Darth Maul Teaches Writing 101
The characters Darth Maul, Yoda, Obi-Wan, Sidious/Palpatine, Qui-Gon etc. are all owned by George Lucas who would never do anything so heretical with them. He's got the copyrights, and the dough. No copyright infringement is intended, and I am certainly not making a profit off of this, or anything else I do. Not that I am a bitter, broke grad student, or anything. This story was inspired by the other fine ones at the Sith Academy.
Another Friday morning had arrived on the 42nd floor of Maul's apartment building. At long last, he had splurged on some new furniture. A dresser. He had grown tired of his weekly rituals involving his clothing:
Monday--try to remember what he had worn on Friday, so as not to wear it again on Monday. He could at least make people think he was doing laundry if he rotated the outfits.
Tuesday--look at floor to determine Monday's outfit. Choose another set of dirty clothes from the more remote levels of the archaeological project that was his room.
Wednesday--carefully ascertain which level of floor coverage was not Monday or Tuesday.
Thursday--hope he could tell the strata on the floor apart enough to avoid wearing something he'd already worn that week.
Friday--throw all dirty and clean clothes into the closet or under the bed in case he brought someone home.
Saturday--realize he should do laundry since after an evening together, he could no longer distinguish clean from dirty from sentient life form, but not actually do laundry.
Sunday--think about doing laundry in case Darth Mary Sue should appear next week, but realize that every other imbecile enrolled in the Jedi program would be at the laundromat, swapping stories about their latest mastery of Dartha Stewart's new suggestion or quizzing each other to see who knew that infernal Code the best. Usually, roll back over, cover head with pillow, trying not to do damage with horns while listening to the alarm clock that was the moans, groans, grunts and screams of the meditations of the Jedi twits next door.
One bleak Sunday every two months or so, he would give in and wrestle the animated jeans into submission and gingerly scrape up the remnants of his latest incarnation of the Sith Lords Kick Ass T-shirt, dump them into a laundry basket with his robes, and brave the hordes of misbehaving children at the Suds-O-Matic down the street. Then, he would return home and no matter where he hid his clean robes, My Apprentice would find them, and shed all over them, so that at Sidious'ss next unannounced appearance, his Master would tell him to start all over again.
So he had gotten quite good at the scotch tape method of removing cat hair so as to trick his Master into thinking he had followed orders, but that nitwit padawan next door, from whom he appropriated the tape, had decided that such conveniences were bad for the environment, what with their non-biodegradable dispensers, and had stopped buying tape. So there went his supply. Cut off and out of cash for his own purchases, something had to be done in the battle against My Apprentice fur.
After another thrilling visit to IKEA (not during the first month of the school year, but over the summer, on a weekday. He had learned that lesson from Darth Sidious quite well.), Maul had acquired a new dresser, the Hans Unit, in solid black. The sales clerk had been a trainee, and overzealous, and upon seeing Obi-Wan's name on his credit card, had said "You do not look like that young man who headlined the Jedi Benefit Temple Tour, Mr. Kenobi. When did you acquire the tattoo?"
Ever resourceful (else why would he have been using the Milquetoast's credit card in the first place), he waved his hand at her and said, "This is a temporary tattoo for my exercises at the Academy. Thank me for my business."
"Ah, yes," the woman said, "You have a temporary tattoo. Thank you for your business, Mr. Kenobi."
This was too good a whammy to waste. "Since I had to wait in line, you will throw in assembly at my home for free."
"Since you had to wait in line, I will throw in home assembly for free."
"Very well, here is the address."
A very Sithly dresser, assembled in a very Sithly manner. And now, he intended to whisk his clean robes into it before My Apprentice got her mark all over them.
Braving the weak minded fools of the retail world, or the mundane horrors of the laundromat were dangerous, but the greatest danger still lay before him. My Apprentice was guarding the dresser drawers in which he needed to place the clean clothes. He took a deep breath and prepared to face his greatest challenge, who was calmly curled up, pretending to be asleep on the top of the dresser.
Darth Maul moved stealthily towards the first drawer, and quietly pulled it open inch by inch. So far, so good, he thought. The cat appeared to remain asleep. He crept over to his laundry basket and retrieved his black cloaks. He placed them in the drawer, careful not even to nudge the furniture itself. He double checked the status of his apprentice: both eyes still firmly closed. He returned to the basket to continue the delicate process with his tunics and leggings. When he turned again to face the dresser, there was his apprentice, gleefully engaging in an enthusiastic roll on her back all over his freshly washed cloak.
At that moment, he sensed his Master, replete in his Palpatine drag, burst through the door. Damn. He turned away from his defeat at the dresser to see what the sadistic prick had in mind for today's lesson in hazing 101.
"Well, Maul, it must be a Friday, with all the wholesome and diligent cleaning you have going on here. Preparing for another torrid evening with your boyfriend from next door?"
"He's not my ..."
