2011-02-08: Hot For Teacher



Guest-Starring: James Dean, Brunette With Questions, Illegible Note-Taker, White-Haired Professor, and other audience…

Date: February 8th, 2011


There's nothing more inspiring — and encouraging of good publicity — than a room full of eager learners, right? But what do you do when the someone's texting during class… and it's the teacher.

There are handcuffs involved.

"Hot Teacher"


All eyes are on the guest speaker, the lecturer of the night, the expert, the only one at the front of the room.

The room is spacious and dull — save for that point in the front where the room allows a stage, and where the stage allows the speaker, who is not so dull. Many an uncomfortable folding chair point ahead, not all full— but certainly populated, giving the space a more intimate atmosphere, a crowded class. Everyone is meant to be a student tonight. It's an wide-ranging crowd rife with intelligence, college-aged to nearly retirement-aged, students and professionals in similar fields intermingling with all the curious in-between. The white-haired professor at the front. The shaggy-haired young man in a pinstripe shirt taking illegible notes in the middle. The youthfully-faced twenty-something brunette woman with glasses taking meticulous notes in the back. The clean-cut men and women in business suits who could pass as members of any bureau or agency. The tougher-around-the-edges audience members who give themselves away easily as cops from New York's toughest streets; some of them look restless.

Nevertheless, it's all eyes ahead.

A buzz has livened the audience and has for a few minutes now. Many of the younger members whisper amongst one another and flip through their notes. They're the most eager to have their questions answered; they have the most. Hands raise only to fall and wait again, but not in silence. There's quiet talking (of the knowledge-thirsty studious, incredulous, and gossiping variety)— and bouts of laughter.

"— which is basically a quick way to get popcorn in your teeth — but as to the question…"

Lecturer, professional, professor: none are hats that settle well on the head of the man at the front of the room. Ever since striding into the space to the beat of removing a thick biker's jacket, the hour's only heaped evidence. Exhibit the umpteenth: as he nears answering, Laurie braces a hand behind him to shimmy down from a podium never meant to be a seat. His stroll from center-stage to edge, dropping him to the level of the first layer of audience, sees him riding the sleeves of his cream-and-blue striped cardigan up to the elbows. Every so often, the sides reveal another letter of a grey tee beneath that will eventually read UNITED STATES OF ROCK AND ROLL.

Standing in front of those who were brave, bold, stupid, or late enough to select first row, he projects upwards, eyes skimming those shyer seated past. "The toughest ones aren't necessarily those that are never found— " meanwhile, sliding subtly — but noticeably — out, his foot connects with the one of the person closest to him. The younger gentlemen blinks, retracting his own foot to no longer be in the way. Laurie sidles to the side past him. "While understandably frustrating— " Thud; he's kicked the next person. Victim number two immediately adjusts his weight in the seat, as if stopping himself from standing, while his foot remains solid. "Events don't always line up the way they do in the stories." Thud. "Sometimes people slip through the cracks." THUD. Tension ripples along the target's jaw, his hands tightening around a formal suit jacket that gives him away almost as well as the badge he's constantly halfway to flashing — as if he didn't realize in the first hour that this wouldn't make a difference. "And other times, they fit the profile, but there's," Thud, "just," Thud, "no," Thud, "evidence— " THUD.

The kicking proves too much; the already too stiffly seated cop lurches forward in retaliation. "There we go! Whoa, whoa, whoa!" Laurie reassures, swerving smoothly out of reach in one second, but tipping over his exposed wrists in the next. "No need for that; you got me." The gesture is universal — instantly recognizable to more than a third of the room in attendance, but the chosen cop glances over his shoulder at his fellows for confirmation. "Go ahead," is encouraged by the nutty professor over the chuckling echoes of the other cops — go ahead, sarge, give this guy what he wants. Shrugging too stiffly for it to truly nudge off his stuffiness, the cop reaches around his back behind his jacket, unclipping his regulation handcuffs with a jingle that reveals them to the rest of the peering audience before they come around to Laurie's waiting arms. The cold metal clacks into place harder than strictly necessary. "Okay— ow," but the complaint — spoken factually — is ultimately far less important than what's next.

