The Future of Miss Powers - Cover

The Future of Miss Powers

Copyright© 2021 by Lazlo Zalezac

Chapter 16

The two regular high school classes that Danny was attending were the algebra class, in which he worked on his calculus homework; and his science class, in which he worked on his physics homework. His teachers were quite understanding about him occasionally missing classes. After all, they were actually tutoring him in his subjects, rather than teaching him with the class. Danny had missed quite a few classes in a row, and realized that he was getting behind in his calculus and physics classes at the university. He decided that he had better start attending the classes much more regularly.

It seemed to him that his life had gotten really full all of a sudden. All of his classes at high school were demanding more of his time. With it nearing the end of the semester at college, the pace had picked up significantly as papers were becoming due and final exams were looming.

The dancing lessons were kind of a nice break from classes with real artifacts due. He could just go and enjoy dancing with Val and watching the blossoming relationship between Steve and Stephanie. Watching the two of them was kind of entertaining. Even Val was enjoying it despite being somewhat jealous.

The art project was kind of overwhelming him. He was having difficulty imagining a 3D printer capable of printing an entire house. He stepped back and decided that he’d have to design one that could print a simple wall before tackling an entire house. How hard could that be? He discovered that even printing a wall was pretty tough.

Music lessons were going well. He had moved from playing alone to joining the orchestra. He wasn’t first chair yet, but he was practicing hard. The music had increased in complexity, which he appreciated quite a bit. Mr. Peters had given him a couple of new age pieces to play. He found them to be very relaxing.

The drama class was another matter. After having survived learning the part of King Lear, it was time to transition to the school play. Mr. Bell had put an end to plans to do ‘The Taming of the Shrew’, stating that it was too controversial for a high school. Mrs. Shapiro had thought to do ‘My Fair Lady’, until she heard Danny sing. She finally decided on a play that they hadn’t done in years, The Curious Savage. She cast Denise as Lily Belle Savage, and Danny as Jeffrey.

His calculus class was taking up more of his time. The problems that he was solving were a lot harder, with much more diversity in the homework questions. At the moment, he was studying infinite sequences and series. It wasn’t so much that the material was difficult, it was just that there were so many cases and tests that one could perform on an infinite series to test for convergence and divergence, that it was hard to keep it all in mind when faced with a new problem.

His physics class was now dealing with Electricity and Magnetism. He felt that he had a good handle on Gauss’s Law, although some of the problems for calculating electric fields were enough to give a person a permanent headache. Still, he was managing to slug his way through it.

In addition to all of the readings required in his English class, it was killing him with all of the papers that were due in it. He was having to write a five page paper every week, critiquing the reading assignment; with a twenty-five page paper due at the end of the semester.

Then there was his world history class. That one also had a twenty-five page paper due at the end of the semester. It was a typical survey class, in which they were covering a thousand years of history in one semester. Even Danny knew that they were giving the material the short shrift. His paper was on the empires of India. His problem wasn’t getting material for the paper, but how to keep it down to twenty-five pages. There were so many empires over the thousand year period that just covering each one with a few pages took him well beyond twenty-five.

Danny looked up from his physics homework and sighed. Mr. Chandler stepped over to his desk and asked, “What is the problem?”

“I’m kind of struggling with Gauss’s law.”

“It’s been so many years since I’ve done that. Let me see your book,” Mr. Chandler said.

Danny passed it over to his teacher. The man looked over the chapter saying, “I’m really rusty, but maybe I can help you. Which problem is giving you trouble?”

“Problem 15,” Danny answered.

“Oh, this is tough one. Let’s go to the white board and see what we can do with it,” Mr. Chandler said.

“Okay,” Danny said.

The pair walked up to the white board at the front of the room. They immediately launched into solving the problem, with lots of figures and equations being bandied about. They discussed various parts of the problem.

