The water bubbled in the coffee maker and the black liquid slowly dripped into the pitcher. He leaned up against the small marble counter, his foot tapping rapidly against the tile floor, and closed his eyes.
“How you doing today, Jim?”
He opened his eyes and saw a man with a yellow tie standing in the center of the room holding a coffee mug.
“We ready there?”
They sat at a small round table next to one of the dirty glass windows and drank their coffee beneath the steady hum of the air conditioning. A small stack of papers sat in the middle of the table.
“This was a bad idea,” he said.
The man with the yellow tie put his hand firmly down on the stack of papers.
“You can take your contract back, if you’d like?” he said. “This isn’t some joke or gimmick. Our teaching staff is held to a higher standard. We are leaders. We have to set an example. Homosexuality doesn’t belong in God’s world and it doesn’t belong at Shorter.”
The man with the yellow tie cast a cold stare at his colleague who slowly sipped his morning coffee.
“I’m just saying,” he said. “That Shorter University may be a little… short, on leaders after this.”
The man with the yellow tie checked his watch then looked up at the big clock that hung above the door.
“It’s early,” he said. “Another thirty minutes until the first bell. And look.” He picked up the stack of papers. “Least six people have already joined the side of positive change.”
He dropped the papers against the table and stood up, stretching his back in the cool morning sun. He could see the students walking through the yard in sport jackets and slacks, skirts and white blouses, and a yellow school bus parked out in the street.
“These kids are the future,” he said. “We have to show them what’s right and what’s wrong. If we have to do that with six teachers instead of 60, well, we’re better for it.”
The long hand of the clock clicked closer to the top of the hour and the man in the yellow tie finished up his coffee. He picked up the stack of papers and tapped them against the edge of the table.
“I’ll be in my office,” he said. “You better get to class.”
He sat in the empty teacher’s lounge with his feet up on a chair and watched the doorway that sat beneath the black and white clock. The minute hand ticked another inch closer to the top of the hour and he took a sip of his cold coffee.
“Looks like its a leaderless he world,” he said to himself as a grin spread across his face.
The bell rang. The students filed into their classrooms. And he slowly walked down the hall and out of the building.