I taught at a strict vocational college that forced students to wear uniforms and bow to elders. As someone who let students call him by his first name and played Valo with them, I was not surprised when my boss called me into his office. I was ready to defend myself, but I was hit with: “Are you aware that your students are descendants of a cannibal?”
Truthfully? Sort of. I knew that in 1600, colonists invaded the island and enslaved the natives. A pirate named Sur-Linyao slaughtered the colonists and became the island’s folk hero.
Murals and statues of Sur-Linyao were all over the island. His signature look was his very long tongue sticking out of his mouth.
The symbol on his pirate flag was a six-dot triangle. Technically, Sur-Linyao didn't eat ALL of the colonists, just one organ. First, he tied each colonist to a tree. Sur-Linyao then cut out each man’s liver and ate it raw with chili paste
while staring into the person’s eyes. Sur-Linyao then threw that bleeding and squirming colonist into a dirty shallow pond, where Komodo dragons, attracted to the blood, devoured the victim alive.
The school rector handed me a photograph. It showed a male Westerner smiling while kicking a statue of Sur-Linyao while two women cheered him on. The three in the photo were humanitarian workers. Traces of candle wax at the base of Sur-Linyao’s statue showed that the islanders worshipped the liver-eating pirate, and for some reason, the workers felt they needed to do something about that. The three thought that their 6 months long relationship-building with natives on the island earned them enough goodwill for them to get away with that kind of stunt. Just a few hours after the photo was taken, the hacked body parts of all three were found scattered all over the beach. Their livers were missing.
The rector then stared right at me, preparing me for his next sentence. “Before you think that I’m a racist who is prejudging the modern-day natives as liver-eating savages based on what their ancestors did hundreds of years ago, you should know that the killings happened in 2017. To put things in perspective, the Nintendo Switch was already out.”
The rector then revealed that he called me into his office to ask me about an incident a day before.
There was a report that a White man with a goatee whistled at a native girl inside a convenience store on the south side of the island. He asked if that was me.
I was shocked. That was the reason he called me in here? I told him no. Apparently, there were only about 30 Caucasians on this island of 20,000 people, and only a few had a goatee. The rector then told me that a cop and the girl’s father and an older brother went to my dorm to look for me but I wasn’t there.
After seeing the look of horror on my face, wondering what would have happened if I was at the dorm, the rector told me not to panic and that he will talk to the cop and the girl’s family on my behalf. The rector ended our meeting with, “Just be careful AJ. We are the minority here. I hope to god you know what that means.”
For the past few classes, I started letting my students analyze Western media and culture. Thanks to globalization, these island kids watched and played the same media content as others their age around the world: Stranger Things, MCU, Fortnite, etc. As their teacher, I was often asked to comment on controversial topics like: “AJ, what do you think about a Neo-Nazi being punched before he does anything?” “AJ, what do you think about Black Lives Matter?” “AJ, what do you think about Go Woke Go Broke?” “AJ, what do you think about Don’t-Say-Gay-Bill?”
My answer was always to not ask me what I think, but for them to gather information from various sources and come to their own conclusion. Since more than ⅔ of the class were teenage males, their views were… not very much aligned with mine. But even though I disagreed with them, I felt like we had a healthy discussion.
I then noticed a student, Stephanie, seemed very unhappy as she shoved her notebook into her bag at the end of class. “You know I used to love your class. But I think these past few classes were shits.”
I was confused. Stephanie was one of my best students. She always sat in front and answered all questions correctly last semester. I asked her right away what was wrong.
“Is it going to kill you to just outright say that racism is wrong, misogyny is wrong, homophobia is wrong, and Naziism is wrong? Why does it have to always have to be a healthy debate?” I was shocked by her response. I told her that I don’t think a teacher should just outright tell students what to think, especially when it comes to social issues.
I mean, of course, I think racism, misogyny, Naziism, and homophobia are wrong. But I guess I would feel like I was brainwashing the students if I just tell them: this is what you must believe.
