"Teacher's Pet" is the second short story in the book Tales to Give You Goosebumps.
Two best friends named Becca Thompson and Benjy Connor are in for another year in school, hoping to get their old teacher. But they are shocked to find they have a new teacher, Mr. Blankenship, a rather eccentric fellow who appears to love snakes (which both Becca and Benjy fear), and is keeping several tanks of them in their classroom, along with a tank he keeps supplied with live mice to feed them with. Becca grows to dislike Mr. Blankenship, especially when he makes the whole class stay after school after a student inadvertently releases a mouse. When he makes her clean out the snake tanks after she gets into trouble with him, she decides to get even and persuades Benjy into agreeing to help her. They sneak into the school after hours and let all of the mice out of their tank, only to get the shock of their lives when the biggest snake in the tanks gets out and suddenly morphs into Mr. Blankenship!
Apparently their new teacher is actually a snake in human form who can change back at will. He agrees not to snack on them or tell anybody about their breaking into the school and freeing his mice, as long as they promise to keep his secret and feed him a mouse a day. Knowing that nobody will ever believe them, they are forced to agree.
The plot of the television version of Teacher's Pet is almost different from the original short story. Becca and Benjy are with their class on an overnight field trip at a nature centre to learn how the food chain works, and Mr. Blankenship is an instructor there. As he lectures the students about the food chain, he demonstrates by releasing first a mouse, then a snake which tracks and eats the mouse while the students look on mostly in shock, none more so than Becca and Benjy. While hiking with the group in the woods to find other examples of the food chain at work, Becca encounters what at first appears to be an ordinary bunny, but when she starts to pick it up, she is horrified to discover that it has the face of a lizard. As she is known to have an overactive imagination, she is unable to convince her teacher or any of the other students of what she has seen, so she decides to investigate with the initially reluctant help of Benjy. Their snooping eventually leads them to an isolated cabin in the woods, where they make the shocking discovery that Blankenship is conducting sinister experiments with animal DNAs, his goal being to create the ultimate predator, to which end he has given himself the ability to transform into a giant snake. When he catches the two friends spying on him, he morphs himself into his giant snake form and attacks them. As he traps Benjy in a corner, Becca splashes him with one of his DNA solutions, transforming him into a mutated fly and enabling Benjy and herself to escape.
The following morning, as the two friends prepare to go home with the other students, they are attacked yet again by Blankenship in his new fly form, but this time Benjy swats him, killing him. Or so he thinks. But when Benjy turns his back, the fly mutant revives and follows him and Becca into the bus, and we see in an extreme close-up that it has Blackenship's head. As it overhears Becca and Benjy expressing relief that Blankenship won't be "bugging" them again, it comments smiling evilly, "You got that wrong!".
Television Episode Trivia
- This is the last of three television episodes on the DVD The Headless Ghost.
- The closing shot of the mutant fly with Blankenship's head may be a reference to the classic horror film The Fly (not to be confused with its later remake).
- Richard McMillan (Mr. Blankenship) had previously appeared as Spidey in Say Cheese and Die!.
- Right before the credits, a screen with the text "IN LOVING MEMORY OF MICHELLE RISI" appears. Michelle was the actress who played Becca in this television episode. She died on 12/04/97 due to meningitis at only 16 years of age.