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Principal Snyder’s paranoia was approaching levels not experienced by any American holding a position of authority ever since the thirty-seventh President of the United States, i.e., Richard Milhouse Nixon himself, back when things had started getting desperate over a little office break-in. In fact, the man scuttling through the morning crowd of students in the Southern California high school was now actually beginning to develop dark jowls, beady eyes that were darting from side to side while searching for enemies, and his arms were starting to jerk upwards in preparation for flashing a double V-for-victory sign. Any moment now, the school corridors would resound with the hollow declaration of, “I am not a crook!”
All these feelings of persecution had begun the instant the principal had stepped foot on school property this Monday morning, getting out of his car and giving the nearest student a suspicious glare that should have informed this potential juvenile delinquent his behavior and deportment were totally unsatisfactory, and it was only by the grace of R. Snyder that a lifetime detention wasn’t instantly bestowed upon him.
A cheerful grin beamed back at the principal was this teenager’s only reaction, leaving the older man blinking in surprise.
Snyder’s uneasiness only grew at seeing the behavior of the other students around the front entrance of the school, once each of these caught sight of the head administrator of their educational facility. Instead of the usual blank looks directed at the man that Snyder full well knew hid dislike and detestation, the crowd of young people entering the school now sent towards their principal genuine smiles of pleased delight.
This only made Snyder worry even more. Particularly as that man impatiently brushed past the ebullient students in the front doorway, to step through the corridors, where even more untrustworthy children were milling around, and incredible as it might seem, these potential young criminals now appeared as if they were actually….GLAD to see him!
His lower intestine beginning to cramp in colonic spasms, the increasingly panicky man now headed directly towards his office, hoping to make it there before the jacquerie arose, when the students would then successfully accomplish their transformation into a bloodthirsty, iniquitous, mob of savages that would finally destroy any trace whatsoever of adult authority in Sunnydale High School. Instead of just waiting until Friday night and doing it during the championship football game with their detested opponents from the next town over.
Fleeing for his sanctuary, Snyder ignored the snickering and muffled giggles coming from all the students he passed, heading down the school corridor, until he finally made the turn around the corner where his office was, only to stop short in absolute disbelief, as all the watchers crowded in the corridor behind him eagerly awaited the principal’s reaction to what he was now examining with bulging eyes.
His office door was at the moment open, swinging out into the school corridor, presenting to a staring Snyder the entire surface of the door. But, that wasn’t the worse of it. Instead of just being ajar and showing to the entire world the dignified sign of “Principal Snyder” in gold letters attached on the front at head level, this specific portal was currently covered with large sheets of pink paper amply decorated with a motif of silver and gold glitter swirling across the sheets that were wrapped and folded around the entire door, somehow giving it the look of….an homemade greeting card.
The resemblance of his office door to an illustrated, folding card was only heightened by the large, blazing-red letters painstakingly cut out from more paper sheets and glued onto the front of the door, to be dazedly read by Snyder as an interrupted sentence expressing condolences:
“IN RECOGNITION OF YOUR BRAVE STRUGGLE….”
The sinking feeling in his stomach coming from knowing full well that this was not going to end happily, Principal Snyder gloomily shuffled forward, unaware of the numerous cameras being taken from the pockets, backpacks, and purses of the students behind him, and held ready. The administrator warily eyed the front of his office door as he stepped around this portal, hoping for any clue to identify the culprit who had done such a disrespectful thing, but he couldn’t find any evidence of this. Even if he already had in his mind an extremely short list of one specific person who must have dared the creation of today’s insolent prank.
Principal Snyder momentarily forgot all this, as he finally directed his attention to behind the door, where he would have normally walked through the doorway to enter his office and conduct his daily tyranny upon the entire student body of the high school. However, right now, it was totally impossible to cross the office threshold, due to the fact that more sheets of pink paper with more attached glitter had been hung across the doorway, covering it completely up, and producing the look of the inside of a greeting card.
The short, bald man loathed by every one of Sunnydale’s teenagers now incredulously read the rest of the message of commiseration in more red, cut-out letters on the faux card:
“….WE, THE STUDENTS OF SHS, ALL WISH FOR A HAPPY CONCLUSION TO YOUR PILGARLIC AFFLICTION.”
Accompanied by an overwhelming wave of uproarious laughter from the students, the school corridor then exploded in flashing lights, as every camera now took pictures of Principal Snyder’s furious face and hairless skull turning bright tomato-red, as that man screamed a single word.
A short distance away in the school library, a teenage boy nodded in gleeful satisfaction at the sounds coming from the rest of the school, especially the familiar screech that jerk with an absolutely over-inflated sense of importance had just shrieked. Taking off his crossed feet from the top of the main table, which allowed his tilted-back chair to fall forward, Xander Harris rose from his seat, grinning from ear to ear, and stepped away from the table. It was a shame the rest of the Scooby Gang weren’t around to hear his triumph, but they hadn’t come in yet, as per Xander’s plan.
Every once in a while, the boy wanted something in his life just for himself, nothing that had to be shared with Willow, Buffy, Giles, or even Deadboy. It couldn’t be anything that had to do with the dark side of Sunnydale that had finally been revealed to that young man. He simply had to do something that was….normal, totally ordinary, nothing special. Just like him, in a way. Something that involved plain, common, human fun.
Of course, being Xander Harris, “fun” had been happily defined by that boy as thinking up ways to torment his detested high school principal. Still, even if it had meant giving up a weekend to sneak into the school and work on the prank, it had been totally worth it, and Xander now headed towards the library stacks to hide and make it harder for Snyder to find him before that foaming-at-the-mouth administrator gave him detention for the next month. No reason to make it easy for him, right?
As Xander went by Giles’ desk, the teenager gave a fond pat to the large, thick book that rested onto the top of this piece of furniture. That volume of the Oxford English Dictionary deserved this gesture of affection simply for possessing in this book a specific word that had perfectly described Principal Snyder, as every single student now knew and would do so for the rest of their lives, with all of them before that man had come into the school today taking the opportunity to look up the meaning of ‘pilgarlic’:
1. A person regarded with mild or pretended contempt or pity.
2. (Obsolete) A baldheaded man.
Origin: 1520–30; earlier pyllyd garleke lit., peeled garlic, orig. metaphor for a bald man, whose head is compared to a peeled garlic bulb.