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My Name Is Inigo Montoya, I Am In High School Prepare For An Adventure
Author's note: Another English project from yours truly. Will Mrs. Stanton ever stop giving me good ideas?
The day I became friends with Inigo Montoya was also--completely by coincidence-- the day he caused my English teacher to flee the school. But more on that in a minute.
The morning of the day I became friends with Inigo Montoya, I almost didn’t even know he existed. When I walked down the sidewalk outside of my high school at 7:30 a.m, I didn’t spare a glance at the blade-thin, hispanic-looking kid standing with a group of punks. He was clutching a bottle in a paper bag, and I decided I didn’t want to know any more about those drunk dropouts than I already did. The boy, however, had other plans. I was the only non-druggie on the sidewalk at the time, so as soon as he saw me his eyes locked in. He stumbled towards me, away from his group, and grabbed my arm before I could hurry away.
“Hey, Buttercup! I’ve been waiting for you to show up, my friend. My best buddy-wuddy. Wanna drink?” He held out the bottle. I shook my head.
“No, thanks,” I said, trying to pull away. “I... my name isn’t Buttercup, and I really need to get to class.” He frowned at me, confusion etched on his face.
“Not Buttercup?” I pulled harder, shaking my head again.
“No, sorry, not her. No. Definitely not, no. Can you let go of my arm please? No, not grip it tighter-no!” He leaned forward, studying my face. This close, I could smell the cheap brandy on his breath.
“You keep using that word,” he whispered, grinning. “I do not think it means what you think it means.” I gazed at him, surprised by the look in his eyes: a bit unfocused because of the drink, but hiding behind the liquor-haze was a sharp, intelligent glance that, for a moment, I was transfixed by. Then he let go of my arm, and I pulled away before I knew what I was doing and ran the rest of the way to the school.
I reached the school, got my books from my locker, and left advisory for my first class about an hour later, all thoughts of the boy gone from my mind. That is, Until I walked into my first-period class and saw him standing there arguing with my P.E. teacher. I ducked behind the lockers as quickly as possible and crouched down, listening to their conversation. Mrs. Levesque was getting angry, an emotion I’d only heard in her voice once before, when my class had been fooling around and accidentally damaged her new volleyball poles.
“Please, Mrs. Levesque! I need the get this credit! Just one day of makeup class, I beg you!” The drunk was very upset. I peeked around the corner to see Mrs. Levesque shaking her head.
“No, Inigo, (“Inigo?” I thought to myself, almost giggling. “What kind of a name is Inigo?”) it’s out of the question. You’ve missed too many classes this year. I’m not going to allow you to try and get your grade back up with five weeks left in the school year!” Inigo got very quiet, and I watched him raise his right hand slowly.
“I swear,” he said, “on the soul of my father, Dominigo Montoya, that I will compete every task you give me if I can pass this P.E. class.” Mrs. Levesque shook her head and sighed, but I could tell that the “dead relative” card had been played by this Inigo Montoya kid with professional grace.
“All right,” she grumbled, “I suppose I could make an exception, since you did just transfer here this winter. But I want you to listen to me, Inigo! You start your makeups today. If I even get a hint that you’re going to be late, I will never allow you near my office again. Do we understand each other?” Inigo nodded quickly, then moved out of the locker room with lightning speed. I groaned inwardly and went to change, praying that he wouldn’t recognize me.
I had no help from the Almighty that morning.
As soon as I stepped foot into the pit, (we were playing co-ed handball,) Inigo’s eyes alighted upon me, and I saw him smile with recognition. I tried to hide behind the other girls, but he made a beeline straight for me and was soon standing by my side. He was tall, taller than me, but still as skinny as a rail. He had chin-length black hair and the beginnings of a dark goatee, which made him look extremely mature. Of course, as soon as he opened his mouth, that look was immediately proven to be a pretext.
“Well, well, well, if it isn’t my good friend Not-Buttercup!” he cried. “How are you, m’lady?” I glared at him, conveying that I was not in the mood for this conversation, and his face softened a bit. He moved closer to me. Now I could smell the remnants of booze on his shirt.
“Listen,” he whispered, “I’m really sorry about this morning. I am not a good speaker, even when I’m just talking with the few friends I’ve made since my transfer. The brandy helps me... unwind, helps me face the day. Unfortunately, it also makes me very chatty.” I was shocked. Nothing could have prepared me for this obviously heartfelt apology. He looked at me imploringly with those keen eyes of his.
“Will you forgive me?” he asked, extending his hand. I nodded slowly and we shook. Maybe he wasn’t such a bad guy after all...
Well, bad guy or not, he could carry his own on the handball court! We were put on the same team for first game, and as soon as the ball was tipped he was off, using his thin legs to speed around the room almost too fast to see. We actually made a great team, since I could muscle my way to the ball and he could run down to catch a throw before anyone else knew what was happening. We ended up winning every game by a three-point margin or more, and I was almost upset when the period ended.
“Do you have study hall today?” I found myself blurting out as we left the pit, and I was as surprised at my words as he was. I wasn’t one to make acquaintances quickly. But his arched eyebrow and puzzled eyes soon became part of a friendly smile, and he nodded.
