Case #2.05: "After School Special"

In a science lab, the male teacher is lecturing about the sun. Almost no one is paying attention. When the teacher asks a question, he ignores the girl in a pink denim jacket who has her hand raised. After failing to get 2 different boys to answer, he allows the girl (Penny) to give her answer. She turns out to be correct. 

The teacher calls a black boy in a blue tank top up to the front of the room. He asks the boy to play the part of the sun in his eclipse lesson. The kid stays in his seat and shoots an apple into the trash can. The class claps. The teacher continues his lecture on solar eclipses in vain. The class throws various objects at him and laughs.

The teacher (Mr. Antonini) thinks it's sad the students don't care about anything other than themselves. Tito, one of the students, tells him to apologize. "I am sorry...that I have students like you," says Mr. Antonini. Tito shoves Mr. A, sending him halfway across the room. Mr. A orders him to go to Principal Montgomery's office; Tito refuses. 

"Get up!" Mr. Antonini shouts, slapping Tito in the face. Tito says the teacher will be sorry. Mr. A thinks Tito deserved the slap. Tito stands up and draws a revolver from inside his coat. Several classmates encourage him to shoot the teacher. Tito obliges, hitting Mr. Antonini in the shoulder. 

In the Chapel, Judy exposits Mr. Antonini is recovering from being shot with a .22. She asks Cap'n Rufus if Mr. A plans to teach again. Rufus doubts it because the students have tormented Mr. Antonini for years and half his students come to school armed. Judy will be on the case. Rufus is about to do some fieldwork himself, posing as Antonini's substitute teacher. They suspect guns are being sold in the school.

Tom plays with a black-and-white guinea pig on the table. Doug provides some Kentucky Derby fanfare. Tom blows air at the guinea pig's back end to make it run. Doug times it as it scurries across the table. "4.5," he reports, "not bad." Tom suggests having the guinea pig do cardio training on a wheel. "I don't even wanna know," says Judy.

Doug explains anyway; they're planning on racing Blowfish's guinea pig but "he needs some more road work." Tom is about to go to lunch with his mom and her new boyfriend Bob, a car salesman. 

The outside walls of the high school are covered in graffiti and it seems to be in a pretty rough area. Cap'n Rufus walks through the halls with the principal, who warns him that the teachers have to be "grunts" to survive. Both men reveal that they served in the Vietnam War.

Principal Montgomery takes Rufus to the teachers' lounge. A teacher named Mr. Bernard is saying that Mr. Antonini's classes robbed him of his love for teaching, which is almost worse than him getting shot. Cap'n Rufus is introduced as Adam Honeycut. Mr. Bernard is very upset about what happened because he's a good friend of Mr. Antonini's. 

Mr. Antonini's students sit in the science lab. One guy remarks that there's still blood on the desk. Judy walks in, attracting attention in her tight jeans and midriff top. Tito's best friend Derek introduces himself; she says she's JJ from Orlando. A girl in a tan jacket snaps that she's Derek's girlfriend. "Oh, how quaint," says Judy. 

The bell rings. Cap'n Rufus comes in and writes "Mr. Honeycut" on the chalkboard. A few people giggle at his name. Derek wants to know what'll happen to Tito since he shot Mr. Antonini. Rufus doesn't know and directs the class to turn to page 89 in their textbooks.

Naturally, Derek "forgot" his. Rufus tosses him the teacher's edition and asks Derek to read aloud. Derek doesn't want to, so Judy opens her book and starts reading about volcanoes. Rufus offers to give Derek an "A" and excuse him from science for the rest of the year if Derek can read the next paragraph without making a mistake. If Derek doesn't succeed, he'll be washing Rufus's car.

Judy reaches over to Derek's table and opens his book to the appropriate page. Derek laughs and says he doesn't feel like reading. Derek's girlfriend whispers that "Mr. Honeycut" is a jerk. 

Tom, dressed in a shirt and tie, arrives at an outdoor restaurant on the marina. He shakes hands with Bob and sits down. Widow Hanson announces that she and Bob are moving in together. Bob adds that they're probably going to get married. Tom doesn't look enthused. 

In the cafeteria, a boy in a pinstriped jacket approaches another boy who seems nervous. Nervous Boy's name is Billy and he has hearing aids. Pinstripes warns Billy to look out for "inferior product"; Billy only has $30. 

