A violent gust of wind bellows against the frigid walls of Radnor High School as snow heaps against its walls. Just two hours prior, the last of the yellow school bus procession had crawled off campus carrying students blessed with early dismissal to relative safety. It is precisely 2:24 pm on a Wednesday when Kenneth Batchelor sends out an email blast:
Family and staff of Radnor High School,
I’m no meteorologist, but I do have the full authority, green light clearance, uncontested autocratic power to do whatever the parents tell me to do. Therefore, due to the inclement weather (persistent five-minute flurries alternating with dastardly dustings), school will be cancelled for the rest of the week. On a side note, RHS Fourth of July fireworks will be held during 5th period A lunch for students wishing to attend. Have a blast in the snow!
Michael McBride groans as he receives a ping on his fax machine. He gingerly sets down the toy red car he was painting and rests his half moon spectacles on his brow. Having read the email, he grasps the intercom on his workbench and yells, “Elves, we are now working on double time. Christmas is in seven months, and we are behind schedule!”. Beneath him the work room buzzes with added fervor, and the bathrooms automatically lock. Picking up his fax machine once more, he punches out a three-word schoology blast: “It is time.”
Somewhere along the border between Botswana and Zimbabwe, a gust of arid air kicks up a cloud of sand and reveals Richard Dunbar, biting into a live Zebra. He receives The Call, wipes the blood off his chin, and speeds into the dunes.
Vincent Ridley stands in front of his fogged up bathroom mirror, trimming his sideburns. He flashes himself a smile and drawls, “Why is 6 so afraid of 7?” Outside, Doc Mullman is pedaling furiously around Ridley’s house.
“Because 7 has a better lever arm!”, he yells up through an open window. Mullman’s phone buzzes and he runs into a sturdy oak, a perfect inelastic collision. Peeling his face off the tree truck he screams, “The Call!” Ridley puts on his Cross Fit headband and horizontally projectiles himself out of his bathroom window, landing in the Momentum Mobile.
He glances at the bruised up Mullman and commands, “Get in Mully!”
Carl Rosin, clad in a flowing black wig and Middle Age garb, chants, “Things without all remedy should be without regard: what’s done, is done.” The crowd jumps to their feet, clapping fervently. A successful week of Shakespeare in the Park. Trevor Payne, dabbing his face with a handkerchief in the audience, sees the notification on Carl’s phone and tries to get his attention. He clambers up the nearest tree but misjudges his Canadian naturism and plummets to the ground with a thud. Luckily for T-Bone, Carl understands Trevor’s interpretive, esoteric tree dance and bolts off the stage.
Trevor meets Carl backstage and yells, “Wait! Can we make a quick stop first?”
Carl Rosin strains to crank in a new lightbulb as Trevor Payne lounges on the couch, dropping grapes into his mouth.
“I’m so glad we found some time for this. Something about changing this lightbulb just upsets my organic sensibilities,” T-Bone says with visible distaste.
“I get what you mean. Some days I just want to renounce the vices of this College-Board-driven society and ponder our egalitarian nature as humans, the existential truths present only to transcendental thinkers and hidden to demonic demagogues,” counters Carl.
“As you are screwing in my physical light source, it’s radiance concedes to your ethos and you become the proverbial light of my life,” says Trevor.
“Oh my Canada, you are so esoteric!” he quickly adds.
They high five and continue on their journey.
Mr. Miller dances with reckless abandon in his Hannah Montana themed bedroom to the one hit wonder, “Friday.” His wife yells up the stairs, “Todd! McBride wants you! And turn down that damn music!” Miller, thoroughly damp, chugs the rest of his half gallon Wawa iced tea and walks downstairs.
Myers turns around her minivan on a dime, sticking her head out the window hooting, “Screw swimming! My kids can get to practice by themselves!”
Capone is in his dimly lit, frigid basement, wearing a wife beater and benching Torresani. “I just feel like no one understands me, you know?” he says as he shakes his head. “I’m tired of crying myself to sleep.”
“No man, you’re the bomb.com,” says Torresani. Capone receives the call and launches Torresani into the wall, digging his way above ground with his bare hands.
In just under eight minutes, all the AP teachers assemble in the lobby of Radnor High School. The meeting, as per protocol, is held in the securest room of the entire building–the library. Michelle Wetzel and several unnamed, constantly rotating librarians watch scrupulously as each teacher punches in their number. Capone tries to troll Dunbar by signing him out, but a firm look from Wetzel changes his mind. Mr. Wright, on the other hand, ignores the look and signs out Mr. Rosin. Three librarians crash through the ceiling tiles and take down Rosin. Mr. Miller chuckles, “That was awesome,” as he cautiously backs away. Once inside the library, McBride takes out his yellow tape roller and tapes out an impenetrable fortress of seclusion. He ushers the teachers inside and shushes Carl Rosin, who is practicing his slam poetry:
The students they pout
Bad grades on tap
They bawl their eyes out
Hey it’s what I’m about
McBride you think your tough?
New sheriff in town, I suggest you move out
McBride stands in the middle of the group, scratches his beard, and addresses the teachers candidly, “Thank you all for coming. I’ve asked you here bec-” A shuffling outside the fortress interrupts him. He turns around and sees a disheveled man wearing a fake beard made of felt.
