I'm a wizard!
That doesn't seem like a big problem. Unless ... Sauron hasn't risen in the East, has he?
No, that's not it.
You've used up all your MP and are now engaged in melee combat?
No, it's ...
Aggressive children keep mocking you and stepping on the fringe of your robe.
Would you like it if I just told you?
I'm enjoying guessing, actually.
You've finally run out of Halloween candy?
I'm just going to tell you.
Go on, then.
I'm the headmaster of a wizard school, and my students are now rebelling against me.
Hmm. Are your students particularly magically gifted, or just regular laypersons?
They're pretty basic.
Well, that's actually great news.
How is that great news?
It implies that magical ability is a teachable skill! If magic was an inherited trait, distributed by luck or genetics, that would create a brutally cruel world of haves and have-nots. The Harry Potter series was essentially Gattaca told from a different perspective.
Harry, Ron, Hermione. Yup, they're all there.
Well, you'll love this next bit, then. Because it's actually a fake wizard college.
That is terrible news.
I don't want to be a subhuman servant of the magic-fueled ruling class.
That's not the real problem here.
It's not? Oh, because of the children menacing you, angry at your broken promise to turn them into wizards?
It's actually kind of a mix of children and sad adults.
Sadults. Yeah, I get those all the time. OK, that's a little more dangerous, because the kind of person willing to spend $1,800 on a wizard school is also the kind of person willing to keep an entire sword in the lining of their cape. So what's the tactical sitch, then, man? You locked in a bathroom with them pounding on the door?
It's my headmaster's office, but yes.
Your headmaster's office is in the bathroom?
Milan Vasicek/Hemera/Getty Images
"Brandon, come on in and have a seat. Well, then sit on the edge of the desk.
Don't make this weird, Brandon."
And I'm assuming this is kind of a decrepit, low-rise office park, and not a spindly castle in the mountains?
Is there some reason you don't want to or cannot give the money back to your students?
I cannot give it back because I don't want to.
Totally reasonable. OK then, we'll just lay down a basic Ward of Fraudulence then. First, take the lid off the toilet tank and find the ball float switch. Snap that off. It is now your wand.
I feel more powerful already.
You look it. Now then. How do you feel about striking sadults with a stick?
Good. Great, even.
And striking children with a stick?
How about kicking them in the thro- ... no, that's basically the same issue. Hmm.
Could I just not hit them?
No, the branch of the advice chain I'm about to lead you down involves a lot of indiscriminate swinging and the making of unbreakable oaths. Scores a 0.89 on the Bucholz-Kawasaki Juvenile-Injury Probability Index.
The sharp uptick on the right there was when I tried to teach myself the motorcycle.
Is a 0.89 bad?
I've prescribed worse, but yeah, it's bad. OK, we'll just have to use deceit instead.
Oh thank goodness.
So what we're going to do is convince them you are actually a real magician. That will buy you enough time to escape in your car or airboat or whatever.
It's a car.
You'd be cooler if it was an airboat.
Although there are yet cooler options.
How do I trick them that I'm a magician?
See, the thing is, in a way we're already surrounded by magic. We can summon light with the sound of clapping hands. We can pause and rewind live TV. Omega-3 oils can extend our lives by ... days.
That doesn't really sound like magic to me.
We can summon water with the twist of a wrist.
You think they'll be impressed if I flush a toilet?
No. But they will be impressed if you first clog the drain of the sink, turn on the faucet, wave your hands in the air, and say something stupid like "Summono Agua" and water starts to seep out from under the bathroom door.
They're not that dumb.
No, they are. These people are either children or adults with the minds of children. They desperately want to believe they live in a world of magic and will gobble up anything that even hints it's possible. So get out there and cause some reckless property damage.
-the sound of running water-
OK, here goes ... Hey gang! I know you're all super excited to not attack me and call the police, and I decided to reward you by teaching you your first spell. OK, it goes "Summono Agua," and you just sort of wave your arms around like this ...
Depending on where you are, this will summon water, four more drinks, or get you stabbed by a man
for insulting the honor of his awful daughter.
Did it work?
Not really, no. My feet are wet. I guess that's something.
But they're not buying it?
No. The sadults kind of seem impressed. But Lewis and Daryl and Milicent are looking at me suspiciously.
They're a group of plucky preteens, correct?
OK, here's what you do. In the next seven seconds, you're going to need to come up with a mystery for them to solve over the course of an incredible adventure.
Yes. Ideally it will involve all the skills they've learned so far, a forgotten device you introduced earlier in the day, and lead to the defeat of the ultimate evil.
In seven seconds.
Where do I start?
What skills have you taught these guys already?
They can chant gibberish words and wave their sticks in the air while I turn the lights on and off.
Did you by chance earlier in the day talk at length about the Pendant of the Amulet and its incredible magical ability and power against ultimate evil?
I didn't, no.
Pretty basic thing to offhandedly mention on the first day of wizard school.
OK. Who's the least popular adult student you have?
That would be Gary.
It's usually a Gary. OK, to buy a little more time, you're going to tell the others to attack him.
Why would they do that?
We're just going to cast a basic treachery hex here. Everyone will have noticed how awful and stinky Gary is, so when you reveal to them that he's actually the Night Lord Malaktor, they'll instantly believe it, because we all desperately want our gut-judgments to be true.
Who's the Night Lord Malaktor?
He's the ultimate evil, your long lost son or brother or dog, he murdered your sensei, he lives in a flaming tower in the distant East, and he stole the Amulet of the Pendant.
Oh, that guy.
He is the worst. Anyway, he's now conveniently taken the form of the saddest, least popular adult in your school, so you're going to teach the students a new spell to subdue him.
How does that work?
You basically hit a guy in the head until he forgets things.
Let's do it, then. OK guys. Uh. There's a new ... thing. GARY DID IT! He's the Dread Night Mukkkalak and he stole all your money and wants to eat your hair!
-sound of much childish shrieking-
How's it working?
It's good. All the sadults are wailing on Gary.
Dmitriy Tereschenko/iStock/Getty Images
Malaktor can be detected by the evil blue energy that constantly floats around him, as well as
the tiny hint of a food blister he proudly displays.
So you can escape now?
Not yet. Lewis and Daryl and Milicent are blocking the door. They say that there's nothing that looks like an amulet on Gary's shattered corpse.
Describe it to them.
I wouldn't know where to begin.
It's a large round pendant that's surprisingly light to the touch. It shimmers as if wet. Its chain is wrought from a curious magic that renders it completely stiff and stick-like in the hands of a powerful magician.
Wow. This is great. They're totally eating it up.
I thought they would.
They say I'm holding the Amulet of the Pendant in my hands.
It looks a lot like a toilet ball float, doesn't it?
You set me up!
No, you were clearly Malaktor all along.
Why would you do this to me?
Congratulations! You're no longer being attacked by the disgruntled students of your fake wizarding school! You're being attacked by the gruntled but misguided students of your fake wizarding school! Should you require any further assistance, please consult our guide So You're Being Prosecuted for Soliciting Children to Commit Assault.
For more from Bucholz, check out 4 Fake Buildings You Didn't Know Hide Stuff From You and 6 Things Smartphones Should Be Able to Do by Now.
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How did these hyper-specific tropes spread so quickly?
The Hollywood rumor mill has been playing games with celebrity deaths for at least a century.
Most rich kids just want to be pop stars.