The Future of Miss Powers - Cover

The Future of Miss Powers

Copyright© 2021 by Lazlo Zalezac

Chapter 18

Danny was seated off to the side watching the rehearsal. Once again, Denise’s performance left a lot to be desired. She said her lines mechanically. All of the other actors were just as irritated as he was.

Danny, fed up with wasting his time like this, said, “She’s hopeless.”

Denise spun around, pointed a finger at him, and shouted, “You will not talk about me that way.”

Mrs. Shapiro started clapping and said, “That’s how you are supposed to deliver your lines, Denise.”

“I wasn’t acting. I was telling the creepy guy off,” Denise said.

“You don’t need to act. You are that character,” Danny said.

“No, I’m not. My character is a bitch. I’m supposed to act like a bitch,” Denise said.

“Out of fear of repeating myself, you don’t need to act,” Danny said.

Denise growled, “What do you mean by that?”

Danny looked over at Mrs. Shapiro for help. She said, “What Danny is saying is that you don’t need to act in this part. To be quite blunt, you are a natural for this part. Your normal behavior is exactly how the character is supposed to be performed.”

“Are you saying that I’m a bitch?”

“I’m not saying that. I’m saying that you strongly resemble the character in the play.”

Everyone stood there looking everywhere except at Denise. She looked around for someone to jump in and say that she was really quite a nice person. She did notice that quite a few people kind of give slight involuntary nods of their heads in agreement.

Furious, Denise said, “I am not a bitch! Just because I insist on being treated like I deserve, does not make me a bitch.”

No one said anything. They just stood there looking uncomfortable. A lot of people were thinking that she was being treated as deserved, for the first time in ages. A few of them looked over at Danny with respect.

Danny said, “You should be happy that we don’t treat you like you deserve.”

“What do you mean by that?” she hissed in a low menacing way.

Danny said, “Let’s see. You tried to knee me in the nuts when I danced with you. You never say ‘hello’ to people. Your normal greeting is, ‘I’m here.’ You never say ‘please’ or ‘thank you’. Whenever you are asked to help out, you point out someone who is ‘better suited for the job,’ leaving unsaid the bit about them only being suited for menial labor. You demand to be first in any activity that you want to do. No matter how badly you do, you insist that everyone praise you for how well you did. You treat everyone like dirt, because they are beneath you.

“I’m not sure what conclusion that you would make from all of that evidence, but there’s a general consensus that you aren’t a very nice person. If we did treat you like you deserve, then I don’t think many people would even bother to talk to you.”

“How dare you! None of those things you said about me are true.”

One of the kids said, “You did try to knee him in the nuts at the dance.”

Denise glared at the kid.

Danny said, “I left out some things. You don’t take constructive criticism very well. You are abusive. You say nasty comments about people on a regular basis. You...”

Denise said, “That’s enough you little creep! Just looking at you makes me want to barf. Look at yourself, you get your clothes from a chain store. You are always quoting dead people. No one likes you because you’re so creepy.”

Danny said, “I know. Let’s add a few things about me as you would say it. I’m a social retard. I am a C lister. I act like a snob, because I think I’m smart. Should I go on?”

Denise screamed in frustration. How could you insult someone when they took the words right out of your mouth, without even a hint of embarrassment about it? The creep needed to be put in his place.

“I am very self-critical. As Daniel Radcliffe said, ‘Being self-critical is good; being self-hating is destructive. There’s a very fine line there somewhere, and I walk it carefully.’ I think you could try being a little self-critical for a while. You’ll be a better person for it.”

“Oh my God. You aren’t even embarrassed by it,” Denise said. “What a doofus.”

Danny said, “All of those negative things you said about me can rephrased in a positive way. I choose to save my father money by not spending extra for name brand clothes. I leave social posturing to others, for whom it is important. I choose to avoid being a celebrity. I strive to be independent in how I think, as opposed to striving to achieve a mediocre conformity.”

In a low voice, Denise growled, “You’re going to pay for this.”

Danny reached into his pocket and pulled out some change. He searched through it until he found what he was looking for.

He tossed two cents to the floor in front of Denise and said, “That’s my two cents. Consider my debt paid in full.”

Several of the kids said, “Oh. She’s going for blood now.”

Denise marched over and tried to slap him. She missed. She tried a second time. She missed again. Furious, she stormed out of the theater.

Mrs. Shapiro said, “Danny.”


“You could have handled that a little better.”

“Do you mean I should have spared her feelings? Or that I should have taken her over my knee and spanked her when she tried to assault me?”

Mrs. Shapiro sighed and said, “Never mind.”

One of the kids said, “Now that she’s gone, can we get someone nicer to play that part?”

Danny looked from Denise’s mother to her father. It was a very interesting contrast in expressions. Her mother looked like she wanted to sink through the floor. Her father was furious. Danny would have liked to have taken a picture of it. He glanced over at Mr. Bell and could see that the man was uncomfortable. Denise was smiling like she was pulling off the greatest act of revenge in the history of the world.

Having finished a long five minute rant, her father asked, “So are you going to apologize to her?”

