely. His face was gruff, worn from age and stress, and his hair was white, or at least what was left of it. The secratary behind the desk caught his attention and pointed to where Mr. Keating was sitting. He turned, eyeing the young man in the chair.
Sticking his hand out, he introduced himself. “Principle Jones. Very nice to meet you Mr. Keating.” The principals handshake was firm and his eyes locked with Mr. Keating’s in what might have been perceived as a battle of wills as their hands clasped.
Mr. Keating returned the handshake and the stare. “Very nice to meet you to, sir.” he responded back to the principle. The principle took a second, sized up his opponent, then deciding, gave a firm downward shake and breathed out heavily.
“Very good.” He said, then releasing his grip he turned and said to Mr. Keating, “Shall we discuss the matter in my office?” Then without waiting for an answer, turned and headed toward a door behind the countertop. Mr. Keating collected his backpack and followed.
As they entered the office, Mr. Keating was quite aware of the decor. Several plaques hung on the wall with words like “Best”, “First”, “Top” and “Preeminent”. There was a large oaken desk that the principal moved behind and sat in the chair of, offering Mr. Keating a chair at the front. On the wall behind the desk there were several framed certificates and diplomas, completing the ominous feel of superiority in the room.
“So,” the principal started, folding his hands in front of him, “tell me why you want to teach at this school.”