Episode 20: The End This Is?
The final week at McQuarrie Middle School was going to be anything but normal. We all knew that for sure. We had one last mystery to solve. The mystery that has plagued us since the very end of seventh grade. What had happened at our field trip to Washington, D.C.
I was clearing out my locker, getting everything ready for home. I found a lot of old memories, like my third grade journal and the original Origami Yoda, Darth Paper, Fortune Wookiee, and FunTime case files. But as I bent over to put them away, I heard something drop to the floor. I turned around, and found a piece of paper on the floor. In big letters scrawled out in red crayon, it said, “For Tommy.”
I never remembered putting anything like that in my locker…weird. Could somebody else have done it? It would have been extremely difficult for them to do that if so. Either way, I picked it up, and began reading the page.
Emperor Pickletine was defeated. Harvey’s plans were foiled. The secret of Origami Yoda was revealed. It was finally time for this insane field trip to end.
I walked over to the school bus. I noticed the faint shape of a student, standing on the opposite side of the bus, glancing at me through the window. I walked over to the person, curious. I peeked my head around the bus, and called to the person.
“Hey! Dude! We’re about to leave…..um…….” My voice caught.
The student was wearing a hoodie. “Tommy Lomax,” she said. Her voice was familiar.
“Yes?” I said. “What is it?”
The student flipped off the hood. I waved.
“Oh! It’s you!” I sighed with relief. After all this craziness, it was nice to see a familiar face. “What are you doing over here? Shouldn’t you be with the others?”
“No. Everything is about to change, Tommy.”
“What?” I wasn’t following.
“You…..your friends……your school. All of it will change. Including me. You’ll never remember any of this anyway. It will be as if your field trip to DC was completely normal. No Pickletine, either.”
I was about to come over and try and figure everything out, when I saw, out of the pocket of the hoodie, a handful of skittles.
“They’re magic. Tommy, these can literally grant any wish you desire. For me, it’s that I can finally get back at McQuarrie Middle School. I’ll pit the worst foes at you. Bounty Hunters and mean librarians and General Creasous…..and you’ll be helpless but to struggle through each and every difficulty, WITHOUT knowing Dwight’s secret.”
“Whoa, girl, chill.” I said. “What did we ever do to you??”
She swallowed. “Nothing. Absolutely nothing. You rarely ever talked to me. You never backed me up. I was completely invisible to you guys! I mean, c’mon, man! All that left me was to be bullied by jerks like Harvey! Now it’s my turn to get noticed. To be remembered!”
One skittle. Two. Three. Chewed and swallowed in a matter of seconds. I was too shocked to move. Suddenly, everything around me began changing. I quickly jotted down everything that had happened—what you’re reading now—in a notebook. If this is me, Tommy, then you were meant to read this. You’ve got to save McQuarrie Middle School. You need to defeat our new enemies. You have to stop Lisa.
I stumbled backwards in shock. The brain-farts. The other origami Emperor. My fogginess about the field trip. It was all because of Lisa. I accidentally tripped over my locker stuff, which made me fall over to the ground. Some kids near me, like Kellen and Jacob, walked over to help.
“Hey, man, you alright?” Kellen asked.
I took a shaky breath. “I think… I think we need to get Harvey, Mike, and Lisa. Nobody else needs to know about this.”
The five of us –Tommy, Harvey, Mike, Lisa, and I–all met at the library together.
“Alright, guys,” Tommy said. “What I’m about to tell you all…it might be hard to swallow.”
Lisa stood up from her seat. “Hey, um, Tommy…” Her voice was shaky. “Can I talk to you in the hallway please?”
Tommy ignored her, and kept talking, which I thought was really rude. “So today, I was cleaning out my locker…”
Once he explained how he came across this note, he was about to read it to us, but Lisa walked over to him and whispered in his ear.
Then they were gone.
I gasped. In one moment, both Tommy and Lisa had disappeared! Just like Vernon and that girl did at the musical! I hurried over to Tommy’s seat, and tried to find any evidence to help us find out what happened. (Of course, I was the only one looking for evidence, so everybody probably thought I’d gone insane or something). But then…get this…I found something.
“The Wishing Skittles??” Harvey whined. “Oh, great…So that’s how all of this happened.”
I stared at the colorful candies in my palm. A little while back, Harvey had found out that there were recalled Skittle boxes on sale at a local Qwikpick. The problem was, these Skittles were made in a candy factory that was next-door to a wishing well manufacturer. Some sort of accident happened, and bada-boom: You wish for something, pop a Skittle in your mouth, and your wish comes true. The more Skittles you eat, the bigger the wish. At least, that’s my best guess.
“So…Lisa did this?” Mike said. “I mean, we KNOW it wasn’t Tommy, and Vernon’s note said he was working together with a girl who felt like he did about McQuarrie’s bullies and unfairness…That sounds like Lisa.”
I closed my hand over the Skittles a couple times, getting the colorful stuff all over me. But I didn’t care. It was time for me to make my wish and help my friends.
“I wish that…” I was interrupted by Harvey, who was trying to take the Skittles from me.
“No,” Harvey said. “I can make a BETTER wish! Let me do it!”
“No way!” I said. I felt like a little kid, fighting over candy.
Finally, Harvey slipped, and the Skittles went flying into the air. I was so exasperated that I said, “Dang it, Harvey! Sometimes I wish you never even went to McQuarrie—!!”
I stopped myself, but it was too late. The Skittles fell into my mouth. I couldn’t help but swallow them. Harvey was gone, and I’d wasted my only chance to help out my friends.
Once again, I braced myself for something weird. But when I opened my eyes, we weren’t dematerialized or anything. We were just in a garage, by the looks of it. Spare tires, old boxes, and mountain bikes littered the ground. I stood up, and faced Lisa.
“Lisa,” I said. “This just isn’t right. Please, just stop. This isn’t you!”
“How would you know?” Her voice quivered. “You guys never hung out with me long enough to notice.”
“Hey, look, I might not know you too well, but we have had you in our case files! And we’ve actually helped you, from time to time!”
“Oh, you mean like ‘The Body Odor in Wonderland?’ Yeah, THAT wasn’t offensive at all.”
