Episode XI: Origami Yoda and the Bounty Hunters
Deng-art and The Word
Yesterday, I was walking out of school, when Jacob ran up to me. He told me that his brother Noah was in big trouble, and it had something to do with a prophecy that Origami Yoda made. This morning, Jacob and I were running around the school, trying to find Dwight, to no avail.
I held my breath. “Jacob, are you really so sure about—”
“Yes. Origami Yoda told me that there was a second part of the prophecy that he hadn’t told anyone yet, and it said something dangerous about Noah. But he wanted you to be there when he announced the prophecy to the school.”
I wasn’t so sure about all this. I mean, Noah seemed happy at his school, and I still wasn’t entirely convinced about how much Jacob had really changed. I mean, once a FunTime supporting and origami-hating class president, always a FunTime supporting and origami-hating class president, right?
“Oh, fine….” I said. “But we’re already late to class. Maybe Dwight’s already there! We can find him then! But we NEED to hurry.”
I ran down the hall next to Jacob carrying my backpack (which, since I had to take three extra-curricular classes this year, was super heavy and filled to the brink), and I tried to take a shortcut to my class, through the boys’ locker room. Most kids didn’t even go near it because—well, it’s a locker room. You only walk in on Zack Martin changing once. Besides, if a teacher finds you near the locker room in-between periods, they’ll assume you skipped the previous class to go play basketball or something.
But anyway, I tried to take the shortcut. Jacob followed me. I sneaked around the columns of lockers, careful not to get caught by a teacher—or worse, Zack in a bath towel—when I slipped on something. I lost my footing, and fell with a yelp onto the ground. I was a little afraid to ask why the floor smelled of armpit, when I clambered to my feet and picked up what apparently tripped me; an origami version of the Star Wars bounty hunter, Dengar. He was actually pretty well-made. The pleats that formed Dengar’s “bandages” where matched up perfectly; the hands and feet were actually folded out with one piece of paper, not kirigami; and the drawing of the face looked cunning and sinister. On the back, its name was written in a fancy font with a pencil: Deng-art. Whoever folded this guy took his time with it. Treated it like an art form. But my eyes were glued to something else. Jacob gasped.
Okay, you know that one cuss word that everybody knows about, but nobody, not even the dirtiest, nastiest kids, ever say? Well, someone had scrawled that Word, in red permanent marker, all over one of the student’s lockers. My locker. I quickly tried to get rid of it, but it just wouldn’t go away. I couldn’t just leave the locker room. If a teacher saw this on my locker, I’d go straight to boot camp or C.R.E.F. or somewhere even worse. (Like Dom and Billy’s Pizza Parlor. That place has two dancing squirrels, Dom and Billy, who always ruffle your hair or pat your head or something even more annoying. Plus, their pizza tastes like cardboard with a soy milk spread!)
“Uh….” Jacob said. “I think we can still find Dwight faster if we go back into the hallway…….I’ll catch up with you there.” Jacob walked away, leaving me to deal with the Word. Alone.
At this point, if I stayed here, I’d be in huge trouble. But if I leave here, I’d still be in huge trouble. Kind of a no-win scenario. But wait a second, Kellen had a situation like this before! The embarrassing stain and Origami Yoda! Maybe I could take a cue from him! Kellen had gotten a big stain in the front of his pants—not a good place to have a stain—and needed to get to class quickly, without getting mocked by the students.
“All of pants you must wet,” Yoda had said to him. It was a brilliant idea, but it didn’t really apply to this situation. Or did it?
I quickly picked up the marker from where it was lying on the ground, and began randomly scribbling all over my locker. The Word was starting to blend in with the rest of the doodles, and soon enough, you couldn’t even tell there was a word there to begin with!
Okay, maybe Mrs. Toner might think I’m a little weird for drawing all over my locker with a red marker, but hey, at least she isn’t busting me for putting the Word on there! I hurriedly ran to my class, avoiding any worry of being caught by a teacher. What’s the worst thing that could happen?
I ran straight into someone, and landed hard on my butt. I looked up, and saw our school principal giving me the stink-eye.
The Origami Bounty Hunters
“Mr. Lomax,” the Principal addressed me, “come to my office. It’s important.”
I didn’t need to be told twice. When the Principal asks you to do something, you do it. I followed the Principal through the halls, up the stairs, and onto the balcony that overlooks the cafeteria. The Principal’s office was dead ahead.
“So…..how about them Wildcats?” I tried to spark a conversation. The Principal was ominously silent, with eyes glaring forward, and while showing a distasteful grimace. I followed the Principal’s gaze, and saw that the office window had been spray-painted over; with colors of red, white, and blue.
“An offense to both my authority and the United States.” The Principal proclaimed. “Thomas…..”
For a moment I was terrified. Did the Principal think I did it? The Principal handed me a small stack of pictures. I skimmed through them quickly, and noticed that all our favorite school hang-out places—The library, the gym, the cafeteria—were all vandalized with either spray-paint, sticky notes, confetti, obscene words, or other things of the sort.
“It has come to my attention,” the Principal began, “that some of the children in this school believe that, just because this is our last month before summer vacation, they can do whatever they please. That they can disrespect authority. They are wrong.”
“Uhh……” I tried to figure out what the Principal was saying. “But I haven’t done anything wrong.”
“Oh, Tommy, that’s not why you’re here,” the Principal explained, “I need people to keep an eye out in their classes. Kids who are familiar with the McQuarrie code, and know how to keep an eye on other students—undetected.”
I finally understood what was going on. “So wait, you want me to spy on the other kids? Isn’t that, kinda, um…..wrong?”
“I’ll tell you what’s wrong, Tommy! These kids believe that they can do whatever they want, just because school is on it’s final semester! I had to drive to school at 6:30 AM in my pajamas, just to handle this situation! I won’t have it!” The Principal’s words had a certain power that I couldn’t avoid. I stepped back, startled. The Principal’s eyes caught my startled glance, and softened.
“Please, Thomas,” the Principal pleaded, “if you care about our school, you’ll help us.” There was no trace of dishonesty. “Besides, I will even count this as extra credit! You know all those extra-curricular classes you don’t like? I can pardon you from one of those classes, and you will still get all the credit you need for school!”
At this point, I could tell the Principal was desperate. Maybe my reputation from the FunTime Rebellion really got around, and I was sorta famous for my detective skills! (Okay, maybe not…..but hey, a guy can dream!)
I’d have to make a new case file to help turn in these students who’ve been hurting the school, plus I’d probably need to interview some students, and I’d need a couple of friends to help me out.
“Okay, I’m willing to help; but is there any way I can get assistance from some of my friends? I trust them. They’d never willingly do anything to harm this school.”
The Principal smiled. “I’m way ahead of you.”
When the office door opened, I found Kellen, Quavondo, Lance, Dan, Sara, and some other students who I knew.
“They said they wouldn’t be able to stop the students without you,” the Principal said softly. “They really believe in you.”
This was it. I could turn back now, and just let the vandals get away with it. I mean hey, what’s the big problem with showing off your creativity? But no. Not like this. I may not like the Principal very much, but I don’t want the Principal—or any of my friends—to get hurt anymore by these jerks. They believed in me. I couldn’t let them down.
I smiled. “I’m in.”
Boxx and the Art Class Assault
By Kellen (Using his recording thingy, transcribed by Tommy)
So, um, I guess it’s my turn to make case file stuff about the Bounty Hunters……….I was walking into one of my art classes, which has all sorts of cool stuff to do, like painting and drawing and clay modeling. When I got in, I found some kid standing in front of the teacher’s chair.
“Hey, guys,” he said. His spiky blonde hair and stained yellow teeth made him look vicious. “I’m your temporary art teacher for today. Name’s Gabriel. Gabriel Chase. But you can call me Gabe, or sir. I’m filling in for my mom today, so don’t pull anything funny.”
I resisted the urge to burst out laughing. Someone had put a whoopee cushion on the teacher’s chair. In just a few golden moments………
Gabe looked shocked. He pulled the whoopee cushion out from under him. It was decorated—quite accurately—like Poggle the Lesser from Attack of the Clones. (I always thought his Geonosian speech sounded like that!)
“Whoever has done this,” Gabe said. “I am not amused. If you are responsible for this atrocity, reveal yourself!”
I tried holding in my laughter. I could tell Cassie and Mike were doing the same in a few seats near me. Only two of us would make it out of this one.
I couldn’t hold it in. I gasped for air as I laughed and laughed and laughed.
“Mr. Campbell…..why am I not surprised?” Gabe looked quizzically at me. “My mom warned me about you. Now I see why.”
He sat back down in his chair, and picked up a piece of chalk.
“Everyone,” he said. “It is clear now that Kellen Campbell…….” He drew my face on the chalkboard, and then drew horns and a goatee on it. “…….Is one of those terrible Bounty Hunters everyone is talking about. Kellen, you are excused from this class.”
“What?” I stood aghast. “But, you can’t do that!”
“Report to the Principal’s Office, IMMEDIATELY.” He jabbed a thumb towards the door. I walked out, but hid on one side of the door, so no one could see me. I had a bad feeling about this guy.
“Now, everyone,” Gabe said. “My mom’s plans for today’s art class consisted of—oh…… Decorating the hallways for Thanksgiving! So, doodle your best hand-turkeys, design pilgrim hats, do anything you want, all over the lockers and hallways. It’s an inexpensive—and fun—way to decorate McQuarrie for the upcoming holiday season!”