My Apprentice looked up from her vantage point atop his laundry and sneered at Maul. He used the Force to slam shut the drawer she was currently perched in.
"If it makes it easier for you to say that he isn't, so be it, Maul. At any rate, I have a new assignment for you."
"What is thy bidding, my Master?" Maul asked distractedly, pleasantly absorbing the waves of anger radiating from My Apprentice in the drawer, until he sensed that she was about to release certainly bodily fluids in a demonstration of her anger. Maul used the Force to rip the drawer open, and lift the cat out.
"I have noticed that ever since Qui-Gon was incarcerated...and might I say what a nice bit of work that was. I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed observing his progress. There are always so many nubile young gentlemen in such institutions. It is a shame he got free so quickly. I had had big plans for him during his imprisonment." Maul felt his stomach get unsettled. He wondered how much Hamster Death Gulp remained in the fridge. "However, I have a new task for you to restore your reserves of anger and hatred."
Oh joy. Maul thought, another menial job. Just what he needed. "Yes, my Master," he grumbled almost rotely into one of Palpatine's Dramatic Pause #12's--the one that indicated Maul needed to admit his unworthiness before Sidious would continue. Maul glanced distractedly over his shoulder to see My Apprentice. She was balanced precariously on her two hind legs, with her front paws and head buried in the basket that had, moments ago, contained clean laundry. Now, with his Sith Lords Kick Ass T shirt in her mouth, she toppled the whole basket and its batch of clothes to the floor as she lost her footing. She proceeded to ball all his clothes up into a mass on the floor and begin kneading them, preparing to have a perfectly lovely nap on top of them.
"It seems that a department at the Jedi Temple is short on instructors. Since you earned that otherwise useless Master's degree, which serves only to make you overqualified for the entry level jobs available to those who study such unprofitable fields without giving you enough prestige or vocational skills to qualify for any professional level jobs, you are the perfect candidate to fill in."
Maul's horns perked up at the mere thought of all that authority to torment a whole classroom full of Jedi. "What department have you found for me, my master? Political Science? Philosophy? Chemistry? Physical Education?" he asked, praying that the last was to be his domain. The mere thought of torturing so many mewling Jedi made his morning's disappointments fade instantly.
"No. You will be teaching a class of freshman composition."
He would have been crushed at that news, had not his sentient black jeans risen from their posture of mock submission and bitten back at My Apprentice in revenge. He got the beginnings of a buzz from the anger he could feel rise from her. When the jeans attacked, My Apprentice leapt vertically two feet in the air, and then landed back on the pile of cleanish clothes, sat down, and began grooming her back as if she meant to do the whole thing exactly that way. She calmly strolled away from her attacker and began weaving herself in and out of his Master's legs. Maul recognized the Mind Whammy she was giving his Master when she head butted his shin.
"Maul, you will need to go down to the Temple today and get your room assignment, Faculty ID, and such. But before you go, Maul, see to your apprentice. She looks hungry." he said as the cat feigned starvation by dropping prostrate at Sidious's feet. "Do you ever feed her?"
It was 6:00 p.m. before an enraged Maul made it back to his apartment. He had had trouble finding the writing department, which was being moved to a smaller and more remote building to make way for Senator Palpatine's new Leadership Institute. When he at last had reached the writing department, his contract was not there, because, the Toydarian receptionist had informed him, he was not yet in the computer system. He tried to Mind Whammy her into putting him into the system, forgetting (again!) that Toydarians were impervious to the Mind Whammy. So he had to trek clear across campus to the Employee Admin. office, and show them five forms of identification, three of which had to prove his permission to work in the Republic.
Once that was completed, he had only had to wait two hours for the system to recognize him, return to the writing department to get the contract, then proceed clear across campus in the other direction to get his campus ID, so that he could then run all over acquiring keys, parking permits, and computer terminal privileges.
Naturally, by the time he hit Coruscant streets, the Friday afternoon rush hour--all those Senators trying to reach their launching pads for a weekend off planet--was in full swing, and he was stuck in traffic on the way home.
By the time he finally reached home, he had worked himself into quite a frenzy. As he had completed most of his Friday cleaning in preparation for another trip to the Gray Side of the Force, he looked for a pizza box civilization on which to vent his anger, his fingers twitching in anticipation of slicing through the latest technological developments, but alas, he was thwarted. He had eradicated them all already. He needed a new outlet for his anger.
My Apprentice, still more afraid of those ambulatory dirty jeans than she cared to admit, hopped on top of his computer terminal. She would not say so, but she decided that for all her master's shortcomings, staying on good terms with Maul might protect her, should they attack unexpectedly again.
How about hacking into the records of the Jedi Temple and wrecking a little havoc?
Maul smiled. "A fine suggestion, My Apprentice."
