Justice Pleats: The Scissors Cut
By Walter Gilligan
I don’t talk much. I don’t know why I was chosen to be the Voice back in August, as I refuse to open my mouth unless I need to. I don’t raise my hand, heck, I don’t really participate in class. I clock out and then manage to make an A.
It had been months since I heard from Vinny. I leave his group and everything goes awry. Bartholomew turns ‘bad,’ the source and the Presence are left alone. Do you know how many people are needed for a Dungeons and Dragons group?
At least three. They have two.
We spun a wheel – did you know that? Ah, of course you did. We took a wheel from twister, the Source wrote the names, and we all chose one with a “first come, first serve” type of deal.
The stories seen before, you know, Batfold, the Fold, Batfold: Novick Detention, Aquapleat, Wonder Folder, Supaperman: Genesis and Green Paper Lantern were all sent to me by anonymous sources. A few of them, such as Aquapleat and Wonder Folder, had their own Presences and stuff. Trust me, I was not aware of this, and I doubt Vinny could’ve been smart enough to coordinate that. You had the quiet ones in Aquapleat, and the one who pulled strings and were all girls, all of which I know – heck, I’m crushing on “the Word” – in Wonder Folder.
They sent me messages, all of these stories, straight from the mouths of those who did it.
Alan has been on a recruiting spree, I know that for a fact. I’ve been there, watching what’s happened. He brought his old friend, JC, on the team. And then he brought Matthew Yen, some sophomore runner who I don’t know much about. He explained that he had already received their files from an anonymous source, I guess it was the presence of Lampert.
He then added Theresa Carter, as word was spreading about her “Wonder Folder” puppet. That was my suggestion, by the way. Alan won’t tell you that, so let me be the one that will.
It’s a small team, and rarely are they ever in the same place. I’m in the Discord and the Groupme, and occasionally JC will send a meme, but nothing else really comes of it.
I figured that maybe Alan would appreciate these stories, some knowledge on his peers and teammates. He is the Gosh Darn BatFold, after all. I think it’ll help him get to know them some more.
I’ll come back when he reads these.
(My Timer said it took him approximately seven hours to read these stories. Alan was at my house a little after that.)
“Firstly,” He started as he went into my basement, “I have never hated someone more than Vinny in this moment.”
“Why?” I asked, closing the door behind me. My mom didn’t even get to say hello to him. She was preheating the oven for pizza rolls.
“Dude, first of all, he is clearly the dingus boy of my stories. I don’t get hot headed-”
“- You pummelled Conrad into the ground-”
“- Most of the time. Man, Walter, let me finish!” He stood at my air hockey table, starting it up, “But he added COMMENTS to my case file. There were multiple times he could’ve gone up to me and said ‘hey, Alan, Bartholomew Lowe is selling puppets in a secret underground market,’ but he didn’t!”
I took my place at the air hockey table. He placed the puck down and we started to go back and forth as we talked.
“And then there’s the fact that there’s others? What do you mean?! There’s more than one Vinny? Also, Christopher and Stuart are up to joining. Through six degrees of association, though. Matthew had to ask some kid, I think his best friend Casey, who reached out to Christopher, who then got to Stuart.”
“Well, that’s good-”
“But then I read about those kids and I’m like ‘Oh, wow, Supaperman really is going to be the guy to bump heads with me.’ Look out, Wally! You’re going to see Batfold vs Supaperman!” He exclaimed, there was a twinge of annoyance in his voice.
“I actually doubt that.”
“Okay.” Back, forth, back, forth the air hockey puck goes until I land a nice shot into his goal. “… Anyways, did you see what Tess did to that one girl?”
“Wonder Folder. What was her name? Charlotte?”
“Listen man, she’s still wheelchair bound. Matthew is barely recovering from his leg injury-”
“No, dude, I’m talking about what she did to Charlotte. It was wrong. I met this one girl recently, Jessie, close friends with CJ, I think. She’s in the same dang troop! Why is she leading this group if she’s this bigoted?!”
“Well, Tess used Charlotte, who I think is clearly into women.” Alan made a wrong move, landing me another point.
“She didn’t mean to-”
“I don’t care what she meant to do. I know she wanted to win, and that’s why we have the wonderful Wonder Folder we have today, but man. I’m ashamed. No, I’m upset. No, I’m disappointed. I mean, Jessica Zinnia is already Poison Foldy, but like, I wonder if I could just bring Charlotte in and give her a ‘Black Orchid’ puppet or something.”
“I don’t know? I think she’s someone with connections to Poison Ivy.” He said, defeated.
“Anyways, she used her. She used her identity. Okay, here’s what I took: imagine you and me are chilling out, and you meet this girl.” My mind went to the Word, “and you and her started talking because a test was coming up. You start dating her, and because you like her you give her all of these answers and help her ace the test. Then she stops talking to you.” Nevermind, the Word has left the building, “How would you feel?”
“Used.” He repeated.
“Hm, yeah, I guess I see your point.”
“You know that girl from Aquapleat? Hannah Banana Anah?”
“Mmhm?” He really did have a speech for everything, I guess.
“I swear man, she’s all JC talks about! It’s H.B. this, H.B. that. But man, that interview was fun. I was under the impression she was coming to talk to me about my career as Batfold. But it was about my homie JC?! I haven’t heard from him until that whole occurrence.”
“Speaking of occurrences… you heard about JC’s little outing with Cooper King and Matthew Yen last month?”
“Cooper King?! Ah!” Alan clapped his hands, “Man! I haven’t heard from him in so long.”
He was smiling. I think coming out as Batfold really lifted a weight off his shoulders. He’s happy. We stopped playing air hockey, and the conversation naturally flowed to my bean bag chairs and playstation. I tossed him a controller and powered up Injustice Two.
“Well, it was him and a few others, I think this group at Lampert called the ‘Folders of Tomorrow.’”
“Right, right. Daniel Anderson is a part of that, correct?”
“Yeah, I was thinking of inviting him to the team but I decided against it.” Alan said, looking down.
“Their puppets were stolen, and they all had to go find them. Apparently a house was like a maze or something. I was watching it. Lampert is a wild place, man.” I said as I chose Superman.
“Yeah. Cooper is the Green Arrowigami, right? I was suspended when he came over to reveal it.” He pressed Raiden.
“Correct. Man, they just got all of CW over there.”
“I bet they have a Batfold too. Like, a really low-budget badly acted version of me.”
“Well, there’s this kid named James with a Crease-Mite.”
“How do you know all of this, homie?” He said, briefly looking at me while beating me up.
“I have my ways.” Truth is, my ‘ways’ was that I had met with the Folders during their little stints. They had some major event over there, not really catastrophic, something about a plushie. It’s not good over there, at all.
“Wasn’t there a terrible stomach bug at Lampert?”
“Ah, yeah, the Lampert flu. The folders said it was a ‘really bad stomach ache that made students really angry.’ Bull-doodle. I had gotten my hands on those stories from this kid named Alberto. Real country kid. He told me some of it was just crazy talk.”
… We were silent.
“Anyways, Alan, I got to know something.”
“Yeah? What is it?”
“That trip to Washington, are you going?” I paused the game, and we looked each other in the eyes as he sat stunned.
The Trip to Washington DC
A brief description of the yearly tradition. Recovered by Walter.
Freshmen and Sophomores of Kane, Lampert, and Donner!
Are you passing with a B+ average? Then you are eligible to see the great monuments of our Nation’s Capital! Stand in front of the white house! Look at Abraham Lincoln’s cool beard! Stay in a hotel room. Fly on a cool airplane! The school district of Jutefruce is proud to send the smartest of our students as a reward for their hard work during their high school endeavors.
By Walter Gilligan
“Yeah, I suppose I’ll go. I mean, I can kind of afford it. I did that commercial and stuff.” He finally said after thinking about my question.
“Speaking of that, that commercial was really dumb.” I told him, “‘Did YOU, yes YOU. Know that Batfold was made from this special super secret origami paper that I bought from Dozier’s craft store?’” I said in a mocking voice. He elbowed me.
“Zip it! I just needed some pocket change.” Alan exclaimed.
“I thought you were rich?” I asked.
“The Soup company stripped away my reserve after opening the school. Said I was being too ‘reckless’ with my purchases. I’m a teen!” We were silent for a bit. It was getting awkward.
“Now, Alan, the real question is: when we’ll have our first true meetup?”
He snorted, “When will we unite the six?”
“How about my house, next Sunday? I need to reprimand each one of them for what they’ve done.”
“You’re talking just about Tess.”
“… I guess I’m talking about Tess. Is your mom okay with you coming over only a couple days from now?” Alan asked. Truth be told, I had no idea if she’d be okay with it. My dad doesn’t care, but she-sigh, she’s a different beast entirely.
“I think so? I don’t know.” We played Injustice until I sprung another question onto him, “What will be talked about at this meeting besides reprimanding Tess?”
Alan paused the game, “I’m starting to think you don’t want to play Injustice.”
“Well, I am getting wrecked over here.” I said, “Then again, it’s been a while since I played this. I didn’t know they added the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”
Alan laughed, “So you bought the season pass but never touched it?”
“I don’t care for the loot mechanic. At first I did, but after buying the season pass I went ‘If I wanted to play Destiny, I’d play Destiny.’ I really stopped after that.” He unpaused the game, and I paused it again. He sighed.
“Alan, seriously, what will be talked about at the meeting?”
“Ugh, do I need to make an itinerary?” He asked, semi-joking.
“Yeah, I guess you do.”
Paranoia and Itinerary Planning(1)
By Alan Wade
I sat at my computer, opening up Discord. I can’t believe this. Who chose me to be the PTA host? All we did at Walter’s was talk while playing Injustice, but something was swirling over and over in my mind.
Lately, I’ve been struggling to sleep. Christmas is approaching, and fast. It’s my first Christmas without a Mom and Dad. I’ve been scared, I feel like everything is at risk. Every day I’ll ask Madalyn if she still has feelings for me. She’s getting concerned, I can see it in her face. I toss and I turn, nothing is feeling good. Danny bought me Nyquil, thinking that will fix something.
I’ve been paranoid. Being open about Batfold has caused an accidental issue: I think everyone is after me.
People look at me funny, am I a clown to them? A joke? An orijoker? Heck, I’m avoided, nobody looks at me in the eyes. Do I scare these kids?
Do I scare this team? Is that why we haven’t been in the same place at once?
Stress, stress, I’m having stress. All around me is stress, everything in front of me is just stress. I’m so scared, I’m so worried. And then there’s this inkling. What if they betray me?
I don’t know, this could be super irrational, I could just be going crazy, but what if they just betray me, toss me away? Who needs Alan Wade? I think, if it would be anyone, it would be Chris Booth to do that. Optimistic, happy-go-lucky Chris Booth, at the top. I bet people fear him for a different reason: he works for the news. Exposing Neil Swift like that is insane, taking down that whole Flexonite empire was big.
Let me tell you a quote from Abraham Lincoln, which I totally did not just Google to prove my point:
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
Where is my power? People fear me, yes, but is that a true power? Chris has the power of the media, people can be scared of him, people know he’ll take them down. The easiest way to take him out would be to ruin his reputation and credibility as a writer, obviously.
Theresa has a lot of power as head of the girl scouts troop. Take her down a peg or two and she’ll be pointless as a hero. Hypothetically, one could put her in a situation where she’d have no choice but to be mean, in front of other people. Why would the kindest member of the Amazonians, the head of the troop, and also arguably the kindest of the Justice Pleats say such cruel things?
Someone could definitely just falsify info about Stuart Jones. Someone could claim he hit a dude at Reynold’s. I don’t know. It’s hard to get a read on that ambitious dude.
I think the simplest way to take Matthew down a notch from being the poor runner who had his leg broken would be to tap into that talent, that fear he doesn’t have any.
Am I going psycho? Maybe.
Ugh JC would be simple, I mean, just claim that he altered times or something, and then reveal that he cheated on assignments.
I don’t know, scrap it, scrap it all. I need to make my itinerary for the meeting Saturday.
Would I include CJ? No, I mean, we’re just getting good, we’re buddies and coworkers. The only way to even stop him would betray him, and I wouldn’t do that-
Focus, Wade, Focus!
Okay so you’re going to have snacks made by Danny, maybe those bat-croissant pizza rolls he makes? Maybe we’ll cater Citizen Wade’s? No, no, they don’t put enough salt.
Ooh, how about Wendy’s? That’ll work! Some baconators and fries, I’m sure Danny will be more than willing to tap into his reserve for that.
We’ll eat the snacks, maybe have them get to know my room, my guest room, etcetera…
The Young JustCrease Game Together
By CJ Whogley
Hey, I just thought I should talk about this.
To start, the Young JustCrease is coming together. Everything is just really clicking. For example, let me explain a conversation we had while playing Fortnite:
“So, anyways, I took down the Pleatster-” Jonathan Yen started.
“I know, I remember.”
“And then it was so crazy! Like, everything was in my way! I was in danger!”
“Mhm.” I replied. Jonathan Yen is in the same grade as Matthew, but he acts so much younger. It can be a bit hard to get used to.
“What’s up, CJ?”
“I’m thinking about something.”
“Oh-oh-oh! Let me take a guess,” Then he dies in game, “Dang it! But anyways, as I was saying-” then I die, “Ooh! Sucks to be you. Anyways, Are you thinking about the Secret Society of Supervillains fighting us?” The Seven Ss (for the “Super-duper Secret Society of Supremely Super Supervillainous Superfolders”), as they were called, only really existed at Kane, and I was close with all of them. They don’t care about us.
“No, not really.” I said.
“Then do you think someone will make a crazy goop that makes us all go crazy and then when we come in contact with it we’ll all go crazy and it’s just a crazy parasite-” Jonathan spoke at a hundred words a minute. It got hard to focus, so I had to stop him there.
“No, not that either.”
“Then what is it, man?” Then, Theodore Franklin (or Theo) joined the call.
“Hey everyone!” he said, “What’s popping in here?!” I liked Theo. Theo actually seemed to care about what he was doing. He was “Aquapad,” and, much like his cousin JC, was as cocky and a loud mouth as him.
“Oh, nothing, Theo. I’m playing a fun game called ‘guess what CJ is thinking about.’”
“Hold on- did my mic cut? Is my cousin on the call?”
“No, I said CJ.”
“I thought you said JC.” Theo said. It went back and forth for a while, until last but not least Jessie joined, making it a full squad.
