|Fantasticoe -- Fall 2011
by Monica Perez
“Do I really have to take science to graduate?” James complains, leaning his shoulder against his locker.
James has always been the troublemaker in school. Stealing the school mascot, riding his motorcycle around campus, and then there was that one time when he put all the school professor’s desks up on the roof. After his first two years in high school, he came to realize that if he wants to go anywhere in life he had to concentrate on his studies. Or else, he would forever he be stuck fixing vehicles in his garage.
The lady sitting behind the booth looks up at him.
“Yes, you will have to retake it again until you pass.” Two girls walk down the hallway whispering to each other.
“I’m taking Professor Gotham’s class. I heard that all his students pass with an A.”
“Whoa! Seriously?” Exclaims the other girl. What? I NEED an A! James quickly picks up the pen and adds Professor Gotham to his schedule. But is very curious on the professor’s teaching methods.
“Yeah.” James listens into the first girl’s reply, pretending to dial in a locker combination when his friend Derek sneaks up behind him.
“Hey James.” A cheery green eyed boy smiles at him.
“Oh! Derek! Are you trying to give a heart attack?” James presses his back to his locker, clenching his heart.
“Oops. Sorry. So are you going to retake a science class again?” Derek crosses his arms across his chest.
“Apparently, yes, if I want to get out of this hell hole. Hey you should sign up for Professor Gotham’s class!”
“Why?” Derek frowns his brow.
“So we can be in the same class and be partners. Okay? So I see you later then.” James strolls down the hallway.
“Hope you don’t go causing any problems on the first day of classes!” Derek yells after him.
James enters the classroom. There are a few students hanging around, chatting in a corner of the classroom and it’s James perfect chance to snoop around the professor’s desk. He quickly heads to the desk and looks back to make sure no one is looking at him, when his foot steps on something slippery. He slips and falls to the ground. Ew! What is this?
He touches his jeans and notices they’re all slimy and green. Lying on the ground, he notices a paper underneath the desk that reads “Frog Potion: Knowledge Enhancer.” James reaches for the paper when at that moment he hears the professors booming voice echo down the hallway, giving the students orders to head to class. On his knees, he swiftly gets up and rushes to the back of the classroom, before he gets caught.
“Hey dude, what were you doing at the professors desk?” Derek looks up at James, with heavily sleepy eyes.
“What? Aren’t you supposed to be sleeping?.” James answers. He looks out up to the doorway, waiting to see who this Professor Gotham is.
“Man, I was just asking a question. Who sneezed on you today?” Derek lays his head back on his arms. Huh…Sneeze… Muckus…Slime? Ugh, now that is gross.
“Get to your seats.”
The Professors voice sends chills down everyone’s spine that Derek slides off his seat sending it to the ground with a loud clanging sound, causing even more ruckus in the classroom. Everyone scrambles, scraping the metal stools across the floor.
As class begins, James spaces out and begins to doodle on his notebook, now covered with Japanese characters and motorcycles. This is what usually happens in class. He doesn’t understand a single word the professor says once he starts the scientific language. It’s as if Italian is coming out of the Professors mouth!
“Mister Knight, will you please stop with your doodling and pay attention to the lecture. We will be doing frog dissentions tomorrow and if you don’t know what to do, you won’t know how to do the project. And will you wake up your partner?”
“Oh. Umm…Sorry Professor.” James glances up to his professor and observes him walk to a shelf with weird, green looking stuff in vials. Is that the stuff I slipped on? Class continues, but James is aware that something is very odd.
Finally, the bell rings and everyone rushes towards the exit.
“Ugh. I hate the sound of those damn stools scraping the ground.” Derek rubs his eyes, sliding off the chair. James hurriedly looks at the professor and notices that he has his back turned to the classroom. James moves with swiftness and slides into a crouch, hiding behind the Professors desk and reaches for the paper, tucking it inside his notebook. As he rises, the Professor looks at him confusingly. “What are you doing?”
