Doctorigami Strange or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love New York
By SF CrimsonDawn
Note: This is a story that takes place after Thor 1, but before Hulk 1.
By Duncan Anderson
This is so weird.
I didn’t even want to write this. I thought that maybe if I gave this thing a try, maybe I would be able to make friends here at Wheeler. I didn’t think I’d have to write a diary, or as Ms. Jamie calls it, a “case file”.
If you pick this up in a few thousand years (That is if it hasn’t been blown up by a T-1000 or something yet), you might be a bit confused as to what this is. My name is Duncan Anderson. The year is 2018. I had just come from Virginia because my dad got a major job opportunity at Marvel Comics (Writer on a new War Machine series).
Oh yeah, and I got expelled from my last school.
By Duncan Anderson
Anyway, yeah, I got kicked out of school. Why? The standards of these people! My punishment should have at least been a two week suspension. I don’t really want to get into details, so let’s just say it had something to do with spray paint and the words “Last Jedi Sucked.”
What? It was the 4th annual Yub Nub week (in case you didn’t know Yub Nub week is when drawing on the walls and stuff like that isn’t banned.) Now that I think of it, McQuarrie Middle School is kind of a Star Wars-savvy school, so me disrespecting it would probably make me public enemy number one.
Not that I wasn’t before, but then I was the target of people like Chuck and Zack Martin and people who have been held back for, like, 3 years or so. I don’t know why. Maybe because I, as I was described by most people, was scrawny. And maybe people were jealous of my academic success. I did take accelerated math and literature. So I spent most of my time either hiding in a locker or having my head crammed into one.
So that’s why I was kind of glad to see McQuarrie go.
I still miss my friends, Jakob and Naphtali, even though they moved away last year in seventh grade. They didn’t tell me where they had gone, though.
Luckily, 8th grade graduation was what began Yub Nub week, so I didn’t have to start over when I got to my new school. Strangely, my parents weren’t mad at all, which is weird, because my parents lose it if I don’t brush my teeth or something like that, but they’re fine if I graffiti the walls. I thought they weren’t mad because I had done this for the past two years, but it turns out that they didn’t have such a high opinion of VIII either.
I would’ve had to leave anyway, because of my dad’s awesome new job, a step up from his previous office job.
Aside from the bullies, the lunches (BTW, some weird guy came back to our school and persuaded the school board to replace Healthyums with Rib-B-Qs. Weirdest thing, he had a purple suit and a Green Tie that I could swear was looking at me.), the syllabus (even the accelerated classes were easy!), McQuarrie Middle School was the best school in Lucas County, academics and all.
This is How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love New York.
I wake up.
There are no birds chirping. I’m in New York. It’s grey and gloomy this time of year. Whoopee. My dad’s gone. Probably doing something a million times better than what I was doing: lying in bed, trying to smack that disgusting sensation on your tongue that comes when you wake up. I have no incentive or desire to wake up.
I forgot to mention, my mom’s the writer for my dad’s project, so she was gone too. My parents had bonded because of their obsession with comics and graphic novels. They spent most of their relationship making comics for Quark Comics. They were pretty good and I guess they decided they were good enough for the big leagues. They sent a resume to Marvel and moved here.
I’m used to them just working from home, probably because Quark is an indie publisher.
I pour some cereal and switch on some DVR’d anime. Good old’ Midoriya. After I finish my food, I stuff my backpack with an excessive amount of books, put on my Scott Pilgrim hoodie and head out the door.
I put on my AirPods (They’re dumb, but they’re all I have) and wait for the bus to come.
20 minutes later, the bus has come. I get on and HOLY JABBA (that’s what kids in McQuarrie say) THERE IS COMPLETE PANDEMONIUM!!!!
Kids have finger puppets they are shouting across the aisle!
“Tremble before the Manfoldin!” says one kid that has a puppet that looks somewhat like Ben Kingsley.
“Na dog, I’mma just shoot you down,” says another, flicking a puppet that looks kind of like… Captain America? Or Iron Patriot? I did some research on this school, and they are just like McQuarrie, except instead of having Star Wars puppets, they have Marvel Comics puppets. Or, at least they started to recently…it’s confusing. In any case, they’re wierdos! I should fit right in.
I sit down in a non-chaotic seat. I look upon the insanity when I hear a voice.
“How goes it, D?”
