I was a really good guy. I played by the rules, I educated the young morons of Sunnydale, I tolerated their incessant mockery with good humor –well, maybe not good humor, but I never smacked any of them—I prepared them for the harsh realities of life beyond the bounds of high school, and I never actually had sex. Overall, I’d say I was a shoo-in for the Pearly Gates on grounds of martyrdom in the cause of turning slack-jawed dolts into moderately competent human beings.
Apparently somebody didn’t agree.
You’d think that being swallowed by a gigantic snake would be enough to get me a ticket out of Sunnydale, but no. I’m still stuck here, only now I’m a ghost. I can’t even leave the grounds, which makes almost no sense considering that foreign librarian (whom I’m pretty sure is a Commie) and those vandalizing hoodlums blew the school up, but, again, no. It figures that I, Eugene Hezekiah Snyder, would wind up becoming a hall monitor for the rest of eternity.
Stop laughing over my name. I mean it.
The first few months here were pretty quiet. It was kind of a relief, really. The school was a wreck, and it was very, very untidy, but there weren’t any students, so that was an improvement. Occasionally a few demons, especially vampires who were looking for shelter during daylight, would show up, but even they didn’t come by too often. By the way, let’s get this straight right now; of course I knew about the demons in this town. I am, or was, the principal. I knew everything that went on in my school. For example, I knew Buffy Summers was dealing drugs out of the library. I still don’t have any proof of it, but I knew about it. I knew that Oz boy with the weird-colored hair was going to come to absolutely no good. Anyone who says that little is either an idiot or plotting world domination, and I’d seen his I.Q. test results, so it wasn’t the first one. And I knew all about the Hellmouth under the school. When your predecessor gets eaten by crazed, hyena-possessed students, you either do some nosing around or wind up being chow for some other demon—which technically, I was, but that’s not the point.
After about six months, who comes back but Little Miss Juvenile Delinquent and her friends, Mr. Working the Drive Thru Like I Told Him He Would Be and Miss I Had Potential Then Started Hanging Out with Losers and Look Where I Wound Up, along with some freak I’d never seen before wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a nice clean-cut looking military fellow. Apparently yet another apocalypse was happening, and Miss Summers managed to stop it. I’m relatively sure she was somehow responsible for it in the first place, and if she’d applied herself more towards higher math and less towards making trouble she’d be doing much better now than she is. After all, she might be able to kill demons and stop the world from ending, but what’s going to happen when the day comes that she needs to do calculus? She’ll fall off her 5 inch heels and straight on her derriere. By the way, someone should tell her no shoes can hide how short she is; I should know.
Two more years passed with me wandering around the walls. I seemed to notice that the cheerleading trophy occasionally blinked, but after the things I’ve seen, an animated trophy ranks somewhere below both getting eaten by the Mayor and Percy somehow legitimately passing high school. You know what ghosts never tell you? Being dead is deeply boring. And I know boring. I sat through the talent show all three years and never once fell asleep. That thing should have been a violation of the Geneva Convention.
Finally, one day, after waiting for ages for a big bright light to appear, there was an earthquake, or at least that’s what I thought it was. It turned out to be a wrecking ball. Even if you don’t have a body anymore, having a large chunk of ceiling tile slice through you is not a comfortable experience. I suppose it was inevitable that they would have to tear down the place. Not so much as a little memorial plaque for me, though? Sure, the Mayor died too, but nobody really liked the guy. I was good at pretending though. “The Family Circus”? How bland can you get? Oh, and some of the students died, too. Well, actually, Sunnydale High has a long and proud history of students dying like clockwork. I haven’t seen any of them wandering around here. Like Harmony Kendall is good enough to go on to the great beyond but I’m not? Please.
Anyway, they tore down my school, but then they started rebuilding. I was actually pretty stoked about that for a few weeks. They could have put anything up here, anything at all: a Cineplex, a museum, something, anything but what it was. But when I realized they were rebuilding Sunnydale High School on the exact same spot, I screamed, loudly, and for an inordinately long time. Interestingly, one of the workers dropped his hammer and ran. He could hear me! That was a first. People didn’t even hear what I was saying when I was alive.
It suddenly occurred to me that I could affect things around me. It took me a while, but I started doing some pretty impressive stuff. When the new principal moved into his office, I made a point of giving his chair one wheel that always squeaked. It drove him nuts. I did not like him. He seemed so… friendly. Principals are not supposed to be friendly. Ours is a lonely fate, or at least it should be. If the students don’t hate you, you’re doing it wrong.
Speaking of driving people nuts, there was an insane vampire living in my basement. Sometimes he could see me, which was a little startling at first, but then I realized that he was battier than Bela Lugosi. That’s when I started to have some fun. You haven’t lived until you’ve had a crazy creature of the night stare at you while you recite the alphabet backwards at the same time you’re doing the Macarena as he says, “This is a sign, isn’t it? First? You telling me you’re going to start the apocalypse with a ritual dance? Things are going backwards? Those Los Del Rio fellas are demons? No, wait, Ricky Martin is a demon? Well, duh, I knew that. Dancing balding demons. I’m in hell. God, if Dru saw this kind of thing all the time, no wonder she was peevish. Why do you look like Quark?”
