PART THREE: THE SHREDDER SQUAD VS. LAMPERT HIGH SCHOOL
By Chucky “Crease Crong Craddy” Toots (transcribed by the Eraser)
[Shuffling the phone]
Chucky – Okay… okay, I think it’s set up. You’re safe, you’re sitting up there. You’re doing great. Let’s go pick up these dudes.
[The sound of Taylor Swift and Charli XCX blare from the speakers. Chucky has a soprano voice. It’s loud, he’s belting it out to just himself. As he pulls up to the first house, he shifts the music to rap. Kanye West and Travis Scott replace the bubbly pop.]
Chucky – Hey-hey my man!
Will Banks – Hey.
Chucky – What’s good, my brotha?
Will – Bro. This car smells like $&*@. And I know you don’t listen to Kanye.
[A sigh of exasperation falls from Chucky’s mouth. The music returns to Taylor Swift.]
Will – I knew it. You like Swift.
Chucky – Man, &$*@ you. I don’t like Swift.
[Will, in the camera, points towards Chucky’s car radio. He has Apple Carplay, and Spotify has a heart next to “I Knew You Were Trouble”.]
Will – Then what does that mean?
Chucky – &$*# you, Willy. Shut up, I gotta pick up Wally, Shaun, and Oliver.
Will – Nobody calls me “Willy” except for my friends, bro. Fine.
[There’s a few minutes of silence. Then “Wildest Dreams” begins to play.]
Will – … He said ‘Let’s get out of this town.’
Chucky – ‘Drive out of the city, away from the crowd.’
Both – ‘I thought heaven can’t help me now. Nothing lasts forever. But this is gonna take me down – He’s so tall… and handsome as heckles–’
[Someone turns the music down.]
Will – Dude, did we both say heckles?
Chucky – Uh… yeah…
Will – Your mom gets mad if we say that word too?
Chucky – [chuckles awkwardly, clearly lying as his voice cracks] Yeah… I totally just… don’t want to say where the man downstairs lives or anything. Anywho… here we are.
[The door opens and Wally steps inside the back of the car.]
Wally – Hey guys – thank you, Toots [Wally starts to snicker] Toots-for uh- toots – uh–
Chucky – Hey, dude. You good if we crank the music back up?
Wally – Only if it’s Panic! At the Disco, but only a very specific era.
Chucky – Okay. Willy, how about you play some?
Will – Sure, dude.
[Will, at this point, grabs the phone off the latch. It messes up the camera somehow, but the audio is captured.]
[Death of a Bachelor’s “House of Memories” starts]
Wally – Nope.
[“Miss Jackson” from 2013’s Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die! Begins playing. 30 seconds of the song play.]
Wally – Nooppppe.
Chucky – Oh, Will, play “I Write Sins Not Tragedies.” It’s great.
Wally – That’s Panic’s worst era.
[The screech of wheels stopping cuts into the audio.]
Chucky – What!? My mom raised me on that album.
Wally – Well your mom had bad taste in Panic! Eras. Now if you played anything from “Pray for the Wicked,” like “Hey Look Ma, I Made It.” Then I’ll be, like a boomerang, coming right back atcha with dance moves back here.
Chucky – That is literally his worst album.
Wally – I’ll stab you! With a Boomerang!
Will – I don’t think that’s how Boomerangs work.
Will – Aw, dude. Come on. Don’t give me the bird.
Wally – $#&@face, don’t tell me what I can and can’t do. That’s his best album.
Chucky – Just don’t play anything, man. I think I’m lost. Gimme my phone, I’m using the GPS.
[The Drive is absurdly quiet from this point until they get to Shaun’s home. Until…]
Chucky – Woah, he just almost hit me trying to turn… and merging two lanes. Holy crap. Can people not drive?
Wally – Wait, is that-
Chucky – Wally– don’t do it.
Wally – EFF YOU, PERCIVAL MILLER!
[They’re at a stoplight now. Percival rolls his window down.]
Percival Miller (The Captain Cold) – Woah, Matthew, look. It’s that Captainigami Boomerang kid.
Matthew Yen (The “Fold”) – Who? Oh, him. Hey man.
Wally – Be more careful, dingus crap-wipes. You could’ve killed us!
Percival – I’m sure that’s what the teachers said when you threw a boomerang through the window.
Wally – I’m… hnggg. I’m sure that’s what your friend’s leg said when he tripped!
Matthew – Dude, first of all, I’m right here. Second, it was over a year ago. Can’t this freaking sports school drop that?
Percival – Oh, how mature, Walter. Did you just figure out you could communicate the bird in sign language?
[Chucky rolls the window up.]
Chucky – You can’t be cursing out and flipping off random kids, bro. That guy was a Justice Pleats member. One of them was, right?
Wally – Like they’re even around. It’s why we’re handling this mess.
Chucky – Shut up, our boss is getting in my van.
Wally – You… Do you have neon lights? That is synced to the music? And… you only turned them on for this dude? He’s a freshman, y’know. I can barely see these lights when the sun’s out. This is a Mom van, anyways.
Chucky – SHUT UP. DUDE. You don’t like the right Panic! At the Disco songs, you have flipped off Willy, AND Matthew Yen and his friend. And now you’re roasting my neon lights. They’re cool.
Will – Yeah, they’re pretty cool.
[Shaun-Zhang Snyder opens the front door.]
Shaun – Get in the back seat, Will.
Will – What? I was picked up first.
Shaun – And I’m the freaking leader, so get in the back seat.
[Sounds of seatbelts unbuckling, movement, and then a slam of two different doors.]
Chucky – Hey, Shaun… How are you?
Shaun – We need to pick up Oliver and then get to Lampert.
Chucky – I-I know. I’m just… y’know, checking in on you.
Shaun – I don’t need to be checked in on.
Chucky – Do you want– Okay then.
[“Kickstart My Heart” starts playing on the Radio, as Shaun had taken over the Aux.]
Chucky – I never took you to be a Motley Crue fan.
Shaun – Drive, Chucky. That’s your whole point. It’s to drive. Just make a right turn onto Romero Avenue. First house. British flag on the outside.
[I couldn’t quite pick it up as Shaun turned the volume up, but Will and Wally were grumbling. Then Chucky said something. Suddenly the music cuts out.]
Shaun – What did you just say?
Chucky – What?
Shaun – About the women on the team. What did you say?
Chucky – I just said that this team is all men.
Shaun – No, what did you say about Mary?
Chucky – Uh… She was ‘a bit crazy, but she’s hot in a weird way.’ But I also said having like, two girls on the team – one of which is already expelled – is not enough for me. We need more girls. Pretty ones, preferably.
Shaun – And Mary isn’t pretty?
Chucky – I said she’s hot in a weird way.
Shaun – The heck does that mean?
Chucky – Like… Flo…
Shaun – The Progressive Lady?!
Chucky – Yeah.
Wally – I’m not even gonna lie. She’s pretty hot.
Will – No comment.
Shaun – Yeah, I wouldn’t comment, cheater.
Will – H-How did you know about that?
Shaun – You’re all my team. I know a lot more than you think.
Chucky – Why are you so harsh right now man? Mary told me you were pretty chill.
Shaun – Oh, so you’re talking to her?
