Tiger: Ah, so are you thinking what I'm thinking?
Mary-Sue: Does it involve dipping my sister into an active volcano?
Tiger: No, but I'll put that on my list of ideas.
Mary-Sue: Well, how about doing a parody about villains. I mean, we see them all the time, but what really makes a villain tick? Exploring the darker side of the eternal conflict between good and evil.
Tiger: Wow, I really like that. I mean, who doesn't get drawn into a well-developed villain?
Mary-Sue: Well, to quote the great author, the-lovely-anomaly "teeny-boppers who specialize in Mary Sues and Gary Stus"
Tiger: Let's do it then!
A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away an epic tale of Jedi's and family conflicts that got really out of hand took place. There was romance, there was action, and there was probably some comedy and tragedy and that kind of stuff to; but since I fell asleep during that part, we won't be talking about that story. Instead, we'll focus on a much closer story, one that touches into the hearts of every boy and girl to ever walk the streets of this great country. For no matter where they go, whether they be rich or poor, smart or dumb, school lies in all of their destinies.
For some they loathed it, some they put up with it, and for the geeks and nerds out there, they might even enjoy it, but even the greatest of teacher's pets would run should they encounter "The One".
"The One" was etched into the fears of every kid who set foot into the building. While some teachers came to spread their joy of learning, some came to guide their students into adult hood, and few others who strived to relive their childhood through the lives of the kids, "The One" was none of these things. No one knew where she came from, not even the principle. No, indeed she predated all of the staff, all of the students, and even their ancestors. Legends tell of her terrible classes from even before the dawn of modern civilization.
She was none other than Ms. Alexis Thomson, professor of 11th grade English, or so she demanded to be called. And on this day, two unfortunate souls found their way into her classroom, hoping that the legends were just that.
"Dude, this could be bad," Cody said.
"What makes you say that?" Zack asked, taking his seat, pulling out his pillow, and hoping the lecture wouldn't interfere with his dreams.
"Well, the walls are all bare, all the other students are shaking, and I just know this class is going to ruin my 4.0 GPA."
"You worry too much bro," Zack said waiting for the bell to ring.
This didn't alleviate Cody's fears any. But why would they, Zack was always carefree, and here he was, trapped in the belly of the beast for the next 50 minutes, hoping that the rumors were just lies made up by the upperclassmen.
She marched into the room, slamming the door behind her, and not a student dared make a sound, not even their breath could be heard as she took her place in the front of the room, the white board perfectly clean, and she picked up a marker, ready to get to work. Even Zack couldn't help but pay attention, fear drove him, and from the wrinkles on her brow to her short grey hair and overly professional dress, Zack knew this was not one to mess with.
"Good morning class," she said, but was only greeted with silence. She knew the rules of teaching, how in order to instruct these students they must be wrapped with fear, and only then could the desired learning come across. "I said 'Good morning class.'"
"Good morning," they said, their voices quaking in fear. Cody swallowed hard, willing to stay focused. He had endured 10th grade honors history, Mr. Bagwell's pre-calc class, and came through both of those with an A. This would be no different. Maybe a different subject, maybe a different year, but even the toughest teachers had to have some pattern, some formula to getting on their good side.
"We shall start the class today with a pop quiz. Please, take out a sheet of paper and put your name on it."
In any other case, students would have protested, saying that this wasn't fair because it was only the first day of class, but upon any opening of their mouth, a glare from the teacher stole any desire to speak.
"There is only one problem today. Analyze in as much depth as possible the religious symbolism in the Grapes of Wrath. Focus primarily thought not exclusively on the flood, the fall and exile from Eden, and the eschatological themes of the Book of Revelation."
Cody took a deep sigh as the rest of the class began panicking around him. Some wrote, but many of them were at a loss for words. He looked to his brother who appeared to be drawing something. But Cody tried not to think of everything going on around them. It had been nearly two years since he read Steinbeck's classic, so he had forgotten much. The flood part was simple, that was Noah staying behind to avoid the coming disaster. Cody began writing, illustrating the irony of water being his salvation. But as he got further, he found himself having to make further leaps of logic, though soon he had a page filled.
"Class, the time is up, please turn in your papers for grading."
Lightning shook the skyline outside the gloom filled window. If the class wasn't so terrified of the teacher, they would have remembered that it was bright and sunny when they had entered.
With the papers turned in, the class waited as Ms. Thompsen went through the papers, her speed with the red pen unparalleled as she graded at breakneck speeds. With one hand she stroked the fur of a black cat that sat on her lap while the other tore through the student's hard work.
"Zack Martin!" she yelled.
"Yes ma'am?" he asked as the entire class paused in shock and fear for their comrade in learning.
"What is this?" she held up the drawings that he turned in, an even greater scowl of disapproval across her face than before.
"Well, I hadn't heard of the book before, but when I heard the title I thought of grapes stabbing people, and since I remember the Book of Revelation being about the end of the world from those movies, I drew monster grapes bringing about the end of the world."
"Your artistic talent is admirable and I must say this is creative."
