The Future of Miss Powers - Cover

The Future of Miss Powers

Copyright© 2021 by Lazlo Zalezac

Chapter 4

In war, allies can mean the difference between winning and losing. In life, allies can mean the difference between success and failure. A good ally is hard to find, particularly when the battle is completely lopsided. Underdogs are admired, but rarely helped. As much as everyone cheers when an underdog wins, no one wants to be on the losing side and underdogs seldom win. Then again, sometimes an ally appears in a place where one least expects to find one.

A small herd of boys made their way out of the dressing room into the gym. They were all shapes and sizes. None looked athletic. They were there to go through the misery that was called gym class. It meant pushups and laps which was pure torture for kids who thought exercise was making a computer game character move around and fight. Their enthusiasm could, at best, be described as abysmal.

Coach Titterman blew his whistle and shouted, “Okay everyone, gather around. It’s time for a little basketball.”

Upon hearing the word basketball, Danny turned around walked over to the bleachers. He took a seat while the other boys gathered around the coach. Coach Titterman blew his whistle a couple of times, pointed at Danny, and shouted, “Get over here.”


“What do you mean, no?”

“I mean, I’m not playing basketball.”

“You have to.”

“No, I don’t. I don’t have to do anything,” Danny said.

All of the boys in the gym class snickered. They figured that Danny was about to have his ass handed to him in a hat. It wasn’t going to be pretty, but they couldn’t keep from watching it.

“You’ll fail gym if you don’t play,” Coach Titterman said.

Nonplussed, Danny replied, “So what?”

“You can’t graduate without passing gym.”

“I have no plans on graduating from this high school. I will drop out at the end of this school year.”

All of the boys in the class stared at Danny. Even the guy who was planning on dropping out was staring at him, amazed at how matter of a fact he was in talking about dropping out. Even hinting at dropping out was enough to get every adult within hearing distance on his ass.

“Are you crazy? You’re too young to be making those kinds of decisions,” Coach Titterman said.

“I’m not crazy. From a purely practical perspective, I don’t need to graduate high school. By the time I would finish with all of the Mickey Mouse bullshit that’s required to graduate high school, I’ll already have a college degree in computer science, with a specialization in software engineering.”

“That’s not possible.”

“Right now, I’m sitting through an algebra class in high school. I’m already taking second semester calculus in college. This spring, I’ll still be taking algebra here. I’ll be taking differential equations in college. I’ll also be taking complex number theory. It’s an elective.

“The way that I have it laid out, I’ll get my college degree at the end of the fall semester during my senior year of high school. Since I wouldn’t be able to graduate until the end of the spring semester of my senior year, I’d be getting my high school diploma, after receiving my college degree.”

“You’re in college?”

“That’s right. I picked up eighteen credits over the summer. I’m taking fifteen credits now. In December, I’ll officially be a sophomore in college. This time next year, I’ll be a junior,” Danny said.

“You can’t get through college in less than four years.”

“I beg to differ. Three summers is the same as a year and a half of college. Five regular semesters takes two and a half years. Thus, by going to summer classes, you can finish in three years.”


“Threatening to give me an F in gym just doesn’t motivate me. So just go ahead and play your little game of basketball. I’ll sit here and watch,” Danny said.

Although high school coaches have a reputation as not being very smart, Coach Titterman was a college graduate and had legitimately earned his degree in education. Although he had gone through school on a partial sports scholarship, he had not used his sports affiliation to cruise through classes. He had earned every A and B received, graduating with a reasonable 3.6 GPA. He was quite proud of that accomplishment, and rightfully so. There were a few teammates of his who had squeaked through with a 2.01 GPA and even that had been a gift. He imagined that more than one of them was now a tail gunner on a garbage truck.

For the next forty minutes, Coach Titterman watched Danny watch the boys play basketball. The more he thought about Danny sitting through high school classes while going to college, the angrier he got. By the time class ended, he was furious. He sent the boys off to the showers, and headed to Principal Bell’s office.

“What in the hell is Danny Markem doing here?”

Principal Bell looked at the coach with a puzzled expression. “He’s going to high school.”

“He just told me that he was going to college.”

Although it had been mentioned several times in his presence, the fact that Danny was going to college had never registered in Principal Bell’s consciousness. In his world view, high school students went to high school, hence the name high school students. They didn’t go to college, or else they would be called college students. This was a high school, Danny was here, therefor he was high school student.