“Woah, woah, woah guys.” Jessie said, getting barraged with greetings and arguments about CJ or JC.
“Hey Jessie.” I said amongst the chaos. Then Jonathan’s guy started default dancing in the lobby.
I closed my eyes, thinking that would make everything disappear.
“Hey CJ, what’s up?”
“Well, I’m struggling right now, hey, can we move to another chat?”
Jessie sighed a sigh of relief, “Please.”
We joined a separate lobby and were silent for a bit, and then Maria joined.
“Howdy, y’all!” She exclaimed.
“Hey, Mar-Mar.” Jessie giggled. I groaned.
“Okay, so, here’s the deal: I’m struggling lately.” The good thing about Maria and Jessie was that they cared.
Immediately, I heard “Oh no, what’s going on?” From Maria, and a “Wow, what’s up? Did you flirt with another girl who rejected you?” from Jessie.
“First of all, ouch, Jessie. That’s a low blow.” I said.
“Yeah, hon why would you say that?” Maria asked.
Jessie laughed, “I’m sorry-I really am, I was just joking. Continue.”
“Okay, so, we’re all going on that Washington DC trip, right?”
“Yeah, absolutely.” They both said.
“It could just be an inkling, a slight fear, or something, but what if something happens up there?”
“Like what?” Jessie asked me. She was no nonsense, it was hard sometimes.
“I don’t know. Let’s say, hypothetically, that we get down there, and there’s a baddy that’s trying to snatch the Declaration of Independence.”
“Someone has been watching ‘National Treasure.’” Maria snorted. Jessie broke out into hysterics. Her laugh carries on a headset.
“Oh, that’s fresh- that’s fresh.” It sounded like Jessie was wiping tears from her face, she was laughing that hard.
“It’s not that funny…” I mumbled. I don’t think either of them heard it.
“No, it’s not, I’m sorry CJ.” Maria stated, “Anywho, that’s nigh impossible, partner. And, besides, we’d always be there to stop him, or her.”
“Right! Don’t worry about that at all, man!”
We then went onto the Minecraft server Theo was hosting. It allowed for all of us to join, and it was a great bonding experience. Theo had built us a mega-house for us to live in. He claimed that he used his exquisite mind to build it, but we all knew that he got it from some dumb tutorial.
Something is turning in my mind. I don’t know how this trip will be. Alan told me he didn’t go the year before, as his dad was like “I’ll just take you this summer.” Which, uh…
Anyways, I’m worried about it. I feel like something is coming, but I don’t know what it is. Sometimes I think things come at me, one thing after another, all because I’m the sidekick.
In this moment, the sidekicks find comfort with each other. We mine, we craft, we build, all together. During this time, we talk about what’s stressing us; school work, how Freshman Year is going, our worries and fears. But I sit back, and it hits that I’m separated from them. I eat lunch with Jessie. We don’t say much, she’s included me amongst her friends. They’re all so, so, so very loud.
Everyone else – Maria, Theo, and Jonathan are all at Lampert. We’re separated by a school. I can see that those three (plus Jessie) all feel close-nit. They’re buddy-buddy.
And I’m just there. I’m the leader, I founded this, I recruited each and every single one, but I’m separate. Maybe what I’m afraid of is them losing me, their leader.
Maybe what I’m afraid of is me losing them.
Unexpected House Guest
By Alan Wade
“Boys, it’s dinner!” Danny Whogley, my guardian, announced from the Kitchen. This itinerary sucked. It went as follows:
- We get Wendy’s catered to us. We dine like kings.
- Reprimand Tess in front of the crowd.
- Talk about current plans.
- Get out of my house.
Upon smelling the absolutely delectable scent of the roast beef, cooked and sauteed with carrots and greens and gravy, my mind wandered elsewhere; down the steps, through the foyer, past the living room, and into the kitchen. Danny still cooked, making the mashed potatoes. The gravy had been made, forming a film on it as the juices settled.
“Hey there, Alan.” He said. Only recently did we start calling each other by our first names. It was during my suspension, he was stuck teaching me at home every day. I remember him one time just flat out saying ‘Listen to me, Master Wade, I have no interest in calling you that anymore. We’ve known one another for years, I feel like we’re on a first name deal.’
So, I call him Danny, and he calls me Alan. I liked it a lot more, it’s like two friends, or a tutor and a pupil who have the same respect for one another.
Me and CJ sat down at the small table, big enough to fit only four seats. Danny stopped caring about his get-up. Nowadays he’s usually in a short-sleeved polo. Winter in California is as pointless as wearing skis on dry land.
Me and CJ have been getting along lately, ever since Novick, really. We’re the dynamic duo. Don’t tell him I said this, but he’s taught me to be better at de-escalating fights. I didn’t know one could just talk it out. At the same time, though, fights and stuff stop the moment we show up. Fear is strong.
Before we even started to eat, our doorbell rang.
I got up, thinking it was Walter. When I opened the door, I was face to face with a shorter teenager with black, fuzzy hair and a large nose. It was raining, and he was drenched, even though he had a jacket on.
“Oh, dude, come in!” I said. I didn’t know him, but I also didn’t like anyone out in the rain like that.
“Thank you, thank you.” He mumbled as he entered.
CJ and Danny walked out of the kitchen to see.
“My, oh my,” Danny said, his butler roots showing, “Let me go get you a towel, we were just starting dinner.”
“Thank you.” The guy said, shivering. Danny tossed him a towel, the kid caught it, thanking us again.
“Boy, it’s no problem at all. Don’t you worry about it.” Danny told him. CJ nodded.
“Grandpa, can I go eat dinner?” CJ asked.
“Of course, lad.” Danny mentioned. When the guy got all dried, I brought him to the kitchen. Danny has taught me some manners recently, so I started making this dude’s plate.
He was probably my age, if not a little bit older. At dinner, I asked him his name and he told me that it was “Phil Rapids.” Phil was kind, maybe a tad quiet.
“What school do you go to, Phil?” I asked him.
“I go to Donner.” He replied, “Great school. A private education isn’t for everyone, probably just the smartest of the smart.”
“Oh, Donner? You probably know Chris Booth, right?” I asked while motioning towards the mashed potatoes.
He froze for a moment before responding, “Yeah, yeah, I’m familiar with him. Everyone is.”
“Is he a good guy?” CJ looked at me with suspicion. “Also, I want the mashed potatoes, man. Can you pass them to me?” I stated. Phil froze for a moment, trying to think of what to say as he slowly handed the potatoes to me with shaky hands.
“Alan, of course he’s a good guy. He’s a part of your team.” CJ told me.
“You’re still doing that team, Alan?” Danny asked me.
“Right, yeah, anyways Phil, continue.” I said absent-mindedly. I needed to know this. I needed to know just who I was getting to know.
I have no clue who Stuart or Chris are. No one does. Us Kaneians don’t look at Donnerites with love. It’s like they think they’re above everyone else, with their high-tech and tons of money. They have nothing on our football team, though. The Bats can beat the Dingos any day.
Immediately, my first impression of Stuart and Chris were that they were rude, up-tight, and annoying, because that’s how every Donner student was, except for Phil. Phil was actually alright. He was a decent guy that I could actually understand. I think he’d fit well amongst the Kane Kids, but it wasn’t worth trying to convince him to transfer. Arguably, the Donner Dorks were getting the better education.
I remember when Mom made me shadow. Everything there was big and state-of-the-art. Kids walked around in uniforms, the girls in blue skirts and red shirts, sometimes with a black coat, or they were in khakis. The Boys wore sports coats and red shirts. Everyone was prim and proper.
I hated it.
Me and Phil clearly lived different lives up to this point, but I’m sure he either got a good scholarship to be at such a prestigious school, or he was just plain rich.
Phil was silent for a moment, so I repeated my question, “Is Chris Booth a good guy? I’m on a little team with him.”
Phil laughed, “Yeah, he’s ok. I guess. I don’t know what to think of him exposing innocent students like that.”
“Oh? Hm…” We ate dinner in silence after that.
After dinner, Danny had me give Phil a house tour. I showed him my room, Danny’s room, and CJ’s Room, then the two bathrooms, and the basement. It was weird, going from a huge mansion to this, but man, it’s bearable.
I went to my room and crashed on one of my bean bag chairs. Phil followed suit.
“So man, how’d you end up here?”
“I was out on my daily run when the storm started.” He said. A crack of thunder. My eyes darted to my computer, which was still on. Ugh! It would be rude and suspicious if I walked over now to turn it off. We watched TV for a moment, and then Phil continued, “I was just on my jog. I kind of knew it would sprinkle, but it came down sideways and fast. And you know how weird it is for us to get rain sometimes. It was refreshing at first, but then it got harsher. I had to stop somewhere, and this house was the closest.”
I nodded, “yeah, that makes sense.” The rain was slowly letting up, but I felt the need to go. Like, so bad that if I didn’t go now, I’d have to cover the entirety of my pants with water. It was so bad.
I got up and said, “Man, if I don’t go now, I’m going to die.” and dashed off. It took me a while, but it was so refreshing. When I got back, Phil was standing up, looking like he was ready to leave. He was zipping up his jacket when I quickly caught a glimpse of a black t-shirt with the words “Flexo-” on it in green. I couldn’t read the rest.
“I have to get going,” he said, “Mom wants me home soon. Thank you for letting me in, uh-”
“Alan, Alan Wade.”
“Alan. Your dinner was great, and I like your house.” He mumbled the last part.
“Are you walking home?”
“Yeah, yeah, it’s good to walk, y’know?” He mentioned.
“Walking is fun. Y’know, there’s that park near here, Morrison’s park. It’s so scenic, I highly recommend it. My mom donated a lot to get that place made.”
“Really? I’ll have to check it out.” Phil shook my hand. It was a nice, good grip.
“Nice handshake.” I mentioned.
“Thanks, I learned it in a Freshman etiquette class.” I nearly scoffed. Imagine having to take a class to learn how to shake hands.
I walked him downstairs and outside. He put in his green earbuds and started the jog home.
When I got back on my computer, I remembered leaving the itinerary visible. Now, it was on my files.
…When did “Paranoia and Itinerary Planning” get a ‘(1)’ next to it?
Alan Could’ve Used Literally Any Other Messaging Platform to Contact Us Besides IMessage
Transcripts of text convos screened by JC Russell (because I thought they were funny)
Group Chat Name: The JPA
Participants: Me, Alan Wade, Random Phone Number, Tess, Stuart, Matthew
Alan: Hey guys, I made this group chat to let you all know we’re having a meeting this Saturday to discuss the future of our team.
Me: who uses periods in their text convos 4head
Alan: Me, 5Head.
Me: Me JC
Tess: OK ALAN SOUNDS GOOD.
Tess: Shoot Caps Lock
Matthew: Why do you literally type just like Casey? Capitals and everything.
Stuart: I’ll be there Alan!
Alan: Ok, ok, who will be there?
Random Phone Number: Who are you people?
Alan: Chris, it’s us, the Justice Pleats.
RPN: I don’t know you guys. You have the wrong number.
Alan: No, this is the number in my contacts, you’re Chris.
Matthew: Dude it’s the wrong guy.
Alan: Ok, Matt.
RPN: Wait… Matthew Yen? Haha! I found the secret hideout of the Justice Pleats, Graham Stuart shall reign supreme!
Me: the guy who hacked the lamb Bert Site. Ugh. Thinkorigami, really?
Alan: So now you use punctuation?
Theresa: Guys, let’s just make a new group chat. Stuart has Chris’ phone number.
Graham: I will find you all! And you shall be ENDED!
We made a new Group Chat.
Alan: Ok Chris are you here? We’re taking account of who’s going to be at the meeting.
Chris: Sry, working on homework, ye, I’ll be there, bye
Alan: Wow. Ok. See you guys there.
Me: You could’ve used anything besides IMessage liek we have a discord and stuff maybe even a skype who knows lol
Alan: JC, it’s business.
A Meeting at the Wade’s Residence
By Theresa Carter
Girl scouting and finally getting a bit on my legs has been incredibly hard to do. To be the leader of the Amazonian troop is a major task, one that requires courage, wit, and desire. The same can be said about walking, or learning to walk. I’ve been going to a physical therapist for the past month or so. It’s not fun, it’s actually quite grating, but so is this.
Attending a meeting at a place where the entrance is just two staircases is hard. I knew the meeting was in the basement, mainly because Alan did the kiddy thing of putting “The Fold of Justice is Downstairs” on a piece of cardboard. I sighed and walked downstairs with struggle.
Matthew, JC, A tall kid with black hair, and a kid with a flat-top all sat around in the basement. Well, the flat-top kid and tall kid were at Alan’s pool table, loading a game. Matthew had his leg propped up, a brace on it.
The flat-topped kid looked at me, “Hey! I’m Stuart!” He made a mad dash to me, grabbing my hand, “I assume you’re Theresa, unless that guy over there is her.” he said, nodding at JC. JC was looking at his phone, a Minecraft world open.
“Huh.” JC said, missing what we said.
“Not much of a jokester, hm?” Stuart whispered to me. I knew I recognized JC from somewhere; he was a swimming legend at Kane. Murmurs of his stats and potential to transfer to Lampert was frequent. When he broke up with Jessica Zinnia, that sealed the deal. The final nail in the coffin. No more JC at Kane. We figured he’d stay a few weeks, probably before practice really started, and then would leave.
Did you know he had an entrance song Freshman year?! I was at a swim meet to support my friend Elise. It seriously was this beat, ending with some pixelated “Perfect!”
He frickin PUNCHED the air like a Street Fighter character. How do I call a dude cocky when he himself knows what he’s doing?
And here he was, in Alan’s basement, playing Minecraft and not talking to any of us? It was like a pre-game show and we were all just watching him do it.
“I guess not.” I said.
“You know, I heard he can talk to fish.” The tall kid cracked. He had glasses, looked quite geeky, but was always smiling, “I’m Christopher, by the way. Or, Supaperman. Depends on who you meet, I guess.”
The elusive Supaperman in the flesh.
Alan placed me in a group chat with himself, JC, and Matthew months ago. Our discussions would usually go back to recruiting this guy. The Stuart dude I wasn’t so sure about.
Neither of them are in our Discord or our GroupMe. The first time we heard from them was the text convo, and we had the WRONG guy.
