Act One: A delightful grassy courtyard, people sitting on benches. Two depressed-looking apprentices come out, with a board strung between them, roped around their necks. This is the lectern. A dapper gentleman in a very fine appliqued doublet walks up to the "lectern", throwing candy cigarettes to the audience. He smiles.
There's nothing more authentic than a cool, clean pipe.
He lights the pipe; he inhales, and has a short coughing fit.
Hello there. We at GiantEvilBigTobacco are honoured to be the sponsors for this year's Attack Laurel Academy graduating class.
We have sponsored every class so far, and we are proud to be associated with an institution as deadly, uh, I mean, authentic, as our products.
But today, I want to talk to you about a more serious issue that has only now come to our attention. It turns out that current science has found that smoking is really, really bad for you.
He pauses, expecting a horrified gasp from the audience; when none is forthcoming, he continues as if it had happened anyway.
I know! We're as surprised as you! I know, I know, we told you that smoking is cool, and that the smoke soothes and refreshes your throat -
He inhales on his pipe and chokes.
- But even though we totally believed that was the case, it turns out we might have been a bit wrong. Maybe. It's not really been proven.
Besides, lots of other things cause cancer, right? You can't pin it on us.
Which is why we have the oodles of extra cash to endow grants on our good friends the Attack Laurels. Why, just this year, we provided the funds to research new machines for the simultaneous judging and shredding of A&S competition entries. This has allowed more than one Attack Laurel to more than double their effectiveness.
And we benefit as well...
He leans conspiratorily towards the audience; the "lectern" whimpers as he puts his full weight on the board.
I don't think R&D will mind too much if I let the cat out of the sack: Sometime next year - Rejected Competition Entry Slims. Look for them where fine tobacco products are sold.
He inhales; *choke, cough*
The data don't lie. I told our marketing department how many people still buy tobacco products, and they agreed - many people still believe that tobacco is a delicious habit -
- and there is even better news from our research department for all of you. According to our highly paid team, modern science doesn't apply to anyone portraying a historic persona.
That's right; for you, smoking is still medicinal and beneficial to mind and body! It is a universal panacaea, it cures migraines, and cleans the superfluous humours of the brain!
Not to mention, autopsies aren't legal yet, so no-one's going to be looking at your lungs after you die, anyway.
*Inhale, cough, etc.*
When you consider all the things that could kill you, why not choose something that will give pleasure without leaving external scars? More fun than smallpox, and less itchy than lice! Smoking! There's nothing more period you can do!
And now, I am pleased to present to you... The Dean of the Attack Laurel Academy!
He walks off, after a prolonged coughing fit.
End of Act One.
Act Two: A woman walks out. She is wearing a bright yellow academic robe, decorated with yards and yards of lace. She walks to the "lectern", and forces the apprentices to stand with their knees bent so they are at the right height.
Welcome everyone! We are, as always, very proud of our graduating class. Graduates, you are following in the footsteps of each class before you - all dead.
We will now read the names of our graduating class:
Gorglesnat the Snarky - deceased. Emmentaler the Nutty - deceased. Gorgonzola, King of Cheese - Summa cum Morte - deceased. Aquanetta the Eternal - Magna cum Morte - deceased.
Your diplomas will be mailed to your surviving relatives - if you have any.
She pauses, and smacks one of the apprentices, who appears to have a leg cramp.
Well, that disposes of the graduating class. Before we begin the Freshman orientation, I would like to take a minute to read some announcements:
- The sophmore level class "Complete Humiliation Level II" has regrettably been cancelled; all students enrolled in that class need to fight for space in another class. A reminder to you all that use of sharp weapons is permitted, but glass bottles have been banned due to an unfortunate incident with one of the Masters last year. Good luck, and may the best student win.
- We wish Master Romblepants Sharppoints all the best in his recovery from the attacking sophmore class last year when he tried to supervise class assignments at the beginning of term. We hope that he will recover from his physical wounds quickly, and are assured that the emotional scars will make him a better professor.
