The Wiles of G

Arthur Beaugeard '23

My chemistry teacher shook me awake.

 

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to fall asleep. I slept badly. I had a lot of projects due—”

 

“Shut up! I’m tired of you falling asleep in my class.” He said. We stared blankly at one another for a few seconds. Then he burst out laughing. It was really loud, and he managed to expose all of his yellow teeth at once, which contrasted well with his knee-length red beard. I smiled weakly in response. Mr. G was always a bit of an oddball. After laughing for 5 or 6 seconds 6 inches away from my face, he stopped and assumed a deeply serious expression.

 

I looked around at the empty room.

 

“I’m sorry for sleeping through the whole class,” I said as I started scooting towards the door.

 

“Do you feel, BORED, Billy?” Mr. G sputtered and spat all over my face. “Don’t even answer that!” He cut in with his raspy growl. “I see that you are dissatisfied with your life. How about a little adventure?”

 

“I accept.”

 

“You, my dear son,” G said, eye twitching, “may not use any verbs.” I tried to ask a question but he cut me off. “Shut up! What I mean is, when speaking, you may not use any verbs AT ALL. If you successfully restrain from using verbs for 4 hours,” G said, holding up 5 fingers, “I will give you a hundred dollars.” G began cackling, gloating, and wallowing in his own success. I would never be able to go without using verbs for 4 hours.

 

I set out into the world on my new mission. At the convenience store, the clerk asked me if I wanted my groceries bagged.

 

“B-Bagged.” I stuttered.

 

The cashier stared me dead in the eye and smirked. “What do you want me to do with them?”

 

I remained silent. Who was this cashier? Why did she lack basic communication skills? Why was she staring me down like I killed somebody? What was her problem? The rage took over. I grabbed the groceries and starting dunking them into bags hard like hoops. Awed by my forcefulness, the cashier quickly started bagging my groceries.

 

“Good,” I said. I marched to my next trial tense but ready. Little did I know that the cashier tore the lifelike skin off her face like a melting witch to reveal the long, scraggly, knotty, smelly, lumpy, starchy, loony beard of none other than Mr. G. A low growl escaped his lips, but he suppressed it before it morphed into a roar of rage. He would get me yet.

 

I dumped my groceries in the river. I didn’t really need them; I was only testing myself. Suddenly a car hit me from behind and I was vaulted into the waterway.

 

After confusedly thrashing about in the water, I surfaced. The elderly gentleman who hit me was perched on the bridge, watching me with wet eyes and trembling eyelids.

 

“I’m sorry, lad.” He said. “I’m so sorry. Is your ass bleeding?”

 

I nodded yes. A pool of blood was forming around me and a shark fin was rapidly swimming downstream. I needed the old man to pull me out fast. I held my arms out to him and he high-fived me twice.

 

“Feeling playful today, aren’t we, lad?”

 

“You idiot! Pu—” I stopped myself, choking on that dreaded verb before it destroyed my potential prize.

 

The old man’s expression darkened.

 

“Did you say pull? Pull, the verb? Is that what you almost said?”

 

I could hear the infernal grinding of the shark’s hideous set of 300 teeth only a few meters away. Then I heard him sniffing, which sounded like slurping out of a straw since he was underwater. With no other options and my life on the line, I grabbed the old man’s arms and forcefully yanked him into the depths and used the momentum to miraculously swing, orangutan-style, onto the bridge. Me and the old fellow exchanged one last tragic look at each other, I from the bridge and he from the water, before the shark swallowed him whole.

 

I journeyed on as cheerfully as I could considering the wounds on my behind. Meanwhile, the shark in the river was having a little stomach trouble. His last, undigested meal was kicking and screaming. Other sharks swarmed around the sick shark, assuming he was pregnant, before none other than Mr. G himself exploded out of the shark’s stomach and every bystander fled in horror. Mr. G crawled out the water like some sort of night terror and slipped into the sewers, already plotting more devilry.

 

I walked through the front door of my home and sighed in relief. I completely decompressed on the couch and started dozing off, blessed in the knowledge that the 4 hours of verbless torture would be over soon.

 

But then I smelled something. It was a smoky smell—no, it was smoke! My eyes shot open to a hellscape. My whole house had gone up in flames! I was sweating and coughing profusely as chunks of the ceiling and walls crashed down all around me. Where was my mom? I rushed upstairs and barged into her bedroom to find her passed out from the smoke, surrounded by an impenetrable ring of flame. It had to be extinguished to save her. In the window I spotted a fireman atop a ladder who was holding a large bucket of water but remaining completely still and who, curiously, had a red beard.

 

I leaped over to him and tried to grab the bucket time and time again, but time and time again, the fireman moved it slightly out of reach, laughing the entire time.

 

“She needs that or she’ll die!” I screamed.

 

“Oh, does this poor little boy want to save his mommy? I guess he’s a broke boy, then, because he just used TWO VERBS!” Mr. G snarled from the depths of his throat, holding up 3 fingers. “That means no prize money, B—”

 

My fist broke his nose like a battering ram as I rescued the water bucket from his grasp. I finally had the courage to defy Mr. G. Mr. G, knocked unconscious, fell backwards off his ladder. I doused the ring of fire and grabbed my mother before quickly running downstairs and out the doors at full speed. Alas, the flames reached the propane tanks in the basement and the house exploded right behind us.

 

I collapsed on the ground with my mother in front of me, weeping at the wreckage caused. The paramedics and the real firemen arrived and resuscitated my mom, but she always had heart problems from then on. My childhood home literally exploded. I never really recovered from what happened that day. I was forced to become a survivor. And to think all of this happened for a stupid bet. Lesson learned: gambling is bad.