When he found his classroom, he strode in twenty minutes before class so he could gauge the lay of the land and set the room up to his liking. He gasped in horror when he saw that the desks had been arranged into a giant touchy-freely circle. Sith do not view any class as a form of group therapy. Sith do not ever indulge in group therapy in any setting. It's in the handbook. He was busily rearranging them into nice, neat rows from which the students could face him as if he were a firing squad, when his first malleable young pupil opened the door.
At first, as he was dragging a desk into its place, he saw only the Birkenstocked feet, unfortunately not an unusual occurrence among the Jedi. But then he noticed the finely muscled calves, which looked oddly familiar. And above were the khaki shorts that covered the attractive ass. He gulped. This was not happening, he thought. Think of Darth Lara Croft in the Swimsuit Spectacular edition of Jedi Temple Raider. But his eyes trailed up to see the sand-colored Jedi Athletic Dept. T- shirt. Had it always been a tank top? No matter, the body underneath it was unmistakable. Yep, there was that dumb ass rattail. It was the brat Kenobi. Why did the Jedi insist on those nauseating earth tones?
"Hi Maul. I would have thought with your Masters degree you'd be exempt from this class. What are you doing to the desks? I don't know if our instructor will like that."
"I am the instructor, Kenobi." he grumbled, and then switched tones and said innocently, "Whatever are you doing in a first year class?"
"Well, I took freshman writing years ago, and I even have the papers to prove it, grades and all, with detailed notes from every conference with my instructor. They are all filed neatly away with all my other school documents. But the computer here seems to be rather convinced that I never enrolled, so it would seem that I have to take the class again. How cool that you will be my instructor." Obi-Wan said, thinking how pleasant it would be to have a crush on his teacher...again.
Maul's hand reached up to slap his forehead, but he stopped mid arc before he impaled his hand on a horn...again. When he'd toyed with that twit's records, he didn't think Kenobi would end up in his class. He could swear he heard My Apprentice say, Oh, yeah, right. You'd never, ever want your boyfriend in your class.
Maul saw the room begin to glaze over with a haze of red as he sent home, He is not my boyfriend, damn it! and then visualized little purple sparks zapping towards the cat. She, sniffing delicately at the singed fur on the tip of her tail, vowed revenge, and headed for the kitchen cabinet with her food.
As his attention turned back to ridding the room of the permeating feeling of support and caring, Maul noticed four cube-shaped beads on a leather thong around Obi-Wan's neck. He would not think about what uses he could put that thong to, or what fun he could have with other leather accessories. He would not. Nor would he contemplate biting into that soft human flesh in that spot on his neck that Obi Wan could not resist. Think about Darth Lara Croft. Think anger. Then he noticed the letters on the beads.
"Yeah, it is this cool new fad. What Would Yoda Do? It serves to remind us all of our duty to the Force and declare our dedication to the light side to anyone who meets us. I have some extras at home. Ya want one?"
"No thanks," Maul said, remembering exactly what Yoda did at that biker bar Sidious had dragged him to last week. He smirked at Kenobi with that thought. I know what Yoda would do with this flake if he had a chance to get his grubby green hands on that finely sculpted...NO! Darth Lara Croft. Body. Gulp.
For a split second, he thought the kid had seen his thought, smirked back, and seductively licked his lower lip, but before he could either be sure of that or do anything about it, thankfully other students started filing into the room.
Maul handed out the day's quiz, a three page list of short essay questions, and informed his students that they would have the next 50 minutes to complete all 24 questions.
He grinned internally while he watched the Jedi brats in the room desperately attempt to be thorough and eloquent with only about two minutes per questions. This was going to be highly entertaining.
At the end of the class period, he passed out copies of their first out of class essay: a 12 page analysis of any one of the Jedi paradoxes that they chose to write on, complete with an annotated bibliography on the debates that at least 5 masters had recorded in response to the paradox. It was due at the end of the week.
Wouldn't you know Kenobi was the last to turn his quiz in. Maul practically had to drag it out of his hands.
"Obi-Wan, hand in that quiz this instant. Otherwise, you will have had an unfair advantage by having more time than your peers," Maul crooned in a mock scolding tone that, true to form, the Jedi thought was sincere.
"So sorry, Mr. Maul. It is just that I want to do well in the class. I always want to impress my teachers." Kenobi beamed, gently letting his hand trail across Maul's as he returned the test.
Think Darth Lara Croft, Maul. Darth Lara Croft. Not an attractive little padawan.
A frustrated Maul returned to the cubicle he had been assigned to share with five other instructors. It was located in a decrepit hut in a remote corner of the academy. When he arrived there, a few of the more permanent residents came to visit. Maul had amused himself by slicing the rats into various shapes and sizes with the lame he had taken to carrying for those moments when a saber would be too ostentatious. Then he tossed them onto the sidewalk in front of the building and watched the students gather in horror and discuss the possible meanings of this overt demonstration of gratuitous violence: a Sith cult (but the Sith didn't exist some cheery idiot would always protest), another test from their Jedi Masters, a psych department experiment gone terribly wrong...