I whip my head back. I can’t believe it. After two whole years. I finally saw him. He looked older, but I could recognize him anywhere.
“Naph!!” I shout triumphantly. It was Naphtali! He had moved to Wheeler! I give him a giant hug. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“My parents canceled school and sprung the move as a ‘pleasant’ surprise.”
“What happened to Jakob?”
“I think he moved to Williams. Or Filoni. He didn’t tell me. You still shreddin’ that piano?”
“Can’t get away.”
His expression darkened. “Thank god you’re here. I kinda need friends, y’ know, with the war getting worse every day.”
I look at him quizzically. “The War?”
By Naphtali Monroe
“Yeah, the war. She’ll tell you all about it.”
“Who?” asked Duncan.
Just then, the bus doors opened. We both got out of the bus and headed inside, kids still screaming. When we got inside I could see Duncan gaping at the walls and ceiling.
“I’ve got a feeling we’re not in McQuarrie anymore…”
“Yeah, yeah. Let’s go, Dorothy.” I dragged him away to the library. I loved the library. It was my favorite place in the whole school or maybe the whole world. I always found this calling, like it was inviting me over. Not in a weird way, just this certain attraction. Probably why Ms. Jamie assigned me to be a co-librarian.
“W-we were just in the lobby… the huge lobby… now we’re in the huge library… it’s huge! It’s going too fast! Help me!” typical Duncan. I wondered if he was going to stay like this for life.
I took him to the Library office, where Ms. Jamie sat, expectantly. “Well? Is this the new member you promised us? He does look a bit nerdy, just like you said.”
Duncan snapped out of his daze and looked at me grumpily. “I told you, Just ‘cause I like comics doesn’t mean-”
“See?” I gave an annoyed hand to him.
“Could you hand me his student portfolio? The one that you made him?” I went to my desk, got a file folder, and headed back.
I handed the folder to her. She opened it and read the papers. I recorded it all with my Olympus MNY-302.
Ms. Jamie (Reading the folder): it says here, “huge dork, expelled due to vandalism…
Duncan: Wait, how do you know about that?
Me: I looked at your actual student file and added some stuff of my own…
Duncan: What stu-
Ms. Jamie: “obsessed aficionado of comic books, freaks out when grades are anything below an A, Emotionally unstable-”
Duncan (With a death stare): What?!
Ms. Jamie: All of this seems to be accurate. “Toy Story viewings at 30, piano addiction.” (Sets down folder) In all my years as a librarian and, I have never heard of something like this. (Addressing me) What is that?
Me: Well, basically, it means when there’s a piano in the room, he has to play it. He’s actually pretty good.
Duncan: Don’t be mean. It’s not always… (His voice trails off. He lays his eyes on the ancient wooden Honkytonk in the corner.)
Duncan: Is that a piano? (He makes a beeline for it and rips into a hardcore version of Help! by The Beatles, It’s super out of tune, but I guess he’s just like that.)
Ms. Jamie (Laughing): You are quite the pianist, Duncan. We can get you your own show in the winter, if your grades and performance are good enough. Naphtali here could pull some strings and maybe you can play a bit.
Duncan: Really? That would be great! (He, for once in his life, closes the piano, satisfied with his “jam session.”)
Ms. Jamie: Sure. But I said “maybe”. So, this file also says you’re good with tech? How would you feel about joining the AV Club? We film all the events and announcements.
Duncan: Sure! I would love to join! When’s the meeting?
Ms. Jamie: After school today.
Duncan: Oh, Okay! I have to get to the first period- (Checks syllabus) -Choir. See you guys later! (He crosses his fingers, signaling good luck.) (He leaves.)
Ms. Jamie: Are you sure about this? Do you think he’s ready?
Me: Maybe. We could maybe brief him during AV, maybe? But I’m begging you, don’t tell him.
Ms. Jamie: (Takes out her Ancient One puppet, the Ancient Crease) “It is the duty of the Folder Supreme to protect this school and its people.”
Me: Is that a yes or no?
Ms. Jamie (Rolls eyes): Yes.
So, this has been a weird day. Especially during lunch. The lunchroom was just like the bus, chaotic. I went to Naphtali, where he was munching on a PB&J sandwich, his signature lunch. I took out my Ultraman lunchbox (bought on a very fond trip to the Kaiju & Tokusatsu museum with Naph and Jakob.) and pulled out a can of Diet Coke and some Panda Express (My signature lunch).