"Thanks to everything you learned today — especially that popcorn bit — the suspect's been caught. Job well done. Get yourself a cookie. Something with nuts in it. Unless you're allergic then— you live a sad life." Laurie's raised hands for emphasis becomes a very lame gesture to the room when his wrists are locked together, and his elbows butting each other awkwardly. It also doesn't lend his words any favors, when the sight overpowers a few people's attention spans and giggles rise up. Not that the… words did themselves much in that regard, anyway. "Come here — come here, come here." A few tries, but eventually the cop does loiter uncomfortably onto the stage after Laurie, watching as the cuffed consultant clumsily hooks a chair with his foot and, hopping to keep balance, swaying, finally drops onto it. His feet spread wide, back slouched to the chair's one, he suddenly wouldn't look amiss with the biker jacket returned. "Ask me why I kicked you."

Thumbs plunged into the belt-loops of his pants, the cop narrows one of his eyes, squinting sideways out to the barely lit people in chairs, where all the light pinpoints the stage, and this impromptu performance. Discomfited by the watchers, but not without empathy for their passion to learn, gruffly, he clears his throat, half-heartedly, "Why did you— "

"Fuck you; I hate cops."

The ferocious reaction shooting from Laurie's slanted mouth startles the cop. He grunts, hiking his shoulders hire, his elbows tucking to his sides. Without his notice, his hands have both, on their separate sides, started towards his weapon. Secondarily, he grows visibly peeved to have been interrupted at something Laurie asked him to do. So when a blithe but inarguable, "Ask me again," reaches him, he shifts his weight around visible anger before beginning more cautiously. "Why— " pause; eye; faster, "Why did you kick me?"

"Is that your partner?" trills out Laurie's heavy New York accent, pinpointing him from a slum near of Brooklyn to those experienced ears. His cocked head indicates the seat beside the cop's now empty one, occupied by a woman with a tight brown ponytail whose prideful straightening answers the question anyway. "She's kinda hot. Maybe I should've kicked her, instead. What do you think?" And he winks at the cop.

The male side of the team's smile is forced, but no more prickled than the first interruption. He seems, in fact, more familiar with this kind of allegation, and takes it in stride. But he still scoffs and aborts a baffled spread of the arms — why the hell — when he's told a third time, "I'm an offender; ask me again."

"Why did— " Posture; shuffle. He brings a hand to his chin, rubs it, then around the back of his neck. "You're not— you're not an offender!"

A brilliantly scoffing laugh tickles at Laurie's throat, the handcuffs making a merry tune as he spreads his hands as far as they can go, palms out. "Have you read the newspapers?" There's a mixed, rumbling reaction from on-high — many laughs at Laurie's expense, and more in surprised appreciation that he would be so cavalier at his own expense. But while laughter echoes around the back corners of the auditorium, Laurie has sobered into a smirk, writhing his shoulders down, elbows notched on knees, as he stares head-long challenge at the cop across the way. Seated, handcuffed: these are not seen as disadvantages. "What were you going to do about it, anyway? You let me kick you seven times before you tried to stop me. Four times, I get away with it. And then I let you cuff me, because I know you're not going to do anything about it. High on your own authority. Huffing and puffing on the other side of that stage. You haven't earned my respect. I've been pretty much laughing at you over here the whole time," jangle; the handcuffs gesture impotently to the audience, "They're laughing at you, buddy. Your job is a joke, and I'm going to walk my little self out of here and there ain't nothing you or that limp excuse for a badge can do about it— "

It's still Laurie. It's still a spotlit stage, in front of a crowd of youngsters and fellow law enforcement officers. Nothing's changed. But the words pierce through all of that, creating a veil over the cop's eyes, acting like time-travel agents to every bad interview, every stubborn witness, and every suspect who ever got off on not enough evidence, parading it around that the cops couldn't touch him. Fuck authority; there weren't nothing nobody could do. Muscle-memory kicks in. The veteran officer's lunging at the chair before he's aware he's moved — and he's in the seat, gaping like a lost child before he realizes what he's done. A jangle; as he attempts to get up, the cop finds that his wrist is handcuffed to the leg of the chair. Standing in front of him, Laurie's restraint-less hands are basking in a wide acknowledgment to the room, an arm reaching out to both sides.

