In his office, Mr. Foster is studying Brian's transcript and chuckling in amazement at how good Brian's grades are: "Have you always gotten grades like this?" Brian, sitting on the tenterhook that is the chair opposite Mr. Foster's desk, says he has. Mr. Foster tells Brian the school needs more students like him. Brian says, "Oh." Mr. Foster kisses Brian's ass some more, saying he's on the path to valedictorian and that "all [his] teachers give [him] an unqualified thumbs-up" (and completes this commendation with a visual aid, using his own thumb). In a daze, Brian gives Mr. Foster a thumb-up in return. Mr. Foster rises, starts pacing behind his desk, and with a lack of segue that would make Frank Pembleton proud, asks, "So. What happened yesterday?" Brian says he already told Mr. Higgins (I guess that's Baldo Civics's real name), and Mr. Foster says he knows, but that he would like to hear it from Brian. Brian says, "Right. Well, I was leaving the bathroom and I heard a shot." Mr. Foster asks why Brian was in the bathroom, like, why do you think? He was bungee-jumping, okay? He was doing his taxes! He was GOING NUMBER TWO, good god. Brian politely says that he had to go to the bathroom. Mr. Foster asks, "Which one?" and Brian starts to reply, "The one by --" but that's not what Mr. Foster means: "No, I meant, what kind?" Okay, I know that question is sometimes relevant -- say, if you are a physician and you ask it of a patient, or if you are a nervous first-time mother leaving your child in the care of a day nanny and you have determined for some reason that the only way you can still feel that you're involved in your child's daily activities is if you call said nanny at three-hour intervals to get The Stool Report (and, yes, I am speaking from experience -- and not that of the baby or the mother) -- but I fail to see why a high-school principal would have that kind of interest in a student's digestive activities unless he has some sort of teen-feces fetish, and even if he did, it's inappropriate to ask a question like that -- at least during school hours. Anyway, when Brian doesn't answer, Mr. Foster asks, "How long were you in the bathroom?" Brian says he didn't actually go: "Well, I had a stomach ache, but I didn't actually go." Mr. Foster asks why, and Brian demurs again, so Mr. Foster answers his own question: "Because you heard something in the hall." Brian admits that he heard "a scuffle," but that he didn't see anyone when he came out; he only heard the shot. His voice dripping honey -- deceptive honey -- Mr. Foster says, "You heard a scuffle loud enough to keep you from taking nature's call, but you didn't see anything." "No, sir," Brian says. But now Mr. Foster's all bad cop, hissing, "Brian, I don't have to tell you that this is a serious criminal act we're talking about here." Brian says, "Yes, sir." Mr. Foster continues: "I'd hate to hear that you were protecting someone -- with your unblemished record and all." Calmly, Brian replies, "I'm not protecting anyone."
My So-Called Life
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My So-Called Life