Can you keep a secret, a really nice spicy one? I don’t care for Alan. In fact, he really gets on my nerves. The stunts he does really grates my cheese. It’s as though his rich boy, “I care too much” personality only causes more harm than good. The revelation that he was Batfold didn’t shock me, his vigilantism only brought more harm when he beat up a kid with a speech impediment, leading to Novick Detention, which then brought on this crazy environment where now literally everyone is scared to be sent to his mansion-turned-school.
And already he’s late to HIS meeting HE coordinated at HIS Home. Where the heck is he?!
“SuPaperMan?” I said, “Pleasure to meet you.”
“Oh, the pleasure is all mine, Wonder Folder.” He said the last part with a twinge of awkwardness, which added to the charm.
He had courtesy, too. I’ll give him that. We shook hands.
“Anyways, where’s this Wade kid? I looked him up on Instagram and online, but the only thing that showed up is he lost his parents.” Chris said, “I mean, are there cameras here? Is he watching us?” He was so geeky. It was quite charming, really.
“I have no clue. I thought I’d be late.” Matthew said, “but I was the first one here. That old George Clooney look-alike let me in.”
“Same.” They all said, except for me.
“I just walked in.” I said.
“Barely.” JC huffed. I turned to him.
“Excuse me?” I asked.
“Look at your legs, they’re broken. Shaking. Like, you’re a stack of cards. I don’t know, I don’t read metaphors.”
“I’ve been at physical therapy, okay? And it wasn’t my legs, it was my back, too.” I said. JC was a bit rough, but he put down his phone and looked at me, his entire demeanor changing.
“Homegirl, homegirl, listen to me. That’s all good, but give the babies a rest.”
The exhaustion hit in that moment and Stuart was able to catch me before my legs gave out. It’s crazy how a back injury affects really everything else.
“I guess you’re right.” I said. Stuart sat me down on a bean bag chair, which just made the pain worse.
“What are you doing?” JC asked Stuart, getting up. “You have to R.I.C.E..”
“Rice?” Matthew questioned JC. JC walked over to Alan’s little basement kitchenette and grabbed a paper towel and opened the fridge, grabbing ice cubes.
“First, you Rest.” He started while wrapping the ice in the paper towels, “Then you Ice.” he placed the impromptu ice pack on my leg, “next you Compress,” pressing it into my leg, applying pressure, “and finally, you elevate. R.I.C.E.” Chris got me some pillows to elevate my leg on. I learned this in the hospital when the incident first occurred. I make use of it at home, it accelerates healing too.
“Thank you, JC.” I murmured.
“Listen, I twisted my ankle after beating my rival at a swim meet. Been dealing with it ever since.” He lifted his pant leg, showing the wrapped up ankle he had on, “You take Ice Baths, Theresa?”
“No, we don’t have much ice to go around.”
“Ah, I see. Coach lets me take ice baths every day. I’m really developing good handling of the cold. In fact, I’m not going to take a single jacket on the trip to DC.”
“Oh… that’s why he brought us here.” Stuart said, “I thought he wanted me to advertise Reynold’s Summer Camp.”
“Why would he invite all of us for that, man?” Chris asked Stuart. Stuart shrugged.
“I’m going to look around the basement real fast.” JC said, getting up and walking off. We waited around for what felt like forever.
JC came back with a black paint bucket and a paintbrush.
“Well, come on.” He said as he walked over to the pool table.
“JC, where’d you find the-” Matthew started to ask as he got up.
“Shh… That’s a story for another time.” JC said. Everyone looked around at each other, confused. JC opened the paint bucket and dipped the brush in.
“Who has the best penmanship? Wait, I know, the girl!”
“Oh goodness, please, not me. Not me.” I said, slowly getting up and hobbling over.
“Come on, Theresa, please?” JC asked. No one knew what he was doing, so he walked over and whispered two letters into my ear: J and P.
On the Pool Table, I started to paint the J.
“Theresa… Theresa… Theresa… Theresa…” The chanting started from Matthew. Stuart joined, then JC, and finally, Christopher. The J was a bubble letter, and I started on the P.
Eventually, I finished, and we all cheered. It felt good to be doing something.
“What. The. Heck?!” Ah, great, I hear the deep voice of a rich kid, coming to ruin the fun. Why wasn’t he just in another mansion? Why’s he in this place? This is just like my house, just a bit bigger. I froze and turned to look at Alan.
“Hey, Alan.” JC said casually.
“No ‘hey Alan’-ing me. You guys just ruined a pool table.” He said. His face was red. He held two large bags of Wendy’s.
“I trusted that you all would be fine while I was out getting this stuff for you guys.” he said.
“You should’ve gotten that stuff earlier.” I said.
Alan huffed, putting the burgers around the JP. For a while, he stared at it.
“I guess this is our round table, huh?” he asked after his face got less red.
“Yeah, that was my thought.” JC told him.
“Listen, Alan, we’re sorry.” Stuart said, putting a hand on Alan’s shoulder. Alan froze for a moment. It was like I caught a deer in the headlights.
“It’s fine.” he said, pushing the hand off, “I think that it’s cool, actually. The green was pretty lame.” Stuart looked slightly offended, being the Green Paper Lantern and all, “Anyways, let me go get some stools. Chris, come with me, will you?” He asked, quickly walking away.
Chris looked at me and mouthed, “hot head?”
I shrugged, our Trinity was just two normal people and an angry guy. Chris and Alan came back a moment later with stools for all of us, and an extra one for me to prop my leg on.
We dug into the square baconators, covered in mayonnaise and ketchup. I hate mayonnaise. Sometimes it’s awful, other times it’s flavorless, but right now, in this moment, all I tasted was disappointment. The fries were okay, though.
“I’m sorry I’m late.” Alan said while stuffing his face, “Walter decided not to come.”
“Who’s Walter?” I asked.
“The Voice, if that rings a bell. He’s the Spectrigami.”
Oh. Walter. Liliana’s guy-pal.
“Oh, yeah, I guess the name rings a bell.” I said. Me and Alan were the only two Kane kids.
We had representation from all schools; two from Kane, another two from Lampert, and two from Donner.
I liked that. I liked that we were united like this.
“So, now that we’re all done… let’s get started,” Alan said.
“Right, let’s get started.” Chris interjected, “firstly, I’ve been thinking about our trip to Washington. Can I get a headcount of who’s going to the best capital in the world?” Chris asked, almost mockingly. We all raised our hands. Alan eyed him for a second, a slight frown.
“Perfect!” Alan said.
“Yes, indeed.” Chris interrupted, again, “We haven’t met each other formally, so, let’s do introductions. Theresa, will you begin?”
It felt like the kindness test at Girl Scouts, I had to be extra nice.
“Well, I’m Theresa, but my friends call me Tess. I’m the head of my girl scouts troop, the Amazonians. I outwitted my opponents and earned the title, and a broken back and injured legs. I’m usually wheelchair bound, but I had to leave it at the top of the stairs.”
“Right. Theresa, I have to say, I don’t like what you did to Charlotte.” Alan told me, straight on, faster than a speeding bullet.
Charlotte. That wasn’t a name that’s been brought up in my circles. “Ha-ha, what do you mean?” I asked, a tad uncomfortable. Everyone looked at me with a weirder look now, that of condescension.
“Well, I’m just saying, that girl was attracted to you. You tricked her, played her like a fiddle to win it.”
“I’m sorry?” I questioned, it was kind of hurtful, “We clarified that whole deal. We left each other amicably, we’re friends.”
“Am I reading too deep into your file?” Alan said.
They all turned and looked at him now.
“Files?” Matthew asked, “are you talking about my personal narrative and stuff?”
“Exactly. Walter gave them all to me.” Alan told us. We shuffled a bit.
“I guess it doesn’t matter. It’s good to know at least one person that heard our stories.” Chris said, finding the good side to it.
But I wasn’t feeling it. I didn’t like that, he just tried to take a nasty dig at me and failed miserably. But, our team decided to ignore it.
“I’m Matthew Yen, I’m a Sophomore at Lampert. My leg was injured during a race and I went on a case to solve if I was sabotaged. I was, by the way. And yes, this hurts, a lot.” he pointed at his brace, “but I made a good friend, Percival, and we’re all good, all of us. Me and Percival plan to room together at DC. I’m excited.” Matt smiled at us after that, a wide grin.
“Cool, cool.” Alan said.
“I’m Christopher…” Chris said, “But please, call me Chris… uh… me and my girlfriend went on a case to expose Neil Swift and his Flexonite, and I became Supaperman. It was fun, I’m the first hero at Donner.”
“Wrong, pal! That moniker goes to me- Stuart Jones, the Green Paper Lantern!” Stuart exclaimed, “With a hopeful vision, I learned so much at Reynolds, I high-key recommend it. I had such a good time with great people.”
Chris laughed, then we moved on to JC.
“Uh, I have a girlfriend… Uh… I swim a lot and I beat this kid, his name is the Swim Master, and I exposed the teacher for being bad, and uh…” It was like watching a loading screen give birth. Long, and painful.
“Okay, JC, we get it, thank you,” Alan said, “Anywho, let’s discuss DC for a moment.”
“Yes, we should. As Supaperman, I’ll take control for the moment,” Oh, Alan didn’t like this, not one bit, “I feel as though something is bound to happen, either involving us, or someone ruining the reputation of this trip. As a worker of the Brando Weekly, I’ve learned that there’s a lot – and I mean a lot – of ways this trip could go wrong. I bet Alan here knew we’d all be equally balanced on where we came from.” It was as though, the moment he talked business, Chris knew what to say and how to say it, “and, if it’s not obvious now, we’re the best representation possible for our county. Luckily it’s not an election year, and there’s not much going on over there. But we must protect not just our schools, but Washington from falling to the chaos of our paper puppet foes.”
“Makes sense.” I said, “What’s your theory? Do you think someone will do something?”
“I… do not know. But we must stay vigilant. Do you all understand me?” He asked, “er, me and Alan?” Alan shot a glare at him.
“Yes!” JC said, “Man, I’m hyped! I can’t wait to go in headstrong on this.”
“I mean, I don’t want you being chaotic.” Alan mentioned, “Remember at my birthday party in sixth grade when you-”
“Crushed the punch bowl on my head!? I STILL find shards.”
We chatted for a little, and slowly, people started to fizzle out. First Matt, then Chris, JC played some InJustice and raged, then Stuart, and I started to leave, until…
Communication is Key.
By Alan Wade
“Listen, I’m not one to do this, but I’ve learned a lot in the recent months: I’m sorry for saying that today.”
“That I used my friend’s preferences to win?”
“Yeah.” I said. I felt really bad about it, I had been mulling it over in my mind, how I wanted to say this. “I think that I should’ve been a lot better about it, confront you in private.”
“Let me be clear about this, Wade: I don’t know who you think I am, but I don’t use friends. I would never hurt my friends, I wouldn’t use that special part of them to my advantage. Sure, I don’t know how I feel about it, but I’ll never let Charlotte’s beliefs and wants affect my job I have to do.” she told me this with sternness in her voice, “I joined this team because it was something right. If you do a stunt like that again, I’m out. And we’re barely getting started.”
“O-Okay.” I told her.
“And another thing, I’m sorry about Christopher hijacking this meeting, but we were waiting on your sorry butt to get down here and do something. So, he had to make this thing quick.” Was my stink eyes that visible? Dang it.
“I understand that. I’m sorry. I need to communicate more about what’s going on. The caterer-”
“You catered Wendy’s? Don’t you have a whole fast food restaurant chain?”
“My family does, and I’d still have to pay. But anyways, Wendy’s took forever, and the Uber was annoying… I’ll be sure to be more open and honest with you guys in the future. I promise that.”
“Shake my hand on it.” She told me, holding it out. I grabbed her hand and shook. She then started her way up the steps. I helped her a bit, but she adamantly refused. She got in the car with her mom and they rode off.
I went back downstairs and stared at the JP symbol. Some more paints and color, and I think the pool table would look amazing as our round table.
Sigh. I hate the movie, but yes, there’s room for more.
By Matthew Yen
So, I’m packing. There’s an overall list of what I need to bring, but I tossed that all out to bring what I think is needed, like gloves, a jacket, clothes and money. I’m not taking anything valuable except for my phone, after all. Percy (or, as he likes to be called, Percival) was at my house to tell me what he’s bringing. He had a list, telling me what we’re both doing.
“I’m bringing the snacks, Matthew.” Percy was sometimes cold, and usually our conversations were just us bickering, but I liked him. He was a good guy.
“I thought I was.” I told him.
“No, I was, remember? My mother is letting me bring Doritos.”
“Doritos is just one snack, man.”
“Okay, well, what were you even thinking of bringing?” Percy asked. I looked at him while closing my bag.
“Oreos, I think. Double Stuffed.”
“Oreos?!” He exclaimed, “But we may not have a fridge in the hotel room!”
“What do you mean?” I said. He looked around, kind of nervous, “Do you… put your oreos in the fridge…?” I asked him.
“Yes… listen, Matthew, that is of no concern to you.” He said this so nonchalantly that I wasn’t sure if I should feel concern or fear.
“Okay, alright, I think that’s stupid but you can do whatever.” I told him.
“Stupid is far from it. It holds the flavor, and in the event of an offhand apocalypse, my Oreos will not expire.” He said. I nodded and turned away from him, continuing to pack. “Anyways,” he continued, “Are you bringing any video game systems?”
“I’m bringing my laptop. I don’t want to play any games, I want to experience DC. The laptop is for any homework they decide to make us do.”
“I understand.” He sat still, looking around the room. “Did I tell you about the Justice Pleats?” I asked.
“No. That sounds lame.”
“Well, you know about my puppet, the Fold. I was given it by some kid on the track team.”
“Right. Should I have a puppet too? Would that fit with the current trends?”
“I- I don’t know. I’ll think about it.”
“Okay, Matthew. Sounds good.”
I continued to pack, Percy laid back on my bed, playing on his phone.
“Anyways, the Justice Pleats is this group of kids from Donner, Kane, and Lampert. JC Russell is on the team.”
“Oh, him? Cool. I’d stay away from Kane kids, though. They smell like their school.”
“Hey, it’s Alan Wade and this kind of cool girl. They smell ok.”
“Why do you smell people?”
“I don’t!” I exclaimed, “I was just saying-”
Percy laughed, “I’m joking, Matthew. I’m joking.”
I laughed too. Yeah, me and Percy can butt heads sometimes, but he’s fun.
“Matthew, do you know what time we should be at the airport?”
“No…?” I didn’t know much of anything. My parents paid the ticket, and I just kind of relied on them. I knew we left tomorrow.