Mr. Bernard and Cap'n Rufus eat together. Mr. B always sits with his back to the wall so kids can't sneak up behind him. That honestly doesn't sound paranoid to me. Maybe because my best friend was a Marine and did the same thing whenever we went out to eat. 

Mr. Bernard had Derek in his class the previous year. Derek hardly ever showed up, but was given a "B" so Mr. Bernard wouldn't have to deal with him again. Fuller says that's a high grade for someone with reading problems. The only subject Derek is good at is math. Mr. B thinks Derek is a time bomb; they found 13 guns in his locker last year. 

Billy accidentally causes Derek to drop his lunch tray. Derek mocks the difficulties the other boy has with speaking, which probably have something to do with the hearing aids. He calls Billy a retard, rips out a hearing aid, and tosses it on the floor. Billy crawls under a table to retrieve it. 

Derek finds his girlfriend Lynnette listening to her Walkman. Across the room, Mr. Bernard notices Derek fumbling with a gun tucked in his girlfriend's purse. He walks up to the table and asks to see the purse. "You're carrying a weapon," he says. Lynnette denies it. 

Mr. Bernard snatches the purse from Derek and dumps its contents onto the table. There's nothing in it other than various kinds of makeup. What Mr. Bernard thought was a gun grip was really a hairbrush with a wooden handle. The teens laugh at Mr. Bernard, who stalks off.

After school, Cap'n Rufus talks to a female teacher in the parking lot. She reminisces about her student teaching days when all she had to worry about were "Kick Me" signs. The radio antennae on Rufus's car has been bent and twisted; there's spray paint all over it. He looks grimly at the damage. I bet it's his personal car. 

Doug, Harry, and Tom ride in a moving van. Doug hates helping friends move because you can't say no without looking bad. Harry points out that anyone is difficult to move other than Doug; all he has is a couch, TV, and crates of records. Doug explains that he doesn't wanna bother his friends so he makes sure all his stuff can fit in his car. Tom says his mom is a pack rat.

Doug wonders why they're not using a moving company and just renting the van. "How long do you think this guy's gonna shack up with your mom?" he asks casually. Tom snaps, "You don't 'shack up' with someone's mom!" Harry and Doug don't see why Tom doesn't like Bob. Tom is annoyed by Bob trying to be buddy-buddy; he even asked to go bowling with Tom. He pulls up to his mom's house so they can help load the van.

The students watch Cap'n Rufus park his vandalized car. He expresses his annoyance about having just paid the car off to Mr. Bernard. He asks if Mr. Bernard knows who did it. Mr. B says, "Take your pick." He tells Rufus about his insurance policy in the form of a concealed carry permit. 

Judy joins Derek for lunch, which greatly displeases Lynnette. She dumps her cup of red Jell-O onto Judy's lap. Judy knocks Annette's tray in the air, grabs her jacket, and takes the girl to the floor. When Lynnette gets up and pulls a knife, Judy belts her with the tray. Principal Montgomery and Mr. Bernard pull the girls apart. 

The principal tells Lynnette to clean up the mess. Lynnette threatens to kill Judy. Principal Montgomery takes Lynnette to the office. Pinstripes aka Cosmo offers to sell Judy a gun. He promises to find her a good one she can keep in her purse.

Judy pulls Cap'n Rufus aside to tell him about Cosmo's offer. He tells her about Mr. Bernard's gun. In science class, Derek drops a switchblade and kicks it over to the teacher's desk. Rufus finds it.

In the teacher's lounge, Prinicipal Montgomery is holding a sawed-off shotgun he found in a stairwell. He announces to the staff that there's an armed undercover officer at the school who's posing as a student. Mr. Bernard says the kids still have a head start. Cap'n Rufus isn't worried. A female teacher asks Rufus to take her gun shopping that night. 

Cap'n Rufus confronts Derek in the boys' bathroom and tells him not to challenge him during class again. He pats Derek down in search of a knife. Derek screams at Rufus to get off. Rufus offers not to call on him anymore if Derek agrees to retake remedial reading. 

After school in the parking lot, Billy shouts Derek's name as he pulls out a revolver. He chases Derek, who's shouting for help. Billy shoots Derek, but the gun misfires somehow and Billy is left with burned, bloody palms.

That night, Cap'n Rufus and Joan the female teacher talk about what happened. Fuller says Billy snapped because he was bullied about being hearing-impaired. Billy shot his hand because he had a so-called "Saturday night special," AKA a cheap gun. Joan waxes poetic about how she used to love teaching and now she's scared of the kids. Rufus says a gun isn't the answer. 

