BatFold: Novick Detention
Batfold: Novick Detention
Cover by SF Guillermo
By CJ Whogley
Alright, let’s start this over, all the way from the beginning.
My name is CJ Whogley and for the past month and a half, I’ve been the one and only: Oriobin (the name is still in the works.)
I’m your typical rad freshman, so cool… so swole… so amazing. I live in an amazing house with my virtual reality headset and tons- I mean, tons of weight equipment. I lift more than I eat, I promise! I mean, I need these rad pecs to be on the freshman esports team, not because I’m… worried about not finding my Barbara Gordon, Starfire, Huntress or anything…
I also totally don’t keep Oriobin on me at all times, safekept in my binder as I never know when I’ll need him, and my mask is kept in my gym bag.
Before you ask, yes, he’s laminated!
I-I can explain.
So you know how I attend Kane High School, right? Of course you do! You’re my report journal, after all. I write reports here about all the stuff going on at Kane High. Who I’ve taken down and whatnot . Well, I just started typing this. I was told to do said things by Batfold (Shh! Don’t tell anyone that it’s Alan Wade!)
After Alan got suspended because he fought Conrad, whom I can’t help but say is just insane, and made him all bruised and gross looking, I noticed this rise in students with finger puppets popping up around the school. People were claiming that they bought them from certain people, these students – or student, who could fold. They’d write on sheets of paper, along with some money attachment, and a couple hours later a detailed origami puppet would come out.
However, as the popularity spiked, we noticed something new: bullies were commissioning their own puppets too.
It wasn’t even a week after becoming Oriobin when I had my first encounter with one of these such menaces – oh man, they shouldn’t be called menaces… I-I don’t know.
Graham Moocher is just a really awful athlete. He was originally a member of the football team, but due to his grades he was kicked off. After barely scathing by with a D, he wasn’t allowed to join Football, but he was let onto the junior varsity team for wrestling, in which he has won a few games, yet doesn’t get as much recognition as the other wrestlers. This could be because of his scrawny build, yet, if you watch his footage on the KaneHighWrestler Instagram, he can just flip kids over with relative ease.
Alan had set up an instagram for Batfold Requests. Most of the time, it was random people texting him and asking him to come and take a picture with them at lunch, in which they’d get denied, repeatedly, to the point that people were calling the mysterious Batfold a “mean guy who didn’t want to take pictures.” The newspaper labelled him a menace who wrestled a kid and made him all bruised, only to disappear.
In hindsight, it’s a stupid idea to call what Alan did wrestling, because Graham Moocher later showed up with “Bag!”
Wanting to get the attention of the school, Graham commissioned a detailed version of Bane. I was sitting in second lunch when he stood on a table. His scrawny, weak looking body heaved at just standing on a table, finding the balance.
“Batfold! I know you’re with us!” He exclaimed, “Watching, waiting for the next attack. I heard about what you did to that kid, prove to me that you can do the same to the great…” He held up the paper bag with Bane’s features on it. He put his hand into the bag and yelled, “Bag!”
Some girls at the table next to me snickered. The lunchroom erupted into laughter. Out of anger, he picked up a lunch tray with a ton of mexican beef and rice on it, tossing it on the floor. The laughing died when he tossed it.
“Bring… Me… Batfold.”
The guards had turned a blind eye to what was occuring. It was odd, but they thought that Batfold would come too.
But Batfold was suspended, he’s not allowed back here for another two months. A week after, his Oriobin would leave.
Graham picked up a sophomore, holding him by his shirt.
“Batfold, if you don’t show yourself, I swear, I’ll punch him!”
I grabbed the bridge of my nose, sighing as this was the most stupid villain origin I had witnessed. Not only that, but this was the worst first battle I could ask for.
I got up and went to the restroom. It was empty, so I quickly opened my gym bag and I grabbed my mask. It didn’t hide much, it was a superhero mask you could buy at Target for cheap. I opened my binder, taking out Oriobin. I placed him on my finger.
It feels weird to have a finger puppet on when fighting. Alan made me punch a punching bag a few times with it on, but it always fell off.
I’m honestly afraid of punching. I don’t like the thought of punching. Why should these fights be solved with violence? Can’t we talk it out or trip them over, or something? Maybe I’m new to this whole fighting thing.
Y’know, I saw this statistic that out of all of California, Kane High School is one of the worst public schools in the state. It’s absolutely absurd, because seeing Graham push a kid to the floor and walk towards me, I totally don’t see where this statistic came from. That’s sarcasm.
He looked at me, eyeing me up and down.
“You’re not Batfold.” He told me.
“Nope, I’m a good friend of his, though.” Graham laughed, cracking his knuckles.
“Perfect. I’ll send a message, then.”
He slowly started walking towards me, clenching his fist. A group of kids circled us as he picked up a chair, struggling to pick it up with the Bane bag puppet on his hand. Eventually, he got a grasp and he tried tossing it at me.
It wasn’t a hard toss, and I sidestepped the chair. He began dashing at me, but once again, I dodged him.
“You’re like a bull. Come on, man! Think, do you really want to punch me? I should’ve gone to Donner if I knew this would happen.”
“You’re going to wish there was a hospital close by.” He said, walking to me. I held Oriobin, who, while I eyed him up and down, so did the puppet. I noticed a weakness- his legs. He walks wide, making the most space possible.
“Oriobin, I think I know what we need to do, right?” I moved my finger to look at me, as he nodded.
“Freak!” He said, running- or, like, slow motion running at me. I slid underneath him tripping him up. I shoved the chair tossed earlier to him. When he was hit, he fell down.
“Was it that easy?” I asked, walking to him and removing the bag puppet from his hand and putting as much pressure as I could on his back with my leg.
“You,” I pointed at a Freshman I knew, Eric Joplin, “- get the principal.”
As I stood waiting, I examined the bag puppet. It had a sleek, heavily detailed design compared to the other, more simpler puppets I’ve seen around the school.
“You know, I wonder where you got this puppet.” I said.
“If I told you, his business would end.” Graham responded, gritting his teeth as he wiggled.
“So, it’s a man? Good, that narrows my investigation down to half.”
“I-I didn’t even know his name, it just cost me like, 10 bucks. I haggled him, y’know. I said that I wanted it for cheaper, like the other kids that paid money. He told me that I had a vendetta against Batfold – which is true. I mean, bro, he’s Batfold. And like, look around you man. Everyone here loves Batman after what happened between Batfold and the Orijoker.”
“We’ve been the Bats since the 1930s.”
“Well, the popularity only grew. And there’s people that want to get noticed by him, that want to take him down. There’s people that find satisfaction in destroying the puppet and the kid behind it. Where is he if you’re his friend?”
In truth, Alan Wade sat alone in his Library, rereading “Watchmen” for the fifth time and eating Oreo Ice Cream. However, I said:
“He’s among us. He could be me, he could be you. He could be the kid I sent to get the Principal.”
The lunchroom was silent.
“We’re all Batfold.” I said. People began cheering, yelling and screaming with hype.
At that moment, the Principal, Dr. Sampson, walked in. He parted the circle of cheering students as he took out his bag puppet, Cobaggoner Gordon (his name, not mine.)
“Thank you, Foldbin. This student was provoked by something, wasn’t he?” He asked, sighing as he grabbed Graham’s elbow.
“It’s Oriobin- but yeah, he was angry because he wanted to fight Batfold.”
“Gambling in the Hallways, kids shoved in lockers, and now there are more people with puppets of DC villains? What’s next, a Superman finger puppet?”
“I mean, Donner is a mile away. Why don’t they have as many criminals-in-training there?” Cobaggoner asked.
I shrugged. I held up Oriobin.
“It was great working with you, Cobaggoner. Where is he going?”
“Do you remember the Art hallway?”
The Art hallway. No one noticed it, but Kane removed their Art program entirely besides creative writing and a few other writing classes. The hallway was also blocked off by a wall. It was due to asbestos issues – that’s what Alan told me. Asbestos was everywhere- in the paint, on the walls and on the ceiling. Construction started to fix the hallway before the school year began.
“I do remember the art hall.” I said. I was aware of the existence. I’m a freshman.
“Well, forget art, I’m announcing a new purpose for the Novick Art Hallway.” He walked over to the microphone a lunch lady had, grabbing it.
“Some of you are trouble makers. You are roublerousers and disappointments. You yell and fight in the halls, gamble with cards and play with your food. You wear obscene shirts and write violent stories.”
There was a brief moment of hesitation as the Principal went, “So, I am proud, yet also ashamed to announce that students like Graham here will be placed into a new form of ISS: Novick Detention. Terry D’Lunes brought the idea to me, said it was an idea all of you had.”
He walked until the cord on the mic tightened.
“Dangit. Well, you might be asking ‘what is Novick Detention?’ and I come with a response: for the next school year, you will be stuck in a classroom with fellow students that are as bad as you, heavily watched, and, last of all, stopped by Batfold if you cause a mess.”
The chatter started.
“Zip it! Yes, he’s here, just like Foldbin said.”
“It’s Oriobin…” I yelled.
“Whatever. You will have a separate lunch. You will have a uniform. You won’t be let out of our sights and as to prevent you from causing trouble, you’ll be let out an hour earlier.”
The cheers started. A kid tossed a lunch tray at another kid.
“Shoot, I mean later. I forgot how much you brats hate school. Also, you’re now in Novick. Don’t throw food.” The Principal said, pointing with his bag at the student. The kid groaned.
“Also, Oriobin- are you happy I called you that? I’m happy to say you’re going to be protecting Novick as well.”
I froze, looking at him.
“A-Are you serious?” I asked.
“Yes.” He said, only for lunch to end after.
So, I’ve been trapped here for the past three weeks in ISS despite never doing anything wrong. Students have taken note of my disappearance. I told them on Twitter that I went back to my old school for a bit.
I wish Alan was here. He got two envelopes in the mail earlier.
I think Batfold may returrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
A͉ͅͅͅr̦͚̻̪e̥̦̜̩̹̺̤ ̸w̻̱̥̤ẹ͠ ͍̜i͞n̬͈͖͡?͚͇̜̦̯
I ̼͠t̨̳̪͙̖͕̱h̞i͝n̠k̷ ̙͎̰͚̗͜S̖̤̦̻o̭̺͎ͅ.̷̙
Fix the text.
The Presence’s Comment:
Fine. There. Happy?
One would assume.
I don’t understand this, man. A whole new doc? It’s been a month or so.
Listen, he’s starting to question us. I think he’s looking for us. You won’t find us, CJ. Don’t try. It’s not worth it.
I also shared this with Alan. He’s gonna write in this, I think. He returns Monday.
Don’t you have a girlfriend yet or something bro?
The Presence: Zip. It. Anyways, I think what I need to do is copy this and allow us to speak freely elsewhere.
By Guess. It’s Alan Wade, Baby!
There really ain’t no rest for the wicked, is there?
You know what I thought? I thought that one and a half months away from school would do me good. I thought being homeschooled – using Duolingo for Spanish, Workbooks for other classes, and doing homework for so many months as my phone blew up with people requesting for me- would be good. The truth is, I miss it. I miss high school.
Do you know how hard it is to be a social media influencer?