“Eight AM. We board at nine.” Then, he got up and started walking out.
He turned to me, “Also, bring some crunch bars. I like the bite.”
By Chris Booth
Mom wrapped me into a tight hug. My suitcase fell on the floor with a thud as I felt the suffocation coming over me.
“I can’t believe you’re going away…” She mumbled into my chest. I leaned out to look at her.
“It’s a week-long stay in Washington DC, Mom. It’s not like I’m going to college.”
“I know. I know. I guess it’s just that ever since your father-”
I froze for a moment, and she stopped too. In an awkward sigh, she smiled and hugged me again. I held on tighter this time, I didn’t want to let go.
“Do you have everything?” She asked, “Toothbrush, toothpaste, clothes-”
“What about the sports coat and button-up?”
“I don’t know if they’ll make us wear that, but I have it just in case.”
She smiled and opened the door, “Well, let’s go!”
It was a quiet, short ride to the Airport. Mom handed me my bag and smiled again, “Now, you better be careful.” She said, “I placed some mace in there, just in case.”
“Do you think they’ll let me have that on the plane-”
“Maybe! I’ll see you soon sweetpea! Take tons of pictures!”
She blew me a kiss and got back into the car, driving off in a sputter. It was too early in the morning, even though I had woken up earlier for school, or the occasional “I forgot to do my homework assignment” and the California air was a tad cold during nights. I walked into the airport to find warmth and loads of kids from the three schools all waiting in line. It was going by extra fast, a cursory x-ray of each student, food was quickly snatched away along with drinks, and security kept us straight. I had my luggage weighed, and, as I was a Donner student, I was directed to one of the Donner chaperones. Miss Susanna was nice, I never really met her and I never had her for any of my classes.
“Okay ladies and gentlemen, we’ll be on plane One-A. Once again, that will be Plane One-A.”
I looked around, trying to find Penny. It was a large, large group. Miss Susanna took out a large box.
“We have to make this quick, guys. Please, grab a single bracelet. You’ll be wearing one of these every day.” Although saying we ‘have to make this quick,’ she handed each bracelet out one by one, and I looked it over in my hand.
On the side it said “Donner Honors” I liked it.
I felt my phone buzz, and I saw that I had a text from Penny.
“Hey! 🙂 Where are u?”
I responded, “I’m with Miss Susanna. Where are you?”
“Turn around!” I heard her yell. I turned and saw Penny, looking as cute as ever.
We hugged and held hands, not saying much. Some of the students looked at us and frowned, like this act was way too early in the morning.
We formed a large cluster and made our way to the plane terminal. Penny would stop and point at cute little Jutefruce memorabilia and magazines to read.
“Oooh, can we check out the magazines they have on the plane? How about we get some refreshments?” Penny asked. I smiled.
“Maybe. I don’t know, Mom only gave me so much money.”
“It’s okay, babe! I’m joking with you. One could dream, though.”
We boarded the plane, and somewhere in the line and course of boarding, me and Penny were separated. I was placed somewhere in the middle, and Penny was in the far back left.
I looked at who I was sitting next to.
Neil. I knew the black hair and large nose popularity king from anywhere.
“Hey there, Chris.” He said.
I tensed, “Uh, hey, Neil.”
“How are you? How’s the SuPaperMan job?”
“It’s, uh, it’s a thing. I’m living. I’m not really stopping anyone, but I’ve been happy doing my cartoons and all.”
“I see. Hey, do you still have a peanut allergy?”
“Yes. That doesn’t really go away.” Neil nodded and sighed.
“I guess I’ll keep the peanut butter crackers for later.”
I laughed, “I guess you’ll have to.” The plane started to take off, and, soon enough, we were sky-high. There weren’t any windows I could look out of, but the “oohs” and “aahs” and the sudden “Wait, it’s all desert?” rang out amongst us.
He laughed as well, “Listen, Chrissy, I’m sorry about the whole thing with the peanuts and all. That was unintentional, I promise.”
… Unintentional? He literally did it knowing I had an allergy.
I mulled over what I wanted to say, the guttural want of calling him out almost overcame me, but I decided against it. Maybe he truly didn’t believe what he was doing was wrong. Maybe it was a spur of the moment thing.
I don’t know, so I said “Hey, it’s all good.” I gave a fake laugh, “So, how’s C.A.D.M.U.S. going?”
“We’re uniting students. It’s awesome. Would you want to join?” I shook my head. I didn’t want to join, I just wanted to know more. I wanted to understand who Charlie was, what this was all about.
“Ah, I understand. It’s growing everyday. But, Chris, this trip isn’t about that. It’s about us! We’re going to the capital of our country! How wonderful and amazing is that?”
“I guess it’s cool.” I said.
“And, you know, there could be much more that goes on here.” He said, looking at me with a slight smirk.
I furrowed my eyebrows, feeling confused. He let out a laugh, “Chrissy, I’m joking with you!” He elbowed me, and then reached down to grab his laptop bag. He opened his laptop and put his earbuds in.
… Green, flexonite earbuds.
I texted Penny that I was going to try falling to sleep, and I laid my head back, closing my eyes. As I closed them, I caught Neil putting a flash drive into his laptop and loading up a file called “Washington DC Trip.”
And then I went to sleep.
The Injured Corner
By Theresa Carter
Because of my leg issue, I was given a seat closer to the front, with Matthew sitting next to me, and more and more kids with leg and arm injuries funnelled in as well, all filling up the first couple of rows. JC sat right behind us, and occasionally he’d flick Matt’s ear.
A kid in blue waved at Matt with a “Matthew, you have everything, right?” to which Matt said “Yeah, Percival.” and Percy nodded a solemn nod, walking away.
“I swear,” Matt whispered, “He’s a great friend, but he has asked if I have everything more than my mom did.”
We were in the sky without a single Donner student in sight.
Alan walked up the rows to us without much opposition from the teachers. He stopped and held on to my seat’s headrest.
“Wow Wade, you couldn’t have gotten us a private jet?” JC asked.
“No, no, we never had one, surprisingly.” Alan said. Surprisingly? Purple squirrels doing twirls, Alan. Some of us are lucky to ride in a 2013 Ford to school. I would use ‘surprisingly’ when I get an onion ring in my Burger King fries.
“Do you know where Chris and Stuart are?” I asked.
“Donner has their own plane.” Alan told me. Matt pointed at my wrist band and Alan’s – we both had a black wristband with the words “Kane’s Honors” on it.
“I gotta say, I like those a lot. Look at mine.” He held up his arm to show a Lampert band that just read “SPORTS – LEGENDS – LAMPERT” around it, in this garish yellow.
“The Lampert ones ARE the coolest.” JC said. Alan wobbled as the plane flew. An attendant walked up to him and went “Sir, would you mind sitting down for me?”
Alan rolled his eyes and walked back to his seat next to CJ.
I elbowed Matt and went “Do you think he can cater Wendy’s up here?” Matt stifled a laugh.
“He’s probably so rich he could sneeze on our injuries and they’d be healed.” I whispered. Matt laughed, rolling his eyes. JC leaned up to hear our conversation.
“What’s going on? What’s up?”
“Oh, we’re just roasting Alan.” I said.
“Nah, nah, you’re roasting Alan. This is hilarious.” Matt said, cracking up.
“Oh, we’re roasting him? I love this. Whenever I’d hang out with him we’d always roast him.” Then he paused, “Oh.”
We suddenly got very quiet, and it got really awkward.
Did he ever stand up for himself? Was he aware of how often that he was the butt of jokes?
“Anyways…” JC sighed.
“I don’t know what to say.” I sighed.
“Yeah… yeesh.” Matt said, “Anyone want to hop onto a local minecraft world?” He asked. We all nodded and sat back.
Matt named the world the Injured Corner, setting it to survival.
We had fun playing together, building a small house and discussing what we do. And then Cheater_a1283 joined, and made our world a living underworld, griefing us at random, hiding around. I found them, a person with an orange cat skin like that one youtuber.
“Ugh! Who is this person?!” Matt exclaimed.
“I don’t know.” I said.
JC stood up and yelled “Whoever is Cheater_a1283 on our Minecraft world, please, please just stop.”
Some teacher exclaimed, “Mr. Russell! Sit down!”
JC sat down and groaned. Matt kicked us all from the world and opened a private area with friends only. We all joined and didn’t need to deal with Cheater_a1283 any longer.
I heard a slight laugh from the back, and I felt a sinister tingle.
Carol. She’s on this plane.
By Alan Wade
The plane made it’s descent, and there was someone I was mulling over in my mind: Phil.
I wondered if he was on this trip, how he knew Chris, and why I couldn’t find him on social media.
I looked in my pocket and took out Batfold. I flipped it over, looked it up and down, and sighed.
I hope I’m making the right choice, y’know? I just hope that what I’m doing, putting this team together, is the right decision. I mean, we don’t have Starro to fight, or a big enemy. I just thought it was obvious to make this.
CJ saw me looking at my puppet and smiled, “look, Alan! I updated mine!”
I looked at his OriRobin. He had redesigned it, and I’m starting to notice some minor details, some slight changes in the costume. From the cape being black and gold, to the colors being darker in reds and little to no green.
“Nice job, CJ. What incarnation is this?”
“The Young Justcrease outfit. I like it a lot.” Him forming his own team kind of struck a nerve. He’s talking to me less and is spending more time amongst his miniature Justice Pleats. I don’t know, I just kind of thought he’d still be my sidekick, working with me and being the guy I go to to talk out my ideas and plans.
The plane started skidding to a halt. It was a direct flight, no rest, clocking in at five hours and forty minutes.
Already, I felt jet lagged. It was three in the afternoon when we landed, when it should’ve been eleven at home. The time difference was immediate.
“Ok, guys,” Mr. Nolan stood up and said, “I’m feeling tired. Anyone else?”
The plane was stopped, and departure from the plane wouldn’t begin until he finished the speech.
“Yes sir!” Smedly Maroni announced, “I feel like I need to Catch-up on some much needed Zs.”
I sighed and laughed. Smedly was brought back from Novick after his antics as the ‘Condiment Kirigami,’ and boy, he doesn’t know how to stop.
Speaking of Novick, I should say that the state is handling it fairly well. The kids that are there get out within a couple weeks, I guess they’re scared straight. Most of the time, though, they go back to their old antics. I haven’t been ketchup packeted yet, but time will tell.
Tony Zazonnie? He’s fine, I think he’s still in Novick.
The principal was some former principal of Lampert, who was exposed a long while back for, at best, circumstantial evidence of ‘pushing a war narrative against sports students.’ Some people may think Doctor Thomas Castillo is a bad idea, but I think his story was suspicious and possibly falsified.
“So fellas, I need you all to check your emails, you’ll see the rooming assignment, and I need you to FIND that person. Do you understand me? You’ll be riding on the same bus to the hotel.”
I opened my email. I wanted a random person, but clearly fate was not on my side because I got…
Oh, thank Granny Goodness. I was scared I was going to get some actual random person.
“Let’s go!” CJ exclaimed, pumping his fist in the air. I looked at his phone and saw he was rooming with Johnathan Yen, Matt’s cousin. I smiled and high fived him.
I walked to the back of the plane to find Walter, who jumped awake at my touch.
“Wha-?” He said, looking groggy.
“Hey man, we’re roommates. Grab your carryon luggage and let’s go.”
He blinked and looked around, seeing the students funnel out.
“Was- was anyone going to wake me up?”
“No, I don’t think they were.” I said. I turned around and started walking away, and Walter stumbled out of his seat, fumbling to grab his bag.
“Alan, have you heard anything?”
“No. I slept for the majority of the flight. I need to sleep some more, though. Come on.”
As we made a dash through the airport, Walter struggled to keep up.
“Come on, man. I have four bags of stuff.” I said, “You’re gonna have to help carry some.”
Walter laughed, “funny joke, Alan.” He said, “‘Ooh, I’m a rich boy with four bags for a one week trip.’” he mockingly said.
And then we stood at the luggage pickup, as four identical black bags rolled out, each one with a tag on them with my name.
“You’re joking…” Walter sighed.
“No, why would I?”
“I thought it was just a meme. You’re kidding me.”
“One has my clothes, another my portable gaming setup, the other two are snacks.”
“So we’re living like kings?” Walter asked. I looked up at him.
“Yeah. We’re living like kings.”
Collected by Walter Gilligan
Ugh, I had to ask these kids multiple times who their roommates were. So, here they are:
I’m with Alan on the second floor of the McFarlane Hotel. We’re in room 243, sixteen rooms away from Theresa and Liliana, basically down the hall.
Chris and Stuart are rooming together three floors up, while CJ rooms with Johnathan on the first floor of the hotel. Much to the dismay of JC, Theo is rooming with him next to our room. Matt and Percy- ahem- Percival are two floors above us, booling.
Maria is rooming with some nobody, and Jessie is rooming with another nobody.
The rooming itself didn’t exactly matter, we were constantly out and about.
Oh, and I know it doesn’t matter, but Vincent is here. He’s with… ahem… ‘Foldifer Morningpleat.’ Luckily, we never came in contact with them.
A Quick Meetup
By CJ Whogley
“Guys!” I yelled in the hallway, “Stay awake! We have a meeting going on, y’know?”
Jessie was falling asleep. I had to snap my fingers a few times as she passed out on Maria’s arm.
“CJ… can’t we sleep for a bit before having a Young Justice meetup…?”
“No! Guys! I can’t believe I have to keep saying this, but we have to stay vigilant.”
“Why? I don’t think anything is going to happen.” Theo said.
“No, no, no. Listen to me, I think something is happening. Something massive that we don’t know. I was up the whole flight, and already I noticed an incident with JC and some Cheater person on a minecraft world.”
“So what are you even saying?” Jessie asked nonchalantly.
“Someone is going to mess with us.” I said, “Someone is going to mess with the Justice Pleats too.”
“I think they’re going to mess with the Justice Pleats first… we’re kind of the second part.” Maria sighed.
“No! We’re awesome, we’re just as cool and just as important.” Jonathan exclaimed.
“Yeah! We’re just as cool and just as important, guys! Let’s show Alan and them that we can be heroes.”
Jessie groaned and fell back asleep as she mumbled, “Don’t care.”
I mumbled “Dang it.”
“Don’t worry, CJ, we’ll show them!” Jonathan yelled, snapping Jessie awake.
“Yeah!” Theo said.
“Yeah…” Jessie sighed.
