PART TWO: BRING ME THE HEAD OF PROFESSOR BRAINIAC
National Lunch Day (October 11, 2019)
By Tony “Calendarigami Man” Zazonnie
Today is national lunch day, and because of that, we’re supposed to be having the best lunches known to man. But here I am, eating a crappy grilled cheese, on the day I’m going to be risking it all. Actually, our whole team is going to be risking something. We’re using our codenames now. I’m Calendarigami Man, Nathan is Arm-Fold-Off Boy, Ronald is King Crease, Cyril is Doctor Creasco, CodCrease is CodCrease, Ashton is the Origami Gentleman Ghost, Hayden is the Calculator, Alex is Fold Freak, Mary the Harley Quill, and Shaun is Rick Flag. I don’t like the puppet names, but Shaun – I mean, Rick Flag – demands we keep using them if we’re talking to one another. I want to go against the grain, because my therapist told me that people deserve to be named not by what they wear, but what their name is.
“Come on, what’s your name?” Nathan-er-Arm-Fold-Off Boy (I’m tired of this already) begs, “You know our names, we deserve to know yours.”
“It’s CodCrease. I don’t know how many times I have to tell you this.” CodCrease says. “Besides, what’s it to you, Donner boy?”
“I think, if I’m sitting among thieves and cheats, I should know their real names.” Nathan comments. Cyril laughs.
“You’re about the worst hero I’ve ever heard of.” Cyril said, “You speak with the inflections of a Shakespearean character.”
“Heroes always speak with urgency and knowledge.”
“You’re just saying that so you can be an a-hole to everyone you come across.” Mary says, “I mean, dude, come on? Urgency and thieves and cheats? Were you raised as a pauper?”
Nathan takes a bite of his baby back ribs, his prosthetic arm getting greasy with each bite, “I have my ideas.” He mentions between bites, “That not many other people can comprehend. I run on my own code, that people don’t deserve to know.”
“As the leader of the group, I think I deserve to know it.”
We all stared at Nathan. He kept eating, licking his fingers, and chewing loudly. In the corner, CJ Whogley stared at us, standing next to some little kid. I was on edge. I didn’t want him to come over and beat us up, like Alan Wade did to me. I shifted in my seat.
“You want to know? I like helping people.”
“Oh, so you’re trying to fill out your college application resume.” Mary said, “You couldn’t have made it any more obvious.”
“… What?” Nathan squeaked, “I help people because I like it.”
“You hit people with your arm. To me, you are just as bad as a jock who builds houses for elderly people. What colleges are you applying to?”
“Nodel, Claremont, Harvard…”
Everyone goes into uproars of “ah, that explains it” and “You should’ve just said that!” That makes Nathan get flustered.
“Objectively,” Hayden interrupted, “You increase your chances of getting into those schools by seventeen percent if you have something traumatic happen, and then it goes up by five percent as well if you participate in an extracurricular that involves volunteering.”
Shaun laughed at this, “Really?”
“My mother is a college admissions counselor. I heard about the applications, I ran a statistical model one night, and I came to those conclusions based upon that sample-” as Hayden goes into his statistical model on college acceptance, a bickering match breaks out between Cyril and Nathan. Nathan seemed really embarrassed about us outing him like that, and he was taking it out on Cyril, given that he was also a member of the Psychology Society.
“I wasn’t the one that said that stuff, bro.” Cyril says, “Put the blame on Jest.”
“I would never blame a woman for their actions.”
“Wow, that’s pretty sexist.” Mary joins in briefly. I’m starting to think that she’s a big fan of just making people angry.
“Shut up, Mary.” Nathan responds. Mary growls. Ronald scoots around in his seat, mentioning something about butt sweats.
“Guys.” I said.
“That’s really interesting, I didn’t think of it like that.” Shaun said, still listening to Hayden’s spiel.
My therapist said that I don’t do well when I’m overstimulated with a lot of noises.
“GUYS!” I yell. That shuts the entire lunchroom up, “It’s national Lunch Day. We need to eat our food. We need to just stay quiet. You guys are stressing me out.”
The rest of the lunchroom starts talking again, besides us. We’re quiet, and I feel embarrassed about it.
“Seriously, though. What’s your name?” Nathan starts that old conversation up again to CodCrease.
“You’ll know it when you need to know it, okay?”
“Okay. Let’s make a deal.” Nathan says, “If the mission is a success, you have to tell me your name. If it’s not, you get to kick me where you have that jockstrap of yours.”
CodCrease thought about this for a moment. At that time, I looked at that greasy mullet he had, and the neanderthal-like look he had across his face. But he was not stupid; he was by far one of the secretely smartest members of our team. I wanted to know his birthday, so that I could remember him. I struggle to remember names, unless I have a birthday attached to them. That’s why I keep having to scroll back to remember their names. I don’t know their birthdays. Anyways…
“Deal.” He said. CodCrease shook Nathan’s hand. Behind them, I saw a couple people walking in the hallway, they briefly walked in as Principal Sampson was giving a tour of the cafeteria. The room quieted down.
“Bet EduFun inc. doesn’t have as good of food as we do here.” Sampson jokes. I hit Shaun on the back, and Shaun glanced over.
“Oh, $&@%.” He says, “Okay, okay, we got to keep a watch of those guys. The mission is a-go.” He lowers his voice to whisper, “Cyril, Ronald, Nathan, and Me: We need to follow them. Uh… Alex, CodCrease, Tony, Ashton, and Hayden, your job is to find where they’re doing the presentation and figure out how to sabotage it.”
“What about me?” Mary asks.
“Up to you.” Shaun said, “Really, you decide.”
