The Future of Miss Powers - Cover

The Future of Miss Powers

Copyright© 2021 by Lazlo Zalezac

Chapter 9

She sat nervously on a chair waiting for Mrs. Shapiro to return to the room. She didn’t want to be there, but her mother was insistent that she take dance lessons. Her mother even threatened to take away her internet access at home, if she didn’t do it. There was nothing worse than not having access to the internet.

“I don’t want to dance with her any more.”

She heard some guy talking in the hallway outside the room. She wondered who it was. She wondered if this was supposed to be her dance partner.

“She tried to knee me in the crotch.”

Now she knew who he was. The story about Denise’s dance with the weird kid was all over the school. This was a disaster. She didn’t want to dance with that guy.

She wondered, ‘Do I need internet connectivity?’

“I told you. I have a new dance partner for you. Denise is history, as far as dancing goes.”

“Joyce Brothers once said, ‘Trust your hunches. They’re usually based on facts filed away just below the conscious level.’ Why do I have the feeling that Denise isn’t quite history?”

“She’s not. We’ll get into that later,” Mrs. Shapiro said. “Right now, you need to meet your new dance partner.”

“Who is it?”

“I’ll introduce you in a minute.”

“I’m not going in that room until you tell me who it is,” Danny said.

“You’ll like her. She’s real cute, but shy.”

“That’s going to work out well,” Danny said sarcastically.

He could just see some shy girl taking one look at him, and running for the hills.

‘I can live without internet connectivity at home. There’s always the library,’ she thought.

“Why do you say that?” Mrs. Shapiro asked.

“She’s cute. She’s not going to want to dance with me. She’s shy. She’s not going to want to dance with anyone. She’s going to take one look at me and head for the hills.”

“She won’t run away.”

“Who is she?”

“Stephanie Morris.”

“Did you say, Stephanie Morris?”


Danny said, “I’m not going to dance with her. Not no way. Not no how. No!”

This was an unexpected development. Mrs. Shapiro had thought the problem person was going to be Stephanie. She had never expected Danny to object to dancing with an attractive young woman. She wondered if there was some kind of history there.

“Do you know her?”

“I’ve never met her,” Danny said.

Stephanie was stunned. It is one thing to want to reject a person. It is a whole other thing to be rejected by them first. The absolute worst is to be rejected by someone who wasn’t in a position to reject anyone. One did not sink much lower in the social scale than that.

Stephanie sat there near tears thinking, ‘Even he doesn’t want to dance with me.’

“So why won’t you accept her as a dance partner?”

“I have ethics.”

“I don’t understand. She’s a perfectly attractive young lady.”

“It doesn’t matter. She will not be my dance partner,” Danny said.

Mrs. Shapiro said, “Danny, if you don’t tell me what I want to know, I’m calling this off, and you can go back to Mrs. Elrich’s class.”

“That’s a low blow,” Danny said dispiritedly.

“Spill it.”



Stephanie wondered if she had heard him correctly. He wasn’t going to dance with her because of Steve? What Steve? Who was Steve? This was bizarre.

“Steve Sharp is in love with Stephanie Morris. I won’t get between Steve and her.”

Stephanie felt the room spin. She knew exactly who Steve Sharp was. As star on the football team, he was one of the ‘big men on campus’. The guy had asked her out last year. Every one knew exactly what a guy like him would want from a girl like her, and it wasn’t something that a girl like her wanted to give a guy like him.

“She isn’t dating anyone,” Mrs. Shapiro said.

“It doesn’t matter.”

“Steve isn’t dating her. He hasn’t had a date in a year. If he was dating someone, the whole school would know.”

“She won’t date him,” Danny said.

“Why not?”

Danny said, “She thinks all Steve wants to do is sleep with her, and then dump her.”

’Of course he would. He’s a football player. That’s what football players do to girls like me,’ Stephanie thought.

Mrs. Shapiro stopped and looked back towards the room where Stephanie was waiting. She remembered some stories about Steve always showing up, alone, at school events. The rumor was that he was waiting for some girl to show up.

“Do you mean that Stephanie is Steve Sharp’s mystery woman?”


“How do you know that?”

“He told me.”

“You’re not going to partner with her because of Steve.”

“That’s right. Albert Camus said, ‘A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world.’ I have ethics. I am not going to charge in like a rhino and get between a man and his true love.”

“This is a disaster,” Mrs. Shapiro said.