"Thank you," Zack said not believing that he was getting a compliment from the most evil woman to visit the school.
"I hate creativity. F!... Minus!"
"Well that's about my average," Zack said with a sigh, figuring that this was far from his last F from this teacher.
She continued going through the papers, mumbling F's under her breath but loud enough for the students to hear so they knew of what hope they had of getting off to a good start had been vanquished. "What's this?" She gave a small chuckle. "Cody Martin, I see you are a step above the others here." She looked up from her desk and stared at Cody for a second. "Your quiz indicates a level of intelligence higher than a toaster, and your knowledge of grammar makes your paper easily readable."
"Thank you?" Cody asked, sure that she was going to shoot him down just like she did Zack.
"You think you're smart because you happen to have a decent memory, and can add 2 and 2 when reading literature, don't you?"
"Save it young man, that was a rhetorical question. And for those hear who don't know what that means, which I'm sure is all of you, that means that it's a question that's not meant to be answered.
"Now, where was I? Oh right, Cody. You think you're a genius, one who can use his mind to just get through everything with a little bit of work? Well, I have news for you; my class won't be like that. I'm tired of the school system thinking that they can let everyone slip by, so my class won't be so easy. You will leave here with an education, and not just some sparknote version of it. Understood?"
The classed nodded, Cody especially.
"Oh, by the way. D."
Weeks turned into months as the class wore on. Much of the class grew used to the constant failing. It wasn't as if it was a choice, even the smart among them were powerless at the demanding and oftentimes random questions. It was as if she knew their one weakness, and poked at it with a jackhammer.
Cody was resting at home one morning, his mind wound with the details surrounding the play Oedipus. If he was right, their quiz would be on that today. He had found his way into the pattern, and one time the week before he even managed a B.
"Cody, wake up, we're going to be late!" Zack yelled jolting Cody from his slumber.
"Oh Zack," Cody said rubbing the sleep from his eyes. "I had a horrible dream. We had the worst English teacher ever and I was going to fail because of how hard it was."
"Dude, that wasn't a dream, and the final is today!"
"What!" Cody yelled jumping back up, seeing that all hope was lost. He was barely ready for the quiz, and he remembered how the exam had destroyed so many in previous years. "I'm going to fail, going to get kicked out of school and then end up working for the lowest possible pay as a pizza parlor's slave."
"I'm sure you'll do fine. It's only a test."
Cody glared at Zack with a ferocity that only Ms Thomson could surpass.
"Yeah, you're right. You're screwed."
Mary-Sue: Okay, there has been no mention of action, fantasy or violence. Now we can just end this with the brotherly bond here as we uncover the truth about villains.
Tiger: Oh, it's not a parody without something blowing up, is it?
Mary-Sue: I had to say something, didn't I?
Cody took his seat, got out his number two pencils. Fear shook his very being. His courage began fading. If there was ever a time for a killer penguin to burst into the school and start a riot, it would be now.
But no such luck, only an immense packet dropped on his desk, the words filling it more complex than anything he had seen before. "You have one hour."
Sweat began pouring over his brow. Much of the class gave up in a matter of seconds, knowing they were going to fail. But not Cody, he just kept going, question after question he tried answering, drawing into the crevices of his memory, of everything he had read, of each piece of culture he had learned about. It was all key here, the most obscure information, his only hope of overcoming this villain.
"Pathetic, giving up already?" she said scanning the crowd; two thirds had fallen already, given up. It was only a matter of time until the rest joined them.
Zack was among those who knew he had no hope. There wasn't anyway he could get a single question right. But there was still Cody. Whose brain might be the only thing that could counter such a vile women. But Zack saw the pain and frustration on his brother's face, the way his pencil kept turning over, erasing what he wrote. He knew he had to do something. But Cody would never cheat. Still, the test wasn't even fair. He was pretty sure half of it was in Hebrew or Chinese. That would mean only one thing. He'd have to take over where his brother couldn't.
And after getting an average of an 8% for the class, he didn't have much to lose.
He pulled out his phone, knowing it would be confiscated in a matter of seconds. But that would be all he needed if he could type fast enough. Scrolling through his contacts, he found Max and in a moment typed the message. 'Plan F'
"Zack, I will confiscate your phone now."
With fingers trained from years of video games he went through the options, deleting the message, knowing that he had to clear himself from suspicion if he was going to give Cody the opening that he needed. He didn't even see her swipe the phone from his hand as she went through the messages with the girl that he still had up.
"You two won't last three weeks," Ms. Thompson said returning to desk and her pet cat Mr. Fluffels.
Zack could only wait for his plan to take effect, and hope that his brother's brain would hold out long enough.
The seconds drifted by ever so slow, and not even the joy that the class was almost over could bring Cody out of his slump. Each question was harder than the last, each problem probing him deeper that not even his studying could find answers or even an explanation to what the question meant. Cody hoped that maybe he'd find a way, catch a break, but it never seemed to come.
Finally, an ear splitting sound echoed throughout the room, the high-pitched ringing startling the students.