I mean, most messages would be asking to see me. They’re all wanting to get selfies with the Batfold. Some kid made fun of me because there’s apparently some better kid at Donner Private School. Meanwhile, CJ comes home everyday to tell me that there was some other threat, or someone being a dingus. Honestly, I’m beginning to question the entire secret disguise thing, the more CJ complains about it.
He came home yesterday whining about someone in ISS. Apparently there’s some new hallway called Novick Detention and it’s full of bullies, and there’s only been more and more puppets in there. They’re all getting antsy. Each one wants to take me down. Me! I’m Batfold, man! He told me about how in class this kid went “October third, I folded a bird, time to turn Batfold into a nerd!” Only to realize that I was not in that class, in fact, he’s not even a “B” level threat, he’s D-Class. His puppet, made of an old calendar page, was tossed on the ground in frustration. CJ swooped that up and gave it to me as a memento. Captain Underpants themed, nice. I tossed it later that night.
He told me that there’s no one to stop, just a lot of idiots that want to take me down. So, imagine my surprise when I got a letter from Dr. Sampson, begging me to come back?
“Dear Mr. Batfold, or Alan Wade,
I know it’s going to be odd, as your suspension was supposed to last three months, however, after consulting with the council, we’ve realized the error of our ways. We need you back. As Kane’s detention hallway fills, the guards are only getting more and more lazy. We have so many dangers, and it’s odd to say this to you but: Kane needs Batfold. Please return to school through the old Art hallway promptly on Monday.
Thank you! -Dr. Marshall Sampson”
I smiled at CJ, “I can come back!” I told him, “Was there anything else in the mail?”
“Just another one of those pamphlets for next year’s Reynold’s Summer camp.”
I snorted at this, “No, I’m good. Did that in Middle School, not again.”
CJ read through the pamphlet, “Come on, man! Sixth through Twelfth grade? A hundred question personality quiz? Different groups with similar ideas to make lifelong friends? It’s something you could use, Alan. You even get to stay on a college campus!”
“Once again, I’m good.” CJ sighed, posting the pamphlet on my corkboard wall.
“I want you to know that I’m here for you. Are you sure everything is okay?”
“Yes, I am alright. Trust me.”
“It’s just- I know about the poisoning and stuff. Like, that has to be hard on you. Especially knowing he’s still going to Kane while you’re here.”
I sat there in silence for a bit. For the past month, I’ve been able to reflect, and I miss them. I really do. They were the people that made me happy, and it hurts that they’re gone.
But I had no idea that Conrad was still attending Kane. It clicked for me: When Dr. Sampson told me Conrad wasn’t going to be expelled, he really meant that Conrad wasn’t even going to get suspended.
“Hey CJ, can you leave me alone until like, Monday? I need to reflect.” CJ stood up, nodding about my request. He walked out of my room, and I sighed.
The sighs turned into sobs. Everytime I close my eyes, I see him. I see Conrad.
I see him putting stuff in my mom and dad’s soup. I see him smiling and laughing as I punched him in the gym. I held Batfold. I held the only semblance of my reality. Vigilante justice, fighting and stopping bullies in JuteFruce- is that what I really want? To stay secretive? I’m the handsome, astounding, ravishing Alan Wade for pity’s sake. I’m known in this school, yet I have to hide it?
I miss my parents. I thought defeating the person who took them away would make me feel better, but it doesn’t. Heck, the autopsy reports came back and there was no “lily of the valley” residue in there. Did he even do it? I don’t feel much except for confidence- pride in being known as Batfold, pride for kickstarting the best trend known to Kane’s history.
Anyways, I think it’s time for bed. I just thought I should express what I was thinking.
The Presence’s Comment: Nice.
The Source: You just now sent me this doc? Why?
The Presence: Listen, I decided that everytime they make updates, I copy the entire doc and send it here… For us, y’know?
The Hand: Was it because of my “You’ll never find us” comment?
The Presence: Yeah. I deleted it from their doc. You need to be more careful, man.
The Source: Anyways, I’m here!
The Presence: Yes, you are. Welcome, (Redacted!)
The Hand: Are we seriously using all of those “redacted” things again?
The Presence: Yeah?
The Hand: What about Wally?
The Presence: Don’t even talk about him. Anyways, I have a fun idea to welcome Alan back, but we need to talk about it at the meeting this Sunday.
The Source: Could’ve said this in the Skype chat but okay…
The Gang is Back
By the Presence
We sat in my basement, “lofi hip hop radio – beats to relax/study to” played on my Google Home speaker. It had been almost a month since Batfold’s first outing in Kane, and it was all controlled and orchestrated by us.
I just wish our team had four rather than three.
I mean, my brother is upstairs, I could’ve invited him but he’s always in detention. Now, he is attending Novick, so I could have eyes in there, but somehow the Hand also got in there.
It was because I slipped on some pizza and knocked off Amy’s gelato onto the floor.
Right, yeah. Dingus.
The Hand was the first to arrive, he had ordered pizza for all of us as we played Star Wars the Roleplaying game. The Source arrived a bit later.
“Well, the gang is back together, right?” I asked. They all sat in silence. The Hand was folding a finger puppet of… someone. I couldn’t exactly see.
“Dude, it’s not the same without the Voice.” The Hand said as he made another crease.
“Can we forget about him for one moment and talk about the topic at hand?” I yelled. The Hand stopped folding, looking up.
“Is the ‘topic at hand’ me?”
“Yes, Hand, you’re the topic at hand.” I said, pointing at him.
“What do you want me to say? I have loyal customers.”
“But what if one day one of those loyal customers ratted you out?”
“Then I’ll find the strongest of my current loyal customers and send him out to fight him.”
Here’s the deal:
The Hand has become dangerous. He will read this and get mad but it must be said- he’s dangerous. He’s been risking this whole operation. By making constant villains, we’re losing control.
If you don’t remember, Batfold’s last outing involved TWO villains: Conrad Mordecai with Orijoker (Who we didn’t even fold!), and Jessica Zinnia with Poison Foldy. Two! Batfold hasn’t even faced the different puppets that the Hand has made. The Hand has gone against my requests, and has been rolling in the dough because of it. He bought an Oculus Rift during this time because of how much money he’s made.
We were supposed to not interfere. We were supposed to just observe and watch and if people wanted to get a puppet from us, we’d give it to them.
So yeah, of course I’m mad.
“You need to stop this, Hand.”
The Hand sat in silence, thinking. The Source shuffled cards.
“Why don’t we just move on to some other topic, such as what we’re going to do about Alan Wade in Novick?” The Source asked. The Hand glared at me, and then looked at the Source, smiling.
“Yeah, Source. We ought to handle that.” The Hand said.
“Hey- I’m the Presence here. You’re the Hand. You haven’t even made a formal appearance in the comics.”
“He-He has, though.” The Source said.
“And you’re a wall!”
“I am the borders of a comic book for Pete’s sake. Do you even read comics?”
“I do, I just- I don’t know.” I said, “I tell you what, the Hand is right, we ought to talk about Novick. An entire hall, multiple classrooms, all full of delinquents.”
“And I’m stuck in there,” the Hand mumbled, “Tony Zazonnie tossed the cat calendar at me. Not only that, but he said next week it would be the Grumpy Cat 2013 calendar! He went ‘mark your calendars, [redACTED]’ as though I had MULTIPLE calendars.” The Hand groaned, putting his head on the table.
“Well, you have the one on your phone. You also have the one on your Alexa… don’t you have a Google Home as well?” I asked, “What’s the point of having both of those? Oh wait, you have Cortana and -”
The Hand shook his hands in frustration, “I get it!” He started to get up.
“Yo, sit, we aren’t done yet.” I told him. The Hand slowly sat back down and huffed.
“So, first things first: Alan Wade will be in Novick Detention, along with CJ Whogley. Is there anyone on the outside protecting the rest of Kane?”
“Besides Wally…” The Source mumbled. A chill shot down my back. Wally had ditched us because he realized he was better than us.
“I see Wally in my classes… we don’t bring him up. Who else?” I said. Everybody sat in silence. Before I could say ‘well?’-
“Emily Sampson.” The Hand said finally. I looked at him.
“She has made a Batgirl puppet.”
“She did what?!”
“Yeah. Didn’t pay me. It looks really good though, something that Alan would make-” Suddenly, the Hand’s mouth opened in shock.
“You… You’re joking, right?” I asked.
“I thought you had made the Batfold puppet.”
“No, I didn’t. Alan was fighting dinguses with a puppet on his finger long before we came into the picture. It’s like that whole mystery of who poisoned the Wades is nothing big anymore.” The Hand mentioned. I sighed. The Hand’s craftsmanship was what made his puppet making so great. I didn’t think that Alan had the same ability. Maybe Working With Paper 101 was not a pointless class.
“… Let’s get back on Novick. So, Emily Sampson apparently has Batgirl. CJ and Alan are in Novick. What’s the big mystery? Should we coordinate a showdown between him and the Orijoker? Conrad?” I asked. The Hand was mumbling something to himself.
“I couldn’t hear you, man.” The Source said.
“It-It’s nothing. I just think it would be boring to have him fight the Joker again. Is there a Two-Face yet? What about a Clayface kid with a 3D printed arm?”
“Those are lame. Let’s get them to somehow fight again.” I told him. The Hand sighed, getting up and starting to head upstairs, “Wait- [redACTED], can you convince Alan to do it?”
The Hand looked at me.
“I’ll put my hands to it.”
The Hand’s Comment: I’m so sorry for that pun. Can you guys just start listening to me more? I have ideas.
The Presence: No.
Novick: Issue One
By Alan Wade
Let’s get one thing out of the way: Novick is not safe. I don’t think anyone could have figured that putting a lot of dangerous students in a locked down hall would be a good idea, but it wasn’t. I think it was to truly save face. It has led kids to being scared out of their minds. I’m in a D-class level, meaning I’m “low risk.” Whatever that means. I’m surrounded by kids that, for example, stole a Pop Tart at lunch.
Instantly it hit me that this probably is a fear tactic. The replacement for our detention. And it made me scared because kids like Madalyn Ford stole scissors from a classmate’s desk and now she’s in this ISS for a week. We’re forced to eat lunch with kids that start food fights, wreck rooms, and shout slurs all because of a few minor things.
Not to say that what I did didn’t deserve punishment. I was upset but yes, I deserved the punishment I received. At least I get to finish my sentence out back in the school I love and not in some online class.
Terry D’Lunes, my old friend, was the one that pulled this stuff. CJ told me that his idea sounded pretty sane, but then when he put it in practice it was to mess with me.
Speaking of CJ, poor guy.
He got placed into B-class. Meaning he’s amongst some high-risk kids. Like, uber-dangerous folk. Conrad is there, for example. And that Bag kid. This poor little pipsqueak that I’ve known most of my life is trapped in there with a wrestler and a murderer.
I would think that I would get some closure, though. I don’t know. This has been a total disaster for my parent’s company, and Conrad’s dad is out of a job because of it. All of this chain of command stuff doesn’t make any sense and I don’t want to think about it. I feel like it’s all one big coincidence.
I refuse to really question that either. I miss them every day, but I guess I have to move on?