All the students burst out of the room in a huge mob. Markers, paintbrushes, and oil pastels were flying everywhere, and not one locker was missed. Everything was either covered with drawings of a leaf, a cornucopia, or a turkey. I admit, it looked awesome. But I wasn’t entirely sure it was good for the school. I mean, what about poor Janitor Phil? He’d hafta clean everything up later!
Cassie ran up to me. “Kellen!” Mike joined her. “Dude, we have a BIG problem. The teacher’s list didn’t say ANYTHING about decorating hallways. In fact, I just asked Mr. Howell, and he said that our art teacher DID come to school today! She never said anything about her son!
I tripped on something behind me. Falling to my butt, I noticed what it was. A box. It was decorated—with little to no effort—as the bounty hunter Bossk.
“Who?” I said, watching all the art class students unknowingly vandalize the school. I turned over the Bossk, and saw a name written on it. Boxx. “Who could have done this?” I glanced over at Gabe. He winked at me.
He planted the whoopee cushion, just to get me out of the room. He knew I’d figure him out. But then, he must know that I have easily traceable PROOF to nail him to this vandalism, plus a bunch of eye-witnesses, including Cassie and Mike. If this was a Bounty Hunter’s mission…….it was a suicide mission.
The Attack of Aurragami Sing
Jacob and I were talking at home one night. We both slept on a bunk-bed and shared a room, so we pretty much talked origami or Star Wars or something every night. Well, Jacob was talking to me about how Tommy is trying to figure out this missing piece of the prophecy, and how it concerns me. Well, it turns out that Origami Yoda isn’t the only thing me and McQuarrie have in common. There are Bounty Hunters at my school, too. Except, they actually have a good point. This school is more like McQuarrie before Princess Labelmaker came to the rescue. I really dislike the Origami Bounty Hunters. And I’m probably the only one who actually KNOWS one of them personally, so that makes me despise them even more. Her name is Francesca. I used to be her best friend, until—well, that’s not important. I’m pretty sure she’s behind the latest act of vandalism in the school. Yesterday, our principal, Mrs. Hardaway, found a giant graffiti drawing of Aurra Sing that said ‘Aurra is Awesome’ on the walls. Well, I thought it was pretty obvious who drew it. Francesca never passes up on the opportunity to brag. Right next to the drawing, there was an Origami Aurra Sing taped to the wall. Francesca’s favorite Star Wars character. I went to confront her at the monkey bars with my evidence, pulling out the origami puppet—which, by the way, was labeled “Aurragami Sing”—and straight-on told her that I knew she was involved in it. Her brown eyes got big and wide, and her lip protruded coyly. Her famous puppy-dog look.
She spoke softly to me, really innocently, “Why would you say that?”
I let out a slow breath. “Who else in Williams Middle is good at graffiti?”
“He knows how to do graffiti?”
“Duh. Get with the times.”
Her voice had lost its soft tone, which was replaced by an ignorant know-it-all tone, which I had grown to dislike over the years. Why did I ever consider this girl my friend?
“But……it was you, wasn’t it? I mean, who else is such a big Aurra Sing fan?”
“Maybe I lied about liking Aurra.” She curled her long flowing auburn hair with her finger. “People change.”
“YOU changed. I didn’t.” I began to walk away, wanting to give up on trying to get her in trouble. I heard her humming behind me; her voice was mesmerizing. Beautiful. Practically blending with the breeze of the wind outside. But even then, I could tell what tune she was humming. The blessing/curse of hanging out with her so much this past semester. Jabba’s theme.
“Wait, wait, wait,” Jacob stopped me. I had been telling him the whole story. “Are you writing this down? Tommy might need this for his case file.”
“Oh, well, okay.”
So, from here on out, I’m gonna be writing about my encounters with the Bounty Hunters, and my own personal investigation into figuring out the greatest mystery of all middle school: Girls.
Fold-LOM and the Bully
You’ve never been truly terrified until you’ve met Chuck. He’s an eighth grader, with a gruff voice; huge, bulging arms; and who makes Zack look as helpless as a battle droid!
Chuck and Tater Tot get into fights a lot. Rumor has it that the two of them used to be on the same basketball team in elementary school, and Chuck didn’t play fair. Now, they never stop arguing and bickering, and it’s really starting to annoy me and Cassie, who would really just like to eat lunch in piece!
But this guy wasn’t just a tough-as-nails jock; he’s also the biggest bully in McQuarrie Middle School; and—you guessed it—I’m his default target. Y’see, Chuck was one of the few older kids on that sixth grade field trip to the zoo a couple years ago, when I was branded a “Cheeto Hog.” The problem is, because he’s in eighth grade (and was held back over and over), he wasn’t present at the gym when I made amends with everybody. So, aside from other things, he still considers me a Cheeto Hog! And he won’t stop bullying me! He’s seriously the biggest regret I’ve ever had; and I’ve eaten the Big Pink!
One day, I was walking to class, when I saw a dark, massive shadow engulfing mine. Chuck. He picked me up, and dunked me, headfirst, into a garbage can. I tried kicking and wiggling and yelling, but I couldn’t move, and nobody could hear me. Or maybe they could, but hey, who would bother to help me out anyway? I may not be a Cheeto Hog, but I’m still branded a “weirdo.”
I stopped struggling for a moment, because what I saw atop of the trash caught my attention. An origami 4-LOM. It was really well made and decorated like the infamous bounty hunter. I couldn’t resist. I picked up the puppet, and examined it closely. His bug-like eyes were made with shiny red highlighter, and the faded silver do-dads near his nose/mouth area were artistically filled in with pencil marks. I instantly knew that Chuck didn’t make this puppet—it was WAAY too well done—but I had a feeling he was at the very least affiliated with the Bounty Hunter vandals. And this “Fold-LOM” character was his calling card.
I felt a slight tug on my legs from outside of the garbage can. Someone was trying to help me out! I wriggled and shimmied until the garbage can fell over, with me inside of it. Whoever tried to get me out of the garbage reached a hand out for me. I took it.
Mike heaved me up, an amused smirk on his face. “Dude,” he said, “that was the funniest thing I’ve seen since the last time Chuck bullied you!” He wiped a tear from his eyes. He must’ve seen the whole thing.
“Happy to entertain you,” I grumbled. We talked for a little bit, and I showed him Fold-LOM. His face turned pale.
“Oh no,” Mike’s voice dropped to a whisper. “Not you too.”
He led me through the all-but abandoned hallway, to the cafeteria, where Lance was sitting down. He was holding an exact duplicate of the origami 4-LOM I held in my hand.
“Well, well, well,” Lance murmured. “I guess we all have something—or SOMEONE—in common.”
Mike sat down, and pulled a third origami 4-LOM from his pocket. All three of them were original, and they all looked identical.
“Somehow,” Mike began, “a student with an origami bounty hunter has been taunting the three of us specifically.”
Lance and I wouldn’t dare bring up the option that even MORE students might be having the same problem as well, so we let Mike continue speaking.
“We now have proof that the bounty hunters are not limited to one puppet. They must have a bunch of multiples of the same character, for each different student. The question is, why?”
Lance was silent, so I gave my thought a whirl. “Could it be that the puppets are like the calling cards? Like, maybe each person wants to be individually recognized for his work, but under the alias of their personal origami Star Wars character?”
Lance spoke, “Oh, Bantha dung! I think he’s right!” He leapt from the table, and ran up the stairs to the second floor, all the way to the lockers.
“What are you DOING?!?” Mike shouted.
“I’m gonna find out who’s been doing this to us!” He started knocking on the locker doors, and opening each one of them. He’s notoriously known as the “Locker Doctor.”
Mike and I ran up the stairs to join him, when the door behind us opened. I gulped when I heard Ms. Rabbski’s questioning tone of voice.
“What, exactly, are you boys doing?!” Her voice was calm, but subtly irritated.
“Um, ma’am,” Mike spoke up, his voice quivering, “we—we think we know how to find the vandals in the school. You see—”
Rabbski cut him off, harshly. “I don’t care if you were saving the world from an asteroid; it’s just not right to break into other students’ lockers! Don’t let me catch you doing this again!”
She walked back into her math class, and the icy shiver I felt down my spine suddenly ceased. That lady still gave me the creeps, even if she wasn’t principal.
“Hey, guys, look at this!” Lance called. One of the lockers he had opened before had dropped something out of it. Another Fold-LOM. Just then, a couple more things fell from the locker. An origami Dengar, then a long folded strip of newspaper decorated to look like IG-88, and finally, an origami Greedo. Whoever was making these things, he was the sole creator. An artist. And each figure was signed on the back.
We couldn’t just wait for whoever the kid was to come back to his locker; we had school to do. But Lance promised he’d remember which locker it was for us, and that later in the week, we would come back to the locker, and figure out who was really behind all of this.
IG-Mâch88 and the Thermal Decorator
It all started in chemistry class. I happily welcomed the scent of the sulfuric air. The clanking of test tubes and beakers was music to my ears. My grades were great; my lab project was coming together perfectly; and my lab partner was a beautiful female exchange student from France. Life was good.
Then Dwight walked in. I hated life.
“Hi,” some teacher stood next to Dwight. “Your lab partner apparently broke her leg, so Dwight will be your lab partner today.”
Dwight obviously wasn’t interested in helping me out. He was just glaring off into space, mumbling “Oppa FunTime Style.”
