Tyson’s Tour-Back in the Principal’s Office

“Okay, Rock, so we’re here to talk about your grades,” Principal Schwartz said, summarizing by stating something they both already knew.

“Are they bad?” Rock asked, oblivious to the fact that having to ask how his grades were should have tipped him off to the fact that they weren’t great.

“They’re not great,” Principal Schwartz said, uncreatively using the same phrasing.  “They’re pretty much non-existent.”

“If they don’t exist, how can they be bad?” Rock asked existentially.

“Because they’re mostly zero.  It says here you haven’t turned in an assignment since April.”

“Right.  I couldn’t do anything because I was waiting for the cable guy to show up.”

“Of last year.”

“It’s Comcast.  They give a large window.”

Principal Schwartz sighed.  “Rock, you know I don’t like doing this.  I would prefer to never have to interact with any of you if I had my preference.  But I have to at least look like I care, so what’s going on?”

“What do you mean?”

“According to the principal handbook thingy, when a student struggles in school, there’s often something else going on.”

Rock leaned in to Principal Schwartz.  “I think I’m depressed.  Suicidal, in fact.”

“Yeah, I’m not really the one to talk to about that.  I’m not trying to be a hero, or even a half decent human being.  Also, I’m pretty sure you’re not.”

“What?  Did you just presume to tell me how I feel?”

“Yes.  Because you aren’t.  Students usually drop their grades when they start to struggle like that.  Your grades have sucked from the beginning.  Besides, I know suicidal people.  Jeremy Stone.  Now that kid legitimately might kill himself.  Him, I should probably do something about.”

“Are you?”

“Hell no.  That’s a whole thing, and I’d risk some confidentiality bullshit by telling anyone.”

“You told me.”

“I meant tell someone who cares, like his parents.”

“Oh.  Anyway, so I’m not getting an A?”

“What?”

“I thought that, if you threatened to kill yourself, you automatically go all As.”

“No, Rock, that’s a myth.”

“Oh.”

“And it’s not even the right myth.  The myth is that if your roommate actually kills himself, you get automatic As.”

“Cool,” Rock said, getting him up to leave.  “So…do you know if Jeremy’s looking for a new place to stay?”

“Myth, Rock.”

Rock winked at Principal Schwartz.  “I’ll give him a call.”

Advertisements

Tyson’s Tour- The Alamo

“Woah.  Where am I now?” Jacob asked.

“The Alamo,” Tyson responded.

“What?   You have to get me out of here,” Jacob said.  “Men aren’t welcome here.”

“What?  No, Jacob, you’re thinking of…just forget it.  Anyway, try to find Santa Anna.”

Jacob approached two fighters wearing Mexican uniforms.  “Excuse me, I’m looking for Santa Anna.  Do you know where it is?”

“You mean he?”

“Santa Anna’s a dude?  Huh.  Sounds more like a place.  Anyway, sure, I guess so, why not?”

“Nobody can see the general without an appointment.  Who are you?”

“I’m some guy, I guess.  I don’t know.  Everybody else just lets me do whatever I want,” Jacob said.  “Who are you?”

“My name is Jose Vazques de Veracruz y Severino de Lebron.”

“Cool.  I’ll just call you Jose.  What’s your buddy’s name?”

“Jose Muertes de la Paz Garcia.”

“I’ll call him Jose two.”

“I think you’re going to quickly regret this naming system,” Tyson said through the headset as two other officers approached him.

“Fine.  Jose Dos.”

“That wasn’t my point.  Shit, Jacob, pay attention.”

“I said, what is your business here?” one of the approaching officers asked Jacob, apparently for the second time.

“I’m looking for Santa Anna, I guess,” Jacob said.  “I don’t really know. I was just told to say that, because it seems to be what you do when you’re a time traveler in a Mexican military camp outside the Alamo.”

“Well, why didn’t you just say so?  Follow me,” one of the officers, who we’ll call Miguel, said.  Jacob followed Miguel until Miguel stopped and gestured to a bench.

“Sit here and wait.  I’ll let the general know you’re here,” Miguel said.  He entered the tent and came back out.  “The general will be out in a moment.”

“Cool, cool.  So…how’s everything going with you?”

The officer let out a deep sigh.  “Oh, you know.  My wife and I are having problems with our first child.  She cries all the time.  She keeps doing it, even when I hit her.”

“Um, what?  You mean when you don’t hit her, right?  Which is never.  Or always.  You’re always not hitting her, right?”

The officer laughed.  “Of course I hit the kid.  It’s the mid-1800s.  The problem is the wife.  I’m away on duty, and so she’s left alone with the child, and you know how women are.  As weak intellectually as they are physically.”