“How do you…? We never showed Lisa our case files. She shouldn’t know about anything we wrote. (Not that we tried to be offensive or anything; we were just being honest).
“Dwight told me,” she said. “It was after the D.C. field trip, we were just about to drive home on the bus, when we made our way past a few homeless people. There was a sweet old lady amongst them, who had put down her little change cup and was helping comfort a young lady, who I guess was only recently homeless. I was touched, y’know? So I put a couple dollars in the elderly woman’s cup, when I overheard somebody – probably Kurt – telling his friends, ‘Oh, look! She’s bonding with her own kind!’
“Even though I would have been honored to be related to that nice lady, I was still really hurt by what he’d said, so I went over to Dwight/Fruitigami Yoda for advice, regardless of Origami Yoda’s secret. I didn’t really care if he was real or not real by then. This was my first time asking him for advice, remember. And he just told me to look in the case files. But as I started reading them, I, um…” Her voice cracked. “I saw just what people were saying about me. That I was a smelly, greasy, ugly mess.”
Lisa pointed her finger over to Vernon, who was digging in a big pile of papers. “But Vernon…he cared about me. Appreciated me. Loved me. And that’s something I hadn’t had in a long, long time. We would hang out at the QwikPick, we’d read together in the library, and some nights, we would just talk and talk, for hours and hours on end. It was magical.”
I glanced over at Vernon. He was trying to hide the fact that he was blushing shyly. Lisa gave him a peck on the cheek. “He offered to take away the bullies. To help me and people like me, and fight against the cruelty and unfairness of our community. So he and I searched and searched for something to help us – the Wishing Skittles – and I wished to change our entire timeline, so that every student and teacher at McQuarrie Middle School, besides me and Vernon, would forget that the field trip even happened. Boy, we know so many secrets now, Vernon and I….”
I raised an eyebrow. “Wait, what did you mean…about Origami Yoda’s secret?”
“We know the truth, Tommy,” she said. “The very answer you’ve been wanting to know about Origami Yoda for the past three years of your life. All this time, it’s been right in front of you. Can’t you see that?”
“Well, then…What is it?” My heart was pounding like crazy. If they really did know Yoda’s secret….
“I’m not gonna tell you,” Lisa smiled. “That is, unless you help us.”
I sat down, bewildered.
“I can feel your curiosity burning,” Lisa said. “It gives you focus. Makes you stronger. With your skills and our genius, we would be an unbeatable team.”
I admit, I thought about it. The offer was really, REALLY tempting. But I guess this was, as Origami Yoda might put it, my great Jedi trial. Which would I choose: the secret I’ve been after from the get-go, or the friends who I’ve made while on that journey?”
The Search for Tommy
Kellen got Mr. Howell to lend him the loudspeaker, and he called together the entirety of the former Origami Rebel Alliance. When we made our way to Mr. Howell’s office, Kellen was waiting there for us. Everybody was there.
“First things first,” Kellen said. “I will take Jack, Connor, Rebekah, and Nico to investigate how all of this happened, so we can find a way to stop Lisa.”
“Then,” he continued. “I’ll need Mike, Arnold, Quavondo, and Lance to put together this case file. Write down anything you can find, collect the other students’ chapters, and make comments on each one when you can. Good luck.”
I started getting nervous. As Kellen kept giving out tasks, more and more students started exiting the room, leaving only one person besides me who wasn’t assigned to anything yet.
“And finally, the most important job of all…” Kellen started. “Sara, you will be heading the search for Tommy with Jacob.”
I gulped. Jacob and I had a weird relationship. He was always really sweet to me, but sometimes he was acting TOO sweet. He’d write me a sweet card filled with poetry, or get me flowers for the talent show, or other yucky-blucky romance stuff that would actually be sweet if I weren’t already in a relationship with Tommy. (Well, a relationship of sorts… He won’t let anybody – Tater Tot, Chippy, Jacob – get in the way of anything we’re doing together. Anytime one of those guys even talk to me, Tommy starts freaking out. It’s really getting annoying. But here we were, me and Jacob, going out of the school to save him. Go figure.
Jacob glanced over at me. He looked pretty nervous. Maybe he felt the same way. Both of us were awkwardly being shy and avoiding each other, until Kellen told us where to start our search for Tommy.
“Okay guys,” he said. “Our only lead to finding the Wishing Skittles is where they were the first time. The Qwikpick.”
“Kellen,” I said. “Jack wished away all of the skittles there, remember? They all went to Harvey. Why can’t we just go ask him for some skittles?”
“Umm…Harvey’s a bit pre-occupied right now.”
“Whatever. I guess we could always go back to the Qwikpick. Maybe we missed a clue there the first time. Ready, Jacob?”
A little while later, (and after an embarrassing attempt to convince my mother that I wasn’t “cheating” on Tommy), we made our way to the Qwikpick.
The good news: they were selling pork rinds again. Good for Dwight and Quavondo.
The bad news: no skittles.
I walked over to where the candy should be, and all that was left was a sign that said, Warning: Do not eat! These Skittles are being recalled by the Lucas County Board of Sanitation, for reasons concerning their factory’s neighboring building, which manufactures wishing wells.
I smiled. “That’s it!”
“What?” Jacob asked.
“We have to go straight to the candy factory! They must have some answers for us; and probably some boxes of recalled skittles, too! We can find Tommy easily if we use those!”
“Sara, you’re a genius.” Jacob said quietly.
I kissed him on the cheek. “So are you, Jacob. An evil genius, maybe. But definitely a genius.”
Jacob laughed. He didn’t seem as shy anymore. “Well, then, let’s go fulfill our evil plans! MWA-HA-HA!”
We both practiced our evil laughs together in the car, until my mom pulled up at the skittles factory. We both got out, laughing for real. We stopped.
Everything was dark and gloomy. Nothing like we’d expected a skittles factory to be like. But the neighboring building did have a ‘25% off your next wishing well!’ sign. We walked up to the doors of the skittles factory, and opened the doors. A big, gruff, tall man was standing there.
“Hello,” he said. “Please state your purpose here.”