“I’m coming with you guys.” Mary said, pointing to Shaun, “You guys have the more fun job…”
Shaun sighs, regretting his decision immediately, “Okay, sure. Anyways, keep watch of the Groupme. STAY ACTIVE. Tell me what you guys are doing, and where you’re going, and if something happens, you NEED to tell me. Okay?”
We all nodded our heads in agreement.
Bickering Breakdowns of the Weak Minded
By Cyril “Doctor Creasco” Hale
And so we walk. Mary bounces around, but besides that, we’re walking. And Nathan, for the life of me, will not shut up.
“Arm Fold-Off Boy, can you just be quiet for a minute?” Shaun asked.
“Sorry, Rick. I just can’t get over Cyril exposing me. It was a bad move on his part.”
I groan in frustration, “For Pete’s sake, can you just stop?”
“Why’d you say I only care for people to fill out my college resume?”
“Dude, it wasn’t me. It was Mary.”
Mary’s singing a song to herself, and when she heard her name she perked up, looking towards us, “What did I do?” She was so different when I first met her. She was quiet, but knowledgeable, not this ditzy person who didn’t listen to anything. I wondered what had happened.
“You didn’t do anything.” Nathan said.
“Oh! Okay.” She went back to leading the group, singing a song.
“Why do you lie to her?” I asked.
“I don’t know, Doctor Creasco. Because I care about women?”
I hated how he was taller than me. I hated how Nathan Legions spoke so high-and-mighty, and acted so high-and-mighty, all because he’s a “good guy.” I hated how he wouldn’t even look at me when I talked to him. He always looked above me, as though I was below him because I was literally shorter than him. So, I started beating the @&#* out of him.
In psychology, we have this idea where anger stems from a knowledge that you were done wrong. So as I wailed upon him, I thought I was in the right. Nathan removed his arm, and started to beat upon me. I could feel the bruising as his prosthetic, plastic limb had quite the hit to it, yet I continued to beat at him. Shaun stopped the crowd and started grabbing at me, as me and Nathan banged against each other, tugging and pulling at one another’s hair, scratching at each other, though he could only do so much with one arm.
Shaun pulled me away, “You’re going to get us all caught and then this is for nothing.” He growled, “and if this is for nothing, you guys might as well be expelled.”
Ronald starts sobbing at this, and his cries quiet the entire team, and we stop moving to comfort him, the fight ending quickly. Immediately, Mary jumps into action, hushing the child-er-teen-thing.
“Hey, it’s okay. We’re not gonna all get expelled.” She says. Her voice has suddenly changed to a more normal tone, not that prissy, clown-like one she’d been carrying around earlier. She genuinely seemed to care in that moment, but Ronald continued to cry. So Shaun stepped in.
“It’s okay, dude. I didn’t mean it like that.” He assures Ronald. Ronald’s puppet, the King Crease, dangles from his finger. It started to fall, and I caught it.
“Here, you’re going to need this. You’re the King Crease, you know?” I said as I handed him the puppet. Ronald started to stop crying at this. He glared at the puppet with glazed eyes. It was him.
“Yeah, pick your fourteen-year-old self up and feel better. You’re a teen! Be a man!” Nathan demanded of him.
“I’m only nine.” Ronald grumbles.
We’re silent for a moment.
“What?” I ask, “Ronald, you’re kind of congested, can you repeat that?”
“I’m only nine!” He says this louder, and I knew in that moment that I wasn’t just hearing things.
“Oh, @&*#. What do you mean?” Mary asked.
“I mean that I’m only nine years old. I shouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t be here if Jonathan Yen didn’t fight me to be the big man on campus.” He had sunken to the side of the hall.
“… How did you end up at Lampert?”
“Look at me!” Ronald yelled. He was right; he had the body of a football player. He was huge, “I’m huge. I can do anything. My mom said I’ve had three things called a cun-cushion but I’m still fine.”
He wasn’t lying. It was all adding up. Ronald Lamden was a nine year old high school student. Which makes the Kid Fold a child beater. This kid was going to have tons of issues down the line, and I felt horrible for him.
“I’m only nine.” He repeated.
“Shaun… can I talk to you for a moment?” I asked Shaun.
“Uh… yeah. Mary and Nathan, you two comfort him.”
We ran to the men’s restroom. Kane has some of the most disgusting restrooms in the world. Roaches crawl around, the toilets aren’t white, they’re yellow. It’s all disgusting, and I’ve been here for three years.
“You can’t let him keep doing this.”
“I know.” Shaun sighs. He looks distraught, “I know.”
“He’s a Sophomore. He was eight, dude. He’s just a child.”
“Dang it, Shaun! How much do you need to ‘know’ before you make some changes?!”
“I don’t… I don’t know.”
“Oh, so suddenly you DON’T know. You’re a crappy leader, you know?” Shaun closes his eyes, and starts to look frustrated. He raises his hands towards me.
“I know, dang it. I know that I’m supposed to be doing better. And that’s a kid, and it’s bad.”
“Then let him go.”
He looks down, cupping his face into his hands. He sighs, letting out a strained groan.
The groan continued.
“Shaun. Seriously. Let him go. At least let him go. We’ll still work with you.”
“I… I can’t.” He finally says. He tries to stiffen up.
“What?” I asked.
“I can’t let him go. The mission is too dire.”
“THIS MISSION IS ONLY GOING TO AFFECT YOU.” I said, “It’s only going to affect you and your freshman friends. Dude, WE are not in danger. YOU are. Ronald is sobbing out there, scared out of his mind. He doesn’t deserve this. Let. Him. Go.”
Shaun grabbed my collar, “Don’t you think I know the risks? I’m stressed about this, I don’t want to do this, but he will be as worthy of a sacrifice as you, as Mary, as everyone else. Ronald Lamden will be a great asset for us.”