I tried making a new chemical solution. After mixing and pouring all sorts of different concoctions together, I HAD DONE IT!
I held up my test tube, filled with deep blue liquid, and was just about to show it to the teacher, when—
“Duck and cover!” some kid leaped under his desk. Dwight and some others followed his lead. I didn’t.
“Wait, what in the world—?!” I was cut off by a huge blast, which sent red bubbling stuff all over my face and shirt.
“Ha! The chemical accelerator mixed with the benzoic acid in the Thermal Decorator!!!” I saw some guy—though I didn’t see his face—dart out of the room, but not before hurriedly taping something to the wall. I approached it. An Origami IG-88.
Dwight popped back up. “Purple.”
“Oh, great……” I said. “What are you gonna say now, Paperwad Yoda?”
“Uh…a bad feeling about this, I have?” Dwight/Yoda shyly murmured.
In only a few days, it would be time for our annual science fair, and, thanks to today’s incident, I’m not even sure I’ll be able to finish my project in time! That Bounty Hunter scum…….. I would find him. I would uncover him. And I would stop him.
Origami Yoda and the Blandwich
Hi everyone. I’m Rebekah. Rebekah Joyce. I’ve been at McQuarrie Middle School for two years, and at first, it seemed like a very normal, very boring school. That is, until I heard about Dwight. My friend Jack told me that Dwight and his Origami Yoda could solve any problem I could think of. For a while, I couldn’t think of anything useful to ask him (aside from something stupid like, “How can I get my clueless friend Nico to become my boyfriend”), until I finally realized; my problem was right in front of me the whole time!
See, I’m one of those kids who brings their lunch to school. All the other kids get hoagies or Rib-B-Qs, clam chowder, or my favorite—glazed baby carrots—and I’m stuck with the same old boring lunch I get every day: a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. And not even a good one. The crust is always too thick; the bread is soggy; and there’s too much peanut butter and not enough jelly, so it gets stuck on the roof of my mouth. I typically give it the title of “the Blandwich.”
The weird thing is, my mom really is trying hard to make a good meal for me. But with two older sisters and a younger brother, my mom usually makes my sandwich last. Maybe she’s just so tired out, or maybe the ingredients are running low, or maybe she even holds a major grudge against me for being born prematurely and forcing her labor early by seven weeks—but honestly, I really don’t think she’s trying to give me a bad lunch. But anytime I try and ask her if I can buy my own lunch, she always says the same thing: I’m too young to do something like that.
Besides the Blandwich, I get a sour green apple, a big wedge of pickle, and a canteen of water. And this was going on since PRESCHOOL. If Origami Yoda could stop a foe as powerful as the Blandwich, I would be sure he was magic.
I was sitting at lunch, and saw Dwight and his Yoda puppet giving people advice, and I thought maybe this would be the perfect time to ask him. So I went up to him, sandwich in hand, and waited for my turn in line. After the last person left—some poor girl with crutches—it was my chance to ask Yoda for advice.
“Question of yours is what?” he screeched. He didn’t sound much like Yoda.
“Um, yeah, well……” I proceeded to tell him my whole dilemma, followed by a question.
“Origami Yoda, how do I prove to my mom that I’m old enough to buy my own lunches, so I don’t have to eat…..THIS??”
Yoda shook his paper head side-to-side. I didn’t think a piece of paper could look so sad.
“Pain. Terrible pain!” Yoda wailed, startling me. It startled Dwight too. He dropped Origami Yoda for a moment, and then proceeded to pick it (him?) up and place him back on his finger.
“Buy lunch, you must not.” Yoda said.
“Buy lunch, you must not.”
I was really freaked out. Plus everybody was looking at me like I was some sort of weirdo. I quickly left the cafeteria, packed up my lunch, and got to my next class early.
That night, I prepared to talk to my mom about everything. She was just getting home from going to the store (probably buying more ingredients for our lunches), when I approached her. I first helped her get inside and unpack the groceries, then I let her sit down at the table while I prepared dinner. My younger brother Doug was at a boy-scout meeting with my dad, and my older sisters were at their youth group.
I sat down with my mom, and we quietly ate together. (Just for the record, dinner was only vaguely better than lunch. And don’t get me started on breakfast).
I broke the silence. “Hey Mom, so……..how was work?”
“Good. And school?”
Awkward silence. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore.
“Mom, with the lunches you give us for school—”
“Bekah, we’ve been through this already,” she said. “We don’t have enough money in the budget for big, extravagant meals for you kids.”
“But Mom, you’re not listening to me. This time, I’m not asking about that. I just want to tell you that I think I’m ready to start, y’know…….buying my own lunch.”
She sat there like a zombie for a few seconds. I cut eye contact, looking at the table. I thought about what Dwight/Yoda had said. About terrible pain and not buying lunch. Mom opened her mouth, about to speak.
“Look, I really am grateful for the lunch you make me, and I know the budget is tight. And because I respect you, I—I won’t buy my own lunches. At least, not until next year. If you don’t think I’m old enough, then I’ll prove that I’m old enough next year. But y’know, I think right now, being a seventh-grader isn’t too bad.”
She smiled. “It was never about your age, honey. I just—I never trusted the school district. You heard about that one kid who nearly choked to death at a field trip—”
“He was buying a snack from the vending machine, Mom.” I chuckled.
“Oh, whatever. The point is, it was never that I didn’t trust you or think you were ready. But thank you for showing me how important this is to you. I think that shows a lot of maturity.”
I hugged her. We put on a movie, and waited for the rest of the family to get back home.
The next day, I walked into the cafeteria, carrying my brown lunch baggie. I wasn’t sure why I took Yoda’s advice at the last second. I guess I was a little scared about what would happen if I DIDN’T take his advice. Terrible pain? That sounded a lot worse than a Blandwich.
As I bit in to the dry, crusted side of my PB&J, I heard someone gag. A couple seconds later, a couple other people ran from their seats, into the bathroom. Soon enough, most of the school was gagging and puking and it was like the most disgusting thing I’d ever seen. I looked at Dwight. He held Yoda up in the air. Even though I was a good bit away from him, I could hear Yoda’s words clearly.
“Pain, suffering, sickness I feel. Something terrible has happened. Not cooked was our clam chowder. Responsible for this, the Bounty Hunters are.” Dwight got up and snatched an origami Dengar that was taped to the wall. “A bad feeling about this, I have.” Dwight ran into the bathroom.
I looked around me. I was the only one left in the cafeteria, besides one other person. Nico. I sat with him for the rest of lunch, while we shared his homemade meal; glazed baby carrots.
Okay, first, son’t ask how I got a hold of this. I’m a Bounty Hunter, aren’t I?
Anyway, Noah and I used to be friends, yeah. We had a falling-out and it hasn’t been the same since. It’s been a little while since the falling-out last semester, and we’ve kind of gotten used to it. Well, my employer made sure we were made enemies. I’m not sure that’s working for him.
Yesterday, I was walking down the halls of the school, when over the loudspeaker, I heard Mrs. Hardaway. She was saying;
“Students of Williams Middle School, this new problem of the so-called ‘Bounty Hunters’ is really bringing all of our spirits down. Graffiti everywhere. The school has had toilet paper thrown all over it. To stop this threat, I need you students to help. If any of you know the identities of the Bounty Hunters, I need you to come to me and tell me. With the knowledge, I shall expell the delinquents. Together, we shall make Williams Middle a problem-free school once again!”
I eyed Noah down the hallway. I knew he was going to tell Hardaway! I ran down to hallway to where he was, and whispered in his ear; “Before you tell Hardaway, meet me on the back steps at Recess.”
“Okay, I’ll try to make it,” He whispered back. I was hoping he would come through.
Noah was already there. He was sitting on the back steps, just kicking his legs.
I started to talk. “Please don’t tell Hardaway! Do you know what my mom would think if I—”
He cut me off. “I am not telling.”
“What?” I blinked. “Thank you!” I hugged him. But realizing what I did, I awkwardly let go.
“But I will tell Kellen,” Noah’s tone hadn’t changed.
“I need to tell someone!” Noah exclaimed. “I will make him promise not to tell Hardaway, or anyone else, for that matter.”
I stepped back. “Y’know, Noah,” I said. “I’m starting to see why we became friends in the first place. You’re a good guy.” I briefly put my hand on his shoulder, and he let it brush off. I walked away.
Don’t think I’m on the good side yet. That’s just not me. And this message will explode in five seconds.
Origami Yoda and the Enemy
After school, I waited at the mystery kid’s locker. This guy was obviously clever—I had to work quite hard to open his locker in the first place, due to a very high quality metal lock—but he might be even too clever for even me to stop.
Finally, the last class let out. A bunch of squabbling kids shoved past each other, making their way to their lockers. I waited for a couple minutes, and started playing Angry Birds Star Wars on my iPhone, when I looked up for a moment, and realized that the hallway was completely bare and empty of students. He must have seen me and ran. I blew it.
I looked outside the window, and noticed that the buses were still stationed in the parking lot. I still had a chance! I leapt from my crouched position, quickening my pace until my throat was burning. I took a breath, then I burst through the school doors. I scanned the crowd of kids making their way into buses, looking for anything suspicious. A girl with a flower in her hair, a guy with a cowboy hat, Harvey getting pants’d by Zack, and a really cute girl with her caramel hair braided in a ponytail—ugh! What was I doing?!
