My So-Called Life
The Substitute

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The Substitute
Some indeterminate period of time later, a nice clean box of Lit copies is delivered to the school's main office. A student in a varsity jacket (unnamed, but he was the one in Angela's English class who read the submission about the father who appraised totalled cars) is sitting on the bench next to the box, and the moment he notices it's there, he scoops up an armful of Lits and takes off, handing them out to various students in the hall. Mr. Foster walks through the halls, suspiciously eyeing all the students devouring the Lit as no issue of the Lit has probably ever been devoured before. Entering the main office, he sees that all the admin staff members are reading the issue too; he plucks one out of a woman's hand, goes into his own office, and closes the door. After a moment, he screams her name through the door. When she opens it, he tells her he wants to see Mr. Colcord after the final bell.

In the girls' bathroom, a couple of random chicks are stubbing out their cigarettes on the floor and talking shit about the author of the controversial non-haiku.

Plaid Dress: First of all, whoever wrote it has, like, zero self-respect.
Blue Vest: I know! I mean, to do it in your basement?
Plaid Dress: I know! My basement is, like, so filthy! Plus she has no self-esteem or she'd, like, sign her name.
Okay, thanks for that, Gilbert and Goober. Sharon, brushing her hair in front of the mirror, wheels around and growls, "Look! He said not to sign it, okay? He said it should be anonymous, okay? It was like a rule he made in class! Okay?" Plaid Dress and Blue Vest shoot her "whatever" looks; Plaid Dress recommends that she "try [her] own conversation," and Blue Vest adds, "And some muscle relaxer!" Heh. Rayanne steps out of a stall and sidles up to Sharon, marveling, "YOU?" "So?" replies Sharon nonchalantly. Rayanne, with something like respect, repeats, "You wrote that haiku poem? You?...You wrote it, and you don't want people to know that you wrote it?!" Sharon snorts, "Oh, no. I can't wait for people to find out. I'm looking forward to it. Why are you even talking to me? We have nothing to say to each other." Rayanne continues staring at Sharon as though she'd just grown another head...or were giving some, in front of her. Sharon moans, "Oh, god. Do you know how over my life is will be when people find out I wrote it?" Rayanne replies, "Do you know how over mine's going to be when they find out I didn't?" Sharon apparently hadn't considered this: "Really? You mean...people think you wrote it?" Rayanne admits that she may have given people that impression. Sharon suggests that they continue to allow people to believe that mistaken impression, and Rayanne agrees. Sharon suddenly asks Rayanne if she's playing some kind of trick, and Rayanne quickly answers, "I want people to think I wrote it. I wish I had wrote it...'written' it." Sharon's body unclenches, and Rayanne lowers her voice to ask, "How did you write something that good?" Sharon smiles modestly and says, "I don't know. It just kind of came to me." As it were. Leaning closer, Rayanne murmurs, "My favourite part is when they become the furnace." Sharon beams, but the moment is shattered when Angela comes stampeding in, shrieking at Rayanne. Sharon and Rayanne spring apart. Angela tells them both that Mr. Foster has seized every copy of the Lit, except the stolen ones. She adds, "He's refusing to allow us to distribute it, because of your [indicating Rayanne] haiku thing." Sharon and Rayanne exchange a very subtle look. Nice scene.

At the Chase Place dinner table, Angela refers to Mr. Colcord as "Vic," and informs Patty and Graham that "Vic" had told the class about their options: file a lawsuit against the school for violating the students' constitutional rights, or stage a walkout. Danielle...whatever. Angela goes on to describe a "make-believe book burning": "'Cause, you know, Nazis burned books. So, I mean, is that what Foster's saying -- that a school should burn books, like Nazis?" Patty gently reminds Angela that Mr. Foster hasn't actually burned any books, "has he?" Angela hands over the eye-rolling reins to me as she repeats, "Has he burned anything? Good question. No. But it amounts to the same thing." She continues by saying that Mr. Colcord told the class that if someone called a news station and read the poem, there would be news crews all over the school. Danielle snorts, "You call your teacher Vic?" Angela admits that she's been talking a lot about him: "I just respect him, you know? He's smart. He's like...he's an adult I can look up to, finally." Graham and Patty give Angela a "what are we, chopped liver?" look; she asks, "What?" and they simultaneously say, "Nothing." Patty recommends that Angela not get carried away in the Lit fight, and Angela silently snatches her napkin off her lap, drops it on her plate, and storms upstairs. Danielle...whatever. Patty follows Angela, saying that she knows "how easy it is to get caught up in things," because such battles are "exciting," and Angela spits, "'Exciting'? It's not exciting, it's important. It's an important issue. What, you think I'm doing this for excitement? For fun?" Patty tells Angela that she and Graham can't help being concerned that Angela will do something that could jeopardize her future. Angela throws their Boomerosity back in their faces: "What about all those boring stories I've had to sit through my whole life about how committed you were in the sixties, about how you believed in things?" Graham says, "We did," only it comes out sounding more like a question. Angela turns on her heel and heads back upstairs, bitterly replying, "Oh, right! Only now you're so terrified of causing trouble you can't even see what it means to me!" Angela gets the last word. Graham and Patty chuckle ruefully at each other, but really, it's clear they've been burned by their adolescent firebrand.

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My So-Called Life

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