My So-Called Life
Guns And Gossip

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Guns And Gossip

When Brian leaves the office, he sees Rickie leaning against some lockers.

Parents flood into a classroom too small for its occupants. Mr. Foster tries to call for order over the parents' fairly loud yammering. Patty glances around, her jaw set. He starts by saying that he wants to tell them about the measures the school's staff is taking to ensure safety at Liberty, and assuring them that violence will not be tolerated -- in the school, not the meeting. He claims that all the school's safety measures will be ineffective unless parents are co-operative. A busty, blowsy blonde near Patty snorts to the woman standing between Patty and herself, "Yeah -- people who come to these meetings are the people who let their kids have guns." Patty smirks, and a man yells at Mr. Foster, "But are you getting the guns out of school? Now, that's the only question that's important." A general "yeah, he's right" ripples through the crowd, and Mr. Foster -- sensing that the meeting has already slipped out of his control -- says that there will be time for all their comments at the end, and a Mrs. Lovejoy type claims that her daughter has been in tears for the past "thirty-six hours," and that she doesn't intend to live in "this kind of terror." Patty's eyes flick from Mrs. Lovejoy back to Mr. Foster. Mr. Foster whines at them to speak in turns, and indicates, as his answer to Mrs. Lovejoy's problem, a counsellor who'll be available to speak with any students who are having trouble dealing with the trauma. Patty smirks contemptuously, and the blowsy blonde scoffs, "Oh, that is good." Glancing past her (apparent) companion to Patty, she adds, "Put the kids in therapy so they can adjust to being shot." Patty snickers. Blowsy sticks her hand up and tells "Mr. Principal" she has a question. Mr. Foster suggests that speakers give both their names, and those of their children. Blowsy drawls, "My name is Amber Vallone and I have a daughter -- Rayanne Graff -- who I leave in your capable hands every day." At the sound of Rayanne's name, Patty's head shoots up and she stares at Amber (formerly blowsy), who we now see from Patty's perspective, as she goes on, "And what I'd like to know is, while you're bringing in counsellors and being all upset, should I just send my daughter to school in a bulletproof vest every day [the crowd, including Patty, breaks up laughing and shouting its agreement and Amber has to yell to be heard] or ARE YOU ACTUALLY GOING TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT A GUN IN THE SCHOOL?" Mr. Foster sticks out a hand, and the crowd shuts up as Amber concludes, "It's not the lack of economic opportunity, or the poor home life, or the lack of values, but the guns -- you know, the things that shoot? Are you going to get them out of the school?" The crowd starts applauding. Mr. Foster inhales disgustedly.

The parents file out of the school. Amber, a few paces ahead of Patty, is snorting, "Yeah. I'd like to see it happen." Patty catches up with her and says, "Hey, you know, I really liked what you had to say in there." Amber sloughs it off, and Patty says, "I wish that I could be that --" "What, loud?" Amber scoffs, and Patty says, "No!" "Obnoxious?" Amber asks. "Forceful," Patty explains, and adds, "I'm Patty Chase." "Hi," says Amber, and Patty explains, "Angela's mom?" Amber kind of bends at the knee and leans to the side in an oddly respectful kind of effusive kowtow and coos, "Oh, WOW. Angela! Oh, Rayanne talks about her all the time. She's in love with her! She wants to be Angela," which may be the most true thing Amber ever utters on this show. Patty tightly grins, "Really! Gosh, they seem so different," and if there's a dis there Amber doesn't hear it, because she murmurs, "Oh, you know kids. They find one person and they just can't get enough of them! It's like being in love, only they're not allowed to have sex." "Riiiight," Patty sputters, keeping her smile plastered on her face, but allowing herself a second to widen her eyes in shock at Amber's familiarity as if to say, "The fuck?" Amber sits on a nearby wall and pulls out a cigarette, continuing, "No, don't you remember? There'd be, like, this one person, who had, like, perfect hair, or perfect breasts, or they were just so funny, and you just wanted to eat them up -- just live in their bed, and just be them. It's like everybody else was in black and white, and that person was in colour. Well, Rayanne thinks Angela is in colour. Major colour." Patty giggles, warming to Amber after this rather poetic description of her daughter, and then shifts gears to ask, very seriously, "So, um, how is Rayanne handling this whole incident?" Amber says that Rayanne is fine, but that she herself is a "basket case." Patty says that Angela is the same. Amber pulls open her jacket to mime Rayanne: "'Who's going to shoot me with this bod, Ma?' she says. They think they're immortal! And, they have other things on their mind." Patty nods sagely, and suddenly Amber starts shrieking gutturally and slides off the wall to seize a startled Patty by the shoulders and squeal, "Speaking of which, Jordan is unbelievable! Your daughter has complete taste." Amber exhales a jet of smoke and Patty stutters, "Excuse me?" Amber says that Rayanne showed her Jordan's yearbook picture: "If I were Angela running around with him, I wouldn't give a damn about guns in the school either." Patty tries to piece it together: "So you think that Jordan has gotten in the way, for Angela --" Amber starts shrieking again: "Ohhhh, and she was so obsessed with him all that time, and now wham! Bam! It's actually happening. But we know what that's like, right? Young love? Or lust -- what's the difference?" Patty puts her fake face back on to beam, "Wham bam. Jordan." Amber, cheerleading tryouts were twenty years ago. Simmah dahn, nah.

In the kitchen, Patty rants to Graham, "I could have died. I did die! I mean, this woman knows, and I don't know. She's not even a woman -- she's like this forty-year-old girl; she's gorgeous, and she's telling me about my own daughter's sex life, which, apparently, she now has, and I don't even know about it." Graham serenely reminds Patty that kids talk, and that Rayanne must have talked to her mother: "We don't know if it's true." Patty grumbles, "These things are always true. Of course it's true." Way to convict on circumstantial evidence, Pat. She starts moaning about the guns, and Angela's sexy secret sex life, and distractedly takes a bite off the fork Graham's handed her and marvels, "This is wonderful!" "Cilantro," says Graham. Hee! Glark is inordinately fond of cilantro, too. He'd seed our lawn with cilantro and basil if he could, and use the clippings to make barrels of pesto. Patty asks Graham whether they should confront Angela, and Graham says he doesn't want to know if it's true. Patty starts babbling about what attitude she should have about the whole issue, and the fact that she doesn't want to be hysterical, and then we hear Angela off-screen yelling at Whatever, and then she moseys into the kitchen in a plaid dress and black tights and some really boss fleece-lined wellies, like, bring back grunge; I'm all over the plaid nostalgia, and Angela blithely asks for a taste of Graham's dish and correctly identifies -- and praises -- the cilantro, and Graham says something about "the tomato" and "sharpen" and Angela conversationally points to something we can't see and asks if it's phyllo, and because Patty has to ruin every nice, low-key moment Angela enjoys with her parents -- rare though they are -- she asks Angela, "Who's Jordan?" What little colour there is drains out of Angela's face as she freezes and then replies, "No one. You mean Jordan Catalano?" Graham silently wishes he were anywhere else. Patty asks, "Is that his last name?" Angela mutters, "I don't know -- you brought it up." Patty tells Angela that she met "Rayanne's mom" and as soon as Amber comes up, Angela gives her eyes the quarter roll and makes for the fridge. Patty cheerily says that Amber gave her the skinny on Angela's "new boyfriend, Jordan." Angela snorts, "'Boyfriend'? That's a lau

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My So-Called Life

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