The drive back to town took forever, especially with Jane's excited voice constantly bouncing off the car's windows. Oh, that voice!
My reaction was different, the opposite of Jane's. My goal was to get Becky out of there, and that happened. But, where she was and where she was going was unknown.
I had to know what brought all this on. How in the world could a kid end up like that, living worse than an animal? There was no question the girl was trouble, and I felt her intelligence. It wouldn't take long to figure out that people, no matter how old or in any power position, would be afraid of this huge, ugly girl. And there was that spark of fear I saw in her when her father arrived.
It never once crossed my mind that Becky would actually shoot that gun at me. Besides, if she did, I wouldn't have survived, and sure as hell couldn't do anything about it. No sense in getting wound up about it.
All I had to do is think of those two Sheriff officers diving behind their car to become furious all over again. I broke into Jane's adrenaline jibber-jabber long enough to ask her about it, and all she said was that was how they're trained. They protect themselves. No sense in having them around then.
Once we pulled into the parking lot, my mind went to how I would write up the case notes. I was dug pretty deeply into my thoughts as we climbed the stairs to the second floor. Ahead of me, Jane pulled open the door to the bull pen and I was startled out of my thinking when the entire room burst into applause. What? I didn't even make it to my cubicle to take off my coat before my supervisor grabbed my arm. What? She dragged me into her office with all three unit supervisors following, and closed the door. Uh oh, what did I do that was so terrible? Boy, was I confused!
"Are you OK? What happened? I talked to the Sheriff's and they told me the girl pulled a gun on you? Are you OK? Do you need to go to the hospital?" What?
I started to give a brief rundown of the chain of events when the Big Boss, who I never met before, came in and asked me if I was OK. Why wouldn't I be OK? I was here, wasn't I? What the hell is the big deal? I started getting pissed again.
"Look, I'm fine. That girl is what's important. She was in horrible, horrible conditions and she needs major help. What can we do for her? Is there emergency placement available for her because I am not sending her back to that place! Where is she? The officer said he was taking her to the station for questioning and didn't know what would happen to her after. I don't want daddy anywhere near her until I find out what's going on."
Quiet. Uh oh. The agency boss stood there looking at me, my supervisor was looking at me, but I couldn't read their faces. Uh oh, I did it this time. I mouthed off to the Big Boss and my ass is grass.
My supervisor said, "There's the juvenile emergency home up at the State Hospital, but I don't know if I could get her in."
"I can. I'll make a call." The Big Boss turned around and left at quite a clip. She was a big woman, and how fast she moved startled me. I had never heard of this program, so I pumped out the questions. It was a non secure place, in a nice, large house outside the State Hospital grounds. Becky would get a controlled, quiet environment, she'll be fed, have a clean bed and clothes, and they'll start intensive counseling.
Big Boss returned, said it was set, the Sheriffs will deliver her there and I could see her tomorrow. Before she finished talking, the head of security came in.
"Until we know what is going on, you will be escorted to and from your car by security. They have your home address and will be patrolling often," said Big Boss. Whatwhatwhat? She stuck out her hand to me and said, "You did a great job today." Then she was gone again. Does she even know my name?
The head of security had a ton of questions to fill in some form, and I kept telling him I wasn't in any danger, that everyone was freaking out for nothing. He tried to tell me of other cases where caseworkers were attacked, but it didn't apply to me.
When I finally got over to my cubicle, the floor was empty and quiet. Everyone had gone home. Laying on my desk and chair were six huge expandable files, all the history of this family the agency had on file.
Well, tomorrow's another day.
Oh, there's more to the story...