Parker Layman adjusted his glasses tentatively on his face, waiting for someone to tell him what to do.
He had been told that this project was being curated by the Guerrilla Wolves– but Mr. Guillory was nowhere to be seen. The movie reviewer scanned the room around him. It was roughly the size of one of the school bathrooms, but the walls were completely green. Thomas Williamson, chief editor and videographer of Guerrilla Wolves, was perched in the corner, making idle chat with his compatriots John Meyers and Brandon Gallego. At the other end of the room, Kole Gorney chewed on a pen cap thoughtfully as he stared out of the only window in the place, making casual chatter with Parker Rice.
“What’re you thinking about?” Casey Fitzmaurice asked from Parker Layman’s direct right.
“Nothing… I’m just ready to get started.”
“When do you think they’ll tell us why we’re here?” Casey asked, knowing nobody had the answer.
Layman ignored the question and continued to scan the room. Further to his right were student council president Sam Giberga and the incomparable former sports anchor John Larson, in a heated argument over whether Quavo or Takeoff was the best member of Migos.
Offset slays them all, he concluded to himself as he reclined in his rolling chair and sipped on the musty black coffee provided by their mysterious benefactor.
Casey gazed at Larson and Giberga through concerned eyes.
“That’s getting pretty intense… should we break it up?”
“Nah… let the kids enjoy their hippity-hop.”
“Fair enough,” Casey nodded, “Besides, Offset is the best Migo anyway.”
“That’s exactly what I was thinking–”
Suddenly, the two anchors jolted as an obnoxious electronic flicking sound rang out and a massive silhouetted face filled the far wall.
It was Mr. Watkins– at least, it kind of looked like him. His flesh was replaced by interlocking metal plates which shifted and twitched nervously. The blood red glow of his eyes had a mechanical coldness to them that was impossible to explain. They stared without expression– he never blinked.
“Good morning, St. Paul’s,” he said coldly, maintaining his stare.
“What the deuce is wrong with his face?!” Kole Gorney blurted, mouth agape.
“I can hear you, you know,” Watkins retorted peevedly.
“Well I think it looks pretty nice,” Kole recovered, gazing sheepishly back out the window.
Watkins gave him a final dirty look before he shifted his gaze to the rest of the room.
“I suppose you all are wondering why you were brought here.”
“Actually I was wondering when I could go home,” Parker Layman sneered, unamused.
“All in due time, Mr. Layman. For now, you’re going to watch this instructional video that the tech department generously put together for us. Then, I will take any questions you may have.”
With that, Watkins’s face winked out, and was replaced by a crackly video image of the St. Paul’s Arch that was clearly shot with a cheap handheld camera. The frame wobbled as whoever was holding the camera struggled to hold it steady and properly capture the poorly framed shot. Suddenly, a cacophonous low-fi recording of the St. Pauls fight song hastily butted into the audio track as a man began speaking in voiceover.
“St. Paul’s School… a tradition of community, faith, and– wait– faith, community, and service. St. Paul’s prides itself in its t–traditions… and takes pride in its ideals.”
“The Deadliest Teacher Tournament has always been a staple of this school’s culture. Without it… it wouldn’t be what it is today… or something…”
“Is this even scripted?” Casey whispered to himself.
“Shut up, this is a masterpiece,” Layman mumbled, keeping his eyes epoxied to the screen.
“And what better way to celebrate St. Paul’s LaSallian traditions than by pitting its faculty members against each other in vicious mortal combat,” Holmes continued without an ounce of sarcasm as the grainy fight song instrumental reached its crescendo then faded into crackly silence.
Once again, he adjusted his glasses on the bridge of his nose as he continued.
“Which brings us to your involvement in this glorious tradition. You, gentlemen, will be the first students to participate in the Deadliest Teacher Tournament… to an extent.”
The whole room quivered in anticipation. What did this mean?
“I call clobbering Guillory,” Giberga grinned.
“You all will be providing narration and be serving as announcers for the Tournament,” Holmes continued, “Since it is going to be televised on WDSU this year, the Administration department found that it was quite lucrative to expose the public to this brutal violence– I mean this sacred part of our culture.”
“You mean like ESPN?” Parker Rice inquired.
“Exactly like ESPN,” the video somehow replied.
“When do we start?” Kole Gorney was jittering with excitement.
“RIGHT NOW!!!” Mr. Watkins’s voice boomed over a hidden loudspeaker.
Suddenly, the single window in the room expanded to fill the entire wall, revealing an aerial view of the entire campus as the screams of battle and clouds of debris raged below.
“Cool,” Parker Layman rubbed his hands together, “Let’s get started.”
The closing episodes of this year’s Deadliest Teacher are coming! Featuring co-writing from Kole Gorney, Sam Giberga, Casey Fitzmaurice, Parker Rice, John Larson and Thomas Williamson! Can Dickens ever be stopped? What happened to Mrs. Gardner? Will this new gimmick fail miserably? Will people continue to only view these articles for the humorous Photoshops? And who will win it all? Stay tuned and find out!
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