Episode XIX: Heir to the FUNpire
The End Is Nigh
As if we didn’t have enough problems.
After the Bounty Hunters and Cut Bane’s attack, the entire school was vandalized, the foundation was somehow even CRACKED, tables in the lunchroom were overthrown…in layman’s terms, McQuarrie was a dump.
McQuarrie is about to be shut down. Closed. Bye bye, students. See you later.
No matter what we’ve gone through here, be it weird advice-taking, or obnoxious Vader-shaking, or FunTime rebelling, I do NOT want this place to close their doors. It just won’t happen.
So, I bet you are a little tired of all the case files lately, but they have been important. This one is no different. It will chronicle events of late, and
something tells me that the end is near. So, enjoy.
The Revenge of the Edu-Fun
Today was horrid. Just before homeroom, I was in the library, talking with Kellen, trying to communicate with Dwight, and goofing off in front of Sara, when I glanced out the door of the highway and saw a person I thought I would never see again.
Dr. Karl Blonsky, founder of FunTime.
He was walking down the hall in the direction of the Principal’s office. Kellen caught my gaze and saw who I was looking at.
“I have a bad feeling about this,” Kellen moaned. I nodded. This could end badly.
I slunk out of the library, followed by Kellen and Sara and Harvey (They had noticed my worried glance as well). We stopped outside of Principal Howell’s office, and luckily the door was slighty open so we could hear what was going on.
“As you see, Gorman,” We heard Dr. Blonsky say, “McQuarrie Middle School is losing money fast. If you would just agree to my deal-”
Howell cut him off. “I know we are. But Edu-Fun is NOT how we as a school are going to comply.”
“Just consider my deal, Howell-”
Dr. Blonsky slunk out of Howell’s office. He had an easel wth a large pad of paper with him, so this wasn’t a good sign. Us four walked into Howell’s office. He looked angry. I mean, more than usual. And that’s never good.
“What was that guy doing here?” Harvey asked.
“Or more importantly,” Sara asked, “What was with the easel?”
Principal Howell sighed. “After that Vernon kid and his whole Bounty Hunter thing, McQuarrie has been almost been brought down to the ground. Windows were smashed, lockers have been destroyed, the school has gotten about three paint makeovers, and overall she is basically cuput.”
“Then what was Dr. Blonsky doing here?” Harvey asked again.
“Edu-Fun wants to help us rebuild McQuarrie for free.”
I gasped. “But I thought the Edu-FUNpire were bad guys! That’s awesome!”
“Hold it,” Howell stopped me. “They want to help us on one condition; we bring back FunTime and don’t get rid of it.”
“We’re not gonna go back, are we?” Kellen asked, flabbergasted.
“Listen, kids,” Mr. Howell spoke in a softer tone than we’d ever heard him use. “I won’t let you kids go back to that program. But that might just mean that McQuarrie’s time is up.”
“Blu-Ray NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!” Kellen screamed.
“Mr. Howell,” Sara started, “What if we raise the money to fix the school ourselves?”
“I mean like fundraisers and stuff like that, and maybe we could have like a craft sale, or…um…We could even have a Penny Jar, disguised as Jar-Jar Binks!”
“Sara, I like that idea,” Howell commented. “Except for Penny Jar-Jar Binks. I hated that guy.”
“Ditto!” Harvey butted in.
I decided to add to her idea. “And we could get Dwight to make some origami guys and we could sell them!”
Howell actually smiled. I had never in my life seen him smile. “These are some good ideas. You guys can be in charge. You are the official McQuarrie Middle School fundraiser committee.”
We all grinned. This is gonna be fun.
Penny Jar-Jar Binks
I got started in Art class.
I told Remi about this whole thing, and how Tommy, after the talk, had commissioned me to make Penny Jar-Jar Binks, so I asked Mr. Howell (who is also the art teacher) if we could make Jar-Jar. He said we could after the lesson, which was making some really cool mosaics, and they didn’t take long, so we got on it really fast.
Remi got a jar from a cabinet and I drew out the shape on an orange piece of paper. I cut out the shape and got a glue stick and went all over the back. I pasted it to the jar and Remi drew Jar-Jar’s face. She wrote ‘Penny Jar’ on the lid.
We put it on the Art desk. Mr. Howell called the other students, who were working on they’re own stuff.
“Students, as you may know, McQuarrie is losing money.” Some students sighed, others nodded, and others punched their desks. Even though McQuarrie had some rough times, these kids loved their school. “But, a group of kids, including Kellen, have decided to start different fundraisers to save the school. This is the first of many.” He gestured to Jar-Jar. “This here is Penny Jar-Jar Binks. He will be collecting loose change from you students and we are hoping to get him so full that this happens:” He pulled Jar-Jar’s tongue, which was a separate piece of paper, and a hole was shown. If it was full enough, the money would spill out the hole. We added that for fun. “So, who is ready to help?”
