Boston Public
Chapter Six

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During which Fyvush Finkel intones, "She beats those kids for pleasure!"

Some other room at the school. It looks like the Old Teacher's Lounge, because only Mrs. Walsh and our good friend Harvey Lipschultz are here. He's telling her, "In this day and age, I don't even hit them, and I'm nuts!" Mrs. Walsh brings up Saliva Webster and Subvert-the-Status-Quo-lita, as though the behavior of students she doesn't even teach justifies her abuse of the kids who tell jokes in her class. Harvey plays with a random chess board and says, "Keep in mind that they consider us dinosaurs. They don't need much excuse to send us packing." I don't know, Harvey -- they've had plenty of excuses to get rid of you, and I don't see your bags stuffed and zipped. Mrs. Walsh grins wickedly and says, "They're up to thirty-six kids per class, they can't afford to lose either of us." Harvey says he hopes she's right. Something about his furrowed brow and the way he's playing with those chess pieces catches her eye, because now Mrs. Walsh says, "You care to grab a cup of coffee? Some evening after work?" Maybe she's thinking, "I'm old, so is he, I guess we'd make a good couple." He tells her he's a married man, and when Mrs. Walsh points out that his wife is dead, he says, "I'm still married, just the same." Huh. I liked that exchange the first time I heard, in Good Will Hunting. Then Mrs. Walsh says, "I could bring my paddle. You might like it. My ex-husband couldn't get enough of it." Oh, ew. Also, guh? Didn't we just hear earlier that the paddle is new, both from a student and from Mrs. Walsh herself, who in fact told Anthony Heald that she's still getting used to it? I distinctly remember being told that she used a ruler until just recently. (Michelle Pfeiffer no doubt seduced her husband sexually while he was attempting to write this conversation. If you know what I mean.) Anyway, Harvey looks horrified: "Are you saying…you hit these students…it's sexual?" She replies, "Of course not. I only do it when their ripe little bottoms need to be disciplined." Oh. My. God. I won't be able to sleep for a week. Thanks.

The hallway. Anthony Heald and Steven in mid-heated discussion about the student assembly. "There's nothing wrong with the student's praying on their own." Um, I can't believe the principal needs this explained to him, but apparently he does. Or, at least, he's playing dumb so it can be explained to the audience that if the school provides the facility, the prayer can be interpreted as being school-endorsed, and that's illegal. Meanwhile, they arrive at the auditorium, where Marla Hendricks is leading the students in a raucous gospel number. Also, Marilyn and Coach Kevin are bopping along in the audience. Is this still the same assembly the students called earlier? It can't be, because this is the next day, so…what, this is a different assembly? And not only are they allowed to just take over the auditorium two days in a row, but they can stay there all day instead of going to class? Interesting. This would seem to me to be a bigger problem, somewhat, than the prayer. Steven asks Kevin and Marilyn what they're doing. "Watching," she says. Thanks, Rain Man. Anyway, Steven tells them to halt the meeting when the song is over, and tell Marla to see him in his office. "What the hell could be next?" he says. Surprise, surprise, there goes the walkie-talkie. But instead of presenting him with a new problem, which would justify the cheesy set-up line, it's just a reminder of an already existing problem: "The Hendersons are here," statics The Exposition Fairy through the speaker. Steven books.

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Boston Public

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