They forgot about the rest of class who had been taking a sophomore general science test. As the discussion got more intense, more students looked up from their tests to watch. They couldn’t believe what they were seeing. Danny Markem, the creepy guy, was discussing physics at the whiteboard with the kinds of equations they had only seen in movies.

Danny stepped back and looked at the solution. He said, “That makes sense. The next problem is for an infinitely long cylinder of uniform charge.”

“It’s basically the same problem. Let’s see how you handle it,” Mr. Chandler said.

Danny’s hand flew across the board; writing equations, integrating, setting different equations equal to each other, and finally coming up with an answer. He stepped back and checked his work. It seemed okay to him.

“What do you think?”

“I think you’ve got it.”

“Thanks,” Danny said.

“It’s been so long since I’ve worked problems like that. It feels good to know that I can still do it,” Mr. Chandler said. He sighed and said, “We have a very good AP Physics program, but it is just an algebra based course. I miss working problems like that.”

“Maybe you can be an adjunct and teach it,” Danny suggested.

The pair turned around to find an entire room staring at them, open eyed and slack jawed. It was pretty clear that no one was working on the test. Mr. Chandler glanced up at the clock and realized that they’d never finish it before the class was over. He said, “You can turn in your tests, now.”

The whole class groaned. One of the students said, “That’s not fair. We were distracted and couldn’t finish it.”

“I won’t grade it,” he said.

There was a sigh of relief. There was the rustle as papers were passed forward. Danny walked across the front of the class picking up the papers and then handed them to Mr. Chandler.

“Thanks, Danny.”

“Thank you. All I’ve got to do is copy down the stuff on the board, and I’m all caught up on my physics homework,” Danny said finding he was quite pleased with the outcome.

He went back to his seat and copied the data onto his homework paper. He finished copying it down just before the class bell rang. He gathered up his book and headed out of the class room. All of the students got out of his way.

He ran into Steve on the way to his algebra class. Steve had a large stupid grin on his face, and could barely see where he was going.

“Hey, Steve.”

“Hello, Danny. How’s it going?”

“Okay. How are things with you?”

“They’re great. She’s so wonderful.”

“I’m sure she is,” Danny said.

They took another couple of steps, and Stephanie appeared out of nowhere. Within a second she was latched onto Steve, like a lamprey on a fish. The couple was completely unaware of anyone or anything around them.

Danny stepped back, happy that his friend got the girl of his dreams. He continued on his way to class. He had a couple of calculus problems to work on that day. If he could finish them during his Intro to Algebra class he would be caught up with his class work.

Maybe if he finished it quickly, he could spend a bit of time on the 3D printer. It had only taken him five minutes on line before he had found five sites that claimed to have built a 3D printer for printing houses. He had looked at them, saw what they were doing, and knew he could do better. He knew that in pouring concrete you needed rebar for reinforcement, but none of the 3D printers used rebar in the printed product. It seemed to him that without rebar, the printed houses he had seen didn’t have much of a chance of lasting.

A nudge in the side brought him out of his thoughts. He looked over and was quite shocked to find Val walking beside him.

He said, “Hello, Val.”

“Hi. You looked like you were thinking great thoughts.”

“Just thinking about my art project. It’s not going well.”

“I thought you’d be thinking about secrets of the universe, and all that. I heard that you blew everyone’s mind in your science class.”

“Mr. Chandler was just helping me with a homework problem,” Danny said.

“So what class do you have now?”

“Math. I’ve got some calculus homework to finish,” Danny said. Thinking about his current problems, he said, “It’s actually not that hard, but there are so many cases that its not easy knowing which case you’re dealing with.”

“Calculus is not that hard, huh? I’ve heard that it is one of the hardest subjects in college,” Val said.

“A lot of people have agreed with Thomm Quackenbush when he said, ‘Being kidnapped and abused by the undead was worse than calculus, but not by a wide margin.’ It’s not really that bad. You just have to get into a certain mindset.”