Chucky – No, she just, like, texted me on IG and said that you’re really kind and a good leader.
Shaun – Well, I am not BSing anymore of this mission. Mary is a big sister to me. I can expel you right now, Toots. Especially if you objectify my practically-big-sister to me.
Chucky – I was just saying she’s attractive. Also, don’t call me ‘Toots’.
Shaun – What? Are you embarrassed about your last name? Guys, get this, he’s a product of –
[Suddenly, Shaun gags, as at a Stop Sign Chucky attempts to choke him.]
Will – Chucky, homie, stop!
Wally – Dude!
Shaun [mid choke] – He-Help!
Will [Out of tune singing] – ‘Say you’ll see me again, even if it’s just in your wildest dreams–’
[Chucky lets go.]
Wally – You like Taylor Swift?
Will – Yeah.
Wally – Cool.
Chucky – EVERYONE. Shut up. Let me just drop you guys off, and let me go to class. I’ll pick up Oliver, but I don’t want to hear a single chirp from you guys. My car, my rules.
[They pick up Oliver, and, true to their word, they’re silent.]
Chucky – Who are you texting?
Shaun – Mary.
Chucky – Mary looks like a candid picture of your Aunt?
Shaun – It’s none of your business, Chucky. Just pull up and park.
Oliver – Mates, I–
Shaun – SHUT UP. We’re parking now.
[They park and they all step out. Chucky forgot to stop recording.]
Doctor Castillo (The Principal) – Chucky Toots, I was waiting for you. Can you meet me in my office?
Chucky [Nervous] – Yeah… sure…
[Footsteps, sit down, door closes]
Doctor Castillo – Three months ago you hit an elderly person’s mailbox. Did you know that it was caught on camera?
Chucky – I… did?
[Keyboard typing and a shift of a computer on a desk, that scooting sound audible.]
Castillo – Yes. You hit a mailbox. Of a “Roberta Castillo.” My Abuelita. See?
[A video plays from a Ring Doorbell camera of a van hitting a mailbox, backing out, and speeding off. You can hear the audible sounds of metal hitting metal.]
Castillo – The video matches your van. On top of that, we know you’ve run a few red lights, with a Lampert High School sticker on the back. An anonymous source sent us those records. And, somehow, this pile of infractions only gets higher – you threatened five students with “Ding Donging” them. What does that mean?
Chucky – Those red lights – I had to get home, I have a curfew. And “Ding Donging” was just me being the Daddy of this school, y’know? It’s just a threat.
Castillo – You’re threatening students and making them call you Daddy?!
Chucky – No-no wait, you’ve got it all wrong–
Castillo – I’ve called your mother. Us Principals of the district have agreed that we don’t deal with problem children anymore. Until further notice, from this point onward, you’re expelled. Please, take whatever is in your locker and leave.
Chucky – You… You can’t do this to me…
Castillo – Oh, I can. Now, shoo. I have a meeting to get to.
[Sobbing, and loud steps heard. For ten agonizing minutes we hear a locker open, books dragged into a bag, the locker slam, more loud footsteps, a bell ringing, and then the sound of a car unlocking. Chucky sits down and takes out his phone.]
Chucky [Scream crying now] – %&$* YOU SHAUN SNYDER!!!
By Shaun-Zhang “Rick Flag” Snyder
“So… Something happened, and Chucky is no longer with us.” I said to my team. We sat around together in Lampert’s empty library. Filled to the brim with books about various sports, with a very small section for “academia,” Lampert’s library is… kind of sad. Upon saying this to everyone on the team – including Wally and Will, who rode with me on the way here, took on a similar feeling as the library – sad. Oliver, Don, Chad, and Wilfred didn’t get to know the… pleasure… that is “Chucky Toots.”
“Something happened?” Will asked, “You were texting your aunt on the drive here.”
“No. I was texting Mary.”
“Literally Chucky said that the picture looked like your Aunt.” Wally mentioned. They sat next to each other at the circular table.
I felt myself getting frustrated with them.
“I have class soon, guys. I’ll have to go, but I can help out during the mission.” Don said.
“I have class too, but you don’t see me going to it.” Wally jokes. We all stared at him – of course he doesn’t go to class. He doesn’t know how to even throw a boomerang.
“Back on subject, though – you had Chucky expelled, man. That’s not cool.” Will said.
I felt myself getting fed up with this. I have been getting fed up a lot more lately; this past week I’ve been “fed” and now I’m “fed up.” Being a leader is tough, and we must make hard decisions that others, like Will, wouldn’t understand.
“Listen to me, and listen to me well. I will not stand this. I will not take anymore crap from you guys. If you disrespect me, you’re expelled.”
“You’re a freshman.” Will told me, “If holding that over our head is what gets you to make us follow you, I guess ‘so be it,’ but know that I don’t support this.”
“Thank you for vocalizing your opinion, Will. But I don’t really care.” They’re all sitting there, looking pretty on edge towards me. “Listen, I know I didn’t have to, and I probably shouldn’t have. But he made me mad, and disrespected me. Just… please. Shut up. I lost half of my team last week. I don’t want to do that again.”
“Already off to a great start.” Will grumbled. I stared at him.
“Anyways, here’s the plan: The Lampert students will go to class as usual. Except for Wally and Wilfred, as they will be joining Will. I call this team ‘The Wills’, because, well, you’re all a variety of Will.”
“Wally is a variant of ‘Walter’–” Wally started to say.
“I-I know, Wally. It just makes it simple for me, okay? You guys are going to take down the film. Ms. Belfast told me that they’re having select faculty – including her – in a room together. It’s a conference room in Simone Hall. You will have three chances. Three. One of you never misses.”
“I never miss free throws. I’m not the actual Deadshot, dude.”
I tried to look at Will with a smirk, “One of you never misses.” I repeat, “You can take down a projector, right?”
“I mean, sure. We all could. Except for the freaking Pied Piper, I bet.” Will sighed, looking at Wilfred. Wilfred looked down at the ground in shame.
“Another note, guys – Be nice to each other. It’s an eight hour day, it won’t be bad.” I told them. Will scoffed at this, mumbling something about a “hyper crit”, “Anyways, Oliver, Don, Chad, and I will be the other group. Oliver, Don, and Chad will be trying what we did last time: stopping the businessmen in our own way, using the necessary materials for our journey.”
“You make this sound like a fantasy adventure when, in reality, it’s probably just gonna be me throwing paint buckets around or something.” Don says.
“Yeah! Let’s just treat it like a fun fantasy adventure. That’s a great idea, Don. Everyone – when we do our reports and recounts, make your titles fun fantasy-like things, okay?”
Will buried his face into his hands and sighed an exasperated, depressed sigh, “I should’ve never gotten into this business, man.”
I hate him, “That’s the spirit, pal!”
An Expected Journey
By Will “Shredshot” Banks
Man, bro. I hate this crap. I hate having to journal this stuff, and I know I’ve been doing this crap for years. I always have this on me, always writing thoughts, always having something to say. It’s getting draining, though, because of this stupid freaking team with this stupid freaking leader, and I hope there’s not a stupid freaking ‘Guys, we’re a team’ moment that has become so cliche and stupid. But with Shaun as our leader, I would expect nothing else except for BS like that. Anyways, journal, I haven’t had time to think about myself, so, for just this moment, let me do that.