I briefly caught a glimpse of another Fold-LOM, tucked in somebody’s back pocket—and then it was gone. A sea of other students swarmed my vision, and I lost whoever the mysterious kid was. I jumped when I heard a car horn beep at me. I spun around and saw my mother motioning with her hand for me to come over to her. I disappointedly trudged over to the beat up station wagon, opened the door, and, taking one last hopeless look at the buses, closed the car door behind me.
“Sorry guys,” I mumbled under my breath. “I’ll try and do better tomorrow.”
The next day, I was wandering about the library, and found Dwight. He/Yoda was telling some girl that “Food, the key to a boy’s heart is!” Which is totally true, but I don’t think the girl needed YODA to tell her that. I approached Dwight after the girl left.
“Hey Yoda,” I said. “So, I’m kinda looking for someone, and I can’t find him anywhere. What should I do?”
“Lost a person, Lance has!” Yoda chuckled to himself. “How embarrassing!”
I wasn’t in the mood for games. “Alright, pointy ears,” I leaned in, lowering my voice to a whisper. “I’m looking for one of the Bounty Hunters. He has a full arsenal of paper bad guys, and I’m trying to find him. Do you have any advice for me, or not?”
Yoda’s reply was in that creepy Jedi Master-voice he always does when in regard to something serious. “Grave danger you are in. Impatient, you are.”
I know I probably should have just let it go, but after everything with Fold-LOM and Chuck and the whole fight with Amy (don’t ask), I’d had it. I snatched Yoda from Dwight’s hand, and threw it across the library, until it landed—oops—right in front of Chuck. He was sitting at one of the computers, either studying or playing a computer game, and Yoda had landed right on top of his keyboard. He looked at it for a minute, puzzled, when I ran over and snatched it from his arm’s width. He looked at me quizzically for an explanation, but I didn’t have one. I awkwardly ran back to where Dwight was sitting, and handed him back Origami Yoda. The paper Jedi wasn’t talking to me.
“You hurt his feelings,” Dwight said. “He doesn’t want to talk to you right now.”
I held back my burning frustration. Yoda wanted me to be patient? Fine, I’d be patient. I sat in my seat for a good fifteen minutes straight, doing nothing but staring at Origami Yoda. Finally, Dwight got up, and started to walk away.
“Dwight, what are you doing?!” I exclaimed. “You told me to be patient! Where are you going?” I quickly looked behind me and saw Mrs. Calhoun, the librarian, eyeing me. I was shouting in the library. I quickly left the room, following Dwight, until he made his way to the girls’ bathroom.
“Uhh, Dwight,” I said, “that’s kinda the GIRLS’ bathroom. We can’t go in there.”
Dwight pulled out Yoda, “Your Bounty Hunter, you wish to find?”
I nodded. “Yes.”
“Then follow me, you must.”
Dwight walked in, leaving me standing there awkwardly. I mean, sure, I’d like to catch this guy, but I ain’t going in there to find him. I heard footsteps in the hallway, and ducked under the water fountain. I didn’t want anyone to see me standing in front of the girls’ bathroom! They might label me a totally different class of weirdo!
Mike walked down the hall, calling my name. I got up from under the water fountain, and filled him in on everything. When I got to the part about the girls’ bathroom, he shuddered.
“Dude, you don’t think this guy—err—”
I cut him off. “No way, man. I think he’s a SHE. And I think she’s about to be busted by Dwight.”
I heard a shrill scream from the bathroom. Dwight ran out, wrapped in toilet paper, which kinda made him look like a very odd paper Jedi-wielding mummy, and he ran off, quickly followed by a fuming girl with a giant lipstick mark all across her cheek.
“That kid bumped into me while I was doing my makeup!” She complained. I’d seen her before; the cute girl with the caramel hair from the parking lot. Now that I actually saw her face, I also noticed her deep brown eyes, dainty nose, and cute dimples. And the way her hair fell over her shoulders, and how she had a very attractive French twang to her voice, and her lips were a deep red—GAH! Not this again!!
After fuming for another couple of minutes, she began to walk away. I fought the urge to run after her and flirt. I began to think happy thoughts about me and Amy and everything these past couple years that happened before our fight. About that first FunNight and when she came over on the weekends and when we hung out at the library on Mondays and just talked about nothing at all. Then my mind started wandering, and I thought about our fight.
Earlier in the day, Amy and I were watching Mystery Science Theater 3,000 on one of the library computers (great show, by the way), and Amy made an off-hand mention that she wasn’t a big fan of the character Joel.
“What?! How can you not like Joel?? He’s, like, the best character in the show!”
Amy pursed her lips. “I kinda like the other guy, though. He was cute.”
My eyes widened. “You mean MIKE?! You like Mike more than Joel??”
And it kinda went downhill from there. Amy said some pretty mean stuff, including calling me something along the general lines of “bantha poodoo.” I, of course, retaliated with a bunch of equally mean comments. Then Amy started to tear up, and she ran from the library, basically leaving me to talk to Dwight.
“Hello? Lance? Duuuude??” Mike clapped hard in front of my face, snapping me out of my flashback. The cute girl was long gone. After that, Mike and I just kinda went to the cafeteria and ate lunch. I needed a break from girls for awhile.
Origami Boushh and the Unfair Hall Monitor
By Kellen (Using his recording-thingy)
So, um, my search for the Bounty Hunters is kinda slow right now, since I totally busted Gabe, but, uh, I think I got a good lead. Y’see, I was hearing rumors from the other students about this guy named Jonah, who was this hall monitor that was stationed between homeroom and the lockers. A lot of students have been complaining that Jonah has been tattling to the teachers about them, when they haven’t been doing anything wrong! I know he’s doing this for SOME reason, but I don’t know why. I’ll fill you in as I get more info. Bye.
(A new voice that isn’t Kellen’s begins to talk): Hey man, it wasn’t my fault!
[SOUNDS OF STRUGGLE]
Kellen: Dude, seriously! Stop!
Other Guy: No! Not until you leave me alone!
Hey guys. Kellen again. So, I guess my hunch was right. I talked to Jonah after his shift was over, just before he went to his English class. I sort of forgot to record the whole conversation, so I guess you guys only heard a little bit. The conversation, for the record, went something like this………..
Me: Hey Jonah. So dude, I need to ask you something.
Me: Great! So, is it true that you’ve been unjustly reporting innocent students to the teachers?
Kellen: Look man, if that’s really how things are, then just tell me.
Jonah: Dude, seriously, I only report kids who deserve to be reported.
Kellen: Sureeee……….. Jonah, just be honest. Everybody knows what you’ve been doing. The question is, why? Are you covering up for someone? Someone who DOES deserve to be reported? Huh? Huh?
Jonah: Hey man, it wasn’t my fault!
So then he started running, and I started chasing after him. I tried to stop him from running, but he told me he wouldn’t stop unless I left him alone. Then he ran right into the Principal and fell on his butt. An origami Boushh landed at the feet of the Principal, who then picked it up and inspected it, before saying “Jonah, if you’ll come to my office please. We have much to discuss.”
Now, I only have one question: Who was Jonah covering for?
Okay, I think I got it. I talked to Jonah after school (though he was pretty difficult to talk to, considering he was still set on running from me), and I found out that he’s been covering for someone named…..um……V, I think it was? When I asked him who V was, he said he didn’t know, and that V always wore a hoodie in the hallway. But you have a name now!
Francesca and the Brother
By Robby (Francesca’s Note: I copied this off of a page in Robby’s journal. What have I done??)
I know all about what has been happening with Francesca. Yeah, the whole deal with Aurragami Sing, the graffiti, yeah. I’ve been tempted to tell Hardaway about it, but Francesca has some anger issues, and I didn’t really want to anger her, but I was waiting for the right time.
Noah, the first person to find out about Francesca’s secret, was invited over today, to kinda talk, and, dare I say it, flirt. Oh, I know about those two. I think I know more about their relationship than even they know right now. I’m an investagator of sorts, so nobody really keeps secrets from me.
Anyway, Noah walked in the door, and him and Francesca went into the living room and started talking. I decided I would call Tommy, since he would know what to do about them. I dialed Tommy on my iPhone, and I held it up to my ear.
“Hello?” Tommy said from the other side of the phone line.
“Hey, Tommy, it’s Robby.”
“Oh, hey.” I’m Tommy’s math tutor. I tutor at McQuarrie sometimes, and usually Francesca comes with me. That’s actually how Noah and her met.
“So, what is it?” Tommy’s voice rang out.
I paused. “Well, I think I know who’s been wielding an Origami Bounty Hunter in both McQuarrie and Williams Middle Schools……”
I glanced at Noah and Francesca, who were cracking up about something. They really did like each other. I guess they are just having a hard time showing it. And okay, I admit, my intentions changed pretty swiftly.
“Hello? Dude?” Tommy said. “Who is it?”
“Look, it’s….it’s me.”
The phone line immediately went dead.
I spun around. Francesca smiled. “You didn’t have to do that, y’know.”
I gulped. “I thought…….you were talking with Noah……”
“He had to go to the bathroom.”
She tackled me with a hug.
“Just…..don’t lose your tutoring job, okay?” She sounded worried. “I don’t want you sacrificing anything for me.”
I didn’t have the heart to tell her, but it was too late for that. Of course, Tommy had told the Principal, and today I got an email saying that my behavior was “inexcusable” and “immature,” not to mention that I’m not allowed to tutor there anymore.
Francesca doesn’t know. And Noah is totally distracting her attention anyway. I’m sure I made the right choice though.