“Oh, um,” My voice was shaking a little bit. “We were just at the local Qwikpick, and they had a sign saying that all the skittles had been recalled–!!”
The man interrupted me with a shriek like a little girl. He ran into the factory, horrified.
“Uhh…” Jacob said. “Maybe we should try talking to the people at the wishing well place. They might have a good lead for us.”
As we got closer to the factory, we noticed that it was actually very beat down and old. That sign I had seen a little bit ago actually looked really old up close. I tried touching it, and some of it peeled away in my hand.
“Sara,” Jacob said. I walked over to him. He was peeking through a window. I glanced in. There were no lights inside, and the inside space was void of any wishing wells or employees.
“This place is abandoned,” Jacob said. “How in the world could this have happened so fast?”
“Probably because somebody wished for it,” I said. My mood felt as grim as this place. “Let’s just go. Kellen will understand.”
“But Sara,” Jacob put his arm in front of me. “This is about finding your boyfriend. It’s important. If you wanna go back, then go. But I’m staying.”
I wondered how Jacob acted around other people. From the case files I’ve read – Emperor Papertine, Origami Jedi Council, etc. – Jacob was much less open about his emotions. He had a much darker character around them. So, why was he always so incredibly sweet around me?
“Jake,” I voiced my thoughts. “This doesn’t make any sense. Look, I really think you’re sweet, but I’m pretty sure you don’t act like this around anyone else. Why are you robbing everybody of all the awesomeness Jacob Minch can give them?”
“Sara!” He avoided my question, running over to a closed-off area outside of the factory. It had yellow police tape all around it. A wishing well.
“I…I think we found it,” Jacob held up a handful of skittles that had just sprouted out from the well. This thing was filled with skittles instead of water!
“Quick! Wish for us to find Tommy!” I cried.
Jacob turned around, skittles in hand, to face me. His frown turned into a smile. “No.”
I ran towards him, but it was too late. He had already swallowed the skittles.
Mike’s Comment: Um, this is great writing Sara, but who’s Jacob?
Quavondo’s Comment: Yeah…I thought we sent James Suervo with you, or somebody.
Lance’s Comment (via text message to Sara): I think you’d better come back to the school. You might wanna see the nurse about that… I don’t remember any “Jacob Minch” ever being a student here.
The Evidence (and Case Files) Elude Us
By Kellen (without a recording thingy, this time)
After sending Sara away to find Tommy, I went to Principal Howell. (And yes, that means I’m VERY desperate!)
“Mr. Howell?” I said. He was sitting in his chair, messing around with Jabba the Puppet. He didn’t have anything left to do, this past week. The paperwork was filled out, and the students all took the matter of the school’s money very seriously.
“What is it, Kellen?” Howell asked.
“Well, um…” I gulped. “Tommy, Lisa, and Vernon are missing, and we’re trying to find them.”
“Kellen…” Howell said, slowly. “…Does this have anything to do with the skittles?”
“What??” My eyes got wide. “But, how did you know?”
“I was helping to clean up after the musical a few weeks ago. I found a couple skittles. I thought maybe that was what the bounty hunter girl used to make herself disappear. But I wanted to keep the skittles here, just in case you kids needed them.” He reached into his desk, and pulled out a zip-lock baggie with a few skittles in it. He handed it to me.
I smiled. “Thanks, Mr. Howell!”
“Good luck,” he nodded solemnly. “And may the Force be with you.”
I saluted him, and he saluted back. Kinda awkward, but hey, at least Mr. Howell and I were finally finished being sworn enemies. He’s a good man, and – don’t put this in the case file, Mike – I really respect him a lot more now.
I walked over to the school nurse’s office. Sara was in there now, but she seemed perfectly fine. The nurse said it was strictly protocol, but Sara wouldn’t have it. Finally, she burst out of the room, knocking me over.
“Oh! Sorry, Kellen!” she said. She helped me up. “So…you don’t remember Jacob either?”
“Who?” I looked at her blankly. I feel bad for her, but I really think she must’ve accidentally inhaled a magic skittle or something.
“Sara,” I said. “Are you sure you didn’t just make Jacob up? Maybe you felt lonely without Tommy, so you…uh…”
Sara’s jaw dropped. “Heck no, Campbell! That is NOT what I was saying, and that’s NOT what happened! Just listen to me! Jacob must’ve, I don’t know…. Maybe he wished…um….”
“Eaten the Wishing Skittles, he had…” Origami Yoda said, ominously. Dwight came over to us, looking really bad. Ever since he’d heard the news about McQuarrie closing, he’d been acting completely down in the dumps. If his mom sent him to another school that thought he was “special,” then Dwight might seriously lose it.
Anyway, Origami Yoda spoke clearly. “Clouded, this boy’s past is. Jacob Minch, real he is.”
Kellen glared at Yoda. “Are you sure? Because I think I’d remember forgetting somebody…”
“Forgotten things already, you have,” Yoda murmured. “The field trip to D.C., remember it do you?”
I stopped. That’s what Tommy got so freaked out about.
“You must learn what you have unlearned…” Origami Yoda said. “Think!”
I tried thinking as hard as I could. What had happened in D.C.? It wasn’t normal. At McQuarrie, things were NEVER normal…
“I remember…” I struggled. “A fruit roll-up…Johnny Appleseed…a pickle…and…Harvey.”
“Very good! Very good!” Yoda praised. Then he coughed – Yoda, not Dwight. “Now, harder you must think. The boy. Jacob Minch. Remember him you must.”
I thought harder, trying to remember. My brain felt like it does after I look at an optical illusion or I watch a 3-D movie for too long. All weird and fuzzy.
“There was a…vote…a class presidential vote. And…a shredder. A sparkler… There is another school… and…. The Emperor! THE EMPEROR!!!” I said.
Finally, it all came back to me. Jacob, D.C., everything. Emperor Pickletine and Emperor Papertine. The two puppets jogged my memory.
“Yoda,” I said. How do we get everybody to remember all of this?”
“Know the truth now, you do,” Yoda said sadly. “Still want my advice, do you?”