The lunchroom volume rose up by what seemed like a million decibels and faded out. The lunchroom was empty. Even Naphtali was gone. There was one guy still going out the door. I rushed up to him and asked him, “Where is everybody?”
The guy, a hulking mass, grunted and said, “We’re going to the daily egg.”
I was confused. “What’s the daily egg?”
“We take our eggs and throw ‘em at Kirbians.”
“Kids from Kirby.”
He rolled his eyes. “Kirby High School, duh! Geez, don’t you know anything?”
“What’s wrong with Kirby?”
He sort of shrunk down and lost all his bulkiness. His voice lowered to a whisper. “I don’t know, but they’ll kill you if you don’t hate them! Kill you!” He ran outside with his lunch tray.
I also ran out and saw kids, by the fence, throwing eggs (among other [too weird to mention] things) at another building. This was probably Kirby High school. Kids ran out of the building. The gave us a death stare.
“What is wrong with you?!” they yelled. They also started throwing eggs and other things. There was one kid in particular on the other side (hooded, which was weird because, y’ know, NO HOODS IN SCHOOL!!) who was leading the assault. Some kids actually got egged in the head!
I just dragged Naphtali (Who was leading our assault) into the lunchroom and we finished our lunch.
So, after school, I walked into the huge library (I don’t think I’m going to get over the size any time soon) where Naphtali and Ms. Jamie were waiting for me.
“See? I told you he’d come,” said Naphtali, looking at Ms. Jamie. She rolled her eyes.
“So, I’m super experienced with cameras and stuff, so If we could just record-”
Naphtali cuts me off. “Yeah, no, this isn’t like that. See, even though we are the AV club and library management, that’s not why we brought you here.”
I looked at him. I looked at Ms. Jamie. I felt like I knew what they were going to say, but I wasn’t sure.
“Naphtali here believes you should be the Doc,” said Ms. Jamie.
“Geez, you guys still do the puns here? Wow. Anyway, what? Judging by the size of this school, shouldn’t there be a cluster of kids with Doctor Strange finger puppets? Why me? What makes me any different?” I raised an eyebrow and leaned forward.
“Did you even talk to any of those kids?”
“Uh… No. BUT it’s not weird to fold origami like it was in McQuarrie.”
“Okayyy…” I was beginning to consider it.
“Plus, you get to get out of class early. Naphtali and I can vouch and just say that we need your help with an announcement or something, okay? Then would you join?”
I jumped a little. Out of class? “Heck Yes!!” I yelled.
“Shh! This is a library!” Naphtali always felt like he was in charge when he was in a library. Like now.
Ms. Jamie told Naphtali to debrief me on stuff and she left. Naphtali pulled out a piece of origami. It looked a lot like Wong. It was probably called something insane like-
“This is Wongami,” said Naphtali, reading my mind. “He is my origami puppet. Ms. Jamie folded it for me. I don’t know why she picked it, though.”
Ms. Jamie peeked out of her office. She yelled, “BECAUSE YOU’RE A DORK!!!” Naphtali glared at her. I was starting to like her. She seemed more like the ‘cool aunt who hooks you up with tickets to a concert that your parents won’t let you go to’ than a ‘teacher’. In this case, she had hooked me up with tickets to a concert featuring me!
She stuck her head back in and Naphtali took me to his desk. It was decorated with pictures of him, Jakob and I, as well as some vintage Kenner Star Wars action figures. In the middle was a jolly-rancher green notebook with a tassel bookmark halfway through it. Engraved on the cover was the word Agamotto. I reached for it, but Naphtali flicked it away.
“That is for me only,” said Naphtali with a stern look on his face. “This is my office. This is where I read, fold origami, film, check out books for other people and write in the Agamotto. Which, as I said before, is for me ONLY.” He took me to the actual bookshelves themselves. “This is where I spend most of my time. You can check out whatever you like. Since you said that you are ‘in,’ you won’t get fined for books.”
This was incredible. No fines, class passes? I was set!
Naphtali proceeded to keep going with the book-babble, but I wasn’t even listening.
“What about Kirby?” I asked.
Naphtali stopped rambling. “What do you mean?”
“Some kid was saying that we hate Kirby. Why?”