I jam a finger into his chest, “You better have a plan, then. And we better be safe because of it.”
As I left the restroom, I could hear Shaun start to cry.
What a mistake of a “leader.”
@&$# $#@! &#*@ #@*>#$%&
By Shaun-Zhang “Rick Flag” Snyder
!&@#.*@!$. #@!$. AGGH
I’m just gonna start typing on the page and see where my hands lead me because man. MAN MAN MAN
DANG IT AUNT SNYDER. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH
My mom once said that there was a conflict of interest at my dad’s work because his receptionist was interested in him. I think that a “conflict of interest” is the best way to phrase this right now. Creasco is right – King Crease should be sent home. He should be sent away, he shouldn’t even be here. Heck, he’s a sophomore now. A sophomore nine year old. I’m conflicted, but I know that there’s an ulterior, more powerful goal that is necessary to be pursued. Gosh darn it. I’m freaking out. And I can’t do much about it. I’m the leader, but I’m not the leader. She hasn’t answered my texts. Aunt Snyder, please just answer.
Okay, okay, so I need to cool down. She’s probably not going to respond until the mission is complete. They’re taking a tour of the school. Judging by the path that the businessmen are going, then the next couple spots ought to be the pool, the courtyard, and then they’ll travel to the gym where the faculty will be. We… we could redivide the group again. We probably should, given that I haven’t heard from CodCrease or Tony. I told Tony to keep me updated but surprisingly, for the guy that’s so good with dates, he procrastinates on getting back to a text message.
Yes, Tony, I see the read receipts. It’s been thirty minutes, dude. Dang it, I’m the LEADER dude.
I shot a text to the group, “Hey gang. I need you guys to split up again. It’s up to you, but some of you are needed at the gym, some at the courtyard, and some at the pool. It’s up to you guys. If you’re not caught you won’t be expelled.”
“Ihhh behh” King Crease responds.
“Are you done #&*@ting in there?” Harley Quill asks.
“I’m not crapping. Language. I’m planning.”
“On the porky lean throne, I’m sure.” Codcrease says.
“November 19 is national toilet day. Wait a month and eight days to have the greatest bathroom experience of your life!” Calendarigami Man texts.
“Oh, so you can answer the group chat but you can’t answer my freaking texts?” I said before I left the restroom.
It was just Mary sitting there.
“Where’d everyone else go?” I asked. She patted the concrete next to her, and I sat down.
“Well, Cyril went somewhere. The kid said ‘pool,’ and the armless kid went to the gym.”
“What are you waiting for?” I asked, looking at her.
“You!” She said, I smiled at this, “You’re Rick Flag, after all. You and I, we go together like glue and peanut butter.”
“Those are two totally different similes.” I chuckled.
“You get what I’m saying. Listen… I’m sorry for the flack I was giving you. There’s this psychology idea called tough love – eh, it’s not really a psychological concept… in fact it doesn’t really prove to work but… I digress. I just wanted to give you some tough love. I think it’s crazy I’m in this group, but that doesn’t mean I should take it over. You’re the leader. You should act like one.”
Suddenly, it felt like I was talking to my therapist, not Mary Jest, the Harley Quill. “I just don’t think they see I’m a kid like them.”
“Dynamic shifts. They see you as above them for no reason; they can’t discern the skills you have, they don’t know that stuff. Listen, kid, you got it made. You got this role because your aunt is one of those teachers. So what? You can be a leader, I’m sure. You’ll knock it out of the park.”
“You… You think so?”
“I’m a junior, kid. I have seen this whole train ride from start to now. I know so. You can be the next Christopher Booth for all I care.”
We got up, “Let’s head for the pool.” I said.
“Shaun Zhang,” Mary sighed, “Rick Flag, the next Supaperman.” She then patted me on the back, “I’m excited to see you grow, kid.”
A Lie So Good, It Can Make a Teacher Cry
By Nathan “Arm Fold-Off Boy” Legions
Me and Cyril bickered the whole dang journey to the freakin’ Gym. I almost killed the idiot where he stood. Mr. “I was head of the Psychology Society” shut the heck up before you catch this hand and detachable arm, gosh. He’s interesting, though. Something about his demeanor, how he acts and directs himself, just shows his knowledge. It kind of makes me angry. He walks these halls because he knows these halls, and he’s smart in so many ways that I’m not. I’m a Donner student, a hero, and I am shocked, because this school is a hive of scum and villainy. There shouldn’t be anyone or anything important here. But Cyril makes it seem like it is, he knows so much more than I do.
“Hey, by the way, we could just ditch this.”
“What do you mean?”
“My friend Foldifer’s club is open during these hours for all students that don’t want to go to class. We could just go there.”
“No. I have a plan.”
“What about after?”
“Hm… yeah.” I said, “I don’t see why not.”
As we stepped into the Gym, we saw a large assortment of teachers.
“What are you guys doing here?” One of them stopped me and said, “Every student was sent home for this meeting.”
“Uh…” I started to lie, but then Cyril jumped in.
“We’re SGA representatives. I’m Cyril, this is Nathan.”
“Ah… I see. Well, come on in. Sampson is giving them a tour.”
Cyril’s customer service voice came on, as though he was going to offer them fries with their meal, “Typical Sampson, am I right?”
The teacher laughed, “You’re preaching to the Choir, Cyril.”
“Yep, yep, see you around.” I said as I started to push Cyril towards a seat next to a teacher, away from every other teacher in the crowd.
“Hello, Mr. Nolan.” Cyril said.
“Jeez, call me ‘Austin,’ Cyril. We’re out of the school hours anyways.” Austin was so cool, but had such a non-teacher name for a teacher.
“So, what’s this for?” Cyril asked.