“Fourth period, in the library. Why?” I blushed, looking down at the ground.
“Me, too.” I said, tugging at my shirt. I looked back up at him. “Do you wanna... hang out there?” I asked. His smile got bigger.
“Miss Harrington,” he said, (I had told him my real name before we started playing,) “it would be an honor.” I smiled back. I was overjoyed that my first impression of him was beginning to become a distant memory.
“I was born in the mountains of Central Spain, but my family moved to America soon after that. My father had always had one dream: to make it as one of the most well-known broadway producers in the country. We started off well in New York, my parents and me, but some part of me knew it wouldn’t last, and I was right. When I was five, my mother fell sick from the introduction of the city smog into her mountain air-adapted lungs.” He took a small sip for the flask he carried in a secret pocket in his coat. I watched and listened, awed by the story that was unfolding.
“The next year,” he continued, “my father decided that city life was going to be too much for us. We kept moving up until we could move no more, and eventually settled in South Boston. Well, as you and I both know, South Boston isn’t exactly the type of town where broadway stars are found. He was a genius, my father, when it came to scripts and the stage. But his intelligence when choosing friends was somewhat lacking.” Another sip. His eyes got very cold and hard. There was a malicious glint there now that I was glad not to be on the receiving end of.
“One night, my father came home from work with a woman named Johnna in tow. They shared a love of the theater, you see, and soon became inseparable. They completed each other, in a way. What my father lacked in connections and public face, Johnna made up for in spades. And what Johnna lacked in artistic direction and creativity, my father was there to make up for. Johnna saw what an intelligent man my father was, and pushed him back into making his magnificent scripts again. I was happy for a little while, because I thought he was back to doing what he loved. But then Johnna began to push harder, and I could see the love for his work draining from my father’s eyes.” He paused, I have no idea why, since I was practically on the edge of my seat in anticipation. The little corner of the library where was sat had melted away, and I was completely engrossed in the story of Inigo’s life. When he started to speak again, it was in a much angrier tone.
“She pushed him almost to the brink, that woman. My father was working on something brilliant, but genius took time, a fact that Johnna didn’t seem to understand. She berated my father when he took breaks from his creation, accusing him of not wanting to have the work published as bad as Johnna herself did. This was, of course, a complete lie, but my father always trusted whatever Johnna said, so he worked and he toiled and he was forced to the bottle in order to keep himself from going mad and he wrote until finally, the piece was done. Discarded, incomplete manuscripts littered the floor of our tiny apartment, but they didn’t matter. My eyes, the eyes of my father, and the eyes of his friend were all focused solely on the play that rested on the desk. I was only seven at the time, and already starting to show signs of illiteracy, so I don’t remember what the play was called. I only remember these two things: one, that Johnna decided she’d had enough of my father that that very moment, but two: Johnna didn’t mind trying to take the manuscript away from him. Finally, the ulterior motive behind Johnna’s friendship was revealed, and she grabbed for the papers my father had worked so hard to create.
But my father, you see, was a very clever man. So clever, in fact, that he had already glimpsed the possible meaning behind Johnna’s constant pushing. So he had an incomplete manuscript bound to look like the finished copy. Johnna didn’t realize her mistake until it was too late, and by that time we had packed our meager belongings and fled the city. We found this little town and decided it was nice enough to stay in. And the rest, as they say, is history. I haven’t heard word about what happened to that woman, but I do know this: she will never be as brilliant as my father his, no matter how many incomplete manuscripts she tries to pass off as her own.” I gaped at him, not believing my ears. Almost as if noticing me for the first time, he glanced at my open mouth in confusion.
“What?” he asked. I closed my mouth and swallowed.
“Inigo,” I said slowly, almost not wanting to finish my sentence. But if that woman had truly done such terrible things to Inigo’s father, well, how could I sit in silence? I took a deep breath.
“Inigo, I know that woman. You should too, though you probably don’t because you miss so many classes to go drinking. What I’m trying to say is that Johnna is my English teacher, Mrs, Stanton, and that she’s worked here for the entire time you’ve been in school.” He looked at me, an unreadable expression on his face. I froze. Had I said too much?
He stood quickly, as if his chair had been set on fire, and he bolted from the room. The librarians that the desk looked crossly at him as he tore through to doors, and cried out at me as I raced to follow him.
His lean body carried him must faster than I could move, and by the time I had reached Mrs Stanton’s classroom he was already standing in the doorway, looking at her. She was looking back, a cold glint in her eye. He stepped into the room.
“Little Inigo Montoya,” she sneered. I gasped in shock. What had happened to the bubbly language arts teacher I’d had in class only a day before? He smiling face was twisted into an angry frown, and her hands were clenched into fists. I jumped behind the door, hoping she hadn’t seen me.