Jacob laughed nervously.  “Yep.  That sure is correct.  Women are physically weaker than us, and so that means they’re bad thinking for some reason.  Where’s this general?”

“The kid is old enough to know better, though.  She’s about to turn two, and still she cries.”

“Jesus Christ, Tyson, what the hell?” Jacob said.  “What have you gotten me in to?”

“What?  It’s the past.  What did you expect?”

“I don’t know.  I thought these were Mexicans.”

“They are?  So what?”

“So, they’re a minority.  They aren’t supposed to be sexist, they’re supposed to have solidarity with other oppressed groups.”

“Take a look around, Jacob.  I don’t think they’re exactly a minority”

“Whatever.  At least I know that, with all the racial injustice in the American criminal justice system, the victims of those injustices would never commit the same error.”

Santa Anna exited his tent and turned to Jacob.  “Kill the gringo.”

“Shit.”

Tyson’s Tour-Back in the Science Room

“What’s that?” Tyson said, referring to the buzzing sound that was clearly a cell phone vibrating on a desk, as anybody should have immediately recognized in this day and age.  He wasn’t even a particularly stupid smart guy, he was just so wrapped up in Jacob’s time travel adventures that he was a little detached from reality.

“Jacob’s phone,” Rock said, restating what I’d just taken a paragraph to explain.  Dick.  “It’s Principal Schwartz.  You want me to answer it?”

“What?  No.  This is important.  We can’t let the real world distract us from our work.  No cell phones.”

“Yeah.  Take that real world!  In name of science,” Rock bellowed, chucking Jacob’s phone out the window in a dramatic gesture.  “You can’t distract us from our work!”

Tyson stared at Rock.  “You know you could have just turned the phone off, right?”

“It’s the principle.  I was trying to make a point.”

“To whom?”

“To the world.”

“The world has no idea that you threw the phone out the window.  It achieved the exact same effect as if you’d just turned it off.  The message is the same either way.”

“Not to Jacob.”

“Oh, yeah.  He’s going to be pissed.”  The two looked at each other, then started to laugh.  They were interrupted by a knock on the door.

“It’s Principal Schwartz.  Can I come in?”

“Shit.  Distract him,” Tyson said, gesturing to Rock in some unspecified way.

“What?  Why?”

“We’re not exactly supposed to be doing this.”

Rock laughed.  “Tyson, you aren’t a rebel.  You’re doing nerd stuff.  Not smoking dope, because that’s definitely still what we call it.”

“Are you serious?  We’re sending a kid back in time on an untested, unapproved time machine.  You know how much trouble we could be in if we got caught?”

“What do they care?”

“Liability, Rock.  If something happens to Jacob, the school would get sued into oblivion.  Oh, also they might care about the welfare of their students or some crap like that, but mainly it’s the liability.”

“Why would the school get sued?”

“Seriously?  I don’t have time to explain the entire theory of common law torts to you.  Just distract him.”

Rock went and opened the door, greeting Principal Schwartz with a big phony smile.

“What are you doing in here?” Principal Schwartz asked.

“Oh, just science stuff.”

“That doesn’t make sense.  Are you smoking pot?”

“Can the school get sued if I am?”

“Huh?  I, uh, don’t think so?”

“Then I sure am.”

“Well, don’t.  Anyway, have you seen Jacob?  I need to talk to him about something.”

“About what?”

“Do you know how unethical it would be for me to discuss a student’s private academic records with another student?”

“Very?”

“Yeah.  It’s his Art History grade.  Do you know where I could find him?”

“No.  See, the funny thing about people who aren’t me is that I don’t really care about them.”

Principal Schwartz sighed.  “Oh well.  Actually, you come with me.  You’ll work just as well.”

“You want to talk to me about Jacob’s grade?”

“No.  I want to talk to you about some of your grades.”

“Which ones?”

“All of them.”

“Why?”

“Because it’s my job.”

“Seriously?” Rock asked, disappointed.  “You’re actually going to do that.  I hate it when people do their jobs.  I prefer when people half-ass it and let me slip through the cracks.”

“I tried, but at some point I have to draw a line.  There’s a bare minimum amount of work I have to do.”

“Why?”

“Because if I don’t, somebody hire up than me will take notice, then they’ll expect me to do more work.  I need to keep up the bare minimum appearances to slip under the radar.  Come on.”

Tyson’s Tour-Robin Hood

“No, I get what we’re doing.  I just don’t get the why,” Jacob said to Tyson after a bunch of boring stuff that isn’t worth writing about happened.  What they were doing was going back in time to gather footage, so Tyson could win some science award, by the way.  I couldn’t be bothered to know what the award was, because it’s some nerdy bullshit I don’t care about.  Maybe Jacob knows.