Aaliyah won’t answer my texts, and I know, I know, I cheated. I know, weeks ago, I wrote here ‘I want to leave Aaliyah,’ and ‘I think Jasmine is pretty hot’ and some other not-so-pretty remarks, but can you really blame me for being honest? When I told Jasmine that I was on this team, she immediately ignored me, ghosted me everywhere. It sucks, but we keep going on, I guess. Going back to Aaliyah, but going on nonetheless. Even if she doesn’t want me.
I’ve been missing basketball practices as of late. It’s boring. Everything is kind of boring. Demarcus doesn’t hit me up – “I don’t want to be on that squad! I’d be zapped, bro.” Is what he told me. I just wish that the Justice Pleats were, like, a group still.
There was a time where I fought Alan Wade.
It wasn’t, like, big or anything, but he knew I was taking hits and stuff for test answers and homework. Little nerds who’d ask the big guy – me – for help, taking down another bully or something. For a while, I think people thought of me as a good person, even though I was taking the punishment.
Our fight was – well, we just sat down together. Me and him, sitting across from one another during lunch.
“I’m at a point,” he told me, “Where it’s not really worth fighting people with fists. The name of the Batfold strikes a fear into the hearts of those that hear it. It stops B.S. from happening because they don’t want to go to Novick.”
He looked so tired. So worn out, “I don’t want to be that person, Will, but not everything should end in bloody pulps and broken arms.”
“So, am I going to Novick? You caught me and all.”
“I have the information that could lead to your expulsion, yes. I could send it to Principal Sampson, and you’d be going to Novick. It would be better there, but… I don’t think you’d learn anything.” Alan started to stand up, “Just… think long and hard about doing this again. You’re a good person, Will. I love watching you play. But you shouldn’t be doing this.” He left me there, at the lunch table. Alone. That night I told Aaliyah about it, and for six months I dropped the Shredshot crap. Until Alan Wade left.
Now I’m starting to wonder – did he rat me out to these teachers? Did he hold onto the information for that long, and sold the data to the highest bidder? I don’t think so. I don’t think he’d do that.
Anyways. Wally and Wilfred are tweaking.
“We’re already in trouble, dude.” Wally said, “You need to calm down.”
“We’re missing class, man! This is the fifth time I’ve done it this month alone. I’m going to be in so much crap.”
I was more preoccupied with the design of the school. How the halls of Lampert were covered in murals of the past famed sportsmen and women that occupied these halls years ago. There’s paint splotches on some of the murals from prankster kids, and there’s little dips into the walls that are filled with lockers. It looks more like a locker room than a hallway with lockers, as the woods shift into hardwood.
“This place doesn’t need an SAT program. It’s for lunkheads that can catch a ball.”
This made Wilfred and Wally freeze.
“What?” Wally asked.
“Well, like. I mean –”
“That’s kind of like the pot calling the kettle black, man.” Wilfred chimed in, “You play Basketball and Archery.”
“I-I know, it’s just that–”
“I think out of any of the schools here, Lampert would need it the most. We go here, after all.” Wally then turned back around.
“I’m sorry, guys. You’re right.”
“You know man, you’ve been chiming in all the freaking time with your hot takes and your quips, but I’m starting to realize that maybe, somewhere in that brain of yours, you’re a hypocrite.” Wally grumbled to me, “I think you’re scared.”
I flung my arms in the air, “You know what? You’re right. I am afraid. Because this whole thing is horrifying. I have offers, y’know? I am ready to go forward into college, to move on with my life, but out of a fear for self-preservation, I’m terrified beyond belief. I am just trying to break the ice, but we have a freshman at the helm of this whole operation, and I think that we could do a lot better with some legit plan.”
They all stopped in the hallway again, and they looked at me, “Alright.” Wally said, “Tell us, mr. big-leader, what should the plan be?”
At that moment, Shaun sent a text in the group chat, an image with a stupid pic of Professor Brainiac. Below was the “LAMPERT FUNTIME SAT ADOPTION DAY ITENERARY”, “itinerary” being misspelled. “At Ten O’Clock, faculty invited to the presentation will make their way to Simone 213. There, they’d watch a movie. After that, a presentation by Mr. Hanks and Ms. Banks, which would happen after the principal, Doctor Castillo, gives his whole tour of this place. They’ll finish by taking a vote.” I tell them.
“Are you and Ms. Banks related?” Wilfred shyly asks. I look at him, a bit confused.
“I… don’t think so… Anyway, we’re going to destroy school property.” Immediately, Wally’s face glowed with excitement, “I know, I know, that’s pretty freaking cool. We’ll just be destroying projectors and stuff. Wilfred, I’m not sure what you could do.”
“I Could call the mice.”
“I… can you hear me? I can call the mice.”
“This school doesn’t have mice.”
“I am the pied piper. I know where the mice are.”
“That’s some fiction, fantasy crap. You can’t call mice.”
“Want me to prove it?” He held a recorder in the air.
“No, no actually. I doubt it, but we’ll save it for later.” I say, knowing full well that I don’t intend on having this kid do anything at all.
A transcript secured by The Eraser, stolen by the Thinkorigami.
Eraser’s Note: This was captured through a video found on the computer of the Principal, Doctor Castillo. Castillo, one for secrecy, has recorded every conversation he has had in this role. It’s not like he’s president of the United States, nor a major Stock Broker. He just chooses to do this. I think that it’s because he overthinks things. He always has contingencies, ever since the “Folders of Tomorrow” Incident. The Following Players are: Doctor Castillo, Mr. Hanks, Ms. Banks, and some guy. I’ll try to describe the area to the best of my ability.
[Principal Castillo sits across from a group of three people. Mr. Hanks, greasy black hair combed over, sits sturdily upright. Ms. Banks, meanwhile, sits slouched over, serious, yet I can see a tad bit of nervousness and fear in her mannerisms. This last guy is a piece of work. So much so that he needs a… paragraph of his own.]
[He is sitting cross-legged, dressed in a shirt, tie, and a sports coat. He’s very fit, slim and muscular. Even just remembering his appearance makes me feel a bit dizzy; he’s handsome. Absurdly handsome. Like, head-over-heels handsome. It’s just… the mustache he has on. It’s like a walrus’ face. It’s a bushy, straight-stache that is the same color as his hair – red. For the time being I’m going to be calling him “Mr. M.”]
Mr. M – Principal Castillo, it’s a pleasure to be in your humble school. I… I figured it would be best if I was here, after the last time we visited a school here, one of my interns fell ill.
Castillo – I have heard.
Mr. Hanks – It’s truly tragic, but we hope that when we show off all the neat technology that would go into this program to your faculty team, you will be making a worthy investment.
Castillo – I hope so. I’m a bit unsure about it’s necessity, though. Listen, earlier today I expelled a student. I’ve been thinking of some other way to do this that wouldn’t involve the loss of tuition money. I’m a tad nervous about adding something else that would be a couple thousand dollars that could go into a better facility, or even my other idea.
Ms. Banks – You have another idea for handling the SATs?