“Oh, because of your secret? No way, man! I’m not dissing you! Real or fake, Origami Yoda still gives stooktastic advice! Now…what do we do?”
“Nothing,” Yoda said. “Nothing we can do.”
“Huh?” I said. Then I remembered what Quavondo said. “Oh! You mean like, you say we should do nothing, but really we’re supposed to do something?”
“No,” Yoda shook his tiny paper head. “Nothing I mean.”
I stared at him, dumbfounded. “…Yoda?”
“Sick I have become,” Yoda said. “Old and weak. When the school you’ve fought for closes its doors, feel so good you will not, hrrm?”
“Yoda, please,” I said. “Mr. Howell gave me some skittles. I can go save Tommy now, right?”
“Not there are the skittles,” Yoda said. I checked my pocket. They were gone.
“What?” I cried, looking all around me for them.
“Wished them away, Jacob did,” Yoda coughed. “All of the skittles he wants.”
I stopped searching and slumped to the ground. “Well…now what?”
“A New Hope, we need,” Yoda said. “Only then will the prophecy be fulfilled.”
I pulled out Luke SkyFolder from my pocket. I felt more than ready to fight back against Jacob, but I was worried about what Origami Yoda would say next.
“Noah,” Yoda said. “You must confront Noah again. Help his brother, he must. The Chosen One, he still is…”
“Uhh…okay,” I said. “Twice the Skyfolder, double the fall.”
Dwight began walking away mid-conversation. Origami Yoda had turned away, too. I guess I was on my own, so I called up Noah and told him about the situation with Jacob.
“Oh no,” Noah said. “I know what he did and why he did it. Meet me at the pizza parlor when the school lets out.”
“Sure man.” As I hung up the phone, I heard Howell talking over the loudspeaker.
“Attention McQuarrie students,” he boomed. “Due to the fact that most of our school supplies were severely damaged by the water sprinkler incident, and that some supplies were sold to raise some money for the school, I’ve come to the decision that McQuarrie’s time for learning is over.”
I noticed Ms. Rabbski was taking down our “McQuarrie Students are the best in the Galaxy,” and was replacing it with a new banner.
“Students of Ralph McQuarrie Middle School,” Howell sounded a little less grumpy than usual. “Our final week is going to be a celebration!!”
The new banner fluttered open. It said, “YUB NUB!” and it had a bunch of Remi’s origami Ewoks taped to it.
Mr. Howell actually sounded kinda happy. “Drop your textbooks, put down your pencils, and enjoy the ice cream we bought thanks to Kellen’s fundraiser. It’s time to enjoy the time we’ve had at this school, and it’s time to have a party!”
It was my greatest dream come true. First the food. Rocky Road ice cream—my favorite—was being served alongside REAL pizza, and sticky notes were on both the ice cream containers and pizza boxes, which said, “Compliments of Kellen.” Rhondella and Remi read the sticky note simultaneously, and they both literally tackled me with hugs. Then Remi started pulling Rhondella’s hair. Two girls were actually fighting over me!!
Then, the Yub Nub song started playing over the loudspeaker. And best of all, Rabbski told us that since McQuarrie’s building is going to be remodeled for some new school, they’re going to re-paint all the walls, WHICH MEANS….
“Also a reminder for any future artists in the crowd,” Rabbski smiled in my direction. It kinda made me feel awkward, seeing her smile. But I knew what she was about to say next, so I didn’t mind. “You are free to pull out your markers, pencils, pens, and crayons, and doodle all over the walls of the school. And THIS time, it’s completely allowed! Enjoy!”
This would’ve been the best day ever for me. I could doodle all over the school, everybody loved me and appreciated my artistry…. But I couldn’t stay any longer. Tommy needed me.
I went to Dom and Billy’s Pizza Parlor, and sat down across from Noah. He looked different than usual. Older. His dark hair was cut unusually short, and though I couldn’t place it at first, I noticed that his eyes looked slightly sadder. It threw me off a little bit, so Noah decided to start talking first.
“I know what Jacob’s doing,” Noah jumped straight into our topic of discussion. He seemed much more focused lately than I’d ever seen him. “Now that he has the Wishing Skittles, Jacob is making a bunch of wishes that essentially cause everybody he’s ever met to forget all about him and anything bad he’s done. I think he’s trying to redeem himself, but he wants a clean slate first.”
“Okay, I may not be very religious,” I said. “But I’m pretty sure salvation doesn’t come from skittles. Jacob’s making a huge mistake, but it sounds like he thinks this is what’s best for him.”
“Agreed,” Noah said. “But I think that makes our next tactic even harder.”
Noah gulped. “Getting the skittles away from him.”
Mike’s Comment: BEST. DAY. EVER!!!
Lance’s Comment: I’d hafta agree with Mike! Jack and I hung out in the library, and we got to yell and run around as much as we wanted!! Plus Jack GAVE me his Origami Boba Fett! (Which I realized, oh my goodness, it’s the one Tony made! The one I pretended to use against you guys? Now I still get my Boba puppet, without being a bad guy! Sweet!
Quavondo’s Comment: THEY HAD PEPPERONI PIZZA!!!! REAL MEAT!!!
Things Get Weird
Just as I was about to either accept or deny their offer, Lisa and Vernon’s skittles disappeared.
“What?” Lisa said.
“That was probably Jacob…” Vernon said. “I’ve got this.”
Vernon began walking out of the garage area. I called to him.
“Vernon! Wait!” I said. “Why are you still listening to her? She’s just using you!”
“Uh, because I love her?” Vernon rolled his eyes and walked away.
“Thomas,” Lisa said. “Have you thought about our offer?”
I had. But the funny thing was, the choice wasn’t that hard at all. I mean, sure I’d LIKE to know what makes Origami Yoda tick, but without my friends at the school, none of this would’ve even happened.
“I guess Vernon and I do have something in common,” I told Lisa. “We both love our friends. The answer is no.”
Lisa smiled. “So be it.”