“So, some kid called-” he grinned – “Stanley Lieber-”
I held up my hand. “Hold up. Hold. the frak. Up. Stan the Man Lee, comic book legend. Creator of some of the greatest characters of all time!- went to this school?!”
“No, he went to the other school. And he- and some friends- stole our school mascot.”
“And that started a rivalry? Let’s see-” I counted in my head- “A rivalry that spans 78 years and counting! I thought, like, one side supported- you know. I didn’t think it would be- this.” I didn’t want to say it, but I’m sure you can figure it out.
“No, no! Definitely not. But, y’ know, the stuff people did was worse than what caused it. When I came here, It was avoidable, but now-” he shuddered- “Well, let’s just say I’m glad you’re here now, D.” I nodded and smiled. He let out a big breath. “Anyway, the bottom line: anything you want to take out of this room, be it a book or the VHS’ that we have goes through me! Now, on to the part you’ve all been waiting for-” he winked at an imaginary camera like a game show host- “the Doc.”
He pulled out ¼ of a piece of paper and Sharpies. Blue, black, red, green, and gold. We walked over to a table.
“So, you start with the base Jakob-” his voice cracked a little “-invented. You pleat once. Then instead of folding the flaps out to make arms, you fold the bottom up to make his cloak. Then you take those tiny flaps behind his head and fold them out to create those- uh, things. But for Pete’s Sake, DON’T DRAW THE CLOAK ON! That’s just lazy. And use the green for the Necklace. And just finish drawing in the robe… and you’re done!”
That was quick. I had finished him. He was super simple. Maybe I’d post a YouTube video for those fakers at school who probably just draw in the cape…
“Uh, what am I supposed to do with him?” I asked Naphtali.
Ms. Jamie peeked out of her office, walked towards us and said, “Well, for the past 78 years, origami and Marvel have been the ‘calling card’ of some students. So what I want you to do is stop some of the stuff older kids do.”
“What do they do?”
“Well, they kind of harass the other pupils at the neighboring institute and-”
Naphtali interrupted her. “We cream the other losers. So stop us from doing that. Also, stop us from creaming the losers at this school who are against the creaming.” Ms. Jamie was glaring at him. “She was just sugarcoating it.” For a second there, Naphtali had lost his bookwormy geekiness. But then he flashed me a grin so I knew a thug hadn’t taken control over his body.
Ms. Jamie shoved Naphtali. Naphtali shoved Ms. Jamie. They both shoved each other. Infinity. So I just left.
The Phone Call
[So, I was looking at my phone for directions back to my apartment when I got a phone call. I didn’t know the number, but I answered it anyway.]
Me: Who is this?
Unknown: Come on, Duncan Anderson! Your so-called “photographic memory” is lost now?
[At McQuarrie, I had been known for remembering things really easily and exactly how they happened.]
Me: Seriously, who?
Unknown: Are you serious? Duncan Riley Anderson doesn’t recognize this voice? I’mma give you uno momento to figure it out.
Me: I swear, if this is one of those hackers… ‘
Unknown: Seriously? Kaiju museum? Ugh… It’s Jakob.
Me: Blakely?! J
akob (Apparently): In the flesh. Well, actually, no…
Me: Why are you calling me now?
Jakob: Uh… I don’t know… complications?
Me: I tried calling you fifteen times when you left!! Where are you?!
Jakob: Well, interesting story. Actually, you know what, you’ll get bored if I start talking.
Me: I haven’t heard your voice since last year. Now tell me everything.
Jakob: So, my parents started thinking that the one-week graffiti, you know, Yub Nub Week? They thought it was a bad influence or something. Bro, it is so boring! Or, actually, it was…
Me: It was?
Jakob: Yeah, I, like, complained to my parents (big surprise) and they took me somewhere else.
Jakob: Up North.
Jakob: Not that far North! Oh, anyway, sorry, my parents are calling me for, uh, something. Bye!
And then he left. He just left me! I hadn’t even heard from him since the day he left. I don’t even know why he called me NOW after a year! Anyway, I headed back to my apartment and ate dinner (alone). And then, for the millionth time, I wish I was back in cozy Virginia.
The Next Day
So, I headed into the library the next day and sitting there was Ms. Jamie, but no Naphtali.
Ms. Jamie, twiddling her thumbs, legs on her desk and in the middle of a phone call, quickly looked at me and whispered, “Naphtali’s gone today. Can you fill in for him?”
