2007-11-12: Counselling Guidance


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Lee and Church discuss Brubaker's drug problem

Date It Happened:

November 12, 2007

Counselling Guidance

Brubaker Secondary School

Lee Jones - known to Company files as an associate of a healer recruited to aid in the aftermath of the breakout, who was tagged and had his memory erased as a result, and who is the son of a pair of highly creative and competent but wholly unstable freelancers - is standing up at the front of his last class of the day as the bell rings and the kids file out. "Chapter four dash C by tomorrow and don't forget, if you want to bring your grade up on the essay, come to writer's workshop on Thursday." He stands, dignified, graceful, at the side of his desk, nodding to the kids as they pass as if they've done him a good turn, almost thanking them for their attention, like an actor acknowledging an audience. The kids are already gossipping, talking about what they'll do after school, and so on, as they bang out of the classroom in a rush.

Just outside of the classroom, waiting for the first kids to file out, is someone that most of said students either avoid because he is weird, or gravitate to because he is weird. Whichever manner he's seen in, however, Lawrence Church offers the first gaggle of teenagers a smile before sidling his way through the door between those moving out the exit. Inside of the room, he waits beside the door with his hands folded behind his back; it's obvious he is here in wait for Lee, being he has not spoken out to any of the students. Only when there is but a few of them left trying to catch up with the rest, he moves over toward Lee and the desk. "Mister Jones. May I steal you for a few minutes?"

Lee starts packing up papers and books, erasing the whiteboard, diligently scrubbing away the day's progress so he can do it all again tomorrow. "Hey, uh…Larry, right? I saw you at meetings earlier in the semester but you disappeared for a while. You're a counsellor." he says, trying to remember.

There's a quick nod at that, though it is quickly followed by a short grimace. "Yeah. One of them. Lawrence. Larry is my mechanic." Or maybe he just doesn't like 'Larry'. Nice, Lee. "Yeah. Conferences, death in the family, plague, what have you. October was a chaotic month." The older man clears his throat. "I'd like to talk to you about Cam Reynolds, if that's alright. I spoke with him yesterday afternoon."

Lee says, "Lawrence, right. Sorry." He offers his hand. "Lee. I'm glad you spoke to him." He actually does sound genuinely relieved. "That kid…it's like the whole of the adult world is bent on letting him down at every turn."

Church extends a hand in return, his own shake quite vigorous. "I read about him before he came to see me. I can't argue that you're right. He seems to be doing slightly better where he is now, though." A moment of pause. "Does he confide in you a lot, Lee? About home, school.. his other troubles?"

Lee says, "A little bit. O'Donnell dumped him on me his first day, I showed him around. He's in my third period class. Two grade levels behind when he got here, it's a miracle it's not a lot worse. William - my fellow token inner city type - has him in homeroom. I talked to his CFS worker when she came around, she seemed actually interested in how he was doing, in not disrupting things…" He shakes his head. "Then she was murdered. Around the same time he was nearby when some guys were beating up Jakey Manusco, you remember Jakey, he said he fell off the squash court wall and ended up in the hospital. Cam came running, I happened to be nearby."

Church nods quietly. "Yeah. I know all about that. It's a good thing that Cam was there. …Jake'll get better, and It's Cam I'm more worried about right now." Lawrence lifts a hand to scratch at the side of his jaw. "What else might you know about the incident? Or his service worker, for that matter? I want to make sure I'm clear on some things." Before he rocks into an offensive on Bad Children, of course. As for the worker, it's a precautionary bit of questioning.

Lee says, "He said it was Marshall and a couple of the older boys, and that there was some drug involvement. I believe it about Marshall, he's in my fifth period class and he's a nasty character. What I /heard/ is that he denies everything and his parents are rich and had their lawyer tell O'Donnell not to do anything. With Jakey keeping his mouth shut, Cam's the only one saying anything happened. It's his word against Marshall's, and Cam's family is dead." He shakes his head. "I try to keep an eye on him so Marshall's cronies don't jump him, but I'm in here five periods out of seven." Lee laments.

That is one reason Cam got some…advice, as well as a meeting. "Ah, so Marshall's mystery has overturned. I wasn't familiar with his family standing." Which, of course, there are ways around. Lawrence Church is not above framing teenagers. Especially when he knows better. "Not that I care about his folks." A short quirk of his brow sends them up onto his forehead, and a thoughtfully smug twitch sits on his lips. "So do you know much about the ones that follow this Marshall around? Or are they your usual little meatheads?" This is going to turn into a personal assignment before long.