“We absolutely will! Anyways, let’s go get some well earned rest.” I said, walking back into my room.
Jonathan followed and hopped on the bed, acting crazy.
“We’re going to do some awesome stuff, right CJ? Right?!”
“Yeah, we will…” I said. I wanted Alan’s approval, I wanted to show him that I can be a hero, I can be something more than a sidekick.
I struggled with this earlier in the year, when he didn’t even see me as a sidekick, but of some nuisance. Then we worked together, and it was all better, it was all good. I think with this team, though, I can push myself even further and show him that I’m a leader.
I opened up my phone to a text from an unknown number.
“Look out, Fold Wonder. You may be right about a lot of things.”
By Stuart Jones
I woke up early and got dressed.
Surprisingly, we’re given a lot of freedom here. I can go on walks by myself, as long as I stay close to the hotel. I woke up Chris and he groaned.
We don’t personally know one another. He’s in one of my classes, and that’s how I joined this group. Now we’re roommates on a trip.
We got along, I mean, we joked while watching TV before I fell asleep. It’s our first morning here, after the resting day we had yesterday.
“Do you want to go for a walk?” I asked. Chris groaned again before falling asleep. I took that as a no.
I made my way out and onto the elevator, riding down in silence. I texted my chaperone, Mr. Johnson, and said that I was going to go on a walk, just to clear my head. He responded with “Okay, there’s a park close by. Keep me updated!”
“Will do!” I said. Mr. Johnson was a nice teacher. He had a twin brother, and was just an all around chill guy. I’d stay after class and talk to him about Reynolds, as he used to attend it as a kid back when it was still Nodel.
I made my way to the park. It was quiet and serene. I breathed in the fresh, cold air. It was different from California. It was crisp, cool, and the trees were barren.
I sighed. This was paradise.
And then the first white snowflake fell from the sky and into my palm. It was snowing.
It was the first time I’ve seen snow in real life. I’ve seen it in movies, but I’ve never seen it in person. I couldn’t feel it, I had some gloves on, but I felt overwhelming joy.
They connect, piecing together to become one, and form a nice layer on the ground.
Then a realization hits me: I wish I could experience this with my fellow campers.
Some of them weren’t from Jutefruce, some were from the schools, others weren’t going to this, it was purely optional.
And I felt lonely.
Even at that meeting a couple days ago, I felt out of place amongst the fellow Justice Pleats members. I just wanted to fit in.
I put my hands in my pockets and started to walk around, but I already felt the temperature drop. I realized in that moment that I forgot an all-too-important part of myself: my clay. I couldn’t make anything, I couldn’t do anything to showcase my feelings. But it was so cold.
I started to shiver, so I made my way back to the hotel.
Immediately in the lobby I warm up, and I hear the laughs of fellow classmates getting breakfast. I text Mr. Johnson to let him know I’m back and getting myself some food.
I grabbed some biscuits and gravy, the biscuits aren’t doughy, and the gravy had no flavor, but it felt good to sit alone and watch the snow fall.
I didn’t see anyone from the team. I’m sure they were all asleep, or eating pop tarts upstairs.
I went into the elevator with a muffin. There was a group of kids that walked in with me.
I recognized one of them as Neil Swift, mainly because of the parties he’d host and the many appearances he made in the Brando Weekly. There was a girl with frizzy red hair and a fox-like face, and a boy with ‘swimmers shoulders,’ as my dad called them. I guess they’re just broad shoulders. A kid got on a little behind them, and he took his place in the corner.
It started to get really stuffy.
I pressed the button for the fifth floor. Neil pressed the button for the highest floor, which is the exercising room.
I rode up, silent at first. And then I said “Sometimes these elevators remind me of life.”
“Mhm.” Neil sighed.
“It’s like, it can go up and down, but you never really hear about people riding down on an elevator. It’s always ‘going up?’”
“Absolutely. I totally get that.” The swimmer’s shoulders said.
“Yeah!” The red haired girl said.
The elevator opened up and I waved to them, “Have fun lifting!”
“Will do.” Neil said before the door closed again.
The First Pimple
By JC Russell
I hate being locked in a cage.
No, I’m not in a real physical cage, I’m in a ‘cage,’ as in, I’m trapped in the same room as my cousin.
Yesterday was a torrential downpour of snow, so we couldn’t get out and about and ride the busses to see the city, so today I wanted to, so, so, so bad. I don’t care if it’s freezing cold – my body is used to it, so be it, I know how my body works.
“Are you sure you didn’t bring a jacket?” Theo asked. He was my “AquaPad,” but I didn’t need a sidekick. I’m not stopping bullies, I’m just the best swimmer on my team.
Actually, the more I think about it, the team is really split down the middle on the “Crime-stoppers” aspect. Me and Matt don’t stop many bullies, while everyone else is do-gooders and supreme people. We just kind of… there. We’re in the right place at the right time.
“I don’t need a jacket.” I tell Theo, “I’m perfect!”
Theo laughs and rolls his eyes, “Sure, man. I think me and the Young Justcrease are going to go to the Air and Space Museum.”
I looked at my Fitbit and then back to him, “You have like, seven minutes, cousin.”
Theo’s face flushed and he quickly made a mad dash out of there. I took my time getting dressed.
I boarded the bus, sitting in the front. I texted Hannah, because she was at home.
“Hey! What’s up?”
“It’s five in the morning, JC, I’m sleepy.”
“I’m sorry honey.”
“Hey, it’s ok baby. I’ll see you soon. Send pictures!”
And I guess she went back to sleep. There was an empty seat next to me, and then a kid took it.
“Hey!” he said.
“Hey man.” I responded.
“What’s up? How are you?” I looked him up and down. He was scrawny and small. I didn’t recognize him.
“Nothing much, and I’m fine. Who are you, by the way? I don’t think we’ve met.”
“I’m Joel, Joel Marsh.”
I smiled and held my hand out, “JC Russell. Pleasure to meet you, Joel.”
“What school are you from, JC? I’m getting major deja vu.” Looking at him closer; the small build, the wide eyes, I was also getting deja vu.
“I’m from Lampert. What about you?”
“Oh! I’m from Donner, but I go to Marukami during the spring semester. What sport do you play, since you’re at the sports school and all.”
“I’m a swimmer. I’m at the top of my league.” Joel snapped his fingers and smiled, showing braces.
“I knew it! I’m a swimmer too. I’m sure we faced one another at a few matches.”
That’s how I knew him.
“Wait, are you the guy with the entrance song?”
I smiled, “Yeah!”
He laughed, “Listen man, I love it, I love what you do, but I think that’s too much.”
I tilted my head, “Oh? Do you?”
“Yeah, like, who goes and watches a swim meet for a spectacle?”
I sighed, “I don’t think I understand.”
“Like, if you were in mixed martial arts, I’d understand. Or wrestling. Maybe football, but that’s a big maybe.”
I shuffled in my seat, “But it’s my theme.”
He snorted, “You’re not playing a role. You’re not a character.”
But I was. I was JC Russell, the Aquapleat. I was the king, and I’ve always had this before I even became the Aquapleat. This made me embarrassed. Is this how everyone else thought of me?
I sighed, “I guess you’re right.” And then I turned to look outside as we drove past the Washington Monument. It was gorgeous. There’s no building in Washington that’s taller than it.
We stopped at the White House to take pictures outside. I took out my phone and took selfies in front of it. There’s really not much you can do at the white house. Like, you can stand outside of the fence and look at it, but you can’t do anything besides that.
“For real?” I heard Joel ask. I turned around to see him looking at someone.
“No way.” Joel’s mouth opened, and then he started walking towards me.
“You’re a liar, man.” He said while pointing at me, “You’re lying. You’re not the best swimmer on the team at all, those times were fakes.”
“Joel, what do you mean?” A circle started to form around us as Markus came out and stood next to him.
“One of your fellow swimming friends told me that you lie about your times. This guy right here.”
“Wow, does he really do that?” A kid asked.
I got suddenly defensive, “No, I don’t. I swear to you, I don’t.”
“That’s the kid with the dumb entrance song.”
“And the kid that thinks he’s top notch.”
“Who even watches swim meets? This is probably true.”
“You’re a fake, JC.” Markus said, “And I decided now, in the face of the president’s home, I’d prove it to them.”
He then held up his phone, showing a news article that was posted an hour ago – a weird time in California, as it would’ve been about six or seven in the morning.
JC RUSSELL IS A FRAUD
That was the title. I grabbed the phone from Markus and skimmed the article. I don’t like to read.
The article explained that I had been ‘lying’ about my scores and abilities since the eighth grade. It claimed that my ‘close associate’ Alan Wade would pay coaches and scorers to give me shorter times so that I could be seen as the best swimmer.
It mentioned how Mr. Vulko was “going to expose” me and kick me off the team before I “exposed him” for the bad he had done. I got mad.
“This is a lie.” I said.
“No, it isn’t. It wouldn’t be posted on the school news if it was a lie.” Markus said, “Admit it, JC, you’re a fraud.”
I was cornered, and I started to cry. I don’t cry, usually. I’m a strong, muscular kid, but this… This hurt. I didn’t have any way to prove my innocence.
I pushed some students out of the way and got back on the bus, sitting in the front.
The ride back to the hotel was full of rumours and live readings of the article, and I started to shake. I know it was wrong. I know that what I do is legit. I don’t practice this hard to be a faker, I don’t sacrifice my grades and study ability so I can go and change scores. I practice.
“Hey, everyone! Refresh the page!”
There was an edit to the article, which revealed that I was also buying study guides from students back when I was at Kane thanks to an “Anonymous report.”
There’s only one ‘anonymous report’ that I know.
I Don’t like the Sudden Leg Brace I have to Wear.
By Walter Gilligan
Upon walking into our room, JC kicked me in the knee.
I keeled over and groaned as Alan stood up.
“JC, man, what the heck?!” Alan yelled, standing up and dropping his poptart on his bed.
“He exposed me! Back when I used to pay him to do my homework, he flat out exposed me.”
“No-no I didn’t. What?!” I said, holding my knee as it began to swell. It felt like something was snapped, not a bone, but like a pulled muscle or tendon. I started to cry.
“JC, calm down, chill out, what’s wrong?”
“This weaseled nosed rat reported me to the Lampert Journal!”
“No, I didn’t! You just kicked me for no reason!”
Alan grabbed JC as JC’s face was turning a deep shade of red, his anger filling up in him.
“Dude, this is just like my sixth birthday party when you-”
“Yelled at Terry D’Lunes for not flushing the toilet?” JC said, “no, this is much worse. You ruined my chances at going to a Division One college, you know that, right?” He yelled at me, “Now, when I get home from this trip, I’ll be off the swim team, I won’t have anything. I’ll have a cheating report on my record, the colleges will know. I’ll have nothing.”
Then JC broke down. He started sobbing all over my bed.
“Dude. I think you hurt Wally’s leg.” Alan said as JC sobbed.
“He hurt my life.” JC said.
Alan reached into one of his bags and brought out a brace. JC eventually cooled down.
“Okay, so, explain what happened.” Alan said, “I need a full picture.”
“Wally used to sell me test answers, homework questions, and would write essays.”
“That’s true.” I said.
“Well today, on the bus ride, I met this guy named Joel. Joel Marsh. And he told me all of this stuff about my entrance song. And then he and Markus at the White House accused me of cheating and changing scores, and there was this whole article in the Lampert Journal about me changing my scores and it was all wrong. I didn’t.” He cried a bit, “They said that you and your family,” directed at Alan, “paid the timers to make my time a bit off. I know that’s false. And then later, an edit was added to the article revealing that an ‘anonymous source’ claimed I bought answers to tests and stuff, and there’s only one person that would know that, and it was Walter. The Spectreigami.”
“It wasn’t me.” I said, “I promise you, it wasn’t me.”
I tried thinking it through, I tried understanding what was going on, but there wasn’t any pieces connecting.
“Then who was it, man? Who would it even be? There is literally no one else besides you that would mention this.”
“It wasn’t me. That I can promise you. I wouldn’t have had time to report it, with me sleeping all day two days ago, the snow-in yesterday-”
“I can vouch for that.” Alan said, “he was out like a light.”
“And in the snow-in, we just played Fortnite all day. It wasn’t me. I swear.”
Alan took out his phone and looked up the Lampert Journal.
“Why did this kid write it as ‘Lambert?’” He asked. JC sniffled.
“I don’t know.” JC sighed, “I guess a typo.”
“Oberon?” He asked, his eyebrows furrowing.
“What?” JC asked, “What did you say?”
“Oberon. The author’s name is Oberon Distal.”
“That name doesn’t ring a bell at all.” JC said, “I have no clue, at all, who that is.”
“That’s weird. Super weird.” Alan said. I nodded.
“Is there any way we could get our hands on a yearbook or anything here?” I asked.
Then we heard the knock on the door.
By Alan Wade
Question: who is this kid with the scars all over his face?
Another question: were we this loud?
Finally, one last question: Who is doing this to JC?
“Hello, I’m Charlie Robinson, I was hearing some commotion, and I think there may be some questions that need answering, am I correct?” He said. He took out a puppet without a face: The Origami Question.
“Uh, yeah.” I said, “We really do.”
“Well, you accidentally called the best detective out there. Do you mind if I come in?”
JC and Walter looked suspicious, and I turned to them with an eyebrow raised. They nodded.
“Come on in.” I said.
Charlie walked in and sat down.
“Explain it all to me, what started this?” So, JC repeated the story. Charlie nodded silently to each word.
“Okay, you’re telling the truth.” He said. I gave him my phone and he read through the article.
“This reads like a J. Jonah Jameson conspiracy ramble, not like real news.” Charlie said. I was trying to get a feel for him, trying to understand who this was.
“Oberon Distal.” Then he snorted, “This is hilarious. Alan, I know you’re Batfold, come on man, you have to know this.”
“Oberon Sexton, Batman and Robin issue number thirteen from 2010. Come on.”
“No, I don’t know.”
“And Distal? That’s who people believed was the real joker for a while.”
“Are you saying…” I started.
“You have a clown prince of crime doing this.”
I racked my head for a while. I haven’t seen or heard from Conrad in a long time. But this didn’t sound like him. I don’t think he’d know how to hack into a site and write a piece. I don’t think it’s him.
“I don’t know. I don’t think it’s Conrad.”
“Then who could it be?” Charlie asked.
“You’re the origami Question, I would think you’d know.”
“And you’re the ‘world’s greatest foldtective’ but you don’t have the answers either.”
