It was a picturesque summer day at St. Paul’s School. A day that would be like any other, if not for the 94 chattering adults gathering in the Briggs Assembly Center. This was the entire faculty and staff of St. Paul’s School. Everyone from Administration to Maintenance was there, making this the largest faculty meeting ever held. It was also the most cramped.
“Can you move over? Your elbow is in my ribs,” said Mr. Morlas to Coach Ancar, who was already pressed up against Coach Gast on the opposite side.
“I’d love to do that, Victor, but these chairs are too close together,” he replied, “I feel like I’m in a sardine can!”
“Well, either way you’re crushing me, so can you please just scoot a little? And don’t call me Victor.”
Coach Ancar went on, ignoring his requests, “Why are we here, anyway? School doesn’t start for another month!”
“There are only two reasons that we ever meet in the summer. For the pool party, and to fight in the Deadliest Teacher tournament,” Morlas affirmed.
“You had to remind me of the pool party…”
“You’re missing the point. The only reason we would meet this early for the tournament would be if it was extended,”
“So this year might have more at stake than just extended lunch duty…”
Coach Gast, who had been eavesdropping, suddenly perked up, “Wait, we’re doing Deadliest Teacher now?”
The teachers both nodded.
“But, I didn’t bring my tiger!” Coach Gast lamented.
The P.E. coach nodded dejectedly.
“A tiger? Like a vicious, man-eating Bengal tiger?” Ancar asked, disbelieving.
“Yeah. His name’s Canteloupe,” Gast sighed, casting his eyes downward.
“Why would you bring a tiger to Deadliest Teacher?” a shocked Mr. Morlas inquired.
Gast looked up and replied, matter-of-factly, “For protection.”
“Remind me to stay away from him,” Morlas muttered to the Art teacher.
Suddenly, Brother Ray exploded into existence behind the podium with a ground-shaking BOOM!
Everyone in the crowd simultaneously yelped in surprise and clapped their hands to their ears. The foundations of the building shook from the force of the blast.
“I hate when he does that!” shrieked Coach Francis, whose ears were bleeding from sitting so close to the teleportation area.
Brother Ray, oblivious to the coach’s aural plight, proclaimed, “My trusted faculty! Welcome to the 104th Annual Deadliest Teacher Tournament!”
The crowd emitted a collective groan.
He continued, “…which is mandatory unless you want to work lunch duty every day for the rest of your teaching career!”
The crowd cheered, suddenly very enthused. The newly titled President beamed giddily and continued his speech.
“By now, you all know the rules. You enter the Matrix™ program that Mr. Holmes has developed, fight to the death, and the winner earns fame and fortune beyond their wildest dreams!”
“You mean an engraved paperweight?” a voice from the crowd blurted — until she was swiftly blasted by Brother Ray’s ocular annihilation beam that he acquired when he had laser eye surgery last year. She was launched through the roof by the force of the blast and was never seen again. All that remained of the faculty member was a charred iPod filled with country holiday hits.
“Was that Mrs. Marshall?” Mr. Midkiff muttered to his neighbor.
“I think so,” Coach Spencer answered.
“Dang… Guess we need a new Physical Science teacher.”
Meanwhile, the red glow had dissipated from Brother Ray’s eyes, and they returned to their normal state.
“I apologize for that… distraction. As I was saying, and as some of you have already guessed, the tournament is going to be tweaked this year,” Brother Ray continued, adjusting his slightly burned glasses, “Since the State of Louisiana views this tournament, a hundred-year-old core tradition of St. Paul’s, as ‘dangerous,’ and ‘pointlessly sadistic,’ we were begrudgingly conscripted to change it into a physical exercise to keep you in pristine shape. In the Deadliest Teacher Matrix™, in addition to battling each other, you will be dodging several unkillable human-like cyborg drones that will attack you if you are seen. This will allow you to viciously beat each other and get in a good aerobic workout at the same time.”
“All RIGHT!” Coach Gibbe cheered from the second row.
“This sounds like that one movie…” Mr. Guillory uttered to himself.
“You mean that one with the robot guy?!” Brother Ray exclaimed excitedly, “When he goes ‘I’ll be bahck’ and drives that truck through the wall—“
The Brother collected himself and cleared his throat.
“Yes, Bradley, this new format may or may not have been inspired by a Hollywood film.”
“So what are the rules this year?” 2004 Deadliest Teacher Champion Mr. Pichon inquired.
“There is only one rule…” Brother Ray sighed, “No alliances.”
The entire math department let out a synchronized groan of disapproval.
Brother Ray ignored the criticism and continued, “If anyone is caught not fighting, and-slash-or working together, we will take care of it.”
The faculty gulped in unison.
“Let the games begin!” With little warning, Brother Ray activated the beaming device that sent the 94 faculty members into the Matrix. The crowd in front of him dissolved into a billion strings of green code, and in a matter of seconds was transported to the computer world.
Once the room was emptied of everyone but the President, two dark figures emerged from the secret entrances to the network of tunnels beneath the school. They lingered in the shadows.
“Do you think things will be different this time?” one of the figures buzzed in a computerized Chalmette accent.
“I doubt it,” Brother Ray replied, “They always seem to fight the same people anyway,”
“Should we have let him participate this year? He’s one of us now,” the other computerized voice stated.
“I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Makes things more interesting. The only important thing now is that they put on a good show. Because if they don’t… we may have to intervene.”
TO BE CONTINUED