2007-11-24: Algebra and Intrigue

Starring:

Lee_icon.gif Church_icon.gif Joule_icon.gif

Summary:

Lee and Joule meet up at Brubaker…Church updates them on the situation.

Date It Happened:

November 24, 2007

Algebra and Intrigue


Brubaker Secondary School

Lee is just finishing up his last class of the afternoon, drawing long lines across the blackboard from one set of boxes to another. "Good, excellent. So why is it that if the House of Representatives controls the pocketbook that the executive branch is…" The bell rings. "Hold that thought. Monday we finish the appropriations process, remember, your project for next week is to find some government action, any government action, cops, grocery store inspections, anything, and draw a map of how the money gets to where it is spent. First draft due on Tuesday, we work it out Thursday, presentations on Friday." And, as always, he stands by the door and thanks his students as they go with graceful aplomb, like they have done him a favor.

Just outside the classroom, a little beyond the door, watching the students exit so she knows when she can walk in, stands Joule. She's wearing a relatively subdued outfit — for her — a smart black business suit a la Lucy Liu from 'Charlie's Angels' with a red blouse whose oversize cuffs fold back on the ends of her jacket sleeves. Black pumps with red piping complete the ensemble, and a leather messenger bag hangs from her shoulder. She counts students to herself, before sidling past the last teenage boy, and sauntering to stand opposite Lee in the other side of the doorway. "Hullo."

Lee says, "Joule!" His face lights up, away from the gravitas he gives the students and releasing the nervous energy of the day with a smile. "Come on in, wow, it's great to see you. Did you have a job interview or something, you look terrific! This is my classroom…such as it is. Bust of James Madison over there…got my Bill of Rights up here…Kind of had to get whatever I could scrounge."

Joule smiles warmly at Lee, briefly, before answering him. "Mm-hmm. Thought I'd offer my skills here. See if they needed a Journalism teacher." She rolls her eyes skyward. "Turns out they don't, not now, but they've tucked me in the file as a substitute, at least." She looks around, with one brow raised in feigned polite interest. "Not bad scrounging, this," she tells him, chucking his shoulder gently.
Lee says, "Substitute, really? Are you joking or serious? That's fantastic, hopefully it will work out. I mean, if they need someone. I'm always trying to do writer's workshop with the kids in my classes, their English teachers don't seem to care too much about doing extra work with them on other teachers' projects." As he enthuses, a trace of troubledness comes to his eyes as if he is thinking of an unintended consequence of her coming here.

"No, no, totally serious, luv," Joule tells him, surprised he isn't buying it. "I had to come up with something to pay the bills. Eight bloody sporadic jobs isn't as good as one steady one." She tosses her hands up in the air to punctuate how frustrated she is with this situation. It sets her bracelets tintinnabulating. "Well, we'll see. I can't very well dazzle them with my sense of style and my unorthodox methods if they never call in a sub, now, can I?" She quirks her chin at Lee, seeing his eyes go a bit dark. "What is it?"

Lee leans back on his desk, his long legs out angularly in front of him, elbows akimbo as his graceful hands rest their heels on the edge. "That is awesome. The place needs energy more than anything else, but…I don't think I told you, it's not something I really spread around. The kids here…there's a drug problem at this school. A big one. And it really screws up the place. The kids can't trust each other, the teachers are scared of the kids, the administration is trying to keep as ignorant as possible to avoid lawsuits…you'll be such a great teacher if they call you, you'll knock their socks off! I just worry that this isn't going to be the experience you think it might."

Joule raises an eyebrow, as her nimble, drummer's fingers raise to stroke her chin in thought. "Not terribly worried, luv," she decides, after a whole ten seconds to consider it. "Did I never tell you what a hellion I was when I was their age?"

Lee says, teasing her: "When you were /their/ age? What about when you're /your/ age?" He smiles in relief, but he still looks worried. He worries about the kids here. He really does. "So nothing's panned out into a regular gig yet?" he asks.

