“Once a year we gather here, readying our sons and daughters for the final step of their growth to mature souls,” said the principal. “As you all probably already know, after each name is announced the student will come up, receive his diploma, along with the final assignment this school will give. Then we will announce whom they are the reincarnation of. Tonight we have an extraordinary class of reincarnates, led by none other than the great, now reborn, Arlist Moheggian!”
Both crowds came alive with a roar at this, whispering to each other and expressing their shock. “I can’t believe it.”…“Is he serious?” …”That’s horrible”…“Is this over yet?”… Which kid do you think it is?”…“I wonder if John will notice if I slip away and take a nap?”…“I’ll bet you $20 it’s that kid with that the glasses on the left there”…“Could it be me?”… “I bet its Jason, he’s so smart.”
The late Arlist Moheggian, who just a few years ago departed for Paresia, was perhaps one of the most famous people in all time; His deeds inspired everyone young and old. Arlist was born in the year 6314, or 44BC in Earth years. After attending his prep classes, his first assignment was a solid oak tree in a forest of South America. He stood for only two weeks before he was chopped down and used for wood as a raft. Despite his early failure, he went on to do great things. He was a respected farmer in Mesopotamia, a trader across the Sahara Desert. He was a general and emperor by the name of Julius, he fought in the crusades and later inherited a castle and a kingdom in western France. He served as a Pope, formed his own religion, and fled oppression in England. He led the Austrians for a while and served as President of the United States. He was a dog, a bird, and a fish. He was once an eagle soaring over Mexico, and once was a whale navigating the Pacific. He was a rhino in Africa, a lizard in the Amazon…the list goes on and on. His final task was of a professor of philosophy at Brown University, dying of old age in 1902 (Earth Years). After that, he retired to spend eternity in Paresia with Voxoo and other previously departed souls. His spirit was readmitted to the pool of life and reborn as one of the current graduates.
The speaker stood aside, and the man to his left stood up to address the gathering. Edgar Marin was the vice-principle of the school, and he was also garbed in the pale green of the school, but he also wore a shirt depicting the insignia of the school, a phoenix. “Presenting the class of 6522!” he said as he brought out his list of the graduates name and their reincarnee. “Alan Verbesia.” He said. The first row of people on Edgar’s left side stood up, and the closest one, dressed in a blue robe with a cap and tassel, walked up to him and shook his hand. He then shook the principle’s hand, and walked over to the third man, now standing. The third man, the mayor, shook his hand while handing him a roll of paper, and quietly said, “Congratulations”, at the same time that Edgar was saying “His reincarnee is Randy Meclemson.” Alan smiled politely; He had never heard of the guy, but he knew that 95% of reincarnees are unheard of by their reincarnates. His diploma would contain more information, but for now he strode down to the reception area to where he would gather with his classmates one last time.
Sitting in the eighth row, Parth Fledding knew he had a while to go before he received his diploma. Mr. Marin had just pronounced his friend Savni the reincarnate of Arthur Walker, a favorite author of his. He smiled wistfully for her, secretly wishing he had gotten that one. “I’m sure I’ve got some no name guy…probably a janitor” Parth muttered to himself. He looked around at his former classmates and wondered about what the principal had said. You’d think a soul with that capability would be more apparent. I grew up with these guys; I can’t imagine any of them filling the gladiators shoes. I know I would be an embarrassment. He watched as Savni walked down to the reception and began conversing with one of her friends that had finished ahead of her. She clearly was excited about the author. Growing inpatient, Parth rather disconnectedly watched the ceremony, felling a tinge of sadness watching his friends be given tasks that may lead them apart forever.
“Rosie Sallahan” said Edgar. Rosie, dressed in a white robe identical to the blue male version, stood up and repeated the same procedure as the others. The audience, while observing the ceremony, and listening to the background recessional, jockeyed for the best position to take pictures. If not for the location of the crowd, a causal observer would not guess that these people were the parents of the most educated people in the land more likely that they were starving farmers fighting for a loaf of bread.