Some hands shot up, others shrugged. Remi and me dropped two coins in to help start it. Howell continued. “And I will set it out in the main hallway with a slip of paper that explains it, so other students can help.”
Four kids got of their seats and dropped some coins in; 3 quarters, 1 nickel, 5 dimes, and 2 pennies. Hopefully, this was the start of something big. Even if it only started with a dollar and two cents.
Amy and Lance and Movie Night
Sara, being the head of the fundraiser committee, asked me to be in charge of the movie night for the fundraisers.
So, me and Lance rigged an old time projector thingy to the school (we used LOTS of extension cords) and got a bunch of Star Wars DVDs. So it was set.
“So, can we start the movies now?” Lance asked at 4:00.
“No. The time we’re setting it up is 8:00,” I said.
“Oh,” he said.
“By the way, did you set up the sheet so we can watch the movie?”
Sometimes I just don’t know about that boy. LanLan really needs to start remembering things.
So. We scrambled around trying to find a big white sheet to watch the movie on. Lance finally found one at my house and ran to the school (We live like a block away from the school). Me and Lance, with the help of Tommy and Sara, rigged the sheet in between two big trees. I turned the projector on to test it and it worked.
By now it was like 7:00 (I took me 3 HOURS TO FIND A SHEET!!!!) and everything for the actual movie was ready. I had asked Kellen to make a really awesome poster at the front of the school for advertisement (of course showing the admission fee of $2.00 a person) and Tommy had set up a toll booth in front of the movie. It looked really good.
Suddenly, Lance came running up to me arms waving.
“WE HAVE NO POPCORN!!!!” He yelled. I face palmed. That was my responsibility. And with the whole sheet thing, I had completely forgotten. it was 7:30, and people were arriving in 30 minutes. Dwight, who had come out there and was just watching us while trying to stick his entire hand in his mouth, apparently heard our problem, and came running up. Origami Yoda was already on his finger.
“To the kitchen you must go!” Dwight pointed to the kitchen’s back door, which was several feet away.
“But Origami Yoda,” I said, “The kitchens closed.”
“Amy,” Lance butted in, “Has Origami Yoda ever let you down?”
“To the kitchen you MUST go!!!” Origami Yoda screeched.
Me and Lance walked up to the door, and just as I was about to knock, Lunchman Jeff walked out. He held several bags of stuff.
“Hi LJ! What’re you doing here?” Lance asked.
“Oh, just bringin’ some bags of popcorn home. I was cleanin’ the kitchen. I was hoping someone might be able to use them, like maybe for a snack or somethin’, but no one wanted to. So, back home they go.”
“Hey, could we use them?” I asked. I gestured to the projector and the sheet. “It’s for the fundraiser.”
“Oh, sure! I’ll go pop it! And I have some seasoning somewhere….” LJ closed the back door to the kitchen. He came back 15 minutes later with several bowls of nice fluffy popcorn. I nodded to Dwight, who was again trying to stuff his hand in his mouth.
Needless to say, our movie marathon was a hit. We made $46.00! That was a nice edition to the fundraiser. McQuarrie is that much closer to being saved.
Edu-Fun and the Money Mistake
Admittedly, the idea to have a Star Wars marathon in McQuarrie’s front yard was good. Even Howell tuned in for the short time that it was on. But some other people didn’t think so.
Like, ten minutes into Episode 1, this black limo drives up, and this guy who looks really business-y climbed out. He had sunglasses and his hair was gelled and whatever. He walked up to the projector we had running and turned it off, at the exact moment that Qui-Gon throws Jar-Jar under the MTT (I still think that Qui-Gon should of just left that sorry excuse of a Gungan anyway). All the parents and kids watching turned around, saw the guy, and started complaining.
Then the guy grabbed the cash register that Tommy was using in the toll-booth, emptied it into his pocket, and turned around.
“Hey! What’s the big idea?” I yelled.
He sighed that grown-up sigh they have when they think a kid doesn’t understand something, and they think they do.
“You are airing a copyrighted movie without the consent of the company. And you are making people pay to see it,” He replied.
Mr. Howell walked up to him. “Who are you?”
“That is easily answered. I am Greg Farland, and I make sure that operations like this are not going on.”
“But they made that money!”
“Illegally. So, not only am I taking your students’ money, but I’m also fining the school here for letting it pass.”
“Letting it pa- I had no idea about this, and niether did they!” Howell growled.
“Sorry Grouchy. Here’s the bill.” He handed Howell a slip of paper and walked back into his car and drove off. He is officially on my most despised people list. Top 2. Right under maybe Soapy the monkey.
