My senior philosophy teacher believed he could predict the future of his students. At first, he acted like a fortune-teller, examining the eyes and the features of their faces like a phrenologist. Understandably, it made some of his female students uncomfortable, but his interest was purely scientific. He also upset the natural order of things, when he told the class that Megan was going to be the most successful in life, and not Chad— the premier yearbook pick. Megan had pimples and she was quiet. She was insecure and always wore drab gray clothes. She read the dictionary at lunch that her mother bought her for her birthday. Her glasses magnified her eyes, which didn’t make them beautiful. It only showed a lost look that took comfort in classifying syllables, under uncombed hair. Mr. Kiely was different too, and that was the nice way of putting it. He wasn’t loved or liked. He was only strange, but he didn’t seem lonely, so his students didn’t feel sorry for him. People suspected there was something off about Mr. Kiely for years, but they couldn’t prove anything, and after 10 years of service without a single complaint, the faculty decided he was harmless enough, and a fairly good teacher.
He had a premature balding-spot on his head, and he was a foot shorter than was desirable by the opposite sex. He had a strong relationship with his mother who doted on him continuously. It seemed like every day he had a new toy, a T-Rex or a Hot Wheels car, and he was over the age of 40. When Miss Menken stole his T-Rex and spray-painted it gold, Mr. Kiely flew into a rage.
“That was a gift from my mom!” He shouted.
“Oh, I’m so sorry. We can buy you a new one.”
“IT WAS FROM MY MOM! It was one of a kind.” When Mr. Kiely lectured on Peter Pan Syndrome, I knew he had it. It wasn’t a full-blown disorder though.
Anyway, Mr. Kiely’s obsession was the success and progress of his students. It wasn’t that he wanted them to be successful or that he tried to help them; it was his desire to predict their futures. Nobody would have taken him seriously if his predictions hadn’t turned out to be 100% correct. So much so, that parents got upset when he told the class the valedictorian would get a 30-year jail sentence on federal money-laundering charges.
“You can’t tell me my son is going to prison,” said Mr. Jansen during parent-teacher conferences.
“Oh, but I can, and he is.”
“You are a sick man!”
“I only tell the truth.”
Mr. Kiely had the attention of the principal and the school newspaper after a decade of successful predictions.
“How do you do it?” They asked.
“A combination of psychic reading and intuition,” Mr. Kiely said.
“But what does that mean?” Principal Ragnar asked.
“It means that I have not developed a black and white concrete explanation for my abilities that can be scientifically replicated. It’s more of an artform, than a science.”
“Can you read your own future?”
“Sure; all I have to do is look into the mirror.”
“And what do you see?”
“A dead man.”
“Oh, that’s funny. We all die.”
“Oh, not from natural causes.”
“You murder me.”
Mr. Kiely’s honesty was a bit much for the principal. He tried to dismiss the eccentric philosophy teacher, but couldn’t. Afterall, he had never been wrong. That summer and the following school year, Mr. Kiely created a personality-success inventory of thousands of questions based on physical observations that would predict who a person was going to be. I was a mediocre student, and didn’t want Mr. Kiely to read me. What if I was going to prison for the rest of my life or I became a nobody? It’s kinda like getting your intelligence tested. Who wants to know their limitations, or be told their true potential? I didn’t. I hoped I would live long and have a good life, but knowing more than that, was meant for God and not man. When a man tries to become God, he goes insane.
My theory was, Mr. Kiely was already somewhat insane, which allowed him to be somewhat functional while he played God, predicting the futures of his students. What I couldn’t understand was that he was not in the least depressed about getting murdered by the principal.
And when I asked him about it, he said, “It’s my destiny.”
Megan became a great literary icon, like Ayn Rand. She went from the ugly duckling to the beautiful swan, with sexy legs and dazzling dresses that showed off her eccentric intelligence.
I decided that my fear of taking Mr. Kiely’s test was unfounded. I wanted to know my future, even if it took six hours to finish the questionnaire. I had to start the test in Mr. Kiely’s sixth period class and work until 8 PM. When I finished, Mr. Kiely began to score it. It took him three days.
On the third day, he didn’t come into work. I desperately wanted to know my results, but I couldn’t get ahold of him and neither could the faculty. The police paid his apartment a routine visit and found him lying in a pool of his own blood, in a makeshift fort he had constructed with chairs and blankets. He was strangled by his N64 video game controller cord. The police didn’t have any leads. His mother was devasted. Nobody knew who would want to kill Mr. Kiely, but I did. It was the principal, and even though no motive could be found, I trusted Mr. Kiely’s abilities. I wanted to see my results. They were in the crime scene. So, I talked to the detective and told him my name was on the test. I needed it for school. It was homework and it concerned my future.
He gave it to me, seeing as it wouldn’t help him solve the crime. I looked at my score.
It was like a calculus equation, some advance mathematical or philosophical formulas, and the results said, “Andy becomes a writer.” And that’s what I’m doing now, so Mr. Kiely was right! And I know the principal did it!