Castillo – Education… I hate to say it here, but education certainly takes a backseat to the sports here. Ninety five percent of our student body are members of a sports team here. The other five percent are doing research into sports medicine. They achieve high college acceptance here already.
Mr. M – Yet bullying, assault, battles – they all happen here too, at an alarming rate. It’s quite concerning to think about, you’d understand. It’s why my current campaign for Governor of California is so focused on this… whole thing.
Castillo – I… I have a group in mind that might be able to stop bullying here. Besides, you can’t be governor for another three years. We just had an election, and the votes have been counted.
Mr. M – [laughs] I know, I know. It’s just worth training them young, you know?
Castillo – I don’t, no. Do you want a tour or something –
Mr. M – Mister Castillo, I am sensing that you don’t particularly care for this program. Am I mistaken?
Castillo – You’re not. In fact, I feel as though it’s a joke. Shining bright lights at students, flashing cartoons about math. It’s like I’m hearing about Dora the Freaking Explorer. I used to coach an NFL team. I was chosen for this job years ago because of my skills in making not just students into adults but into strong adults. I’m not talking about baby crap. This is worse than Cocomelon; it rots the brain.
Mr. M – Well, EduFun has a variant of Cocomelon– I digress. What do you think of my mustache?
Castillo – … What?
Mr. M – My mustache. Do you like it?
Castillo – Is it even real?
Mr. M – It’s the Wolfram Walrus Number Six. Sadly, it’s not real. I never could grow my facial hair out perfectly. But these were always the best. I got this one at Sven’s, this store over in Virginia. Nice place, and a wonderful old couple owns it. I’ve bought a lot of stuff from there ever since I was a kid, and even today, since I bought EduFun. The hair on this stache was one of the former German Legend Wilhelm von Wolfram, who is said to have dealt a punch that broke through a part of the Berlin Wall thirty years ago.
[Castillo is enthralled now, as are everyone else in the room. They don’t dare interject.]
Mr. M – Years ago, I had the Heidelberg Handlebar number seven, which came from a famous assassin of the same name. I know it’s a sham. I know that these fake mustaches are, well, fake. But they’re mine. Some things happened in my past that I’m not proud of. I’ve seen things that many others do not wish to see. I’ve survived attempts on my life.
Castillo – Your mustache is quite captivating.
Mr. M – I know. It makes me feel strong and absurdly attractive. I know you can’t help but stare, but I am actually quite content with this mamba we’re doing. Are you thinking about Edufun differently now?
Castillo – … Yes.
Mr. M – Good. Now, I must get going. My employees here would not enjoy a tour. They want to get this done and get on with their day.
Castillo – Thank you for coming here, though.
Mr. M – Oh, it’s no problem of my own. I must get back to plotting my campaign, you know how it goes. Be sure to convince these teachers that they don’t need this program, they deserve it.
Mr. Hanks and Ms. Banks – You got it, sir!
[Everyone else leaves, yet Mr. M stays sitting. After everyone has actually left, he gets up, goes behind the computer, and types something out on it. Then… in an odd display… he opens his mouth, reaches in, and removes… some fake vampire teeth… from his mouth. He sees something on the computer, quickly looks back directly at the camera, and then everything cuts to black.]
It’s Dangerous to Go Alone, Take This!
By Don, “The Rainbow Creaser”
I sit in class, looking away from Anthony. He is unhappy about this whole… thing. From the fact that we’re both recruited to the fact we can’t work together on it. We talked (yelled) about it on the way to school today.
“I just think that the whole organization is odd. There should be an equal number of members for each school, with students from ONLY those schools. If we’re at Kane, it should only be Kane students. If we’re at Lampert, it should be you, me, that flute kid, and that dude with the van.”
“But then we wouldn’t have a leader.” I said. I was really nervous, sick at my stomach that I felt like I was going to throw up.
“We could be the leaders, Don.”
“I… I don’t know.”
“I know you’re scared of being a leader, trust me, I know this. But sometimes people have to just step to the plate and do something about it. We could do that.”
Then I get frustrated, and I bring out the Rainbow Creaser, my puppet that I’ve had since Freshman year. He’s faded now, mainly because I haven’t used him in… a year. Dang.
“I don’t want to do this, do you know that?” I make the Rainbow Creaser say. Me and Anthony, whenever we have conflict, bring out our puppets. He removes his Crazigami Quiltigami, a jumble of different patterns on a finger puppet. His little pencil mustache and smirk conflicts with Anthony’s deep, almost harsh voice.
“I know, and I don’t want us to do it either. If we were leading, we wouldn’t have to worry about expulsion. In and out job. Besides. We’ve dropped that life. For us. Forever.”
We were standing outside, fighting with puppets, talking about relationship conflicts. We handle it, though.
“I’ll be fine. I promise. I’ll try not to do anything stupid.”
“I know you won’t, but I can’t promise that Flag won’t either.”
I took his hand in mine, our puppets wrapping into a hug too, “Trust me.”
Right now Anthony’s saying similar stuff, but with the added bonus of Oliver (The Mad Mod-Podge) and Chad (The Origami Kite Man [Name is tentative]), who are constantly piping in with their own comments.
“And you know what? Based on this itinerary, none of us are really needed. This job could’ve been done with just Will, maybe Wally, and me.” Chad said with the confidence of a thousand lions. I stared at him.
“What would you do, Chad?”
“I…” Chad looked stupid as I saw his face turn cold and empty, “I… I don’t know, actually. I just know that I’ll find my origami name by the end of it.”
“Really? I hope you do.” I told him. Anthony shook his head.
“Who would be the leader of this hypothetical squad? Shredshot, the Creased Piper, or… ‘Fold Man?’” Anthony questioned.
“Well, me, of course. I’d be better than Shaun.”
“Anyone would be.” I sighed, “He expelled Chucky for no reason, it seems.”
“I saw it.” Oliver said ominously, “I saw it all, bruv. It was mad.”
“Is it true?” I asked, constantly looking outside. Shaun had said that he was gonna go pick up some materials for us, and then we’d leave class together. Something about “This will fit your characters.”
“Of course it is, love.” Oliver said to me. Anthony looked like he wanted to blow up, but I patted him on the arm, “It was horrible. Chucky was talking about that brit-hater, Mary. Shaun must have a little crush on her or something. At least, that’s what he claimed he was doing, but the mate had his Aunt on the phone, and was telling her all about the crap Chucky was saying, and boom, like that, Chucky was expelled.”
“Horrifying. Absolutely mad.” Anthony said, putting on a fake British accent.
“I know, right?!” Oliver was excited now, and then Shaun stepped into the doorframe. He’s breathing heavily.
“Hey, hall monitor here.” He lies to the teacher – We don’t even have hall monitors. This isn’t grade school, “I need… Oliver Quid, Chad Bronskin, Don Bates, and Anthony Irwin.”
“Okay, go ahead.” The teacher didn’t give a crap. Didn’t even question it. Maybe we do need this program.
We all walked out, into the hallway. The hardwood floors, installed over the summer, creak at any small movement. Sitting on the ground in a locker well area was a couple paint buckets, Some clothes, and a kite.
“I have a couple ideas. Anthony, I know you’re not required to join us, but I feel like an extra pair of hands would be helpful for us. Basically, these are all objects that got you guys in trouble. Exotic clothes, paint buckets, a kite that got struck by lightning.” Shaun started.