Mr. Howell sulked back to his seat and told everyone what had happened. Then another car drove up, one with Gizmo and Prof. FunTime plastered on the side door.
“Oh Bantha dung,” I groaned.
Suit Guy—oh great—stepped out and he looked all spiffed up. Y’Know, I would bet Darth Paper that he was the guy that phoned “Greg Farty” down here in the first place.
“Howell, I heard you got fined again?” Suit Guy asked blandly.
“And you would want to know?”
“Please, take my offer. It’s the best one you got. I mean, these kids aren’t doing anything to change their school. But the Edu-Fun system can.” We all wanted to punch him. Okay, he replaces Greg Farty as the 2nd.
“Fine,” Howell sighed. We all gasped. This wasn’t good.
“You have made the right decision, Howell. Our FUNdraiser will be able to continue. I shall send you the FunTime DVDs in due time.”
Origami Yoda and the Return of the Rebels
We slunk into class the next day sulking about the night before. FunTime of course had not arrived yet, and we had a few moments to hold our breath, but we couldn’t shake the fealing that we would have to face the insidious calculator again. Even Mr. Howell was even angrier than usual. He didn’t say anything though. So all of the former Rebels met in the library after school.
“We need to shut down FunTime for good,” Mike said as he slammed his fist down on the library table.
“Well duh,” Harvey sniped as he leaned back in his chair. “The question is how?”
“We need to get serious with this fundraiser. We need to combat Edu-Fun’s FUNdraiser for real now,” I said.
“And I know just when to do it,” Amy interrupted. “I learned that Edu-Fun has tricked a ton of different schools into this. And their county-wide X-Treme-FUNdraiser(TM) is this Tuesday night. So we have a perfect night to combat.”
“But that’s tonight!” I yelled. I turned to Dwight. Origami Yoda sat on his finger just waiting for a question.
“Origami Yoda,” I asked, “Do you think we should do this?”
Origami Yoda nodded. “Follow through with this plan, you must. Destroy the Edu-FUNpire once and for all, we must.”
“Great!” Harvey started, “I have been waiting to deal with Suit Guy ever since he called Yoda “yoga!”
“The real question is,” Origami Yoda said. “Ready are you to wield the Origami Rebels again?”
Cheers went up as they held up the Rebel Alliance puppets. I forgot the sensation of leading my friends into battle. It gave me a sense of pride that they, including Harvey, follow my leadership. The Rebels were back in action, baby!
I feel exhilrated. It has been forever since I held Anakin SkyFolder. It feels so good!
We walked in to the high school. So many things had happened in the high school’s library. Dwight’s banishment, the Rebel Attack, Rabbski saving the day. But today they had their stuff in the giant gym they have. And today another event would happen; Edu-Fun would be completely and utterly destroyed.
Howell led us to our seats, and told us to behave when our thing came about. It was only the four of us; me, Tommy, Kellen and Sara (no Dwight and Paperwad Yoda), but we still stood tall.
There were a bunch of folding chairs spanning the entire gym, and the lights were off, except for several trained on the stage, which made them look like spotlights. Suit Guy stepped onto the stage. He straightened his tie, and started talking into the mic.
“Hello, Lucas County School Board, teachers, students and faculty. I am Charles Beckerman, superintendent of the school board. Tonight is the annual Edu-FUNdraiser, put on by our friend, Dr. Karl Blonsky, CEO of the Edu-Fun Corporation.”
A bunch of people clapped as the other guy, Dr. Blonsky, walked onto the stage. I thought I’d never see him again.
“Thank you, Charles. This fundraiser is for schools who have seen better days. At Edu-Fun, our focus is not only on helping students with our FunTime program, but it is also helping the schools themselves and paying for any damage to the school or school property. Today the schools we are volunteering to help are Nolan and McQuarrie Middle Schools. But of these two schools, our main focus tonight will be on McQuarrie.
“Lately, they have been making tough choices, starting with the decision to not use the pilot program of FunTime, AKA Time to Focus on The FUNdamentals, which, in my opinion, is the decision that started all of this trouble. Then many student vandals ruined large portions of the school, leaving their budget amiss. So, who is looking to help support them in this FUNdraiser? All in favor, say aye.”
Before anyone could say anything, Howell nodded to Tommy. That bald kid stood up with as much dignity as he could muster (and believe me, there wasn’t much dignity in him to begin with), and at the top of his lungs, shouted “NAY!” Blonsky turned his head in Tommy’s direction.
“Excuse me?” he asked, looking insulted. “This is hardly the time to be—”
Tommy interrupted him, got up from his seat, and ran up to the stage. “The reason you do these fundraisers isn’t for the school!” Tommy yelled, really angrily.