Now, I wasn’t sure exactly what that meant, but I’m pretty sure it meant something about checking out books for people, so I sat down at his desk and picked up the book he had on his desk. It was called “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy.” I hadn’t read it before, but I had listened to the radio version, so I just looked for it on my phone.
I don’t know about you (again, if a T-1000 hasn’t killed you yet), but I always like to listen to books in audiobook form. Or radio drama form. For some reason, it’s easier to just listen to a book than read it. There might be something wrong with me. Besides wanting to be a concert pianist or a rock pianist (Hey, anything will work as long as I GET TO PLAY THE PIANO!!), I would really like to write and star in an audio drama. There’s definitely something wrong with me.
Anyway, while I was listening to it, I was also scanning Naphtali’s desk. Then I saw the Agamotto. I looked around, checking myself to see if there was anyone around. Then I pushed in my hexagonal glasses and opened to the first page.
Here is what it said: Hi. I am Naphtali Carden Monroe. I am a self-proclaimed bibliophile. I have too many books. But this one is the most important. This book, the Agamotto, was given to me by Ms. Madalyn Jamie. The purpose of this book is to record my experiences and thoughts.
Yeesh, leave it up to Naphtali to make everything so dramatic, I thought.
Each page had a date on it. It started a few months after he left. I flipped through the pages until I found today’s date on it. It said, “Today is Duncan’s Second Day. Although I am so happy that he is here now, I still don’t feel comfortable with not telling him. Ms. Jamie, being her part-time-counselor self, says he could be really shaken up by the whole thing. I say whatever and he has the right to know. In other news, I’ve finally tweaked Wongami to have the Sorcerer Shields on one hand and his staff on the other! Finally!”
Just then, I felt a tap on the shoulder. I took out my headphones (which I had unconsciously been listening through this whole time) and looked up. Now, if you want, you can skip the next few paragraphs. They don’t really convey anything important except the fact that stand over me was the MOST BEAUTIFUL PERSON I’VE SEEN IN MY LIFE! Well, then again, there’s my mom… okay, the most BEAUTIFUL GIRL I’VE SEEN IN MY LIFE!!
She was smiling, unlike most girls that look at me. “Hi,” she said. “I’d like to check this out, please.”
It was at this moment that I realized that I had lost basic abilities like speaking and thinking. She held a book out to me.
“The economy…,” I said, dumbfounded.
I snapped to attention immediately. “Hi, I’m Riley. I mean, Duncan. What would you like to check out?”
“Uh, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, please.”
I took her book and fired up Naphtali’s computer. Luckily, the library software was something that Jakob had taught me how to use in the Fifth Grade. I decided now might be a good time to make a conversation.
“So, uh, you’ve read Harry Potter?”
Instead of just backing away like everybody in her place would have done (based on past experiences), she actually started talking. “Yeah. I really can’t wait to see what happens!” she replied, getting all jumpy.
“I’m warning you, it’s kind of sad.”
“I’ve already seen Dumbledore die. Nothing gets much worse than that.” She gave me a knowing grin.
“You’d be surprised. What’s your student ID?”
“251034.” I typed it in. Her name was Isabella Rosenkowski. “And it’s Isabella?”
I gave her the book. She looked down, pursing her lips together, contemplating what to say. Then she brushed her hair aside and said, “I don’t think I’ve seen you around. I don’t mean to be creepy.”
“I’m new. I’m Duncan. Uh, Anderson.”
“Oh, cool. Where are you from?”
“McQuarrie. In Virginia.”
“Wow. Long way away, huh? Why’d you move?”
She was kind of becoming too good to be true. “My dad got a job at Marvel.” There was NO WAY I was about to mention the graffiti.
“Anyway, uh… see you later, Duncan. I’ll keep you posted on that ending.” She waved and then left.
Ms. Jamie ran up to me and started acting like some sort of stereotypical teenage girl instead of a librarian. “Oh my gosh! Did you see that?! That was incredible! Did you just flirt? You have your, what,- 15? -year-old older brother’s sweatshirt and, like, giant curly black hair and, let’s not forget, Hexagon glasses and a hot girl still likes you? Ha! How does it feel?”
It was at that moment that I realized my basic abilities were gone again. “Waffle…”
The Day After The Last One
All the girls I’ve had a crush on before always had the same sort of structure. They all, for some reason, all looked very similar, and at some point in their lives, got glasses and dyed their hair.