Madalyn Ford sat next to me as I pondered this.
“So, why are you in here, Wade?” She asked without looking at me, cutting up her Algebra homework with her long fingernails, “Wasn’t it President Terry D’Lunes’ big plan to bring you back to Kane since you did nothing wrong? Mr. ‘Straight As.’”
I looked at her, “Well, I had a bit of a fight with a student.”
She eventually looked at me. I’ve known Madalyn since the fifth grade, and I never took a moment to look at her deep blue eyes. She was slim, both eyes wide and her face lacked blemishes. Her mouth opened up and while I was caught in how dreamy she appeared, I noticed her mouth “was it Batfold?”
I realized I was in class, and I did a double take.
“Batfold, the Creased Crusader? Everybody here has an issue with him. Dedicated to taking down bullies one at a time. It’s out there, even for my standards. But something about him, that mysteriousness. It’s attractive.”
I kind of smiled at this. Batfold was in my back pocket, and here I was listening to this curly-haired girl talk about how attractive I am right to my face.
“Uh-yeah, I went toe-to-toe with him. Mono e Mono. I won, of course.”
While the teacher taught us stuff I learned at Math Camp, she turned her chair all the way to me.
“Did you? What was he like? Did you see who he was under that balaclava?”
“Yeah, it was my prize for beating him in combat. He was blonde, and had a scar on his right cheek-”
“Yuck. I don’t like him anymore.”
Panic. “Uh, maybe his hair was black. I can’t remember. I think the scar was from me.”
She looked me up and down and said, “So, you? You’re trying to tell me that you’re Batfold?” She laughed and turned back around, “Try a better lie next time, Wade.”
Before I could vouch for myself, she looked briefly at me before filing her nails and said, “You’re a cool cat, though.”
My heart rate started to spike up. I smiled and giggled. The teacher was slow in his lecture, taking fifteen minutes between each slide to talk about FOILing (First Outer Inner Last!) and then would move back to his seat. I don’t think I’ve seen him before. He’s plump, like Hitchcock. His hands remain behind his back at all times, and he always looks upset. While his back was turned, a kid that looked somewhat like me tossed a black, multipage thing at him. The guy tensed up and looked at him. “Anthony Zazonnie!” He yelled. The kid smiled and sat in his chair.
A fit of rage was expelled from the teacher until the bell rang, and it was time for lunch.
To find CJ in this crowd is easy to do. He was the smallest and always the most scared. He shouldn’t be in here. Although we wore our uniforms – the Black polo shirts with the khaki pants, his scrawny self in this sea of trouble is one of the sure-fire ways to spot him.
When he spotted me, his eyes lit up and he yelled, “Alan!” making a b-line out of the pizza line to me, “Alan, this-this place is just a prison, man! It’s a prison! The only people I know to sit with are me, myself, and [redACTED]. ”
“You sit with [redACTED]?”
“Yeah. We hate it here. A full year of this? I mean, I know I leave at the end of the semester but a full year? I can’t handle it. Mentally, this place would see me dead by week five.” CJ looked around and leaned in, “do you have your Batfold puppet? I keep my mask above my pants.”
“Gross. And yes, I do have Batfold. You have Oriobin?”
“He’s laminated and in my back pocket.”
We looked at the large lunchroom. I have never seen it this crowded. Suddenly, I noticed some pushing by the mexican food line.
Madalyn was fighting with Jessica Zinnia. There was some confusion over if that burrito was hers or Jessica’s because they couldn’t tell the difference between Impossible Beef and regular Beef. So this conflict had started between them over who’s it was, leading to hair pulling.
The guards stood and watched. They were probably underpayed and didn’t want to bother with this. [redACTED] walked up to me and mumbled, “I bet Conrad coordinated that switcheroo.”
Conrad was on the other side of the room, waiting for a hamburger. He had a limp now, a permanent one. I had this sneaking suspicion that it was a farce. Like, pity the man! His leg is so torn up he won’t be able to walk right again!
I stared at him. We both locked eyes, yet he seemed to not recognize me.
“No, I don’t think he planned this.” I told [redACTED], “like, this was probably just a mistake. A misunderstanding.”
CJ started to put on his mask and removed his finger puppet, right in front of me and this whole cafeteria.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“I’m going to split the fight.” CJ said as he placed the mask over his eyes. I sighed, leaving the cafeteria to put on the mask and take care of business. When I walked back in, CJ had slid a chair between them. They stood there, frozen. He broke the fighting with the chair, and then Jessica jumped on top to pounce on Madalyn. Taking my puppet out, I dashed in and pushed her off of Madalyn.
“Oh, look, it’s Batfold. How funny, I was just talking about you a couple classes ago.” Madalyn said, cracking a smile.
“Really?” I said, trying to gruff my voice.
“Yeah, do you know Alan Wade?” She asked while kicking Jessica in the chest.
“Yeah, he beat me up once. Listen, don’t kick her! It’s probably just a misunderstanding.”
“That’s what I’m saying!” CJ yelled.
It was in a flurry of motions, CJ was using everything but brute force to separate these two. Trickery, mockery, commentary and slapstick. Eventually, I was of no help and I just took a step back and let him do all the fighting.
By the end of it, the burritos had come out, and everyone was fine. It was a fight for nothing.
We went to a secure spot and removed our masks and placed our puppets away. I looked at him, and, for the first time in a while, I was mad at him.
“Where did you learn to fight like that?” I asked, “You know that the best way to stop this stuff is with brute strength. You don’t need to be all Mr. Spider-man, leaping around and making side commentary. You get the job done.”
CJ stared at me, and then looked away. His nose turned a bit red, “I just wanted to do something cool.”
This didn’t help my anger, “Cool?! Cool? You made a conflict last longer than it needed to.”
CJ rolled his eyes, “Okay.”
“Okay? CJ, what you did wasn’t smart. Tell me you recognize that.”
“Yeah, I do.”
“Alright. Good.” I started to lighten up.
Let me explain my thought process: CJ had extended this cat fight between Madalyn and Jessica into something more than it needed to. We get between commotions to stop them, not drag them out.
While we stood in the hallway, bickering back and forth, a guard approached us and told us to get back into the lunchroom or “face an extension on your time in here.”
Me and CJ didn’t sit together at lunch. I was mad at him, and he looked like a puppy. I just needed time alone from him so we could recoup and face whatever comes next. I sat with Madalyn, who was now all buddy-buddy with Jessica.
“Alan, you missed it!” Madalyn said as I sat down with them. Jessica looked like she had had some weight off of her.
I’ve known Jessica for a few years now, ever since she started dating JC back in seventh grade. It was a steady relationship, I liked Jessica as a friend. After the whole breakup with JC, though, things fell apart. That summer, Conrad stole Jessica’s Lily of the Valley plant and she was so upset over the whole ordeal that she took up “Poison Foldy,” which was Poison Ivy. I took her down back then before fighting Conrad, and she was ruined over it. I don’t know what put her in Novick, exactly, but I bet her environmental club is no longer the same after that.
Jessica’s blonde hair was all in weird tangles, and she had a red mark on her cheek due to the whole fight. I looked at Madalyn, who was basically unscathed. She had this wide smile, “Batfold came to the rescue!”
Jessica snorted, “Rescue? He just broke us up. Besides, it was that Oriobin kid doing all of the work.”
“Yeah, but he mentioned you, Wade. He said you took him down once!”
I smiled and said, “Yeah…”
And, as the conversations continued, a river of words flowed between me and Madalyn. She was snarky, funny but wise. There was this immediate connection. When I left to put my tray up, Jessica went “yuck! Are you crushing on him?” to Madalyn. And, in that moment, I felt ecstatic to be in Novick.
The Presence’s Comment: That’s not how I expected this to happen.
The Hand’s Comment: I told you that getting Conrad to fight was pointless.
The Presence: I don’t care.
Novick: Issue Two
By CJ Whogley
While Alan flirted with Madalyn, I was seething at the reject table that I always sat at. I knew the kids here, Hayden Solomon, Jamie Redfern, Dalton Weeks, and Ashton Mason. They were all rogues that I’ve known before, and have taken down.
Hayden Solomon is a computer whiz. He’s in the highest level math classes, a senior that stayed out of trouble for most of his high school career. A self proclaimed “Statistician Magician,” he figure that using the probability that a lunch number code would work, combined with the chances that a student has at least twenty dollars in their lunch accounts, he would enter in codes and get free lunches. I exposed him after he used my code. Come to find out he was using Alan’s account too, getting ten dollar lunches everyday. He declared himself the Calculator, and his “puppet” is the back of his TI-84, intricately designed by someone that was not him, of a guy in purple with a calculator drawn in the middle and goofy goggles over his eyes.
Jamie Redfern is not your typical troublemaker. He was so hard to figure out because of what he’d do to the teachers at Kane for about three days. Basically, he’d make sure that teachers would leave the classrooms, usually with their computers unlocked, and he’d go in and erase test questions and answers. He took on the name of the Origami Eraser, since his puppet was a Papermate Eraser with a pink suit wrapped around it. I caught him in the act because I walked past Mr. West’s room and saw him on the computer. I knew about the erased test answers, so I put on my mask and took him down.
Dalton Weeks shined laser pointers into a teacher’s eyes. I was in the class when it happened and I had to report it as Oriobin. He called himself the Signalcrease because of it, and he has a puppet made by someone professional. I really can’t vouch for him. He’s not allowed to have any laser pointers on him. But that doesn’t mean he won’t shine flashlights around in classrooms.
Ashton Mason is gentlemanly to a fault. He is constantly kind, and this is because he thought that his niceness would help him get away with quick get-riches-schemes. He’d scam and swindle people. I don’t think he got the memo that most people at this school take on Batman-character personas, as this character is a Hawkman villain, the Gentleman Fold (Gentleman Ghost). Whoever folded the puppet had made complex creases to make a puppet with a little top hat but a missing, clear face. He’s not a bad guy. He’s so nice, but I know it’s for a front. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, though.
We sat at the lunch table all quietly eating. They didn’t know that I took them down weeks prior, and they accepted me into their clique of niche, unknown Batfold villains. Eventually, Ashton spoke up.
“So, CJ, what did you do to get in here?”
Alan told me to lie about this, say that I cheated in math and then was put here. I don’t like that idea.
“I thought I told you guys?”
“No, you didn’t.” Hayden said, “I mean, I have a great memory, and you never told us.”
“Oh, I accidentally lit a tree on fire.” I claimed, “I meant to light a bush, but the tree was the one that was burned. I call myself the Creaserfly.”
“Like… Firefly? Batman’s pyromaniac villain?” Jamie said as he started working on his homework. He used the Eraser to take off some markings he made.
“Yeah! But that Oriobin caught me.” I mentioned, frowning. When I lie, I start to frown.
“That’s such a stupid name. Has he thought of maybe OriRobin?” Dalton asked.
I snorted, “I’m sure he has not.” It’s wild, most of the time these kids would always find a way to start talking about me. And it would always turn to my name.They never speculated who I was, just why my name was like that.
“So, where’s your puppet?” Hayden asked. He looked confused.
“My… puppet?” I started playing the dumb card, “I didn’t know I needed a puppet.”