Jacob’s Secrets (which can’t actually go in the case file)
By Noah and Kellen
I got my mom to drive Kellen over with us to my house. We sat on my bed—the upper bunk of me and Jacob’s bunk-bed—and waited for Jacob to get home. Even though my family didn’t remember Jacob, I guess because I was the Chosen One, I DID remember. Or maybe that’s because Jacob hasn’t erased my memories of him yet. But why—??
“Why would I wait to erase your memories?” Jacob hopped in through our window. I hate it when he uses his twin-telepathy stuff against me. “Because I need your help, Noah.”
“Jacob,” Kellen said. “We can help you out! We won’t tell anybody about your past, but can you please explain for us why you want to hide your past so much?”
Jacob glared at me, bewildered. “I…erased your memory already.”
“Origami Yoda,” I smiled.
Noah whispered something in Jacob’s ear. Jacob looked hurt and angry with whatever Noah said, so they started having some sort of whispering argument. Finally, Jacob nodded.
“Alright, look, I’ll tell you,” he said. “The truth is…”
He tried to pop a skittle in his mouth before continuing, but Noah swatted it out of his hand, and into my lap.
I picked up the skittle. “Y’know what? If you won’t tell me why you’re acting like this… Then maybe you can show me.” I chewed down on the skittle, and thought a wish to myself.
I wish I could know Jacob’s secrets.
Suddenly, I felt like I was watching a movie. A really old black-and-white type movie, too. I saw glimpses of a much younger, elementary school-aged Jacob.
“Mom, I don’t wanna go,” little Jacob said.
His mother—who looked NOTHING like Mrs. Minch—looked at him, misty-eyed. “I know. But please, Jacob. Do this for us. Do this for your dad.”
Jacob swallowed. “I wish he were here right now.”
“Believe me, honey,” his mom choked back tears. “I feel the same way.”
“Promise me you’ll be here to pick me up?” Jacob said.
“4:00 sharp,” she smiled.
“No really…promise,” Jacob’s voice sounded hoarse. “Dad never promised, and look what happened to him.”
“Don’t you—!” Jacob’s mom started. Then, with a shaky breath, she continued calmly. “I promise.”
Jacob ran into his classroom. His mother sighed.
The next image I saw was from maybe a couple years after that. Jacob was sitting at a bench next to…oh my gosh. Dwight. The two of them were outside of a movie theater, which was showing Revenge of the Sith.
“Hey,” Jacob said. “Did you like the movie?”
“Brown,” Dwight said, but I knew that was probably Dwight-ish for “yes.”
They kept talking about the movie. I admit, I was bored. A couple seven year-old kids chatting about Star Wars can only be so entertaining. I glanced at the clock ahead of them. It was 2:30. Jacob and Dwight looked just as tired and bored as I was.
“I tried making something to fit the mood and feel of the movie,” Jacob said. “How about Emperor Palpatine?”
Dwight nodded vaguely, in reply to my Palpatine idea.
It took about 15 minutes, watching Jacob working in the hot summer sun, until he finally thought that he’d got it nailed.
“Dude,” Jacob cried. “I did it!”
He held up his origami Darth Sidious for Dwight to see. Dwight nodded again, which must’ve meant he liked it.
“There’s something. . . off about it, though,” Jacob said, studying it’s hood. The fold was somewhat lopsided, and it just didn’t look the way it did when Jacob reached middle school.
“Here,” Dwight said, reaching over to Jacob, and taking the origami Emperor.
“Hey! That’s mine!” Jacob said.
“But you said that something wasn’t right,” Dwight said. He had made an origami General Grievous as well, which was on his other hand.
Jacob must’ve been a very unstable little boy. With a sudden lunge, hd attempted to pull the paper—the Emperor and Grievous—from Dwight’s grip.
“Give it back! It’s mine!” He said, fighting with Dwight, until they had both fallen off of the bench they were sitting on, and landed on the hard gravel ground. Dwight was fine, but Jacob was holding his head and screaming.
Dwight, on the other hand, was sitting back up on the bench, ruining all Jacob’s hard work on his origami Emperor, and practically re-folding a new version instead.
“Introducing. . . EMPEROR PAPERTINE!!!” Dwight said.
“You big jerk!” Jacob said, maybe a little too harshly. “I HATE you!”
You know how kids just kinda say stuff like “I hate you,” when they really don’t mean it? I’m pretty sure that was the case with Jacob, but Dwight didn’t realize that. He stopped instantly. His features were now blank, showing no emotion.
“Brown,” he said. This time, I could tell he meant, “no.”
He ran back to his mom, who was approaching them with posters, ready to hand them to Dwight.
“Mom!” Dwight said. “Jacob pushed me off the bench, and said he hates me!”
“Jacob! Is this true?!” Dwight’s mom said. Her voice sounded all angry-ish, like when she told off the school board last year.
“Well, yes, but—” Jacob started, probably about to tell her about what Dwught had done, but Mrs. Tharp interrupted him.
“C’mon. We’re going home now. Jacob, I’ll call your mom to pick you up.”
She took both posters, and lead Dwight to the car. She slammed the car door hard, and walked back over to me, her cheeks red with anger.
“I’m calling your mom now,” Mrs. Tharp said to Jacob. “So don’t go anywhere while I call.” She dialed the number.
“Hello, Mrs. Cornelius?” she said. “This is Dwight’s mom.”
The person on the other line was NOT Jacob’s mom. Whoever it was, he had a deep voice, and sounded sad.
“Oh…oh my gosh,” Mrs. Tharp sat down on the bench. “Okay, sure. Of course. Bye.”
She faced Jacob. His innocent features looked upset from hitting his head, but he was still a good kid. He was still Jacob.
Mrs. Tharp’s voice cracked. “Your mother…”
Jacob’s eyes narrowed. He sat down on the bench next to her.
“What is it?” Jacob said. “Y’know, she promised she’d take me out for ice cream later. We’re gonna have rocky road with sprinkles.”
Dwight’s mom put her hand to her mouth, and started crying. “Jacob, your mother had an…an accident.”
She continued speaking, and Jacob’s horrified scream carried me into the next scene. It was more of a montage, with Jacob being at all sorts of different houses with different people, making big fussy messes everywhere and yelling and throwing temper tantrums. I felt bad for him.
