DEATH IN THE FACULTY ROOM- CHAPTER XI

Herbert Philbrick!!!! I thought, I did not know that he was even a real person and what was Ellerbee trying to say. I was not understanding where all of this was going. Right then I felt that the world was spinning out of control and I was no longer a 3rd grade teacher with four years of experience , a wife who was pregnant and a mortgage. This was not a direction that I was planning on.
Ellerbee started to explain what he had in mind.” Mr. Hodges, what we would like you to do is to become an official FBI agent. Before you go and roll your eyes or jump up, please hear me out. I cannot tell you now, but will very shortly, if things go right, what is going on here. This is not an isolated series of events. These deaths are all involved with national security. Although the FBI deals with domestic happenings, it often gets involved with other agencies. You must have figured that out by know because of your relationship with Roger DeCinces.
We desperately need someone here at Fleming Elementary School and in the community to determine what is actually going on. We cannot get someone in here under cover in such a short time. It would not look normal and we would be spooking the person or people who are responsible for these deaths. We do suspect that Mr. Driggs was poisoned. It was such an esoteric poison that we almost missed it in the autopsy. If it wasn’t for an alert doctor, we would never have found out.
We need someone here in the building. We have been watching you , looking into your past and believe that you could help us.” I was caught up short. In my mind, I thought that he was asking me to spy on my colleagues. I asked him that question. He responded, “ I guess in some ways that is exactly what I am asking. Not only am I asking you to keep your eye out, but I am also saying that you will be on your own, in terms of investigating this whole case, no matter what direction it goes.. I know you are thinking about your safety, as well as the safety of your child to come. We can never guarantee perfect coverage, but you will a lot safer than you are right now. Although nothing has happened since Miss Reinhold’s death, there is still a chance that the malefactor(s) of these events are keeping an eye on you. Here is what I am proposing. We would like you to go for training as an FBI agent in Quantico, Virginia. Normally, the training takes 13 weeks, but we will cut it down to ten, so that you can make it back her to teach in September.
We will move your wife and some of your belongings down to Quantico, so that you can live off post. You will just be and FBI trainee, as will others.” I guess the look on my face must have told Ellerbee something.” We will explain your long absence from your home during the summer, as you taking courses at the University of Virginia for your Master’s Degree in Education. You will, in fact be registered there and courses will show your name.”
“Isn’t this pretty short notice, Mr. Ellerbee? The school year is almost over and we have to do things to our new house to get it ready for the baby when it comes in November. What happens if this case is not finished by then. How will we work that?” “ I wish we had it all figured out, Mr. Hodges, but we would work it this way. You tell us what you want done to your house and we will do it during your absence. You will not be charged with any of the expenses. Since we are not moving you to another part of country, that will save us money. We will pay you the beginning FBI agent’s salary when you finish training. You payment while in training is somewhat less, but much more than what you make as a teacher. When the school year begins, you will be paid by us, as well as your school district. That will more than make up for your wife being unable to teach this next year.”
It appeared that Mr. Ellerbee had everything figured out. I was impressed with his presentation, as well as his forethought in mostly everything. I lowered my head and told him that I really needed to talk it over with Daphne. He said that he would need an answer pretty quickly. He gave me his card. He said to call him anytime at all.
That night I went home and presented the offer to Daphne. She was astonished that the FBI had such confidence in me. She did not seem to be worried about any danger that we might be in. That surprised me. Daphne was worried, however about how our life would change over the next year or so. How many nights would I be out doing things for the FBI and how would this cut short our social life. All of these things considered, she was partial to me doing it.
I thought for a while and wondered how anyone could possible lead a normal life doing these things. Then it dawned on me. There was one person who could tell me what it was like. I got on the phone and dialed information . Could they give me the number of a Herbert Philbrick in Boar’s Head New Hampshire. I had looked up Philbrick in the school library and found out that we was living there, giving lectures and speaking about his experiences. I got the number.
Mr. Philbrick answered the phone on the first ring. I introduced myself and told him about my situation. I asked him please not to discuss the situation with anyone. He laughed and said that he had spent nine years not telling anyone anything. He was married with six children. I asked if he led a normal life during those nine years. He told me, as he looks back on it, it was as normal as it could have been. My wife was a trooper and held thing together at home and that he continued his career as an advertising exec . all during that time. This conversation settled many of the doubts in my mind. Philbrick calmed me down quite a bit. It was not until much later, that I found out that Ellerbee had called him and told him to expect my call.

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