Stephanie scoffed. “Well, now Benny and his gang think that you approved of their homophobia and misogyny. You didn’t want to correct them not because you are this free-thinker, but in reality you just want them to think that you are a “too cool to care” edge lord just like them, right? Do you think the disenfranchised people enjoy watching others debate whether or not they should have the right to exist and feel safe? How would you feel if one day the island natives have a healthy debate about whether you should live or die?” Stephanie then stormed out.
Needless to say, I was not in a good mood that evening. I took it out on the students playing survivors while I was playing as a killer on Dead by Daylight. After getting slaughtered the students were not happy. “AJ, why were you tunneling me?”
A student named Benny asked after I sacrificed him within fifteen minutes. I thought that was rich coming from Benny, who, as a killer, only played Leatherface and Facecamp-ed all his victims the entire match. My response was snarky. “Benny, why don’t you try hiding like the other survivors instead of running around the map like a decapitated chicken?” The other students laughed. Benny didn’t respond right away, which made me feel kind of bad. Benny eventually responded after about two minutes. “I can’t wait to eat your liver, AJ.”
My heart dropped to the floor. Did Benny just threaten me? I was waiting for the other students to call him out on that comment, but they were silent. After about thirty seconds, Benny continued, “I bet your liver tastes delicious, AJ. I bet it is so sweet and juicy I won’t even need a chili sauce.”
The day after, I tried to spin that whole experience as a teachable moment. I decided the next class lecture was going to be about influential people and why people are so divided over them.
I listed some controversial ‘a hero to some, a villain to others’ figures for them. Che Guevara Napoleon Edward Snowden
Hoping to have some more healthy debates. But the students do not have strong enough opinions about the figures that were so distant in relevance to them.
So, I did something that was probably the biggest mistake of my life. I asked them about the island's liver-eating hero, Sur-Linyao. Benny said that there’s nothing controversial about Sur-Linyao unless some douchebag wants to sympathize with the genocidal colonists he slaughtered.
I reminded Benny that if someone were to hear his comments in the previous class, they could accuse him of sympathizing with sexist racist homophobic Nazis too. Like an arrogant idiot, instead of leaving it at that, I decided it was healthy to hit them with some truth about Sur-Linyao.
Sur-Linyao was a horrifying villain to the islanders before the colonists arrived. He was a pirate after all. Sur-Linyao would regularly pillage several villages on the island, killing several innocent people in the process. Seeing the six-dots triangle jolly-roger from the distance must have been a nightmare for the islanders at the time.
And Sur-Linyao didn’t kill the colonists out of the goodness of his heart. There were pieces of evidence that showed Sur-Linyao worked with the colonists for years, and in the end, betrayed the colonists just because he wanted to rob them. Benny shook his head. He told me that several people in this class were direct descendants of Sur-Linyao, including him. I chuckled, thinking that he just WISHED he was a descendant of Sur-Linyao. But Benny said he could prove it.
More than half of the male students in the class stood up. They slightly tilted their head down but their eyes kept on looking forward, staring at me. Suddenly, their tongue started to slither out of their mouth. The tongues were too long, longer than a foot, but it was not the length that unsettled me, but the way it wiggled out of each of their mouth as if they were separate creatures. I was horrified looking at the dozen students standing in front of me, staring at me with their long tongues dangling out.
Benny then said, “Do you know what the six-dots triangle means, AJ? It means that the man seeing it was about to lose his liver.” I always parked my car a bit further away from the school because I didn’t want to fight with other faculty members over the parking space underneath the building. Besides, I didn’t mind walking a bit since there was a nice view of the ocean. As I was getting out of the car, I saw that someone painted the six-dots triangle on an abandoned water tank in the middle of the field. It was new, I didn’t see it the day before. And I was more than certain it was meant for me to see.
No one parked where I parked and the surrounding area was abandoned.