“We already-” I started to whisper before he elbowed me.
“Something called Funtime. It’s BS.” Cyril snapped a finger towards me and murmured, “PTSD.” I didn’t know what this meant. I Googled it, and got results for “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.”
“That’s crazy, do you think the Court of Origami Owls had something to do with it?”
Austin Nolan snickered at this, “No, no. I doubt that. It’s just some random company trying to sell some crap.”
“Boy, I just thought that because of the ROLE they have to PLAY in our decisions.” Cyril was stressing ‘Role Play,’ and it didn’t exactly click at first.
“I don’t know, I don’t think they’re real.” Austin Nolan had a thousand yard stare for a second.
“Did you… Did you say Funtime?” It’s time for the role of a lifetime.
“Cyril, who’s your friend?”
“This is Nathan. He’s just a good buddy.”
“Funtime… Funtime took my arm off.” I said. I tried replicating the stare Nolan had, as though I had seen war.
“I’m… I’m from McQuarrie,” I lied, “I lost my arm when I tried fighting back. I had a C-3P0 puppet… and I… I lost my arm.” I then removed my limb, and Austin’s face went totally pale.
“…No $*@&ing way.” He said.
“Yeah… They… I was so excited. I was a great baseball player…” Cyril was staring at me, and then looking at Austin, shocked yet disappointed that the teacher was falling for this.
“This can’t stand. How’d they cut it off?”
“I… I can’t talk about it. They just wanted their students to have restricted fun while doing math… that calculator haunts my dreams.”
“I’m so sorry. This can’t be at our school, no matter how much it’ll raise our scores. They take arms off…”
“I… I know… I’m sorry, Cyril, I can’t be here.” I got up, faking my sob.
As I was leaving, I heard Austin say “I’m going to say something, holy crap.”
Mission Passed. I’m the best hero ever. It’s crazy that even grown adults don’t know that some people are just born without a limb. Heh.
Crotch-Shot of Information
“Guys! Slow down!” The shrill voice exploded behind me. I looked at her flannel-wearing, jumpy-self. In the flannel’s shirt pocket was the Harley Quill, abhorrently colored in with Sharpies. I had no need for puppetry, my jockstrap was the puppet, after all.
Next to her was the short boy that we called a leader. I was happy that when we had split up, he was elsewhere. We agreed to not write anything, simply because what the heck would we write? But now he’s here, and now I have to look like I’m on the job. Me, Tony, and Ashton all stop and face her. Alex had gone to the gym, but I’m not sure if she knew her way around the place.
“Ahah, welcome, Shaun and Mary.” Ashton said. He straightened his jacket, “Always a pleasure to see you two.”
“I like your funny words, Gentleman Ghost.” Mary mentioned, “We’re joining you guys on your ‘excursion.’”
“Magnificent! We’re just heading towards the pool.”
“Good, I’ll take it from here.” Shaun said, putting himself in the front of the group.
“Er… do you know the way, by chance?”
“No…” Shaun responds, “Where’s Ronald?”
“Ronald? The kid?” I asked.
“Yeah, King Crease. He’s nine, and I don’t want him wandering these halls alone.”
“So we’re babysitting now?!” Tony groaned, “Crap…”
“No, we’re not babysitting. I just want to keep him safe.” Shaun said.
“That sounds like babysitting with extra steps.” I said.
“Jock Itch is right, it does sound like babysitting…” Mary grumbled under her breath.
“You told me he was heading to the pool.” Shaun told Mary. They started speaking back and forth until Shaun went, “okay, so he might be there early. Let’s keep moving, gentlemen… and calendar fan… and codcrease… and lady…”
While the rest of the group started to move, Mary pulled me to the side. She’s surprisingly strong for her build.
“I don’t want you guys to be expelled.” She told me. She was whispering this down my neck, her breath gave me chills upon my skin, “I just don’t want it. Shaun has a lot of power with that button. If we show that we’re useful in some way, then we won’t be expelled. It would be our own mistakes that get us killed, you know?”
“Ugh. You get what I mean. Killed academically.”
“You’re right.” I said after deliberating briefly on this, “I mean. Like, if I can show that I’m important to the crew, he’d keep me around. He’s stupid.”
“He’s not stupid. He’s a freshman.”
“Same thing in my book.”
She let go of me, “… Go off, king. See you around.”
I smirked, watching her leave. Quickly, I started to find a different way to the pool; one that might be quicker. All you have to do is follow the signs.
I’m going to prove myself as important.
Pound the Alarm
By Mary “Harley Quill” Jest
“CodCrease, where’d you go?” was the first text that was sent in the group chat from Shaun, always blunt, always to the point.
It was silent, we didn’t get any response from CodCrease for a while, “Codcrease?” he asks.
The other people were responding fast, they didn’t want to make it seem like they were abandoning the mission. Something I had said must have set him off – but it had to have been in a good way, right?
“Codcrease abandoned the mission.” Shaun sighs as he reaches for the email button on his phone.
“Wait!” I yell, he looks over at me, “just wait. He might be at the pool, maybe he has a feeling the guys will be going elsewhere…”
Shaun looks at me and sighs, “Yeah, you’re right, probably.”
“He’s codcrease. He’s a Doom Patrol villain – who knows where he’ll be, and when.”
“Do we even have a Doom Patrol at any of these schools?” Tony asked.
“I don’t… I don’t know. It would make sense.” Ashton says, “I mean, we have the teen titans, Justice League, now the Suicide Squad –”
“GUYS. Stop getting distracted. Let’s just get to the Pool.”
We start to run off towards the pool, following the signs. Pelletier Pool is gross, I one time pushed a kid in there and his skin got a deep shade of red, he looked terrible. No one likes to swim in it – it’s probably a biohazard, but man, they show it off every time there’s a tour.