“So you use a puppet pun name, but you don’t have a puppet?”
“No, I’m sorry. I just don’t know how to fold.”
“Okay… Maybe he should meet-” Hayden started, before moving into a whisper amongst the others. Immediately, Ashton took out his phone and sent a message to someone. Lunch came to an end without much word.
While we walked out, Ashton took my hand and brought me into the restroom. He stood me in front of a door and stood back. Looking through the gap of the stall door, I could barely make out the shape of a mask.
“What do you need?” He asked. In that moment, I realized that I stood in front of what I was looking for: the kid selling the puppets.
My immediate reaction was to try to open the door.
“Hey-hey! Do you always open the door to guys going numero uno?”
The door was locked, “Uh, sorry.”
“I know, I’m just-”
“Jeez! What do you want?” His voice was familiar, almost grating.
“I need a puppet.” I said in a low tone.
“What?! Purple? Speak up!”
“I said ‘I need a puppet!’ I-” I thought for a moment, what’s the passphrase? “I hate Batfold and all he stands for, and I need a puppet to take him down.”
“Tell me who you need a puppet of.”
“From Arkham Origins?” That voice. It was so nasally, so annoying. Alan showed me a show once, “Dexter’s Laboratory.” There’s a guy in that called Mandark, and this guy sounded exactly like him.
“Yeah, well, he comes from the comics but-”
“Okay. Twenty dollars.”
“But Graham said he paid ten dollars.” It’s true, Graham did say that.
“Right, but Graham didn’t try opening the door.” It was as though he had a comeback for everything. I reached into my pocket and slid him a twenty that Alan loaned me for lunch money. It feels good having a rich guy as your friend, I suppose. Even though we’re at each other’s throats right now.
He was writing something down, I heard the pen scratching. “What’s your locker number?”
“Uh, 5, 29, 2?”
“No, I’m asking for its location.”
“Oh, well, my Novick Locker is the 63rd one.”
“Expect it by the end of the day. Promise me that when I call on you, you’ll be there.”
“… okay?” I said.
After that weird experience, Ashton wrapped his arm around me and said, “buddy, welcome to the Super-duper Secret Society of Supremely Super Supervillainous Superfolders. Or S.S..S.S…. uh-”
“S.S.S?” I said.
“Can I just call that the seven Ss?”
“Woah, I-I never thought of that.” Ashton was kind. But I can’t help but think that he doesn’t want to take down Alan.
He wants to take me down.
The Hand: Interesting.
The Presence: So someone else is folding puppets? You need to step up your game, Hand.
The Hand: Maybe I do, if you’d just let me.
The Presence: I told you I don’t WANT to let you do that.
By Emily Sampson
Oh! This is so fun and cool! I finally get to write my own case file chapter! Okay-okay- let me explain: so while Alan and CJ venture around in Novick, I’m responsible for adventuring OUTSIDE Novick. I’m listening to whispers and bickers of the kids in Kane, taking on the position of BatGirligami to protect Kane during this trying time.
Have you ever heard of the Fear of Crime? A couple summers ago my dad made me attend a class revolving around police psychology, and we learned of the Fear of Crime, a psychological deal in which people are more afraid of being a victim of a crime. This can lead to a higher police presence, which only makes people more afraid to commit crimes. And the criminals that have been getting away with it, they’re more careful about it. It’s this vicious struggle, with higher level punishments comes a higher level of fear, thus reducing crime, but then it also increases more seedy crimes occurring with a select few people.
I’m sure that my ramble probably didn’t make much sense, but let me explain with what I’ve had to deal with:
With the decrease in petty infractions, such as pickpocketing or in-the-hallway card matches, students have taken to forming tight groups, cliques that have become secretive in nature. Used to be I could blend in with any crowd, but now at the lunch tables the students sit shoulder to shoulder in little huddles. They don’t let anyone even close into them. I’ve caught between little gaps of absent students as they trade and deal cards underneath the tables, exchanging money. The occasional note will be left talking about a kid one of the members needs to take lunch money from.
And the worst of these, also the first, is what I’ve deemed the Foldcone (pronounced Fold-Cone-E) clique of Organized Bullies. I know it’s a bad name, but these people really have taken this seriously. They host large parties, sell test answers, and take care of bully duties in secretive ways. Pay the leader, get the job done. They don’t call themselves the Foldcone, I think they’re based off the Corleone family from the Godfather, but the leader alternates weekly to someone new. This week, it was Ernest McPherson. Actually, it tended to be Ernest. He was the strongest willed leader. To know who the leader is easy to determine: it’s whoever has the white-suited, balding head of the Don. Whoever designed the finger puppet clearly wanted Carmine Falcone, and not some guy from a 1970s crime film.
Actually, Ernest is probably my ticket in determining who the person selling these puppets is. If I get to him, then I could interrogate him and furthermore get to whoever is doing this. I had bought a puppet from this guy months ago. It was a quick, simple transaction of putting a request under a locker with money. I didn’t know who it was. Ironically, there’s a party going on tonight at the McPherson household. The parents are gone, and there’s a small fee to get in.
I had permission from my dad to go, as long as I don’t engage in any of the activities. He doesn’t know that I’m BatGirligami, I think the only one that really knows I am is Alan.
Okay, side tangent, but I really want to tell this story since no one else can know about it:
I first became BatGirligami after the whole dealio with Jessica Zinnia. I like to think that my first assignment was getting those tapes for Alan of Conrad stealing the plant. After I told him that his secret was safe with me, I had taken it upon myself to try joining in on the craze. I don’t want to punch or kick, I just want to hang out with those that do. I don’t know, my dad has always been lenient, but having him as the principal means that his daughter can’t get into any trouble without things going awry. If I got bruised, a kid would be expelled. So, I’ve taken on this role of being that cool “get me the answers and don’t leave anything cooking on the burner” type of cog in this machine. I was actually the one that got Alan to make the Batfold requests Instagram, so CJ could go check out these occurrences. As a gift for making the Instagram, Alan mailed me a letter with two puppets: A redhead in glasses (Barbara Gordon), and a Batgirl puppet. He had recruited me to the Crease-Family.
And, just like that, radio silence. He would occasionally send me a text, asking to investigate something if CJ was busy, but my job was left to just picking up the scraps. With the rise of Novick, though, those scraps were few and far between. I was a sitting duck. And last week I got a text from him: “Unknown guy is taking money payments in exchange for puppets. Find him. (It’s a him.) Why did I put that in parenthesis?”
I responded with “K, where do I start?”
“Idk, find some really nice puppets and start from there. In Novick.”
“Yeah. In school Monday. Researching there too.”
“I’m not in Novick.” I told him.
That was it. He just fell silent. Maybe he was eating a burger, hand cooked by Mr. Whogley. I’ve been writing this on the way to the party, my friend Madalyn picked me up to take me. While her mom drove, Madalyn would not stop talking about Alan. It was “Alan is the only person I’ve been able to connect with in there,” and “Alan has this nice little smile, and he looks so prim when he’s not in a Hawaiian shirt but one of those ugly uniforms. He can make it work!”
I wanted to tell her. I wanted to just look at her and go “He’s Batfold, y’know?” But I bit my tongue and looked away.
When we exited her mom’s car, we stood in front of a huge mansion, about three houses down from Alan’s mansion, which sat at the end of the row. Here in Jutefruce, this road is known as “Millionaire’s Row,” but kids like to call it the “Big Candy Bar lane” because of the huge Bars of Candy trick-or-treaters could get here. The mansion was bulky. The McPherson’s made it big on three things: relics, private museums, and collections. Everytime the Foldcones held a party, it was always at Ernest’s, and it was always the talk of the school. The parents knew about these, and just went out on a date night.
“Do you think Alan is home?” Madalyn asked me.
I shrugged, “I have no clue.”
“I’m going to steal something of McPherson’s for him.”
“I don’t know, a watch? I’m good at this deal.”
We walked up to the guy standing guard at the party. He was stiff, and upon closer inspection I realized it was Graham Moocher, who CJ told me has used a Bane Bag Puppet called “Bag.” He stood with this air of arrogance around him, and each person that walked up had to show a school ID and 15 dollars. I had both in my purse, along with Batgirligami. When I pulled both the ID and the money out, he grabbed the cash and let me through. Madalyn smiled when I turned to face her. She showed the ID and showed the cash, which was clearly Monopoly money. Graham grabbed it with a grunt, shoved it into his pocket, and while she sneaked past she bumped into him. He went “Hey! Watch where you’re walking!” as she reached into his pocket, grabbed a wad of dollars, and walked through.
I looked at her as she handed me exactly fifteen dollars and said “I told you I’m good at this deal.” She then shoved some change into her pocket.
You know how in movies, the parties always have that rhythmic bump bump bump bump to it? The heavy beat syncs up with the pounds in your heart, and you can’t help but step in tune? That’s how it felt at the McPherson party. Everyone was jumping in sequence, and each one dressed as though they were Alan: the stupid hawaiian shirts and the cargo pants.
Finding Ernest was like trying to find Gatsby in the crowd: clear as day. He was the only one in a suit.
The main struggle was getting to him. He stood on his almost empty balcony, sipping soda from a can and looking amongst the people. I haven’t seen half of these kids in a week, I think they were all put in Novick. As the DJ in front of him blasted tunes, he would lean over to another body builder, nod his head, and then someone would come in. This man was making deals right in front of us.
Instantly, I knew what needed to be done. I grabbed Madalyn by the arm and said “We need to make a deal.”
“Like, you and me making a deal with each other? Emily, homegirl, there’s no need to do that.” She looked down at someone’s back pocket where a phone sat, she quickly grabbed it, looked at the screen and said, “Yeesh, this guy is not going to text her back anytime soon.” Before she just dropped it on the grass. The guy noticed he dropped his phone and picked it up before it could be stepped on.
“No, I’m saying with Foldcone.”
“You mean the ‘Corlefold?’” That’s what they wanted to be called. But I stand by my statement that whoever made the puppet for the leader based it off of Carmine Falcone, not Vito Corleone.
“Whatever. Yeah, I guess I mean the Corlefold.” Madalyn grew a wide grin and hugged me.
“Who knew the Principal’s daughter could have such smart plans?! I knew you weren’t always a goody-two-shoes. What should the deal be?”
“We should make a deal that he tells us where to get that cool puppet, and while you’re shaking his hand, you can snatch his watch.”
“Oh. My. Gosh. You’re a genius, Sampson. Come on!” She grabbed my arm, and we started to run into the interior to make our way up to the “Don.” The interior was covered in no entry ropes, full of glass cases of ancient artifacts and war masks. It was a private collection. Then, I looked up at the ceiling.
“Uh, Madalyn.” I said, tugging at her wrist. She stopped running and dragging me along and went “What?” as I pointed up. She looked at the ceiling, seeing a long fish-like skeleton. It looked like a small whale.
“Yeah…” We stared at awe until she snapped back and continued going. Some people were in the kitchen, drinking pickle juice and putting lemons on their eyes. I think Graham was doing the latter after he reached maximum capacity for the party.
We stood in front of a door, the door to the balcony overlooking the backyard. I whispered to Madalyn, “Mads, why don’t you knock and do the talking?”