I sighed. Dang, he had a point.
Charlie got up, “Listen, you three should stick together. I don’t know what is going on, but I know something is going on. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to enjoy my trip in peace.”
He started walking out.
“Wait, is there a way that I can contact you?” I asked him.
“Yeah, here’s my phone number.” He gave me his number on a card.
“Anyways, stay vigilant, and best of luck.”
He closed the door behind him.
JC was grinning, “So, how can we prove to the kids that this is fake?”
I sighed, “We can’t.”
“Why? I mean, we have the info there.”
“I’m looking through the family directory and can’t find anyone named ‘Oberon’ or a ‘Distal’ family.” Walter sighed.
“See!? He’s not real, and it’s clearly that crazy kid Conrad.”
“No…” I sighed, “No, I don’t think it is. I think it’s someone else, taking up the appearance of the OriJoker.”
“I think that’s a different mystery entirely.” I sighed.
“I’m sorry about the leg, Walter.”
“It’s okay, I just don’t know how I’ll explain it to my mom.” Walter sighed.
“I hope the others are okay.” I said, “I don’t know what’s going on with them.”
The Second Pimple Popped with some Pressure
By Theresa Carter
It’s Tuesday, and we have until Saturday morning to keep doing stuff. No matter which way you look at it, the clock is ticking down.
I want to see the Lincoln Memorial, and so help me if I don’t get to see the Lincoln memorial, then there’ll be no point in me going around doing nothing.
One of our school busses was going to the memorial, so I hitched a ride and rode in silence. I didn’t want to see or hear from anybody, I wanted to see where speeches were told, where history was made.
I’d like to think that one day I’ll be like that, I’ll be able to be a hero in my own right. Maybe I’ll be a politician, a leader of a county or state.
I’m focused on the prize, and that’s all that matters to me.
We pull up at the memorial, and we all funnel out. A large group of boys and girls from Kane, Donner, and Lampert. We’re all together, here in this one place. Barely a couple months ago there was a march here. Now we stand and take pictures to capture a memory.
I wheeled myself up and looked at the signs with one of Lincoln’s speeches on it. I read the speech, remembering how I had to memorize this back in grade school.
I turned my wheelchair around and came face to face with Carol. Her frizzy red hair and freckled covered, prissy face smirked at me.
“Hi, Theresa.” She said, emphasizing the ‘a’ at the end of ‘Theresa,’ “Whatcha reading?”
“Oh, uhm, hi, Carol…” I said, kind of taken back. Firstly, why is she here? I thought after the whole ‘So full of rage I broke her back’ thing at girl scouts, she wouldn’t be allowed to come to something like this. Secondly, why is she being so overly friendly? That’s kind of suspicious, if I do say so myself.
“Well, whatcha reading?”
I jokingly said, “Come on, Keaten, you can read. It’s the Gettysburg address.”
Carol laughed, a slightly exaggerated ‘gosh-I-hate-you’ type of laugh. You know, the kind where you just purely hate someone, and so you fake a laugh at whatever they say, “You crack me up, Tess.”
“Only my friends call me Tess.” I said quickly.
“So I’m not your friend?” Carol asked, “I thought we were going to put this stuff behind us.”
“Carol, Locarn, whatever your name is, or was, we haven’t spoken in literal months. I don’t think we are, or can ever be friends.” I tried saying this quietly, but Carol got a tad huffy.
She let this simmer for a minute, and then she snapped her fingers three times. Out came two other students: a girl I recognized as Sandra, a girl one of my groupmates, Jessie, fought, and of all people, Jessica Zinnia.
She crossed her arms.
“Jessica, I don’t think we know each other.”
“Yeah, we really don’t.” Then she frowned, “Listen, I know what you did, that’s kind of awful…”
“I-I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I said.
“You’re terrible, you know that, right? You’re just awful, your shoes are gross, you’re gross, your mom was probably as gross in the nineties. You should just give up.” Carol told me.
“Stop…” I said, “I’m not trying to hurt anyone, or be mean, or anything. I just want to walk around and see Washington.”
“Well, you’re just awful, right girls?”
“And another thing, Tess, I’m glad you and Steve never went anywhere.”
That was a shot, dang.
Yeah, we went on one date, and then he just up and ghosted me. But, I have no idea how she’d know this.
“I… I don’t get it.”
“Because he’s dating me, silly goose!”
This struck a deeper nerve, registering on a deep emotional level. My face grew red, and for some reason, although I wasn’t attached, I started to cry.
“You’re just a prissy princess who gets anything your way!”
Carol placed her hand on her heart with feigned distress, “Oh, Tess, I thought we were friends…”
“We never were?! Why are you saying this?” Then the students all looked at us ‘fighting,’ as Carol just took the verbal punches while her lackeys looked with feigned horror.
“Why are you treating me with such hatred?”
“Because I hate you! I hate everything you stand for, I don’t get your morals, I don’t get your reasoning, I hate how your little fury gang is just as bad as you.”
“Wow, she’s terrible.” Jessica said, merging into the crowd.
“Yeah, and her… uh… breath stinks too.”
I was basically surrounded, people recording my breakdown. Later, someone unknown posted with with “Wheelchaired Girl at Lincoln Memorial Blows Up.”
I was personally escorted away by a different chaperone onto a later bus. We were silent as I went back to the hotel room, went up to my room, and cried.
I hate this. I was pressured and now I’m hated and a laughing stock. I dread coming home and seeing how the girl scouts react.
Then Alan texted me, “Hey, I was on the bus and I heard about some video on a snapchat story about you. We’re gonna have a Justice Pleats meeting at my room. I hope you’ll come.”
By Alan Wade
Earlier this morning I decided to go to the Smithsonian American History Museum.
I don’t know, whenever my family would go down here with me, we’d go to the same old things – the Aviation museum, the congress buildings, the national mall. I wanted to try someplace different, I wanted to experience somewhere I’ve never been to before.
The museum is different, a lot more impressive to me. It’s full of the history of, well, America. It’s solemn, to hear about the highs and lows of this nation, and as I walk the room I see many different things that I didn’t know about.
And then I walked into this darker room, a purple light shining upon it, and there sits the Batmobile from the 1989 Batman movie.
The sleek design, the intricate details. It was gorgeous. It was built on the chassis of a Chevrolet Impala, and man, I wanted to take it out for a drive.
This was the hero I wanted to be.
I wanted to do my family some honor, I wanted to make them proud. I put my hands in my pockets and stared at it.
“Hey, Alan!” A kid said, acting with this sort of bravado that he knew me. I turned around and didn’t recognize him at all. He had this baby-like face, but was shaggy all over; shaggy hair, shaggy eyebrows. He was wearing shorts in winter, so I could see his shaggy legs.
He walked up and stood against the railing with me, staring at the batmobile.
“What a sight, huh?”
“Yeah, I guess. Have we met?”
“No, we go to the same school, though. I’m Derek. Pleasure to meet you.”
I looked at him, and I tried to remember where I heard that name from.
“Cool.” I said. We looked at the Batmobile, “I like the shape. I love this movie, y’know?”
“Of course I do, I mean, you’re the great ‘Batfold’ for a reason.”
“Right, but it’s more than that. I like Michael Keaton in the part, I like every aspect of the joker, how he killed Bruce’s Parents. I love the directorial style.”
“Totally, totally, totally. I love it too. Say, do you happen to know Stuart Jones?”
“Of course I do. We’re on a team together.”
“Oh, like an intramural Baseball team or something?”
“No, not one of those. Heh,” I faked pitching a ball, “I’d be terrible at that, though. Why?”
“Well, listen, I went on a camp with him, and boy… let me tell you.something.”
“No, I don’t need to. He’s a good kid, I know all about him from his file.”
“Oh, you don’t know everything about our good friend Stu.”
I then recognized him: he was Derek. Parallax.
“I can’t trust you.”
“Well, you can’t trust him. Listen, let me just spare you the hassle of digging up any dirt on him. Give me just a minute of your time, and then I’ll leave you sulk at this car.”
I pondered for a moment. I have no issue with Stuart, none, really. But after the whole JC thing, everything feels turned on its head. Derek looked at his phone, “Look at this, Alan.” He showed me a Snapchat video of Theresa screaming at a girl about how much she hates her. I felt my face grimace.
“Well, what’s up? What are you thinking?”
I was silent, and then I spoke up.
“You have thirty seconds.”
By Chris Booth
Alan ordered room service for us while we sat in his room. It was silent, and JC and Theresa looked really, really disheveled. Heck, she was in her pajamas and it wasn’t even five PM. By that, I mean, it’s really early.
“Anyone want to play LEGO DC Supervillains?” Walter asked. Stuart silently picked up a controller and started to play.
It was quiet.
“What did you all do today?” I asked, “I had a lot of fun checking out the Mall. I bought a really cool Washington DC Hat. But I lost it.”
“Dang.” Theresa said, “I should’ve gone with you.”
“I… I uh… I worked out today.” JC said, “I like the view up there.”
“I went to the American History Museum.” Alan said.
“Well, that’s awesome.” I mentioned.
“I kind of just went out for a walk. Man, it’s cold.” Stuart said.
“Indeed, it is…” Alan sighed, looking moderately annoyed at the game Stuart and Walter were playing. He then made an ‘ahem’ noise.
They paused their game and we all looked at him.
“I’d like to give a speech before our food delivers.”
“Okay man, go on. I’ve heard you practice this a thousand times already.” Walter said, turning down the volume of the TV and removing Stuart from the game.
“Guys, so far there has been two – count them – two incidents now involving members of our team, and so far we know that old enemies were involved with it. But we must not falter. We must not collapse. Look around you. Walter, JC, Theresa, Matt. We all have broken legs, we’re all injured from what has happened this year alone. Sometimes we’re injured from something that happened literally yesterday. But, look around. We have physical reminders of what we’ve gone through. But we can unite, and stand tall, and show one another just who we are.
“We’re the Justice Pleats. And man, we’ll be the crutches to lift one another and our schools up. Don’t let this break one another down.”
The room erupted in applause. I couldn’t help but smile and clap. Rumor has it that Alan is great at making speeches, and this one, why, this one wasn’t so bad.
But the food that showed up? Delicious.
Not Much to Talk About Because We Were Stuffing our Faces With Food
By Walter Gilligan
Being the record keeper that I am, I am relaying snapchat story pictures of the room service food that Alan ordered because of the royalty money he received from some dumb commercial.
There were Burgers, slathered with cheese and cooked to just the right temperature. And the fries were steak fries, wide and plenty. We had a side of soup, and some salad. For dessert there was an ice cream bar, two small tubs of chocolate or vanilla ice cream, fudge sauce, and even small candies like miniature M&Ms and miniature brownies.
We dined like kings and queens, and then everyone except for me left his room like diseased children the royal family ignored. I guess we had the cake, ate it too, and then barfed it back up.
But it was soooo good…
I Guess a Third Pimple Popped After our Feast
By Chris Booth
“I have never had something that good.” I said as I crashed on my bed, my stomach churning. Stuart came in, walking a bit groggily too.
“I know, it felt like Thanksgiving dinner all over again.” Stuart groaned. He grabbed the remote and turned on the news.
“I’m so exhausted.” He mumbled.
We heard a knock at the door. I groaned, then Stuart groaned. We groaned.
“Hey, rock- uh… rock paper scissors.” I grumbled. We rolled over and started playing. He won twice in a row, so I sighed and hobbled over to the door.
I was hoping it was going to be Penny so I could tell her about the feast. We went to the mall together and I bought her a cute “politician teddy bear.” He had a suit and everything! We thought it looked like a Donner bear, though.
But, it was Neil.
“Dude.” He said, “Did you see this?”
“You’ve been the talk of the entire trip today! A news article on the Brando Weekly discredited you.”
“What…?” I said. He handed me the phone. Joseph Puddin wrote an article that read as follows:
“SuPaperMan Chris Booth was a liar and a fraud, a drama started and discredited Neil Swift, normal student and head of the C.A.D.M.U.S. club out of his own personal vendettas. He is no SuPaperMan. He is a SuPaperMenace. Due to this, he has been promptly fired from the Brando Weekly until further notice.”
I looked up at him.
Stuart got up and hobbled over, “What’s going on?”
“I’m… I’m fired from the Brando Weekly? But, Neil, I proved you were bad.”
Neil gave that sly smile he made, the one that just read “I won.”
“No.” I said, “No… Dude…”
“I’m sorry Chrissy, I’m sorry that this happened this way. I just had to tap into that fear everyone has right now – of the media controlling them. Who knew that it can also control people into believing the media is false? I just got one writer to write something discrediting you, and suddenly it’s gone. Poof.”
And then he walked away.
Stuart leaned out, “You’re not going to get away with this, man!”
I checked my email. Sure enough, I was fired, by an email. I was no longer their cartoonist.
But, I was still confused. Was Joseph Puddin a new employee? Was there an Editor-In-Chief-Pro-Tempore?
I texted Penny. She was fired too.
“This isn’t the end of it, honey. Not by a long shot. You’re the best. <3”
I just hope this can be fixed.
Suddenly, My Face is Full of Acne.
By Matthew Yen
Percy, Casey, and I were at the US Capitol on Thursday. Wednesday there was nothing. Radio silence from all ends, I think because of the weird sudden snowstorms DC will have, everyone was more or less cooped up.
We’re hanging out everyday, just the three amigos checking out the sights. I feel bad for the Justice Pleats team, absolutely. Chris told us in text that he got fired from the Brando Weekly and that it was ‘Neil’s fault.’ I think that someone is definitely after us, but I don’t know who. I doubt that everyone is united, and I feel like this is all just separate coincidental events. It’s fine, this will all mellow out.
Ugh, I wish I could be at two places at the same time. The Capitol is just a large building with tons of stairs.
Casey looked around at the Capitol, “You know how neat it is to just be here?”
“It’s cold. I like it.” Percy mentioned. He turned to me, “Matthew, how do you feel about the weather here?”
“I hate it man. I hate this.”
“You’re the Fold, Matt, can’t you just move at an incredible speed and warm yourself up?” Casey asked.
I laughed, “No, I can’t, because one: I don’t have superpowers and two: I still have this,” I pointed at my injured leg.
“I think she’s joking with you, Matthew.” Percy mentioned. This started a big laughing fit among us.
“Man, I love you guys.” I said, “You’re all just awesome to be around, and I don’t care if we’re at some dumb building, it’s still great to ride a bus with just the three of us.”