At the moment, he was alone. He was supposed to schedule at least four office hours per week so that he would be accessible to his students. Maul was contemplating scheduling his office hours for one hour before class, on even numbered days of the week that class met when street cleaning was scheduled for the north sides of east-west axis streets around campus, and one hour after class on odd days that the class met, if two of the three moons were in fire signs, figuring that that might be confusing enough to dissuade even the most determined Jedi spawn. Just then, Darth Sidious in his Palpatine guise appeared behind him. He really wished he could learn to tell when Sidious was going to pop in for a visit before it happened.
"Well, Maul, you have done exceedingly well. Ten students dropped your class today after that little quizlet you designed scared them off. That is a new record for the Academy. I am proud. Of course, I prevented the school from letting them out of your section. In order to truly hone your rage and hatred, you need the experience of teaching a full class."
Maul leapt to his feet, and reached for his saber. He had spent hours planning ways to reduce his class size. This was too much. More papers to grade meant less time to play video games. This was the final straw. He would strike down his master and take his place.
He tried to ignite the saber and looked crestfallen when it wouldn't start.
"Drop it in the puddle in the parking lot, did you? I cannot image how that happened, my apprentice."
"Good, Maul. Give in to your rage. Let the hatred seethe through every inch in your body. You are fast making progress. Soon the lack of anger and hate you slipped into in that extra time you spent with your boyfriend from next door while his master was in rehab will be nothing more than a bad memory. To assure you continue on the one true path--the path to the Dark Side--I have more fuel for this rekindled fire. The department had adopted a new policy which requires that you meet individually with each student for each paper. I am afraid there is no way out of this. I suggest you use those extra 15 hours of conferencing to explore the depths of your anger and hatred."
"As you wish, my Master." Maul hissed through clenched teeth.
"Oh, and Maul, I dropped by your apartment, and My Apprentice has found the new bag of her food, ripped it open, and scattered it all over the kitchen floor. She is no longer starving, but I am afraid a colony of Giant Flaming Attack Ants has invaded. Last time I looked they had melted down a significant portion of your CD collection, using the molten remnants to create a statue of their Ant God in your living room. I suggest you return home and deal with it. You know, I think if you fed her more often, this would not happen."
Sidious was high on the Dark energy steaming from his apprentice. But as Maul began stalking towards him, he figured he shouldn't push his luck. Maul was very close at this moment to rising up against him, saber or no. Sidious disappeared, only his voice lingering after him. Do not forget to grade those papers, Maul.
Maul went home to survey the damage and see if any of the CDs he could not live without had perished in the Ant War. All of the Metallica had been lost. This was unacceptable. Pondering the most painful way to kill an ant, Maul looked for My Apprentice. Amid the molten remnants of his fine CD collection, previously filled with endless songs about sex, anger, and frustration, he saw a few of the dreaded giant ants with their incendiary abilities engaged in a victory celebration. He found, however, nothing that seemed a suitable weapon to use against them. My Apprentice was cornered, and had tried to improvise a defense with the joystick to his Sony PlayStation, but was having little success.
"See what happens when you get greedy, My Apprentice?" Maul asked.
My Apprentice just glared back, and tried to Mind Whammy him into squishing the ants.
"Oh, no. I am not foolish enough to take them on without the proper weapons. Hone your anger at them for invading your territory, while I go to Wal-Mart and get bug spray."
As he was heading for the pest control section, he saw Obi-Wan with a copy of Titanic on disk, a family sized bottle of baby oil, edible body paints, and a plunger in hand in the checkout line, humming that infernal "My Heart Will go On" song. Way too much information, he thought, trying to erase that image from his mind. He dodged the other way so as to avoid detection, just as he used a little Jedi Mind Whammy to assure that the woman in front of the brat would contest her bill just as the register tape snapped. Ah, here was what he needed. "Hoth Freeze: Combustible Ant Destroyer. While specially designed to obliterate those annoying Giant Flaming Attack Ants from Coruscant, this new improved formula is guaranteed to kill anything Sarlac sized or smaller." He glanced back at Kenobi. Bigger than a Giant Flaming Attack Ant of Coruscant, but smaller than a vicious Sarlac from a pit on Tatooine. Oh if only it would control that other pest. Then, in a flash of inspiration, he thought of an even better Jedi Pest Control plot. He went to find the Cliff's Notes section of the store. This retail hell truly lived up to its Super Store billing, he thought as he picked up a copy of Cliff's Notes to The Top Forty Jedi Master Paradoxes of All Time.
Who should be waddling down the aisle but Yoda, in that blue Wal-Mart smock. Yoda saw the text that Maul had in his hands, and approached him.
"To Wal-Mart you are welcomed. Help you, I can. Jedi Paradoxes you are interested in, no? Study them in their unabridged form, you must. Cliff's Notes are the way to the Dark Side."
