Johnny Reef, the offspring of Steve and Patented Kristin, was conceived, albeit awkwardly, in a moving Jet-Pack, and he, I'd assume, hasn't stopped moving since. Once, he and his wife blew into my town (as he would no doubt describe it), and rambled right into Otter Patent High School. He taught Spanish and Yearbook (1999 theme: "Goin' The Distance"), and his wife taught Computer. What he taught wasn't so much interesting as what he did. He was a black belt in karate, was in an ongoing legal battle with a well-known, 70's-themed rock group, claiming they had plagiarized the lyrics of the chorus to his song, "Goin' The Distance" (he had a separate patent on the phrase itself); and would spin incredible first person narratives he would go on to reference as historical fact for months on end before revealing that the whole thing had just been one impossibly complex metaphor and didn't we feel silly? Basically, it was impossible to stay one step ahead with Reef. Needless to say, this was detrimental to the patented Learning-Pursuit, as in the case of his Spanish Culture Class (which the course title morphed into, by virtue of playing to Johnny's strengths), which was more or less a survey of Johnny's year-long, solo motorcycle quest through Argentina.
Once, he took credit for being thanked by one of the best-selling Music-Themed View-Tainment patented Pop Groups in the world, on one of the most highly-viewed television events of the year, which had been recorded on enough people's camera phones to secure a fact-check, after some students misheard their thank-you speech.
Without missing a beat, "Yes, girls, I managed those guys for a bit early on (He shuffles desk papers, thinking, "No big deal, I mean, can you say it really surprises you? Oh, please don't make me tell you about it all; it was so long ago and I was a completely different - Okay! Okay. Now playfully get ready to say,' You know, guys, we're supposed to be studying Spanish Culture.' I'm not mad! Sit on the desk, fold your arms, and squint at ceiling with long exhale.")."
I quickly got an iron grip on the fact that he absolutely could not resist taking credit for anything under the sun.
"Mr. Reef, I heard you were originally scheduled to be on the crew of the Challenger."
"(His eyes close as the ghosts of the Challenger crew hang over the dark waters, and he thinks, "This is not something I am ready to discuss."). Close call. Close call."
"Mr. Reef, I read about someone with the last name Reif who used to smuggle people between East and West Berlin."
"(He laughs warmly, with a distinct air of good-hearted rambunctiousness.) Why do you think I had to come to America?"
He had developed a Non-Ordinary Reality detailing the story of how he cured the rare blood disease of a young Israeli girl. One day Johnny received a call from his Doctor.
"It's the Doctor. Look, you're not going to believe me. Actually, you might. You've done and seen some surprising things."
Johnny was used to people's endless caveats while trying to stay on his level. "Let's hear it."
"Well, all the Doctors of the world are currently baffled over this rare blood disease that's broken out in Israel. What's even more baffling is that there's only been one confirmed infection since someone by the name of Reef discovered it. I was going to ask; coincidence?"
"I was involved in the research phase of the discovery of some rare blood diseases of Middle-Eastern origin, yes. That was, well, a long time ago, but it's likely."
"I wouldn't be surprised, but, look, Johnny, I was going over your blood work, and you are the only approved match in the world for a blood transfusion that would save her life."
"I'm getting on the next plane, then."
"No so fast, Johnny. There's a catch."
Johnny shook his head, "Always is."
"You probably won't survive the procedure. Plus, you have that whole story about having been a recovered drug addict, and your blood may be unusable."
"That was a metaphor; a teaching tool!"
Needless to say, Johnny was on the next plane to Israel, where his motorcycle awaited him on the runway.
After a few days drive, Johnny arrived in the village of the young girl's family.
"This is the man who's going to save your life," the girl's father whispered in her hear when Johnny solemnly entered the room. His motorcycle could be heard clicking and popping in the heat-flavored gelatin air.
"Do you mind if we have a few moments alone?", Johnny asked. The doctors, family members, and mystics assembled around the bed were escorted out and soon there was no one in the room who's blood wasn't fare rarer than anyone else's on Earth.
"How do you feel, little one?" Johnny asked while taking hold of her pinky.