“It’s been a while, child. When I saw you name on my class list this year, I truly thought we would meet again. When you didn’t show up, I thought that the computer systems had simply made an error, but I see that wasn’t the case.” She smirked. “Probably off drinking with some lowlifes
the whole time, right? Just like that useless piece of flesh you call your father.” Inigo jumped over the nearest table, where rolls of wrapping paper had been being used by the yearbook club for Heaven-knows-what-reason. He stanched one up and swung it at Mrs. Stanton in a rage. She also jumped away, plucking a metal yardstick from behind her desk and blocking Inigo’s advances.
I watched in horror from behind the door as they began to battle, each trying to club the other into submission. I as amazed to see the fencing talent my English teacher seemed to possess. She leaped into a table.
“Come now, child, surely your daddy taught you better fighting techniques than this? That idiot probably showed you every stage fencing move he knows. Give me a little challenge before I beat you!”
“My name is Inigo Montoya!!” He cried, jabbing at Mrs. Stanton’s feet, causing her to stumble and loose the high ground. She regained her balance quickly and they continued to duel throughout the classroom.
“What’s the matter, boy? Are you tired? Is the little prince as weak as his father is?” I could see that her haggling was starting to get to him a little bit. His steps were beginning to slow.
“Just admit that I’m better than your father, weakling, and I’l spare you your dignity. Tell me, did he weep when he realized that I had been using him? Was he shamed? I bet he never wrote for the stage again.” Inigo turned white and I could see a tear forming at the corner of his eye. Mrs. Stanton, seeing her opportunity, suddenly tripped him over a chair and pointed the yardstick at his chest. She leered down at him.
“He was humiliated, wasn’t he? Put in his place. Down where the talentless trash belongs. Tell me I’m better than him, child, and I will let you go.” I couldn’t take it anymore. My friend or not, Mrs. Stanton cold not tell Inigo his father was worthless. Without stopping to think, I jumped out from behind the door.
“HIS NAME IS INIGO MONTOYA!!” I yelled. Mrs. Stanton jerked her head towards me. Her eyes widened, not comprehending that her favorite student was standing there yelling at her. I continued.
“HIS NAME IS INIGO MONTOYA. YOU HAVE SHAMED HIS FATHER. PREPARE TO BE SHAMED YOURSELF.” Inigo looked at me from the floor. I nodded at him. His tears dried, and he nodded back, the angry look back on his face. He swept a still-gawking Mr.s Stanton’s feet out from under her while springing bak up himself. Now their positions were reversed, and he towered over her, pointing the roll of wrapping paper at her face. He jerked his thumb in my direction.
“What she said,” he growled. All of Mrs. Stanton’s laughter had left her, and she laid on the floor trembling, “weapon” gone from her grasp.
“I have decided your punishment.” Inigo said finally. “I know you gave my father’s unfinished manuscript to the school as a part of your application and passed it off as your own. I was one of the only reasons you got a job here. If you do not do as I say, I will get the true manuscript and show the board what a true hack you are.”
“Inconceivable!” she cried. “I have the manuscript. It was never completed. You’re bluffing.”
“Are you willing to take that chance?” He asked calmly. She froze, eyes flicking back and forth before hissing, “What do you want, boy?”
“It’s Inigo Montoya,” he replied, “and I want you to leave this place forever. Pack your belongings and leave this town. This state, actually, would be much more preferable. I never wan to see you around here again, and if you ever try to contact me or my father in the future, I will track you down and find a way to ruin your reputation wherever you go for the rest of your life.” Her eyes widened, but she nodded once.
“Then it’s settled. Go, get up. Your resignation must be turned in by noon tomorrow or our deal is off.” He retracted the wrapping paper roll, and Mrs. Stanton scrambled to her feet. She ran out of the room, pausing only a moment in the doorway to glare at me. Then she was gone, racing down the hall. Inigo chuckled and shouted after her, “Cannot wait to never see you again, my friend!”
I looked at him. He looked back at me. Then we both looked down at his “sword.”
“I suppose this means I’ll have to leave now, hmm?” He asked me. I nodded sadly, stepping towards him.
“If you stay, she’ll come back and tell the school board you threatened her with violence. You have to leave. If you take the manuscript away from here, she’ll never be able to find it and take it from you. For real time.” He gave me a wry smile and patted my shoulder.
“It’s a shame,” he said. “I was beginning to form my first real friendship.” I returned the smile. He took my hand and kissed it before looking back at me.
“Farewell, Miss Not-Buttercup,” he said, and I laughed as he took off through the door. My laughter died away as I realized I was alone. I sat down heavily in the closest chair and thought until suddenly, the bell rang, and students began filing out into the halls to go to lunch. I dragged myself up and out into the throng of people, forcing myself back into normalcy. I couldn’t believe I had to forget everything I’d just witnessed, but for the protection of Inigo Montoya and his family, I suppose I didn’t have a choice. I didn’t even notice when Emma Berkowitz started walking beside me.
“Hey, where were you?” she asked, snapping me out of my haze.
“I looked for you in the library. You weren’t there. Why didn’t you come?” I smiled to myself then, unable to suppress the memories of my newfound friend. She looked at me strangely.
“Now what? Why are you smiling?” I shrugged and continued to grin.
“Oh, no reason. I just found out that we don’t have any English homework tonight.”