I looked down from my perch to see a large middle-aged African-American woman looking up at me.
“I’m Aaron Elliot’s mom. Can we talk?”
“Sure. Be right down.” I hooked the last of the Christmas lights to the guttering and descended the ladder.
“I ’pologize for botherin’ you at home on a weekend.”
“No problem. How can I help you?”
“Well, it’s this drug dealer. Aaron admires him so, what with his fancy car, his jewelry, and his money. He’s tryin’ to get Aaron to sell for him. The kids all call him—”
“‘The Snowman’, ’cause he mostly deals cocaine. Yes, I know about him. Have you called the police?”
“They’ve tried, but he’s too slick.” She dabbed her red eyes with a tissue. “Sir, you my last hope.”
I patted her shoulder. “I’ll see what I can do.”
I knew firsthand the impact of drugs on my high school and on my own family: late-night phone calls, jails, hospitals…funerals. And I knew the limitations on the police and on the courts.
After Thanksgiving, I slowly gained The Snowman’s confidence. “Principals like to party, too,” I’d told him. Then, on a cold December night, I convinced him to make a delivery to my home…
In March, Mrs. Elliot stopped by again.
“Don’t know what happened,” she said. “That dealer just up and disappeared.”
“Yeah, he probably just left town,” I said.
She smiled and nodded. “Yeah, that’s probably it. Well, whatever happened, I thank you. And Aaron’s doin’ so much better.”
“That’s good to hear.”
“By the way, I see all your Christmas decorations are down ’cept for that big plastic snowman in the yard.”
“I kind of like that one.” I smiled. And even a scumbag pusher deserves a grave marker, I thought.