“Four.” I heard a voice say. I felt a chill slide down my spine, and we turned around to come face to face with Richard Stewart.
He was the kid that broke my leg, he switched out my lucky shoelaces and left me hurt.
“Hello, Richard.” I sighed, “I’m shocked they let you on this trip.”
“Hey, if you have the grades, you can go.”
He looked me up and down.
“Well, let’s just get this over with, then I’ll head back to the bus.” He said. We all looked at one another. Then Percy stepped in.
“Hey, I don’t think he needs to talk to you. I don’t think we want to talk to you at all.”
Richard rolled his eyes and laughed.
“Okay, I know, I know, I’m the big bad in the shadows. Always skulking around and being the person you all don’t want to deal with. But listen, Matthew Yen. Are we really that different?”
“I’d say he is.” Casey said, “Then again, I’ve known him for years now.”
“Hey, that sounds like a roast disguised in a compliment.” I told Casey. Casey shrugged.
“You’re a good kid, Matt. I don’t think you’d purposefully mess a student up.”
I looked at Richard with this face of ‘see?’ and he smiled again, this wide smile and a laugh.
“Dude, seriously. What I mean is, we’re both worried of failing. Of not being the best. The only difference is, I know I’m amazing. I know that I can get off scott free. You’re nothing, Matthew. What even got you into Lampert? Was it your ‘fast speed’ that you no longer have? I bet with the new principal and all, he’ll realize you’re wasted space. I give it two months. No track running? Bench warming? Matthew, look at that band on our wrists. Legends. Sports. Lampert.”
I looked at it. I liked the band, it was different from the other schools, and it felt cool. But this was hurting my feelings, making me feel really self conscious. I shuffled on my crutch.
“You’re no legend. You’re not playing a sport. You’re at lampert, among the greats.”
Percy walked up silently, seeing my clear discomfort and upsetedness forming.
“Shut up.” He told Richard, “Shut up and stop talking about my friend like that.”
“But it’s true. He’s nothin- Ouch!”
Percy was stepping on Richard’s shoe. Richard yelped and backed away, “Fine. I apologize. I don’t even know why they thought that would work.”
“They?” I asked.
“Ugh, I mean, it’s the end of the trip. We have a team, the Legion of Plume. I was told this would work, to ‘tap into your insecurities.’ Thing is, I didn’t think you’d have friends to back you up. I’ll have to one day find a new way to win.”
I laughed, “Okay. Casey, Percival, are you two ready to go back to the hotel?”
Richard was massaging his foot. Percival smiled and laughed, “Yeah. I guess we’ll have to tell the Justice Pleats about this.”
I texted the group about how we needed a meeting. Alan said “Tonight, my room again.”
I Watched CJ’s Pimple Pop
By Johnathan Yen
The Young JustCrease, much to the dismay of Jessie, have all been exploring Our capitol together, and today we were at the National Gallery of Art. I HATE it! I can’t run around, causing things to go messy! I can’t fight any bad villains! It’s all quiet and art students sitting on the floor with sketchbooks drawing pieces. Man, I just want to go wild in here!
Jessie and Maria walk a tad ahead of us. It’s a slightly bigger group of students exploring the place, looking at paintings and stuff, but man, this is so BORING!
CJ sighs, “isn’t this serene?” he asks.
“No! I hate it here! Can’t we go to a park or something? Can’t we go see what’s out there in the world? Why do we have to stay cooped up here?!”
Maria turned around and shushed me. I zipped my mouth close.
“CJ Whogley.” I heard a voice say. It sounded SCARY! I was shaking in my pants!
Rounding the corner next to a pricey painting was the STRONGEST kid I’ve ever seen. He was big and muscley.
“I know who you are, CJ. You’re the OriRobin. No point in keeping that secret anymore.”
CJ gulped! Like, it was a long gulp of terror!!
“I am.” He said.
“An official post on Kane High’s twitter announced it. It’s a shame you’ll have to leave at the end of your trip, though. This is my only chance to pummel you into the ground.”
I took out my phone and there it was! It was simple, just a “CJ Whogley is OriRobin – A. Reko”
I showed him the tweet and I was like “Wow! It’s not a secret!”
CJ shooed the phone away from me but I showed everyone else in our group. They were all like “Okay. That’s no big deal.”
Jessie even said “I don’t understand the point in keeping this stuff a secret anyways. Just have it out in the open.”
I high fived her. Go Jessie!
Anyways, back to the fight.
“I don’t think that’s a big deal, Graham.”
“Oh, it’s not. I should’ve known it was you. But you know what is a big deal? Turn on your airdrop.”
A large crowd of kids turned on their airdrop, including me!
But Graham only sent it to CJ.
“Paranoia and Itinerary planning…?”
I looked over his shoulder as he read. Graham stood in silence.
“Alan wrote this?”
“Mhm.” Graham said. He then turned around, “The Legion of Plume sends their regards. Oh, also, I removed what he had to say about you, CJ. Go on and ask him.”
“‘Chris has the power of the media, people can be scared of him, people know he’ll take them down. The easiest way to take him out would be to ruin his reputation and credibility as a writer, obviously.’” He read, “‘Theresa has a lot of power as head of the girl scouts troop. Take her down a peg or two and she’ll be pointless as a hero. Hypothetically, one could put her in a situation where she’d have no choice but to be mean, in front of other people. Why would the kindest member of the Amazonians, the head of the troop, and also arguably the kindest of the Justice Pleats say such cruel things?’
“‘I think the simplest way to take Matthew down a notch from being the poor runner who had his leg broken would be to tap into that talent, that fear he doesn’t have any.’ ‘Ugh, JC would be simple, I mean, just claim that he altered times or something. And then reveal that he cheated on assignments.’”
I LITERALLY saw the hairs on his arms spike up.
“Oh no.” was all he had to say.
“Uh… Let’s just go back to the bus.” Jessie said. She was like, really different now! She was totally concerned for CJ! We all walked back to the bus and I was so happy to be on a bus now, but I hated seeing CJ sad. I felt bad, but I didn’t know exactly what this all meant. I guess I’ll find out later tonight.
The YoungJustcrease’s Tell All
By CJ Whogley
I sat on the bus with my friends, totally shattered and, all around, pretty confused. I just kept rereading the message over and over. Paranoia and Itinerary. Why’d he think all of these out? What was Alan planning on doing?
Someone ran onto the bus. He looked my age, scruffy hair and a small nose, and wearing glasses.
“Hey! Uh, I know this is out there but my name is Charlie Swift. I’m from Donner, and I saw what happened in there. You’re the Justice Pleats, right?”
“We’re the Young Justcrease.” I mumbled, looking preoccupied.
“Listen, we gotta talk. My brother has been really wild as of late, and I just need to… I don’t know, I need to explain it all.”
“Come sit, man.” Theo said.
“Well, listen, ever since I joined C.A.D.M.U.S., Neil was sitting in secret, angry over what my idol, Chris Booth, did. And then he started forming this group. I don’t know, they all looked scary. One of them never even showed up, he preferred to join on a call. I thought it was weird, all he knew was to write. The group was of him, a girl named Carol, a swimmer named Markus -”
“Oh,” Theo interjected, “The kid JC defeated.”
“I guess.” Charlie said, “uh… who else… Graham, a kid named Richard-”
“My cousin took him down!” Johnathan exclaimed, “And then I became my cousin’s partner! But we don’t really hang out much…”
“Sure. And another student named Derek. At the dinner table, he’d tell me about the Legion of Plume, and how ‘all will be revealed in Washington.’ I don’t know if that helps. I just want to make sure Chris is okay.”
“Hey! It’s all good, man. Want to join us?” Jessie asked, “You can be a member of the Young JustCrease if you want.”
I almost interrupted, but I just let it go. This whole thing left me defeated.
“Totally! I think… I think I’ll be SuPaperMan.”
“Sweet!” Johnathan exclaimed, “Do you have a puppet?”
“No… should I make one before joining?”
I sighed and tried to perk up from this whole thing, “No, you don’t need one right now. Let’s wait until we get home.”
When we got back to the hotel, I waited around Alan’s room until everyone else met up, including the rest of the Justice Pleats, and I guess Matthew Yen’s friends.
We all sat in the meeting and listened to one another speak, and then Matthew Yen went, “guys, I got some information that will blow your lid.” For a moment, I thought he had received the same information as I did, but all he said was, “There’s a group working against us, called the Legion of Plume.”
I then interrupted. Alan started to stop me and then dropped it, “Actually, that’s not just all. I’m sending a doc that I received recently from Graham Moocher, also known as ‘Bag.’ He got it from the Legion of Plume, consisting of Carol, Neil, Derek, Markus, Richard, and an unknown figure that writes all of these articles.” The scheduled email sent out, and they all opened their phones and read it.
“Paranoia and Itinerary planning…?” Theresa asked.
Alan froze up, and shot a glance at me.
One after another, they each read the excerpts about them and how they could be taken down.
By Alan Wade
I don’t know how to react. Was this how it felt to have all of the dirty laundry out for everyone to see?
There was a hundred questions flying at me, questions and accusations. Was I in on it? Did I plan this? Did I know this?
One name came into my head during this: Phil Rapids.
Phil Swift. Neil Swift. Swift. Swift is a synonym to Rapids.
This dude stole the info.
“Guys.” I mumbled.
More and more questions lobbed at me. I looked at CJ.
“Me and CJ are going to go talk.” I said. I got up and walked past the load of students and into the hall.
“Listen, Alan, I’m sorry. But I couldn’t keep this to myself.”
I was dumbfounded. I didn’t know what to say. My heart was beating at a thousand miles a minute and I felt like I was going to pass out.
“CJ. I’m sorry that this happened.”
“Yeah, I’ll bet you are. Did you have me on that list, Alan?” He looked me right in the eyes.
I stared at him in confusion. “Did I….what?”
“Did. You. Have. Me. On the list?”
“I…I don’t know what you…I-why would I..?” My palms started sweating. It started to get harder to breathe. Why couldn’t I just tell him no?
“ALAN. I’m not going to ask again. You’ve lied to everyone else here. Repeatedly. Do not do the same to me.” His eyes narrowed.
I frowned. The cat’s out of the bag, all of the skeletons fell out of the closet. I might as well tell the truth.
“I… betrayed you.” I said. I felt the tears coming on, and I didn’t know what to do.
His silence was deafening. I could barely contain my anger. Anger at myself.
The silence broke as he stared back at me, his eyes cold. “…What was it, Alan? What did you write? How were you planning to take me out?”
Take him out? No, that’s not what I wanted to do. That’s not possible. I never would have-
The words spilled out anyway. “Your connection to me. By removing myself from your life…you’d crumble. Crack. Break. I thought that the only way that would happen is betraying you.” A pause. A silence. A deafening silence that grew and seemed to swallow me whole.
He finally spoke. “Yeah, you did betray me, Alan. You know what? You betrayed everyone. You betrayed each and every person in that room. I-I don’t know how I feel. This really was your fault, you know that, right?”
“I know that.” I admitted, but it was a struggle to say out loud.
“I wanted to prove to you that we were on the same level, but man, this isn’t something I’d do. This is low. Why would you make this?”
“I was having a panic episode.” Was all I could muster. It’s true. I was paranoid. Afraid of my power being stripped from me.
CJ held his forehead and looked exhausted, “Just go in there and apologize.” he said, “I’m- I’m tired of this. These lies, and these games. Cheese-and-rice, dude. This is low.” He turned around and refused to look at me as I walked back in. After a moment, CJ came back inside, joining the Young JustCrease.
Theresa was yelling at me the moment I stepped foot into the room.
“You made me a laughing stock! You made me look stupid in front of everyone! And you betrayed us. You shook my hand and said this wouldn’t happen. What happened to being the crutches for one another to stand on?”
“I can explain, I-”
“Alan, why’d you think this through man? You thought about this more than when you gave me a surprise ninth birthday party.” JC asked. I saw how upset he was, how he was saddened by this.
“What did you have on me?” Stuart asked, “‘Make up some fake stuff?’ I have nothing to hide.” Suddenly, he pushed me out of the way and stormed out, “I never fit into this anyways, man.”
I didn’t have anything to tell him besides what Derek told me, and I don’t feel like telling it now.
Matthew’s friends seemed to have been taking up for him. The girl was getting really mad, red in the face.
“You were going to make my best friend self conscious about this?! What the heck?! He can’t help it, y’know. He had his leg broken and that’s not his fault.”
Then they walked out. JC followed, but not before adding one final insult to injury. One final statement.
“You think you know how I work? You don’t know jack!” His eyes narrowed. “You and me? We’re done, Alan. Done. No more.”
And then the Young JustCrease left with CJ. All that was left was the Trinity and Walter.
“Well, explain, Alan.” Theresa said.
“I was having a major mental freakout. I had just read all of your stories, and suddenly I got really scared that I was going to be betrayed or hurt by you all. I have a plan for everything, and they’re always changing. I was going to remove those ideas from the document, I promise.”
“But you thought of them.” Chris said.
“Right, I did, and I put them down. But you know how you’ll put a dumb note down and then you’ll get rid of it-”
“But you wrote them down and kept them.” Chris said.
“I forgot about it.” I replied. Theresa started cracking up.
“This is comedy, Alan. This is pure jokes. I can’t believe I listened to this routine for nearly a full semester.” She said, “I tell you what, let me tell you a joke, but it’s serious, so maybe it’s not a joke after all. Eh, forget it: I’m out. Don’t talk to me again. Don’t reach out. I don’t want to hear from you.”
She wheeled herself out, and Walter got up and walked out to give me space.
All that was left was me and Chris.
Chris sat down in the rolling chair and sighed, “I understand why you did this, Alan.” He said.
“Oh thank goodness.” I sighed.
“But, like, if you were that worried then you should’ve brought it up to us. We would’ve clarified to you what was going on. We weren’t going to overthrow you. That’s just crazy talk.”
I was silent, so Chris leaned in. “Did you read my story all the way through?”
“If I’m being honest, I skimmed it.” I said.
“Listen, Alan, you had the wrong idea about me. I believe in a few things, some lessons I learned after my dad passed away: always do what’s right. Always adapt to your surroundings, learn to live and learn honesty.” I nodded at this, so he continued, “We’re both similar in the little backstories we share, but the thing is, we divide when it comes to doing what’s right. I work in the now. Are there things I’m planning to do in the future? Absolutely. I’m planning on staying with Penny. I’m planning on going to college, seeing what my story has to tell. But this, this was immoral. This wasn’t honest, it was disappointing.” He got up and started walking towards the door, “When you don’t trust your circle, your circle isn’t going to trust you. I’m just really upset by this. You ruined all of our reputations in the span of a week, you know that, right? Where’s the Justice in that?”