Sara, Kellen and I ran up to join him. “The only reason you did this for our school is to force us into using FunTime again, so you get more money!”
“Young man,” Blonsky said, irritatedly. “We will NOT be discussing this topic again. Why don’t you just sit down—”
Hey, wait a minute!” Interrupted Suit Guy, who had been watching from the sidelines. “You’re the kids who were very rude when we recommended Xtreme-Fun for your school, correct?”
“Yes sir,” Tommy said. “And no. We were just being honest. It’s that bad.”
“Oh, don’t even start….”
Tommy continued. “Mr. Beckerman here told our principal several days ago that Edu-Fun would pay for all the damages that the school attained lately, on one condition; Edu-Fun would force FunTime on us, and we had to keep it forever this time. I bet that they made that same exact deal with Nolan Middle School too.”
“Young man, sit down this instant!” Suit Guy yelled. He was getting mad. This wasn’t going to end well.
Suddenly, a member of the school board stood up. “I agree with the young boy!” she yelled. “I have seen firsthand on sveral different occasions that FunTime isn’t all you people make it out to be. In fact, I have seen many schools’ test-scores DECLINE because of it!”
A man sitting next to her stood up too. “Brenda is right! This program is horrid, the tests are inferior, and that singing calculator is mind-numbing!”
Dr. Blonsky’s face glazed. His empire was being destroyed all around him. “I assure you that Xtreme.Fun will adress all issues with the first version-”
“Yes, because everyone wants to see Gizmo in 3D!” another man groaned.
Soon enough, everybody got up and started spouting different reasons that FunTime is horrible. (Pretty much what we’ve been trying to say since the beginning). Dr. Blonsky looked like he wanted to crawl under a rock. I could see Mr. Howell giving us the thumbs-up.
Blonsky walked up to the microphone and started talking again. “I assure you all that our brain-enhancing systems will-”
“WORKSHEETS!!!!!” Everyone in the room yelled.
This would be a day long remembered. It has seen the end of FunTime, and soon it would see the end of Dr. Blonsky.
Tommmy got up to the mic. “Everyone who has bought FunTime, demand refunds or they’ll come back stronger than ever!”
Everyone followed his orders. It was actually very fun to watch. You go, hon!
A little bit later, after everyone had left the gymnasium, the four of us stayed behind as we waited for our parents to pick us up, with supervision from Howell, who was talking with Suit Guy.
“That was awesome!” Kellen exclaimed. He started humming Yub-Nub. Harvey joined him.
“So, that was interesting,” Tommy said as he turned towards me. We sat on the stage, legs dangling.
“You were pretty great up there,” I told him. He blushed.
“Y’know…” He said slowly. “I wouldn’t be here tonight if it weren’t for you.”
“C’mon,” I looked at him coyly. “You know that’s not true.”
“Yeah, it is,” he said. “The only reason I even cared in the first place about whether Origami Yoda was real or not was because I wanted to know if you’d dance with me at the FunNight.”
“Really?” I realized I was blushing, and tried hiding it by brushing my bangs in front of my face.
I saw my mom walking up to Howell and Rabbski, and she started talking with them. Just before she came in, I kissed Tommy on the cheek. His face got even redder than mine.
“See you tommorrow,” I yelled over to him as my mom took my hand.
“See ya,” He replied, but his voice was a few octaves higher.
So, even after all of that, there was no money left to save McQuarrie. It was time to face the facts. Our school was shutting down.
It was Friday, a few days after the Edu-Fun meeting. Once this weekend was over, it would be our final week at McQuarrie.
Mr. Howell had even had a general assembly about how we should figure out which schools we would transfer to and sent home a slip of paper for the parents to decide with us which school would best suit each of us.
I sat in my room for a long time, just thinking about the school and what had happened there. Dwight and Origami Yoda. Harvey and Darth Paper. Sara and the Fortune Wookiee. Mr. Howell and Jabba the Puppett. Mrs. Rabbski and Princess Labelmaker. Tony and Jango Fortune. Emperor Papertine. The Bounty Hunters. Cut Bane. And of course, the FunTime Menace. (Which, I might add, is finally over. After the backlash on Tuesday night, all the school teachers in Lucas County realized how terrible the “FUN” products were, and the entire Edu-FUNpire had closed down for good, meaning that every single product manufactured by that company was gone for good.
Another part of the prophecy was fulfilled, too. “The return of the dreaded FUNpire” had been counter-attacked. Perhaps FunTime was “Yoda’s Bane,” and another piece of the prophecy was fulfilled too. I’m not sure. But the big thing we had to figure out was the mystery concerning Vernon’s partner and Cut Bane. We only had one week left at McQuarrie before it closed and Origami Yoda died, according to the prophecy. One last mystery. One last week. One last case file.
Written By SuperFolder D.N.