Lee says, "I don't know much about them, but…I don't know, I just have this feeling. Ever since I started opening my eyes around here, it's like everything I see is wrong, just wrong somehow. Worse than it was back in the Bronx, a lot worse. There's no way it's just Marshall, just these goons roughing up a kid that owed them money." He sounds almost meditative.

"There's always something that you only see when you get up close. Like fleas on a dog." Lawrence puts his hands into his trouser pockets. "And much like both of those, some things can be fixed." Flea bath, anyone? It feels about time. "Other things, like a chink in armor- they can be fixed, at the price of making the armor a little bit strained. Weaker. Then of course, the anthill analogy. Knock in the colony, and there'll be a flood. Gas them out, and they'll flee on their lonesome." Is this going somewhere more specific? Perhaps.

Lee listens closely. "I like your metaphor, and I'll be straight with you that I want to do something about the situation - if a homeless kid whose last home was with a murderer can stand up to these thugs I sure can, but I don't see where this is going." he says. "We can't just take things into our own hands, it won't work to solve the problem."

Lee gets a smile. "First of all, we need to get rid of the king of the hill, which, unless I am mistaken, is Marshall. I'm sure that he's not learned enough not to make a mistake, which is where New York's finest come in. And their little poochies too." Lawrence seems to already have a solution to Marshall in mind. "I already let my concerns be known when I found out about all of this, so it shouldn't take much for me to convince the school to start being more clear with their programs on this. Sure, you can say no to drugs, but that only goes so far. They don't want to lose support from all of these bad kids' parents, but facing being shut down or else? That will change everyone's mind. I'll get my programs. I haven't been here three months, but I know already that if I called the State in, this place would be in a lot of sticky situations, private establishment or not. The law has precedence over parents, no matter how they might like to think."

Lee seems skeptical: "Marshall isn't the ringleader, no way. He's an entitled little twerp, and I wouldn't be surprised if he put out the word on Jakey, but…" He trails off. He shuts the door, pitches his voice lower, as if O'Donnell might be right outside, and knowing Lee's ongoing feud with the diminutive administrator, she might very well be: "Even if you're right, and Marshall getting his comeuppance is right no matter whether he's the leader or not, we can't just knock things down. They'll just get some other kid, make a new Marshall - there's a half dozen I can think of right now who would do something terrible to be him for five minutes. We have to build something up to take its place. Get the kids talking about the problem, make room for the good kids to help each other stay clean and out of it. Do something about the ones who aren't clean. Right now it's like a blanket of silence suffocating everyone."

"Do you think there's an adult on the outside?" Lawrence muses, seemingly absorbing all of this with a nonchalance that is almost odd. "Have you ever heard of the Montana Meth Project? That's the kind of program I think this needs. Hardcore, scare the bejeebus out of you stuff. None of this anti-drug week, boring assembly, red ribbon pledge nonsense. Get the ex-addicts, addicts, law enforcement, jailbird drug-pushers in here- powerpoint presentations that you'd wished you'd never seen, speeches that make you cringe- do you see where I'm going? That'd rip this wide open, if you ask me."

Lee isn't nonchalant about it but he doesn't seem to think Church's attitude is unusual - after all, at his old school in the Bronx, the students openly feuded in the halls over drug turf. "I don't know if going hard is the way to go here. Maybe with /some/ students…we need more info on how the problem's going, who's involved. And there's definitely an adult on the outside, these kids can't import things on their own, Intertubes or no." he says. "We definitely need to talk to the police, and we need some students on our side too."

"It's either go hard, or go soft. It's really just a matter of when I can get the administration to start it." Lawrence works his jaw for a few seconds. "I know a few folks with the NYPD. And the FBI. The one that comes to mind- he's been working in Organized Crime, but I'm sure that he'd at least be able to offer some advice on how to approach this anyway." Not that Church doesn't know what he's doing- but.

Lee nods. "Sunlight's the only way to chase away shadows. And in the meantime, try to keep an eye on Cam when you can?" Lee says, sealing Cam's fate forever.

"Oh, I got some stuff up my sleeves yet. Sunshine on my shoulder, too. We'll start nipping this, trust me." Lawrence nods back, half-turning to wander back out. "Little known fact: I've got eyes in the back of my head, mister Jones." So to speak. "I'll keep at least a couple on him." Witness protection in school? Say it ain't so. With this out on the table, Church finally moves to leave the classroom.

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