End of the school year. The time for Award assemblies,
banquets. I was assisting at the Boys Athletic
Association Awards Banquet. The cafeteria manager came
to me, flustered. Clutching papers in one shaking hand,
pale, tears forming, teeth clenched, lips pursed.
"Miss Nater, we’re about to run out of steaks. I
don’t know what happened. I never have ordered short.
But this year I didn’t do the ordering, Coach T insisted
on doing the ordering, he could get a better deal, the
Boy’s V.P approved the transaction. Before the banquet
Coach brought the steaks himself."
"Where’s the purchase order?"
"Right here. Look, it indicates the amount of steaks,
way, way more than enough but it doesn’t match the
number we’ve cooked and served. I don’t know what to
I did not like or trust Coach T. His past purchase
orders were suspicious. His inventories routinely didn’t
add up. But he only answered to the Boy’s
Vice-Principal. Other stories had floated up to me about
his inappropriate behavior, but nothing actionable. He
was the coach of a winning football team, one of the
untouchables; protected by a system that was beyond my
"You say that he brought in the boxes of steaks?"
"He and the V.P."
"What kind of car does he drive?"
"It’s the blue Chevy sedan parked behind the
"Come with me. Bring along a flashlight."
Out to coach’s car. One moment of light was all it
took. Stacked in the back seat were boxes. It was
unlocked. In the darkness, we carried box after box back
into the cafeteria. None of the women doing the cooking
batted an eye. They smiled, unloaded the steaks, cooked
The party was a grand success. But the best was yet
There was a substantial surplus of steaks. I
instructed the cafeteria women to divide up the steaks
among themselves, put them in their cars, then finish up
their work, and plan their own family barbeques.
The banquet ended, guests departed, Coach T, walked
through the cafeteria kitchen stopping long enough to
thank the crew and disappeared out the back into the
parking lot. We continue to work, waiting. Moments
The back door slammed open, Coach T. raced through
the kitchen, gasping, pale, shaking, lips quivering,
mumbling incoherent words; we heard:
"Buck, Buck (that’s the V.P.) they’re gone, they’re
Then both men came charging through the kitchen. No
one even looked up. They came dashing back, looking
"Great banquet Coach, is there a problem?"
"No, no, no."
I could make out a few of the words being exchanged
between the two of them, like, "robbed... damn …...
how’d they know…? Jesus…" They left.