Boston Public
Chapter Sixteen

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In which Fyvush Finkel is asked, "Where are your pants?"

The hallway, where Big Boy is giving Steven and Scott his evaluation of Anthony Ward. Because that's where a responsible guidance counselor reveals this kind of immensely personal information about a student: in the middle of a crowded hallway. Anyway, the verdict is: "I just think he's dark. I don't think he's dangerous." Steven brings up the list, and Big Boy says, "Hey, my name's on that list. Even so." Scott says it's too risky not to expel him. Yeah, because expelling him for wanting revenge on cruel stupid bullies, while said bullies get to remain in school, will make him less likely to come back with a gun. Good strategy, Scott. Anyway, Steven tells Scott to meet with Anthony once more, and then make a recommendation for either expulsion or psychological evaluation. Big Boy and Steven leave, but Scott encounters Patrick Connelly on the stairs. Patrick has a milk crate full of tapes, and Scott directs him to the Vice-office. At this precise moment, Lauren walks by. How convenient, because then Scott can assure her that the tapes will be destroyed, and she can say, "Well, Scott, don't look at them first, huh?"

We follow Lauren as she finds Harry and drags him into her empty classroom. They banter for a bit about the parents he yelled at the night before, and how lonely it was to spend the night apart, and then she says, "Listen. I can't do this. I'm not trying to pass judgment on you. Um…I suppose…us? I don't think we match up well." Harry, ever the concise one of the two, says, "You're dumping me." Lauren, ever the rambling naïf, says, "I don't like that word. I'm recognizing that…our needs…" Harry says, "No, I get it. You're recognizing our disparate needs, and we'll be looking to different people to satisfy them." She tells him to take this seriously, and he says, "Do I look like I'm laughing?" He doesn't. Lauren reiterates that she can't do this, and Harry sneers with disgust and walks out. Actually, he activates his Wonder Twin ring and says, "Form of: a spurned lover!" Then he walks out.

Marla's room. "First off I'd like to apologize. My behavior these last few days has been erratic and…I'm sorry." Mr. Peterson raises his hand. "Are you…all right?" Uh-oh. Wistful look. "Mr. Peterson. I go to bed at night thinking of some prince who's gonna swoop in and take me to some exotic island, and lick champagne off my neck itself." I don't know how "my neck itself" is supposed to differ from "my neck," but -- moving on: "It's a romanticized version, I guess, of wonder and magic. In the real world, my prince, my magic, it's you kids. And some days when I see your faces go dead, all the wonder just drains out of me. That's all that was happening. I'm better now. Now. Let's turn to chapter eleven." Hmm -- how appropriate, since she will soon lose her job and file for bankruptcy. Or maybe that's just a coincidence.

"What is this, a slow week!? Can't you find a good drug ring to crack?" Anthony Ward is, shall we say, incredulous at finding himself being grilled, once again, by an administrator. Scott is not amused. "This is no time for sarcasm, Mr. Ward." Anthony asks if it's a time for censorship, and a time to invade a students' privacy. "We live in the age of Columbine," says Scott. "The first thing to go are students' civil rights. Now, can we have a serious, respectful conversation about this list, or shall I just recommend expulsion." Anthony tries to get away with saying that it's all just random stuff, but Scott's not buying it: "You cannot deny the sinister tone of these writings." Well, he is denying it, so there you are. "You don't consider it strange to fantasize about killing people?" Anthony Ward cops to being strange, and dark, and having sinister thoughts, and also questions whether a rule exists about such things. Scott makes it clear that Anthony's now one step away from being kicked out of school, but Anthony cracks another joke, so Guber stands up to suggest that, I guess, he's now going to walk to the Expulsion-o-Matic and pull the lever. Seeing Scott stand gets Anthony to cut the crap, and…uh-oh…he now has a wistful, far-off look in his eye. "It's fun to pretend I'm tough. I get punked all day, every day. And I enjoy retreating to a world, however make-believe it is, where I get to be the strong one. Where they're the victims." Scott observes that this particular retreat is a little extreme. "You don't know what it's like to be bullied, Mr. Guber. Maybe you've never had to go seek out some scene where you get to have the power. You can't relate to that, Mr. Guber? Maybe I'll be vice-principal one day, and I'll exact my revenge that way." Scott's all, "You think I became a vice-principal to exact revenge on bullies, is that what you think, Mr. Ward?" Anthony gets even more wistful and says, "I think…we all need to escape reality sometimes…so we can deal. Conduct any orchestras lately, Mr. Guber?" Scott sighs, evidently persuaded, and tells Anthony to go to class, and leave his writings at home.

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Boston Public

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