“Made my hair stand up for weeks!” Chad smiled.
“… Shame it isn’t raining.” Oliver grumbled.
“Those guys will be leaving with Principal Castillo any minute now. I am going to need you guys to do everything you possibly can to make this go wrong.”
Anthony tugged at my arm, and when I looked him in the eyes, I saw something that the man I have loved for two years now has never shown me: fear. He looked genuinely worried for me, and my safety.
“Please. Don’t.” He said.
I AM NOT DOING A THEME
By Wally “Captainigami Boomerangigami” Baker
I am not doing your stupid theme, Shaun! I think it is as dumb as someone that considers Pray for the Wicked as one of Panic’s worst albums. Wrong, wrong, wrong! Anyways… yeesh.
So, the plan is to walk in, and start making pot shots at the projector until it breaks. This is really playing on luck, especially because some of the faculty – and also the EduFun people – are not here yet. We’re going to go down the list: first, I’ll throw my boomerang at the projector. Then, Will will try to hit it with some rocks he got outside in case I fail (Unlikely), as ‘I am insane when it comes to my aim’ according to him, and then… if that fails, we retreat. He doesn’t want Wilfred doing anything, really. He’s too scared of Wilfred being a liability.
“Do you think we’re ready?” Wilfred asks.
“Yes, stay back.” Will responds.
I’m not going to lie, I am feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders.
“Wait.” I tell Will.
“I just want to say, I’m sorry that we couldn’t agree on the best Panic! At the Disco era.”
Will looks confused, and then remembers, “Oh, oh, okay… yeah. I forgot for a second but – I mean, it’s okay. We can agree to disagree.”
“I know, but I got a bit haughty and, like, I don’t know. I have been stressed as all get out lately, mainly because of this. Last night, I couldn’t sleep.”
“Hey, bro. Trust me. We’ll get through this safe.”
I sigh. I hate to say it, but memory is always one of the most hurtful things to me.
I know, for the sake of record-keeping, you teachers don’t want me to go on these tangents – you only want the things most important, the juicy bits. I know that’s why some things I’ve submitted have been thrown away, because they’re just my thoughts, and I wasn’t on the last mission. It feels good that they’ve been read, though.
We love the word safe.
My mom told me, when I threw that boomerang through the window, that we’d be safe. Even though that was my father’s “Last straw” before leaving me and my little sister, ‘We’ll be safe.’ Then we had to move, and we found ourselves in the Morrison Apartment complex. And then I made that deal with Percival that he’d “keep me safe” at school from the detentions and stuff, and when the things were scrubbed off my record, he tried cashing in a favor with me by throwing a boomerang at some kid. I missed, was hit in the head with my own boomerang, yet in the hospital I was told I was “safe.”
No, I am not.
I am not safe because safety is never guaranteed. Right now, I am safe, but there is always something I have to do to continue having that safety. Apparently, it’s risking expulsion.
“Don’t make promises if you can’t keep them.” I sighed to Will. He looked at me, and he understood what I meant.
“I’m sorry. I just… I don’t know. I just wanted to sugarcoat it, for once.”
“I liked you better when you told it like it was, Shredshot. You’re going to need to find a balance between the crap and the sugar-coated crap. Because either way, it’s going to taste like $&*#.”
“You’re right. Are you ready?”
I reach into my pocket, looking at the Captinigami Boomerangigami puppet. I never got to face the Fold. I then grab my boomerang from my backpack.
“As ready as I’ll ever be.” I sighed.
We open the door, and sitting inside the room are three tables, forming a sort of “U” shape. Each table seats four, so there’s enough to seat twelve people in total. The only thing: five people are here, and the principal, those two business-suited people, and a few other teachers aren’t here yet. Ms. Belfast is here, though.
“Walter, what are you doing here?” She asks, even though she knows. She was the one that recruited me, after all.
“Nothing, Ms. B.” I said as I held my boomerang like a frisbee. Then I remembered you’re supposed to hold it a different way, according to some Youtube videos. Maybe it was like a frisbee. I don’t remember. I keep changing my stance. The other teachers, one my math teacher, the other a freshman teacher, and some science people, are all playing on their phone. Ms. Gonzo is there too. She’s my favorite, just a really nice, caring person.
I launch the boomerang, and it hits the projector, but it doesn’t knock the projector off like we hoped. The boomerang turns back around, and as it flies at an angle, it goes straight towards Ms. Gonzo, who recently dyed her hair red. She looks right at it as it slams right in between her eyes, suddenly knocking her out cold.
“WALTER BAKER!” Ms. Belfast exclaims, standing up. The rest of the crowd starts to scream as some science teachers stand up.
“Did he kill her?” Someone said, “Someone, call an ambulance. You!” A person tending to miss Gonzo said, pointing at Wilfred, “Get a first aid kit and an AED.”
“She’s still breathing,” another sighed, “Oh my goodness, the blood!”
I’m starting to panic, and I turn around to leave, but Ms. Belfast points at me, “You’re not going anywhere, young man. You can’t be risking something this big.” While this sounded like she supported Brainiac, I knew that she was about to punish me for messing up the entire mission. She opened her phone, and I heard an email sent.
&%*$. F&$*. D&@@*%.
Will and Wilfred dipped. Leaving me the sole person. As the chaos continued and people pushed me out of the way, I stared at the Captainigami Boomerangigami puppet.
Nothing is ever truly safe.
Fashion Fit For a King
By Oliver “Mad Mod Podge” Quid
I picked up the things that Shaun brought for me. It’s clearly his clothes, and the boy has no sense of style. It’s meant to be business professional, I guess to sneak into the faculty meeting and fit in. I mean, of course I’d be the best fit person here. I am the oldest, I believe, and I am the most adult Brit this side of the colonies.
Oh. His clothes fit me quite nicely. That’s cool. They’re not “exotic”. I have no clue where he got that idea from. Gaudy? Sure. But exotic? No sir. Anyways, I feel confident and stylish enough that I could waltz right into that room and not look out of place.
So, I walk. I head towards Simone hall, and…
I’m faced with a couple EMT workers, sobbing teachers, and others as someone is picked up on a stretcher.
“What the heck happened?” I grumbled. Then I felt it, a calm palm on my back.
“Oliver?” He asked. I quickly turned around to face the wielder of the hand, only to find…
“Bloody Kal-El, mate. You freaking scared me. What happened here?”
“Wally killed a teacher.”
I couldn’t tell if he was serious. He looked serious. Maybe he was serious.
“Are you serious, mate?”
Silence, until, “No. I mean, I don’t know. I think he just knocked the teacher out, but blood is everywhere and it’s a whole mess.”
“Does that mean the presentation is canceled?” I asked.
He sighs a sigh of disappointment, “Sadly, it’s not.”
“Yeah, I hoped it would be but… it’s just not.”
Crap, “Well… I guess I’m going to take my seat.”
“You have fun with that… I gotta regroup with Will at the cafeteria.”
I sat down next to Ms. Belfast. She didn’t look at me, but she grumbled, “Oliver.”
“Bethany.” I said in response.
“You’re not going to throw a boomerang and knock out one of my coworkers and friends, right?”
