Boston Public
Chapter Forty-Two

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Dark Side of the Prom

Marilyn is having a little chat in her room with the girls who were auctioning themselves off. "We're not selling sex, Ms. Souter." They explain that that's just how the pitch makes it sound, but in fact the contract makes clear that the purchase is only of time, and the pleasure of their company, as prom dates. "You make them sign a contract?" One of the girls shows Marilyn a copy. Another asks Marilyn how often she saw her prom date again. Only once, says Marilyn, and the girl is all, "See? So what's the point?" Another adds, "Why make the prom this big emotional touchstone when you can make money instead?" They are, they insist, doing the boys a favor: "Supply and demand! Every guy wants a hot prom date. Trouble is, there's not enough of us to go around." The other girl chimes in, finally, that "with an auction, we level out the playing field. Guys like Matthew Carlson get to have their dream date. It was Mr. Guber's idea."

"I never suggested anything of the kind!" Marilyn has come to visit Scott in his office, and explains that the girls were in his young entrepreneurs club, in which he told them to assess their strength, and come up with a business plan based on it. "Well, I may have said something like that, but I never could have foreseen 'dateability' as the marketable skill they would latch onto." Wow, so it was all part of a business plan? I guess we should call them the Carnegie-Mello-litas…or something better, if it comes to mind. Marilyn wants Scott to stop, but he explains that he can't, since the people involved are all of age, and the contract doesn't call for sex. Marilyn isn't satisfied, but leaves anyway. Ronnie appears in the doorway and asks if Scott has a second.

The dungeon. Harry is talking to Robin, who seems kind of flip about this whole prom queen thing. "Their problem is they know I'm drop-dead in a tiara." Harry says he's worried that Robin may not, in fact, be ready for the spotlight. Of course the transgendered kid's name is Robin, by the way. It can't be, like, Steve or something. Robin explains that he's accepted himself, and if other people can't accept him, it's their problem. He's very wise. He's -- say it with me, Sars -- Transgendered Yoda. Hmmm. Doesn't have quite the same ring as "Gayoda," but you've got to be precise about these things. Harry says he'll back Robin, of course, but he needs to know that Robin's really thought about it. "I have. And it's something I wanna do."

Vice-office. Ronnie is appealing to Scott to let Jason go to the prom, because the banning also affects Natalie. "A few weeks ago she was living in a van. She doesn't have many friends. This is huge for her self-esteem. I know I'm asking for special treatment, but in this case I feel it's warranted." Scott relents: one week of detention. "Tell Natalie she would do well to find esteem somewhere other than in a date with a delinquent." Heh.

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Boston Public

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