- A reminder to all students: Your new documentation shredders are to be used for competition purposes only; use of shredders in practical jokes and to remove clothing from unsuspecting freshmen is prohibited. Funny, but prohibited.
- The September field trip to judge the Arts and Sciences displays at Atlantia's Kingdom Crusades has been cancelled. We have made alternate plans to attend War of the Wings instead.
...No, they don't know we're coming.
- The Medieval Studies Lab is closed until further notice for reasons I won't go into here, but the perpetrators should be very ashamed of themselves.
...I'm looking at YOU, Chess Club.
- On a related note, all time travel classes are cancelled until we can all promise not to try and alter the past to prove that Twinkies are, in fact, period. Doctor Fitzwoozle is extremely upset, and his rabbits may never recover.
- Finally, we apologize on behalf of the catering tonight; the Junior class mistook the food for a medieval cooking display and torched the lot because, and I quote, "White chocolate ganache with a raspberry truffle reduction cannot be documented pre-1600 to our satisfaction", adding, "You suck". We hope you will accept our sincere regrets and the promise of the punishment, execution-style, of the last surviving Juniors.
She pauses to whip both apprentices, who are swooning from the pain of standing half-crouched.
And now - newest class of the Academy.
What can you expect as a student? Hard work, long hours, and a 99% chance of death (plus or minus - but usually plus - 1%). In an atmosphere of fear and intimidation - shock and awe for extra credit - you will learn the precise skills you need for total annihilation of all who stand in your way on your quest for absolute power.
This is not an easy quest; The Attack Laurel Academy has a strong tradition of excellence and exclusivity, and only the most elite will graduate. Look to your left, and then to your right...
(Note: Everyone did this - it was one of the funniest moments of the speech for me.)
...Three of you will not survive.
Standing in your way at the outset will be your professors; we employ only the finest certifiable instructors in our attempts at breeding absolute perfection. If you fail, you will have the comfort of knowing that you will not be around to witness your humiliation. Remember: Any failure to meet the passing requirements will be yours.
Our school is the only accredited institution dedicated to the training of Attack Laurels in the the world; your schooling and unlikely success here will pay off as you enter the Attack Laurel workforce. Lesser Laurels who cannot legitimately take on the name you so proudly bear will fall like marshmallow Vikings in the face of your fiery brilliance.
And if you fail as an Attack Laurel? Well, that's not our problem. But while we are never in need of new professors, we are often in need of new test subjects, and our arms and science labs are always open for your return.
Treat each class you take here as you would a small spiky unpredictable bomb - yes, it has the potential to kill you, but it can also take out your rivals. Successful negotiation of each hazard in your training will only make your inevitable demise more glorious.
In short, if you die, we still get your money. And we like to keep the competition light.
Welcome, Class of 2012!
She beats the "lectern" to death just for the fun of it, and leaves.
The Attack Laurel Standard, painted by Brian deMoray and Lisette LaRoux.
Many thanks to Bob, who played Big Evil Tobacco, pinkleader who announced him and got everyone to sit down, brian_murray, who came up with the "lectern", and Freddy, who supported the lectern with Brian. Please note, I did not beat either of them to death, though I did make Freddy eat one of the prize tickets, which was awesome, and I still can't believe he did that for me. Thanks also to Evil Bob, who was the best Sewer Apprentice ever, and to everyone who made the party a smashing success. Faculty (you know who you are), I am sorry I mis-coordinated - you get to sit up front next time. I'll even let one of you hold the rake.
BlahblahLegalblah: Speeches and the entire Attack Laurel Academy concept, and all iterations thereunto pertaining, copyright Laura and Robert Mellin, 2008 - please don't post elsewhere without credit, and I would be really happy if you posted a link to this page if you actually throw caution to the wind and decide to let other people know about this post. The speeches and the entire Attack Laurel Academy are really really ridiculous parody/satire, and the Attack Laurel Academy is completely fictional, so you can stop worrying and sleep safe at night knowing that there are, in fact, no ravening Attack Laurels wandering the streets, lusting to destroy your artistic endeavours.
Text and images copyright L. Mellin, 2000-2008, except where noted. All rights reserved.