And with this one girl, Ellie, back in fifth grade, I thought we were meant for each other. But then I made the mistake of telling Jakob that I liked her, and of course, he HAD to tell her, and then she glared at me in Drama Club and smacked me on the face and I kind of freaked out before the play. I will never, ever forgive Jakob for that.
But Isabella? Now, she actually likes me, which is kind of IMPOSSIBLE. Given my current experience with girls, I’m surprised I’m even visible to them.
But anyway, I went to class with a spring in my step (After filling in for Naphtali, who was gone again). My first period was Choir, which is always hard to get through because there’s a piano right there and I can’t play it!!! But anyway, I went to Choir.
The choir room was empty. The piano is usually in the center while the seats are in four rows, rising each row, so a perfect way for everyone to hear me. I thought today would be the day I would finally play it.
This one especially because it was a big, green grand piano. But the thing about the piano is that it was smashed into little bits! Little green pieces of wood were everywhere, and the cover and keys were demolished in the center. But the rest of the room was fine. You’d expect the ground to be broken as well, but it wasn’t!
There was no hole in the roof of anything, so it looked like someone had gone out of their way to break it. I was worried I would be under suspicion, so I quickly jumped to my seat, in the top row.
Kids began to file in, along with the teacher. When they saw the piano, some squealed, some stayed sane, and some actually fainted. This was probably because the Pancake Day concert was, like, next week!!! This piano was the only tuned one in the building! Apparently, due to some big changes in budget distribution, this was the only piano that we could tune in that week.
So, the teacher came in, freaked out for a second, and then we rehearsed “A Song of Peace” like nothing ever happened. Our teacher, Mr. Derrickson, was cool like that. He could come out of an insane situation and still be cool. He was also, like yours truly, an excellent pianist.
Although he was fine, I (and everyone else) was still worried about the concert.
Then, I had an idea. Well, I had two ideas: One, lend the school MY piano (even though I really didn’t want to).
Two, and more importantly, find out whoever wrecked the piano. Maybe that’s why Naphtali gave me Doctorigami Strange. Because I wanted to do the right thing.
Who knew if this dude (or girl) wanted to strike again? I had to act quickly. I always had the idea, whenever I was watching an episode of Sherlock ‘Why Sherlock and/or Watson didn’t just check security cameras when they were solving a mystery?’
But now I was Sherlock (It’s kind of weird how I can connect two characters played by Benedict Cumberbatch), and that was just what I was going to do. I ran over to the library, where Naphtali was, and told him everything.
“So you’re on a case?” He asked.
“Yes! Where’s the student council room? I need to check their security camera footage.”
He turned kind of pale. “Are you sure you want to see the recordings?”
“Yes. Why wouldn’t I?”
“No reason. Come with me.” He led me to the student council room. It looked like they were in the middle of a meeting, because they were all gathered around a big business-y looking table. That, and they were staring at us like we were complete idiots.
Naphtali motioned for some giant blonde kid to come over. I was kind of scared. He reminded me of Zack Martin.
“Hey, Dove. This is our new student, Duncan Anderson. Could you take him to the Security Cam room? He thinks we might have a Jude-type situation.”
“I will do that, then, Naphtali. Come with me, Duncan.” I followed him.
He immediately noticed Doctorigami Strange. “So you have a paper puppet, too, then?”
I jumped. He was super intimidating. “Too?”
He pulled a puppet with a hammer out of his AC/DC hoodie. It was kind of an instinct to recognize who they were.
“Yes. My friend Shelby Solstice gave it to me.”
“Oh, cool.” I pulled out mine. “This is Doctorigami Strange.”
He smiled, just as we got to the security room. “This is our security camera area and head tech specialist, Isabella Rosenkowski.”
By Isabella Rosenkowski
“Hi, again,” I said. Duncan looked like he was about to explode, so he just waved.
“Goodbye, Duncan Anderson.” Dove left and Duncan started talking.
“Hey… so, I don’t mean to barge in, but I kind of need you to check something for me.”
“Do you have camera feed from the choir room?”
“Oh… Yeah. C’mere.” I led him over to the screens. I fiddled with the controls and set the main feed to the choir room. There was a smashed piano in the middle of the room.
