Prompt Images

Charlie Richards
Grade 8 World History
Period 4: Billingson


Mr. Billingson, I want to start this essay off with an audience aside (this is a term I learned in theater class, which is cool, not boring, like world history). I think that you making me do an assignment over the long weekend is super lame. The teacher’s convention is a STUDENT holiday where we don’t have to do any work for once and teachers have to actually do it instead (see how you like it!). I turned in plenty of assignments, even if they were all late and even if they weren’t all complete. This is a human rights violation. That said, my mom isn’t letting me leave the house until I get some work done, which is normally fine, but she even took away my phone. And put parental blocks on the family computer. I feel like I’m living in the Stone Age (this is a reference to history, which you teach, and also history, which you are from) and that more of my rights are being taken. It’s like that Geneva thing you were talking about on Thursday during current events, which I was only partially listening to.

Because you’re making me, here are my three people from history I would have dinner with, like you said you wanted in the directions (each figure also has three details and a food they’re bringing, like you asked). But, I bet you wanted me to choose someone boring like choosing a Pope, where I would learn something lame.

But strap in, Mr. Billingson! I found a loophole! For your dumb oppressive assignment, I decided to THROW OFF THE SHACKLES OF TYRANNY, AND #RISEUP WITH THREE REVOLUTIONARIES WHO WOULD TOTALLY HATE SCHOOL.

Firstly, Spartacus. Star of the hit show on the Starz channel that I sometimes catch between reruns of movies I’ve already watched (I call them personal classics. My mom and dad changed the Netflix password “until I get my grades up” or whatever). Spartacus was this totally cool gladiator in Rome, but he was a slave, but he used to be a military guy, so he rose up and led a big rebellion because OPPRESSING PEOPLE INTO DOING THINGS LIKE FIGHTING TO THE DEATH IN A COLISEUM AND/OR WRITING ESSAYS FOR CLASS IS WRONG. I don’t really know what happened to him, because I only see the episodes when they’re on, and the requirement is only three details for each person. I already told you four things about him (extra credit???), so I’m not going to go and look up a fifth. But, I assume that he helped turn Italy into the cool, chill place it is today, with Vespas and affogatos and junk. I assume he’ll bring a pizza to the dinner no matter what day it is (despite the school’s policy that we only do pizza on Friday, which is literally a crime: specifically, child abuse).

Secondly, William Wallace. The movie Braveheart is super boring at points, but the battles are pretty cool. Also, it’s never on the Starz channel. I’m usually on my phone by the end, or I get bored partway through and switch to playing X-Box. Anyway, Mel Gibson is this Scottish dude, and he fought England BECAUSE THEY TRIED TO TELL HIM WHAT TO DO, LIKE GIVE UP HIS LAND AND ALSO WRITE ESSAYS ON HIS LONG WEEKEND. Also he had a crazy big sword, and also he met this hot lady (don’t lie Mr. Billingson, you know it’s true). I assume Braveheart ends with William Wallace cutting off the King’s head after making him say whatever “uncle” is in Scottish (I think it’d be funny if he gave him a swirly in a chamberpot, but I’m not crazy, I know that’s probably not how history would go. After all, history is boring). Mel Gibson would probably bring something gross like haggis but that’s OK, that’d be a funny story and at least it’s not brussel sprouts. I hate it when my mom makes sprouts. Like I told you before, I would have picked the guy who invented Chicken McNuggets for this assignment but you said he “wasn’t a notable enough figure,” which is basically CREATIVE OPPRESSION.

Lastly, Che Guevara. I really only know this guy from that t-shirt that Robbie always wears, but it’s a pretty cool picture of him on that shirt, so he must have been a cool guy. Wikipedia says he helped with the Cuban Revolution (I know you say not to use Wikipedia because anyone can edit it, but the site always takes down my prank graffiti edits pretty quick, so I figure it’s alright). Apparently, Wikipedia says he used to be a doctor, but then he saw how bad capitalism was (which reminds me, WHY AREN’T THE VENDING MACHINES IN THE GYM HALL FREE?! WE GET HUNGRY AFTER P.E. AND MY ALLOWANCE GOT CUT OFF), so he decided to #RiseUp. Later he served in Cuba’s government. He will probably bring some Cuban cigars for us to have after dinner like my uncle did that one time, and it will be crazy rad. I bet this guy is super jazzed that the Cuban Embargo is ending like you talked about during current events. Wait, actually, Wikipedia says he’s dead. But not of old age! He was captured and killed by the C.I.A.?! MR. BILLINGSON THIS ASSIGNMENT IS GARBAGE BUT THAT’S A HECK OF A COOL WAY TO GO.

In conclusionly, I would invite Spartacus, William Wallace, and Che Guevara to dinner, because they are totally cool revolutionaries who wouldn’t let the school system trample over them and who would show us that the people can overcome. Mr. Billingson, it’s like you always say when you’re talking about history, or when I forget an assignment: “Those who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it.” (Billingson, 2016). So you should let me off the hook next time, or you never know, a revolution might #riseup (led by Spartacus, or Mel Gibson, or Che—or even me???) and overthrow the system!!!

You know, even if Che did get killed. Actually, hang on. OK, I just Googled the end scene of Braveheart and it’s a real bummer. They literally torture Mel Gibson and chop off his head. And somehow it’s still boring?

OK hi, Mr. Billingson, it’s Charlie—it’s Wednesday and I know you kept bugging me in class about getting in this extra credit assignment, even though I missed the due date, but I was watching the rest of Spartacus (not on Starz on demand, just pirating it, like a real slave rebellion member would do) and he actually dies too. So, in summation: history is the worst, so is the present, and I didn’t even get to eat this hypothetical dinner. The only things I learned are depressing! Like, what do you do when you don’t have power in a society, but that society totally sucks? And more importantly: Do you think anyone will ever adapt this essay (and my struggle) into a movie for the Starz channel?

Elijah Sloan

Writer of societal manifestos, ransom notes, bomb-making manuals, secession declarations, new constitutions, and children's picture books.

learn more
Share this story
About The Prompt
A sweet, sweet collective of writers, artists, podcasters, and other creatives. Sound like fun?
Learn more