"Profiling. We are not the only ones who do it."

"Cops, lawyers, car salesmen, apartment managers, restaurant owners— to some degree, everybody knows how to profile." Blue eyes, exposed in their wild color by spotlights, seek out every mismatched, differing face in the chairs. "This goes, and I mean especially… for the criminals." The man who asked. "If you're not careful, your same techniques can and will be used against you." The professor. "Same as the guy who reads up on crime scenes in order to know how to not leave evidence," the taker of scribbly notes, "there is somebody out there — right now…" the taker of meticulous notes, " — using profiling to commit a better crime."

"Cops," An allowing nod towards his captive volunteer at the chair, who's torn between not wanting to be publicly handcuffed, and not wanting to have to crawl around on the floor to get the other half off the chair leg. After a second, he has a revelation, reaching around him for the clip where the handcuffs are kept — and their key. Only to suffer the second revelation that the key is gone. A glint as he gapes, wonderingly; Laurie's tapping the small instrument of freedom against his mouth thoughtfully. "Are just as readable, predictable, and susceptible to behavioral norms as the rest of humanity. They just happen to know a bit more about the ugly side of things. But when you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back. If you can figure out the guys on the street, chances are at least one of them is figuring you. Trust your instincts. Make it your own. Et-cetera, et-cetera…"

Instinct. The very thing everyone has already. Yet it's underlined, and circled … Instinct.

Mumblings circle through the audience, a dynamic hum of impressed voices, as well as the surprised, appreciative, and ponderous. It's not just a lecture, but a show, and many of the students in the audience can't get enough of it— the non-students who eye the controversial consultant more judgmentally, well, they're not nearly as vocal. Yet.

It takes longer for the next round of questions to start, the audience perhaps discomfited by the fact that there's still a handcuffed cop on the stage — is Laurie going to do something about that or… — but hands shoot up sure enough. And, without waiting to be indicated, a voice pipes up from the second row.

It's the pal of the shaggy-haired note-taker: a polar opposite, he's a broad-shouldered young guy who could be an athlete. Here, he's at home in a green polo shirt, James Dean hair, refined glasses and an air of superiority. "Alright, so say you're profiling someone face-to-face and they're lying. What do you find is the hardest emotion, type of lie, whatever, to detect through facial micro-expressions?" A fair question, but spoken like a challenge.

All eyes on Laurie again. The old professor taps his chin as though forming a response of his own in his mind. A few of the agent-quality stock in the audience think they have it figured out; and a handful of the students, too, but most are wide-eyed, few more than the little brunette at the back. She's listening very closely, rapt and ready to take more of those perfect notes, but she's near to bursting with impatience. Hanging tight to her pencil, she clutches the front of her letter C necklace. She seems to get perceptibly taller as she stretches up to peer at the front, perpetually annoyed that her seat is so vastly far away.

Beyond the young woman's shoulder, further back, in fact virtually hiding there, is a hint of black leather and blonde escaping untidily from a ponytail. Maggie: the quietest of audience members. One of these things is not like the other; unlike the eager persons filling out the chairs in front of her, she's slouched down unobtrusively in her seat, her dark jacket collar up around her jaw as a result, a tall cup of coffee sitting on one of the conveniently empty chairs that flank her. She's a contrary mixture of vested interest and questionable attention. A vague smirk skirts her mouth in what could be amusement or prelude to eye-rolling or both — but it's perpetual, motionless. Her eyes are directed past the shoulder in front of her, precisely onto that attention-grabbing figure center-stage, but her gaze lacks exact clarity— that of someone in reverie.

On and on and… the vibration of a phone somewhere on her person draws her out of it immediately. The sound is far from an interruption, barely audible beyond the row in front of her, but the brunette whips around to shoot her a look. She might as well be the librarian, and Maggie the person who screamed in the non-fiction aisle — amplified when she notices Maggie considering answering it right here. In the middle of a Q&A session!