“Oh. I accidently dropped my paper. See you tomorrow Professor Gotham.” James runs out of the class leaving Derek behind.
“Dude. You’re so slow!”
“Why are you in such a hurry?” Derek asks.
“Come on, let’s go. I have something to tell you.”
James pulls his friend by his backpack’s strap and leads him to the parking lot. They head to James’ Jeep quickly. James jumps in and opens his backpack while Derek barely opens the passenger’s door.
“Look at this.” James hands Derek a paper.
“What is this?” Derek reaches for the paper.
“What does it look like to you?”
“I don’t know… A recipe for a ….A potion? Frogs? Is this some kind of joke?”
“I’ll explain it to you on the way.”
“Whoa! Wait a minute! So you’re telling me that the Professor G is like a mad scientist who helps his students cheat?” Derek is fully awake now, his eyes shining with excitement.
“Well, I can’t say for sure. But yeah, I think so. I mean all the evidence seems to lead to that. I mean the creep is using this ‘Frog Potion’,” he waves the paper in front of Derek’s face “to make his students smarter.”
“I want to be smarter!”
“I do too. But there must be a catch. I just don’t know what.”
“Don’t think about it. Maybe he’ll use it on us soon.”
“I don’t know…But I need to find out what’s really going on.”
“Are you sure?” Derek looks at James with worry. “He can hurt you for discovering his secret He can get fired.”
James grips the steering wheel. He’s a bit worried that the school may truly have a mad scientist on their hands.
“I need to confront the professor.” he tells Derek.
James sits down in his usual corner in class but is very nervous as the time clicks away, as the time of the confrontation gets closer and closer. He angles his body strangely, and pulls his black hoody up attempting miserably, to cover his deep blue eyes from looking up at the professor. The bell rings.
“What the hell! For once, this class went fast!” James slams his head on the counter.
“Chill, dude. So are you going to do it?”
“Yeah… I guess. I really need to pass this class. I just hope I don’t get punished too badly for stealing from a Professor.”
“Ok man, well good luck. Later.” Everyone is gone and it’s just the Professor and James left in the classroom.
“Excuse me, Professor Gotham, can I talk to you?” James walks up, ready to pull out the paper from his pocket.
“Yes. How can I help you?”
“Well, I know you are well known for all your students for passing your classes, and I-I think I know why.”
James pulls out the paper and hands it to the professor.
“Where did you get this?” The professor hastily rips it from James hand and looks at it.
“I saw it and became curious. Please, Professor Gotham. I won’t tell anyone, but please help me out with the class. I really need to pass. I’m trying to turn my life around. I’ve always been known to cause destruction and chaos. I want to help my family. Go to college. Get a job.”
“Well that’s what I do. I help the students.”
“You don’t help them cheat?”
“I’m the one who asks the questions around here. Now, for sneaking around and stealing from me you will pay me back.”
“What do I have to do?”
“You will learn how to dissect frogs.”
“But aren’t I already going to do that in class?” James runs his hand through his hair making it all messy.
“You’re already starting to act in the appropriate way a mad scientist’s assistant should.”
“Wha-? Does that mean I have to work a lot?”
“Yes. Let’s get started.” The professor goes to the back room and brings out a big glass container full of live frogs.
“Aren’t these things supposed to be dead?” James looks at the slimy creatures.
“If they were dead then they would be useless to make the potion. They need to be alive in order to put them to sleep, in a coma.” He hands a scalpel to James.
After accidently killing a couple frogs, and cutting himself, James finally managed to cut the right nerve to neutralize the frogs for exactly 30 days.
“Good, I think that will be enough. You will be going to Peter’s Cathedral tonight. You will bury these frogs there and bring me back the ones that are already there.”
“I have to do what?! I have to unbury frogs?”
“Yes. You will dig up the ones there already before midnight or you may have a little trouble.” Prof. G. hands James a metal container.
James pulls out his phone from his pocket and sees the time. 10:00pm. He calls Derek.