Tyson sighed.  “Look, can I level with you?  I always thought that, by this point in my life, I’d have amounted to something.”

“You’re still in high school.”

“And all across the country, high school kids are doing amazing things.  Well, most of what they are doing is self-indulgent, whiny bullshit that they keep doing because the adults in their lives keep kissing their asses for it, but the point is they are getting recognition.  Maybe if I win this award, it’ll justify my existence.”

“What award?” Jacob asked, staring blankly at Tyson, which indicates that he’s probably also not the one to ask about it.  Apparently, none of us were paying attention during the backstory.

“Just…never mind.  The point is that I just wanted to accomplish something that people will recognize.  I just wanted to do something important.”

Jacob laughed and patted Tyson on the shoulder.  “Tyson, don’t be ridiculous.  Nobody ever amounts to anything.  Take the most successful person you know.  In one hundred years, they’ll be dead and forgotten, same as you.”

“I guess you’re right.  Let’s forget this whole thing.”

“Woah.  I didn’t say all that.  I still want to go back and fuck some history up.”

“We’re not actually messing anything up.  I just want you to go back, find the relevant historical figures, and interview them so we can get the footage.”

“How won’t interviewing them fuck up history?”

“Same way they’ll understand you and you’ll understand them.  They’ll just think you’re someone from their time and culture.”

“Really?”

“Sure.  Why not?  First up, Robin Hood.”

 

Jacob looked around in the middle of the field with a small battle going on.  Two men stared at each other with swords.  They locked eyes.  One of them nodded at the other.

“Shall we?”

They both dropped their weapons and fell to the ground.  “I’d rather be down here arm wrestling with you than out there pike fighting with them.”

“Arm wrestling?  I was hoping for paper, rock, scissors, or whatever we call it now.  I’d almost rather be out there fighting with the rest of them.”

“Only almost though, right?”

The other soldier looked up as somebody stuck a knife in someone else’s eye.  The stabbed person fell to the ground screaming, desperately clawing at their face.  They grabbed the knife and managed to pull it out, but the eye came with it.  The man vomited from the pain before an enemy soldier stabbed him through the back of the skull.

“Yep.  Almost.  Let’s do this.”

They proceeded to arm wrestle.  “Alright, you win.  I guess I’ll drop down and pretend to be dead.  You best be getting back to the battle, you big, bad conquerer you.”

The victorious soldier looked around at the battle, before looking back to the losing soldier.  “Sure you don’t want to go two out of three?”

“Not sure it matters much.  Looks like we’re winding down here.  Here comes Robin now.”

“L’il Jon, what are you doing on the ground?” Robin Hood said.  “Get up from there.”

“Apologies, dear Robin, I was simply resolving the dispute with the honorable sir knight from the other side in a manner most peaceful.”

“L’il Jon, whyest dost thou talk like a twat?”

“Because, dear and honorable Robin…”

“No, seriously, knock that shit off.  Who’s this guy?”

The other knight kneeled before Robin.  “Your prisoner, sir.”

Robin stabbed the guy in the throat.  Blood started to come out, but just a trickle as the blade was dull and rusty.  Robin stuck his fingers in the guy’s eye to push his head back, pulled his knife out, and tried again.  It went in deeper, but not fully, and the guy fell to the ground, gurgling on his own blood.  Robin jumped on top of him and put his full body weight onto the knife until it went into the guy’s throat.  Blood spurted out and the guy twisted around, choking on his blood for about thirty seconds before dying.

“Holy fucking shit, dude,” Jacob said.

“I know, right.  History was brutal,” Tyson said through the head set.

Robin turned to Jacob.  “I know, I probably should have tortured him first, but after a successful battle, I was feeling generous.  Never fear, however.  He was a Scot, and so at some point we will have the opportunity to slaughter his entire family, the subhuman scum they are.”

“Dude.  Super racist.”

“What is racist?”

“Never mind.  Are you Robin Hood?”

“I am indeed.  I rob from the rich and give to the poor.  After taking my cut.  Which is 90%.  Also, the poor person is my bartender.”

“You see that, Tyson?” Jacob said into his headset.  “The real Robin Hood was an alcoholic racist.”

“Yeah.  If we’re going through history, you’re probably going to find that’s a pretty common theme.”

Whaling Conclusion

 

Part 3- https://stantonsislandblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/30/whaling-part-3/

“This sure is food.  We sure are getting food and in a lunch line, because that’s what high school kids do to lead into a story,” Lucy said, scooping a big ole helping of high school glop food onto her tray.  “Let’s go to the cafeteria and eat it.”

“Boy, it sure will be nice to eat without certain creepers leering at us the whole time, judging us for our eating habits,” Beth said, introducing the topic of conversation.