"The fire alarm?" one of them said, whose brain was still partly functioning.
"Single file, out to the front lawn. Let's go," Ms. Thompson said, her voice unshaken by this turn of events. Zack knew he had to time it right, that even with the unexpected she wasn't shaken in the least. He'd need to find an opening to escape, to execute his plan. Sure, the school would be empty until someone learned the truth, but evil incarnate had the eyes of a hawk.
Zack spotted Max across the way, and made eye contact with her, begging for her help once more. She knew how desperate Zack was to help his brother, and that he was under careful surveillance already. She nodded, knowing that the consequence could be unbearable, but nevertheless, she wouldn't let Cody go down without a fair fight.
"Hey how's it going?" Max asked casually walking up to the class.
"Eh, just a dumb fire alarm it looks like," Zack said with a shrug of his shoulders. However, as Max walked away, back to her own class, a small metallic object dropped from her hand into the grass. Zack saw this, but immediately focused his eyes back to the school, wanting to act as oblivious as possible until the end.
Finally, the two-minute timer passed, though it was almost too late as he was sure they'd be forced back in, and back to the test soon. Smoke began blowing out from the ground, and with that cover, Zack burst from them, back into the school, unseen by his teacher. That gave him the chance he needed to make it to the room. He pulled out his lock pick from his pocket and flung the door open. He went to Cody's desk; saw that he was only about a third of the way through the test. Good, that would give him the chance he needed to fix this.
"Zachary Martin, what are you doing?" she said, causing him to freeze. But dropping the stapler into his backpack, he knew that he had made it in time.
"Sorry teach, just wanted to get my cellphone out of here before the fire got to it."
"There is no fire. Apparently some kid hit the alarm coming back from lunch. Anyway, return to your tests, you have about 10 minutes to finish it."
As Cody sat beside Zack, his body shaking, his hair frazzled, Zack looked to his twin. "I believe in you. If anyone can get through this class with a decent grade, it's you."
Cody smiled and nodded, feeling just a little bit calmer now.
"Let's do this," he said to himself as he turned the page, and saw a problem he recognized.
'Identify the passive sentences.'
This was simple, easy even. One page down, and then another. Every question came to him like he'd seen it a hundred times before. The letters were circled, the words underlined, and with two minutes left in the class, Cody turned in a completed answer sheet.
"Finished?" she chuckled.
"Let's see how you did, shall we?"
"Be my guest," Cody said with confidence unlike anything he had felt since entering the classroom.
Ms. Thomson went through the first page, red marks adorning it. "23 percent on the first page. Best in the class," she said with a wicked grin. Two more pages followed like it, answers marked wrong, red lines drawn, similar low numbers adorning the bottom of the page for the total.
However, when she reached the fourth page, she saw the unthinkable as she scanned the questions and answers. Not a single one was wrong. She went back again, checking it over, wondering how he could see through her trickery.
Then she saw it.
The questions were those she'd never remembered typing. They weren't hers. But the test was, or seemed to be. And with the bell ringing, she had no time left to adjust it. She had to grade what was there, and page after page revealed the same. Easy questions, flawless answers. She had to admit it, she wasn't quite sure how, but at the end, she had to mark on the front of the test, the letter A.
"It can't be," she said beginning to cry, something Zack and Cody found quite strange.
"What's wrong?" Cody asked, the only one in the world who could feel compassion on such a terror.
She looked up at the twins and thought of her past.
"A hundred years ago, I was just like you Cody. Smart, bright, the world of joy in front of me. But then came that English class, and well, I failed it. My father told me I was useless, that I'd never become anything. You see he was an English professor at Yale, Harvard, Oxford and Neptune, so he had high standards. He didn't want to have anything to do with me, so I poured my heart into my studies, hoping I could earn back his love. But it never worked, so I wanted to show him that no one could surpass my knowledge. That's why I became a teacher, so I could show I was the best, that no one present or future could surpass my knowledge."
"That's terrible," Cody said.
"Yeah, just because your dad didn't love you didn't mean you could take it out on all of us. Wouldn't it be better to show your father that you know so much by giving that knowledge to the students? Become a better teacher than your father?"
She looked up at Zack and saw the truth.
"Or just forget about him and move on," Zack said with a shrug.
On that day a light was opened in her dark heart, the way of truth drowning all despair. "Thank you Cody and Zack. You have shown me that there isn't just one way to prove ones worth. That even at my own game you have beaten me. Now I shall spread life and joy, make this the greatest class ever."
"Awesome, I look forward to it next year when I have to repeat it," Zack said with a laugh and they all lived happily ever after.
Mary-Sue: See, you don't need violence to make a good story.
Tiger: I should probably go back and do some editing then…This doesn't seem as random or comical as most of mine.
Mary-Sue: Still, randomly making the hated villain likeable at the end seems to happen a lot. Besdies, with exams coming up tomorrow and wanted to update all your stories tonight, you don't have much time.
Tiger: True, and I did manage to update all my stories today. Thanks to Wyntirsno for her unbeatable speed in betaing.