No Origami Yoda and the Girl
After ignoring the Bounty Hunters and sitting on my lazy butt for three days, I was ready to bust this guy. This wasn’t about Chuck anymore. This wasn’t even about the Bounty Hunters. This was about me and him.
I was just getting dropped off at school. Various kids were pouring out of the school bus, and one of which—I didn’t catch who—had taped an origami something-or-other to my back, which said, “Nobody remembers you. Nobody loves you. You’re forgotten and pathetic. Just like Durge.”
I only found this out HALFWAY through the day, when Kellen, after hearing the roaring laughter of the other students, plucked it off of me.
“Dude, who did this to you?” Kellen asked.
“I don’t know. I have no idea. Dude, I don’t even know who Durge IS!”
“He’s a character from the 2003 Clone Wars cartoon.”
I read the note, over and over, and even though I knew it was just somebody trying to push my buttons, I still felt like the note was at least partially true. I mean, I’m a nobody. I’m at the lowest of the low social class! And not only that, but practically all of my friends had been laughing at me earlier. It just makes me wanna—well, I just gotta—I mean, I hafta……..
I started crying. Angry tears. Origami Mace Windu wouldn’t be proud. I ran from the room, into the cafeteria. People slowly started coming in, getting their trays, and collecting their lunch for the day. I, on the other hand, was sitting in the corner, sulking into my homemade tuna salad sandwich.
I noticed out of the corner of my eye somebody walking over to my table. I didn’t bother to look up. There’s only one person I know who would come to talk to me.
“Hello, Vanessa,” I addressed the beautiful French girl bitterly. “I don’t have anything to talk about, thanks.”
Vanessa—I think you must have heard about her before, Tommy—was gorgeous AND nice. A really good combo.
“C’mon, Mike. What’s up?” She always tried to be a good listener. It’s probably just because her mom is the school counsellor, but occasionally, I wonder if she might actually want to be my friend.
“Alright,” I started. “This guy, one of the school vandals, has been doing all sorts of things lately to lower my self-esteem. Terrible sticky notes on my locker, putting bookmarks with putdowns written on them into all of my books, and even taking the time to write letters—real, hand-written, belittling letters—and putting them into my mailbox each morning. I have to stop him, Vanessa.”
She stared at me, a pained look on her face. She leaned forward, then awkwardly sat back down, as she started to instinctively twist her caramel hair into a braid. Her eyes quickly darted around the room, and then she did it. She got up and kissed me on the cheek. The next thing she whispered softly to me warmed me from head to toe.
“Mike, you aren’t anything at all like the person this guy is saying you are. You’re amazing.”
She got up and left without another word, leaving me to start thinking that, hey, maybe I don’t have it so bad after all.
“Clouds my vision, the Dark Side does,” Origami Yoda said. Dwight materialized next to me. “Careful you must be, around Vanessa.”
“C’mon, man. You’re just jealous I have a French girl in love with me, and you don’t.”
“I have Caroline.” Dwight set down Yoda.
“Caroline is no more French than French fries,” I got up from my seat. “Later, Dwight. Today, I don’t need Yoda’s help. Or yours.”
IG-Mâch88 and the Science Fair
After “IG-Mâch88’s” attack in science class, I knew I would get my revenge. So, I teamed up with my old buddy Lawrence Williams to try and figure out who the culprit is. Lawrence used to be my lab partner the past two years, until Vanessa exchanged here, and forced Lawrence to become some other guy’s lab partner, so we both were used to thinking on the same page.
“I lost my lab project, too,” Lawrence explained. “And besides, we need to team up, if we’re gonna submit anything to the science fair tomorrow.”
“That’s tomorrow??” I said. “Great. Now some dork is gonna beat me out for first place!”
“Not yet!” Lawrence smirked, as he grabbed two beakers.
Lawrence and I worked together after school, and both worked on our project in two different pieces individually, and then brought them in the next day. Finally, we’d finished it! A crazy twist on a classic science fair project; a baking soda ROCKET!!! I made the rocket, and Lawrence made the baking soda mixture.
“Alright, everybody,” the judge said. “Welcome to the fourth annual McQuarrie Middle School science fair!”
Everybody cheered. Isabel was sitting in the bleachers, smiling at me and waving. It felt good to have an actual friend who cared to come and everything. (And no, there’s nothing romantic going on between me and Isabel. We’re JUST FRIENDS, okay?)
The judges went through the first few projects first—not much competition—and came over to us next. I adjusted the rocket, while Lawrence made the countdown.
“Five……four…….three…….two……” Suddenly, he stopped. “Uh-oh.”
A disastrous spewing of red and yellow dyes and baking soda flew all over us, including the judges, as the rocket exploded. Everything we had worked so hard on was ruined. I wiped my soaking wet bangs out of my eyes, and glanced at the nearby wall. Yup. An IG-Mâch88 puppet was taped there.
“Dude, I’m—I’m so sorry,” Lawrence said. “I must have not calculated all the—”
“No, no,” I said. “This project got tampered by the Bounty Hunters.”
“IG-Mâch88 again,” Lawrence seethed. “That guy’s gonna pay.”
Isabel stood up behind Lawrence, and pulled something out of his pocket. “I think he just did.” Isabel held up an IG-Mâch88, and handed it to Lawrence. “I believe this belongs to you.”
Lawrence gulped. He darted from the room, and I ran after him. Before I could catch him, he disappeared in the crowded cafeteria.
“Heh, some friend,” I sighed. Isabel placed her hand on my shoulder.
“It’s okay, Harvey,” she smiled. “I’ll always be your friend. And I will stick by you, no matter what.”
What she said sounded kinda cheesy. But it still served its purpose. She kissed me on the cheek.
Bo-bag Fett and the Bad Day
I would’ve turned down the Principal’s offer if I had known what would happen today.
It was lunchtime. Me, Kellen, Harvey, and Dwight were all eating hoagies. For the first time in two weeks, things finally felt normal. No Emperor Papertine, no Bounty Hunters, and no Skyfolders. The other students were even lining up to ask Origami Yoda for advice again.
Of course, nothing stays “normal” at McQuarrie for long. As soon as Amy went over to Dwight to ask him/Yoda a question, Dwight’s finger went high above his head, and began to screech;
“To a dark place this day will carry us. Great care we must take.”
Generally, when Yoda has something to say to us, it usually ends up being a piece of advice, or a major warning. I had a feeling this time it was a bit of both.
“Oh, great, another piece of your ‘wonderful’ advice,” Harvey groaned. “I was starting to get worried. I hadn’t seen Paperwad Yoda since Noah left! Now you can go do something useful with him, like turning him into scrap paper for art class!”
Ugh. Harvey can be seriously irritating. But that couldn’t be what Yoda meant, could it? I mean, Harvey can sure be annoying sometimes, but he’s not seriously, like, evil or anything, right?
Kellen set down his hoagie, and wrestled with his backpack until he pulled out a crumpled and slightly ripped piece of paper. It was an Origami Salacious Crumb, but it had certainly seen better days.
“Tater Tot was right, Tommy,” Kellen confirmed my suspicions. We’d sent Tater Tot out to spy for Bounty Hunters. “Even goody two-shoes kids like Robby are beginning to make puppets. If this keeps happening, there’s no telling who’s finger could be behind the next bounty hunter. It could even be one of us.”
An icy silence filled the room. It dawned on me what Kellen was saying. Could Harvey—?! No, that can’t be. It’s not his style. But, suppose Harvey DID have a bounty hunter…………
“Guys, the Bounty Hunters are trying to turn us against each other,” I struggled to keep my voice even. “Robby meant for you to be suspicious, Kellen. The more we suspect ourselves, the less we can work together as a team. But we need to stick together. Without us, we could be stuck with these vandals until high school.”
Kellen perked up, “You’re right! We gotta stand firm! I think Deng-art is the leader. I’ve been finding THESE everywhere.” He pulled out a small handful of paper Dengars, and disgustedly let them drown in ranch dressing.
“I agree. Whoever made Deng-art has been doing a lot more damage to the school with them, as opposed to any of the others.”
I was about to say more, when I heard this small buzzing sound from above us. I turned around, facing the balcony, and—well, I guess Deng-art ISN’T the leader.
A paper bag, decorated like Boba Fett, was flying towards us. A tiny propellor replaced Boba’s antenna, and what looked like the small end of a remote-controlled helicopter was sticking out of the back, working like a mini jetpack.
“It’s Bo-bag Fett!” Kellen exclaimed.
“What kind of pathetic name is ‘Bo-bag’?!” Harvey snickered.
I was about to say that this wasn’t the time for arguing, when I found myself glancing down at Harvey’s hands. If he had the remote controlling Boba……. No, I can’t afford to think like that. We’re a team. But he DID try and humiliate Dwight and me, plus he made Darth Paper and Darth Yoda, and he never stops being loud and mean, even after the Origami Rebellion. If it wasn’t Harvey with Boba, who else could it be?
It all came down to one thing: if I trusted Harvey or not.
I looked at Harvey, and tackled him to the ground. A remote clattered out of his hands, and Bo-bag came falling down, into Kellen’s waiting hands.
“What?! No! It wasn’t me!” Harvey pleaded. I kept my body weight on Harvey, pinning him until I was ready to let him go. Kellen fiddled with Bo-bag, and found a small note attached to him. Immediately, just when I had enough time to keep the remote out of Harvey’s reach, Kellen yelped, and Bo-bag flew away. I quickly stumbled away from Harvey, and picked up the remote, opening up the back. No batteries. Harvey really was telling the truth. Bo-bag was gone, Harvey stomped away in a big fit, and all that me and Kellen had to go on was the note attached to Bo-bag.
