Not long ago the Blue Tide Express reported that a long-time, beloved teacher at Glenmore High School had been charged with child molestation and rape, and it had been going on for a long time. Jerry McCoy had been an educator at Glenmore for 30 years.
McCoy was a tall, scrawny man with a too-wide smile and a bad comb-over. Often he looked as though he’d heard something funny, the crooked smile plastered on his face pretty much his sole expression. It was interesting; his smile seemed to signal how harmless Jerry McCoy was, or if unfortunate, perhaps telegraph his feebleness. It seemed like that, anyway. It didn’t occur to people that his smile was all about the pleasure he felt at winning in his game of deception. Because, you see, along with this bad hair and slanting grin Jerry McCoy also possessed a twisted desire for young boys.
For 30 years McCoy was considered by faculty and non-molested students alike to be one of the best educators in town. He won Teacher of the Year five years in a row and regularly led a popular continuing education seminar for other teachers. He also worked tirelessly in the community, volunteering long hours at youth service events and camps. His reputation was spotless.
When he retired from Glenmore Jerry McCoy expected to take up painting or writing in his leisure; maybe attend a boys’ basketball tournament here and there. It never occurred to him that his very first special friend had been worrying and wondering and replaying bad memories and being hospitalized and losing jobs and losing relationships and losing himself for the past 30 years. When ‘Student Zero’ finally hit rock bottom at the age of 40 and killed himself in an alley in New York City, his suicide note clearly detailed his abuse as an 11-year old at the hands of Jerry McCoy. While Student Zero was never able to tell his story while alive, Student Zero’s older brother had no such qualms. You see while Student Zero had run from Blue Tide and his torturous memories 30 years ago, his older brother had stayed and become the local police chief.
Jerry McCoy’s retirement was to last only two weeks.
McCoy was sitting comfortably on his wide front porch thumbing through yesterday’s Blue Tide Express when he heard the patrol car pull up. He thought nothing of it. Bo Baker was one of his regular golfing partners.
As McCoy rose to greet Chief Baker and his men, he couldn’t help notice the Chief’s hurried pace; the man was almost running to the porch. And his face – it was so violently red that it almost looked purple.
“Hey there, Chief. What can I do you for?” McCoy asked. He held out his hand in greeting.
Chief Baker slapped his hand down, grabbing McCoy’s arms roughly and pulling them behind him.
“We KNOW, Jerry, you sick son-of-a-bitch! We know! I brought these men with me,” he pointed over his shoulder at the two patrolmen, “so I wouldn’t kill you myself.”
McCoy stared at Chief Baker for a second and then all the color left his face like paint down a drain. He tried to say something but nothing came.
Suddenly his wife, Sheryl Anne, appeared at the door.
“Jerry, what’s going on?” she quivered. “Why are these men here?”
McCoy straightened up and turned to her.
“It’s all a mistake, honey,” he said, holding his head high and his shoulders back. “You’ll see. Don’t worry!”
As McCoy was led away, Sheryl Anne ran behind him keening at his heels. He stumbled several times on the walk to the squad car, and neither the Chief nor his two patrolmen helped him up when he eventually fell. As a matter of fact if you’d been there you’d have seen the Chief arch his foot back, ready to kick the shit out of McCoy as he lay on the sidewalk. There are some men who deserve to be kicked when they’re down, the Chief figured, but he’d stopped himself.
“I knew he’d get ‘kicked’ enough in prison,” he later told his family.
In jail one day after a shower in which a couple of convicts taught McCoy what goes around comes around, he was said to have found Jesus. After that he regularly attended mass and met with the penitentiary’s priest every few days. He even became a lay minister. Around his neck hung a gaudy gold crucifix Sheryl Anne had bought at Walmart during the trial. He told everyone he was at peace and was good with God, now. He had been reborn.
Reborn or not, McCoy wouldn’t be on this earth long enough to truly repent. He died in prison not two years later. One minute he was standing in the prison church listening to Father Colin’s midday service, and the next he was slumped in the pew, bible still in hand, dead as a doornail.
And that was that. It seems even Jesus couldn’t stand the likes of Jerry McCoy.