“Oh, and another thing. I became a hero because I was inspired by a crusader fighting criminals with a Batman puppet. I guess they’re right when they say ‘never meet your heroes.’”
He closed the door behind him, and Walter slithered back in. He took my silence as a hint, and he made an early night for himself too.
I laid on my bed, and for the first time since my fight with Conrad, I broke down. I struggled to breathe as I sobbed into my pillow. I punched the sheets and stifled screams. Walter laid there, trying to ignore it.
But dang it, this hurts. This hurts so much.
And I haven’t seen Madalyn at all… and I know she wants to go on a date… but I’m so so so upset. I texted her, “I’m really sad. I hope our Date at the Washington Monument is fine if I’m just quiet and I hold your hand.”
She responded with a long, sappy message about how happy she is and how she stole something from a gift shop for me. It didn’t make me feel any better.
By Chris Booth
It’s Friday and I don’t want to do anything.
The last day I’m here and I feel like everything is falling apart. Me and Penny are in this grief-state, walking around longingly and looking at the sights.
It feels so hollow. So, so very much hollow.
I looked at the Washington Monument, up and down, the height was insane.
Across the way I looked at a kid, bundled up in jackets. He was standing next to a girl, and they were holding hands. Much like me and Penny.
It was Alan. The black hair, freshly combed over, and that pale, pale skin. Our eyes locked, and I pushed my glasses up.
We were divided, the Monument being our divisor.
This was cruel. This was insane. It was betrayal.
We didn’t have a team anymore, we had nothing. We were broken up, and, I think because of that, the Legion of Plume won.
“Chrissy.” A voice said. I turned around. It was Neil. Always behind me, but always two steps ahead. He walked up to me with his hands in his pockets. Penny clutched my hand even tighter.
“Hey there, Neil.”
“Listen, Chrissy, I don’t know how to explain it to you.”
“You don’t have to. Our team is gone.”
Neil sighed, “Yeah. I really did take everything from you guys, huh? I want to extend an olive branch.”
I turned around, Alan was gone.
“Did he put you up to this?”
“Alan Wade didn’t have anything to do with my schemes. All will be revealed later, if you hear me out.”
I sighed, “fine.”
“Reassemble the Justice Pleats, and meet us, the Legion of Plume, here.” He said, pointing at the monument.
I nodded, and texted the group chat “Hey, let’s all meet at the Washington Monument. My Mom wants a picture of us all together and I think it would be fun here.”
I got some responses, everyone said sure except for Stuart.
Then Stuart said “Ok omw.”
“They’re on their way.”
“Alan left the group chat last night.” I said.
“Hm. Okay. Text him.”
I texted him “Hey I know we hate each other’s guts but come to the Washington Monument for a picture.”
He read it, started typing, and then stopped.
“Hello?” I texted.
Neil smiled, “My team is just waiting behind those bushes, you know?” He said, pointing at some bushes, “They can be really dumb. But I don’t care.” He took out a pack of peanuts.
“Oh, wait, I can’t eat these around you. I’m sorry, Chrissy.”
Penny gritted her teeth, “Why did you hurt us like this?”
“All will be revealed soon.”
I held Penny’s hand tighter, and we waited.
Ahah, So… I met this Girl…
By Stuart Jones
I’m eating lunch, sitting around, thinking about what’s been going on.
I guess this is what it is when the elevator is going down.
There’s a sinking pit in the bottom of my stomach, and a sense of stress as I spend the last day at Washington reflecting on how much I wasted the same trip to Washington.
Tomorrow, we board the buses that will take us to the airport. We’ll board a plane and fly home, and then we’ll take our finals over the next week after the weekend is over, and then Winter break begins.
I’m sipping soup. Soup is good, especially in this weather. It warms the heart and mind. What was that book called? Chicken Soup for the Soul?
This piping hot chicken soup that I’m drinking is warming my soul up. It’s making me feel happy, almost calm.
Chris was so upset about what happened yesterday that he went to sleep without saying a word to me. I don’t care, I never fit in with the other kids on the team. I didn’t say anything, I didn’t do anything. I was emotionally distant the whole time.
Like I am right now, I guess, because there has been a girl saying “excuse me?” for the past thirty seconds.
Snapping back to reality, I look her up and down. She’s in shorts and a long sleeved, purple shirt. Or maybe it’s Lavender. “You’re Stuart Jones, right?”
“Yeah…” I said.
She placed her tray of food down and sat across from me.
“O.M.G., okay, so the moment I heard you were on this trip I nearly fangirled OUT.” She said.
I smiled, she was pretty bubbly and cute, “Oh, why is that?”
“Well, you may not know me, I’m Carrie, Carrie Broome. Like a Broomstick.” She giggled.
“Pleasure to meet you.”
“Anyways, so, like, I was at Reynolds and oh my gosh I just thought you were the cutest bundle I’ve ever seen.”
I could feel myself blush, “Really?”
“Yeah. And that thing you do with the clay? That’s pretty awesome.”
I chuckled, “I didn’t bring any with me.”
I felt my phone buzzed and saw that Chris was asking us to meet him at the Washington Monument.
“Carrie, it feels good to meet someone from Reynolds. What Cabin were you in?”
“Violet. It’s my favorite color!”
Looking at it, the color was violet. She was smiling a wide grin, “gotta represent my color, y’know?”
“Yeah, I do. Hey, so, I know it’s our last day here, but when we get home, would you want to -”
“Go on a date?! Absolutely! Hehehe that would be so fun. Here’s my number.” She grabbed my hand and started writing something on the top of it. She then got up and walked away.
That was awesome.
I got up and texted Chris that I was on my way, and I boarded the nearest bus for the Memorial.
There was Theresa, and Matt, and JC, all sitting close to one another.
“Hey, come sit with us, Stuart.” Theresa said, “I don’t know what’s going on, but I like you, you can chill with us. We’ll get this photo, and then we’re out.”
Then CJ came onto the bus, and out of everyone from our team, Alan’s sidekick was taking it the worst. He looked down at us and said, “Can I sit with you all? If not, I understand. I… I’m just hurt right now.”
“Did you sleep, man?” JC asked.
CJ looked like he was about to cry, “No. I didn’t. I told the Young Justcrease not to come with me, but man, this sucks. I just saw everyone getting on here.”
Theresa reached out and took CJ’s hand, “You know we think highly of you, right? We’re all going through this in our own way, but we’re here for you.”
CJ nodded, “Thank you, guys.”
Everyone was there for CJ, but I don’t think we’re there for eachother.
DisUnite the Six (And OriRobin)
By Chris Booth
The Bus pulled up. Alan rounded the corner and walked up next to me, but he stood a bit away.
“Alan.” I said.
“Chris.” He responded.
Alan was holding his girlfriend’s hand. I was holding mine. Neil stood alone, but he looked happier than the rest of us.
The team all came off the bus together, including CJ, for some reason. He looked away from Alan, and this made Alan freeze.
“Ok, we’re all here, let’s get this picture done and over wi-” Theresa said, before stopping herself dead in her tracks as she looked at Neil.
Alan didn’t acknowledge Neil’s presence.
“Okay, guys, come on up and I’ll take the picture.” Neil joked, “just kidding, of course. I just want to explain what happened. Legion of Plume, where are you?”
They really walked out from behind trees and bushes. How I couldn’t tell was beyond me.
“Okay, so, let me give my awesome Flex Luthor speech about how I usurped all of you and defeated the Justice Pleats before they ever really came together, okay?”
He stood in front of us with his team. We sat on the snowy ground. JC was shivering.
“The Legion of Plume formed a while ago in secret, at first it was just me and Richard, Matt’s old enemy. I went to grade school with him, and I knew that it would be a good idea to bring someone that was… schemey. Then, everyone else essentially found me. It was quick, I got Carol, Graham, Markus, Derek. They found me and asked to join my team.”
“Okay, but I have a question.” Alan said, “Who was that article writer?”
“Alan, you should know, he’s one of your villains after all.”
Neil tilted his head, looking confused. “… Anyways,” He continued, “I then set my plan in motion: I wanted to get all of your stories. We figured you had all put these down somewhere, because they’re fun stories to tell. So, I put on my disguise, and I went to Alan’s house. It was just a hunch, maybe he had something. I was Phil Rapids.”
“I figured that.” Alan mumbled.
“Dude, will you shut up?” Theresa yelled, “He’s trying to explain stuff.”
“Truth be told, I didn’t get the stories, but I did get that Paranoia and Itinerary planning document. And there it was, my holy grail. Alan had fallen into my trap purely due to fate, and I couldn’t be any more happy about it.”
Alan scoffed and looked away.
“So, we did it, right? You’re split up? No more Justice Pleats? No more little paper group, all together to stop a big bad and win?”
“I don’t know.” I said, “You know, I don’t know. I just wish there was a way I could like, prove my innocence and stuff.”
“Just say that the Legion of Plume won.” Neil told me, “Announce it, Supaperman. Say that we won and that the Justice Pleats is no more.”
I looked at my team. Theresa nodded, along with JC, Matt and Stuart too. Alan looked away, facing his girlfriend. And CJ? He was staring with as much rage in his heart.
“You guys won. I guess the Justice Pleats is no more, even though we never had a chance to live.”
Neil clapped his hands and high fived the team.
“We’re the winners! We win! Stop recording!”
Graham pulled the phone out from his chest pocket and struggled to press the stop button. Eventually he did, and then Neil turned to us.
“Oberon will post the apology notes on both the Lampert Journal and the Brando Weekly about a mass hacking. I just wanted to hear that we won.” Him and his group headed for a green bus, “See you guys next semester!”
We hobbled back on our bus, silently. I checked the discords and groupmes and watched as every member left the chats.
I was the last to leave for all of them.
And then a new group chat appeared. One without Alan.
The name was “Washed-Up Fools,” started by Theresa.
“Hey guys, I know we’re not a team or anything anymore, but I was wondering if we could all go see Aquaman.”
Our heads were all looking at our phones. Penny was staring at mine.
“You should go.” She mouthed.
Alan was sitting across from us. Him and Madalyn were silent, looking straight ahead. His hand was wrapped around hers, and it was turning white knuckled.
I texted the chat, “Sure!”
Immediately, everyone else basically said something of the same effect. We weren’t working together during this whole trip, but the least we could do would go see a movie together after.
I opened up the Brando Weekly to read an article about me and Penny not actually being fired and that that was a mistake by a hacker.
I guess it went back to normal…
By Stuart Jones
Home at last, peace and tranquility. Silence in the group chats and the finals have passed. Christmas approaches, and the California air is fresh. My family gathers around to decorate the tree, before I look at the time and rush out with a dash.
Lo and behold, I have to leave.
I walk outside, get into Theresa’s mom’s car, and we drive to the theater. Theresa is walking, everyone else has more or less recovered. We shake hands and hug each other.
We sit down and watch the film – Aquaman, I guess, and for once, I see that there’s a group here, something that could last.
Not as a crime fighting team, but something different.
A group of friends, heroes, even.
We leave the theater and say our goodbyes. Chris is with his girlfriend. No surprise.
I sigh and I realize that I have some friends here, and maybe Reynolds isn’t really all that’s there.
By Alan Wade
I screwed up. Big time.
I scroll through Instagram and I see that my old team is hanging out without me. Thanks, Theresa. It rubs the salt into the wound.
They saw Aquaman. I wanted to see that!
I sit back, looking at the presents under the tree. Danny meticulously wrapped each one and placed it there. Tomorrow is Christmas, but CJ refuses to eat at the same time as me. We don’t see one another. He stays in his room and only comes out when I’m back in my room or I’m downstairs.
I mope around the house, and I walk downstairs into the basement. I sit alone at the pool table. The ‘JP’ plastered on it.
Looking around it, there would’ve been room for more.
But I took scissors and cut through it, and now I have to face the repercussions.
I sigh, pushing my chair in, and I move to the couch and start to fall asleep downstairs in the basement.
The next day, I come upstairs to open my gifts. There’s a lot less under there. The older I get, the more I realize Santa doesn’t want to give me anything.
I thank Danny for waking up early to see me open them, and then I go back to my room and sit, and reflect.
Back to square one, Wade. No mom. No dad. No friends. No brother-figure.
I took out a box that I had, a gift for CJ that I made when I got home. I opened it up, wrote a note, and wrapped it. I wrote on a notecard “Open when you’re feeling alone.”
I walked up to CJ’s door, cracked it open, and saw him packing for when he moved back to Iocana.
“Hey, Merry Christmas.” I said, placing the gift on his bed.
“Thanks.” he sighed, and then I closed the door.
By OrigamiLuke 100
Firstly, I need to thank the council.
They’ve been a rock during this whole journey throughout the DCOU. From start to end, they’ve been supporting and giving ideas. Cammy gave great insight in our calls while we wrote Return of the Summer Camp Six about my strengths as a writer.
Jar Jar Pleats gave fun ideas for dialogue, he listened to me ramble for an hour before on what I need to see in this. They were the consultants on this.
The Evil Jawa, although retired, also cracked a lot of jokes and kept me sane during this process too.
I’d like to thank Noah, JC, and CJ for their creations Matthew Yen, Stuart Jones, and Chris Booth respectively. Without these three, this story wouldn’t have been able to flourish.
I’d like to specifically thank our super writers: Lord Toademort, Origami Master53, Hades, Guillermo, Thrawn, YodaForce, and Superfolder Skywalker.
These six writers expanded the universe with Condiment Kirigami (Toademort), Kid Fold (Origami Master), The Folders of Tomorrow and Aquapleat (Hades), origins for Terry D’Lunes, Bob Markov, Charlie Robinson, and Braxton Bouvet (Guillermo), Larfoldz (Thrawn), Green Arrowigami and A.R.R.O.W. (YodaForce), and Theresa Carter, a beloved staple of the DC origami Universe (Superfolder Skywalker.)
Also, thanks to Star Warigami master, Potato Dabber, and General dwarf for being readers of this.
I’d like to thank YOU, the readers. You have all supported the process, and have been incredibly patient. Just wait and see what we have in store for FOLD 2! It’ll be amazing.
Lastly, Thank you, Tom Angleberger, for inspiring me to write.