“I see,” Val said.

His mind flashed on an image of a 3D printer laying down rebar while it printed. He imagined the printer head colliding with the rebar that was standing vertically. He shook his head thinking that wouldn’t work.

Noticing that Val was still walking with him, Danny said, “It’s funny. I don’t remember you walking this way at this time of the day.”

“I thought I’d take a different route to class, today,” Val said lightly.

This was a very different route. She’d had to run three quarters of the way around the building to catch up with him. She had heard people talking about his time spent at the whiteboard when she had reached his original class. If he hadn’t stopped to talk to Steve, she never would have caught up with him.

“Interesting. I fear that I’m too much a creature of habit to do things like that,” Danny said.

She shook her head wondering just how dense a smart young man like him could be. She said, “Here’s my class. I’ll see you at Dance.”

“Sure. I’m kind of looking forward to it. Mrs. Shapiro was saying something about dancing to Salsa music. I think she wants us to know a fast dance style. Maybe this will keep a little distance between Steve and Stephanie.”

“Oh, my!” Val said looking a little pale. She stood there thinking about the Salsa while he walked off towards his class. She muttered, “Dirty Dancing. I’m not sure I can take watching Steve and Stephanie dirty dancing.”

Danny reached his class, and sat down in his normal seat in the corner of the room. He opened his calculus book to the appropriate page and started working on the assigned problems. He had ten problems to solve. This might not sound like many, but calculus homework problems typically took between five and ten minutes to solve. This particular assignment went pretty quickly and he finished all of the problems in forty minutes.

Having finished his homework he set about thinking about his art project. He had just barely started when a runner came to the class on an errand from the office. Much to Danny’s surprise, they wanted him to head over to the office immediately. He packed up his material convinced that he’d never get a chance to work on his art project.

He walked into the office saying, “Mr. Bell, I must protest! I am innocent. I know, because I haven’t had an opportunity to do anything that would make me guilty.’”

Mr. Bell rolled his eyes and said, “Hello, Danny. You’re not in trouble.”

“As Sean Combs said, ‘I’m glad the truth is out. I’m glad everyone knows I’m innocent, not guilty.’”

“There’s someone here who wants to talk to you.”

Now, who wants to talk to me?”

“There’s a reporter here,” Mr. Bell said.

“That’s awkward. When they asked if they could talk to me in school, I thought they meant the other school. I hope that’s not a problem,” Danny said.

“It’s not a problem. What do they want to talk to you about?”

“About the other school,” Danny said.

“She’s in the conference room waiting for you,” Mr. Bell said.

Millie Scott was not happy about this assignment. How was one to interview a fifteen year old kid about computers? Everyone knew that all kids know more about computers than their parents. Computer whiz kids were everywhere.

She looked up at Danny when he entered the room and groaned. He fit every stereotype that she had about teenage computer whiz kids.

“Hello, I’m Danny Markem.”

“I’m Millie Scott. I’m a reporter from the Chronicle.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Ms. Scott.”

“Do you mind if I record this interview?”

“I don’t mind,” Danny said.

She turned on the recorder. Leaning over to it, she stated the date and that she was talking to Danny Markem. Danny sat there watching her impassively.

She then asked, “Would mind spelling your name? I’d hate to get it wrong in the article.

Danny spelled his name, making sure to pronounce each letter distinctly. He knew that she would double check his name on the recording. Mumbling wouldn’t make that easy.

Thinking she’d just get this over with, she said, “I’m here to get a couple quotes from you for the article. I’ll try not to take up much of your time.”

“A couple of quotes?”

“Yes,” she said.

Danny sat there for a couple of seconds. When she didn’t add anything, he said, “Hmm ... How’s this one? Charles Kuralt once said, ‘When I was a little boy I used to borrow my father’s hat, and make a press card to stick in the hat band. That was the way reporters were always portrayed in the movies.’”

The source of this story is Finestories

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