“You have fallen into our trap. Already you could not place your trust in a fellow teammate. At this rate, how will you ever stop us?
We’ll give you a chance, though, to be the hero. Come to the back doors of the school at 4:15—alone—and we’ll tell you everything.”
At first I was a little puzzled as to why they would give up their secrets so easily, when Kellen flipped the note to the other side. In bold lettering, in the dead-center of the note, two words were written.
I looked at Kellen, whose eyes got wide. We sneaked a glance at Dwight, who was mumbling to himself about cheese curls. How could we do this to him? How could I?
The Bounty Hunters and Origami Yoda
I was taking a huge risk. Choosing between my grades and my friends. I just hope I made the right choice.
It was 4:15. School busses were beginning to pick students up from school. I had roughly fifteen minutes before my own dad would be ready for me to leave. A very short window of time. With the most sinister kids in school. But I had to believe it would work. If I didn’t believe, who would?
I stepped outside, out of the back doors, and found a group of three kids sitting at a small table. The sky was stormy, and everything around me looked like different shades of grey. The tall kid in the hoodie motioned for me to take a seat. I complied.
“Do you have it?” His voice reminded me of Harvey’s. There was a slight wheeze in the way he spoke. I shuddered. I still wasn’t sure I had made the right decision in coming here. His question remained in the air for a moment, as I reached into my backpack, and pulled out a thin, crisp piece of paper, laying it out on the table. A bus pulled away from the school, its headlights briefly illuminating Origami Yoda.
Slight hints of light danced across the hoodie kid’s glasses. He had a wicked grin. “Yes. Yes. You’ve done very well.” The boy to his right stood up. “Now we will tell you all of our secrets.”
The boy who approached me was only a little bit taller than me. Even in the dark, I could tell he was wearing a wide-brimmed hat, like something out of a western movie. When he lifted the brim from his eyes, however, I was startled by how pale his blue eyes were. Maybe it was just the dim lighting, but his eyes almost seemed to be glowing. He motioned with his hand for me to come over to him. I followed. He pulled me in, whispering in my ear. His breath tickled my ear, but I dared not budge. “Enemies unravel,” he whispered. “The map is born.”
He shoved me aside. I scraped my palms on the gravel, and I was pretty sure I’d ripped a hole in my jeans.
“C’mon!” Hoodie guy called. He was linking arms with the third person, a girl, who murmured something to him like “He’s kinda cute. Do we really hafta—?!” The guy who shoved me scrambled back over to Hoodie and Cutie (my new nicknames for them), and they ran off, leaving me, with stinging palms and without Yoda, trying to figure out what that guy had meant.
“Open the origami. The map is the key.” What the heck did THAT mean?
I got to my feet, and clambered back inside the school building. I glanced at my watch. 4:19. Not too shabby. Students were scarcely still in the halls, but one kid stood hunched over the water fountain. His unruly golden brown hair gave him away.
“Did it work?” Dwight asked me. I gave him a thumbs-up, and he pulled out Origami Yoda.
“A Jedi Mind-Trick, very useful is. Clever, using a decoy was. Lucky you are, that Dwight remembered how to fold me, yes? If thought found, the sought bounty is, cease will the vandalism, hrrrm? Very proud of you I am, Tommy. Give up on your friends you did not. Learned from your mistakes have you. A true Jedi Knight, one day you may be.”
“Oh, and Dwight……” I started. This was the question that was bugging me all week. “What was your prophecy about Noah? I’ve been all sidetracked by these Bounty Hunters; and I never even thought to bring it up.”
Origami Yoda shook on Dwight’s finger. Finally, he bursted out; “”Tempted the Chosen One will be to join the Dark Side. Overcome the temptation he will not. But saved he will be, if his companion and the enemy returned will be.”
Dwight put away Yoda, and walked outside. Mrs. Bolt’s car pulled up, and Sara invited Dwight to sit next to her in the back seat. I wasn’t jealous or worried or anything. Dwight and Sara had been neighbors for years. And Sara liked me. The car horn beeped, and Sara waved goodbye to me, and even blew me a kiss. I swore right then that I’d never doubt a friend again.
The Flight of the Ori-Republic Gunships
By James Suervo Jr.
Again, This is only my second time doing this, so here goes:
Place: The school’s front lawn. Time: Right after school.
I was sitting with Noah and Jacob’s older brother Adam again. We had become pretty good friends. We were just talking a little. Here is the convo:
Me: So, Adam, since the whole FunTime thing….
Adam: That was only a little bit ago.
Me: Oh yeah. Anyway, I don’t think I ever saw the puppet you used.
Adam: Well, I did make one…
Me: Who was it?
Adam: Ask him yourself! Though he’ll probably get really annoyed…. *Subject holds up origami Chopper from Star Wars Rebels, and starts making the weird Chopper grunting sounds from the Behind the Scenes thing I watched*
Me: Wow! I’m betting Dwight, Jacob or Noah made that for you?
I looked behind me for no reason and saw a guy looking at his watch. I think his name was Lucas McIntosh. Anyway, at exactly 4:00, he darted off. But then he ran around the school. He came back riding a bike with a hoodie (I think he thought nobody saw him. That is like Greedo-dimness).
As Lucas flew by, he opened up his backpack and let a bunch of origami things fall out. Then, they hit the road, and the wind started blowing: And the origami things flew everywhere! Mostly into people’s eyes, and hair, and stomachs. I looked at the one that landed in my hair. It was folded and designed like the Republic Gunships from Episode II. And taped to it was an incredibly well-folded Origami Greedo.
They were everywhere! I even saw one score Harvey, who was coming out to his bus, right in the glasses! Me and Adam couldn’t help but snort. We noticed that kids were running everywhere to avoid getting hit, mostly to no avail.
The Principal came out and saw the whole thing, turned on the sprinklers and that soaked the Ori-Republic Gunships so much so that they turned into little paper glops and hit the grass (I absentmindedly shielded Greedo so as not to soak such art).
That also meant the sprinklers soaked us. Boy, mom was gonna be mad.
Me and Adam got up and ran over to the Principal to explain.
Principal: Thank you for explaining, boys. Now, could you describe the student that loosed these Gunships?
Me: Well, I think it was Lucas McIntosh. In case you don’t know what he looks like, he has short brown hair, huge green glasses, a green Boba Fett hoodie…
Adam: Yeah, and he also had a bright green backpack, a blue bike, and blue jeans.
Principal: Okay. I will call him to the office immediately.
So, that was strange. Good thing Adam’s Chopper didn’t get soaked.
Kellen’s Last Chapter
By Kellen (with his recording thingy)
TOMMY’S NOTE: Bo-bag Fett dropped the recording thingy at our table during lunch. Until now, we didn’t know where Kellen had been for the whole day. I wrote out the transcript below.
So, um, hi guys. If you’re listening to this, it means I’ve been captured by the Bounty Hunters. Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine, but I thought you guys needed to know this information.
Anyway, I was walking along the hallways, when I saw—oh no—a Boxx. Was Gabe coming back? He got suspended the last time he did it. But just in case, I thought maybe I could hide in a really big box, and see if I could jump out and nab him, while he started decorating it!
After embarrassingly jumping out and scaring the Bantha dung out of Rhondella (who was trying to find a box that contained her MMS yearbook drafts for the semester), I waited. And waited. And waited.
Apparently while I was waiting I took a half-hour nap, and woke up with a start when I realized that I was moving. I tried not to hyperventilate, but of course I did. Finally, the box was set down, and I could quickly peek my head out from the box, and see where I was.
“Ohhhh snnnaaaaapp………..” I was sitting directly inside the Bounty Hunters’ hideout. Kids of all shapes, sizes, races, and genders were there. And each one wielded a different origami bounty hunter. I ducked back into the box when I heard a voice shout.
“Welcome! Welcome to all Bounty Hunters!” The voice was slightly raspy. I couldn’t tell if a boy or girl was speaking. Whichever it was, this person must’ve had a bad cold or a sore throat.
“Our first order of business today……. I’m sure you all know me, but as a refresher. I am V. The founder of the Bounty Hunters. The one who folded the origami you hold in your hands. Should any of you have questions, you may bring it up with me. Any ideas? Bring them to me. Clever origami name puns? Too bad. I’ve already named them all.”
I tried to peek out of the box again, but some tall ugly dude was in the way. The only view I could see from here was his butt. And that’s not a pretty sight.
V spoke again. “McQuarrie Middle School. Many of us thought it to be a fresh start. A new outlet for us to learn. The website bragged of its high-quality learning opportunities and boasted of the high grades achieved by their seventh graders against FunTime. But we know the truth. McQuarrie Middle School is nothing but a sham! They don’t want you to learn. They want you to ace tests. They STILL don’t welcome creativity. They ban it! When did McQuarrie ask us what WE wanted to learn about?! Didn’t it ever occur to them that maybe we have aspirations of our own?”
I thought about what Ms. Rabbski once offered to Tommy and us, about a class made specifically for us to follow our dreams in life. Tommy said no, and tried to get freedom for the entire school. But I guess not everybody got the memo.