The next scene was really weird, because it was obviously at Jacob’s house—the one I was in—but it was painted in very dull colors. Gray adornments and baize flooring didn’t help either. A slightly younger Mr. and Mrs. Minch—who I’d seen a few times before, from when they’d pick up Noah from my house—stood with a younger Adam Minch, Jacob and Noah’s other brother. There was a knocking on the door, and Adam bolted over to the door.
“He’s here! He’s here!” Adam said, leaping joyfully over to the door. He opened it up wide, and a big old lady was standing there with some papers in hand, with a 9 year-old Jacob cowering behind her.
Everybody got really quiet for a moment. Adam looked concerned for Jacob. “Hey?” He walked over to Jacob and reached out his hand. “We’re gonna be brothers, y’know? You’re a Minch now.”
Jacob took Adam’s hand, and was pulled inside. A gleeful Adam ran up the stairwell, motioning for Jacob. “C’mon, bro! I’ll show you my new action figures!”
Jacob paused for a few moments. “…Action figures? What kind of action figures?”
“Star Wars!” Adam said. Then he got quiet. “Please tell me you like Star Wars….”
Jacob’s eyes lit up. “Like it?? I LOVE it!!!” He ran upstairs, to play with Adam. They were happy and laughing together.
Finally, the vision-thingies stopped. I was back in Jacob and Noah’s room. Jacob’s expression was blank.
“You…you never told me about the tantrums before,” Noah said shakily. “Jake… I’m so sorry.”
“I was different then,” Jacob said. “My birth dad, Johnny Cornelius, had been on a business trip in the winter. Somehow, the plane’s engine froze from inside—a freak accident—and it left me and my mom in a really rough state. We both had a tough time getting through it, but my mom finally got me into kindergarten again. It was there that I met Dwight. You saw how that turned out.”
“It looked like you had a concussion or something,” I said.
Jacob nodded. “Yeah…that, and my mom getting mostly paralyzed in a car wreck at the same time, kinda fueled some of my, um…issues towards Dwight.”
I nodded. “It’s okay, man. I wouldn’t be feeling so friendly at that point either.”
“My mom obviously couldn’t take care of me from that point onward, so I became a foster child. I traded in my birth-name Cornelius, and began taking on a bunch of other names. A few of those houses actually seemed nice, but the people were pretty nasty people. They were probably only in the foster system for the money. One time, with the Collins foster family, my foster sister Savannah even begged her parents to get rid of me. Adam and the Minch family were the first people who really cared about me, and I just couldn’t stay away from them. They’re my real family.”
“I’m adopted too,” Noah said. “I just… I didn’t wanna bring it up at first. I guess Jacob and I both felt a little embarrassed by it.”
“Why?” I asked. “Why was Jacob hiding that? What does that have to do with getting kicked out of Williams Middle School? Why is that your big secret??”
“I’m not from America,” Jacob said. “I’m not legally an official American citizen yet, either. My parents started off as immigrants. When they came here, they had no idea about needing passports or filling out paperwork or anything like that. By the time they found out, I was born, and they kept their heritage a secret, because they were afraid we could be kicked out of the state. It’s all crazy red-tape stuff anyway, but the general gist is, I’m not legally allowed in any middle schools right now. I tried to keep it a secret from McQuarrie, but the Principal found out, and showed me grace. I got to stay at McQuarrie. Of course, then I found out that Dwight was going there….” He trailed off.
“But you guys are friends again, now, so it’s all cool, right?” I said.
Jacob nodded, and laughed. “What am I doing? I love it here.” He handed me all the skittles he had—which were in a big paper bag—and took one last handful of skittles from the bunch.
“Here goes nothing,” Jacob said. He chomped on the skittles. Nothing changed, from what I could tell.
“Uhh…” I said. “What did that do?”
“Everybody remembers me now,” Jacob said. “Now, if you don’t mind, I have some last-minute homework for Ms. Bauer’s class.”
“Um… There ISN’T a Ms. Bauer class anymore,” I said. “It’s Yub Nub week.”
Jacob nodded. “Don’t worry, this homework is different.”
Noah stayed behind, and sat down with Jacob. With McQuarrie closing down, I could only guess what that homework was. Jacob was finally going to tell the truth. But I had a good feeling about it.
I wasn’t going to put Jacob’s secrets in the case file, so I just ended up putting that in my own personal secret case file. If I knew one thing for sure, it was that Jacob Minch was going to be just fine.
Visit From A Bounty Hunter
A couple minutes after Kellen left, Jacob finished writing his paper for Ms. Bauer. She used to be a foster care worker before joining in the school, and I guess Jacob knew her from a few years ago.
“Well then,” Jacob said. “Wanna go hang with Francesca at the movies? I called her up, and she said she’d love to chill with you.”
My eyes lit up. “Really?? Thanks, man! But what’ll you do while I do that?”
“I, um…” Jacob paused. “I have other plans.”
I eyed him, curiously. “Do YOU have a date for tonight?”
Jacob got a shy smirk. “…Maybe.”
I hopped on my bike, and made my way to the theater in about five minutes. Francesca walked in a few minutes later. We had a great time watching Parasite Within III (which was only PG-13 and was just as cheesy as the first one), and Frankie gave me a hug before getting into her mom’s car.
By the time I had pedaled home, it was dark out. I walked into my room. The light wasn’t on, so I assumed Jacob wasn’t home yet, but when I turned on the light, there was Vernon.
“Where are the skittles?” he said.
I merely looked at him, shocked. “Dude, I seriously don’t think coming into the house uninvited is legal.”
“I’ve done worse, you know that,” he smirked. “Now, the skittles…?”
I smiled at him. “We don’t have them.”
Vernon’s eyes widened. “What?”
“Someone else has them. ALL of them. I assume that includes yours and Lisa’s?”
Vernon looked furious. “Please, man?? I really need them. Lisa will be furious if I don’t get them to her. I’m not trying to be bad. i just wanna make her happy. Please?”
“Sorry, Vernon,” I said. “But there’s gotta be some other way to make her happy that doesn’t involve harming the school any more than you already have.”
