Boston Public
Chapter Seventeen

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Fyvush on Shakespeare: "He has a sexual lewd problem."

Previously on Boston Public: Lauren dumped Harry; Steven yelled at Harvey for not liking Shakespeare and told him he had to teach it with Lisa Greer; a security guard revealed that tapes of naked girls showering were stolen, and that they included footage of Lauren; Lauren was incredulous about this; Tyronn told Harry he killed someone; an angry man with a shotgun almost killed Tyronn and Marilyn; Tyronn told Harry it seems the word is out he killed that kid; Tyronn tried to leave town; Steven told Harry that Tyronn was killed at the bus stop.

Night at Winslow High. Steven is packing up a bag for some reason when The Exposition Fairy comes in, encrusted with magical seedlings for future plot lines. "Steven," she says. "Rumor mill: the Dragon Lady is circling her wagons." Steven wants to know what for. "Lisa Greer teaching a class? Don't say I didn't warn you." Steven's all, "Fine, I won't say that, Louisa." But when he tries to leave, she tells him he's got a meeting with a parent who has been waiting for twenty minutes. The Exposition Fairy has brought documentation to help with her special guest, and gives Steven this woman's daughter's transcript: "Sophomore. Good grades. No disciplinary problems." Steven asks if we know what this meeting is about. "Something about the school buses." Adjusting his tie, Steven sighs, "Okay. Send her in." A friendly-looking woman, Ms. Roening, comes in and thanks Steven for agreeing to meet with her, and when she mentions her daughter, Steven's all, "Marie. Excellent student. I wish they were all like her, believe me." Ms. Roening smiles politely at the transparent flattery and says she has a question about the bus. "Well, there's been studies recently on school buses in Los Angeles, actually newer buses than the ones we use, but the same kind. They found more diesel exhaust inside the bus than smog outside. Carcinogenic soot!" Wow. Gross. Steven nods, unperturbed. "Oh. Um. I did not know that." Ms. Roening reiterates her point: "Well. This is bad, isn't it? Diesel fumes inside? According to this report, it's probably true of buses everywhere." Steven says he'll certainly bring this to the board's attention. Ms. Roening is not satisfied, however, and says that she feels she's not being heard, and that "it's not like I'm complaining about an outdated textbook. These are carcinogenic fumes." Then she adds, "And, about those outdated textbooks…" No, she doesn't, but that would be funnier. He says, "I will raise your concern with the board. I'll do it tomorrow." And she says, "My concern? Why isn't it your concern?" Oh, wow, that's my second-least favorite arguing technique ever: irrelevant semantic harping. It is second only to aggravating someone until they explode, and then saying, "I don't see what you're getting so worked up about." Speaking of aggravating someone until they explode, Steven's patience appears to be waning slightly. Our first clue is when he is unable to get a word in edgewise for the next minute as Ms. Roening blathers on and on about how long she had to wait, and how she feels patronized, and how this affects every kid who rides the bus, and how Steven clearly doesn't care. "It causes cancer, Mr. Harper." Something snaps audibly in Steven's brain. But, wait, she's not done: "I realize my daughter goes to public school, and she's not gonna get things the private schools get. I put up with overcrowded classrooms, the teacher shortage, budget cuts on almost every damn program, but do I have to put up with her breathing cancerous fumes to and from school every day? Is it too much to ask that she be given clean air?" With diesel fumes now pouring from his ears, Steven says, "No. It isn't. And I'm gonna add this to my damn list. I'm gonna write it down. Make sure students don't breath polluted air on their way to school in the morning. I'm gonna put a little star by it. Make sure kids don't get cancer. See, I even wrote it down. What else? Would you like me to check the water?" Ms. Roening storms out. The Exposition Fairy comes in, covering all the bases by vocalizing even the most obvious of exposition: "You didn't handle that well."

Credits. Welcome. Chaomung.

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