I never really got that last bit.
But on that very first day of school, as I lurked inside the front door, I saw her. I suppose I should have done the math, but the idea that there was a Summers back in my school made my stomach crawl right up inside of my throat. That’s not easy to have happen when you don’t have internal organs anymore, but Dawn Summers, with her short, naughty school-girl kilt was enough to give me a case of nausea. Then, something snapped inside me. Maybe this wasn’t punishment. Maybe this was my chance for revenge. I started making plans.
I was very, very subtle. She’d put down a pencil one second and it was mysteriously gone the next. Her locker combination spontaneously changed between each of her classes. Her homework disappeared regularly. It was delightful.
One day she walked in wearing a big, baggy cardigan. I knew there was trouble immediately. I was a principal. I can smell an attempt to hide what a student is really wearing to school like most people smell coffee brewing. Sure enough, when she came out of the girls’ bathroom (of course I didn’t follow her! I’m not a pervert!), the cardigan was stashed in her bag and she was wearing a skin-tight black shirt with enough midriff showing to qualify her as a streetwalker and enough cleavage that she looked like Dolly Parton’s kid sister.
I have to hand it to her. She was sneaky. She had her books in front of her any time an authority figure walked by. She scrunched low in her desk. She would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for yours truly. I very deftly managed to trip her as she was going up the stairs right when Principal Wood was walking by. The do-gooder dope automatically stopped to help pick up her books, and he wound up with an eyeful, let me tell you. But did he throw her in detention, call that brat sister of hers, expel her on sight? No, this idiot took her into his office, sat her down, and got her to tell him why she was “acting out through her wardrobe.” It was like an afterschool special. I almost threw up, and I hadn’t eaten in almost four years.
More time went by. When Buffy Summers started working as a school counselor, I moved fulltime into the basement. I couldn’t take it anymore. There’s a limit to what one man should be expected to endure. At one point there was a pig running around down there, filthy little beast. The vampire left for a while, but then he came back and was hung up on some weird wheel-thing and bled. It was quite unsanitary, but mildly entertaining. Every once in a while a really ugly demon would pop out from the metal disc in the floor or some kids would sneak downstairs to smoke between classes. I’d throw spiders at them—the kids, not the ugly demons; I’m not stupid, you know.
Eventually I noticed no one was showing up for school anymore. Either truancy had gone to cataclysmic levels or else the world was ending. I’d figured out a while ago that it came close to doing that pretty often, so my money was on that one. Then, one day, I heard noise upstairs. I popped up to see what was going on, and who was it but Buffy, her hangers-on, her sister, a bunch of pubescent girls, Rupert Giles, and the anemic vampire, all of them heavily armed. In my school. They had axes and machetes and knives and some ridiculous looking scythe thing. I couldn’t even begin to count the number of rule violations that were going on.
I decided to follow the sanest of that little group: Willow. She and some other girl set up camp in the office and started doing cult-things: there were smelly herbs, candles, chalk circles, chanting; this was a whole new level of wrong. I was about to run out and see if I could stop the rest of these idiots from creating further atrocities against nature when there was a big, bright, white light. Finally! I was going where I would be appreciated! Or at least that’s what I thought. No, Willow’s hair went white and started flying around even though there was no breeze, and it was like there was a supernova in the room, and I knew this wasn’t going to end well, so I decided to stick around. After a few minutes she collapsed, and then the other girl kissed her. I’m not talking about a little smooch, either, I mean a real, heavy, full-on make out session between two girls in the principal’s office! I was appalled! I was horrified! I was… okay, strangely interested. It was sort of… well… No, I mean, I was disgusted! Really!
Anyway, a few minutes later the building blew up again, which I figured would probably happen again at some point. Then the town blew up. I really wasn’t expecting that. All I can tell you is that Sunnydale is now crater and I am absolutely certain that it is Buffy Summers’s fault. Even I never thought she’d go that far, at least not without international funding. However, I could actually leave the school now, probably because the school didn’t exist anymore. I was hoofing it up the side of the crater when that idiot librarian chucked a rock into the pit, which passed right through my head. That’s littering, you know. I suppose it would be hard to prosecute, though, since the police office is somewhere under the earth’s mantle at this point.
That was as far as I could go. I used to wonder sometimes if maybe I wasn’t stuck in hell, what with being trapped in high school for eternity. That’s a pretty good definition of hell there. Now, though, I’m trapped in a gigantic crater that has nothing in it. I tell you, there are times I almost—I’m shocked at myself for saying it—miss the students. Still, it was nice of you to drop by. What was your name again? Dennis? Say, you don’t happen to like chess, do you? I was team captain in high school. My rook is deadly. Want to play a game? Hey, where are you going? Dennis? Hey! Get back here!