I went and told the school administrator about this. They said that the six-dot triangle symbol was a symbol of Sur-Linyao who has pictures all over the island, including that symbol on his forehead.
It was not an intimidation symbol like a swastika and that I should relax.
Frustrated, I went back to my dorm. The view from my balcony was almost great, but there was a weird Ferris wheel-like structure blocking part of it. I didn’t even know what the circular structure was, but there seemed to be a bunch of neon light bulbs attached to it. I hoped it never got turned on or else I wouldn’t be able to sleep.
As I went into my closet, I found a T-shirt that was not mine. On it was a phrase, ‘I’m the Other White Meat’ on it. Why was this in my closet? Did the dry cleaner mix in someone else’s clothes with mine? Who would dry clean a T-shirt? I realized then that my room may have been broken into.
I was nervous and scared out of my mind. Am I being targeted or am I just overreacting? Is the entire island gaslighting me, or was it just Benny and his friends? Heck, it could have been Stephanie doing this, trying to teach me a lesson.
I opened Discord to see if some of my students want to play some games, but none of them were online, at least not in the group chat I set up. Some of them changed their profile picture to a six-dot triangle, including Benny.
That evening, I went to a gas station to fill up my car. As I was just about finished, I saw a truck coming down a steep hill, heading straight into the station. It was an old truck, but an intimidatingly large one, and loud. Then, I saw the six-dot triangle symbol painted on the side of the truck.
Logically, I shouldn’t have panicked. The symbol was a symbol of the island’s folk hero and the gas station is brightly lit and full of people. But out of nowhere, this feeling of dread overwhelmed me. The hair on my arm just rose straight up. I felt chills as if something was telling me to get out of the gas station now. I trusted my instinct and quickly started my bike and bolted out of there.
The next day, I walked past a hallway where a colleague named Beth was putting up a poster made by her students. The poster was showcasing English words that came from French. For some reason, there were also photos of faculty members floating alongside words like “Garage”, “à la carte”, and “Cache”.
I stopped in my track when I saw my photo with the word, ‘Foie Gras’ underneath it.
That word and my picture seemed so out of place being in its own little corner on the poster. I almost had a panic attack right there. Another threat? Are you kidding me? I thought. Beth asked me what was wrong. I decided to tell her.
That evening, I went to have dinner with Beth and her husband Jan on the beach. Just three White expats talking. I told them about what I had been experiencing in the past few days. The three dotted symbols painted where I parked, the comment from the student made on the game chat, the mysterious T-shirt, the racial profiling, all of it. “You are being very racist,”
Beth said right at the very second I had just realized that I never really liked her.
She continued, “Don’t you get it, AJ? The students are threatening to eat your liver because they know you are a racist white man who thinks they were going to eat your liver. Kids will always try to exploit what they think the adults are afraid of. It’s your fault for showing them your cards.
Have you ever been outside of the States before? Do you not know how to be a minority? You came to an island paradise with so much special privilege but you suddenly have a male Karen racist nervous breakdown moment because you think that your teenage students are going to eat your liver? Quite frankly, I am very disappointed in you."
Her husband Jan tried to save the mood of the dinner. “So AJ, what are your plans for when the island shut off the power on July 7th?”
For one day every year, the island shut off all electricity for maintenance. Nothing electronic will work on that day, most importantly the ATM and the Internet. People, even the island natives, would go to the mainland for one day. There’s a problem with that idea. The ferry itself takes 3 hours to reach the mainland. And, with so many people thinking of doing the same thing, the line at the dock will be extremely long, both to the mainland in the morning, and back from the mainland in the evening.
For the last two years, I rode out the annual power outage by just chillaxing on the island. But this year, a Facebook post by Benny made me reconsider.
“I just want to say, my favorite teacher is AJ. He surely delivered. And soon I will de-liver him.”
Jan said that he and Beth will drive their speedboat to the mainland, which is 5 times faster than the ferry. They are also taking the rector with them. Judging from the way Beth glared at me, I don’t think she will say yes if I asked her if I could come too.