“Yeah, what a fat creep,” Lucy said.  “I bet Dan’s home now, eating Cheetos and crying himself to sleep.  How hilarious.”

“You sure about that, Lucy?” Carrie said, because she was also there.  “I seem to recall you voting against the suspension.”

Lucy shrugged.  “I did, because I didn’t think the offense warranted it, but it doesn’t mean I’m not glad it happened.  I don’t like the guy.  I just think it was overreach.”

“Mm-hmm,” Carrie said, glaring at Lucy.

“I was wrong, obviously.  If anything, he should have been treated more harshly.  I just didn’t realize how much I was being victimized.  He should have been expelled.  Actually, he should have been raped by a rhinoceros repeatedly, then flayed alive.  That’s how much I think he should have been punished.  The kid looked like a rapist.”

Carrie smiled, apparently placated.  “And what, pray tell, does a rapist look like?”

“Why are you talking like an 1800s rich guy villain?  And I don’t know.  I assume a Russian guy in a jumpsuit.”

“Why Russian?”

“Because if I say black, everyone will lose their shit.”

“Of course, they would.  It would be extremely racist.”

“Which is why I said Russian.  I’m basically paraphrasing something my grandfather said but substituting Russian for black.  No one cares if you’re racist against Russians.”

“Wow.  You’re grandfather’s a racist.”

“I know, but he’s old.”

“That doesn’t make it alright.  You can’t use old age as an excuse,” Carrie said.  “When you hear an old person say something wrong like that, you need to correct them because as a young person, you have all the answers.”

Lucy shrugged.  “Why bother?  He’ll be dead in a few years anyway.”

“Where’s your grandfather live?” Beth asked.  “Does he live down on Cedar Creek?”

“Yeah, like three houses down from that insane woman,” Lucy said.  “At least I assume she’s insane because she’s super nice and super friendly, and sane people aren’t friendly.  Sane people are bitter husks of humanity who are completely jaded by their 21st birthday, which is convenient since that’s when you can start drinking like a normal person.”

“Hey, ladies. How’s it going?” Juan Conner said, coming up to the table where they were sitting.

Carrie looked up and smiled.  “Hey, Juan.”

“You look beautiful today.  Mind if I sit?”

“Not at all.  And thank you.”

“Anyway, I think it’s really cool what you’re doing with the whole bullying thing.  Getting rid of fat losers like Dan.”

“Thanks.”

“I didn’t quite catch the whole story, but I’m sure he deserved it.  Trying to hit on someone as beautiful as you folks.  What was he thinking?”

“Well, we do what we can to try to make the school a safer place for people like us,” Beth said.

“Oh, hi Beth.  Anyway, Carrie, we have a game Saturday.  Afterwards, some of the guys are having a party.  I was wondering if you’d be interested.”

“Sure, Juan.”

Whaling Part 3

“Alright, I think we’re all here.  Let’s get started,” Carrie said, seated at a table in the library with Lucy, Beth, Vince Daley and David Starger.  I don’t think I need to describe what a library table looks like, do I?  It’s long, wooden, and table-like, but not like super long.  You know, like approximately 24” X 36”.  Made from hardwood, probably with some vandalism scratched into it from years of use.

“Wait, where’s Dan?  Shouldn’t here be here?” Lucy asked, looking around.  “He is the reason we’re here, isn’t he?”

“We don’t need him.  We’ve got, like, six people here already,” Beth said.

“That wasn’t the point.  And there are five people here.”

“I know that, Lucy.  I was exaggerating to make a point.”

“You exaggerated from five to six?  That’s a really weird thing to exaggerate,” David said.  “It just makes it seem like you’re bad at counting.”

“Don’t math-shame me with your toxic masculinity.  Right, Carrie?”

“I’m not certain you’re using either of those terms correctly,” Carrie said.  She turned to Lucy.  “And Lucy, Dan isn’t here because we want to create a safe environment in which you can tell your story.  We don’t want him to be able to revictimize you.”

“Makes sense.  Except I wasn’t really victimized,” Lucy said.  “All he said was that I was beautiful.  Which is true, so…”

“Of course, it is.  All women are beautiful,” Beth said.  “We’re fierce goddesses who deserve to be worshipped.”

“Silly me.  I thought we were people.  But, anyway, yeah.  I don’t really think he did anything wrong.  He just kind of, you know, complimented me.”

“And was it welcome?” Carrie inquired, because inquired is a different word than asked, and apparently that makes it better.

“Ew, hell no.  He’s fat and gross.”

Beth gritted her teeth.  “Let’s not fat-shame.  It’s insensitive to other people who might be sensitive about their weight.  We don’t want to have to punish you for it, too, okay?”