Knock knock knock- the sound comes from the door even before a figure appears in it; Lawrence must have waited a few moments outside to make sure he wasn't interrupting something too important. Plus, he is curious to find out who the female voice belongs to. When the older man does appear in the doorway, he is looking far more rested than he usually is- perhaps it is that feeling of satisfaction he has all of a sudden. His sleeves are rolled up, and his tie is loosened, and for once he is purposely and carefully unshaven. "Mister Jones?"

Joule grins sharkishly at Lee. "Exactly my point," she begins, but stops, turning at the new voice. She bobs her head politely at the new person, and steps aside. Must be business.

Lee says, "Mr. Church, come on in." He doesn't get the kind of burst of happy energy that Joule's entrance did, but Lee is still glad to see him. "This is Joule Dahanukar, my," pause, "girlfriend." Must be a new title. "She just applied for a job here, they put her in the substitute file. This is Lawrence Church, one of our counsellors. Lawrence, not Larry or Lar. Lawrence is one of the good guys." Lee says, getting it one hundred percent wrong.

Church sends Joule a smile even before she gets a title, and somewhere in his head he does wonder how the heck Lee managed to do it. He has his charming moments, but still. Lawrence nods once as he files into the room. "It's nice to meet you. Hopefully we'll be seeing you around, hm?" He offers to the woman, opting to actually avoid saying her name- sometimes he messes the foreign ones up. Church looks back at Lee now, with a dose of curiosity and a hint of bubbly under the surface. "So, did you hear about what happened on Friday?"

Joule gives Church a brief, wicked smile, as if pondering testing the 'not Larry or Lar' disclaimer. But she simply extends a hand to him. "Charmed. And I certainly hope so." She regards Lee curiously. He didn't come to her with any interesting stories before their distracting weekend together.

Lee says, "I heard you caught Marshall - one of our local nasty characters…" he explains aside to Joule, "…when he was trying to give Cam Reynolds a beatdown." He knows Joule knows Cam. "Nice job. I saw Cam this week and he looked okay, you must have broken it up before it got too far."

Church accepts the hand with a new smile. Really, he's not the type to spew fire if you call him Larry- just preference. "Yeah. Something like that." Both hands find his pockets, and the man rocks slightly on his heels. "I think O'Donnell realized an opportunity when she had one, and threw the book for what happened before, too. With Jakey." And as it turns out, did not fall.

"Who knew I was applying at an institution full of drama and intrigue," Joule deadpans. "Has your principal's method managed to cow all the other little malefactors, then?"

Lee glowers at the mention of O''Donnell, his archnemesis. "She's still screwing with my class time." he laments. "But I'm at least glad she did the right thing and bounced that little thug out of here for a while. Maybe I'll be able to reach out to some of his cronies while he's gone, get them back on track." To Joule: "It's too early to tell. Everything's going to be in turmoil for a little bit while the word gets around." He then teases charmingly: "Don't you remember what school was like? Algebra and intrigue, rumors and diagramming sentences."

"One little thing at a time, Jones. I expect her to try and find where she stands, after this. If she doesn't, then maybe I'll nudge her." Church smirks a little at his description of school for Joule, though he keeps his mind on the actual problem at hand. "Word travels like wildfire here, so I expect the rest will be confused with what to do soon enough." Maybe he can even get a new mole of some kind. "I just hope the Marshall wannabes don't start cropping up. Some of them will want to take his place, so that's where I need your help. Definitely reach out to them now, when the wound is raw and the confusion is at a maximum. I'm going to be explaining this to quite a few of our peers today, in fact."

"Lee, I didn't bother with the algebra part until I almost flunked out," she coos at him, batting her lashes. But she falls silent to listen to Lawrence. "Sounds like you've already got a plan formulated. 'Course there's always 'Scared Straight.' Sure the thing is on DVD somewhere." She pops a cellphone out of her pocket and taps something into it, perhaps to remind herself to seek the thing out.

