Mr. Carambat’s ears were still ringing.
I wonder if I’ll ever get used to that, he wondered, referring to when he materialized inside of the Matrix an hour ago. The process seemed to mess with his ears, causing them to ring non-stop for awhile. Nobody else seemed to experience this problem, but then again it might have had something to do with the bionic implants that he installed to understand his pet snake Monty’s speech. He probed an index finger in his ear to quiet the shrill droning. It got worse.
With a sigh of defeat, the science teacher got back to work, sliding down his welding mask and lighting his blowtorch. A cannon cracked somewhere in the distance, signifying another elimination. He had heard three in the last twenty minutes. Time was running out. Sparks flashed, lighting up the garage as he finished up his latest Big Idea. He had the tournament in the bag this year. With this new weapon, he would be a shoo-in. A snarl snaked across Mr. Carambat’s face under the metal mask as he remembered 2008’s competition, when he lost at the very last minute to Mr. Guillory. That darned giant pencil was sharper than it looked. No matter. This year would be different.
The Biology teacher’s inner monologue was interrupted by a movement out of the corner of his eye. He whipped his blowtorch in the direction of the movement with a mighty roar—but there was nothing there.
Puzzled, he lowered the still-burning torch. Must have been a trick of the light. He turned back to his project.
The wall behind Mr. Carambat disintegrated into rubble as a large metal disk plowed through it, narrowly missing his brain, his most valuable resource. He swiftly dodged behind a nearby workbench to hide from his foe. He could hear someone stepping through the hole in the wall. Concrete and broken glass crunched under the assailant’s heel-less cross-training shoes as he entered the ruined garage.
I need to think of something, fast! Mr. Carambat surveyed his limited surroundings, looking for something he could use. Among the rubble he found a bottle of water, a small squirt gun, a mandarin orange, and one of his personal favorite acidic bases.
This’ll do. He thought. This’ll do just fine.
Coach Gibbe wasn’t sure who he was looking for. He only knew that he was three eliminations away from breaking Coach Ketelsen’s record for “Most Eliminations in the Least Amount of Time.” He had already defeated Mrs. George, Mr. Nuñez and three janitors, putting him ahead of schedule. Now he just needed to rep it out, to keep the pace going.
Come on, where did he go? Coach Gibbe thought. Maybe he was vaporized with the force of his throw. Coach effortlessly dug up his 45-pound plate from a pile of debris and rebar. He dusted it off and smiled to himself.
Good throw, Gibb. The rotator cuff routines must have helped. I knew those actually did something. The P.E. coach was about to sheath the plate before he noticed a strange object on the table in the center of the garage. Puzzled, he crept closer to the metallic object. As the shadows cloaking the item retreated, he realized with horror what it was and who built it.
Gibbe whipped around to face the voice, readying his throwing plate.
Mr. Carambat drew his squirt gun at Coach Gibbe.
“Have some RED DEVIL LYE!!!”
Coach Gibbe whipped his 45-pound plate at the science teacher at the same instant he was squirted with the contents of the water pistol. The plate connected with Mr. Carambat’s midsection with a CLANG, sending him hurtling through the wall of Benilde Hall and into the library.
Gibbe had only a moment to revel in his victory before his skin started to burn. Whatever was in that water gun was clearly not water. He fell to his knees as his skin started to bubble and slough off. Something stirred in the smoke coming from the hole on second floor of Benilde. Mr. Carambat emerged from the wreckage with barely a scratch on him. He dropped down to the ground and moved toward his creation on the table.
“My kombucha body armor absorbed most of the impact. Next time you might want to aim for the head,” Mr. Carambat advised to the sizzling, half-dissolved baseball coach as he passed him. He arrived at his metal contraption and made a few final adjustments.
“Funny, I thought you would be more of a challenge. Just shows to go ya, I guess,” Carambat muttered as his machine groaned to life. He turned to face the now-skinless Gibbe as it began the bonding process. Metal ground on metal as the machine snapped on to Mr. Carambat’s body, fully encasing him in impenetrable steel alloy. Everything was in place but the mask.
“Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a tournament to win. Huzzah!”
Mr. Carambat activated the thrusters on his Iron Man suit and blasted off into the night sky.
Coach Gibbe didn’t have much time. The acid was eating its way into his muscles. Grunting with effort, he rolled over onto his stomach. He positioned his hands under his chest in close-grip push-up fashion. Slowly but surely, he pushed his upper body into a cobra stretch. As he stretched his ab-wall, the acid began to dissipate on his stomach, because everyone knows that stretching your muscles after strenuous activity purifies your body of toxins.