She smiled, “You got it, Samps.” She made three wrapping knocks on the door, and the bodyguard opened up.
She was tall, her arms were bulky, as though she could bench press me and Madalyn’s weight combined. She loomed over us, dressed in all black.
“Sandra, who are they?” McPherson yelled.
“Two girls.” Sandra leaned down, “They look harmless.”
“What do they need?”
“We want to make a deal.” Madalyn said. If she was scared, she didn’t show it. She said it nonchalantly, without any fear in her mind.
“The black haired girl says they want to make a deal.” Sandra said, staring me down now.
“Y-yeah, we want to make a deal.” I was visibly uncomfortable, sweating bullets. When I get like this, I always feel my ears burn. They were on fire.
“Bring them in.” McPherson told Sandra. Sandra stepped to the side and we sat down in two garden chairs around an umbrella table. McPherson reached into his chest pocket, staring at us. He took out a little box, popped it open, and removed his Carmine Falcone puppet.
“If you have a puppet, I’d prefer if you talked through it.” Although I had two puppets in my purse, I refused to take them out, just to keep up the facade. He leaned close to us, as Madalyn didn’t move.
“You two don’t have puppets? Fine. What’s the request?”
“We need puppets.” Madalyn said, “Please, Don Corlefold, help us.”
“I’ll tell you, for a price. Both of you girls have fifteen dollars?”
I nodded, taking out the fifteen Madalyn gave me. She took out her wad of ones she stole, handing it to him. I handed him my fifteen too.
“Alright, thank you. It’s a shame you come to me on the day of my coolest party without puppets to talk to me, but with a heavy head I’ll do what you need. The in-person meetings with him is the best way to get your commission completed, but you must go to the club called ‘Complicare.’”
“Clubs? But we’re not even eighteen.” Madalyn said.
“No, I’m talking about the milk drinking club, Complicare. After school. I’ll let my friend know about you two. Look for Neil Vanderlin. It’s for Novick students only.”
“Yikes, she’s not in Novick.” Madalyn pointed to me. Ernest looked in my direction, his eyes slowly blinking. He wore a red rose on his white suit. Slowly he looked me up and down, thinking methodically of what he’d say next.
“Good for you.” He told me.
“Thank you, Don Foldcon-er, Corlefold.” Ernest smiled.
“You’ve paid your way into the family, call me Ernest.” He reached his hands out for us, for handshakes. I grabbed his right hand, and Madalyn beamed as she saw the watch on Ernest’s left. She grabbed his hand, and in a sweeping motion the watch was off. We snuck away from the entrance and integrated back into the party.
“Complicare? I’ve been in Novick for a while and I’ve never heard of a ‘Complicare.’” Madalyn said. She was just dumbfounded, “Have you heard of a Complicare?”
“He said it was a milk drinking club. Dad has said that we’ve had too much milk in stock recently. Maybe it’s student run?” We sat down by the exit. Madalyn took out the watch, examining it’s features. It was covered in small gold studs. She looked underneath the watch and gulped.
“It’s a Rolex. An 18 Carat Rolex.”
“It’s a what?”
“It’s… hold on, I know these prices…about thirty four thousand dollars?”
I sat there, stunned. The watch ticked. It was about ten thirty PM.
“Madalyn, oh my gosh-”
“Listen, it’s okay, let’s just get out of here.” She started to walk to the exit when the DJ’s music stopped and the voice of Ernest was audible from all the speakers.
“Someone has taken my watch.” He said bluntly, “If you find it, bring it to me. It’s worth twenty eight thousand dollars. If you see a blonde haired girl and her black haired, pretty cute looking friend, they’re the ones that have it.”
“Now why would he say you’re pretty cute but I’m just ‘blonde?’” Madalyn grabbed my arm again in that moment and started to run. We dashed through the exit and into the street.
“We have to get rid of this.” She said, “I was a couple thousand off but we have to get rid of this.” People started walking out of the party to search for us. I wiggled out of Madalyn’s grip and looked at her, “I know the place.”
We started to run towards Alan’s home at the end of the road. It was basically the same design as Ernest’s. We stopped at the door and I knocked. Mr. Whogley, Alan’s butler, opened up.
“Mr. Whogley,” I said, “Alan knows me, I’m Emily Sampson, has he told you about me?”
“It’s a school night, Miss Sampson. I’ll ask Alan if he knows who you are.” Mr. Whogley closed the door, and we stood outside, scared out of our minds. It was kind of cold in the Californian night, but that didn’t stop Madalyn from speaking her mind.
“How do you know Alan?”
“Everyone knows him.”
“No, I mean, I know, but like how do you know him?”
“His parents were buddies with my dad. We have that bond, I guess.” This is a lie. They weren’t buddy buddy, my dad was just scared they’d buy out his job.
“Oh…” At that moment, Alan opened the door, dressed in his pajamas.
“Hey Emily, whats up?” He asked. He then looked at Madalyn, and his eyes lit up, “Oh, hey Madalyn!” Oh. Great. Alan was crushing on her too. He motioned us into his home and started getting to work making us feel at home.
I think he was trying way too hard to make especially Madalyn feel at home. She took a seat on the couch, then Alan said, “no, why don’t you sit on the recliner?” … The recliner right across from him. I had to sit on the couch between them. They were making googly eyes at eachother, Alan’s hand rested on his cheek and they sat in silence.
“Alan, we had to hide for a little while Madalyn,” I emphasized Madalyn’s name so she’d perk up, “Contacts her mom to pick her up.”
Madalyn sighed and opened up her phone to text her mom to pick us up. Alan gave her his address.
“So, what brings you two here?” He asked, only to Madalyn, though.
“We were at Ernest’s party, and we got into some trouble, so Emily brought us here.” Madalyn said.
“Oh? Why did you two get in trouble?” He asked, looking in my direction especially.
“I wanted to get you something…” Madalyn mumbled, “I, uh, was going to wait for tomorrow, but… Emily can you leave the room?”
So this was what being the third wheel feels like? I went into the kitchen and looked at the large pantries of food until Alan yelled for me to come back in. He wore the watch and had a black lipstick mark on his cheek. Madalyn was giggly, and then we heard a car honk. Madalyn’s mom rolled her window down and waved at Alan as we left. When I turned around to look at him, he took off the watch and laughed, shaking his head around.
I texted him about Complicare later, and he told me he’ll send CJ off to figure out the location.
The Presence’s comment: It’s funny how over the course of a few weeks things have just taken a dive.
The Hand: Yeah, I feel like it’s our fault though…
The Source: Hand, what does that mean?
The Hand: I don’t know, it just sucks. We caused this mess, I guess.
The Presence: We? You made the puppets, during this whole ordeal you could’ve stopped whatever you were doing and chilled out.
The Hand: FINE! Fine! You know what? I’m done!
By The Hand
Doctor Manhattan once said, while looking sonderly at the camera, “I’m tired of this Earth. These people. I’m tired of being caught in the tangle of their lives.” Maybe if you read a comic book for once, [Redacted], you’d know that. The Source has so many comics, it’s absurd that you don’t at least take the originals to read. But I’m done, I’m not a part of this anymore.
The Presence: Dude. Duuuuude. DUDE. Oh my gosh dude, we’re doomed. Dude.
The Source: Well, I’ll admit you really should’ve not done that. Like, you should’ve let the Hand sell his stuff freely. Now he’s been doing it in secret, and I’m sure he’s going to go public.
The Presence: Hey, I’m typing this on my phone. I broke my monitor. I’ve known him since grade school. Maybe he won’t do anything?
The Source: I… I think he already has. You’re just putting this stuff in the timeline doc, right? You’re not sharing it with Alan and CJ?
The Presence: I’m not, no. It’s our job to watch now. Chess games can get boring.
Super-duper Secret Society of Supremely Super Supervillainous Superfolders
Alan has placed me on the case: figure out where I can go to find Complicare. I told him about the 7 Ss, the secret group that Oriobin – er, Creaserfly, is now a part of. Really, it was just our lunch table, but they sat around after school in the Novick Library and talked about how when they see Batfold again they’re going to take him down. Hayden would spout the chances that we’d defeat him, who he was, all of this stuff. And, of all people, he never suspected Alan Wade. Even when I mentioned it, he just shook his head and said, “Nah, he’s not back at school yet. He’s still suspended until November.”
Jamie and Dalton would debate what we’d do after we unmasked him. Would we bruise him up? Get the kids to gang up on him? What would we do? It was just pointless dribble that Ashton and me wouldn’t get into. Ashton would elbow me and say, “these fools don’t know what they’re talking about.” And then sit back and smile.
I ought to talk about Creaserfly. The craftsmanship was worth twenty five dollars, and that artistry! It’s as though a sculptor managed to take four pieces of paper and mold it into one, making this amalgamation to show the helmet, the back rocket boosters, heck, he attached crumpled paper onto the rocket boosters to give off the appearance of flames shooting out the back.
The general consensus was that out of all the puppets we had, I had the coolest one. They were jealous, feeling as though their twenty dollars they wasted away was for nothing as cool as what I had. I told them they had the wrong shtick.
We were in a conversation that I was able to join into, our favorite sodas (I’m a Pepsi guy myself,) as they continued to talk, Hayden said that his favorite drink he’s ever had was the “chocolate dipped strawberry milk” from Complicare. He said a guy named Bob made him try it and he’s been hooked ever since.
“Complicare?” I asked, it’s funny how things work out this way.
“Oh, you’re a part of the seven Ss, you should be allowed into Complicare.” Ashton told me, smiling his same kind smile.
“What is it?” I asked.
“It’s where kids like us, Tony Zazonnie, Bob Markov, and others go for some of the best leftover chocolate and strawberry milk our school has to offer. The mixologist, Foldifer, can craft the best things. It’s located in N203.” Second floor of Novick, room three. Alan, make note.
“Is it fun?”
“Oh, you mix and mingle, get to know these people. We may be prisoners of In School Suspension, but hey, doesn’t mean we have to be at each other’s throats, y’know?” I sat still, nodding my head. It made sense.
The S.S.S.S.S.S.S. has made me realize that I do have a friend group in here, surprisingly. I keep forgetting that not everyone here is B group, they’re not all maniac wrestlers. Actually, no one in here is really a “maniac” either. I don’t think that’s a good thing to say. They all have their own problems, they all have their own struggles, and being in the Seven Ss has made me really learn that.
Alan, I know we’re not exactly on speaking terms right now, but if you read this, please just remember that.
The Presence: I don’t think I’m gonna comment on this anymore.
The Source: Yeah, I don’t see a need. Let’s just sit back and watch.
By Alan Wade
No, CJ, I have dealt with these kids for far too long. Especially Tony Zazonnie. Do you know how many times I have had to see him in the halls, how much of a nuisance he is? How he runs around and tosses these Calendars willy nilly, disrupts classes. I’m at a point where I’m thinking my mortal enemy wasn’t Conrad and Orijoker after all, it was the Big Ton’ and the Calendar Puppet. I’ve been in this detention for five days now, it’s been a whole week. Every day, there’s been a Tony Incident.