"True that may be. But an instructor I am." AAARGH! He hated it when the gnome's syntax rubbed off on him. Maul thought, concentrate, you can speak like a Zabrakian, or whatever it is that you are. "I am teaching a class at the Jedi Temple. I want to make sure that my students do not gather their answers from such sources."
"A wise decision. Hard to see plagiarized papers are not. A diligent instructor you are to be so vigilant against the Dark Side. The Instructor's Edition with listing of paper mill websites I will find for you."
Maul considered bolting before the little green troll could leer at him that way again, but realized that such information might come in handy. So he waited.
After he had wiped out the ants, fed the cat, and removed as much fur as was possible from his formerly clean clothes, Maul used the Force to see what the pest next door was doing. Sure enough, he was working diligently on the next paper assignment, seated panickedly in front of his computer, researching the five masters he had chosen from a list of ten he had brainstormed on the way home from the market. The padawan twit took his lack of procrastination to truly sick extremes.
Maul sent little suggestions through the Force as to the direction Kenobi's paper should take. Suggestions all lifted directly from the crib notes on the topic.
Now, onto grading those papers.
Maul opted for the most random method of assigning grades he could think of. He tossed the papers in the air, watched as they fell in a scatter pattern on the floor, and randomly chose piles to represent each of the grades he wanted to assign. Of the 30 papers he had received, 5 got F's. He double-checked to make sure there were no consistent characteristics in that pile. Then, he moved on to the 6 D minuses, doing the same. He quickly searched for Obi-Wan's paper, making sure it had not been in either group. For his plan to work, Kenobi needed to be in the top half of the class from the outset.
In class the next day, he handed the graded quizzes back, and gleefully basked in the panic this generated. The highest grade had been a C-, with Kenobi assigned that most frustrating of all grades. That was the true beauty of a D+--almost passing, but not quite there. Obi-Wan almost fainted at the sight of it. Several of the Jedi boys looked like they might cry at any moment. This was simply too delicious.
He proceeded to hand out the conference sign up schedule. In addition to its truly confusing arrangement, he had made sure that only three of the thirty time slots did not conflict with classes that nearly everyone in the class was taking. (Last night, after the death screams of the ants had failed to make up for the loss of those Metallica CD's, he hacked into the Jedi Temple computer again and checked all their schedules, along with creating a few extra parking tickets for choice members of the Council). He let the chaos runs its course.
As he handed out that day's pop quiz, he settled in for an nice long stretch of un-interrupted reading. He had the handbook to the latest edition of the Jedi Roadkill Ultimate Victory series. Fifteen minutes into the exam, he heard a familiar electronic sound. At that moment, one of the students in the front row removed a cellular phone from his tunic, and took the call.
Darth Maul stared in disbelief. Then he got really angry.
The student chatted away with someone on the other end of the phone.
"EXCUSE ME!" Maul bellowed, "I am trying to conduct a class here. You should be trying to take a quiz. Turn the damn phone off!"
The student took one look at the enraged instructor, saw the anger seething behind the yellow eyes set into that frightening red and black tattooed face, and...to everyone's surprise, continued talking, putting his hand over the receiver to tell Maul, "I am sorry but it is my Master, and he has important news for me."
Maul ignited his saber and stood over the desk of the mindless one whose basic survival instincts were clearly questionable at best. Why was it that the saber seemed only to work when his master was not around? When he was done eviscerating this cretin he would have to investigate that one.
"I do not care if it is the Chancellor of the Senate or the head of the Jedi Council, you will turn the phone off immediately. Or die."
The student blinked, and switched the phone off without another word.
"And you will never bring that thing into my classroom again," Maul said, now in a quiet voice that sent more terror into their souls than his roar had.
"Yes, Instructor Maul."
Maul, in hour nine of fifteen, was beginning to wonder why he had ever bothered with that damn Master's degree. If he had to read one more paper that opened with that trite introduction it seemed every saccharine Jedi Padawan had sucked up from somewhere--"Since the dawn of time, Jedi have wrestled with the most important paradoxes in the universe"--he would surely slice and dice them into bite-size tidbits. He wondered what recipe he had at home that called for so much Jedi meat. His anger, now finely honed, caused the edges of his current conferencee's paper to erupt into flames. The terrified and panicked student dumped her decaf coffee on it to put the flames out.
"I am sorry, Professor Maul, that is my only copy. The computer ate the disk as soon as this was printed out."
"Haven't you ever thought of keeping a hard copy and backing your work up?!?!?!" he yelled. An almost cowed look passed his face momentarily as he remembered that Sidious had scolded him for failure to do the very thing he was yelling at his student to do. He thought, in fact, it had happened while he was working on his master's degree.
AGH! He could not be turning into Sidious. He just couldn't. His brain, unable to make sense of such contradictions, immediately squashed all memory of his own computer problems en route to his degree, thereby ensuring that in his entire life as a teacher, he would never have any empathy for his students on the subject.
