My So-Called Life
The Substitute

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The Substitute

Mr. Foster reminds Angela that he'd made it clear to her and all her classmates that anyone distributing the Lit would be suspended. He asks if she remembers, and she loudly and succinctly says, "Yes." He points out that she not only distributed it, but reproduced it, using school equipment and supplies. "Yes," she says again. He adds the kicker: She cut English class to do it. "And I also cut Bio yesterday," Angela adds, for good measure. Patty looks away. Mr. Foster asks if she has anything to say in her own defense. "No," Angela says. Mr. Foster adds that he's willing to listen (sure, he's all smooth and sweet when a kid's parents are in the room. He wasn't such a teddy bear when Brian was in the hot seat). Patty starts to interject, but Angela stops her and says, "There's nothing else I want to say." Mr. Foster says, "I see. Well." He looks at Patty and Graham, then Angela, and then says, "I'm not going to suspend you." Graham and Patty exhale, relieved; Angela looks outraged. Mr. Foster explains, "I think Mr. [Colcord] gave you kids very distorted ideas about right and wrong. Angela, this obviously isn't you. I'm willing to forget about this one, isolated incident. It's over." Angela stares back, disappointed.

After the meeting, Patty and Graham steer Angela out into the hall, beaming, their arms around her. AVO recites Angela's Lit piece: "Once upon a time, there lived a girl. She slept in a lovely cottage made of gingerbread and candy." Each parent kisses her, and then they walk off together, leaving Angela to slouch, alone, in the hall. AVO continues: "She was always asleep. One morning she woke up." The bell rings, and students file out. AVO repeats, "She woke up." Did she? Or did she just copy a charismatic teacher without really making any decisions on her own? Good question.

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My So-Called Life

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