Social Skills

“Ah… almost forgot. I have to report at the local police station tomorrow to be handed a caution. And you’ll have to be with me ’cause I’m a minor,” his 16-year-old son Mike said casually, opening the fridge.

“Huh? What did you say?” Frank asked. He could hear his son very well, but it was rather the casual tone of his announcement that was somehow wrong.

“Exactly what you heard, Dad,” Mike said, scratching his head and staring into the open fridge, as if looking for inspiration.

“So you’re in trouble again?” Frank couldn’t hide his irritation.

“Just hold your horses. There ain’t no trouble. They’re not locking me up yet. I’m simply being cautioned.”

“Simply? What did you do?”

“Nothing. Was caught in that shopping mall I was banned from.”

“Criminal trespass.”

“Whatever. I was doing nothing wrong.”

“You were. You are banned from the place for two years so going there is off limits. Is it that difficult to understand?”

“That Turkish security guard is the problem, and his uncanny memory.”

“You are the problem, and your ridiculous cap. Do you ever take it off?

“Can you take your cap off, while talking to me, Mike?” the cop said.

There was irritation in his voice, and Frank eyed the cop with curiosity. He was just a few years older than his son. A kid in a uniform. They were in an interview room at their local police station, and Frank was surprised at how all the cops there knew his son’s name.

“Did your son tell you the reason for being summoned, Sir?” the cop addressed him.

“Criminal trespass.”


“Hang on a sec. Isn’t it a bit heavy-handed? It’s the only entertainment precinct in the entire suburb. A kid like him has nowhere else to go.”

“That’s not an entertainment precinct, Sir. That’s a shopping mall where people don’t want to be troubled by teenagers hanging out with nothing better to do on Saturday night.”

“Fair enough. Yet, I still don’t understand why he was banned in the first place. What exactly did he do except for being a bit outspoken? ”

“We expect you, Sir, to give your son a clip on the ear. Instead it looks like you’re defending his actions,” the cop answered in, what Frank felt, a somewhat raised voice.

“You got me wrong. I’m not defending him. I just want to know why he was banned if he hadn’t broken the law.”

“Why were you banned, Mike?” the cop addressed his son.

“Got into trouble,” Mike answered with a sheepish smile. Not quite the same cocky, outspoken teenager that Frank knew.

“Do you know what will happen if we catch you again?”

“I do.”

“Let me just repeat it to you and your dad. You’ll be locked up with all the…”

“Unsavoury characters,” Frank finished, getting a cold look from the cop for some reason.

“Not to mention a criminal record.”

On their way home, Mike couldn’t contain his anger.

“Why did you butt in?” he asked his father. “Nobody asked you to.”

“I only tried to help you.”

“You didn’t. You just made a fool of yourself. I knew what I was there for. To be cautioned. And you were there just to sit through it. Quietly.”

“Sure. I noticed that you were unusually quiet. No answering back like you always do to me.”

“The police station is no place for joking or making silly comments about unsavoury characters. You lack social skills.”

“The only social skill I need to deal with you, son, is giving you a sound clip on the ear. Isn’t it what the cop said?”

Social Skills


Joined January 2008

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