“For the last time, this isn’t your hangout! Do your work!”
After screaming these words for what felt like the eighty-seven millionth time that day alone, Xavier Mason relapsed into his padded chair and drank down a large cup of coffee. He knew how things worked with substitutes: the students don’t listen, the teachers don’t hold back and the administration doesn’t care. Trying to teach in a school system that didn’t fail students no matter how little work they did was hard enough. Being a SUBSTITUTE in that situation was ten times worse. It was no wonder why the education level of his country was dropping every year…
Xavier’s thoughts were disrupted by the sound of the bell, signaling the end of the school day. Gathering his things together and locking the door, he trudged to the school’s office to sign out for the day. He maneuvered his way around hormonally challenged teens making out in the middle of the hallway, as well as poorly-spoken young men punching each other for reasons even they don’t know, and was greeted by his principal at the door.
“Well hello there, Xavier! How was your day?” she asked, ignoring the mess in her hallways, “There’s someone here who wants to see you and offer you a job!”
“Me? Wait-wait-wait hold on for a second. I’m a substitute teacher at a run-down high school, who on earth wants to offer ME a job?!” A long pause followed before Xavier added “No offense.”
The now-offended principal escorted Xavier to the office’s meeting room, where a sharply-dressed man sat in a high-backed office chair. His skin was tanned, though when eyed for long enough the uneven streaks of a spray-tan bronze could be found. His hair was dyed black, and slicked back with what could only be described as WAY TOO MUCH GEL. He was smiling in a way that some would classify as incredible confidence, and what Xavier described as arrogant. Xavier had difficulty in judging this man, partly because of his fake appearance, and mostly because behind him were two incredibly large gentlemen who had a look that said they’ve killed before…and were willing to do so at any time again.
Xavier cleared his throat and spoke, “So…I’ve been told you wanted to speak to me about some kind of work? I’m not sure what I could do that would help you,” he looked at the gentleman behind the man, “or your family, Mr. Don.”
The man chuckled and turned to the men behind him, “See?” he laughed as he lightly struck one of the gentlemen’s chest, “I told you you’d scare him. ‘We can’t let you go alone’! ‘There could be danger’! Relax, my good sir. They are only here to protect me. Right now in my country, I’m considered kind of important.” He handed Xavier a business card and continued, “I am Ronald Arthur, a businessman and candidate for President of a newly settled land called Eden. We have been looking for people to come to our land and establish a thriving first-world economy and culture. People who may not be leaving much behind in this country or who have skill in a certain area but no education in it. People who can start a new life as a proud citizen of Eden and help us build our country into a wonderful place to live. We’ve been told of your educational ability and have seen how much knowledge you have in five different areas. You’re incredibly skilled but are underpaid and under-utilized by your school. Do you really want to keep working in this dump? Where you have no power and students won’t listen? Come to Eden and teach students who really want to learn and will listen to you whole-heartedly. Doesn’t that sound better than THIS?” He gestured towards the hallway to make his point.
The now-extremely offended and slightly angry principal grit her teeth, “Yes,” she added, “we recommended you when we heard about the search. You’re good. You also are estranged from your parents and have no family of your own. A young man like yourself could really make a great future for yourself out there!”
Xavier was stunned. “So…I’ll be able to actually teach, I won’t have students that are too lazy to even tie their shoes, and I’ll get a real paycheck instead of a tip jar? All right, sign me up!”
Mr. Arthur’s smile grew bigger, “Wonderful! The next boat to Eden is in three days. I hope to see you at the meeting point.”
The trip took one week. In that time Xavier found an envy for those who didn’t experience sea-sickness. Not one person on the boat was very outward or talkative, though the pleasantries they had all exchanged brought about respect among the passengers. There were a few families, but most of the people heading for Eden were single or widowed, with little to no family left behind. There were a few young ladies who caught Xavier’s eye, but he sought no contact with the passengers or the crew. He figured that they were like him: friendly yet solitary. That was the excuse he made for his crippling lack of ability to talk to girls.
When the group landed, they were led by Mr. Arthur’s bodyguards up a long pathway, surrounded by rocky ledges on each side. After quite a while walking, they were led through a high stone archway, and into a little village with houses of stone side-by-side around the edges of stone walls that surrounded the area. Mr. Arthur met them in the center of the village, his smile as big as ever. “Welcome, everyone! Welcome!” he spoke as he opened his arms and greeted the group.
One of the group, who Xavier had found out on the boat was coming to set up a network infrastructure, had been showing a bit of confusion throughout the trek. By this point his confusion had turned to worry. “Uhm…hold on a tic,” the man (who was later known to be named Robert) remarked, “Didn’t you say that we were coming to help? You said that the process had already started, yet nothing looks to have started at all!”
Xavier looked at Robert with startled confusion. Then his eyes widened and his head dropped, because he knew what was going to be next. “Indeed, you are correct,” Mr. Arthur addressed the group, “it’s almost as if I lied to you all about the whole thing or something!” He laughed, as he gestured in more bodyguards who the group had realized weren’t actually bodyguards at all. The guards grabbed the group and carried them away. As Xavier passed by, he could hear Mr. Arthur on the phone, “Yes. Yes. We have more workers for you. Why doesn’t anyone figure out we’re bandits? Mhmm, right. Prep them for Hell.”