The BatPen (IN PROGRESS)
By SuperFolder Jar Jar Pleats
The Continued Journals of One CJ Whogley
Well, this is gonna suck.
I mean, all things considered, it’s probably not gonna be that bad. I’m probably just exaggerating. I’m told I do that.
But I mean, c’mon, what would you think about going back to your old high school after you had a falling out with one of your closest friends?
Heck, do I even still consider him a friend? I mean, I think so. It’s been long enough that it feels like I should have gotten over it by now. And for all intents and purposes, I have moved on. But is he forgiven?
Anyway, all these thoughts were swirling through my brain as I finished unpacking my things back where they had been not so long ago. I used to think moving for my Dad’s job all the time would be a bummer, but over time I’ve gotten used to it. This is gonna feel different than last time, though. I swear, how can something feel both like it was so long ago and like it was just yesterday?
At least my other friends have been very encouraging about it thus far. I know I’ll be back to visit them eventually, so that’s a plus. They had known I would be leaving for a while now, and the Tin Titans have still been going strong. Still, I can’t help but feel like I’m a tag along over at Murakami. DayVon and Selena are back together again now, for better or worse. They tend to bicker like an old married couple, but I suppose that means it’s going well. And both Andrew and Vanessa have been on this constant will-they-won’t they for weeks now. Whether or not that will ever actually tie that knot is anyone’s guess.
Still, there were moments where I kinda felt like a third wheel. Wait, would that be a fifth wheel? Ah, it doesn’t matter. I suppose the point I’m trying to make is that they’ll be fine without me for a little while. And I’ll be back.
But until then, I’m just gonna count down the days. If I keep my head down and just go through the motions, maybe time will fly a little faster.
The phone rang. Reluctantly I picked it up.
“Hey, is this CJ?” said whoever was on the other line.
“Um, yeah?” I said. I wasn’t unfamiliar with troll callers. I had dealt with one at Murakami, so I was cautious.
“It’s me, Emily!” She said.
Oh, great. Emily was the Batgirligami, and I hadn’t heard from her in quite some time. What did she want, I wondered. Unfortunately, I was about to find out.
“We need your help. With Alan gone, people have started causing trouble again. I’ve been trying to help where I can, but it’s only gotten worse. We need you down here!”
I sat down, rubbing my temples. I hadn’t even finished unpacking, and I was already being dragged back into Alan’s world. I wasn’t interested in dealing with that again. At least…not yet.
“I’m sorry, Emily,” I said. “I’m just going to be keeping to myself for a while, if that’s alright with you.”
“Excuse me?” she said. “No, it’s not alright with me! Don’t you remember, you used to help out; you were the OriRobin… or Foldbin… Robinigami? Gah, the name doesn’t matter — You need to hurry up and get your $%# over here before I drag you here myself! We need your help!”
I paused, sitting up straight instinctively. The tone in her voice was pretty serious.
“I’m on my way.”
By CJ Whogley
When I finally arrived, I was met with a bit of a shock. The fight, if you could call it that, had already been wrapped up.
Emily was standing at the door to Kane, while there appeared to be two kids sitting in chairs outside the principal’s office, a bit bruised but they were fine.
She turned to face me as I made my way to the door. “Took you long enough,” she said with a chuckle. “I was surprised you didn’t jump in there.”
“Yeah, I literally just moved back in,” I said, not hiding my frustration. “I wasn’t even at school, I wasn’t supposed to start back until tomorrow.”
“Oh,” she said, noticing my dad’s car parked in the lot outside. “You mean you just got back? I thought you had been back for a few days.”
“No, I just got here. We were a little late leaving by a few days. But I don’t remember telling anyone what day I was coming ba-…”
I paused, as Emily started to smile. “Alan?” I muttered under my breath.
“Yep,” she said, smiling. “Alan. I don’t hear from him much, but he certainly keeps in the know about the Crease-Fam, even if he wants nothing to do with it.”
I sighed, pushing past her towards the window. “So what happened there?”
“Oh,” she said, gesturing to the two. “A couple of guys who just wanted to stir up trouble, graffiti some lockers or something. When I went to get in touch with a staff member, they saw and tried to stop me. I’d be in much worse shape if not for Tommy.”
I turned back to look at her. “Who is -”
“Emily! Is that CJ? THE CJ??” I heard a voice from behind me call out. I turned around to see who it was…and immediately turned back around again. No, it couldn’t be. He had moved. He’d left. It was impossible. I turned around again to find…
Alan. Well, a shorter Alan. He was about chest-high to me, clearly a freshman, but he was the spitting image of Alan. Right down to the hawaiian t-shirt, messy black hair, and cheeky grin across his face. If you had told me someone had shrunk Alan down by like 25%, that was this kid.
“It’s good to meet you, CJ,” he said, holding his hand out exuberantly. Evidently, he wanted to shake my hand, so I obliged. “Wow-wow-wow. Oh, wow,” he said, releasing my hand. “I can’t believe we finally get to meet.”
“And you are..?” I said, looking back at Emily, who seemed to be enjoying my confusion.
“Tommy Walters, your Or-Robin, at your service,” he said, bowing regally.
I sat confused for a moment before his words sunk in. My eyes widened as I began to understand what he was saying. I swung around to meet Emily’s gaze again.
“No, nope, absolutely not. There’s no way I’m being Kane’s Batfold.”