He blinked, slightly confused as his mind made the adjustment, and then was wrenched painfully back to the task at hand. It registered that she had said, "From now on, Professor Maul, I will save in multiple places every five minutes." Maul groaned.
"No, no no, what is your name again? You have no real thesis here except that five masters have argued about this paradox. Duh! Five masters will argue about anything. Your thesis must be a statement that takes a position that someone with brain activity above the level of a Gungan would argue with. No one, not even infernally argumentative smugglers in a seedy bar in a Mos Eisley spaceport would disagree with your thesis. In addition, you do not say one innovative syllable in the entire paper. Your subjects do not agree with your verbs more than half the time, and your modifiers are misplaced more often than not. I particularly like your reference to the overboard projector. Last time I looked it was OVERHEAD projector you idiot. Start over, and send the next weak minded fool in."
She collected her coffee-stained and singed draft, and left in tears. He could hear her in the hall, "I just don't know what I am doing wrong. I never got any grade lower than an A- in high school. I am beginning to think that I would rather die, barbecued by Imperial Stormtroopers posing as Sand People on a sparsely populated desert planet that bears a striking resemblance to Modesto than take this class." Somewhere, a cosmic filing clerk penciled something into the universal calendar.
Maul glanced up in horror when he saw which student was next. It was Steve, the simpering, clinging idiot who would ask the same question over and over without realizing he was doing it. And then, would say, "So I can still get an A in this class right?" Furthermore, his lunch break--all five minutes of it--was scheduled for right after Steve, and he knew that short of incinerating Steve's paper, he'd never get rid of him. If he did incinerate the paper, Steve would interrupt some later conference to drop off a new copy.
It was going to be a long day. His anger and hate were reaching new all time high levels. He would get them all back when he began to grade the papers.
At that moment Obi-Wan popped his head into Maul's cubicle, now wearing not only that damn W.W.Y.D.? necklace with his Property of the Jedi Academy Athletic Department T-shirt in those infuriating earth tones, but also a pair of moss green spandex shorts, with laces in his taupe shoes adorned with W.W.Y.D.? embroidery.
"Hi neighbor. Ooops. I'm sorry. I mean, hello Instructor Maul. I dropped by earlier to see if you had any extra conference times, and noticed that you didn't, but I also noticed you didn't have much time for lunch. So I thought I'd drop something off for you. Qui-Gon is coming to visit today. Gotta run, I have a sparring session scheduled in fifteen minutes. He likes me to have worked out before he drops by. See ya later."
While Maul was trying to erase visions of just why Qui-Gon wanted Kenobi fresh from a practice session from his head, the twit deposited a stunning sandwich of smoked turkey on homemade rosemary and olive oil bread (still warm) with a cranberry relish, and lovely green lettuce, along with a slice of chocolate covered cheesecake onto Maul's desk. The aroma instantly made Maul's mouth water.
Maybe this teacher thing wasn't so terrible after all. Maul snapped out of that thought and realized that he had been among the light side airheads far too long. He would have to get back into the Temple records tonight and do some more damage.
After a long night full of horrible dreams about sentences beginning with pronouns without antecedents, Maul awoke Friday morning. He rolled over and glanced at the clock.
AAAARGH! He had only thirty minutes until his class met, and if he didn't leave this moment he would be late. His alarm was supposed to wake him an hour ago. How had he not heard it? He looked at his clock to find that it had been turned off.
"My Apprentice, where are you?"
His cat looked back at him with a look of utter innocence. She jumped onto his chest and began kneading him as she always did in the morning, while attempting to Mind Whammy him into getting her some tuna. Nice, lovely tuna.
"Not gonna work this morning, My Apprentice? Did you turn off my alarm?"
Me? Why would I do that?
Maul groaned, threw on the robes which most closely approximated cleanliness, and dashed out the door.
In his haste, and due to the remnants of the hangover he had from the Hamster Death Gulp binge he'd gone on last night in a futile attempt to erase the thoughts Obi-Wan's little lunch visit had raised in his head, he found he could not remember where his classroom was. He knew the building his room was in, but for the life of him he could not remember if his classroom was upstairs or down. He was about to begin wandering the halls, when he saw one of his students heading for a room across the hall. Maul followed.
When he got into the room, his table was missing.
Already in a great mood, the lack of the table, his symbol of superiority, sent Maul over the edge. "Where is my table?" he bellowed.
A few over-caffinated students could not help but jump when they heard the rage in his voice. As it was, the stimulants in their system had made them so tense that they gave off a quiet but persistent hum--kind of like high voltage power lines. While Maul looked for his table, they peeled themselves off the ceiling.
Everyone else looked at where the desk should have been, and shrugged.
"You, Cell Phone Boy, redeem yourself. Scour the classrooms until you find my table."
He dashed from the room.