On Monday, Tony interrupted me and Madalyn’s little flirt meet-cute thing when he tossed a calendar at our teacher, Mr. Alfred’s back. On Tuesday in lunch, me and Madalyn sat together and ate while he caused a raucous at our table, leading me and Madalyn to just sit back and let it happen. On Wednesday, he stood up in our class and said that Ernest Mcpherson was having a party “This Wednesday night!” After that, he was removed from our class. Thursday came and passed without an issue until Tony was back on Friday, all ready with a 2012 “Boys are Stupid” Calendar that he tossed at ME.
I ask you, CJ, why do you stand in support of a trouble maker like him? And since I know where Complicare is, I just need to get in. It stinks that I tossed the Calendar Puppet you gave me, because then I wouldn’t have needed to do what I did.
Tony, as I’ve noticed, is always the last one to leave Novick. The halls will be empty and he’ll have to be taken out by the guards, usually in a fit of calendars. His backpack is filled with them. I think they’re the ones you can buy in the mall in bulk.
It was Friday afternoon, after the whole him tossing the calendar at me.
I put on the balaclava and walked up behind him, taking out Batfold. He looked up at me, and suddenly his eyes widened with fear.
His hair is dark black, his face is shaped like mine. Besides the obvious mole on the side of his face, he would be me.
I had to do a double take, and between that double take he was already running away. I started a mad dash to him. The Hall is on literal maximum security. IDs are required now to enter or leave, and students that don’t have an “Vick” on their ID can’t enter, and those that have a “Vick” on their ID can’t leave except with guards escorting them out. It’s stupid, as there’s kids like TONY that stay around and don’t let these School Resource Officers leave!
Tony dashed to the door and started banging on it, freaking out. “Batfold!” He said, “Batfold, please!” He pushed himself against the door as I grabbed his collar. I’ve been needing this feeling, the feeling of being intimidating.
His eyes were wide, “I’ll do anything! Please!”
And, I saw tears. He started to cry like an infant. Loud sobs. I looked down, I was holding him up with one hand, the other had my puppet on my finger. I tucked Batfold into my shirt pocket and looked him in the eyes.
“Give me your Calendar Puppet.” I said. He nodded, reached into his pocket, and handed it to me. That was that.
When I placed him on the ground he rolled into a ball and started to cry louder. I walked to the back exit of Novick, knocked twice, and was let out. I went home and got started on my weekend.
It felt good to intimidate a kid, to freak him out. To prove that the big bad Batfold is the one in charge. The hero that Novick and Kane need.
By Alan Wade
A full weekend had passed with nothing but research into Complicare. It’s not a school sanctioned club, it’s not found anywhere on the Kane website. It’s Latin for “Fold,” however.
It was easy to sneak into Complicare in my Tony disguise. I’m glad we look so similar, man. All I had to do was put the mole on my cheek, Emily actually stayed a bit after school with her makeup and did the side of my face. I hope Madalyn doesn’t find out that she did that. Emily told me that I will find my answers at Complicare from a “Neil Vanderlin.” Vanderlin was such a familiar name but I can’t remember where I heard it.
I’m still mad at CJ, so I refused to bring him on this mission. If I’m being honest, I made him Oriobin, Foldbin, Robinigami? Whatever- because I was suspended and I needed someone to take care of the place. I told him to stay back. I didn’t want to put his school career at risk.
The club was actually in Mr. Rudy’s classroom. Tony Zazonnie explained to me that the club was a way to clean up the excess milk Kane had. It was also a mini business for Neil Vanderlin… and the typical meetup spot for kids that hated Batfold.
By the end of that Monday day the uniform was getting tight around my neck. I didn’t like how the collars were required to be put up, but I was allowed to unbutton my top button in Complicare. I could breathe.
Bob Markov looked at me, his puppet on his finger… Actually, it wasn’t a puppet. It was an origami top hat, green with little golden marks on it. He smiled at me.
“Tony Zazonnie! How are you doing, buddy?” He asked, walking up to hug me. He wrapped me in a genuine hug, and I actually melted a bit.
I remember everyday before I left for school, my mom would wrap me into a tight hug. She would sigh, holding me close. I remember claiming she was killing me, that I couldn’t breathe, and that I had to get to school. I miss those hugs.
“Tony? Did you hear me? I asked how you’re dealing after your dad, y’know…” Bob asked.
I snapped out of it, “Sorry, The Go-Go’s was distracting me. I-I could be doing better.” The Go-Go’s song ‘Vacation’ blasted on a bluetooth speaker as Neil Vanderlin stared at me. Our eyes locked for a moment, and for some reason I felt the need to look away.
Bob hit my shoulder, “Change of topic, you know Neil doesn’t play anything besides the Go-Go’s and the Ramones.” And then it hit me.
I just beat up a kid yesterday, and his dad was probably injured. He was doing this to cope, like me. An immediate sense of guilt came over me. I wanted to just run out and find him and apologize. When I got home, I searched his name and found out his dad owned a watch store and was robbed, killed in the process.
I didn’t do that well last night.
From across the room, Neil exclaimed “I have more choices on here, Mad Hatter. What’s your pun again?” I realized I was putting on a mask, a show, so I had to stay focused.
I snorted, “Trash Matter?” Bob glared at me, and then looked at Neil.
“It’s Mad Duck Taper. And I don’t want to hear it, Foldifer Morningpleat.”
“You sit in this club every day, drinking chocolate milk, or that weird ‘chocolate dipped strawberry’ milk you make. You’re in my establishment, I’ll talk to you guys any way I want.”
I looked at Neil again.
“Agh, you know what, Bob? Milk Bar is closed.” Bob slammed his fist down on the desk.
“You’re kidding me!” Bob yelled. He started to walk out only to turn to me.
“You coming with me, Tony?”
“No, today is uh… It’s uh, hold on, I know this holiday… Columbus day. That means that anyone with Italian heritage can stay at Complicare, right, Neil?” Neil looked at me, or right through the mole and the clothes and the puppet.
“Yeah, that’s exactly right. It’s in the rulebook.”
Bob grimaced and patted me on the shoulder, “Enjoy my chocolate dipped strawberry milk, man.”
“Thanks… I will.”
As Bob left and closed the door, Neil smiled that sly smile he had. He held a puppet up, it’s wings golden and it’s face making the same smirk as Neil. A scar ran from the top right corner of the puppet’s face to the bottom left. He had a suit on. Foldifer was the devil in a suit.
“Alan Wade,” Foldifer said, “What do I owe the pleasure of having Batfold in my presence?”
I sighed as I ripped the fake mole off. My cover was blown by the Foldifer Morningpleat.
“I need your help, Neil.”
“No, Foldifer is out, you’re making a deal with the OriDevil. You’re asking for my help.”
I sighed as I sat down at his makeshift bar desk thing.
“Fine, Foldifer. I need your help in figuring out who is selling puppets to kids that have this vendetta against me.”
“Oh, Batfold baby, it’s obvious.” He said, Foldifer on his finger waving around like some madman, “Think. Just think for a bit. They may not know who Batfold is under the cowl but they know what he did. Jessica Zinnia? She had a really cool puppet. CJ Whogley with his Origami Robin after he fought Bag – who do you think made a Bane puppet? Obviously it wasn’t wrestler hands magee.”
“How-how did you know it was CJ that had Oriobin?”
“First tip, Wade, if you want to keep up this secret identity business is to not admit that your sidekick was CJ Whogley. I just kind of figured because you always hang out with him.”
“Well then, I guess that makes – Wait- how did you know I was Batfold?”
“Second tip for if you want to keep up this secret identity is to remind my brother not to leave his Google Docs open.”
“That’s right, your brother is the Presence, right?”
Neil snorted, “that’s what he wants to be called? You know, the Presence is my dad in the comics. That’s really weird.”
“So you didn’t coordinate that? I’ve started to wonder if everything is just connected.”
“No man, I just watch the show. You know, with the detective?”
“I didn’t care much about it.”
Neil flailed his arms around, “zip it! Zip it! We need to get back on topic. Think of the obvious, Wade. You’ve met him, we know him.”
It wasn’t clicking. I couldn’t make sense of this.
“Wade, baby, think about it.”
“I-I’m not sure I’m understanding.”
Foldifer grumbled, “Fine! It’s Bartholomew Lowe.”
“… Who?” I asked. He snorted.
“Barth, Barf, whatever you call him. He hands people stuff.”
“The Hand?” I asked.
He sighed, “My brother is stupid man. He starts this whole case file a couple months ago, and with circumstantial evidence claims your parents were killed. He gives Bartholomew the role of ‘the Hand,’ and Wally ‘the Voice.’ Do you know how degrading that sounds? I mean he’s the Presence, and his job is to be present for a lot of confrontations.” He laughs, “Well, he gave the Hand the job of finding villains for you. It was like one of their Dungeons and Star Wars games. Wade, I’m sorry. You were tossed into this and you shouldn’t have. The Hand made many puppets, all because kids want to take down Batfold. Not you. Like, if they knew it was you, they wouldn’t want to take Alan Wade down.”
I sat still. He took out a large bottle of Trumoo chocolate milk and two solo cups. He poured a glass full for both of us.
“Anyways, I had learned from proofreading my brother’s story that Bartholomew was really being ignored. So, he’s been selling origami puppets to kids. Bob? He bought that little hat. I think you, Tony, CJ, and that Bat Girl character are the very few that made their own origami puppets.”
I was quiet for a bit. Neil took off Foldifer and started drinking his milk. I started drinking some too, like a gut reaction.
“…If he’s no longer the Hand, then what’s his name?” I asked.
Origami Black Mask
By Bartholomew Lowe
Zip it! ZIP IT!
I am quite aware of how bad the name is. I mean, no pun, nothing. Please, just hear me out. I’ve been working on this design for quite a while, I purchased a design template from Etsy of this Low-Polygon skull mask, you know, like my claim to fame or something. I was actually working on it since that one meeting.
Yes, you heard it here, Presence! (Because Alan can’t see this doc yet) I planned to leave this dumb group ever since I was making money off of these puppets. What we were doing was wrong. We were trying to control, what, 2,000 students in this public high school? Bend rules and make plans to get kids to either like or dislike Alan for no other reason than because you were bored? Even now, I refuse to give your name out. I refuse to make you public. Because I know, if I did that, you would be in so much trouble that you wouldn’t be able to be back at Kane without constant bruises everyday.
You’re such a nerd, man. An intrusive nerd. You had placed it into Alan’s head that his parents were killed, do you REALIZE what you started? You’ve made a one-sided war, and I’ve made a profit off of it. There’s so many rogues out there wanting to take down the Batfold, the Creased Knight, and the origin story? They turned this way because they want to be the one to take down Batfold. You’re so stupid dude.
Legit, you could’ve just let Alan do his own thing. I’m on HIS side. But I’m also in too deep, I’ve been making puppets for rogues for months now. If Alan was to stop me, it would mean one thing: this business would go under. I don’t know if I can take that hit. I’ve made the equivalent of teenage buckoos. I’ve bought an oculus rift, but I’ve also put money back for college. This all could’ve been left in the air.
And, because we have access to their research, Alan knows it’s me. I edited the chapter before just for this dramatic effect, but dude, uggh!
