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Keith Pringle looked like a stereotypical school superintendent. White, middle-aged, average height, not fat, but he had a belly that spoke of more hours behind a desk than out being active. His thin, wire-rimmed glasses sat atop a bulbous nose. His hair was also thin, especially on the top, and a bit disheveled like he had been running his hand through it. He wore a blue suit that was a bit rumpled. In general, he looked like a man who had a lot on his plate and could use a good vacation.
“Thank you for coming so quickly,” he began and then paused not knowing how to continue.
I looked to the woman lying on the bed. She was asleep or knocked out; I wasn’t sure which. Her breathing was shallow and fast, almost a pant. But, according to the monitor standing sentinel next to her bed, her heartrate was steady and blood pressure appeared to be normal, from what little I knew about vitals. She was hooked up to an IV of something slowly dripping into a line running under the covers, presumably to her left hand.
Pringle just stood there—silent. It had been hard for him to talk to me over the phone; this was almost impossible face-to-face. I could see him having an internal debate. Was this some sort of early senior prank on the school superintendent? I wondered briefly how he had ended up at the symposium earlier today to begin with.
“I’m guessing this is Ms. Pruett you told me about on the phone,” I started. “Why don’t you tell me what happened.”
Mr. Pringle sighed and moved to the far corner of the room, where a built-in bench lined one wall and a chair sat next to a small table. He motioned to us to follow suit. Kieron and I sat on the bench, while Pringle took the chair.
He took a deep breath and began.