But this time, the clear blue pool was different. It felt weirder.
“Any sign of the kid?” Shaun asked as he looked around the pool, “No sign of him at the bottom of it, so we know he didn’t drown.”
“… Is he even here?” Ashton asked. Upon asking that, I looked across the pool, in the very far back corner, next to the secondary entrance door. The large child was huddled in a fetal position, a thousand-yard-stare across his eyes.
“Guys.” I said. They were still looking around the rim of the pool, as though a nine year old kid was as large as an ant. I snapped, “guys, look over there.”
Shaun and the rest of the group’s gaze looked toward the corner. Shaun began his dive to the pool, thinking he could make a diagonal swim towards him.
“STOP!!” Ronald exclaimed. It was a loud sob and scream, “DON’T!”
Shaun stammered back, not jumping in and raising his hands, “Okay, okay. Why?”
Ronald points at the pool, and our eyes drop from him down to the bottom of the pool, where a large, brown stain, was. Corn started to float up. Ronald Lamden $#@+ in the pool.
“I’m sorry… I’m sorry.” He kept repeating. I ran over to him, making the long way around the pool. Everyone else approached him. I rested my hand on his back and wrapped him into a hug as he continued to sob into my chest.
“It’s okay…” I sigh, “just cry it out. Did you mean to do it?”
“No… I was- I was waiting waiting for you all. I needed to go, but I knew to hold it in… mission stuff.”
“If you need to go, dude, you can go.”
“Well I told the crotch kid that and he said the same thing, and told me to go in the pool.”
I looked up and over at Shaun, and immediately we both had an “oh crap” look spread across our face.
“… Where’s Codcrease?” Shaun asked.
“He’s here.” Ronald sighed. We all look around, scared now.
“You won’t find me! Not until the job is finished!” Codcrease exclaimed. We all begin to start looking around, the crowd dividing and going through the bleachers, and we can’t find him.
“Codcrease, if you don’t show yourself I’ll have no choice but to send the email, come on man, show yourself.” Shaun said.
“Dude, this wasn’t what I meant!” I yelled, “please!”
“You won’t expel me when you see what I can do, do you hear me?!”
We heard the door start to creak open, and I got a text from Shaun, “SCRAM.” We all made a mad dash into the restrooms and halls, and I grabbed Ronald’s hand as we left for the outside, but I watched as Ashton cracked his head out from behind one of the bleachers.
Oh no. I don’t know what this clown is going to do.
By Ashton “Gentleman Ghost” Mason
My mother taught me to be kind, to be courteous, and to take great pride in whatever I do. I sit with my legs crossed, I wear suits to school, I hold my glasses, regardless of what is inside, with care and pride. At parties, I am the monitor, and I’ve been known to drive home the most rough of kids.
I am not a bad guy.
I… I’m not sure if I can say the same about CodCrease.
He struck me as a person that was a blank slate, I was not concerned about him, I didn’t think much of who he was. Blank, and unconcerning, and an empty, veiled man. Just a football player with a jockstrap. I saw as he walked out, this big, hulking man, that jockstrap tightly around his crotch. The three businessmen and Principal Sampson would not be able to stop him.
“So this is the pool.” Sampson said.
“Very nice, I’m sure you win lots of races here.” This scrawny, glasses wearing, briefcase holding businessman said.
“Absolutely. Of course, Lampert has the best athletics in the county, but we have the best pool.”
“Uh, who’s that kid?” The same scrawny man asks, pointing at CodCrease.
“Is that a jockstrap?” A larger man, dressed in a tailored suit, much like my own, questioned.
“Oh, that must be one of our special-”
“My name is…” CodCrease says, smiling a wide grin, “Dick Zanbolz! I am CodCrease!”
The crowd starts to laugh.
“I forgot to mention, the origami here is crazy. I know, I know, you all had issues with origami in the past. It’s different here, though-” Principal Sampson is saying, and I watch as Dick makes a mad dash towards the scrawny yuppy.
I stare as Dick takes hold of the businessman, there’s a slight tussle, tons of grunting as he wrestles the guy into the water. Dick manages to not fall in himself, pushing the businessman in there. He struggles to swim for a bit, and then starts to scream underwater, the bubbles making his scream heard, the poor sport. He swims up and jumps out of the water. He’s covered in brown, his white shirt stained. The chlorine will bleach the business suit, but the poop is still on him.
“Dick Zanbolz, you don’t even go here… you defecated in our pool… You’re a Lampert student that defecated in our pool; I recognize that jockstrap from anywhere, Mr. star football player-er- benchwarmer. The principal there will not hear the end of it, do you hear me? You’re going to be expelled, so help me.” Sampson is getting red now, and he’s clenching his teeth and his fists.
“But it’s not even me that pooped in the pool-”
“I highly doubt that, and even if you didn’t, you knew it was there, and pushed a well-respected accountant into the poop. Mr. Johns, are you okay?” Sampson moves to Mr. Johns, who proceeds to breathe heavily.
“I… I swam in crap?” Johns is panicking, and I’m feeling terrible for him in this whole altercation.
“I’m afraid you did. Mr. Zanbolz here will-” suddenly, Johns vomits, and he vomits all over Dick, and he pukes all over his jockstrap, and then he pukes on Sampson’s shoes. Next thing I know he’s passed out and has entered a deep, deep sleep.
“I-I’m so sorry about this.” Sampson says, “I’ll call the nurse, let’s just call the tour off.”
“I… couldn’t agree more. We need to give the presentation, and, well, it’s going to be tougher to sell without our finance guy.”
“Finances shminances – what matters is if it’ll help our students.”