On the day of the power outage, I waited almost five hours in line to get my car onto the ferry. The ticket machine no longer works so everything was written on a notecard with pen and paper, which I found amusing. When the ticket man came to my car. He said to me that I have to wait for the next one. I looked at the ferry and it was not even half full. I asked him why and he pretended to suddenly not understand English.
I looked in my rearview mirror and then saw it, the truck with the six-dot triangle painted on its side only three cars behind me. How did it get there? I didn’t see it behind me before. I realized then that the truck wanted to get on the next ferry with me. I told the ticket holder that I will leave my car there and I will get on the leaving ferry with just me. Before he could say anything, I quickly maneuvered out of the line and parked in front of a cafe. The ticket boy said I couldn’t park there. I asked him if he owned the cafe, then quickly ran and jumped onto the suddenly departing Ferry.
After riding the ferry many times, I figured out that the top deck gave me the least motion sickness. I climbed up there and found a surprising person. Stephanie. She smiled at me, which made me so glad. I didn’t think what I did was something so bad that she would be holding a long grudge anyway. We made small talk, I asked her about what she was planning on doing for the day, etc. After a bit, I couldn’t help myself and showed her Benny’s Facebook post. I always thought she didn’t like Benny. I told her I was disappointed in him and was so shocked that he would threaten me like that.
I looked up at Stephanie and was shocked to see her eyes bulged out and her foot-long tongue dangling from her mouth. “Just like Voltaire, I may disagree with what Benny says, but I will defend to the death his right to say it." I was so scared, I backed away automatically. But, the teacher in me still corrected her and said that Voltaire didn’t say that. She laughed, “Good. Voltaire was a smart person. Only an idiot would say something like that.”
I moved down to the lowest level where the cars and the smoking passengers were. I tried not to fall asleep as I could feel the eyes of the other passengers staring at me.
The sound of people barfing almost made me want to barf myself. I went and sat on the edge of the front of the ferry. The wind blowing into my face did calm me a little. I was scared and frustrated. I wondered if I should just never go back to the island after reaching the mainland.
After looking at my watch and realizing that it had been three hours, I looked out the window and saw what made my soul leave my body. We were heading to the island?
I didn’t even realize we had turned around.
I asked the ferry driver what was going on. He said there was a storm coming and he has to head back. Besides, it was already close to 5 PM, and the power should be coming back on soon.
I was extremely angry that I was about to be back on the island. Stephanie was nowhere to be found on the ferry also. Since I was farsighted, I could see the tires of my car were slashed.
There were also a couple of men standing there doing nothing, blocking my path toward my car. There was no longer any doubt in my mind that the natives were planning to do something to me. I was targeted and was about to be beaten or killed for whatever reason.
I surprised them all by jumping from the ferry before it was properly docked and sprinting in the opposite direction of where my car was. I climbed up the steep hills next to the road leading to the dock and disappeared into the woods The light was not coming back on and it was getting dark.
I was shaking in fear but I had to calm myself so I could think of the next move with a clear head. I wondered if Beth and Jan came back from the mainland yet. I could ask them to use their boat or at least hide me, and if they say no, at this point, I was at a level of desperation where I was willing to just cause chaos until they let me. On my way to their house, I had to pass my dorm. I considered going to gather some of my things until I saw something moving in the dark.
I almost peed my pants from fright when I saw a floating pair of eyeballs approaching my dorm.
Despite everything else being in complete darkness, the eyes of a person and his dangling red tongue were glowing in the dark. I had never seen anything like this. Several more pairs of eyeballs and long red tongues emerged from the dark woods.
I couldn’t tell if the floating eyeballs and tongue belonged to Benny or any of my students, but they were right outside my dorm. As my eyes started to get used to the darkness and started to see shapes, I could see that they were each holding a machete. I quietly made my way to Beth and Jan’s house. When I got to their boathouse, there were flies everywhere. I tried to brush them away, but I could feel the thickness of the swarm. I felt like I was touching a bunch of floating chunks of meat.