“No. Just watching. I’m going to step in if anything stupid happens, though.”
“Good. Just sit back and watch the fireworks.”
I smiled, “Gladly.”
Retreat from Arrakis
By Will “Shredshot” Banks
I… I am not sure what happened.
I know that the title is based off of Dune, but, like, I can’t think of any other Fantasy World that is as dangerous as that room right now.
Yes, I was behind Wally, and I saw his aim and it seemed right. I was going to start throwing rocks too, but when he hit her head, Wilfred and I just fled in every direction. Anyways, the cafeteria is empty, quiet, and it’s fine. I’m comfortable. I’m here first, so I guess I won a race that I didn’t know I was even participating in. Wilfred walks in holding his recorder and breathing heavily.
The cafeteria is odd, as there’s booth seating on the side walls. It feels like I’m in a diner or a Chili’s, and not a school cafeteria. Of course there’s tables in the middle, but these booths are actually really comfortable. On the wall is a large mural of a track, where various sports are being played within it. Kids run at super-speed, football players throw balls that leave craters on impact.
Wilfred crashes on the side that has a little group of band kids. He sighs a sigh of relief.
I feel something I haven’t felt in a while: exhaustion. I feel what Wilfred is feeling; this tired feeling from top to bottom.
“I can’t actually talk to mice.” He admits.
I laugh a little, “Really? I wouldn’t have known.”
“Yeah, I mean. I haven’t gotten to show it, but I just… can’t talk to mice. It’s a chord that makes them absolutely feral, but it’s not like I can tell them what to do.”
“That’s neat. Why do you say you can talk to mice if that’s just a lie, though?”
There is a beat before he responds. He’s not sure what to say, but he sighs and says, “Because I wanted to be known for something.”
“Are you a part of any sports teams here?”
“So how did you even get to Lampert?”
“Band. Nationwide best, y’know?” He smiles at this, “It’s kind of sad, because it’s still my first year.”
Now I’m confused, “How do you already have information that could lead to your expulsion?”
“They can just make up crap, I guess.” He buries his face into his hands, “I just wanted to be better… What am I saying – they have stuff on me. I know I made mistakes in Middle School, but I literally went straight. I guess my past comes to haunt me.”
“What did you do in grade school that managed to put you into this group?”
“The mice thing, dude.”
I nod at this, “Ah.”
“I wasn’t caught, though. At least, I thought I wasn’t.”
I didn’t expect to relate to the kid that claimed he could talk to rats. Or lied. Or, I mean, he kind of didn’t lie, if he’s being honest about it.
“You… You wanna talk about it?”
That’s when he cracked, “I just don’t want to be expelled, man. I have skills, I love science, and I love music, and there’s this science of music that blends my two passions together. And I did that with this recorder and those mice, and I want to do more. I’m just so scared. I don’t want to lose my opportunities. I don’t want to… die, I guess.”
I scoffed at this, “You’re not going to die.”
“Expulsion might as well be a death sentence. How can I justify that on my school record? An expulsion because I was exposed for being able to sing to rats or whatever?”
“I think you can twist it.” I argued.
“How? One of the mice at Barbera Middle had a disease that made Sydney Berkshire turn yellow.”
“Ah, Barbera Middle. I hated that place, man. The mice and rats there were insane.”
“Yeah, and I feel like I only made it worse.”
“Mice and Rats die. It’s not a big deal.”
“Have you ever seen a rat king before?” He asked me. I shook my head, “It’s this idea that there’s a rat whose tail gets tangled into another rat. Then another, and another, until there’s this huge conglomeration of rats, fumbling and starving. Their tails collect dirt and sticks, and, eventually, they all die. They can’t untangle themselves, and then they starve to death.”
“That’s scary.” I say.
“That’s us. We’re all tied together thanks to Bethany Belfast and her crazy team of stupid teachers, and Shaun is just the first rat. He doesn’t even know it yet, but he’s stuck too. He’s stuck, and when everyone else around him starves – you, me, Oliver… He’ll be the last to go. We’re expendable. Even him, he’s expendable. That’s what you said. But I don’t want to be expendable, because I know my worth; I know my strengths.”
“You’re a smart kid, Wilfred.” I told him. But he’s more than that; this shook me to the core.
“My friends call me Willy.” He said.
“… My friends call me Willy, too.” I responded.
“So,” Wilfred sighs, looking at the ground, “What’s the plan, Willy?”
“Well, Willy, I think… I think we should take down that projector, or–”
“Make them all leave.”
“Exactly.” I could see a grin form across his face, the excitement and the realization of what I’m about to suggest, “Is there a lab around here?” I asked.
By Shaun “Rick Flag” Snyder
I am starting to understand the struggle of naming everything after something fantasy. Anyways.
Everything is in place. At least, it seems like it. Oliver is dressed up and in the meeting, Chad is outside with his kite (I told him to keep watch outside), Will, Wilfred and… well, Wally’s expelled, are planning on attacking. All that’s left is Don and his paint buckets.
I think that the strategy of getting these businessmen out one-by-one is the strongest one. The second strongest is destroying the projectors. Then, we got to make sure the school dislikes Funtime. I’m proud of myself for making, and perfecting, this Plan A, B, C model. I take credit for it, even though at Kane it was all pretty helter-skelter.
There was an ambulance recently, according to Chad. Seems like something had happened during the film, given that Wally is also expelled because of it. It seems like the air has finally cleared, and I walked over to where Don and Anthony were. While Anthony is not a part of the team, I’m not opposed to him helping Don, especially because Don has such weak, noodly arms. Don is up in the ceiling. He moved one of the tiles over, and removed one of the tiles, leaving a hollow space, and a very hard place to even place a paint bucket on.
“Anthony, hand me the paint bucket.” He said.
“Do you want me to open it?”
“No, I’ll open it here. Is the trip-wire set up?”
“I wish you wouldn’t do this…” Anthony sighed as he handed the paint bucket to Don.
“I know, I know. But it’s going to be fine if we get away in time.”
“Right, but it’s not good.” Anthony genuinely looked worried, “We dropped this life. Look- here comes Shaun.”
He turned around to me, “Hey guys!” I said, “How’s it coming along?”
“Listen, we want to leave. We want to drop this squad crap and get on with our lives. We graduate next year.”
I looked at Anthony. Don peered his head down and pointed at the tripwire, “Be careful not to trigger that. Then we’ll have a mess. Is this rainbow colored paint?”
“Yeah.” I said.
Anthony looked offended, “Is it because we’re–”
“It’s pretty ugly!” Don exclaimed, “It’s brown…”
I raised my eyebrows, “For real?”
“Yeah! It’s disgusting.”
Anthony sighed and looked back at me, “Anyways, I want to stop this. I need to put an end to this, because if one of us is expelled, then both of us might as well be.”
Frustration. Pure, total frustration. I am surrounded by goons, literal freaking goons. They want to preserve themselves, and I guess I understand that, but there’s a life to be had if this is just successful.
“Okay, so I’ll just expel both of you.” I said.
“What?!” Don said, peering out from the ceiling.
“Wait, wait, you don’t need to do that. You can just let us leave.” Anthony begged. I turned around, and I could see Mr. Hanks and Ms. Banks, along with Principal Castillo.