“Oh, Mr. Sampson, it will.” The woman, dressed like the other men, says, “This is just a setback, that’s all.”
“Oh, it’s Doctor. I got my PHD a while ago.”
“My apologies, Doctor Sampson.”
Doctor Sampson was BSing – he has not done anything with his life besides make crappy financial decisions. That’s what my mom said, and she dated him for a few months in college, so she knows… He’s not a gentleman, like I am.
I got a text from the group chat, Dick had been removed, and, on top of that, he’s been expelled. The first expulsion of our team. May he rest in peace, homeschooled for the last year of his highschool career, and his permanent record ruined.
A tragedy foretold by ghosts of the past.
King Crease’s Chapter!!
By Ronald “King Crease” Lamden
Ibbbb Imm sorry im sorry i didn’t mean to poop in the pool im sorry
Please don’t be maddd at mmmmme..
Imm sorry I’m sorry
I was told to do it because i needed to go bad im sorry
Don’t be mad at me please please please im sorry
Am i in trouble ihhhhh
I frew up
Racing Against Time and Always Losing
By Hayden “The Calculator” Solomon
Ashton pushed me over while running, as he was trying to catch up with all of us. It was just me and Alex, though. Everyone else had moved elsewhere, probably all going in various directions to the same location: the gymnasium. I believe that with 89% accuracy.
“Sorry, I’m so sorry. Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry.” Gentlemanly as usual, he knelt down to pick me back up.
“No, it’s okay… What happened back there, man?” I asked. I could see in his eyes, this drained look, “W…What did you see?”
“I… I don’t want to talk about it.”
“But Codcrease –” Alex, the Film Freak, started to mumble. She fell silent, though.
“I know. He’s gone.” He sighs, I can feel the defeat in his voice, “I know I could’ve stopped him.”
“Guys, if we’re going to do our part of the plan–”
“You guys have a plan? We’ve just been going in here without one. I thought it was absurd, actually.” Ashton grumbled.
“Yeah… We were messaged to do something to… a calculator or something, over in the gym.” I told him. Shaun’s texts were pretty vague. He had told us to just go to the gym as his aunt’s friend said that it was best to be there and to “cause a ruckus.” I didn’t understand this. Alex thinks she does, so we were trying to just go over there and mess with some stuff – maybe the presentations, maybe we’ll mess with whatever is there. Shaun also said something about how “Hayden, this might be right up your alley.”
When we made it to the gym, Alex turned and looked at us.
“Okay, Hayden, I know you’re weird and all. Hearing you talk for the last couple of hours has clarified that to me.”
“Hey – I know OriRobin. I can’t be that weird if I know him.”
Ashton whispered towards me, “As do I. But knowing people doesn’t make us any less odd. To know one’s faults makes us better than the rest…”
Alex sighed, “Anyways. I learned this trick when stealing movies at Walmart: if you have a vest, and you act like you belong there, no one will question anything. So we’re going to go over there, I’m gonna fiddle around with the computer, and you’re going to do something else, and Ashton… You just keep watch.”
“You… steal movies?” I was fixated on this, “Statistically speaking, how often does this work?”
“One hundred percent of the time.” Alex said with pride.
“Not statistically possible. You can have ninety nine point nine-nine to the infinite degree, but it’ll never be one hundred.”
“Dude, okay. Shut up.”
“Well I’m just saying–”
“Shut up. Shut up. Shut up.”
Ahead of us, in the middle of the gym, as all the teachers sat together, huddled amongst one another in the stands, were two things: A large drop-down projector, and next to it, a large rectangular calculator, with a smile on it. It was meant for people my age, yet it looked like something my little sister played with to learn numbers.
Immediately, my brain started doing calculations of how we could mess this up. I could disconnect wires, but that would only inhibit time. No-that wouldn’t work. I could use the computer- agh, Alex is already on it.
Ashton is on the lookout as I walk over to the Calculator. I turn it away from the crowd as I boot it up. It’s robotic eyes move left and right until it looks down at me, and it’s wide grin smiles, “Hey Hey! It’s me! Your friendly neighborhood calculator, Gizmo!”
I think there’s an 87% chance this will work. I press a number, it says it out loud, and I turn it off.
When I turned the calculator back on, the number stayed. Gizmo repeats every number, command, action. It’s a glorified text-to-speech box.
I pressed clear, and I lowered the volume so that these teachers wouldn’t be able to hear.
This is going to be hilarious. While I cannot run a million simulations, nor can I calculate the p-value for this happening, and I can’t test the five percent significance level, and I- [ERASER’S NOTE: HE DOESN’T SHUT UP ABOUT STATS. I KNOW SO MUCH NOW.]
“Hayden!” Alex yells, “I’m ready!”
“Okay! Me too!”
I motion for Ashton to join us, and we walk into the stands, sitting near Shaun, Mary, the sobbing mess that is Ronald, and the rest.
Rube Goldberg Machine of Mess
By Shaun-Zhang “Rick Flag” Snyder
“What are they doing over there…?” I mumbled, staring at Hayden, Ashton, and Alex on the gym floor. Alex was pulling up web pages on the computer, Hayden was tapping at random keys on the large calculator, it was all odd. Hayden and Ashton turn the calculator back around and wave towards us. I look down at the ground, trying to disappear, but I can feel the teachers as their eyes peer on me.
They’re going to make us fail this mission. I can feel it deep inside of me. I can’t help but feel the immense need to look away.
Mary puts a hand on my back, “Kid, look up. It’s about to start.”
I sigh a deflated sigh as the Principal Sampson, a man, and a woman, both in professional business attire enter.
