Deadbeat Dad–Part 1
"Gordon," Maxine said nervously over the intercom, "the Wichita police are here. They have a warrant."
"A warrant? For who?" Gordon asked.
"The officer didn't say. He just said he wanted to talk to you about one of our employees," she answered.
"Great," Gordon thought sarcastically. "I just love surprises."
He pressed the intercom button. "Maxine, find out who the warrant is for and pull the employee's file. Tell the officers I'll be right with them."
"Okay," Maxine said.
Gordon drummed his fingers on the desk as he waited for Maxine. His day was jammed with meetings. He had scheduled two presentations to roll out a new employee benefits program. The first one began in less than two hours, and he still had to attend to some last-minute details. Now this.
Maxine walked in with the file. "Officers Cranston and Miljus want to see Hank Risen. Here's the warrant. Apparently Hank's quite a bit behind on his child support," she said, waiting for further direction.
As Gordon flipped through Hank Risen's file, he noticed Hank had joined the company about four years ago. He had a vague recollection of hiring Hank as a graphic artist, but nothing stood out.
"Hmmm . . .," Gordon mused, "Hank's performance reviews are satisfactory. No attendance problems. Seems pretty much like 'Joe Average.'mid Maybe this won't be such a big deal."
"Maxine, tell Officers Cranston and Miljus to come in."
Officer Cranston entered the room. He held his cap under his left arm as he extended his right to greet Gordon, and he then introduced his partner, Officer Miljus. Both men were in their mid-to-late 20s.
"Sorry to have to disturb you, sir," Officer Cranston said, "but we've been looking for Hank Risen for three years. He's been ducking us."
"Three years?" Gordon questioned. "But he's been here all along."
"I don't know why we lost him; we just did. Someone screwed up our computer records on his file. But he's behind three years on child support, and we have to take him down to county jail."
Gordon had never received a visit from the police before and wanted to cooperate. "Okay, I don't see that you should have any problem. But let me get our chief of security, Mark Kello, and another guard to meet us. I'll escort you to the floor, and we'll assist. I'll also need to give Hank's manager a call to let her know we're coming."
Gordon punched in Mark Kello's extension. "Mark, I have some officers here with a warrant to pick up Hank Risen for nonpayment of child support. Could you and one of your guards meet us at the fifth floor elevators, say in about 10 minutes?"
"Sure, I'll bring Norton with me," replied Mark.
Gordon then called Janet Marx, Hank's manager. "Janet, we need your help. I'm going to be arriving with some police officers . . . ."
"Police officers!" she interrupted. "What for?"
"It's not that big of a deal, Janet. It seems that Hank Risen is behind in his child support, and they need to take him to county jail."
"Oh, dear," Janet sighed. "Do you have to come up here? That could be very embarrassing for him; he's such a shy guy anyway."
Gordon thought a moment. Showing up on the floor could be embarrassing, but they might have to trump up a story to get Hank downstairs. Gordon didn't like the idea of fabricating a story. And if Janet told Hank the truth, Hank might try to give them the slip.
"I realize it could be embarrassing, Janet, but we don't have very much choice here. We have to comply with the warrant. I'm also sending Mark Kello and Norton along. Plus, I'll be there to make sure everything goes okay."
"I don't like this, Gordon," she replied. "It's going to upset everyone else on the floor and humiliate Hank. How do you think he'll feel when he has to return to work? Look, I could understand if we were dealing with an ax murderer or a rapist."
"Trust me, Janet, we'll be in and out of there in a flash. No one will even notice," Gordon assured her.
"Oh, right . . . two armed officers and security guards. Why don't you just call in the SWAT team while you're at it?" Janet snapped.
"Look, Janet, please cooperate. We'll be up in five minutes."
Gordon hung up the phone, grabbed his file, and walked out of the office with Officers Cranston and Miljus. As they rode up the elevator to the fifth floor, Officer Cranston nervously stroked his nightstick. Gordon noticed and started to get an uneasy feeling in his stomach.
"Are you concerned about this at all?" Gordon asked.
"Not really," Officer Cranston responded. "We do this all the time. These guys are generally angry that they got caught, and they may grouse a bit, but mostly they're pretty cooperative. Usually they're so embarrassed in front of their co-workers, they don't want to create a scene. It kind of works to our advantage in that case," Cranston chuckled.
Gordon didn't find Officer Cranston's humor very comforting. He was beginning to have second thoughts, when the elevator doors opened. As they walked off they were greeted by Mark Kello, chief of security, and his assistant, Norton. Gordon made some perfunctory introductions and the group strolled down the long hall to the graphics department.
The graphics department was a large room filled with computers and printers. All the artists were deeply involved with their projects. All were transfixed to their screens as they clicked their respective "mice" and busily worked on their assignments. Janet, Hank's manager, was pacing outside the door of the department.
"Look, I don't want you guys coming onto the floor. I think it looks bad. Can't you wait out here in the hallway, and let me ask Hank to come out here?" Janet implored.
Gordon considered this as he reflected on Officer Cranston's comment. He really didn't want to humiliate Hank. "Maybe you're right, Janet. Go ahead and ask him to join us in the hall."
Janet walked up to Hank. Hank was a wiry guy who kept pretty much to himself. He exercised in the fitness center every day at noon but he didn't socialize with the others.
Hank was deep in thought. Janet quietly approached and cleared her throat. "Excuse me, Hank, can I see you for a moment?"
Hank's eyes were glued to his screen. "Sure, Jan, but can it wait about 15 secs? I just need to save this file and send it to the printer," Hank responded.
"Fine, I'll wait for you out in the hall," she smiled.
"The hall?" Hank asked, looking up from his screen. "Why the hall?"
"Gordon from human resources needs to see you, and he's waiting in the hall."
"What does he want?"
Janet started to get uncomfortable. "I'm . . . I'm not exactly sure, Hank . . . Look, just save your file and meet me outside in the hall," she said hurriedly.
"I'm blowing it," Janet thought. She felt sick. She had never misled her staff. They knew her as a straight shooter, and she knew that Hank must have found her behavior out of character. She held her breath as she started to walk toward the door to the hall.
Hank was on her heels and she could feel his breath behind her. When they reached the hall, Hank spotted the officers. Before Janet could turn around to explain, Hank demanded, "Hey, what's this all about?"
"Mr. Risen?" Officer Cranston queried.
"Yeah, I'm Risen," Hank spewed.
"Mr. Risen, I have a warrant for your arrest for nonpayment of child support. Could you please face the wall, sir; we're going to need to place you in handcuffs and then take you to the county jail," Officer Cranston politely explained.
"No way! Who the hell does my ex-wife think she is, sending me to jail!" Hank fumed.
"Please calm down, Mr. Risen. I'm sure you can work this out with your attorney."
"Work this out with my attorney?! Who has money for an attorney after that bloodsucking vampire squeezes you for every dime. Stay away from me," Hank yelled, pushing Officer Cranston away.
Officer Miljus reached for his nightstick, but Hank lunged forward and let out a howl. Before Miljus could do anything, Hank spun around, and with a snapping kick, he split the officer's leg in two.
To find out what happened next….
Excerpted from Sex, Laws, & Stereotypes, by N. Elizabeth Fried, Ph.D.©