Reason for rejection: No idea.
Context: Cooper has befriended a boy named Roddy. But Roddy is a danger to himself and others. Cooper has told Nora all about it. Basically this answers the question: "Whatever happened to Roddy?"
“Mrs Walker. What a wonderful surprise to see you again.” The principal, Mr Reese, gets up to welcome Nora. “Though I’m surprised. I can’t imagine Sarah, Kitty, Thomas, Kevin or Justin responsible for anything current. And Paige is no longer with us either…. So, I can only assume that it’s about Cooper?”
“Yes, it is. I hate to bring this to you. I’ve purposely not discussed this with Sarah, because I didn’t want her to create a problem. Perhaps, as a grandmother, I’m more capable of taking a step backwards and look at the grand picture, rather than at the small details…. Well, at least, I hope that there is a grand picture.” Nora sighs, wondering how to approach the subject.
“What is it about? How can I help you?” Mr Reese asks.
“It’s a boy. He’s in Cooper’s class. His name is Roddy. Roderick is his full name, I think. Cooper befriended the boy… But now he has found out that the boy isn’t such a good friend…”
“I think I know who Cooper is talking about… Indeed a troubled young man. Troubled family. We were hoping that the influence of his aunt, who’s now looking after him, and the transfer to a new school would make a change in his life.”
“He’s ruining Cooper’s life.” Nora points out, not wishing to make it sound softer than it is.
“First he threw rocks at an old cat. Cooper was horrified. He hates animal abuse. Then this Roddy set a barn on fire. The fire caused the owner to have a heart-attack. Something this Roddy found very amusing.” Nora’s lips form a straight line, showing her disapproval.
Mr Reese makes notes and he nods.
“I already suspected that it wouldn’t last long until the boy would get in trouble again. I’m truly sorry to be right.”
“I’m sorry you’re right too…. It’s having a bad effect on my grandson.”
Nora, at this point, can’t bother to show too much care for Roddy. Her shoulders sink.
“Listen. I’m not stupid. I raised 2 daughters and 3 sons. I get pranks. I get mischievous behavior. I get that kids play and do stupid things sometimes. I can even stretch the ‘boys will boys’ line very far. God knows, I’ve stretched it many times for my own sons.
But the behavior that Roddy has, according to Cooper, shows something far more dangerous. I think that that young man is on a very wrong path…. I don’t know if you remember a boy called Alex Grodin? A friend of Kevin’s?...” She stops and watches how Mr Reese digs through his memory.
“Yes…. I remember him. Hopeless case. Not a stupid boy, just.. no one who would stimulate him to do something with his life…. I wonder what became of him.”
“He turned out to be a psychopath who nearly killed Kevin, his husband and two of Kevin’s friends. He got shot and killed when someone else tried to kidnap Kevin’s son… It’s complicated…”
Nora’s answer shocks Mr Reese. Yet, she's relentless.
“I can see Roddy go the same way Alex did. There was no one there for Alex when it could have mattered. No one cared to step up for him. No one helped him. Everyone just stood by as the boy sank away deeper and deeper in misery.
Which is why, now, I’m here. Hearing what Cooper told me about that child, Roddy, I’m not going to idly stand by and do nothing. He needs help. He truly needs someone to take charge. Cooper is in no position to help Roddy. No more than Kevin could have helped Alex. Roddy needs professional help before he gets lost.”
Nora looks at Mr Reese, somehow expecting some sort of miracle. Mr Reese nods quietly.
“Yes. I can see that you’re right. We had hoped for another outcome. But.. we have to face it… We are in no position to give the young man the help he truly needs…” He accepts reluctantly.
“I just want Cooper to stay out of this… It can’t lead back to him. If this Roddy would take revenge on Cooper…” She doesn’t finish her sentence, thinking back of all the issues that had come between Alex and Kevin.
“Don’t worry. Roddy will never know about Cooper’s involvement.” Mr Reese promises…