Day 19: The Coolest Teacher

There’s an emer­gency in the cafet­eria!” Prin­cipal Part­ridge screamed as he burst through the door of James R McFranklin’s office. “The lunch lady doesn’t have enough time to pre­pare the food, the chil­dren have turned the tables into a castle that reaches through the ceil­ing and up to the clouds, and the dis­trict inspector is vis­it­ing in half an hour! Help me, James R McFranklin!”

James R McFrank­lin, the coolest teacher, sat in his tall backed chair with his feet on his desk. His hands were behind his head and a pair of sunglasses shiel­ded his eyes from the glare of the school’s neon light­ing. His tweed jacket and beige trousers exuded the very essence of teacher-dom, but he did it with class. Class and pan­ache. And pizazz. “I’ll get right on it,” said James, and swung his feet off the desk before cas­u­ally strolling, some might even say there was an ele­ment of strut involved, to the door.

As he strolled/strutted down the cor­ridor, the prin­cipal flit­ted around him like an enraged bird. “Dam­nit, James, can’t you go any faster?” he said.

James R McFrank­lin stopped dead and spun on his heel to face the prin­cipal. “Hey, Part­ridge,” he said in his deep, gruff voice, “your shit might work on Grody or Man­ner­son or even O’Donald, but if you speak to me like that again I’ll snap off the school flag pole and ram it so far up your ass the kids will be salut­ing to you every morn­ing, you got that?”

Part­ridge slunk back. “Gee! Golly! I didn’t mean no harm by it, Mr. McFrank­lin. I guess there’s just a lot of stress on me right now. I’ll not let any­thing like that hap­pen again.”

See that it doesn’t.” James R McFrank­lin, the coolest teacher, turned back down the cor­ridor and kept march­ing towards the cafeteria.

When he got there, the kids were wild. It was even worse than the prin­ciple had led him to believe. The table fort­ress spread up into the clouds now, and kids were clam­ber­ing all over it. It looked like some areas had even divided into fac­tions, con­duct­ing battles against each other in the upper reaches of the tower, the wreck­age tum­bling down towards the cafet­eria floor. As McFrank­lin watched, a pas­sen­ger jet hit the tower half way up and exploded, knock­ing out hun­dreds of tables and chairs and caus­ing the upper sec­tions to sway back and forth. He shook his head. This would be the first thing to take care of.

A group of kids were stood at the base of the tower organ­ising the build­ing efforts. Chairs were being dragged out of cup­boards and lashed onto tables, which where then passed up to begin their jour­ney to wherever they were needed. One of the chil­dren was com­plain­ing to some oth­ers about raids on the con­voy of tables push­ing them behind schedule.

Right!” James R McFrank­lin shouted, “I want all this non­sense to end right now! I want who­ever is organ­ising this to tear the whole damn thing down, rearrange the tables and make the whole thing present­able again!”

Silence reigned in the cafet­eria. The con­voy of tables had stopped. The con­struc­tion fur­ther up the fort­ress ceased. James R McFrank­ling stood there, arms fol­ded, wait­ing for the chil­dren to make the next move.

And make the next move they did. A table came hurt­ling down from the lofty heights which the fort­ress had reached. It was aimed per­fectly to strike James R McFrank­lin, the coolest teacher, and crush him under the steel and plastic con­struct its being. Mr McFrank­lin stepped aside, and the table hit the floor with a loud, splin­ter­ing echo. The chil­dren in the cafet­eria remained silent as the noise of the impact rever­ber­ated off the walls. James R McFrank­ling stood still as the splin­ters of chip­board fell around him. Dust was thrown in to the air, but, as it settled, James R McFrank­lin was still stood there, glar­ing up at the chil­dren massed above him. Nobody spoke.

Right,” he said, and set about climb­ing the table monolith.

Minutes felt like days, and the minutes that felt like days began to feel like years. He kept plant­ing one hand in front of the other and con­tin­ued up the table fort­ress, rising into the cold air and feel­ing his lungs gasp for oxy­gen that simply wasn’t there. As he approached the first faction’s strong­hold, he grabbed a table leg that jut­ted out from the cent­ral mass.

What the fuck are you going to do now, you shit stain?” a voice yelled down at him. “Think you can make it passed all of us? Think you can keep climb­ing whilst we beat the shit out of you? This is our turf, you pussy. You’ve stumbled on to the wrong fuck­ing sec­tion of Table Mountain.”

Table Moun­tain?” said James R McFrank­lin. “That’s the worst fuck­ing name I’ve ever heard, and I’ve read Year 7’s fantasy short stor­ies for twelve years in a row.”

He pulled the table leg, and a deep rumble vibrated up through the fort­ress. The few faces he could see above him began to look uncer­tain as their found­a­tions loosened. As the shocks grew worse, the first of the chil­dren fell, his body spin­ning down towards the cafet­eria floor as a scream burst forth and was lost in the crys­tal clear air through which he fell.

James R McFrank­lin, the coolest teacher, smiled as he recog­nised the look of fear and panic which spread amongst the other table mil­it­ants. They’d lost the first of their num­ber and they no longer felt invin­cible. The tremor that fol­lowed that con­vinced even more. Dozens of chil­dren began fall­ing from the fort­ress, tables and chairs plum­met­ing after them. Those that remained fled down­wards, try­ing to escape the slaughter below.

Within seconds, the upper reaches of the table fort­ress were deser­ted. A single fig­ure remained, hatred burn­ing in his eyes as he stared at James R McFrank­lin. He held a table leg in each hand. As McFrank­lin real­ised what was about to hap­pen, the fig­ure jumped, hurt­ling down through miles of air at ter­minal velo­city, one of the table legs poised to strike McFrank­lin right between the eyes.

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