V continued. “Like, for example, take poor Ricardo over there. He used to be homeschooled. Learned everything he wanted to learn. Nice schedule. Got to wear pajamas all day. But then, his mom read an article about McQuarrie. And it all went downhill from there! Ricardo, tell us, which origami bounty hunter have you acquired?”
“Cradossk. Father of Bossk.” He gulped.
“And why is it, Ricardo, that you wield this puppet?” V questioned.
“Because……though the school is thriving and the students are…relatively…at peace, there remains a need for the likes of myself and my associates. If you’re tired of smash-and-grab teachers in your system; if a teacher has failed you; indeed, if any being has done you wrong, don’t hesitate: contact V, as I have. Cradossk symbols my rebellion against the school. My right for learning what I want to learn! Even if it means vandalizing school property, we will get noticed! We will remain strong! We are the Bounty Hunters!”
Everybody clapped and cheered.
It was weird, I kinda agreed with them. Not that they should disrespect their authority and vandalize—not cool, man—but that maybe McQuarrie IS being a little too focused on getting good grades, and not focused enough on actually helping the students to learn and thrive. I mean, I really thought FunTime would be the end of all of that, and it would be kind of cool if I could doodle a little bit more, without Mr. Howell throwing a big fit. I don’t know.
V broke the silence following the applause. “Lawrence. Status update.”
The guy standing in front of my box, Lawrence—Harvey, you were right; that guy IS bad mojo—stammered nervously. “W-well, sir, I, um……” His voice trailed off. “…..I collected the shipment of spray paint you asked for.”
“Excellent!” the voice boomed. “Bring it to me!”
I gasped when I found my box being lifted. They thought I was the spray paint! I felt myself being lowered, and with a loud thud I fell on my face. The box was open. Everyone could see me. But I could see everyone.
There was that shaggy-haired kid with Sockuss, and a girl with Aurragami Sing, and—They blindfolded me.
“No! You can’t do this! Who’s gonna doodle on Tommy’s case files?! I’m on a diplomatic mission from the Principal—”
V interrupted. “You aren’t part of our Rebel Alliance, and a traitor. Take him away!”
Someone threw me back into the box, and carried my away. I think I’m in a janitor’s closet right now, but I can’t be sure. I’m still blindfolded, and my hands are tied with those stupid plastic zip-ties. The only thing I could manage to do was tell you guys what happened. I’m really sorry, everybody. I failed.
[KELLEN STOPS SPEAKING. THE DOOR OPENS.]
Hoodie Guy’s Voice (Harvey tells me it’s actually Lawrence): Well well well, what do we have here?
Lawrence: Ah! Yes! A 2001 LB-RP352G audio cassette recorder! I’m gonna have to bring this up with the boss! And as for you………”
Kellen: No! Oh, please no! Don’t!
[SOUND OF FAUCET TURNING ON]
Kellen: Blu-Ray NOOOO!!!!!!
The recording changed from Kellen’s cries to a raspy voice.
“You asked for information, Lomax. Costly information. And now, Origami Yoda is ours. So is your friend Kellen. You want them back? You’ll have to agree to our terms. Give us the bounty we desire. Get the Principal to sign off on a form saying that we are allowed to learn independently from what the school board wants us to learn. Once more, kids will be able to learn independently. And……..we shall have peace.”
The recording cut out.
Things were different now. Bad words on the walls? We can ignore them. Someone spiked the school lunches? We can stomach it. But when someone takes my best friend and locks him away somewhere hidden in the school? There is no force (not even THE Force) that will stop me from finding him.
“Tommy,” Harvey said. “You realize this is most likely a trap?”
“That’s a given. I don’t care. I’m gonna save Kellen; I’m gonna crack this case wide open; and then I’m gonna nab this ‘V’ creep and personally drag him to the Principal’s Office.”
“Snort,” Harvey snorted. “Good luck with that. These guys have booby traps galore, gadgets and gizmos to spare, and Lawrence alone has the intelligence to cripple the school. You’re gonna need more than your own abilities to stop them.” He paused, like he was contemplating whether to talk or not. “You’re gonna need my help.”
I turned around. Was I really hearing this? Harvey, the know-it-all jerk who laughs like a donkey at us; who makes fun of Dwight and puts down Origami Yoda; who even wrote “Kellen drinks pee” all over the bathroom mirror—HE wanted to help save Kellen?
“Really? You?” I questioned. “Why in the world—?”
“Because,” He interrupted me. “These guys think they can outsmart, outmaneuver, and out-evil me. And we BOTH know I won’t stand for that.”
I gave him a look. “And you’re totally not doing this to help out your friend, whatsoever?”
“Of course not.” Harvey and I left our table, and met up with Lance, Cassie, Quavondo, Amy, and Rebekah. Everybody else had either been too caught up in other things (such as Mike and Vanessa quietly eating lunch together in the library), or they had stopped fighting the Bounty Hunters. (Even Sara had stopped. She said she had “personal” issues with the subject). It was only the seven of us now, against an entire army of Bounty Hunters.
“Eight, there are!” Dwight ran over, carrying Origami Yoda.
“Dwight! Thank goodness you’re here!” I said. “We could use some serious kick-butt Jedi mojo right now!”
“Yoda told me to come,” Dwight said. Yoda perked up. “Destroy the Bounty Hunters, we must!”
The eight of us gathered around Origami Yoda (with the exception of Harvey, who stood slightly to the side of everybody else), preparing our counter attack against the Bounty Hunters, once and for all.
“Quick question,” Quavondo said. “Where are we going?”
“First, the Principal’s Office,” I said. “I have a plan.”
This. Is. So. Weird. After Lawrence turned on a hose and purposefully gave me a new “embarrassing stain,” I ripped off my blindfold. Apparently, I’m in a supply closet or something, but it locks from the outside, leaving me trapped here, with my hands very carefully trying to write on a notepad I found on the floor, without hurting myself on the hard plastic zip-ties.
I heard voices from outside the door. Friendly or unfriendly? I didn’t know. I called for them.
“Hey!” I shouted. “In here!”
The voices stopped. Finally, I heard the sound of the door unlocking. After the longest 30 minutes of my life, I was about to be free.
“You just can’t keep quiet, can you?” Lawrence sneered.
I sighed, defeatedly. “Guess not.”
“You’re a feisty little one,” he said. “but you’ll soon learn some respect. I have need for you in the master’s room, and I think you’ll serve him well…….”
The Principal loved the plan. We left the office, more than ready to finish this whole ordeal. Harvey stopped. “Guys!” he said. “We don’t know where the Bounty Hunters are! V never told us that!”
“Oh, but I think he did…..” Tommy smiled. “Lance, Quavondo, Harvey, Cassie—give me the Bounty Hunters.”
We complied. Tommy took out a few Bounty Hunter puppets from his backpack. “I was trying to figure this out for hours last night. ‘Enemies unravel. The map is born.’ I get it now.”
He began unfolding each Bounty Hunter we had. Fold-LOMs, IG-Mâch88s, Deng-arts, Bobas, and Sockusses, all being ruined and all their awesome art compromised. But on the inside of each puppet, on the side of the paper that nobody sees, there were some pen-drawn lines. Tommy began moving pieces of paper around, making sure every pen-mark was connecting. I shook my head, and noticed it.
“It’s a map of the school!” I said. And drawn out in the little square that represented the cafeteria—just over in the small kitchen area—there was an X drawn in big black marker.
“I think we just found our Bounty Hunters,” Tommy said. “And I even know who their leader is.”
After getting the worst wardrobe change of my life, I found myself dressed in a slave Leia costume, being laughed at by all the Bounty Hunters. They were all wearing different masks, so that I couldn’t tell their secret identities. Even V was wearing a Boba Fett voice changer. I heard that familiar raspy voice speak again. V must’ve been wearing the voice changer the whole time, to conceal his/her voice!
“Quite fun, this has been!” V chuckled, holding the mimic Yoda puppet (Origami Faux-da) aloft on one finger. “But over, the festivities are.” The shadowy character that was V got up, and left for a couple minutes, then returned, wielding Bo-bag Fett. V’s voice changed to the raspy voice again. “BRING THEM IN!” The voice boomed.
And in walked Tommy, Rebekah, Cassie, and……THE PRINCIPAL?!?
“Hello, students,” the Principal said. “I have agreed to your terms.” Then the Principal lifted up an official-looking piece of paper, and handed it to V. (I’m gonna refer to V as a male, from here on out. Just cause I’m scrawling this stuff out as it happens, and it gets kinda annoying not being specific about “he,” “his,” etc.)
His laughter erupted through the room. He held up the paper, and shouted to his fellow Bounty Hunters; “YES!!! Yes! We’ve done it! We’ve done it!”
He cackled, and held the paper to his gaze, so he could read it aloud.
“Dear Bounty Hunters. On behalf of McQuarrie Middle School, I have agreed to your terms, and have come up with a reasonable deal for you all. It has come to my attention that many of you feel as though you have been forced into learning subjects in which you do not show interest in. Sometimes, it is necessary to do the things that we dislike, in order to accomplish the goals we set for ourselves in life. The school has a very important objective for the Standards of Learning Tests—”
Tommy’s Note: This got really boring to listen to, and frankly, even the Bounty Hunters were starting to zone out. What really mattered was the stuff at the end.
“You all have a choice: You can either continue vandalizing, and risk a potential police investigation (I am honestly not joking. People who vandalize school property can be persecuted), OR…….. You can turn yourself in. Stop vandalizing the school. Do the right thing. And in return, we will pardon you of any acts of vandalism you may have committed, and we will work together, these final three weeks, to set up some more interactive and fun extra-curricular classes. (I have even spoken to our associates at the Edu-FUN® corporation, who would be more than willing to create some innovative ideas to satisfy your requests. Best of luck.”