“Oh, right.  Sorry.  I forgot how seriously you take this activism thing.”

“Of course, I take it seriously.  It’s my job.”

“What’s your job? I didn’t know you had a job,” David asked.

“Activism is my job.”

“What does it pay?”

Beth looked confused.  Which was kind of normal for her, so I guess Beth looked normal, then?  “It doesn’t.”

“Then it’s not really a job, is it?”

“David, don’t belittle or denigrate Beth’s accomplishments.”

“I’m not, but it’s not a job.  It’s a hobby.  I do theater and stuff all the time.  Takes about 20 to 30 hours a week, but I don’t call it a job, because I don’t get paid.  Just because you spend a lot of time on something doesn’t make it a job.”

“Are you finished?” Carrie asked.  “Okay, so I think we’re ready to vote.”

“Wait, did you already talk to Dan?”

“We don’t need to.  As the bully, in this case, the procedures dictate that he doesn’t need to tell his story.  His word is unreliable.  Yours is the one we believe.”

“But I didn’t really say anything.”

“You don’t need to.  The fact that you are here says enough.”

“I’m here because you forced me to be.”

“All in favor of suspension?”

Four Ayes spoke out across the table.  Carrie wrote the vote down in a notebook, which I hope people are still actually using, or else I’d look like an old fucking fart.  “Opposed?”

“Uh…nay?” Lucy said.

“Alright.  Ayes have it.  We’ll recommend suspension to Principal Schwartz by the end of the day.  Meeting dismissed.”

Whaling Part 2

“Well, according to the judge, driving around a school zone in a windowless van that says ‘free candy’ is probable cause…look, I can’t help you any further.  You’ll have to take it up with the judge.  The school board, then.  I don’t care.  Basically anyone who isn’t me would be fine,” Principal Schwartz said, shaking his head and hanging up the phone as Carrie knocked and entered his office.  “Yes, Ms. Grant, how can I help you today?  Another pound of flesh for me to rubber stamp?”

“Kind of…what was that about?”

“Oh, nothing.  Don’t worry about it.  Private, confidential school business.”

“I see.  Anyway…”

Principal Schwartz let out a long, exaggerated sigh.  “One of the parents was calling to complain.  Well, as you know, tonight are parent teacher conferences, and one of the fathers is court ordered to stay 300 feet away from the school.  The mother isn’t happy about having to pick up the slack, and was complaining, because she’s a harpy hell-bitch.”

“That type of language is probably not something you should be using, considering the reason for my visit.”

“I don’t know why you’re visiting.  You haven’t told me.  Anyway, due to confidentiality, I can’t tell you that it’s Perry Davidson’s dad, but I kind of suspect he did it on purpose.  Having to stay away from schools?  How is that a punishment?  That’s more like a reward.  Shit, I’d take that any day.  No more parent teacher conferences for me.”

“Um, sure.”  Carrie looked at Principal Schwartz strangely.  “Are you drunk?”

Principal Schwartz exaggeratedly rolled his eyes.  “No, I’m going to deal with your parents sober.  Anyway, what do you want?”

“We had a situation in which one of the male students was harassing some of the female students.  He needs to be made an example of.”

Principal Schwartz shook his head.  “Great.  What’d he say?”

“He called Lucy beautiful.”

“That’s it?”

“It’s not that, per se.  He was hitting on her.  It was more in the context,” Carrie said, struggling to find the right words.  “It was kind of making her uncomfortable.  And other people.  We have a right to eat our lunch without being harassed.”

“Alright.  Did Lucy indicate that she was uncomfortable?”

“With her nonverbal cues, kind of.”

“Did he stop afterwards?”

“Yeah, but that’s not the point.  It never should have happened in the first place.”

“Fair enough.  If it upset Lucy enough for her to file a complaint, I’ll certainly listen to her story.”

“That’s not…I don’t think that will work.”

“Why not?”

“Lucy wasn’t really upset,” Carrie said.  “She didn’t like it, but she kind of just shrugged it off.  Beth seemed more upset than anyone.”

Principal Schwartz laughed.  “That makes some sense, actually.  Anyway, if Lucy isn’t complaining, there’s nothing I can really do about it.”

“What about our agreement?”

“Still applies.  But I’m certainly not taking direct action,” Principal Schwartz said.  He looked nervously at Carrie.  “Who’s the student?”

“Dan Johnson.”

“Oh, thank God.  I was afraid it was going to be somebody important.  Seriously, Dan Johnson,” Principal Schwartz said laughing.  “Anyway, I can’t do anything without a formal hearing and complaint, but he’s not important enough to defend.  Nobody will care if he gets tossed out or whatever, so just do whatever and send me the recommendation.  I just can’t act directly without going through the proper procedural safeguards.”