He held the stretch with impeccable accuracy of form until the acid disappeared entirely in that area. He followed this up with a downward dog, a rotator cuff routine, and a few quad toe touches until all of the acid had been purified from his body. He stood triumphant and completely healed, ready to take revenge on his enemy and continue his streak. He got down into a picture pose, lined up his right hand with his left knee. He also remembered to stay on his toes, keeping air under both heels. Then, quick as a flash, he took off into the night, maintaining perfect running form as he zoomed across campus. It was then that he noticed some odd noises coming from the second floor of the main school building.
The white hot repulser blast deflected off of Coach Rob’s broadsword with a deafening ZAP! Coach Rob was launched down the hallway by the force of the blast, plowing into the broken water fountain and dislodging it from the wall. A shower of water rained down from the broken pipe and onto the chemistry teacher as he got to his feet.
“I knew dis day would come eventualleh,” Coach Rob grumbled as he hefted his broadsword, pointing it at Mr. Carambat and his suit in an “en-garde” fashion.
Although Coach Rob couldn’t see it, Mr. Carambat grinned maliciously under his faceplate. “This is long overdue, Robertson. Remember last? I never quite got even with you for that.”
“You turned me into a muscle-bound freak! I didn’t know what I was doing!” the Coach argued, even though he knew it was no use. Carambat was on a self-proclaimed mission from God. A mission for vendetta.
“After you eliminated Coach Pierre, you eliminated me, too. Without hesitation. Now, I will do the same. See you on the other side, Jim.” Mr. Carambat raised his repulser blaster at Coach Rob for the final time.
Coach Rob closed his eyes as he accepted his fate.
Just as Mr. Caramabat charged up the blaster, he was struck on the side of the head with something heavy. He stumbled as the metal disk ricocheted off of his helmet and lodged itself in the wall next to him.
Coach Rob, while Mr. Carambat was distracted, flew out the window on the back of his trusty bird Jim, escaping through the window.
“What the–?” Mr. Carambat grunted as he reeled from the force of the impact. His heavy metal boots dug into the linoleum floor as he scrambled to his feet to face his attacker.
“You know, the two things you can control are attitude and effort,” Coach Gibbe sneered as his weight dug itself out of the wall and rushed back into his outstretched hand, “And I don’t like your attitude.”
The P.E. coach flicked his wrist, turning the 45-pound plate into a deck of smaller, 2.5 pound discs. He flung the discs in a flurry of metal at his opponent, pinning him against the wall with the force of the torrential projectiles.
Inside the suit, Mr. Carambat felt like he was bouncing around in a pinball machine. The suit was starting to dent and cave in from the barrage of metal. With a cry of effort, he vaporized the plates with a blast from his chest-mounted arc reactor. He took aim at Coach Gibbe.
ZAP! ZAP! ZAP! Carambat opened fire at the Coach. Gibbe groin-skipped over the blasts with ease, inching closer to the ironclad Biology teacher with every bound. Mr. Carambat knew that he couldn’t win this fight. Coach Gibbe was too fast; his form was far too perfect. He knew what needed to be done.
“Computer!” Mr. Carambat called, activating his suit’s personal A.I. “Prepare Invention #420.”
Suddenly, he activated his thrusters and blasted through the window, out into the Wolf Dome area. Coach Gibbe jumped through the hole after him, ready to finish the fight.
He found Carambat waiting out in the open with his faceplate retracted. He could see that Carambat wasn’t doing so well, as he appeared to have a broken nose and a developing black eye.
“It’s over, John. Give it up.”
“Come and get me.”
Coach Gibbe let out a mighty battle cry as he charged forward to deliver the killing blow to his opponent. He raised a heavy iron barbell over his head—
–and exploded into a cloud of green code as a lightning bolt surged down from the sky with an Earth-shaking BOOM! A cannon went off in the distance, signifying Coach Gibbe’s elimination from the tournament.
“I knew this thing would come in handy,” Mr. Carambat chuckled as he holstered the remote for his experimental weather machine. As the clouds cleared in the night sky, a massive floating TV screen came into view. This was the part that would recap who had been eliminated.
The screen lit up with the St. Paul’s insignia as the fight song began to play. As the horns and trumpets cheered St. Paul’s to victory, pictures of the fallen competitors cycled across the screen. Mr. Lacour, Mrs. Pool, Coach Lahey, Mrs. Jan Gardner, Mrs. Ann Pressley, Coach Santos, Mr. Marchese, Mr. Piechoki, Mrs. Dooley, Coach Bobak, Coach Francis, Mrs. Janet, Coach Spencer, and Coach Gibbe had all been eliminated. The screen went black as the fight song reached its crescendo, and finally faded into invisibility as the song ended.
That’s strange, Mr. Carambat puzzled as he stroked his goatee, Almost every male teacher that was eliminated has grown out their facial hair in the past…
Eh, it’s probably just a coincidence. Time to get back to work. The face plate clamped down on Mr. Carambat’s helmet as he blasted off to search for a certain Chemistry teacher riding a certain giant cockatiel.
TO BE CONTINUED…