“Sorry about the hold up.” Principal Sampson sighs, “Mr. Johns, the financial advisor, fell into the pool. He’d prefer not to be here soaked.” Stiff, please-don’t-fire-me-if-I-don’t-laugh laughs fill the room. The teacher next to us snorts, and he looks at us, rolls his eyes with clear annoyance, and looks back. I don’t know who he is, or what he teaches, but I know that he’s exhausted with this place, and is exhausted with the excuses for “jokes” that Sampson puts forward.
“Anywho, this is Edufun and Funtime LLCs representatives, Ms. Banks and Mr. Hanks.” A round of applause fills the room, “Both of these people are here to encourage you all to adopt Edufun’s newest program for High School students, Brainiac.”
“Wait!” I heard a loud voice say, “Before you begin, I need to say something!”
A sigh of disappointment comes from the microphone as Sampson leans in, “Yes, Mr. Nolan?”
“Now, I know we haven’t had the best of bonds, but you need to hear me out on this.”
“I question why I keep you on the payroll, but go ahead.” There was a genuine laugh from the crowd this time, but it swiftly fell silent.
“Do we remember what happened at McQuarrie a few years ago? Nearly eight years ago, Edufun had used their programs to take over the entire school system in Lucas County, Virginia. Well, one of the students that was in the rebellion that fought back, Nathan, is here with me today.”
I looked over at Nathan, who was smiling a smug smile. I mouthed something like “sit the heck down” and he just continued to smile. “Sit. Down.” I mouthed.
Nathan then started to move, and I buried my face back into my lap.
“I… I can’t be here for long, and frankly, I can’t wait to leave.” He said. No. No no no no. He stood by Gizmo, the large calculator, “I hoped to never see you again, old friend.” He sighs. Who the $&#@ says ‘frankly’?
“Now, this wasn’t a part of the agreement. You told us that there were no McQuarrie alumni here.” The woman, Ms. Banks says.
“That’s because there isn’t.” Nathan interrupts before Sampson can say anything, “I’m here, visiting. My family is moving to California in the spring, and they want me to see the schools here. But… If I had known that the school I really want to go to would have the group that sliced my arm off, I would’ve never… ever… EVER set foot here.”
Ms. Banks and Mr. Hanks looked at one another, suddenly their eyes wide open.
“Uh-uhm… we thought that the money would silence you.” Mr. Hanks whispers, but the microphone catches it. I could see in Nathan’s face as he realized that anything he said here would immediately shatter his facade if he didn’t have the prosthetic limb. Nonetheless, he continued onwards.
“Silence me?! Silence me?! I will not be silenced! I was C-3P-Fold for crying out loud!”
“Please, we’re sorry.” Ms. Banks says, “We need to showcase our newest product though.”
“Oh, will THIS ONE remove arms like the last one?” Like something from a sketch show such as Impractical Jokers, everyone in the crowd looked at eachother, mumbling on if this was real or not. Then Nathan raised his sleeve, revealing the prosthetic limb that he twisted and then removed. Everyone gasped in shock to see the armless boy. Nathan proceeds to start and fake sob into the microphone, “I wanted to play archery so bad… I loved Katniss Everdeen when I was growing up…”
“I’m sorry Mr. Nathan but what does that have to do with this?” Principal Sampson asked.
“I… I gotta go. I don’t want to go to this school anymore.” Nathan runs out of the gym, sobbing up a storm as he holds his prosthetic limb, letting it dangle behind him.
“What the actual Hell?” Tony Zazonnie said to me, “Was that planned?”
“I… I’m not sure…”
“Is… is the armless boy going to get expelled?” Ronald sobs.
“No… no he won’t.” I was just so in awe at this that I didn’t know what to say or do, “Where’s Cyril?”
I started looking around the room for him, with his odd almost-beard and that constantly angry look on his face, but I couldn’t find him. I shot a text in the groupchat, asking where he was.
“We apologize for that.” Mr. Hanks says, “There was an incident that happened during the McQuarrie era that we prefer not to discuss. We have new management now.”
“So… did someone’s arm really get cut off thanks to Funtime products at McQuarrie?”
“…We’ll have a question and answer forum later on.” Ms. Banks said into the mic, “Anywho, allow us to present to you all… the informational video as to what Brainiac can do for your student’s SAT scores!”
Principal Sampson moves over to the computer and presses the play button, and on the large projector is a scene from some movie. The lights dim so we can all watch the projection. We get an establishing shot of a country-side neighborhood. A long stretch of road, dragging itself through the different homes on the street. At the very end of this line is a farmhouse, and a light is on in the kitchen.
A lady stands there, washing her dishes. As the credits flow by, we then get the title below her, “Hello, You’re Dead.”
She’s in a 1980s hairdo. It’s raining outside her home, and she hears the door close behind her. She looks up and turns around, “Honey?” She asks, “Are you home?” Her voice is very southern, very country and cautious. She doesn’t hear a response. “Honey?” She repeats, “Are you playing tricks on me again?” She turns around and walks to the front of the house. At a worm’s-view, she creeps down the hallway of her farmhouse, looking for her husband. We’re crawling at a rapid pace, and the camera zooms out to reveal a disembodied, muddy hand was the thing we were taking the perspective of. It reaches for her leg, and she doesn’t notice as it climbs up her. Only when the mud drips to the floor does she realize what was on her, and she feels her neck as she feels something tighten around it, and she screams.
We literally got ten minutes into the film before they cut it off.
“Well, that was the wrong tape…” Mr. Hanks said, “Our apologies. I know we’re running out of time, but we still have this.” They turn to Gizmo, the comically large calculator with a face and a pair of eyes, staring into the soul of anyone that looked at him, “Meet Gizmo. Professor Brainiac and Gizmo are the two primary teachers of this whole thing; they teach math, English, and reading, and they love to do it. Gizmo has a TI-84 computing program loaded into it, complete with all the code necessary for the SAT. It also says this code aloud in it’s fun voice, great for all ages. Allow me to turn it on.”