Lee says, firmly: "Got it. And whoever's supplying the drugs is not going to be happy that the pipeline got twisted up, so watch your back." He grins at Joule's enthusiasm. "It might be a little hokey for this generation. I think they've sort of got the anti-drug message by now. It's just a matter of connecting up the dots to things in their lives, which means we need to know what's going on." Taking him back to Church's suggestion.

With his hands in his pockets and the stubble on his face, Lawrence doesn't look the part of entirely serious- but the neutrally tense expression on his face says otherwise. "I have extra eyes, remember? I'll be able to watch my back." Probably start carrying some physical and mental stuff from his other job into this one. Tasers are fun, right? Right. So is being a weaselly guy. "Yeah, what we need to do now is connect some dots and get them to talk to us out of their own free will. But maybe things with messages can find a place after school? Maybe I can have some optional, extra-credit seminars, assemblies, or something?" Lawrence looks over to Lee as if he were asking for input on it. It is a sudden idea on his part, and maybe not half bad.

"There's an idea," Joule agrees, thoughtfully. She doesn't have much more input, unfortunately; she isn't faculty, not yet. And there's only so much she can offer with the bit of background the men have shared.

Lee says, "It couldn't hurt. I know the city has a bunch of programs for different sorts of things, they were always coming out to John Philip Sousa - it's weird, nobody expects the problem to be at the Upper East Side private school, so they don't send anyone up here very often…Maybe that could be another project for over the holiday break." he suggests to Joule. They must have a first project for this to be 'another'. "I'm pretty swamped between here and finals trying to get everything in."

"And you keep working on that. With all that you're not getting, Mister Jones, I'd say you're doing a good job here." Church smiles momentarily at him, lifting a hand to scratch at his own jaw. "Tell you what. I'll send out a memo later, to the teachers- about holding some optional things after school that they can tell their students about. I'll probably put it on the bulletin too, morning announcements-" Maybe Church should be doing some of those anyway. "If teachers will want to offer extra credit for going, having the kids write essays after, whatever- I'll make a note that it'll be up to them. That way I can have some things going on, but nothing that anyone has to come to. In the end, you can get back to me about your ideas when your priorities are taken care of."

Joule settles herself on the corner of Lee's desk, taking discreet notes. Things to pay attention to if she wants this job.

Lee says, "Yeah…I really don't know. A lot of the other teachers are keeping their heads down. They don't want to be the one ending up making waves. I have no idea how you managed to do what you've done without being fired, but the only reason I've been willing to do what I've done so far is because I'm /already/ under threat of being fired for an unrelated reason." Lee is sharp enough to know Church coming here is shady business, but he looks no gift horses in the mouth. "It's going to be a struggle to get people to go along with it."

"Well, like it or not, I'll be doing it. But I won't be making anyone do anything. If the faculty doesn't want to reach out or even tell them about the things I'll be doing, then so be it. But when push comes to shove, I'll be the one around to follow." Church clears his throat now, the hand not in his pocket giving a passive wave in the air beside him. "I'll be all over today, so if you need anything, leave me a note somewhere." Reaching the end of his checking-in, Lawrence has already taken a few steps back towards the door. "Joule, it was a pleasure to meet you. I hope we do see you around."

"Thank you. It was nice to meet you as well," Joule replies graciously. "And I hope as well." She rises to place a hand on Lee's shoulder, gently.

Lee lets Church go before he remarks to Joule: "I keep wondering if he's got a picture of O'Donnell with a donkey or something. The word is he pretty much threw the whole thing back in her face last week, and she's not the kind to take it laying down." He slips a hand around her waist, giving her a quick hug.

"Maybe he's hypnotized her," Joule suggests, playfully, returning the embrace. "Now — where're you taking me for dinner?"

Lee says, "I was going to cook, but it'll keep…. Since we're up on this side of town, how about the Italian place around the way." The traditional New York thanksgiving (?)

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