He fumed out of my room, and rode away on his bike.
The Final Confrontation
Vernon walked into the garage, empty-handed. No skittles.
“What?” Lisa cried. “Where are they??”
“Sorry,” Vernon said. “The Minch kids gave them to someone else.”
“Oh, that’s just great,” Lisa said, exasperatedly. “Now we’re gonna be stuck for days looking for someone!”
Dwight appeared out of thin air, holding Origami Yoda on his finger. “Found someone you have, hrrm?”
“Dwight!” I said.
From behind him, everyone appeared from out of nowhere. And I mean EVERYBODY. Sara, Kellen, Harvey, Hannah, Lance, Mike, Quavondo, Cassie, Caroline, Jen, Rhondella, Mark, Howell, Rabbski, Tater Tot, Miss Toner, Amy, Mr. Snider, Marcie, Thanh, Mr. GoodCleanFun, Soapy, Zack, Mrs. Calhoun, Mr. Stevens, Murky, Jacob, Remi, Ben, James, the ex-Brat, Mrs. Porterfield, Mrs. Budzinski, Willow, Naomi, Emily, Mr. Randall, Ms. Richards, Haley, Mrs. Hardaway, Brianna, Gemini, Lunchman Jeff, Chad, Mr. Beckerman, Pastor JJ, Grace, McCallie, Ms. Brindie, Ms. Nelson, Kendyll, my brother, Tyler, Neil, Karina, Randy, Megan/Fred, Colby, Kimmy, Heather, Ms. Bauer, JC, James’ Brother, Tater Tot’s friends, Mr. Tolen, Lunchlady Ellen, Brenna, Lilly, Ciarra, Bonnie, Kristen, Pablo, JW, Keril, Francesca/Frankie, Brent, Kym, Roxy Diamond—where’d she come from?—Mr. Hutchinson, Mrs. Doughty, John Oxley, the JV cheerleaders, the Yearbook Rebellion, Coach Ryan, Ms. Bolton, Tyler Campbell, Raina, Melodee, Cranky, Roman, the Girls’ Volleyball Team, Craig, Kurt, Tevon Riley, Adam Minch, Quavondo’s Sister, Cody C., Cody F., Sadie, Hendricks the Bunny (Sadie was holding him), the Patterns Class Rebels, the rest of the Origami Rebel Alliance, Karl Blonsky, Nasty Guy, the School Board, Gizmo’s Voice Actor, the Newspaper Reporter, Tony, Jack, Sven, a short and nerdy seventh grader, a well-dressed and slightly tall seventh grader, our old Principal, Janitor Phil, Connor, Sean, Meghan, Katie, Arnold, Ruth, Dan, Sam, Isabel, Mr. Weinger, Noah, Chuck, Gabe, Brock, Lawrence/Zach & Origami Plo-Koon, Rebekah and her siblings, Nico, Vanessa, Jonah, Robby, Lucas, Ricardo, the shaggy haired kid, Darrell, Harry, Doug, Savannah, Jake Runn, Ryan and the Origami Jedi Student Council, Curtis, Donny, Kyle, Greg, Harold, Mr. MacDonald, Chippy, Chippy’s Aiden, Chippy’s other friend Clarence, Xavier, Mrs. Johnson, Greg Farland, Tanner, Juan, Malcolm, Hansel, a big and gruff tall guy, a homeless old lady and young lady, and pretty much every other student, teacher, ally, or enemy we’d ever faced (not including anybody’s parents), including some kids and adults I’d never remembered meeting before, though I wonder if they were my friends during the D.C. trip…
And finally, Mike ran up to a girl who was standing there.
“…Cyndi?” he said, shakily.
“Um…hi,” she said.
“Why don’t I remember…I should remember…” Mike struggled. He looked at Vanessa and Hannah as well, and watched the three girls all standing side-by-side. He smiled.
“Oh yeahhh…..” Mike got a HUGE smile on his face. “I have THREE chicks who dig me!! YES!!!”
While Mike was busy trying to figure out which girl to ask out, everybody else was standing behind Dwight, who held up Origami Yoda.
“Invited into our New Origami Republic, these people were!” Yoda screeched. “All in, they were! Lisa, The End This Is!”
Lisa cowered at the sight of all her friends and teachers staring at her. Kellen tossed her a wishing skittle.
“Lisa, please,” he said. “Make the right choice. All of these people—even who we thought were our enemies—all chose to turn to the Light Side, just because they wanted to help you. We’re your family. We love you. Please wish for this all to be over, and we can have our new beginning, just like the prophecy said!”
“WE LOVE YOU, LISA!!!” The New Origami Republic said. “YOU ARE STOOKY!!!”
Lisa just stared and gaped for two minutes, and then she held up the wishing skittle, ready to pop it into her mouth.
“I’m so sorry, guys,” she said. She ate a skittle, and everybody vanished, except for me, Dwight, and her. Even Vernon was gone.
“Stop,” I said. “Lisa, this is crazy! We’re all sorry if we ever hurt you!”
“Well, you did!” Lisa looked on the verge of tears. “Maybe I should just wish Origami Yoda out of existence. Without him, you guys would always be dorks like me! You’d always be losers like me! We’d all be one big, happy family of weirdos!” She tossed a skittle into the air, and was about to catch it in her mouth before I leapt for it, and caught it in my mouth.
Lisa was running towards me. The first wish that came to my mind: I wish for a Lightsaber. Instead of a REAL Lightsaber, I got one of those plastic Hasbro ones.
Lisa recoiled for a moment, but popped a skittle into her own mouth, and gained a crimson-red toy Lightsaber. She swung her blade at mine, and they clashed. I pushed her backwards, using her own force against her, and she tumbled into a couple bikes, dropping the skittles for a moment. I ran towards them, but Lisa got back up and ran at me, Lightsaber in hand.
Dwight walked over to us, with Yoda on his finger. “Stop this, you must! Not worthy of you is this!” Lisa stopped, and glared at Dwight.
“You,” Lisa growled. “You showed me the case files in the first place. If it weren’t for you and your stupid paperwad, I would never have been in this mess in the first place!”