“Okay.  What safeguards do we need to follow?”

“I don’t care.  I’m allowed to defer to special boards in some cases, which is what I’m doing here.  You guys can create your own rules, or no rules.  Whatever.  Like I said, with a guy like this, nobody’s going to care enough to look into it.”

Whaling Part 1

“So, Teri’s been suspended?” Julia Sensabaugh said, basically filling the gap between the last episode and this one.

“Yep,” Carrie said, taking a bite of her generic school lunch.  “We made the recommendation, and Principal Schwartz followed it.  He seems to care about doing the right thing.”

“Don’t you think that’s a little harsh?”

Carrie shrugged.  “The Council didn’t think so.  I think it just seems harsh because we’ve tolerated this type of ignorant behavior so long that when we respond to it appropriately it seems harsh by comparison.”

“Well, I wasn’t there, so I don’t know exactly what happened, but I trust the Council to make the right decision,” Lucy said, also sitting there eating lunch, since it seemed necessary to include a central character to connect the spin-off to the main plot, in that there is any main plot.  “At the very least, I’m happy that we have a movement dedicated to addressing this problem.  It’s been festering beneath the surface for far too long.”

“Hello, ladies,” Dan Johnson, a chubby new character, said in a manner that really was less douchey than you’d expect from someone using that exact phrase.  “May I sit here?”

Lucy sighed.  “Sure, Dan, go ahead.”

“So, how it’s going today, ladies?” Dan said, apparently believing that if you say ladies enough times, you magically transform into a ‘70s porn star.

“It’s going like a day, Daniel,” Lucy said, unsure if Dan’s name was actually Daniel, but also not caring.  “How’s it going with you?”

“Oh, you know, you know.  Same old, same old.  Players got to play.  That’s the thing about dating when fat.  Beth knows what I mean.  When you’re a little chubbier, your game has got to be on fleek,” he said, because that’s what I assume kids say, and I wanted something that sounds incredibly stupid.  “I’m pretty much at the point where I just walk up and say ‘hey, ladies, who’s angry at their father and insecure enough to fuck this whale?’  Fifty percent of the time, it works every time.”

“That’s…really gross, Dan,” Lucy said.

“Haha, the beautiful Lucy Fontaine, breaking my balls.”

“Yeah, you know, maybe don’t focus on her looks,” Carrie said.  “That’s a little outdated.  If you want to complement Lucy, find something else.  Maybe her wit, or personality.  A woman’s more than just a face.”

“Okay, okay, fair enough.  Ladies, this is my friend Lucy.  She isn’t sexy or beautiful, but she has other traits.  How’s that?” Dan said, laughing jovially like a holly jolly idiot.  “Not woke enough?  This is my friend Lucy.  She’s smart, witty, and looks like a fucking troll.”

Lucy smirked, but valiantly managed to fight the laugh so as not to reinforce Dan’s behavior, while Beth gritted her teeth.  “Well, I guess I should be going,” Dan said conveniently, standing up and exiting the scene.

“Ugh, what a pig,” Beth said as soon as she thought Dan was out of earshot.  “He’s so fat and gross.”

“I know,” Lucy said, kind of giggling.  “I can’t believe he thinks of himself as a ladies’ man. At least he knows he’s a whale.”

“It’s not really fair to make fun of him for being fat and awkward.  You realize that makes us the bad guys in all this, right?” Julia said.

Beth and Lucy paused, before Lucy responded, “Julia, I understand what you’re saying and I agree, but I don’t like it, so I’m going to ignore it.”

“Fair enough.  It is fun to make fun of that fat loser.”

“Julia has a point, though,” Carrie said.  “The way he acts is pretty sexist.  Maybe we ought to do something about him.”

“She’s right,” Beth said quickly, jumping in.  “It’s not fair of him to mansplain fat dating to me.”

“Nah, he’s harmless,” Julia said.  “He’s not sexist.  It’s just the way he talks.”

“It’s the way he talks because he’s a horrible sexist,” Carrie said.

“Yeah, but he’s a good person.  It’s not like he harasses or molests anyone.”

“Not harassing or molesting anyone isn’t enough to make you a good person.  It’s a bare minimum.  It’s a condition necessary but not sufficient.”

“I agree,” Beth said.  “He’s always man-spreading his fat ass all over the place.  And body-shaming.  It’s man-sgusting.”

“Alright, well, now you just sound like Frida Waterfall,” Julia said.

“Beth may be overdoing it on the man-labeling, but she has a point,” Carrie said.  “He was pretty blatantly hitting on Lucy.”

“Having that fat pig call me beautiful was pretty creepy.”