Maggie does answer it — though it's responsibility, not rebellion, that wins out. A fleeting apology is flashed to the random overly sensitive stranger. She twists in her seat to face her coffee cup, leaning elbows upon knees to create a small private huddle for herself. Unobtrusive, muted tones speak, "Powers. Uh, across town, and off-duty until ten… no, I'll meet you there… Is surveillance still out…" Off-duty sounds a lot like on-duty. Front-of-the-room antics go on without her observation.

Up in the second row, the same challenging voice is still talking. "I mean…" The man's arrogant attitude has since prompted his friend to slump in his seat like he doesn't want to be associated with him.

"Miss, c-can you keep your voice down?" from the back, insistently, with tense civilities. Maggie's voice is down, as politely quiet as it can go — it would have been far more intrusive to get up and leave through the loud, heavy doors — the younger audience member's voice is in fact louder. Realizing this, "C" sits primly and goes back to peering at Laurie expectantly.

The questioner doesn't pay any mind; most don't. He carries on self-importantly, "There has to be ways for someone to slip past the radar."

"Someone like— you— right?" The hesitance is also part of the show. Laurie's return question is not really a question, but a sharp analyzing of the questioner and — in a split second — of something else. His eyes, returning from that barely there distraction, pin to the possible athlete, with one hand sliding around to his pants, tucking into a pocket absently — unimportantly. "Is that what you wanted to hear." Casual of tone, but sly of expression, he waits a second for the full scope of reaction to allow — well, himself to continue. It's also a second where he indulges that same air of not quite there, before he recovers to hop-skip up to that divider between lecturer and questionably lectured. His hand is out of his pocket.

Bzzt, says Maggie's phone, New message from MILES, LAURIE: hey u what r u up to?

"Eh… that's about half-and-half…" Laurie's hand parallels the floor then gives a generous tipping side to side. Just about. "While you are, yes, arrogant and convinced of your own superior self-worth, it isn't— let's say— 'experienced' enough for you not to, when challenged, react with incredulity that you're being confronted, and enough derision to, lightning-fast, convince yourself that this other person isn't worth your time, and clearly an idiot, lying, whatever. That produces — besides clotting and hair-loss — on the face, mostly commonly, a sneer, or a note of smugness. Both of which are highly detectable, and particularly familiar — especially in this— " Leaning backwards, he waves a hand over the far-left, where the majority of the remaining unconvinced police force sits, "this section over here." Paused before his retreat, Laurie slips forward, draping his arm intrusively over the back of some poor front-rower's chair to lean in personably to James Dean. "Oh. To spare you the time— I'm not," a twinkle of aggressive humility in his eye; he nearly smirks, himself. "And— " Head tipping, he veers it side to side, eyes rolled to the ceiling, in exaggerated deliberation; but, allowing: "I am."

"But!" Jogging backwards, he hoists himself to the stage, "That's just bloated ego, and not the confidence I'm thinking of." Somewhere in twisting around to get onboard the raised plane, Laurie spots the inconvenienced cop in the chair as though for the first time. He and his partner have been exchanging progressively less silent looks over the course of action — and why the hell hasn't she stormed the stage already.

"No— no." Trails on the consultant, striding over and becoming detached from the fulfillment of his answer when he focuses on coming alongside the chair, "The hardest lie to detect…" as simple and matter-of-fact as the throwaway ease with which he picks open the handcuffs a second time, "Well, that's the truth."

It's taken this long for the sitting-in detective to decide to respond to the message on her phone. Its presence has prompted a sillier, incredulous look — albeit restrained — that hops to and fro between the device and the possessor of blind typing skills on stage, clearly irrelevant to the teachings. The phone's recent buzzing and her attention to it has, in turn, prompted "C" to cast more looks over her shoulder, agitated.

Reply to: MILES, LAURIE flashes on the screen — conscientiously, Maggie seems to turn the phone away in time to avoid prying eyes and to … eventually/ type: Only being so tremendously educated. No texting in class - you're supposed to be the teacher. She abandons the phone on the empty chair and takes her coffee instead. Message Sent!

The consultant seems to have pegged the second row James Dean, meanwhile. Answer received, his air of arrogance remains in place, along with a smirk, though it hasn't been without its subtle ups and downs and challenges while eyeing Laurie. Through it, however, he acceptingly nods, and even thoughtfully considers. "Truth is relative— " he projects, " — not to be philosophical. You're saying when someone believes what they're saying so much— they don't know they're lying? Well that sounds foolproof, but no one can do it on purpose."