At that moment, the door opened and another student burst in, still wearing the camouflaged tunics that the students enrolled in the military training subdivision of the Academy wore. He dropped a fully loaded backpack in olive drab onto the floor, panting as if he had just run a marathon.
"I am sorry...pant, pant...that I am...pant, pant...late, Instructor Maul. They held us over in our...gasp...morning workout. I got here as fast as I could... gulp...I did not even shower."
The whole class let out a collective "Eee-ew!" thereby saving Maul the trouble.
"No," the flustered student continued, "I changed clothes and threw some deodorant on."
The one redeeming student in the class, that disgruntled looking woman in the back row, added, "Oversharing, Co-lin Powl-wan. Like we cared about any of this."
The other students shot her a dirty look, but she only glared back at them.
This one had potential. He added her to the long list of possible Sith apprentices he had going for the day when he rose up and took the place of his Master.
"Hand in your papers." Maul commanded, and the students passed them up to the front.
He was amazed at the sheer volume of paper they had used in their efforts to placate him. Each folder containing a paper was full of supporting materials, multi-media presentations, and other vacuous padding. These feeble attempts would not save them now, he thought. The student desk he'd been forced to pile them on groaned under the weight.
"You, Hygiene Boy. You will carry these to my speeder for me at the end of class."
One student approached him with no folder, but a disk.
"What is this?" Maul roared, and then reconsidered roaring anymore as his hangover headache was beginning to pound.
"It is my paper," she said, tentatively.
"No it is not. This," he said grabbing the disk from her hand, "Is a piece of plastic and other materials on which you record information that, when printed out, may be called a paper. Where is your hard copy? Do I look like a printing service?"
"My printer died. But I did not want to turn it in late."
"Too bad. It is late. Get me a hard copy."
She stood frozen in terror.
"NOW!" he yelled, a distinct tinge of growl in his tone. She bolted from the room. Gotta stop that yelling thing, he reminded himself as his head pulsed again.
Cell Phone Boy returned, without a table. "I am sorry, Instructor Maul. All the tables in this building seem to be in use at the moment."
"I do not care. Find me one anyway. GO!" The terrified student scurried off again.
"All of you. Get out of here."
"What about our next assignment?" chirped the familiar voice of Obi-Wan.
Maul had completely forgotten that they expected the next assignment. Had they been less bubbly they might have actually relished the time off. But with Jedi, there would be no such common sense. "Read the next two chapters, you'll get your next assignment on Monday."
Everyone in the class began to smile. He half heard them chatting about how great it was that they did not have too much work to do, so they could all enjoy the big football game that weekend. Wasn't Maul the best teacher ever?
Maul knew only that he needed painkillers and water.
At the campus convenience store, the least aptly named institution he'd yet to encounter, as the lines were always made even longer by the fact that they seemed to draw their employees from the same pool of humanoids as the DMV and the airlines, Maul stood in line holding his painkillers and a giant bottle of water, plus a take out pizza to soothe his stomach. Naturally, who should pop up behind him, but the eternally cheerful Obi-Wan.
"Hey neighbor! I was a little surprised that you were late this morning. What happened?"
Maul paused. He had never gotten to the root of why his alarm clock hadn't gone off. But the lingering confusion he felt suggested that someone had whammied him. My Apprentice? Sidious? No telling.
"Electrical problems in my apartment" he said, thinking that if it had been Sidious with those purple electric bolts, this wasn't too far from the truth, "Clock didn't go off."
Obi-Wan frowned. "Lucky I didn't have any."
Maul paid for his stuff, and without another word, ditched Kenobi, and sat down. Senator Palpatine approached his table.
"How is this assignment going, Maul?"
Maul reached for his saber, only to find that Senator Palatine had it in his hand. Damn he hated it when he did that.
"Good, I see your fear and anger have made you stronger. Though not quite strong enough to slay me yet. This assignment is going well. I had forgotten how pleasant visits to the academy could be," the Master's voice trailed off as Palpatine was distracted by the arrival of a group of padawan fresh from the practice rings, their muscles ripped from recent exertion. "See you later, my young apprentice."
Maul had suddenly lost all interest in his pizza, the thought of Sidious with those Jedi making him fight even harder the nausea that had plagued him all morning. And, he was still angry that his saber was so easily taken from him by his master. Perhaps a little workout at the gym would help.
Maul left the men's locker room, and headed for the free weights. He was still angry about the clock, the table, the saber, and the students. He loaded 150 pounds of weight onto the bench press bar, and hopped underneath. Sith do not need spotters, he thought. Especially when they are angry. Back in his apartment, the Handbook questioned the wisdom of this new rule, but dutifully recorded it anyway.
He was six reps into his second set, when Disk Girl appeared at his side.
"Instructor Maul?" she asked.
Maul was startled by a student's appearance in this unlikely place. Would they never leave him alone? In his surprise, he lost his concentration. The bar wobbled, and the weights began to slide. A 2 1/2 pound weight slid off one end before Maul regained control of the bar and returned it to the rests above him. He sat up.