Bob and Tom are at the bowling alley. Bob's winning and Tom isn't happy about it. They bet $100 on the outcome of the next game. Tom tallies up the score and Bob wins. He tells Tom he was hustling him and to keep his $100. Tom asks what Bob's plans are regarding the Widow Hanson. Bob wants to marry her if it works out; he's been divorced 3 times. Huge red flag. 

The next day, the kids are lined up and processed through a metal detector. Derek's friend pushes Mr. Bernard through the metal detector, which buzzes angrily. Mr. B says it's his keys. Eventually, he takes what looks like a compact 1911 out of his suit coat. Principal Montgomery tells him to put the gun in the box with the other confiscated weapons. Mr. Bernard does, but looks despondent.

Outside, Lynette gives Cosmo her gun and some money. He has a backpack full of weapons he's planning to smuggle into school. Judy slips into Cap'n Rufus's science lab. Lynette comes into school and stands with her ear to the lab's door. She overhears Judy and Rufus discussing police business. 

After Rufus's class, he asks Derek if he's considered his offer about the reading class. The exchange is puzzling, like Cap'n Rufus forgot that he isn't really a teacher and as such has no pull with the school. 

Judy goes to the deserted cafeteria to buy a gun from Cosmo. She asks if it'll explode like Billy's. Comso promises it won't. Judy pays, then tells him he's under arrest. Lynette comes into the cafeteria with her gun. Judy pulls her backup and stands with a gun pointed at each suspect. "A cop steals my boyfriend?" Lynette asks.

Lynette starts shooting as Cosmo and Judy duck and cover. Cosmo is hit in the arm. Lynette's gun jams. She tries to run away, but Judy stops her and Lynette drops the gun.

We see Mr. Antonini walking up a staircase in the school. Cap'n Rufus lectures his class about weapons. In the office, the secretary is glad to see Mr. Antonini again; he says he's feeling better. Secretary says Mr. Antonini's things are packed and waiting for him. The principal isn't in because of yesterday's "unfortunate incident". Tears fill Mr. Antonini's eyes as he says, "That's too bad." He asks how his class is doing.

In science class, Derek stands up to his best friend JoJo. Cap'n Rufus is paged to the office, so he asks Derek to monitor the classroom. A short time later, Mr. Antonini walks into the science lab, where chaos is reigning. Some kids are lighting their textbooks on fire with the Bunsen burners.

Mr. Antonini locks the door and paces the room. The kids settle down. He opens his briefcase and takes out a full-size 1911. Everyone is stunned. Mr. Antonini picks up his lesson on the sun.

Cap'n Rufus calls for backup from the office. The secretary shows how dumb she is by saying, "You're a policeman and you like to sub?"

Back to the science lab. Mr. Antonini is sounding more and more deranged. He shoots his globe. He threatens to shoot Derek if he's interrupted again. JoJo eyes the gun in his desk. Cap'n Rufus is outside and Mr. Bernard rushes over with his gun and another male teacher who's packing heat.

Mr. Bernard assumes it's a student. Rufus tells him it's Mr. Antonini and says Mr. B is under arrest. 

"If you haven't been bad, then there's nothing to worry about," Mr. Antonini tells his terrified students. 

Cap'n Rufus informs Mr. Bernard that weapons permits aren't valid on school grounds.

Mr. Antonini catches JoJo going for his gun and orders him to put his hands on the desk. He tells JoJo to apologize to the class. Derek stands up to shield his friend. Cap'n Rufus unlocks the science lab door and bursts in, yelling, "POLICE!"

Cap'n Rufus sees Derek and JoJo wrestling for JoJo's gun. He pushes Mr. Antonini out of the line of fire. Two uniformed cops arrive to drag Mr. Antonini out. JoJo is arrested too.

Tom parks his car in front of Bob's apartment building and gets out. Piles of his mother's belongings are sitting on the sidewalk. Widow Hanson is moving out after 2 whole days of cohabitation. Tom's immediately suspicious that Tom has abused her. Widow Hanson confesses, "Bob wasn't very good in bed."

Understandably, Tom doesn't want to hear any more. He chuckles nervously and says, "I don't wanna hear all the seamy details. Let's just get this stuff in the car." Widow Hanson then tells her son that she didn't know Bob wasn't good at sex because they hadn't slept together before she moved in.

And on that lovely note, end of episode.

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