This little trip to the Principal’s office was compliments of Denise. She had called her father complaining that one of the students had been verbally abusive to her and no one was doing anything about it. Danny hadn’t even been able to defend himself from the charges before Denise’s father was yelling at him. Danny had listened to it all without saying anything.

Danny rose from his chair and stuck out his hand as if to be shaken. In a strong decisive voice, he said, “You have convinced me, sir!”

The man reached for Danny’s hand thinking that the kid was not quite as rude as he had been portrayed. He was satisfied that he had won this little war on behalf of his daughter. A quick lecture about treating his daughter nicely and he would have this whole episode wrapped up.

“I am definitely going to press charges against Denise for attempted assault,” Danny said.


“She attempted to assault me. There’s a whole classroom full of witnesses to it. There were a number of students and a teacher present. It should be an open and shut case,” Danny said.

Her father bellowed, “How dare you accuse her of that!”

Danny turned to Denise and asked, “Did you try to slap me?”

“You deserved it!” Denise shouted.

Her father covered his eyes knowing that this wasn’t going to be over any time soon. He mother shook her head sadly. Mr. Bell sank down in his chair thinking today would have been a good day to skip school. Could Principals skip school? He wasn’t quite sure.

“She admits it,” Danny said. Turning to Mr. Bell, he said, “Do you want to call the police or should I?”

Mr. Bell said, “We don’t need to get the law involved.”

“Yes, we do. She tried twice to slap me today,” Danny said.

Her father said, “You insulted her.”

“This was not the first time she’s tried to assault me. She attempted to knee me in the nuts at the last dance. You were a witness to that Mr. Bell.”

“I didn’t want to dance with you,” Denise said crossing her arms.

Her father asked, “Did she?”

Mr. Bell nodded his head. “She did.”

“I didn’t want to dance with you, either. I had to because it was a class assignment and we were being graded on it,” Danny said.

Denise’s mother looked at her daughter and asked, “Did you really try to knee him for dancing with you as part of an assignment?”

“I didn’t want to dance with him. I told him that two times,” Denise said.

“You did, didn’t you?”

“So what? It was his fault.”

“And you knew that Mrs. Shapiro said that I was to ask you to dance three times or I would fail the class,” Danny said.

“You should have been happy to fail rather than demand that I dance with you. How a creep like you could expect me to let you put your hands on me in public, it’s boggles the imagination. What gall,” Denise said.

Her mother looked at Denise like she was scum.

“Do you even hear how you talk?” Danny asked. “William E. Gladstone said, ‘Selfishness is the greatest curse of the human race.’ Denise, you are about as cursed a person as anyone on this planet.”

Mr. Bell scrubbed his face. Denise’s mother looked at Danny with a sad expression. She agreed with him. She had tried to get help for Denise, but it wasn’t working.

Denise’s father rose and shouted, “Young man, you will stop this nonsense, right now.”

Danny looked at Denise’s father and said, “I would like to mention something that Joan Cusack said about being a parent. It might help in this situation.”

Not sure what Danny was going to say, Mr. Bell tried to head him off at the pass, “Danny! I don’t know what you are going to say, but don’t say it.”

“You insufferable little bastard. If I want parenting advice, I’ll ask for it. Now shut your mouth.”

Denise’s mother said, “I want to hear what Joan Cusack said.”

Danny said, “She said, ‘As a parent, you have to figure out how to shape your kid’s character. You want to have human beings who learn about good character. You have to be able to see your child with clarity, see the good side and the bad side of them, and work on the bad side and make them better so they fulfill their potential.’”

“I’ll have you know that Denise is a good child. You on the other hand...”

Interrupting, Danny said, “I think you need to bring a bit of clarity in how you view her. She has been nothing but rude to everyone here. That includes being rude to you. Don’t you see that?”

“Your parents did a lousy job raising you. I’ve never seen anyone who is such a smart alec. I’m going to have to demand that you suspend this kid, Mr. Bell.”

The look Denise’s mother gave her husband should have dropped him dead. She pulled out a cell phone and started dialing a number. It was Danny’s look of curiosity that caused everyone to look at her.

“Who are you calling?” Denise asked.

“My lawyer,” her mother answered while putting the cell phone to her ear.

“That’s a great idea,” Denise said, “I think we should sue him. Look at all of the mean things that he’s said about me.”

Danny pulled out his cell phone and said, “I can make a call too. I can have the police here in five minutes.”

“We aren’t going to let him press charges,” her father said.

“I’m not calling about that. I’m going to divorce you,” Denise’s mother said.


“May I speak to Kevin Masters?” she asked when her call was answered. “I’ll hold.”

“Why would you divorce me?” the father asked, stunned.

Denise’s mother said, “Your daughter tried to assault a young man on two separate occasions. You are blaming him for her behavior. Let me tell you something mister, I’m not having my authority as her mother undermined like this any more. Your daughter is a bitch. She’s been rude and abusive to everyone the whole time we’ve been here. We’ve talked about this and you just crossed the line. You’re out.

“Denise, I’m going to recommend to Mr. Bell that he suspend you for a week and kick you off the Cheerleading team.”

Denise and her father were staring at her. Denise couldn’t believe that her mother would make her quit the team. Her father couldn’t believe his wife was going to divorce him over this. Both were rendered speechless.

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