“So how did it go?” Answers his friend Derek.
“I’ll tell you about it later but first go to my house and meet me in my garage.”
“But it’s already late. I’m sleepy.”
“You are always sleepy man. Oh and bring you dad’s spade. We’re going to the Graveyard.”
“We’re what?” The other line is dead.
“James? Are you there?” Derek slowly walks through the yard.
“Yeah. Come in.” Derek walks in and notices that James is packing a medium size, metal container and tools in the back of his Jeep.
“Here. Catch.” James throws a large bag of Hot Cheetos and a flashlight. “Put that inside that backpack at your right.”
The boys drive up to an old gothic gate that enters to the graveyard. Big chunks of bricks surrounding the wall.
“It sure is kind of mysterious here.” James says as he steps out of his Jeep.
“Wait. Leave your headlights on.” Derek puts his hand on James shoulder.
“Ha-ha your scared now?”
“Shut up, stupid.” He pushed James aside with the backpack.
They climb up the wall. “So what are we doing here?” Derek looks up the moon shining down on them.
“Let’s just get to work before the full moon goes away. You don’t want to be in a graveyard in total darkness”.
“Wait! That doesn’t answer my question!” Derek follows after James.
As they walk down the pathway James drags the spades across the gravel, making scratching noises.
“Don’t do that! It’s already creepy enough as it is.” Derek starts to walk faster and crashes into James.
Both fall to the ground.
“Watch it. Try to be more careful. Here.” James hands Derek a spade. “We have to start soon.”
“Hey, look there’s an old looking statue over there.” Derek points to it. James pulled out a crumbled piece of paper and reads it.
“It says here that we have to go and bury the frogs around the statue.
“What? Is that what we’re doing here? Burying dead frogs! Why didn’t you tell me before?”
“What did think we’re doing in a graveyard with digging tools? If I told you wouldn’t help out.”
James stabs the spade into the ground. Within minutes, both boys are covered in dirt and sweat. Derek rests his elbow on the spades handle and observes the statue of a woman with flowers threaded in her hair. As he reaches behind his, into the backpack to eat more Hot Cheetos, something suddenly jumps out. “Whoa! What was that!?” Derek looks around, and then feels a thud on his arm. “Wha- What is this?” He touches his arm, which is covered in wet slime. “Ugh! Gross.” More things start to jump out!
“They’re frogs! They’re alive!” Derek’s voice cracks.
“Shit! I thought that they weren’t supposed to be alive.” They quickly climb out of the hole, tripping and falling over tombstones and lumps of dirt. One frog jumps right at Derek’s face.
“AAAH!” He screams like a girl.
“Stop goofing around and help me catch them!” James yells out. He picks up the metal container by the hole and dumps the neutralized frogs in. He chases after the jumping ones, managing to put in a few frogs.
“I’m not touching them!” Derek begins to head to the gate, wiping off the slime from his face. There’s a loud cracking sound.
“Ha-ha! Don’t be such a girl. They’re only dead frogs.” James laughs.
“Doesn’t that make them zombies then?”
James walks towards Derek, when suddenly his right foot goes through the ground.
“Aah!” More of the gravel starts falling into the hole. “The ground is collapsing! Help me Derek!” Derek steps forward and his foot goes through also. They disappear into the pitch black hole.
“Ugh… My head.” James wakes up, and rubbing it. “Derek? You okay?”
“What…Happened?” Derek pulls out the flash light and looks around in the hole. “There’s a little church down here. And look, the statue is part of it. But why is it underground though?”
“What are you talking about?” James takes the flash light from Derek’s hand and flashes it towards the building. “Whoa. And it’s really deep in the ground.”
“Maybe it got buried a hundred years ago and no one noticed.”
“How are we going to get out of here though?” James looks around.
“We can maybe climb out.”
Derek tries to get up but then steps on something slippery. “Ugh! More slime!”
James puts his hand out to stop Derek.