As discussion is encouraged up there, at the back, the brunette contains her impatient energy, lest she throw her hand up desperately in the air. Her arm instead raises neatly, radiating persistence; her friendly, enthusiastic face watches Laurie expectantly. Pick me, pick me…

With the cop's wrist and dignity freed, he ducks to his seat, engaging in a small fitful skirmish with his partner over whether they're leaving or not, and eventually settling. He leaves Laurie alone to fill the stage once more, as the consultant, hand braced against one arm in a half-made posture, narrows in on James Dean with renewed concentration. "No one can do what on purpose— believe something's true?" Challenge or not, it remains securely rhetorical when the speaker goes on: "What I was saying is that when someone's lying, the truth is the hardest one to detect. Although, I was, admittedly, briefly distracted by the idea that if you tied a sweater around your shoulders right now, you could be the asshole love rival in a teen romantic comedy. I mean— the hair— " With a simple gesture, he puppets an entire room into examining a man's hairstyle, no matter the range of interest. And with another, he fishes into his pocket, peering down at the tipped up screen; what he skims there earns a soft laugh.

"Beliefs," as though nothing at all detoured them — especially not his own antics — Laurie backpedals, constantly on the move, "Are some of the most powerful constructs available to us. The single most dangerous thing you can hold onto is a belief. And even the simplest seeming can be empowering, or destructive, both outwardly and inwardly. However, believing something does not necessarily preclude understanding that others do not share that belief."

He's reached the underused, except for seating, podium and relaxes in typical stance this time, resting his hand on its slanted top. His fingers tap tap tap tap a couple of times in tune with his thoughts, then drift further to the extended bottom made for resting papers on. "Because we only talk about cheerful things here— take a rapist and his victim." There's enough maturity in Laurie to thin his mouth over this concept, but he goes on in the same amiable fashion, "She says he did it. He says he never hurt her. Because he believes his sex is so great he could never, or that this is how women can be treated— or that she secretly wanted it. But he knows… that he can't say that to anyone or he will be admitting guilt in the eyes of all those morons who don't get him." His hand raised, he indicates each point with a snap of his wrist each time, forefinger resting lightly against thumb, then popping up for the last, "He's picking truths, that he knows to be lies, but believes to be right." His hand drops to the podium.

Beep! From MILES, LAURIE click OMG, is THAT what I was here for this whole time?! Quick, what am I supposed to be teaching?

Idly skimming the room sees a hand — among other hands — but Laurie poses too relaxed to point at people, his hand becoming occupied in his propping his cheek as he leans on the podium, and he only lifts his chin towards that back-end of the room. His chin and then — suddenly, his hand. The opposite one pitches into the air in imitation of all those waiting in seats.

The audience, taking all of this in, falls into thoughtful silence for the most part — even the so aptly described questioner is now as quiet as his friend. Question, answer, speak, listen; everyone in temporary limbo until the next round, no one really knowing when the last round is. They're waiting. Except for Maggie; sharp attentiveness, picked up during the last of Laurie's explanations, reverent to the subject and words on-stage, now wanes away from the scholarly. She takes the time to retrieve the phone she was reserved from (not, in fact, quick to tell him what he's supposed to be teaching) and gradually engages in the phone-typing ordeal once more.

That most hopeful of brown-haired question candidates looks ever-so-slightly from side to side at the other hand raisers. Is Laurie looking at her? Should she speak up— ? Her hand lowers halfway as she studies the consultant from afar. His hand is raised… "Um…" Despite this hesitation, she smiles confidently, ready, all the same.

And behind her, the text-messaging detective gives a response of her own to the star lecturer, advising: Handcuff Escape 101, so far so good - can I sign up for the advanced class?Message Sent!