Upon turning on Gizmo, Gizmo’s large eyes move around the room before focusing below towards the ground. It’s smile glows as it says, “Hello! I’m Gizmo, I’m happy to teach today!”
And then, on the front of the calculator, it reads in clear letters “8008135”, or, “BOOBIES”.
An uproar amongst the faculty begins, asking what was the meaning of all of this. Ashton, Hayden, and Alex stand up and they begin to yell stuff about “Funtime sucks!” and “We hate Kane!”
Principal Sampson frantically worked to try to quiet the crowd down but everyone starts to leave, but Alex, Hayden, and Ashton won’t sit down.
“Guys, get down.” I said.
“No! This was all a part of the plan, it’s going to be one hundred percent effective.” Hayden said to me.
“Haha! Mr. There’s-no-such-thing-as-one-hundred-percent.” Alex responded. Hayden elbowed her while Ashton, all gentlemanly, claims that this was a riot and quite the “jolly good show.”
“Guys, if you don’t sit down I’ll –”
“YOU THREE.” Principal Sampson sees the three of them cheering, making a holler over this and points at them. Mary, Ronald, Tony, and I all scooted away to try and hide from the wrath of Sampson, “YOU THREE Messed this up. To my office, NOW.” He then turned to Banks and Hanks, “I’m sorry. It’s not going to work today… Why don’t you try and get the other schools to approve? Then we’ll be all for it.” They nodded, and they made their exit. Ashton, Hayden, and Alex looked at us.
“Thank you for the pleasurable evening, Shaun. This is quite the senior prank.” Ashton told me before leaving. I smiled at them as they left, but I knew what I had to do.
Tony, Ronald, and Mary were also gone. I looked down at my phone, and they said something about meeting up with Cryil and Nathan. Then, I opened up my email, and I sent the emails about Ashton, Hayden, and Alex to their respective principals.
You can be on this team, but we can’t accept buffoonery.
… Mary can’t know that I did this. None of them can. I just hope it’s the right choice, Aunt Snyder.
By Cyril “Doctor Creasco” Hale
I sit at the bar while Neil Vanderlin, with his Foldifer Morningpleat puppet on his finger, cleans the countertop. Nathan sits next to me.
“Listen, I know we’ve had issues.” I tell Nathan, “But… I don’t know, I think we could be friends.”
“Yeah. I don’t like criminals, but you’re not so bad.” Nathan responded.
I smile at him, “So you’re telling me that you went through with the whole shtick?”
“Of course I did. They all believed it… I think. I don’t know. I ditched that place as soon as I left the room sobbing.”
I take a sip of my chocolate milk, and he tries this vanilla-chocolate-swirl concoction Neil made, “&@*#. That’s good.” He says.
“Thank you, thank you… I take great pride in my craftsmanship.”
Someone takes a seat next to me. It’s Mary. She slaps a couple dollars on the bar table, “Hit me with your best.” She grumbles.
“Did it… did it go well?”
“Yeah, I just felt like a babysitter the whole time to crapper over here.” She jammed her thumb at Ronald, who could barely poke his head over the bar.
“I didn’t even get to throw a calendar.” Tony grumbled.
“Dang… So you two and me were -”
We all said it simultaneously, “Useless.”
We were silent for a bit before Nathan asked, “Where’s the others?”
“I don’t know where Shaun is.” Mary said, “I told him where we were, to celebrate winning. CodCrease – er, Dick, is expelled, but we knew that. Ashton, Hayden, and Alex are all being yelled at in Sampson’s Office.”
“Yeesh. He’s gotten so strict after Novick closed.” I sighed.
“Well, it is a no tolerance policy now. It’s like that everywhere. I think it’s to discourage the puppets and stuff.” Tony sighed.
“Which I think is goofy.” Neil said, “I know I have no stake in this battle, but… why… look at this place. It’s sanctioned now, but it’s literally a safe space for people like us. Have I ever told you all about how I worked with the illustrious, and handsome, Alan Wade?”
“We don’t want to hear it, Neil. It’s been a long day. Besides, I was beaten to a pulp by him and he assumed my identity. It doesn’t matter.” Tony was quite bitter, for some reason.
“… Anyways… Do you think they’re going to be expelled?” I asked.
“Yes. If justice can see the wrongdoings they’ve enacted, then it is only right for them to be expelled.” Nathan said all high-and-mighty-like.
“I don’t know, I doubt that they–” Mary started to say.
“Have.” Shaun interrupted, “They’ve been expelled.”
“Really?” Mary looked shocked.
“But they were only yelling. I mean, yeah, they did it, but… why?” I could see a glimmer of suspicion in Mary’s face as Shaun sat down.
“I don’t know why. I just know they are. Susan – er – Aunt Snyder told me. Hey, guy in the suit, hit me with a chocolate milk, Nesquik, shaken.” Neil glanced at me and rolled his eyes.
“Can you not stop it?” Mary asked, “Also, hey, I’m still waiting on my drink.”
“I don’t know. But we won. You guys can rest up this week, and probably the next. I don’t need you all for a while. Next week will be Lampert, and after that, Donner. I might call on all of you for the Donner mission.”
Neil handed everyone their drinks and we sat in silence, but I had this feeling that Shaun did something to get them expelled and to save his butt. I just wanted to know why. Anxiety, maybe? It was hard to tell, and it was hard to get a true and honest read on him. But I felt incompetence in him, and I knew that an incompetent leader would probably make a stupid decision.
But one of Brainiac’s limbs was now gone. When we finish this, we can move on with our lives.