“He’s lying. He’s fifteen years old. No college would accept a fifteen year old. If he’s telling the truth, he’s probably taking one of those continuing education courses like cooking or car repair.”

“If he’s lying, then you better get his parents down here, because he said that he planned to drop out at the end of the school year.”

“That’s not his decision to make. His parents have to sign off on it before he can drop out,” Principal Bell said.

“Don’t you think they should know what he’s planning?”

“I guess I could arrange a parent teacher conference,” Principal Bell said while thinking that he was really beginning to hate Danny Markem.

“If you do, include me in the discussion. If the kid is lying, I’m going to be pissed. If he’s telling the truth, I want to know what the hell we’re going to do about it.”

“Why are you so upset?”

Coach Titterman leaned across the desk. “I’m the first person in my family to ever get a college degree. I worked hard because it was a matter of family pride that I went to college. My scholarship covered half of the bill. My mom worked to help pay my way through school. I worked in the student cafeteria to earn my spending money. I’m still paying on the college loan.

“I studied my ass off, and I earned my degree. I am more proud of that than anything else I’ve done in my life. I went to the state championship in high school. Some of my high school classmates are still boasting about that, but it’s nothing. My team won the college conference. My college teammates are still boasting about that, but it’s nothing. That little piece of paper that says that I graduated college ... that means everything to me!

“Now I hear this kid is taking Calculus II in college while having to sit through a high school Algebra I class. That’s criminal! What can he possibly be learning in Algebra I that he doesn’t already know? We’re supposed to be educators. We’re not teaching him anything!”

Principal Bell was shocked at the passion in Coach Titterman’s voice. He had watched the guy coach the basketball team for years and had never heard that kind of passion in his voice. He decided that if Coach Titterman felt that strongly about it, that he’d make the call to Danny’s father. What was the worst that could happen?

Principal Bell had no problems recognizing Danny’s father when he entered the office. He was tall and spindly, just like Danny, although it was more accurate to say that Danny was tall and spindly, like his father. He walked out of his office into the main office area.

“Mr. Markem, you’re early. I’m Paul Bell.”

“Mr. Bell. You called about some issue with my son?”

“Yes. Would you come with me to our conference room? A number of Danny’s teachers would like to discuss a matter that has come to our attention.”

“I passed Danny on the way in. He didn’t look upset,” Mr. Markem said looking puzzled.

“We’ll talk about it when everyone gets here,” Mr. Bell said while leading Danny’s father into the conference room.

Danny’s father said, “Ah! Mr. McClellan. It’s nice to see you again.”

“Likewise,” Mr. McClellan said.

“You know each other?”

“Yes. Mr. McClellan stopped by our house to negotiate his math class with Danny. How’s it working out?”

“It’s wonderful working with him. He just sits in the corner working on his homework all class,” Mr. McClellan said.

“He’s said that you’re really supportive of him,” Danny’s father said. He turned to the woman who was there and said, “You must be Mrs. Holmsteader.”

“Yes, I am. How did you know?”

“He’s spoken of you quite frequently. I think he quoted Liz Taylor in describing you – something about beautiful unexplainable spirit or something like that.”

“There is no definition of beauty, but when you can see someone’s spirit coming through, something unexplainable, that’s beautiful to me.”

“That’s it.”

“That’s Liv Tyler, not Liz Taylor.”

“Sometimes he gets a little of ahead of me unless I’m paying attention.”

“That’s understandable,” Mrs. Holmsteader said. “It’s a beautiful sentiment.”

“He’s quite fond of you.”

Coach Titterman entered the room.

“You must be Coach Titterman. I’m Danny’s father.”

“How’d you know it was me?”

“You’re basketball tall.”

“Of course,” Coach Titterman said.

Mrs. Elrich entered the room.

“You must be Mrs. Elrich.”

“Yes. You must be Danny’s father. I hope that we leave here with a promise that you’ll convince him to reign in his awkward questions in class.”

“You are just like he described,” Danny’s father said.

“How was that?”

“He quoted Victoria Moran.”

Mrs. Holmsteader burst out laughing. She said, “DeForest Kelly comes to mind.”

“Why is that?” Danny’s father asked.

“He once said, ‘The most important influence in my childhood was my father.’ Danny is clearly your son.”

“I try to be a good role model for him.”

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