“Oh, come on,” Emily said. “We need you here. When Alan left, things only got worse around here. I don’t know quite what made him leave so suddenly, but the enemies he’s made along the way have taken notice. When I found out you were coming back soon, I thought that maybe-”
“Emily, let’s get something straight here,” I told her. “I’m leaving, I’m leaving right now, and when I come back for school starting tomorrow I am going to be nothing more than another regular kid. I have no desire to get back into this mess, and if it were up to me I’d have never come back in the first place!”
Emily took a step back for a bit. “You don’t mean that. You can’t mean that. What you and Alan did here, it-”
“What Alan and I did here is over,” I said. “It ended when he made it clear he saw us as nothing more than weapons. Tools he could use to fight with.”
“Really?” she said, her shock turning into spite. “From what I heard you weren’t much of a goody-two shoes at Murakami, either!”
I sighed. “I’ll help out here on occasion just because I know it’s the right thing to do, but I do it on my own terms. No Batfold, understand? And Tommy,” I motioned to the Alan mini-me in front of me, who had since stood up and was looking more than a little awkward. “Do you even know what you’re doing?”
“Oh yeah, absolutely,” he said. “I can help, oh please, let me help? Alan taught me everything he knows about helping fight villainy and all that.” I doubted that statement, Alan had no other Origami Robin besides me, as I far as I knew.
I rolled my eyes. “So what’s the problem, Emily?”
She continued to glare at me, but began to speak. “These guys are working for another kid who goes by Man-Batfold.”
“How original,” I said. “C’mon, Timmy.”
“Tommy, that’s what I said. C’mon, we’re headed to the lunchroom. Let’s see if you’re as good as you say.”
I May Have Went Too Far
By Tommy Watkins
“I can’t believe it, I can’t believe I actually get to work with CJ Whogley, the original Robin. This is so cool, man. This is like a dream come true, I have so many questions, so many things I want to ask, so many-”
“Hey, Tommy?” I heard a voice from behind me say. It was Emily.
“Is something wrong?” I turned to see CJ round the corner to the lunchroom. I’d meet up with him there.
“Listen Tommy, CJ seems to still be a little…let’s say sore about the whole Alan thing, so let’s try and tone it down a bit on that for the time being, okay? We need his help if we’re going to track down Man-Batfold. I’m not sure what he’s planning, but we need to stop him before it’s too late.”
“Don’t worry Emmy,” I said with a grin. “You guys can count on me. I’ll see you later!” I turned and began to make my way to the lunchroom before she could reprimand me about calling her ‘Emmy’ again. I couldn’t help it though, I love to mess with her.
Still, I couldn’t shake the feeling I wasn’t being told everything. Why was CJ upset about Alan’s plan back when they created the Justice Pleats? I had to ask, I just had to. I know Emily didn’t want me to, but if he never talks about it, how would we be able to grow closer together as a team?
“Tommy, what are you doing over there? I need your help back here!”
Shoot, I had left him in the cafeteria. I made my way down the hall and rounded the corner. CJ was sitting at the far corner of the farthest back table. I ran to sit down across from him.
“Before we start, I want to ask you something,” I said. He looked up from his phone, giving me a skeptical look. He wasn’t saying no though, so I continued.
“Why did you leave Kane?”
“My Dad’s job requires us to move from place to place every 6 months or so. It’s not far, but it’s far enough that another school is just closer than Kane. So my schedule gets carried over onto their curriculum until I come back here.”
I shook my head. “That’s not what I meant. I mean why did you leave Alan?”
CJ stopped messing with his phone after hearing Alan’s name. He put the phone down and looked at me. “You know, you have a %$# way of getting to know people,” he said. “I don’t want to talk about it.”
This should have been the end of it, but for some reason I kept pushing it. “Alan never gave me any details on what had happened… I never even got to speak to the guy! I was hoping you could tell me a little more. You two didn’t have a falling out, did you?”
CJ scoffed. “Something like that, yeah. I don’t want to discuss it, okay?”
“What was it, the trip to DC? I thought you guys would-”
“I SAID SHUT UP ABOUT IT,” he seethed.
Okay, now I knew I was striking a nerve. That was when I finally shut up, but the damage had been done.
CJ sighed and opened up a bit. “He kept tabs on us when he made the team. Analyzed us. He made me feel like I wasn’t his friend. Just…just a tool.”
“Oh,” I said. “You mean the Brother Eye project? I thought that was so cool! What’s the matter with that?”
That was a mistake. CJ’s eyes narrowed. “What do you mean, what’s wrong with that? Friends don’t do that to one another!”
I kinda sat back a bit. “What do you mean? Alan was only trying to help you. All of you!”
“He read me like a book and I hated it!” he yelled. “No one should ever treat someone they consider a friend like numbers on a page, or a pawn on a chessboard. These are real people you’re dealing with, and all he knew was how to tear us apart!”
“Th-that’s not true!” I sputtered. “He only…he cared for you a great deal, you know that?”
“Well, he had a really special way of showing it,” CJ mumbled, standing up. “Go home, kid. This isn’t going to work. I thought maybe, but you’re no better than Alan was. If you can’t tell the basic difference between what is right and what is wrong, then I want no part of whatever you had with Alan; your weird… fanboyish thing towards him. I’ll do this my own way.”
And with that he stood up and left. But not before going back to his group chat he was on his phone with. I had snuck a peek at it before he left – he was meeting up with some people at a skater rink near Murakami. I grabbed my backpack and shuffled through it until I found a sleek black flash drive.
If I was going to get CJ to trust me, I needed to open up to him too.