Screw you and the group. I’m tired of this manipulation. I’m tired of being caught up in these lies. I’m going to keep selling puppets, but no longer will the Origami Black Mask be under YOUR jurisdiction. OBM, out!
-Signed with Scorn, Bartholomew Lowe.
By the Presence
If the cat is out of the bag, then I guess I ought to say that I was probably in the wrong. Bartholomew can still sit here and read this doc, so I should tell him this: I’m sorry. I don’t know what you’re going to do. I doubt it’s anything drastic, I mean you’ve always been that nerdy kid. You’ll probably just go public, confess that you’re the one selling the puppets, and maybe try to take down Batfold. I don’t know what the plan is, but I worry about you. Lunch felt empty without your wisecracks, or the fact that you’d pass the salt. We miss you, Bart.
I feel like I went too far, I guess I traumatized Alan in a way that I shouldn’t have done, and I brought more trouble upon myself. It was Walter, and then you, my little watcher group has gone down in size. And I probably should’ve stuck to that, just being the watchers, the ones that witness stuff. We don’t have Doctor Fate (I guess Doctor Plate?) to sit and only interfere when he can see things will go wrong. I think that’s what he does. The source tells me that’s his purpose.
And these names, they were for our anonymity. I see the flaw in that, assigning specific roles, like you hand people stuff, or the Voice is the speaker, or the Source gives me references. Or I’m present to everything.
In the end, we’re all a couple of scrawny nerds, sticking all of our feet into an ocean too deep.
I’m sorry, Origami Black Mask, for doing you dirty.
Escape from Novick
By CJ Whogley
The Escape and Lockdown happened on Tuesday, October 16, 2018 in lunch. By an “Escape,” I don’t mean your typical “we dug a tunnel using plastic spoons,” I mean there was a riot brewing, right under our noses. Me and Alan just couldn’t smell the fumes.
On Monday, Alan had learned the identity of one Bartholomew Lowe, or Origami Black Mask. I’ve read the original case file, he also went by “The Hand.”
Remember how he said that when he needed us, we were bound to help him?
I was sitting with the Seven Ss as they ate their uncrustables and pretzels and stuff while scrolling down their phones. At the same time, Hayden’s and Ashton’s phones buzzed.
They read the text, reread it again, and then looked at me.
“Did you see that, Creaserfly?” They were using my villain’s name, not my real one.
“No, I don’t get automated school texts. I leave at the end of every semester.”
“… Did you give your phone number to the guy behind the stall?” Jamie was confused, “I wonder if he placed notes in the lockers for kids that didn’t…”
At that moment, a student stood on the table. It was Bartholomew. He placed the black paper mache mask over his face and looked at us.
He was pudgy, struggling to breathe as he looked amongst us. He raised his fist in the air and exclaimed, “Novick, it’s time to rise and take down Batfold!” He pumped it up and down as students stood up. Madalyn stayed sitting with Alan, along with a few other kids who didn’t know what was going on. I stood up to join Bartholomew, to keep with the trend.
“Today, we shall be free of the chains that hold us down!” He yelled, his voice was still nerdy as ever, “Today we shall leave this cafeteria, run down the halls, cause a raucus, and Novick detention will be no more!”
He then pointed at Jessica Zinnia, who stood proudly with a puppet on her finger, “Jessica here has had an encounter with Batfold. Did you know that?”
A large amount of kids yelled “No!”
“Did you know that he sits amongst us? In this room!?”
“No!” The crowd yelled again.
“Did you know that he could be in the halls? Batfold is back.” I watched as Alan bent under the table, Madalyn looking at him as he put on the mask and the finger puppet. Her eyes widened in shock as she mouthed, ‘what?!’
“So, Novick, are you willing to run out, and find Batfold and once and for all break the Bat… Fold?” at that, the seven Ss and all the other kids in Novick screamed and yelled, causing a holler as they ran out of the Cafeteria. It was an escape.
It was going to get really sour like old milk in Complicare.
Batfold: Novick Lockdown
By Alan Wade
“Why didn’t you tell me, Alan?” Madalyn yelled while the Cafeteria emptied out. I kept my head under the table. Origami Black Mask had run off. He had fled the scene with the crowd, even though he knew I was at the same table, even though he knew I was there.
“I didn’t have the heart to, I just thought you’d come to that conclusion.” The shouts and yells in the halls were getting louder. The guards were panicking. It wasn’t violent, it was more like a protest. A really, really, vocal protest.
“Well, I mean, I guess it’s better now than never. Everyone here hates you!” For the first time since my mother looked me in the eyes and held me tight with concern after I fell during a soccer match, I saw the same concern for me in Madalyn’s. She was worried for me and my safety.
“Listen, I’ll tell you the full story later, when this is all okay.”
“H-How do you know this will all be okay?” Madalyn was worried now.
“Because I’m Batfold.”
CJ ran up to me, and it was the first time I actually talked to him, person-to-person since the fight over Jessica. He didn’t have his mask on, but he had Oriobin out.
“Alan, what do you think-”
“Listen, let’s bring this elsewhere. Madalyn, stay here, it’s safe.” Madalyn didn’t say anything, she just looked at me with this sort of upsetedness in her. She sat, looking down.
Even in my gross, sweaty balaclava mask, I kissed her on the top of her head. That made her smile a little. CJ gagged and we ran into the halls.
The kids were causing so much property damage, and then students that weren’t in Novick were leaving the class. A whole mob of bored, angry and upset high school students were running through the halls, causing a mess.
This will make the news, that was my first thought. My second thought was “What’s next?”
“Okay, Alan, I think I have an idea.” CJ said.
I was silent for a moment, did I want to listen to my sidekick?
“Alan?” He asked.
“Do you know how to take down a snake?”
“No, I’ve never had to do that. Do you do that in Iocana?” I was distracting myself, my heartrate was picking up. Principal Sampson was running down the hall towards the kids, yelling for the kids to stop. It was ineffective, and his easily tired out self had to stop as the crowd started saying “Sampson is a Sucker!”
He looked back at us. He started walking towards us, slowly and clenching his chest.
“Yeah, we do go snake hunting there. Basically, you cut the head off. We need to take down the head: Origami Black Mask.” Sampson kept walking towards us, and then dashing by him with a “Sorry, Dad!” was Emily. She took out her Batgirligami and said “hey guys, whats up? How are we gonna stop this?”
“We need to get to Origami Black Mask.” I told her. She nodded and looked at her dad who caught up to us.
“What’s going on?!”
I groaned and repeated what was happening, that Bartholomew Lowe was selling puppets and was now starting a riot in the school. He nodded solemnly at each word I said and then put his hands up and said, “The police are outside. But I’m going to leave this up to you three.” He then turned to Emily, “Be careful.”
With that, we decided to take on three different sides of the front. I would be aiming for Origami Black Mask, CJ would go after some minor guys and also try to convince them to calm down, and Emily would be at my side to help fight this fight.
We ran into the crowd, and instantly CJ yelled “Graham Moocher!” as he stood at the back, cracking his knuckles as he saw me.
“The Batfold and his friends are here. I’m shocked.” Then, realizing no one heard him, he yelled, “I said: ‘The Batfold and his friends are here!’” With that, the crowd turned focus, and I saw the eyes of students I’ve seen in the halls, and my heart dropped because I knew in the front was Bartholomew and I’d have to get through all of them.
To give us moral support, Mr. Sampson started playing a song from his Irish Background, the Rocky Road to Dublin over the intercom. At that, I put my arms over my chest in an X movement.
My dad placed me into some self defense classes as a child. I don’t hit unless I’m struck. Dad used to be a football player, and he tried getting me into the game but I just couldn’t. But there’s always an idea that has stuck with me: when in doubt, start from behind the line of scrimmage and rush forward to try and get a first down. You cup your arms together in a cross form, to protect the ball. I didn’t have a ball on me, I just needed to get through the crowd, and I’ll stampede through this cramped hallway.
CJ looked at me before I could start my charge and yelled, “Super-duper Secret Society of Supremely Super Supervillainous Superfolders, I need your help!”
A group of about four guys ran through and looked at him, looking him up and down.
A man with a little ghost puppet said, “CJ, you’re Oriobin?”
CJ sadly shook his head, “I’m sorry guys. But please, we’re not the bad guys. We were trying to make the school safer.” Reluctantly, the Seven Ss put down their puppets.
“Can we talk about this later?” One of them with an eraser said, “we like you CJ, but we really got to talk about this whole taking us down business.” CJ smiled.
“Yeah, for sure. I’m sorry. I thought you guys would beat me to a pulp.”
“No, man! You’re our friend! We think of you as a brother, and nine out of ten times you have never disappointed us,” this nerdy kid with a calculator said, “just be safe.”
They ran away. CJ shrugged and said, “they’re people, man. Be kind to them.”
The crowd was at this sort of standstill, yelling and screaming at the Batfold.
“Don’t be such a sissy and take the first whack, Batfold!” Graham said.
This registered on an emotional level.
First, I dashed into him. A football tackle like move,Graham was caught off of his feet and fell backwards.
To my left Emily started to push and get into the fray. We can’t do any cool wall running techniques like the movies. It’s just us against a wall of students.
To my right CJ continued to bring kids out and get them onto our side.
The big paper head of Origami Black Mask stuck out from the crowd, as he had fell into the middle during the initial riots. Some students, scared to be injured, backed into classrooms or parted like the Red Seas.
Bartholomew was too excited to be in the spotlight that he didn’t notice me when I tackled him.
The room fell quiet, and in the course of just a few minutes the loud rioting went to just the sound of the Dubliners.
I removed his mask. His glasses were dirty and foggy, and he was sweating. He held his arms out as I grabbed his uniformed shirt.
“You can’t do this anymore, Bartholomew.” I told him.
He was breathing through his nasally nose. A stream of snot ran down his nose.
In a suckerpunch attack, a kid sprayed mayonaise and ketchup on me. It was gross, but then it turned into Graham Moocher dashing towards me. I stood up, still holding on tight to Bartholomew as he wiggled. His skull mask sat on the floor.
Graham was running in slow motion. I couldn’t move right or left. So, in a defensive maneuver, I stood Bartholomew up to face him, like Thor holding Loki’s head as mjolnir came towards him.
Bartholomew started to scream, I closed my eyes because I knew I’d also get a blow too.
By Emily Sampson
I don’t know when Madalyn showed up. I don’t know when she left the classroom or dashed in the knick of time to slide and break Graham’s balance, but upon slide-kicking his foot, we heard a loud snapping sound, and it hit us that in a fit of immense protection, Madalyn had not only broken her foot, but also made Graham’s broken too.
They fell on the floor, both in pain. To see a wrestler like Graham start to cry as the immeasurable pain cannot be stopped while Madalyn immediately backed up against a wall and applied pressure showed a clear difference between the two, and I liked having a reminder that my best friend is awesome.
Alan, still hiding behind Bartholomew, looked out. Bartholomew was trying to wiggle, but Alan held his arms down tight.
“Was this your hero?” he asked the crowd. They’re silent.
“Did you support this man because of what he stood for? To promote pain and injury? Look at them!” He said as he briefly lifted a hand to motion to Graham and Madalyn, “this is what you’ve all caused. We’ve made Kane worse! We’ve given money to a man for something we could have made ourselves, and we’re all bad guys for letting it run.”