“Wait. I think maybe we’ll find the frogs that we need down here.” He touches the ground and it feels like it’s entirely covered in slime. He looks for the container, hoping for the best that it fell down with them. He moves his hands, patting the ground for it.
“Found it. Derek you’re going to have to do more digging. The night is not over yet.”
“Man, this night just keeps getting worse and worse by the minute.”
They dig around for a bit, finding nothing.
“Maybe we should move closer to the church.” James flashes the flashlight towards it. “It looks like it’s deeper with slime over there.”
As they walk towards it, their feet begin to sink in. The slime reaches up to their mid-thighs. “Ugh it stinks in here.” Derek exclaims. Holding his nose with one hand, he sinks his other into the slime and pulls out a chunky thing. “Okay now! This deserves a triple ew! What the hell is this?”
“I think we found the right frogs. The ones from earlier looked like ordinary frogs. These are different, blotted with slime. Let’s get out of this gross place.”
“My mom is going to kill me if she sees me covered in slime and mud.”
The boys climb up the Church and stand on a sculpture to reach the edge of the pavement above. “At last! We’re freeeee!” Derek stretches his arms out like he had had been cooped up in a small metal box like the frogs are now.
“Let’s go home.” James says as he walks up to his Jeep. He pulls out his cell and dials a number.
“Did you get it done?” A booming voice speaks on the other line.
“Of course Professor Gotham! And with time to spare.”
“Good, come to the school. I locked the back door of the science department. Get here quickly, before its midnight.” He hangs up.
“Get in Derek. I’ll drive you home. And thanks a lot man.”
“Whatever, dude. You seriously owe me.”
“Here Professor G.” James walks into his office, handing the metal container.
“So how do you do this frog potion?” James asks as he starts putting on protective eye gear.
“I thought you hated science labs?” The professor looks down at James, making a weird twitchy thing with his left eyebrow.
“I do but tonight has been an epic adventure and I just want to get this potion done already.”
James looks at the different colored row of chemicals. The professor starts to pour in an orange colored liquid first, followed by a blue and red turning it into a purplish color. James pours in the last vial, the frog slime. “So how do these frogs become so enlarged?” James asks.
“I’m not going to answer you. You should be able to figure it out after all you’ve learned today.
“I.. don’t know. They have a lot of snot?”
“You aren’t the brightest bulb are you? Fine, I will tell you since you were close. By neutralizing the frogs, they stop breathing, so they are unable to release the slime inside of them. With time they become bloated and the slime begins to ooze out. Judging by how filthy you are you fell in the slime, didn’t you?”
“Uum. Yeah. Sort of.” James looks down at his sticky steel-toed boots.
“But there are times when some of the frogs burst it all of slime out and wake up.”
“So is that why there were frogs jumping around?”
“Yes” And then in a whispering tone, James hears Professor G speak in another language.
“What are you doing?”
He notices that Prof. G suddenly looks drained of energy looking much older as he hunches over the counter.
“There’s a spell in the process of making the potion. But I am too old to be doing this. I don’t have the energy I used to. It is why I decided to make you my assistant. I need a young lad. I hadn’t gotten one because I was afraid they would report me to the Secret Geniuses. But you showed that you wouldn’t do that. You confessed that you stole from me and were capable of helping me out. Even though you did it for your own good, you have helped me out a lot.” The professor pours the green liquid into a vile.
“I can’t believe I’m doing this, but this is your reward. Use it wisely.” He hands James the vile labeled “Frog Potion.”
“Derek! We did it! We did it! We’re going to graduate!” James runs into Derek’s room. Unfortunately, last night Derek got caught sneaking in through the kitchen window and was grounded for a week.
“What? What do you mean?” Derek jumps out of bed.
“I got the potion! We’re going to become smarter with time!” James tackles his friend down to the floor with excitement.
“So does that mean I can catch up in my classes I’m missing because I helped you get frogs?”
“Yeah man. Like you said I owe you!”