To my always loyal reviewers:
To Gijinka Renamon: Yes.
To Lady Kayoss: Yes, and ironic too.
To Super-hero Fan: Hopefully.
To LinkinParkFan16: This is what happens next.
To sakuuya: My statistics say that octopi can grow up to 10 feet and 55 lbs, but I'd just say this one must be around 5-6.
To Shadowhawk: Better yet, why don't you? I have faith in you.
To moonjava: Thanks.
As always, read and review!
Chapter 12: Epilogue: If I Could Do It Over
Archie came to school uncharacteristically early to see Dr. Octavius in the science lab, packing his things in a cardboard box. Sinking two tentacle pincers into the floor, he raised himself up and began to roll up a poster of Albert Einstein.
"Doctor Octavius?" Archie asked.
"Are you leaving?"
"Yes, Archie, I am." Octavius turned to face the redhead. "The letter, phone calls, and emails will be pouring in any minute now. They will not wish to have a known, convicted super-criminal teaching their children. I should have known I could not hide them forever."
"I heard Reggie Mantle was mad at you."
"That, Archie, is a matter between Mantle and myself."
"I also heard you were in trouble with the Bee and Coach Kleats."
"That's also none of your business."
"I can see why, Doctor. It's cause you were the only half-decent teacher in this joint and we were actually learning. So of course they had to can you."
"I didn't get 'canned', Archie. I resigned. I can't always control them; they could have seriously injured someone. I cannot let that happen again."
"I still remember how you told us about Schrödinger's cat, the one that was half dead and half alive."
"I thought that would be of some interest." The doctor smiled. "I also remember how you were so distracted by a pretty redhead in the back that you spilled your beaker and caused a small explosion."
"And I remember how Jughead came in a half hour late and he said, 'Doctor, as you know, an object at rest tends to stay at rest,' and the next morning you sent Ethel to his house with a note that said, '…unless a greater force compels the object to resume motion,' or something like that."
"Well it worked, didn't it? Jones was never late for my class again."
"Where will you go from here?"
"No idea. Teachers have it very hard. I should have stuck to a far safer career—like super villainy. I saw three girls in the hallway this morning fighting tooth and claw for my bent up Faculty King crown. I honestly don't know why girls seem to find a chunky old tentacled mad scientist like me attractive."
There was much laughter at this from both the student and teacher.
Octavius looked at his watch. "Two minutes until the first bell and my last class. Two more bits of advice, Archie: Don't be afraid to tell a girl you love her. Love should never be kept a secret, because if you keep something like love inside you, it can make you sick."
"And the second bit of advice?"
"If you want to impress a girl, feed her poetry. Girls love poetry. Try Shakespeare. Stay away from T.S. Eliot unless you're a real English literature buff or something."
The day of Dr. Octavius' last Chemistry class was clear, sunny, and cold—and a Thursday. Which meant, of course, a Practical Demonstration.
"Who can tell me what centrifugal force is and its relationship to gravity? Yes, Jones?"
Jughead answered quite fluently for the slacker he was. "While gravity pulls things together, centrifugal force pulls things apart. The balance of centrifugal force and gravity in the universe keeps the earth turning around the sun, instead of flying into space."
Octavius sighed. "Close enough." He held up a hammer from the track equipment locker. "It's Thursday, so it's time for a Practical Demonstration. Coach Grapple was kind enough to lend me this, I think for some reason she fancies me, so—"
Octavius, holding the hammer, slowly began to spin it around. "Jughead was right—gravity acts as the rod and handle of this hammer, keeping it from flying off into space. When I let it go, like this—" the hammer went soaring— "the hammer flies off across the field in a straight line."
Moose raised his hand. "Duh-uh-uh…Doctor, could I try that?"
Octavius looked at him. "With the hammer?"
"No! With Reggie!"
Reggie's face paled. He had one arm locked tightly around the waist of Moose's steady, Midge, and the other hand on her butt.
Octavius thought on Moose's request. This was his last day, and this was Reggie Mantle, so what harm could it do?
"Of course, Moose," he answered. "Have at him!"
Nothing could have pleased Octavius better that the sight of Reggie being swung in circles and flung through the air—except, of course, the same thing happening to Spider-Man himself.
But that, my friends, is another story for another day.