“Right.  Women have a right to eat lunch without being hit on.  That behavior is inappropriate.  I think it’s time to refer this to the Council.”

Case One Part Two

“But I didn’t mean anything by it,” Teri Baker said, explaining herself in the principal’s office.  “I just didn’t know.  I don’t know anything about Africa.  I was trying to find out.”

“It doesn’t matter,” Beth said.  “The way you said it was offensive.  It came across as very racist.”

“No, it’s okay.  I can’t be racist.  I’m a Democrat,” Teri said, pulling out her voter ID.

“Let me see that,” Carrie said, taking the ID from Teri’s hand.  “Teri, this isn’t going to help your case.  It says Nazi.”

“Is that bad?” Teri asked, shrinking her face up in a way that was even stupider than her question.  “I don’t know what that is.  I just thought the name sounded cool.”

“Okay, look, Teri’s ignorance aside, that sounds like that’s all this is,” Principal Schwartz said.  “Ignorance.  It doesn’t sound like she meant anything by it.  She was just being stupid because she didn’t know any better.  Because she’s stupid.”

“That’s even worse,” Carrie said.  “Racism is one thing, but there’s nothing worse than an ignorant person trying to dispel their ignorance using sloppy, imprecise language.”

“That’s worse than actual racism how?”

“Because we can bully people who are just ignorant, since they want to fit in and do the right thing,” Beth said.  “Which in turn, makes us look better.  Right?”

“That’s not at all how I would phrase it,” Carrie said.  “Look, we all agree that we have to have a zero-tolerance policy regarding racism, correct?”

“Of course,” Principal Schwartz expressed his platitudinous agreement.

“And, even if she didn’t mean anything by it, other people took offense to it.  And if other people were offended, you need to punish her for what she said, to show that you take the issue seriously.”

Principal Schwartz sighed.  “Even though she meant no harm by it?”

“Right.  It doesn’t matter.  It’s more important that the school take a hardline stand on this.  It doesn’t really matter whether Teri was right or wrong, so much as the message it sends.  That’s why she needs to be punished.”

“I suppose I could order sensitivity training,” Principal Schwartz said.  “That addresses the problem and would help her avoid any future mistakes.”

“With all due respect, Principal Schwartz, that really doesn’t go far enough.  You need to think of the victims.  She needs to be suspended, or they will think you don’t take this seriously.  Probably even expelled, so they don’t have to see the person who victimized them anymore.”

“What?” Teri said.  She looked as if she was about to cry.  “Please, no.  I’m sorry.  I’m so sorry.”

“Can we get her out of here?” Beth asked.  “Having her here is upsetting to me.”

“Teri, please step outside,” Principal Schwartz said.  “We’ll let you know when a decision has been reached.”

“But how can I defend myself if I’m not here?”

“You don’t need to,” Carrie said.  “Beth and I were both there.  We know what happened.  Don’t worry about it.”

Teri stepped out of the room, and Principal Schwartz leaned across the table.  “Look, a suspension seems a little harsh.”

“I understand, but look, remember, as a public servant, we pay your salary.  You work for us.”

“In one sense, you’re right.  As a government employee, I work for the taxpayer.  In a much more real sense, I don’t.  I work for the government.”

“A government that is beholden to political pressure.  If need be, Principal, we will go over your head.”

Principal Schwartz laughed.  “Do you know how hard it is for a government employee to get fired?  You are aware of the teacher’s union, aren’t you?”

“And how long do you think the union will stick by you when they hear you are defending a racist?”

“Please.  We both know that isn’t true.”

It was Carrie’s turn to laugh.  “We do.  They won’t.  Nobody will take the time to look at the facts of the case.  All they will hear is that a student made racist comments, and you neglected to punish them for it.”

“You really think anybody’s going to have that strong an opinion without knowing what actually happened?”

“It’s never stopped people before.”  Carrie shrugged.  “Learning facts and being fair is hard.  Forming a knee-jerk opinion based on a headline is easy.  What do you think people will do?”

Principal Schwartz sighed.  “Look, I think I have a solution.  You have this Anti-Bullying Council, right?”

“We do.”

“So why don’t I just cede to you the authority to deal with this?  You seem to be the experts in the area, so I’ll delegate the authority to develop and enforce rules to address the problem.  When an issue like this arises, you have a hearing and decide on a punishment.  Sound good?”

“Great.  But how can we suspend or expel a student?”

“Technically, you can’t.  But I can.  You come to a decision, and I’ll rubber stamp anything you decide.”

“Really?  Why?”

“Because it allows me to wash my hands of any responsibility.  Look, these cases are complicated and difficult to sort out.  More so, people tend to get very upset, and develop strong opinions, even when they aren’t aware of the facts.  The type of opinion you can’t reason with.  The type of strong opinions that could cost someone a job.  Therefore, it’s in my interest to insulate myself as much as possible.”