“Okay, so, either you guys do this, or I expel you, and you’d have to drop that paint bucket anyway. They’re coming.”
“You’re an @$&hole, Shaun!” Anthony told me, “Let us go! I don’t want to let Don play this stupid game anymore.”
Don, once again, peered down at us, “Guys, you might want to leave.”
“Why?!” Anthony said, looking back at him, “I am not going to leave. Look, I’ll tell Principal Castillo about this, and all will-”
I waved a finger at Anthony, making him shut up, “Nuh-uh. You’re not going to do anything. He’s not going to want to listen to someone that, well, has done so many infractions in his past. Besides… Don’t you remember the firecrackers on his abuelita’s lawn?”
“You set up firecrackers on his lawn.” I told him, knowing full well that my aunt sent me to do that.
“I didn’t do such a thing.” He said, legitimately flabbergasted.
“I know, but the camera footage from her doorbell proves otherwise.”
I could see the frustration on Anthony’s face, his aggravation. He sighed before looking at Don.
“What do I do?” He asked Don.
Don climbed down the ladder, and he wrapped Anthony into a hug, “I know you’re scared. But, someone very nice, and someone that loves me a lot, said to me earlier today that ‘Sometimes, people have to just step to the plate and do something about it.’ Ant, let me step to the plate. Please. I’ll be fine.”
Anthony sighed, and he looked at Don, “Please don’t do anything crazy.”
“I’m not. You know me.”
Like partners who are on the opposite sides of the world, they kiss for what seems like the last time. They’re stupid, though. Neither of them will die. Anthony leaves for the courtyard. And I follow him, looking through the window.
This glass is very thin; I can hear practically every word being said.
“I apologize for the wait, Mr. Hanks and Ms. Banks. Something happened earlier, a stupid kid throwing a Boomerang, hit a teacher.”
“I am starting to think that there’s students against us.” Mr. Hanks sighed, “There was a time when this whole Origami crap didn’t cause an uproar.”
They are walking, and walking. I could see Don hiding, or trying to hide, in a doorway.
“I’m starting to think so, too.” Doctor Castillo responds, “You see, there was a team of students that got me fired once. Ever since then, I have been on my feet. I ran a different school for a while, and there I dealt with so many problem children that, ever since I was rehired this year, I decided ‘No more!’ and have been slowly making this place a better, safer place because of it.”
“That’s wonderful, but I feel like, with our program, there’d be a lot less work for you to do. We have this thing, EduFun’s Stars program, where students are rewarded with better lunches and more for complacency in the academic environment. It’s all through your phone!”
“That might be nice to have here… Sorry about the construction, by the way–” At that moment, Castillo and the two business people trip on the tripwire. When they all fall over, I could see Castillo leap back up with some gymnast-like strength. Then the paint bucket tips over.
“What the heck?” Mr. Hanks says, before the paint covers him. He groans, “My Versace!” And then the bucket falls on his head, knocking him out cold.
Then I hear the laugh, a loud, cackle. Don steps out.
“Don Bates! You did this?!” Doctor Castillo exclaims, wiping off some paint.
“Well, yes, but actually, no.”
“You… You’re better than this! Head to my office, now. Don’t leave.” Don looked at me in the window while Ms. Banks and Doctor Castillo knelt down to Mr. Hanks, who was “Out cold.”
“Can… can you call an ambulance, Ms. Banks?”
“The second one today, huh?”
“Yeah… While I don’t miss kids like that Bat-Mite, I do miss the original zaniness of the pranks – no one was ever harmed.”
I sighed some relief, another member of the three was gone.
I turned to see Anthony, who was sobbing.
“He didn’t need to do that.”
“Hey, it’s okay. He’ll just… y’know. Be expelled. But you’ll still get to see him.”
I could see the rage forming in his face, and then he screamed, walking away.,
“Where are you going?” I asked.
“You’re skipping school?” I didn’t care, but I wanted to understand why.
“Yeah, what’s the freaking point? Call me if you need me, I guess.” And, with that, Anthony was gone too. For now.
Keep it Secret, Keep it Safe
By Will “Shredshot” Banks
Those were the first words I uttered from my mouth when Wilfred walked out of the lab with two animal carriers full of mice.
“It’s cool, right?”
“I mean, kind of.”
“They’re soft and kind, and they’re extremely smart… for the most part. With this thing,” He nods towards the recorder in his pocket, “They go crazy.”
“I still have my doubts, but…”
“Just trust me, come on! Let’s go!” Wilfred exclaims, running and shaking the box, making the mice screech. It’s class transition time, and everyone is moving through the halls. We don’t look out of place at all as we walk around the paint puddle, EMT workers, the knocked out guy, and the Principal.
Stepping into the conference room, full of teachers and… Well, Oliver, now, I see their distracted faces.
One of them groans, “How long are they going to make us sit in this no-AC room? Holy crap!”
“Brandon, it’s just a few more minutes. At least you’re not like Gail, bleeding in a hospital room.”
I lean over to Wilfred, “If you do this, I’ll keep you safe. I promise.” I know that it’s not good to say this. I think it’s a curse, actually. The more I say it, the worse it gets for the person that hears it. “Or not. I don’t know. I can’t promise anything.”
Wilfred looks at me, and sighs, “I know. Just watch the fireworks.”
Someone else stepped in: Shaun. He moved over to Ms. Belfast. Everyone looked at us.
“Yes, he-hello.” Wilfred awkwardly said, “I… I am Wilfred, and I am a student here.” I… I’m stunned. He just exposed himself, “But I am also a representative of the EduFun and Funtime Corporation. While the- the uh… video couldn’t be played, I have prepared a song for you all to keep you all waiting.”
He sets down the mice on the table in front of him. Everyone is confused.
“These are, uh… dancing mice, made by EduFun researchers.” He is terrible at lying. He opens the crates up, and the mice start walking around on the table. “Watch and see!”
He starts playing on his recorder, a loud, high pitch tune. I stare at the mice, and then both Shaun and Bethany sigh, opening their phones. I hear the email notification go off from down the hall: one of them sent the email. At first, the mice started to kind of move around fast, chasing their tails. Wilfred stared at Shaun, who shrugged at him.
“Dude.” He said. Oliver and Shaun looked away.
“Step outside, Will.” He whispered to me.
I felt defeated. But I also felt angry at Shaun. I walked past the principal, who is talking to Ms. Banks. I just kept walking.
Then I heard another loud pitch sound.
And then I heard screams.
Then a flurry of people rushed out of the room, including Oliver and Shaun, as mice ran around them, biting at their hands and feet, jumping around like freaking rabbits.
“I’ve had enough of this! First Gail, and now mice!”
“If you guys want this crap so bad, take it to the Superintendent!” Ms. Belfast exclaimed, the terrible, lying, cheat.
“What-What’s going on?” Principal Castillo asks. He looks at his phone, “Wilfred!” Wilfred steps out of the room, looking proud of himself. “You need to head to my office now or so help me–”
“Don’t worry, Doc. I’m already heading that way.”
“Do you have any regret for what you’ve done?” Doctor Castillo asked. He then turned to Ms. Banks, “I’m sorry… Try Donner, I mean, if Donner can adopt it, we would too. I really wanted it myself.”