"Why are you here?"
She handed him a folder with her paper. "I hope you can still take it even though I know it is late."
Maul sat there trying not to gape like a fish. "You tracked me down at the gym to hand in your paper? How did you know I was here?"
"Well, last Wednesday, you said that you worked out. Remember when I tried to set up an extra office hour with you? So after I checked the teacher's cafeteria, your office, and the coffeehouse on campus, and you were not there, I figured it couldn't hurt to try here."
"GET OUT OF HERE!" he yelled, "I AM OFF DUTY!"
And she scurried away like a little Imperial messenger droid yelled at by a Wookiee.
Maul decided that perhaps he ought to get out of here before any other students got similar ideas.
He went back into the locker room, and noticed that unlike his own, these showers did not have mildew colonies so advanced that he would have to dodge air traffic from their flights from the east coast of the tub to the west while showering. He found the locker marked "Kenobi" in tie-dye style letters on a pink background with yellow daisies. Maul jimmied the lock, took a soft, fluffy towel and the least sweet smelling soap he could find, and headed for the showers.
He found the most remote stall he could, and stepped into the nice, hot spray. He was having a perfectly nice shower until he heard someone take the stall next to him.
"Hey, aren't you a writing teacher?"
He turned to see a student standing next to him. Not a student from his class, but one he had seen talking to a student in his class. Maul could not believe this was happening.
"Wow," he continued, "Those tattoos really do go all the way down, don't they? Hey, I've been having trouble with my thesis for my next paper, do you think I could run it by you?" the Jedi twerp prattled on while lathering himself up.
"NO." Maul grumbled, quickly rinsing off and deciding that the technologically advanced mildew in his house was far safer than this. He grabbed his towel, and headed for his clothes.
Maul had never been so glad to be back at his apartment. He dragged the new stack of papers out of his speeder, and headed for his apartment. Obi-Wan popped out of his apartment as soon as he heard Maul approaching.
"Would you like a hand with that, Maul? You look like you've had a rough day." the chipper whelp offered.
Normally, he might have refused, but today had been too much. "Sure."
Excuses, excuses, came from My Apprentice. Maul chose to ignore her, except to remind her that she still had to repay him for the lost Metallica collection. The cat decided that now was not the time to press the issue, and went to work on shredding her Yoda-In-Wal-Mart-Smock scratching post.
Obi-Wan grabbed the stack of folders from Maul's arms, while Maul fumbled for his keys and opened the door.
"Maul, your place, it is so clean. And your kitchen--it looks barely used. Is something wrong?"
"I have not had much time to do anything other than teach, Kenobi," Maul growled, "What with the required office hours, the grading, the prep time, and the infernal conferences--all fifteen hours a week of them, plus regular class time, and the hours trying to get copies made. The copier we have to use is always breaking down. This has pretty much taken over my life. Or lack thereof.
"What day of the week is it again?" Maul asked, absentmindedly, suddenly aware that there were only two days of the week to him now: teaching days (which required presentable clothes) and grading/prep days, which meant he never even bothered to change out of the boxers he'd slept in.
"Friday." Obi-Wan answered, with a seductive leer, as he pulled a bottle of Corellian vodka out from behind his back, "And I think you need to unwind."
Suddenly, Maul's stereo blared to life as The Police launched into "Don't Stand So Close to Me."
The two men looked at the cat, who barely opened one eye, but seemed to grin.
Maul awoke with a start. Papers. He had papers to grade. And he had not yet written their next assignment. There had to be some way to get out of those conferences.
Then he felt someone shift beside him. And felt that annoyingly outdated and unfashionable Padawan braid across his neck.
He would have his revenge.
Maul was asleep when he heard banging on the front door of his neighbor's apartment the following Monday morning. Damn. Did they have to arrive at 8 a.m.? Those Jedi were nothing if not punctual, happy, morning people. Without caffeine, Sith are not morning people. Ever. He heard a faint rusting as the handbook added that in. Maul looked at it questioningly, "No one ever added that before?"
It shrugged its covers and looked back at him, as if to say, "Yeah, it does seem odd that isn't in there already. I guess everyone thought it was obvious."
Just then he heard Obi-Wan's door break down.
"Obi-Wan Kenobi. You have been accused of academic integrity violations in the Temple. It appears that you used the ideas from the Cliff's Notes on The Top Forty Jedi Master Paradoxes of All Time to write you freshman comp paper. This is a serious violation. Lack of Academic Integrity is not tolerated at the Temple. You'll have to come with us for a trial. If you lose your case, it is back to the Happy Jedi Farm for you. You are lucky. The Happy Farm is trying a pilot program. In addition to the Andy Griffith re-runs, they are incorporating some Touched By an Angel episodes."
Maul smiled. That was one less paper to grade. One down, 29 more to get expelled. Perhaps he would not have to grade all those papers after all.
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