My So-Called Life
Guns And Gossip

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Guns And Gossip

Brian is at his locker when Sharon "Patty Simcox" Cherski appears, with some chick named Gina in tow. Sharon tells Gina that "Brian saw the entire thing," and Gina tells Brian, "I heard you, like, actually chased the gunman." Sharon smugly smirks at Brian, like what is that about? Is Sharon a pimp now, or what? "'Chased the gunman'?" Brian repeats, snickering incredulously. Gina is all wet panties, "I would have just screamed. I have to leave the room when my father uses the electric knife." Brian plainly has no idea what he's supposed to do with this information, and stares for a moment. Sharon is still standing about an inch away from Gina, like, take your cut and clear out, Sharon! Brian's extended gazing at Gina's admiring eyes seems to give him a clue as to how to proceed, and he drawls, "Well, I think 'chase' is a little bit strong, but I was going to check out the situation, because if there's a gun --" A hand comes down on Brian's shoulder, and he spins, stammering, "Mr. Foster!" This guy is obviously the principal (he's in a suit AND BOWTIE), and he dispassionately greets Brian: "My man Mr. Krakow. Still getting all those A's?" Brian smiles nervously and says he is. Mr. Foster says that's good, and, small talk dispatched, tells Brian to come to his office and talk to him. Brian demurs, saying he has a class, and Mr. Foster says, "You're excused from your next class, Mr. Krakow." Brian even more nervously says, "Oh, really? Great. I mean, of course." He closes his locker and follows Mr. Foster, with a quick backward glance at his fan club; Gina and Sharon seem to be losing interest rapidly. The camera does this weird cut to Angela, so that we can't tell, at first, whether she's in the same scene, but then she sees Brian over her right shoulder and...doesn't do much of anything, really, except continue on her way and into the eyeline of Sharon, who whispers to Gina, "There she is." Sharon and Gina walk past Angela, looking sad for her. Angela watches them go, still walking forward, and slams right into a cop.

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."

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My So-Called Life

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