I Like


(except my teacher)

Sebastian's skills and reputation for trouble-making become valuable when his sixth-grade class is threatened by a supernatural menace.

Monsters in human form, known as Morugs, have infiltrated the school faculty in an attempt to find the Arkus, the student who has inherited the power to stop them. Sebastian and his friends have to undermine their plans and find the Arkus first, all without revealing what they know.

“I’ve got it, Seb. You could save their lives with toilet water.” Mark actually sounded serious.

“Mark!” I tried to keep the other students in our sixth grade math class from overhearing while still sounding like I was yelling at him. “The morugs just poisoned the mashed potatoes, and you’re making bathroom jokes?”

“I mean it. Tell the teacher you have to go to the bathroom, get a cup full, and then when the students have all lined up for lunch, run to the front and pour it into the potatoes. Then nobody will eat them.”

Wow! That was a good idea. There was only one problem. “Why don’t you do it?”

Mark rolled his eyes. “Seb, everybody knows that you like to cause trouble. If I do it, the morugs will get suspicious.”

That was the problem with Mark. His ideas were too brilliant to argue with, but they always had a good reason why I had to do all the hard parts. I was going to be in so much trouble.

“All right, I’ll…”

“Talking in class again, Sebastian?” Mrs. Dalma, our math teacher, paused her lecture to glare at me. “Do you want me to send you to the Principal?” What a dumb question.

“Umm…. No. I’m sorry… Could I go to the bathroom?” Man, I sounded stupid.

“You want me to let you go to the bathroom after you’ve been talking in class, young man?” Mrs. Dalma asked, as if there was somehow a connection between the two.

Should I try to reason with her or beg? Mrs. Dalma never listened to reason, so I’d have to try for the second.

Making sure it would be a lot less effort for her to say ‘yes’ than ‘no,’ I started bouncing up and down in my chair. “But I really, really need to go!”

“All right, but you have to promise not to talk in class anymore.”

“Okay,” I pretended sincerity. “Thank you, Mrs. Dalma.”

I looked at the clock as I left. In two minutes, the school would start lining up for lunch. In five, people would start eating. I needed to be fast.

As soon as I got out of the classroom, I started running. Why don’t I carry a cup around with me? I thought. Then right after was Why would I carry a cup with me? It’s not like I predicted this. The cafeteria had some.

I ran through the cafeteria to the space in the back where the students get their lunch dished out and grabbed a clear plastic cup. “The teacher needs this,” I said as a couple of the lunch ladies looked at me. I didn’t have time to wait for their response, so I just hurried out and hoped they wouldn’t make things difficult.

The bell rang as I was running toward the bathroom, so I slowed to a walk in case any of the emerging teachers tried to detain me. This is taking way too long. The rule against running in the hall was going to get students killed if I wasn’t quick enough. That’s all that rules were, though—ways to make people suffer.

I got into the bathroom and looked across the two unoccupied toilets for the one with the most disgusting looking water. There was a clear winner, so I got a scoop and walked out as quickly as I could without spilling. Blah, it smelled even worse than it looked.

A few students looked at me in confusion as I passed, and one that I got too close to held her nose and asked, “Ew! What is that?” but I ignored them all until I got into the cafeteria where the students were all lining up.

I looked around nervously. Two faculty members in this school were actually morugs—reptilian monsters disguised as humans. Mr. Brogdin, the science teacher, was one of them, but I had no idea who the other was. Fortunately, Brogdin wasn’t here, so I continued toward my goal.

When I got near the front of the line, I hopped up on one of the tables, waited a moment for everyone to look at me, then held up the cup, shouting, “Look, everybody! Fresh toilet water!”

A few students laughed. Most just looked confused, and a couple teachers called out to ask what I was doing. Ignoring them all, I simply stepped down and walked through the half-door between where the food was prepared and where the students would all line up. I likewise ignored the squawk of “Get back out there!” from one of the adults while I planned my next move. There were three metal tubs of mashed potatoes that I could easily pour my toilet water into, but they had already dished out five lunch trays. If I only poured into the tubs, five students would still get poisoned. I would have to move quickly.

“And now it’s gravy,” I announced, running over to the tubs of potatoes and pouring most of the cup’s contents across them.

A satisfying chorus of “Ew!” and “Gross!” came from the students, enhanced by the mortified yelling coming from the teachers and lunch ladies. I ran for the trays that had already been dished up, intending to pour the last bit of my precious life-saving potion over them, but unfortunately, Mr. Crandall, the English teacher, had decided to use physical restraint. He grabbed my right arm with both of his, nearly causing me to drop my cup. “Sebastian! What in the name of…”

I couldn’t waste any time. Other adults were closing in, and Mr. Crandall was stronger than I was. Switching the cup to my other hand, I held it up to his mouth, as if to force him to take a drink. He let go with one hand to protect his taste buds from the new experience I was trying to offer, and I took the opportunity to break out of his grasp and run for the trays.

It was too late. There were people all around me and a cart full of empty trays blocking my path. It was time to prove what I had always known—that recess and PE were the only truly important things you did at school.

A lot of movies have that scene where a hero will push someone out of the way of a bullet or a speeding car, saving their life but taking a horrible injury in their place. That’s what I was living now as I desperately leapt most of the way over the cart of trays, slamming my shins into it and falling forward as I cast the cup of water in the general direction of the lunch trays, hoping that there would be enough random splatter that nobody would dare eat from them.

It worked. Well, at least, the part about getting horribly injured trying to save people worked. I wasn’t sure about the actual saving. The hit on my shins was hard, and since I was busy trying to aim the cup lobbing, I didn’t realize that I was swinging toward the counter until my forehead slammed against it.

I lied on the floor face down, moaning and wondering if it had been worth it. It wasn’t as if anyone I actually liked was at the front of the line. I painfully rolled over to look up into the furious eyes of the principal.

“You are in very big trouble, Sebastian Carid!” I wonder if he thought this was news to me.