“I do, yes, but I… I don’t want to talk about it.”
As Wilfred passed by me, he slipped something into my palm. Two things, actually. First, it was his puppet, the green hooded, red haired villain known as the Pied Piper, with the flute in his mouth, constantly playing. He also handed me a note, “Never Miss, Shredshot.”
I’m going to get you reinstated, Wilfred. If it’s the last thing I do.
The Final Transcript
A Transcript done by the Eraser, footage recovered by the Thinkorigami
[A crowd. Wally, Wilfred, and Don all sit together on one side of the room. Principal Castillo walks in.]
Castillo – Three expulsions, all within the span of two hours. Do you know how absurd this is? Four, if you count Chucky Toots from earlier today.
Wally – Chucky was expelled?
Castillo – Don’t be coy with me, Walter.
Wally – I am not a fish.
Castillo – You were literally riding with him today –
Don – I’m sorry about all of this. Seriously, I am.
Wally – I don’t apologize for anything.
Wilfred – I’m sorry, too. I didn’t think that the mice would attack.
[You can tell that Castillo is thinking, but I am not sure what it’s about. He’s staring at the group, nodding to himself about something he must find amusing about this whole thing.]
Castillo – I will let you all off, practically scot free, besides In School Suspension, if you can tell me who hired you to do this.
Wilfred – It…
Wally – No one hired me. I was acting on my own.
Wilfred – What he said. I just wanted to impress the people here.
Castillo – Then tell me why I received anonymous emails after your acts, showcasing all that you’ve done wrong in secret?
Don – Uh…
[Castillo leans in]
Castillo – Listen to me and listen to me well. This stays between us. I tell you what, I’ll even turn the camera off. Just tell me who did it, I’ll wait a few weeks, and then you all may return to classes.
Wally – Oh, for real? Well, I vowed to keep their names a secret but they’re a part of the district’s fac–
An Overly-Long “Where Are They Now?” Epilogue, Similar to “Lord of the Rings”
By Chad “Name in the Works” Bronskin
I have no freaking clue why in the world you guys had me on this team. Anyways, I spent my entire time standing outside and watching ambulances come in and out. Nothing really happened, so I climbed the ladder to the roof. As I sat there, pondering my life, I heard everything quiet down beneath me. The ambulances departed, and everything felt good… and I felt so tired… I closed my eyes, pondering the name of the puppet that I taped to the kite.
Then, I was woken up by the most grating sound known to man. “Oi, I was wondering where you went, you little bugger!”
My eyes opened wide, it was getting dark, and there Oliver Quid stood, hovering over me.
“I tried giving you a buzz on the telly, but I got nothing. Why are you up here?”
“I just got tired, that’s all.”
“Aye, I understand. Mind if I sit?”
He sat down next to me, and twiddled his thumbs. We were silent for what felt like a minute.
“Anyway… did you figure out what to name this little mate?” He asked, holding up the puppet of Kite Man.
“No… I just call him OKM.”
“Crease Man, maybe?”
“No… ‘Crease’ could be a substitute for anything. We need puns, you know? I mean, Rick Flag… that’s in the name. Mad Mod Podge, Harley Quill. I wish I had something cool.”
“Chucky literally called his puppet ‘Crease Crong Craddy,’ creativity is well gone, my friend.”
“Yeah… It sucks.”
“Why don’t you just throw the puns to the wayside?” He asked. I looked at him, confused.
“Like, forget about the puns, forget about all ‘at. Just… call yourself how you see yourself. You’re the Kite Man,” he puts on an american accent, “man.”
He was onto something, yeah, yeah he was onto something alright, “I think you’re onto something…”
“I am an expert in fashion, but I’m also an expert in pun-try. Sometimes, you don’t even need a pun. Besides, we know it’s an origami puppet. Putting ‘Origami’ behind the name is so redundant. It’s also so 2010.”
“You’re so right! I’m Kite Man!”
“Yes you are!” He cheered, slapping me on the back, “And since you’re really Kite Man, I bet you will jump off this roof and soar!”
It… sounded like he was serious. And, my mom didn’t like it, but I always landed on my feet.
“You’re right!” I said, standing up and starting to make a run towards the edge of the roof, “Kite Man! Hell Yeah!”
“Wait-wait-wait–” But I had already leapt. When I landed, I felt something break. I wasn’t sure what, but I found myself screaming now. Screaming really loudly for help.
“I was being sarcastic, mate!”
“You’re British, dude! I can’t tell sarcasm from that Peppa Pig generosity and honesty!”
“It’s in the twang!”
“Call an ambulance!”
Oliver came with me to the hospital, but that night, in the emergency care unit, my leg wrapped in a brace and my puppet near me, I knew one thing:
I’m Kite Man. Hell Yeah.
On To My Next Quest
By Will “Shredshot” Banks
As I am trying to leave this stupid school after taking a sickday, Shaun followed me outside.
“Hey! Do you need a ride?”
“My homie Demarcus is picking me up.” I grumbled.
“Oh, well, I’m waiting for my aunt right now.” We stood in silence for a moment. He was shivering, despite being in the Californian fall.
“Listen… this mission was a success. Don’t talk to me anymore about it.” I tried telling him off, but he continued to linger.
“I need to tell you about this, though.”
“I need to tell you that I can’t do this next mission alone.” He said, looking me in the eyes. I could see that he was serious, but it didn’t make sense.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“What I’m saying is that this whole next thing… it’s going to be tough, and it’s going to be really bad. Maybe. It could go wrong fast. I have my hacker, I have myself, but the other people? They’re goofballs. I don’t know what good they’d serve. I need you, and besides, you didn’t do much on this mission.”
I was offended now, “I coordinated the attacks, I came up with the plans.”
“So? I feel like Wally could’ve done that as well as you could.” He complained.
“Wally… Wally was a ‘goofball,’ but I liked him.”
“Wilfred threw rats in the classroom like a dumb#&*…”
Now I was angry, “Don’t say that.”
“Okay, fine, I will just go back in time and undo me saying that. Oh wait – I can’t. So, yeah. I need you. Word is, the presentation is tomorrow. Be awake bright and early, and… y’know what? Drive your way there. I think it’s going to be different.”
I thought for a moment about what I’d wanted to say, ‘You’re going to realize that you’ve turned into a total piece of crap when tomorrow rolls around and you expel some rando just to prove you can do it, and then everyone will turn their back on you. Then word will get back to Mary, and you’ll then be hated by her too, and you’ll find that nobody likes a person that disrespects, hurts, and belittles others.’ But… I chose to bite my tongue.
Shaun’s aunt pulled up, and he stepped inside. They drove off without a single wave.
I hate everything about this kid, this job, and this place, and I’m going to make sure that it’s all different when I’m done.
So help me. So. Help. Me. I fear that he doesn’t realize how messed up he is. Expelling kids left and right for no reason, doing everything as a sort of reactionary move. I feel like if I sneezed wrong he’d expel me. I worry about tomorrow now. I couldn’t even eat dinner tonight, I was so angry and scared. Demarcus was worried for me. When I told him what I had to do tomorrow, he offered me a ride, so I really appreciate that. But man.
I wish I could just hit Aaliyah up.