"Sir, I am afraid," she said brokenly.
"You never have to be afraid again, I am here to cure you, if you will allow my literal blood into your literal heart. Will you accept my blood?"
"I will, sir. I do."
"Not so fast, there's a catch."
The girl shook her head, "Always is."
"If I give you my blood, you will need to live in a way worthy of my sacrifice. Do you think you can do that? Can you go the distance?"
"I can. I will."
The procedure was planned for the following morning, as there was no time to lose. Despite Johnny's exceptional physique and general health, there were complications and he passed away in the early hours of the morning, long after the girl had made a full recovery. She sat at the foot of his bed weeping, wondering if any life is worth this cost.
Johnny's last thought before slipping into endless night was, "Every life is worth this cost."
A nano-moment later, Johnny Reef was standing at the foot of the Throne. A Griffith-like creature covered in eyeballs approached him, and, with his entire body, stared deeply into his forehead before howling in a language that sounded like breaking glass,
"Prepare for the Judgement! He is busy knocking people unconscious but He will be here soon, and it will be you who is late! Soon you will reef what you have sown!" The creature attempted to sit and screeched in pain as his entire back-side became blood-shot and drippy.
"Did you say 'reef' just now?
"Well, it's nothing, but I patented that phrase, "Reef what you have sown," for a men's martial-arts retreat I organized. Have you been saying that for long?"
"No, just this one time, I misspoke!"
"SILENCE!," the Lord stumbled into the room, "BOTH OF YOU ARE LATE FOR JUDGEMENT!"
"Why me!", spluttered the Griffith.
"YOU HAVE MISSPOKE! MR. REEF HAS PATENTED THAT PHRASE! THE PENALTY IS DEATH!"
"Lord," interjected Johnny, "I would like to pay this Griffith's debt. As the patent holder, I will sacrifice any royalties I would have made off the use of my patented phrase."
"YOU ARE A LIAR AND A THIEF, JOHNNY REEF, BUT YOUR SACRIFICE HAS BEEN MADE IN THE SPIRIT OF TRUE LOVE AND, AS SUCH, I AM RETURNING YOU TO EARTH TO TELL YOUR SPANISH CULTURE CLASS THAT NONE OF THIS EVER ACTUALLY HAPPENED AND IT'S ALL JUST A HEAVY-HANDED METAPHOR FOR A HEAVY-HANDED METAPHOR! YOU MUST START GOIN' THE DISTANCE INSTEAD OF TAKIN' THE SHORTEST, CHEAPEST ROUTE TO PEOPLE'S AFFECTION AND TRUST!"
Did you just say, "Goin' the distance"?
"YES! IT IS A VERY HANDY TEACHING TOOL!"
"He died of theta-poisoning", the mortician said as he tried to make due with an embalming machine he had rigged out a plaster bucket and battery casings, when Johnny sat up and bellowed,
"I have conquered death!"
Johnny's real passion was karate. While no small amount of theological acrobatics were necessary in incorporating Eastern mysticism with Western Panting, with being obsessed with physical fitness, Johnny gracefully traversed the expanse anytime he showed up to class in his traditional karategi so he wouldn't have to change before his after-school sessions. He would bow to each of us, presumably to impress on us the profound humility of a master willing to bow to his pupils while wearing a bathrobe. His whole demeanor changed when he was dressed thus. He spoke quieter, used even more heavily obscured language, and gave a lot of thoughtful lee-way in terms of what a "right" answer was.
A few students taking karate classes independently attested to the fact that his expertise fell into the latter category. This didn't prevent him from amassing a small group of young devotees, who, I have no doubt, got a lot out of their time with him. After their time in his shadow, some even went on to do things like learn karate. A Shaman is someone with access to hidden knowledge, and what knowledge is more hidden, and thus worthy of consideration, than the kind that exists solely in the head of one man?
Johnny got fired after exposing himself to the principal during a meeting where he was being let go for using an obscenity the Devil had patented to describe a fellow teacher, and even though he really had to use the restroom, was instructed to "Hold it." So he held it.