Unattended, Laurie's own hand wanes slightly, withering more dramatically than needed — meaning, likely the more drama, the less honest. Time perpetuating the trend of that hovering, unmoving state between audience and man, and he finally surrenders in a shrug. Eyes, those blue eyes, lock more decisively on the brunette, "Fine," he switches over from hand-raising to using that hand to point towards her, "But I'm— " Just a split second, and there's a split in attention. Laurie's eyes travel off the girl for, of all things, the podium at his side. A quick scan; he chuckles under his breath; something there causes him genuine pleasure, before he flickers to the lecture, his breezier reality. Miniscule amounts of time, all told. But for those who are paying absolute attention… " — next." Expectancy that was aimed towards him is looped to her: questioner.

Beep: Seem to recall you had private demonstration.

A couple of seconds later: Feel this is trap.

The new would-be questioner misses nothing even all the way back there — her eyes are dark but bright, and on Laurie's quick diversion, they edge ever-so-slightly to the side… closer to the woman with the phone.

Would I do that. Maggie's back-of-the-class texting continues.

"I was wondering— " The brunette's voice starts out unsure but gains confidence and pride at being able to speak up. Even so, there's a bit of a struggling stop-and-start to her speaking manner. "Are you— e-ever going to publish a book on all of this or your experiences?"

A pause; a second reply: Demo is one thing. Lesson is better! Never know when I'm going to be handcuffed by a strange man again.

"And— ! I heard — uh, somewhere — that you have a new position, what are you doing now?" Half of the other raised hands in the audience fall.
Yes. In the brunette's uncertainty, Laurie's focus becomes unshakeable — belying that whip-fast response in the beep of Maggie's phone. His expression opens up in sincere interest, never waning, but patient, where the question isn't instantaneous. But those eyebrows raise higher than curiosity when he hears it, "Not if I can help it. If I'm to be made an example of, I'd certainly hope it'd be on something more interesting. Or at least have coloring pages… or… pop-up…"

In summoning up this image, his gaze weighs down to the bright stage, and in looking for the questioner a second time, he finds himself squinting against the changes in light. "And!" he parrots cheerfully after her. "Somewhere— that sounds incredibly reputable— … I thought I was answering questions? I could be wrong. I'm very frequently contrary to purpose." He wiggles, adjusting, testing his weight where it's been the last couple of minutes. "… and on purpose. Unless you mean this," down to his belt, over to the podium — no reaction this time; his thumb tucks around the sweater, nudging it sideways around his belt, on which is clipped a leather cover, folded over. When it flips it up, the small square of color that is a picture is too far for most of the receded seating, but the bold lettering is clear.

Laurie eyes down at the upside-down 'FBI' skeptically, finding it foreign to his body. "How I sold out." Tiring, after all, of his physical position, the newly hired agent drapes his arms over the podium, revealing the phone that's in his hand, resting as if ignored in his clutches… except for a thumb, hidden where his arm's draped lazily, sliding along the keys. "In which case, I'll admit I wasn't paying express attention when they explained it— but the gist seems to be allowing me to pick cases I believe require federal help, and then being able to supply those resources. Seems good in theory. We'll just have to wait and see how well I can ruin it."

Tap tap, simultaneous to his spoken words. Send: All you have to do is ask. In the spirit of education.

Laurie's answers — though atypical — satisfy "C". "Thank you!" she calls out. She's brimming with enthusiasm seconds later, as though she could think of a hundred more follow-up questions. She voices none. As the audience takes over in her silence, trying to ask more questions or, as it happens, answer them, she sets to jotting down more meticulous notes despite the non-technical Q&A that inspired them.

Reply: THIS feels like a trap. But OK - educate me? Maggie's attention to her phone drifts to crowd-watch, intrigued and distantly disconcerted by the variety of questions they want to ask now — at least murmur about — topics on Laurie's celebrity, for example. She spends a quick moment considering the note-taking brunette before her head dips. Now I have to go handcuff someone else. Don't get mobbed by your fans.

Educate me? You + me + handcuffs = date

Message Sent!

Don't get mobbed. No promises.

Message Sent! and — like most of the crowd — Maggie disappears when, shortly, the lecture lets out. She's nowhere in sight amongst them when they file out of the room. Many are caught up in lively conversation and debate as they filter away; some of them just look bewildered, considering whatever bizarre note the lecture happened to leave on. One thing's for certain: it was memorable.

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