Stephanie was seated there thinking, ’This is a disaster. How can I get out of here?’

“Just find another dance partner for me,” Danny said.

“I can’t. Her mother and I twisted her arm to get her here. Her mother wants her to get over her shyness, and I need a dance partner for you. I already had her transferred out of her study hall.”

“Sorry,” Danny said. “Joe Paterno said, ‘We shall act with good intentions, but at times we will be wrong. When we are, let us admit it and try to right the situation.’ It’s time for you to go right the situation.”


“How about partnering her with Steve? He once mentioned that his mother taught him to dance and that he attributed some of his skill on the football field to that training. Perhaps, he’d like advanced lessons with Miss Morris.”

“No!” Stephanie screamed and then covered her mouth.

There was a long moment of silence from the hall.

“Who was that?”


“Uh, oh,” Danny said. “As Carrie Underwood once said, ‘If something can be said to make an awkward moment even worse, I’m going to say it.’ I think I just said it.”

“You and me both,” Mrs. Shapiro said.

’Perhaps I can crawl out the window. The drop from the second floor probably won’t kill me,’ Stephanie thought.

“Sweet Dreams,” Danny said cryptically.


“Everybody’s looking for something. Some of them want to use you, Some of them want to get used by you. Some of them want to abuse you. Some of them want to be abused.”

“Ah the Eurythmics. What you’re saying is that she’s afraid he wants to use her and abuse her.”


“I must say that the main body of evidence probably supports your assessment concerning her feelings,” Mrs. Shapiro said.

Danny walked into the room leaving Mrs. Shapiro in the hallway. There were chairs scattered around the room in a haphazard manner. Danny grabbed a chair and turned it to face the chair on which Stephanie was seated. He made a large production of wiping off the seat of the chair. Then he sat down facing her. He was now getting his first good look at her. She was cute, but nothing exceptional.

’Oh, God. He’s going to try to talk me in into dating Steve,’ Stephanie thought.

Danny said, “Susan Cain once said, ‘Shyness is about the fear of social judgments. At a job interview, or a party, you might be excessively worried about what people think of you. Whereas an introvert might not feel any of those things at all, they simply have the preference to be in a quieter setting.’ Are you shy or introverted?”

Stephanie wondered who Susan Cain was. She just shook her head.

Danny said, “I’ve often thought she was a little limited in her scope as to why someone might act standoffish. There is indifference and intolerance. Indifference is when you don’t care where you are and don’t see any need to interact with anyone. Intolerance is when there are other places you’d rather be.”

“You are using the wrong word,” Stephanie said. “Intolerance is when you can’t stand the place where you are and view everyone there as insufferable fools. Entrapment is when there are other places you’d rather be, but are stuck where you are.”

“I stand corrected,” Danny said. “I must assume that you feel trapped.”

’There’s got to be a way out of here,’ Stephanie thought.

“Regardless of whether you are shy, introverted, indifferent, intolerant, or just trapped, the current situation can only be described as uncomfortable.”

She just stared at him without speaking. He did sum up how she felt about this situation and did so in a rather succinct manner.

Danny said, “I know how you feel. I felt trapped at having to be here, too. Not here in this room, but in this school. My choices were pretty bleak. I could attend school here, and live with my Dad; or I would have to live with my Mom, and be forced to go to a high school somewhere else. No matter what, I was going to end up in high school.

“Joan Collins said, ‘If life throws you a lemon - make lemonade.’ With that in mind, I did what I could to minimize the misery. I talked to a bunch of my teachers about letting me just sit in class and work on my college homework. Some agreed. Others wouldn’t even talk to me. I was pretty miserable sitting through remedial classes. It was torture, plain and simple.

“Someone took pity on me. I was pulled from the worst of the classes and put into subjects that were more challenging. I am still entrapped, but I am no longer being tortured. So now I am studying dance, drama, debate, and music. None of those are subjects with which I am comfortable. However, life is tolerable once again.

“So what are you to do? What compromise can be made that will remove the torturous aspects of being here despite being trapped here? That is the question.”

She sat there thinking, ‘He’s not as creepy as everyone says.’

“If we’re to come up with something that will be tolerable, we will need some input from you.”

“We drop the whole thing and I go back to study hall,” Stephanie said.

Mrs. Shapiro was about to enter the room, but Danny said, “That’s a ‘no go.’ Your mother has decided it is time for you to get beyond your shyness. If your mother is at all like my mother, there will be no negotiating on this matter.”

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