“Who would you be?” McBride asks with a chortle
“Michael McBride,” the man replies, scratching the back of his neck and looking away.
McBride rips off the beard revealing Mr. Spear underneath.
Spear begins to sweat and stammers, “Look man, I just want to be included, I’m pretty much an AP teacher!”
McBride shrugs with a sigh and moves aside as Spear scampers in excitedly.
“Who’s taking attendance?” asks McBride.
“I’ll do it!” offers Spear.
McBride continues, “As I was saying, you all know school has been cancelled for the rest of the month. Having had two days of school in the last three weeks, we’ll never be prepared in time for the AP.”
“I don’t care, my kids are ready,” declares Mullman.
“Yeah, if you want to keep that average,” snickers Spear.
“Let’s all quit,” offers Delaney.
“Better yet, let’s quit our jobs, amass the proletariat, revolt against our capitalistic government, depose it’s leaders, and instill socialism,” utters Dunbar, his eyes alight.
The teachers look at each other alarmed.
“Or something like that, I don’t know…,” says Dunbar.
Civitella, scrolling through the computer, says, “So Bob, it looks like you marked everyone absent.”
Spear, dozing off in the corner, sits up abruptly and sputters, “W-what?”
“And now the WiFi is down,” observes Rosin.
“Classic,” chuckles Miller.
The teachers look at each other and nod in conjunction.
Looking up from grading papers, Carl says, “You could always get rid of APs.”
Capone rolls his eyes: “Not this again.”
Suddenly the library doors burst open as “Don’t Stop Believin” plays from a tinny ‘95 Sonos boombox. The gym teachers took a break from their twenty hour Blind Side and Bee Movie marathon to pay a visit to the meeting. As a result of the Second Cold War between McBride and Capone, the building is a biting 25 degrees. The gym teachers still don shorts and tees.
The gym teachers enter holding megaphones and yelling into each other’s ears: “Today is a good day, huh coach!”, “Good morning coach!” “Lookin’ good coach!”, “Alway be yourself!, coach.”
Myers covers her ears, sensing a migraine coming on. She glances to her left and sees a student hiding in uncharted waters: the bookshelves. He nibbles on a poptart and scans frantically for the library patrol.
“Alright, alright, I’m sensing a LOT of negative energy in this room,” yells Mrs. Roseland through her megaphone. She fishes in her pockets and bellows, “I need everyone to put on these orange kindness bracelets!”
She and Angelique Dirocco start passing out bracelets as Coach Ryan begins singing Kumbaya. The second Roseland crosses the yellow tape, McBride gasps and withers away into the carpeted floor. Carson, smelling the GMO riddled poptart, hunts for the candied contraband.
The library is a cacophony of chaos. Delaney is on the floor, barely mustering the strength to sip out of his Mountain Dew. Miller has decided to try out one of his stand up skits on Spear and Rosin: “And then I tell my wife, no honey, buying that purse won’t help the economy!” Ridley is doing squats on the librarian counter and Mullman is printing papers at an alarming speed, tracking their projectile path as they shoot out of the printer. McBride still lays unconscious on the floor, muttering the AP scores of each of his students last year: “5, 5, 5, 5, 4, 5, 5, 5, 5.” The AP English teachers watch Rosin carefully, copying his every move.
Suddenly, the carpeted ground begins to rumble as dust clouds ripple outwards from an apex of light. A mass of muscle materializes from the shadows, and Dan Bechtold leaps from the ground. He comes down with a mighty thud, his clenched fist pounded into the floor as Mrs. Pearsall launches through the roof.
Bechtold, clad in tight blue spandex and a formidable luchador mask growls, “Behold, the Beefy, Bewhiskered, Bald, Baneful, Dan the Man Bechtoooooold”
“Do they usually just announce themselves like that?” inquires Rosin.
“Shut it, four eyes,” says Bechtold with a menacing jab.
“Listen up ladies, I’m willing to extend school three months like you asked, but only if one of you takes me on in a battle of brawn!” booms Bechtold. The teachers look at each other sheepishly. Dunbar pushes Spear forward, but Miller pulls him back and steps forward himself.
“Listen, I’ve lost forty pounds. I’m a lean, mean fighting machine big boy,” Miller beckons.
Nineteen harrowing rounds later, Miller and Bechtold are locked on the ground, breathing heavily and clasping their torn muscles. The roar of the crowd has died down considerably as the teachers start to wonder whether they’ve reached an impasse. But from the heavens, hurtling from the sky at the speed of light, is none other but Kathleen the Dream Pearsall, hair aflame. She plummets from the sky into Bechtold who sublimates into a cloud of fairy dust.
The teachers look at each other, speechless. Then Bruce Glenny starts a slow clap from the perch he’s been watching from silently. The rest of the staff erupts in applause and Capone hoists Pearsall onto his back. They thunder out of the library as Delaney drags McBride.
The librarians look across the room. Chairs are strewn across the floor, snacks litter the tables, borrowed pencils are left unreturned. Wetzel shakes her head: “Those little turds didn’t even sign out.”