“What happened there?” I asked Duncan, shocked. “I don’t know, that’s why I came to you. Could you rewind it a bit, say… a day?” So I rewind the tapes 24 hours, and the piano was there, practically unscathed, unless you counted the tiny dents in it that had come with time. Duncan looked perplexed at the scene, but then a look of thought came over him. “Increase the speed.” I did so, and the tape went faster. Quickly, at random intervals, Students filed in and out, presumably singing while Mr. Derrickson accompanied them. This happened about six more times until some parts of the room went dark, showing the school as done for the day. Duncan and I were leaning into the screen, eager to see what happened, but then an ear-splitting ringing burst out of the TV and the screen went to static. It was like that for a second until we could see the choir room again, green wood askew all over the floor. Duncan, again, looked confused. He pressed the rewind button and decreased the speed a little bit. We watched the scene again and we saw someone walking into frame; a shoe and a leg. Before we could see the rest of the person, however, the screen emitted that same ringing, except longer, and the video cut to static. “What happened there?”
“Not 100% sure, but I think it was something along the lines of meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.”
We both laughed. Duncan then went back to business face and said, “but, seriously, what happened?”
“Well, it looks like someone’s been tampering with the tapes.”
“Who could have done that?”
“I honestly don’t know.” Duncan was obviously racking his brain for a possible culprit, which was very hard since he only knew Naphtali and I. His temples were pulsing so much so I thought his head was going to explode, so I decided to take his mind off of things.
“You were right.” His temples stopped pulsing and he looked up at me. He leaned forward, eyebrows raised expectantly. “… About the Harry Potter thing, I mean. It did get sadder.” He smiled.
“Yeah, it did.”
“But at least Ron and Hermione got together. I was rooting for them since book six.” He smiled again, a cute, lopsided smile. For a second we just stood there awkwardly, until Duncan just sprinted out of the room, galloping like a maniac.
So after my encounter with Isabella, I went back to my desk at the Library to tell Naphtali and Ms. Jamie about it. Ms. Jamie just smirked the whole time and told me when I was finished, “She’s just being nice.” But I wasn’t going to let her get me down. I just said, “Didn’t ask,” with a kind smile and turned to Naphtali, who wore a stone cold expression. I could feel my smile fading off of my face like someone had drenched me with water and paint was washing off.
“What’s got you so down?” I asked, “Jealous?” I laughed. He, strangely, didn’t laugh. He held up something green and rectangular. The Aggamoto.
“You’ve been flipping through it, I see.” My expression turned mock-serious as well. “‘I’ve tweaked my Wongami puppet to have blah-blah-blah.’ It doesn’t matter, man. You can keep a diary. I don’t care.”
“Why did you go flipping through it, anyway?”
“Curiosity got the best of me,” I shrugged. “And I had to fill that time with something.”
“Well, you shouldn’t have! It’s a bad invasion of privacy. But if you really do want to have one, I can-”
“What’s the secret?” I interrupted.
“…That’s a story for a different time.” I rolled my eyes.
“That’s what Maz Kanata says, and we still don’t know!”
“Uh… maybe we’ll know in Episode IX… it’ll be satisfying and J.J. will give us the answer we wanted…?” He responded sheepishly, forgetting his serious stance. Even if he didn’t give me a satisfactory answer, I was glad he had loosened up.
“Yeah… maybe we’ll get a cool story that isn’t as derivative and maybe it’ll take it’s time…” I said, “Yeah… Anyways, I was saying you can have an Aggamoto. To record stuff.” Ms. Jamie prodded me in the back and held out a Jade Green book Identical to the one Naphtali had.
“Yeah, think of it as, like, a case file, or something. You can write down everything that’s happened in Wheeler-” she gave me a knowing smile and I turned red- “and just take out the important stuff, like how you got here, your first day, that piano smashing business, your… encounter… with Ms. Rosenkowsi, and put it in here-” she held out a manila file folder. I saw those being carried around every other day by some bald kid at McQuarrie. I took it from her and resumed my post at one of the desks, checking out kids’ books and writing in the Aggamoto. It’s what you’re reading right now. After I had recorded everything and my shift had ended, I left the Library, but before I did, I called, “Episode IX will be awesome!” Naphtali grinned and called back: “It might not be, though!” Ms. Jamie joined in and called: “This is a Library!” I turned back and grinned. Yeah… Episode IX was going to be good.
[DUNCAN’S NOTE, YEARS LATER: IT WASN’T.]