“That’s not true!” I said. “Dwight wanted to HELP you!”
“Dwight told me about the case files, he hurt my boyfriend, and he made the whole lot of McQuarrie Middle School act like spoiled brats! And I’m sick of it!” She reached into her pocket with the hand opposite her Lightsaber hand, and pulled out an origami puppet. It looked dark and fiery.
“Do you know who I am?” the puppet said, in a growly voice.
“Darth Bane. The ancient Sith Lord, you are,” Origami Yoda said.
Yoda’s Bane. It was Lisa, all along.
“Your case files never told you what happened to Yavada,” Lisa said.
“They told us enough,” I said. “They said that Mrs. Yavada wasn’t real, and she was made up by the Bounty Hunters!”
“No,” Lisa smiled. “I AM YAVADA.”
Lisa swung her Lightsaber, but I deflected it just before it hit Yoda.
“Tommy,” she said. “I don’t know what to do anymore. I can’t go through this. I just wish none of this ever happened.”
“Okay,” I said, quietly. “I’ll wish that you never went to McQuarrie Middle School. Nobody will hurt you. No one will make fun of you.”
Lisa’s eyes lit up. “Please, PLEASE do that.”
I turned around to grab the skittles, dropping my Lightsaber, but it was too late. Dwight was chewing down on them, completely unaware of their magical abilities. All those wishes…wasted. Dwight burped.
I looked at him in horror. What had he done?? I ran at him, and snatched Yoda from him. I held Origami Yoda in my hands. This one piece of paper had caused so much grief for all of us. Sure he had good intentions, but maybe it was time for this whole charade to end. The prophecy said that a new beginning would arise if this happened. Real or not, Origami Yoda had to die.
Lisa put her hand on my shoulder. “It’s okay, Tommy,” she said. “McQuarrie’s closing anyway. I’ll be at a new school soon.”
Dwight reached over to grab Yoda, but my grip was still pretty firm. He tugged, and we both heard a terrible ripping sound.
Origami Yoda was dead.
Dwight said, “Purple.”
I patted him on the back. “Sorry, man. Maybe I can help you fold a new one later.”
For once, Origami Yoda didn’t seem so important to me. Dwight did, though. My friends did. I didn’t need to remember DC. I didn’t need McQuarrie. I didn’t even need Origami Yoda. I needed my friends.
The next day, we all had a huge party for Lisa in the library. She was so thrilled, and nobody was being mean or judging her, and in fact, not even Harvey had anything nasty to say.
Our last few days at McQuarrie Middle School were Total Rockets. We all folded a bunch of origami, made some incredible pretend case files—Origami Yoda Legends, we called them—and Kellen showed us a bunch of SuperDoodling tips!
Origami Yoda wasn’t there. But Dwight was busy folding something else. I couldn’t figure out what it was, but since I heard he and I were both being transferred to the same school next semester, I guess I’d find out soon enough. And the quadruplets were coming with us too! Epic!
Remi and Kellen made up, after Kellen remembered a little something that had happened between them in DC. Rhondella didn’t mind. She was pretty happy going on non-dates with Jacob Minch.
It was the final day. Everyone was partying as usual, but they were taking a lot more time to talk with each other. Connor and Arnold came up to me. They were both going to the same school together, and they wanted to tell me about their monthly “Battles” meet at Winifred Park. I was the first to sign up.
Jack went up to me and told me that his parents decided to enroll him in a private school for the year, and that this was probably goodbye. Everybody, including me, gave him a hug. Jack walked out the doors.
Harvey and Isabel told me that they were both paired up and were gonna go to Roddenberry Middle School together. Harvey was a little worried about it—the name in particular—but Isabel converted an old Sockuss puppet into Mr. Spock puppet from Star Trek.
“Everybody, meet the Spock Puppet!” she said. I wished them the best. Even Harvey, who apparently keeps talking to Isabel about memories of an evil pickle or something.
Dan and Chippy came up to me. “Great news! We just got enrolled into Williams Middle School!”
“Williams?” I said. “Isn’t that…”
“My school?” Noah said. “Yup! In fact, I invited them!”
Williams Middle School, prepare for some Origami Star Wars stookiness!
Dan/Eggbert came up to me, holding an Origami Kanan Jarrus. “Hey, man!” he said. “I’m going to Williams, too! But guess what? I got invited onto the Origami Jedi Student Council!!”
I gave him a high-five. “Epic, man! Good luck!”
“The new and improved SPL is strong with this one,” Eggbert said, as he ran over to Noah and his friends.
I said goodbye to mostly everybody. Kellen was going to a special (and expensive) Walt Disney art school, which was perfect for him. Lance and Amy were just enrolled today into Tolkien Middle School—which is where Noah’s girlfriend Francesca goes! Mike, Quavondo, and Cassie were all going to Vanessa’s new school. Most of the other teachers and students had found different schools to go to, and most of them seemed happy with what they got. Even Lisa, who was now enrolled into Tippett Academy. Apparently, she genuinely liked being *special!* Good for her!
Finally, Sara. She came up to me, and my heart was pounding like crazy. We both knew she was offered to go to Rhondella’s school, so I assumed this would be our goodbye.
“Downey Middle School accepted Rhondella,” Sara said.
“Oh, that’s…great,” I said. I was worried that my voice was cracking. “So, you got accepted too?”
“Yeah,” she said. “They said they’d love to have me.”
I caught my breath. “That’s amazing, Sara. You have a great time.”
“Tommy,” she laughed. “I turned them down, genius.”
I perked up. “What?”
“I’m going to Davison Middle School with you and Dwight!” Sara hugged me.
I could barely contain myself. This was the greatest news ever! Everybody got exactly what they wanted! The perfect happy ending!
“There’s one last thing, though…” Sara said. “Something I’ve been waiting to do since the day we met.”
Sara kneeled in close to me. We kissed.
The toilets exploded. Kellen ran in-between us, holding a screwdriver. Water began flooding the hallways.
“CAMPBELL!!!” Howell howled, also running in-between us.
Just an average day at McQuarrie Middle School.
THE END THIS IS.
Written By SuperFolder JC