“This won’t stand. I just want to let you know.” He finished it off with that. School Resource Officers grabbed Bartholomew, essentially dragging him away.
The nurses had to help Madalyn and Graham. As Alan walked away, wiping off his hands, we heard boos and hisses. The “We hate Batfold!” chants started from the back, but some kids were silent. Alan, after leaving the crowd, high fived me and CJ. And, for the first time in a while, he said, “great job, gang.”
Alan walked into the Principal’s office. Things went back to normal, kids went back to class, and we had decided to not talk about it… until next week.
Dad told me that night that something would happen soon, but I’m not exactly sure what.
By Alan Wade
Principal Sampson decided to hold a school-wide meeting to discuss the Novick Lockdown that had occurred the day before. I sat in the front row between CJ and Emily. I realize that I do need them, they all had their own part to play and they played it well… Actually, not ‘well,’ they played their roles excellently.
They’re my family. Just like Batman has Batgirl, Nightwing, Alfred, Spoiler and more as his Bat-Family, I have my Crease-family to help me out.
The entire class was quite shaken. The Novick Students, which had notably gone down to barely fit two columns, sat across the room. Students like Tony Zazonnie had issues, but he needed help. Bartholomew sat next to the Principal, frowning. Terry D’Lunes was next to Bartholomew, keeping a safe distance.
Bartholomew kept a straight face.
“Who here has purchased origami from Bartholomew Lowe?” Principal Sampson asked. Everyone sat still before the hands rose. Nearly everyone had their hands up. I saw Neil sitting next to his brother, their hands down. I guess Neil was let out of Novick after that whole event. Emily hesitated before raising her hand. I looked at her, my eyes widening.
“What?” I whispered.
“Well, before you made me Batgirligami, I had a puppet of myself made.”
“So you knew it was Bartholomew?”
“I didn’t really know. He used to take commissions elsewhere, like you put a request under a sink or something. Ernest told me he knew who it was, everyone did, but they knew not to provoke his name out of fear the Big Bad Batfold would shut him down.”
I nodded at that. Emily lowered her hand after a few moments, but her father looked at her.
“Keep your hands up, all of you.” I turned around, everyone looked annoyed. Teachers stood at the top row, arms crossed. Mr. Nolan held his hand up, beaming as he held a puppet of himself on his finger.
“You’re all part of the problem.” Sampson said, “You let this happen. You bought puppets and stuff, allowed Bartholomew to make money, and for what reason?”
That one kid, the one with Origami Condiment King, stood up and went “because we hate Batfold!”
A ton of kids started cheering. Why was I disliked so strongly in this school? I slouched down in my chair.
“Yeah! We hate him and that stupid sidekick of his!” Another kid exclaimed. The school erupted into angry cacophonies. The Presence sat still as Neil was cracking up at this display of vitriol.
“Quiet!” Principal Sampson exclaimed. A hush fell over the crowd, “You all have spent upwards of what was it, Bartholomew?”
“Twenty five dollars…” He mumbled.
“Twenty five dollars for a puppet wishing to take down the creased knight. That’s just absurd!”
A kid exclaimed “Zoop! If Batfold is such a hero, he’d be here right now. Bang!”
Sampson stood still, looking to find me. He rubbed the back of his neck.
“Yeah! He took me down a couple months back and destroyed my plants! My sweet sweet plants! Where is he? Not only that, but he was in Novick! He separated me and Madalyn!” Jessica Zinnia exclaimed.
I sighed as I started to stand up. Terry D’Lunes raised an eyebrow as CJ and Emily grabbed my arms. I twisted myself free.
“I have to do this, guys.” I whispered, “Don’t worry, they won’t know about you all.”
Principal Sampson stared at me as I walked forward.
“Heh, Alan, what are you doing?” He asked, Cobaggoner Gordon on his hand now.
“Put away the little puppet show, Principal. They deserve some clarity.”
I held the microphone. Bartholomew smirked. I could feel Conrad’s piercing eyes. I never encountered him, but I knew he was in Novick with me.
“Ahem, is this working?” I asked.
“Yes!” Emily exclaimed.
“Thank you, Emily.”
I slouched, relaxing myself. I had to change my entire demeanor.
“I… I don’t know how to phrase this. I never really thought about this. Heck, I just kind of thought this day wouldn’t come. But this past week that I spent in Novick, I realized something.” I turned to the kids there, Tony and Bob, Aidan and the others, “What I realized was that… these people are human. Tony lost his dad a while back. He owned a time store and died in a robbery. Bob just likes to play tricks on people. Aidan… man I don’t know what Aidan does, he just likes to shine laser pointers at teachers. Most of these kids just need help. They need guidance, and assistance. They need a friend. There’s a few who I’m not sure why they’re there,” Conrad started cracking up, only to be removed by one of the guards, “but what I need to say here is that this system doesn’t work.”
The room fell quiet, “It doesn’t work because we punish the students that are potential dangers to others by putting them in classrooms, surrounded by other potential dangers. That’s what lead to this lockdown. They give themselves purpose and reason to their crimes because of some vendetta against a kid with a puppet… I should know, because I have been the main motivation for most of these kids in there.”
I reached into my back pocket, taking out the balaclava mask that I keep. I struggled to put it on my face, and then I reached into my pocket and presented Batfold. The room gasped. The Presence held his mouth to prevent screaming. The Source was clapping.
“…Because I’m Batfold. And this kid-” I then breathed heavily, removing the mask, “-sorry, this mask is hot- this kid, Bartholomew, had the responsibility of handing me stuff. Giving me tasks and people. I was a pawn in his game, just like all of you. I was a pawn in the Presence, Source, and Hand’s game.” Neil bumped the Presence on the elbow.
“And I’m tired of playing their game. In fact, I’m tired of being restricted. I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing but without the mask. Don’t keep a vendetta against Batfold, have a vendetta against me. How have I done you wrong?”
The room sat in silence, they tapped their feet and were on edge. “I thought so.” I then turned to Terry D’Lunes and Principal Sampson.
“Shut down Novick.” I told them.
Terry grimaced at me, walking forward, “No, Alan. We won’t. You can’t force us to do anything.”
“Terry, I have enough money to purchase this public institution two-fold. Don’t push me to spend my money more unwisely than I already have.”
“You’re just a student, Alan.” Terry started to say, “You can’t ask us to-”
“It wasn’t an ask, it was a demand. The students that are still held shall be sent somewhere else. Here, I’ll tell you what.”
I called Mr. Whogley, putting him on speaker phone.
“Hey, Whogley-boogidy. I was wondering, how much money is in my personal spend?”
“Why, nearly a million and a half. How come? New VR headset?”
“No sir, I’d like to take out a chunk of it to go to the construction of Novick’s School for the suspended.”
“Thank you. Bye!”
I turned to Principal Sampson, “I’ll be meeting with the Superintendent. You can take a backseat. I can’t imagine the school being that big, you know. I’m on my way out.” I turned to Bartholomew, “Oh, and Bart, it’s a shame you fell off of the tree, man. I bet your group could never have predicted this.”
The gym was awestruck as I started walking out. I looked at my watch.
“It’s nearly 2:45, I say every kid deserves an early dismissal.” I mentioned. The whole school started to rush out of the doors.
The walk home was… odd. Tony Zazonnie and a few other kids followed me from a safe distance, cheering and clapping for me. Bob Markov gave me a genuine hug.
“Listen, uh,” Bob started, “so, we’re sorry for the lockdown. Bartholomew really orchestrated it. He didn’t want Batfold proving he was the one doing this stuff to Cobbagoner Gordon.”
“Hey man, it’s okay.”
Tony Zazonnie walked up to me, “You may have forced me to give you my puppet and beat me to a pulp, and like, made us all kind of afraid of just Alan Wade, but you’re one kind of guy.” He held his hand out, and I shook it.
I looked him the eyes and apologized, then I wrapped him in a hug. He held on for a while before CJ tapped my shoulder and made me walk away.
“So, Novick’s School for the Suspended, huh?” CJ asked.
“Yeah, like a new building. Proper counseling, proper teaching and help. ‘For the suspended’ sounds odd, and I don’t want to mess anyone’s college future up. So, we’ll find a better name.”
I looked at my house – the mansion that my parents had bought and built. I looked at the schoolbuses that we rode in on for our first day of school. I looked at the many rooms, and how there was a gate out front. The back had a play area of sorts.
“Actually, CJ, I don’t think there should be a whole new building constructed. I think it’s time for me to move. It’s… it’s time for Batfold to spread his wings and fly.”
CJ chuckled, “Grandpa Whogley will get a kick out of this, Alan.”
“I can do it. Because I’m Batfold.”
The Presence’s Comment : NO! DANG IT! WE’VE LOST CONTROL!
Foldifer’s Comment : This is so stupid, Brother. Just stop trying to control people for once and live your life free of those chains.
The Presence: How did you get in here?
The Source: Beats me. Well then. Bye.
By Walter Gilligan
I was a bit taken aback when I learned of the news that we would have a new school opening here in Jutefruce. There’s Donner, Lampert, and Kane. Now there’s Novick. I was even more taken aback when I learned that Alan Wade would be using his huge mansion, twenty four rooms in all, as the campus for the school. I was most taken aback when Alan asked me to help him move his stuff to his and Mr. Whogley’s new home, which was next door to mine.
He told me that he’s happier to be living a bit more modestly. He’s starting to learn how to drive, he told me that he only has to walk thirty seconds rather than three minutes to the nearest restroom, and that he’s glad it all worked out. “Sure, Principal Sampson hates me, his daughter thinks the world of me but is trying to date my butler’s grandson, but I’m here, mask off, and I’m my real self.”
He had invited me over for his first night at his new house. We sat at his cleared off wooden table and chair set, pizza hut thin crust pizza on the table with paper plates put out just for the two of us. Pictures of his mom and dad sat around the kitchen. In fact, they sprawled the whole house. It’s odd being in a tinier home but seeing a full size Dali in the hall, but I digress. I guess some things about Alan won’t change.
“So, CJ will be going back to Lobdell at the end of the semester.” He said between bites, “It stinks, but I’ll live.” CJ was upstairs, playing in the shared room Alan and him now had.
“Yeah, I dig.”
We sat in silence.
“JC has transferred to Lampert.”
“Swimming scholarships, man.” I said.
“I know, I helped you.”
“…And I want to form the Justice Pleats.”
My eyebrows furrowed.
“What?” I asked.
“I want to make the Justice Pleats of America.” He said bluntly, “I have a basement, it’s our base of operations besides my VR setup. I got a feeling more issues will pop up now that I revealed myself. Someone will find a way to have a vendetta against me.”
I snickered, “yeah, I guess someone will. But what about me? Why did you ask for me?”
“Because you’re the Spectre, some watcher dude. I know you’d be one of the firsts to inform me if there’s a crisis coming.”
I sat in silence before nodding, “Fair enough.” I said. We shook hands, “Now, I do have a guy in mind, that kid from Donner.”
“The one who people keep messaging my instagram over?”
“Yeah, that one.”