V looked thrilled. Then his raspy laughter quickly stopped. “Bathroom break!” He zoomed off quickly, running towards the bathroom.
We all stood there, awkwardly. The Bounty Hunters were silent. I was silent. My friends were silent. The only noise to hear was of V’s toilet flushing. He returned back to us.
“Now, we may discuss the treaty………” V walked up to the Principal, almost standing a full head higher. His shadow over the Principal loomed menacingly. “Is there anyone,” he shouted, “who agrees to the terms of the Principal, and is willing to turn themselves in?”
A few kids stepped forward. Ricardo, Chuck, even Lawrence. Gabe, the kid with Boxx (who was evidently wearing the box ON HIS HEAD), ran from the room, and disappeared in the crowd of students. My enemy had escaped.
A few other kids turned themselves in, taking off their masks. Nobody we really knew—although, Rebekah gasped when one student took off his mask.
“Nico?” I dared to whisper. His eyes were red, like he had been crying. I ran up to him and hugged him. “Why, Nico, why?”
“I’m sorry. So sorry,” he turned his head to the Principal. “I replaced the cooked clam chowder with a can that was uncooked. Please forgive me. I only wanted to spend alone time with Isabel.”
The Principal’s eyes softened. “A deal’s a deal.” They shook hands.
V cracked his neck. “Traitors.” He ripped up the paper in the Principal’s face. “Bounty Hunters,” he cried. “GET THEM!!!”
You never know when old friends will save McQuarrie Middle School. When I heard V say “GET THEM!!!” I charged in, followed by Lance, Dwight, Harvey, and Quavondo. The Bounty Hunters—whoever was left, anyway—pulled out Nerf rifles, and started firing air-soft bullets at us. They didn’t hurt, obviously, but we still felt the impulse to dodge them. Lance was waving C-3PO around wildly, deflecting the darts. It basically seemed useless for us. We were just getting constantly pelted by these things. V decided to end the madness. He bent over and pulled out—get this, Tommy—a paintball gun! The same paintball gun that had tried to shoot……….
“Jacob,” I said. “Take off your mask.”
V tilted his head. He was silent.
“C’mon, Minch, take it off!” I was fuming. I looked at Lawrence, who was just standing there, watching everything play out.
Lawrence adjusted his glasses, snatched Jacob’s paintball gun from him, and aimed it at his helmet-clad head. “Game over,” he said. “I win.”
Everybody stopped. We all looked over to Lawrence, who was smiling. He pulled out IG-Mâch88.
“Y’know why I chose an Origami IG-88 puppet?” Lawrence’s voice was eerily calm. “So that I could rebel, once the time was right.”
Suddenly, in walked Dan/Eggbert, along with a couple other guys. They quickly lifted their own Nerf pistols—the ones they sell that look like Captain Rex’s—and ambushed the few remaining Bounty Hunters.
“Everyone,” Dan said. “Allow me to introduce you to SuperFolder Zach, and his Origami Plo-Koon!” Lawrence took off his glasses—obviously fake—dropped IG-Mâch88, and pulled out his Origami Plo-Koon. He smiled.
“Sorry I didn’t tell you guys,” Zach/Lawrence said. “Harvey, I’m sorry about the science fair project. And Kellen, sorry about locking you in the janitor’s closet. But it was all misdirection. I had to keep my identity secret, so I could stop V.”
“So, wait, who IS V?” Kellen asked.
“Well, I think it’s obvious that Jacob Minch is back to his evil ways……” I said.
“No,” Tommy said. “It’s the cowboy hat kid who told me that the map is the key. He was planning on betraying all the other Bounty Hunters, and getting off scott-free.”
“Actually, may I offer an opinion?” Mike’s voice came out from the other side of the room. He was ziplock-tied to a chair. “I know exactly who V is. The person who cared the most about us students. Who wanted us to finally be heard, and not just by a counsellor. Please forgive her, she—!”
Zach grabbed the helmet from V, pulled it off, and we gasped.
I shuddered as I looked into the guilty eyes of Vanessa.
The Beginning of the End
By Noah and Tommy
Williams Middle School got the memo. The Bounty Hunters were defeated. McQuarrie was saved. But it wasn’t over yet.
Francesca and I sat down together, at one of the lunch tables.
“So,” Francesca said, “you have any idea what you’re gonna do next?”
“Not one clue.”
She laughed. “Well, I know what I’M gonna do next…….” She pulled me in close, puckering up.
“Y’know, Francesca, technically, I don’t think this sorta thing is allowed in the—” She kissed me. I shut up.
“FRANCESCA BOYD TO THE PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE!!” The loudspeaker boomed.
Francesca gave me a worried look. But Robby had taken the blame for her; how can she possibly be in trouble now? She got up, and began walking to the Principal’s Office, with a look of sheer terror clouding her face. I followed her.
“Frankie, wait!” I called. I wasn’t sure nicknaming her was a smart move at this second, but it would have to do.
She didn’t reply. Finally she made it to the door, and, without looking back, she closed it behind her. Hardaway’s office doors were see-through glass. I watched Francesca sit down at the chair opposite Hardaway’s. Hardaway started talking, and the more she talked, the worse Francesca looked. Finally, Francesca broke down in tears. Hardaway waved a dismissing hand gesture, and Francesca walked back out of the room. She looked at me. Her eyes were like shattered glass, that could break at any moment. Her lip was quivering.
There was no use asking her what was wrong. The look on her face said it all. Someone had ratted her out to Hardaway.
“I’m—I’m not going to Williams Middle School anymore.” She closed her eyes.
“What?! That’s—no! Hardaway wouldn’t do something like that!”
“She said I was immature and foolish for vandalizing, and then framing my brother.”
“But ROBBY chose to do that, not you! Why did you—”
“I got the blame because YOU ratted me out, Noah Jenkins!” Her voice came out as a vicious snarl.
“But Francesca, I’d never do that to you—” My words weren’t helping anything. She shoved me aside, and began running out of the school.
“Wait!” I followed her. Running as fast as I could, I tripped on something, and landed hard on my back. Aurragami Sing. I kept running, but by the time I had made it outside, she was gone.
Someone cleared his throat behind me. I spun around. Kellen.
“It was the only way, man,” he said. “She couldn’t get away with what she did. It just isn’t right.”
My insides boiled. “It isn’t RIGHT?! Well, you know what else isn’t right?? Sending a girl who repented out of this school! Let’s see if she ever refrains from vandalizing again!” I pushed Kellen aside.
“Hey, dude! What are you thinking?! I was trying to help!”
The bell rang. Students began pouring out of their classes.
“You were no help at all. Goodbye, Kellen.”
I stepped into the giant wave of kids, and disappeared.
Kellen came up to me during lunch the day after the Bounty Hunters were stopped. I gave him an update about Vanessa. She wasn’t talking to the Principal, and didn’t seem to want to talk to anybody. It looks like the Mystery of V, her Bo-bag Fett, and the Bounty Hunters would still remain a mystery….for now. Kellen told me all about Noah. After resisting the urge to strangle him, I left to go find Jacob. If anyone could save Noah from himself, it would be his brother. I walked into Williams Middle School, with Jacob and Kellen. Everybody else—even Dwight—was busy helping Zach and Eggbert repaint and redecorate the hallways.
Jacob shuddered. “……Okay, I don’t get it. Why did I have to come here?”
“Because,” I said. “The prophecy mentioned that Noah would be tempted to do the wrong thing, and that the only way to escape it would be if his friend and enemy returned. Well, aren’t you his friend AND former enemy?”
“Oh, um……I guess.” Jacob still looked pretty creeped out by the whole layout. Nearly the entire school was closed for the day, but Noah said he’d meet us here, so we hitched a ride in Mr. Minch’s car, when he went to pick up Noah. We told Mr. Minch that we would find Noah and bring him to the car.
A voice rang out through the dark and abandoned hallways, “I’m here.”
We traipsed carefully through the school, until we finally found Noah, sitting in a spinny-chair, as still as a corpse. Jacob approached him.
“Hey, bro……” Jacob said, cautiously. He reached out his hand. “You about ready to go home, or…..?”
Noah turned around. He looked pretty bad. He had definitely been crying. He held an Origami Darth Sidious—Darth Shredious?—in his hand. But he was still Noah.
“Whoa,” Kellen said. “Noah, I know there’s still good in you and all, but you seriously look like DARTH Noah right now.”
“You,” Darth Noah looked at Kellen with a fire in his eyes. “YOU did this.”
Jacob frowned. “Noah, look, we can fix this. We can talk to Mrs. Hardaway, or talk to the School Board, or………” He stopped. “The Student Council. Tommy, the Student Council!”
My mouth felt dry. “Jacob, McQuarrie never had a student council. I don’t even think I know what that is.”
“It’s a group of kids in Williams Middle School who are given some really cool positions,” Jacob said. “And…..they might just be able to reinstate Francesca. Maybe with some persuasion, and some Origami Jedi Knights—”
“Stop,” Darth Noah said. He got up, pushed past us, and started trudging away to the car. We followed him outside. The dark and cloudy weather started to clear up. The sun was breaking through the clouds. This wasn’t over yet.
Written By SuperFolders JC and D.N.