“So, you’ll suspend Teri?”

“If that’s what you decide,” Principal Schwartz said, picking up the phone that was ringing because I need to end this story, and because it became a lot heavier than I’d intended for it to be, so I wanted to reintroduce a touch of levity.  “Hello?”

“I’d like to call in a bomb threat,” the voice on the other end said.  “Yeah, um, I’d totally like to call in a super real bomb threat because I don’t want to work.  I used ten pounds of manure.  Does that sound right?  Anyway, I used the right amount of manure or whatever it is you use to make a bomb.”

Principal Schwartz sighed.  “Rock, is that you?”

“No,” the anonymous Rock voice on the other end said.  “Yes.”

“Rock, you can’t keep calling in a bomb threat every time you want a day off school.  Just fake sick like the other students.”

“I don’t like makeup work, so tough cocks, titty-master.  I’m calling in a fake bomb threat, so you have to take it seriously.”

“You just told me the bomb threat was fake.”

“Shit,” Rock said.  “You still have to evacuate and call school, right?”

“Yes,” Principal Schwartz said.  He hung his head defeated and put the phone back on the hook.  “We have to evacuate.  Rock called in another bomb threat.”

“Well, it is Terror Tuesday,” Carrie said, gathering her things.  “That seems like something we should probably take care of.”

Principal Schwartz shrugged.  “Eh, what are you going to do?”

Test Case Pt. 1

“It was pretty lame,” Teri Baker said, describing her weekend as she sat at the lunch table, and because I have to introduce a new character to keep from reusing old ones for a new plot line.  “Nothing was really going on, so I just hung out and screwed around on the computer while my brother played some Mario game.”

“Ugh, I hate those games.  They’re so anti-woman,” Carrie Grant said, because God knows there’s no topic of conversation that can’t be turned into a rant.

“I guess,” Teri shrugged.  “What woman dreams of being rescued by a plumber?”

“What woman dreams of being rescued at all?”

“One being held prisoner by a giant turtle?”

“Why can’t she fight back?  The game reinforces all the rules of the patriarchy.  A weak woman who can only sit around waiting to be rescued by a man, women being taken against their will and used as nothing more than trophies.  It’s disgusting,” Carrie ranted, unaware that she was trying to use a game about plumbers trying to rescue a princess from a giant talking turtle in a kingdom of mushroom people that, for some reason, has a human princess to make a real-world political point.

“Mm-hmm, whatever you said sure is accurate,” Teri said, totally taking Carrie seriously and not just agreeing with her to shut her up, even though it’s something everybody does every day.  If you notice everyone seems to agree with you constantly, it’s not because you’re right.  It’s because you’re an asshole.  Teri turned to Beth.  “So, how was your weekend?”

“It was alright,” Beth said, eating something sensible and healthy, because I’ve learned from Tumblr that all fat people constantly eat very little, and only healthy things, with nothing more than an occasional, three-time a day cheat snack, and are somehow still fat, while skinny people eat donuts and other junk and don’t gain weight because human bodies are magic.  “I caught up on some school assignments and watched some (fill in whatever crappy TV show teenage girls are watching these days.  I can’t be bothered to look it up).”

“What assignment?  I don’t recall having anything this weekend, and we’re mostly in the same stuff,” Carrie asked.

“That extra credit for Mrs. Adams.  The pen pal assignment.”

“Oh, cool.  Yeah, I didn’t do that.  How is it?”

Beth shrugged.  “It’s pretty cool, I guess.  I’m writing to some girl named Ode in Nigeria.”

“And…?”

“She’s alright, I guess.”

“How do you speak to her if she’s in Nigeria?” Teri asked.  The other two looked at her as if she was stupid because, well, let’s face it, it was kind of a stupid question.

“Over the internet?”

“No, but like, do you speak Nigerian?”

“Oh, no.” Beth answered.  “I see.  They speak English in Nigeria.  At least, she does.”

“Oh,” Teri said.  She returned to her food before looking back up.  “Do they teach about American slavery in Africa?  Do they have school in Africa?”

“Teri!” Carrie scolded.

“What?”

“You can’t say that.”

“But I don’t know…”

“It doesn’t matter.  That could be seen as racist.”

“What? How?”

“Because it is pretty racist,” Beth said.  “I think we’re going to have to report you.  As president of the Anti-Bullying Council, I can’t ignore this.”

“But I didn’t do anything wrong.”

“Doesn’t matter.  You can’t say something like that and get away with it.  We’ll see you in court.  Or, you know, whatever we’re doing with these things.”