Jason Bydro watched solemnly from the third row as the last member of the second row descended towards the mayor, and then stood with them as they prepared for their turn. Jason was ranked number five out of the 231 graduates, but he considered himself the smartest in the class. He knew that his reincarnee must be Arlist. I’m the only one here even worthy of the honor. I’m going to be even better then he was, I’ll make all these lesser classmates grovel one day. I can’t wait to see my first assignment. I wonder... A sharp pain in his side disrupted his thoughts. “Hey!” he growled at Willie, the big oaf next to him who had just elbowed him in the side. “He just called your name.” Hissed Willie. Jason smiled widely, and began to walk down as if to his coronation. He glanced back at his girlfriend Julie, who gave him a warm smile and thumbs up. She was proud to be the girlfriend of such a wonderful soul. Jason walked down in a manner that suggested he thought he was going to be handed fame and riches on a silver platter, almost as if he expected a red carpet and trumpets blaring.
The steady rhythm of the recessional droned on, as Parth looked up to watch Jason act so superior. Parth assumed that Jason was expecting that he was the reincarnate of Arlist Mogeggian. Parth watched on in disgust as he approached the Principle to shake hands. He could see many of his classmates and audience waiting anxiously for Edgar’s pronunciation of Jason’s reincarnee, akin to watching a basketball player shoot what could be the winning basket at the buzzer; The ball flies off his hands floating up almost in slow motion to the peak of it’s trajectory. The ball begins to descent and it looks like it might fall short, the spinning orange ball descends on the basket, the buzzer goes off, and.. “Hedge Paddington” said Edgar. “What!?” Jason screamed, ripping his hand out of the mayor’s. “That’s not who I am!” Parth had a smug look on his face, and he could see that Mr. Marin did too, although he was trying to hide it better then Parth. “You know these things are infallible Jason, Hedge was a powerful individual.” Parth knew a little of Hedge from reading his autobiography, and now noticed a resemblance in attitude. It was Hedge’s ego that caused Parth to get fed up and stop reading it. Jason, muttering profanities under his breath, snatched the diploma from the mayor and stormed off, foregoing to reception and his yet-to-graduate girlfriend. The next person up was little Sally Smith. He cap and gown were obviously to big for her; the cap kept falling over her eyes and her gown dragged, its white cleanliness marred by vivid green stains along the bottom edges. She nearly stumbled on it twice before reaching the mayor for her Diploma. “Erin Taltin” said Edgar. Sally, obviously pleased with the name, began to remove her cap and gown as she headed down to the reception, revealing a stunning yellow dress that fit her more properly then the gown.
Finally it was Parth’s turn, and while he hadn’t been particularly nervous before, suddenly he felt dizzy and uncomfortable as he walked down as if the sound of his name had opening a door to a flood of anxiety. He shook hands with the principle and headed towards the mayor. “Arlist Moheggian!” exclaimed Edgar excitedly. A roar ripped through the crowd as everyone began talking about Parth and giving their opinions, and Parth stopped dead in front of the Mayor. He was stunned and disbelieving, he had never really believed it could be him, and the shock compounded his jitteriness even further, almost causing him to collapse to the ground. “Are you alright?” The Mayor asked. “Yeah. I'm fine.” Parth managed after a second. He shook the Mayor’s hand and took the diploma headed down into a mixture of graduates feeling mad, cheated, happy for him or excited. Savni came right up to him and gave him a hug. “I bet you were disappointed when I got that author you were hoping for” she said grinning at him. Parth chuckled, “Of course not” he said with a straight face that Savni saw right through. ‘Got the author’ sounds so funny, like picking up groceries at the market. I wonder why we say it that way. It makes it sound like it was chosen out of a hat, the luck of the draw. We probably should say something similar to ‘I was Arlist Moheggian’ Even thinking his name in relation to himself didn’t seem right to him. “I can’t believe it.” He said aloud.
Noticing Savni looking at his papers with a curious expression, he started to speak, but started in surprise when he noticed how many people were focusing on him. It seems not only Savni was curious about his task. “Well, tell me what your first life is first.” He said to Savni. “I’m a cherry in an orchard in south France. It’s a decent short first life for me.” She said. “And your family will be huge.” Replied Parth as he began to open up the envelope containing his first life, to start tomorrow morning. Across the top it had location, numbers to punch into the machine to send him in, and then the task typed in red ink in the middle of the page.
Mini Red Rose Bush
He read it loud enough for everyone that was hanging around pretending ending that they weren’t interested could hear. After he spoke they all ran about discussing it and comparing it to theirs. Yikes, I’ve become an instant celebrity; I wish they treated me with this much importance before I graduated.
“Certainly interesting” said Savni “come get a glass get a glass of water with me.” Savni and Parth walked over to a table for some water. People formerly friendly now started oddly at Parth, as if he had grown a second head.