I saw their boat at the dock. So did they come back? But why wouldn’t they turn on their boat’s light? I finally decided to use my phone flashlight to help me search for the boat key inside the boat house. I didn’t use my phone earlier because I was trying to conserve battery and also I didn’t want to draw attention to where I was. As soon as I shined the phone’s flashlight inside the boathouse, I was shocked to find the hacked-up heads of Beth, Jan, and the school’s rector covered in flies. Suddenly, I heard a wood creaking sound coming from outside. I quickly grabbed the boat key and jumped into the couple’s speed boat.
I hurriedly start the boat and just drove off, not caring about anything else. I used my phone’s compass to find the direction towards the mainland and I just kept going.
Suddenly, lights came back on the island. It shined brightly behind me as a nuclear bomb had just been detonated. I couldn’t help but look back, and then I saw it: a giant face formed by the neon lights, making the entire island look like it had a demonic face. The circular Ferris-wheel-like structure that was outside my dorm’s balcony was part of one of the giant face’s eyes.
I told myself to just ignore it and kept on driving. It was their world and they didn’t want me in it. I could do nothing but kept on going into the darkness.
These five are major hero's that deserve to have their legacies lived on. I made a list of everybody I found this day. I'm gonna find more late on but there's around 40 - 45 names that I found of people saved by these badasses. Mak Hanna, now going by Mark Hanna, was the only survivor of the five. It's believe that they saved over 70 people. Here is the list:
Lewis Lesce (86) Unknown 5 co-workers (86) Nicole De Martini (88) Jeffrey Gertler (88) Anita Serpe (88) Dorene Smith (88) Gerry Gaeta (88) Patricia Cullen (88) Joanne Ciccolello (88) Abdel Elgendy (88) Elaine Duch (88) Jim Connors (88) Moe Lipson (88) Frank Varriano (88) Lila Speciner (88) Judith Reese (88) Rick Bryan (89) Dianne DeFontes (89) Raffaele Cava (89) Trisa Moya (89) Akane Ito (89) Robert Sibarium (89) Nathan Goldwasser (89) Walter Pilipiak (89) Kelly Baldillo (89) Ron Scott (89) Carmella Fischelli (89) Mo (89) Jim (89) Thomas Haddad (89) Lynn Simpson (89) Evan Frosch (89) Frances Ledesma (89) Sabrina Tirao (89) Christopher Egan (90) Richard Eichen (90) Lucy Gonzalez (90) Anthony Vangeli (91) Michael McQuade (91) Anthony Savas (88) (78)
Lynn, Evan, Frances and Sabrina were all a part of Thomas’s group. They had to change stairwells on the 82nd floor and Thomas got lost in the offices. Sabrina found him and saved him. They were all close to the North Tower after escaping, and all separated. Thomas, alone, cried, thinking that they all died, however, they all survived. Judith had asthma, and had to take a break, and co-workers Anita and Jeffrey helped her down. Anita leaves first and Jeffrey stays with her, until they get to the 11th floor, where she needs to stop again. Five firefighters told them that he would help her. Judith and the firefighter died. Abdel himself helped a man, by the name of Sam Sharma, down the flight of stairs. And Dorene Smith and Gerry Gaeta helped Elaine Duch escape. Tony was trapped in an elevator in the sky lobby. He worked on the 88th floor and De Martini went to get him. Savas got out but sadly didn’t escape in time, as his body was found in a stairwell, near the lobby.
Anthony Vangeli and Michael McQuade are also apart of the 91st floor survivors group, the floor closest to 92 and that everyone on the 91st floor survived.
These five men saved over 77 people, and like i said, i could only find 40 - 45, but this can give you an idea on how many people they saved and what hereos they are. De Martini and Ortiz has their own documentary too called 9/11: The Heroes of the 88th floor
Message me for interest, I’d preferable like to meet in person to make it easier on everyone!
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