Tales from Ohio Academy #3

Clarence Grzanowski sighed, sitting up against the hard plastic back of the chair and looking at the clock. Forty-five minutes left. The afternoon sun shone across the blackboard, dust dancing between the few students sitting in detention.

He had already gotten bored with studying and homeworking. He pondered trying to shapeshift his brain to make himself smarter, but he’d probably just get even more detention for trying. Also, he might die or go crazy or something, but that didn’t seem too much worse than sitting here being bored.

The teacher who was supervising today seemed like one of those all-business types – Mrs. Aerogel or something. She was focused on a tablet – could be doing Important School Stuff, could be playing Mighty Gnomes. Every so often she would pick up her pencil and scribble down some notes on a pad of paper, and once she was done, she would sit up and sweep her gaze across the room. He couldn’t count on her being distracted.

Clarence leaned back in his chair and eyed the classroom. Anyone in here he could productively waste time with?

Aha! Over there in the corner, he could see the messy black hair of Minjun Song. Perfect.

Quietly, he ripped a sheet of paper out of his notebook and scribbled down “Hey dude! What’s up?” He folded the paper, then folded it again and again, tucking it around and over until it was a small triangle. Then he wrote “Minjun Song” on it and slipped it under his textbook.

He could see Minjun’s head perk up suddenly. He could sense anything nearby with his name on it, and once he had a fix on it… The note suddenly disappeared, teleported to Minjun’s hand. Thankfully, Clarence didn’t have to write it in Korean.

Clarence pulled his homework back out, just for something to pretend to be doing while he waited for a response. Heh heh heh. The perfect crime! Math, hm hm, just doing math, numbers… actually this wasn’t that hard…

He looked down and whoa, the return note was already there! It was important not to get too distracted with school stuff if he was going to be a good note-passer. He slipped the square of paper under the desk, unfolded, and read: “You should know – because you’re my arch-nemesis!”

Ahhhh – this was the hardcore ridiculousness he’d been looking for! He turned the paper over (want not, don’t waste! or however it went) and wrote, “Don’t you mean… your cyborg arch-nemesis from the future!”

Fold it up, write the name, and tuck it away. Then go back to math, keeping one eye out… There it was! He unfolded the square. “I mean the cyborg arch-nemesis who’s actually my clone!”

“Your clone-son with dinosaur-DNA!” He folded a triangle.

He unfolded a square. “But the dinosaurs are clones too!”

“And they have radioactive feathers!” He folded a triangle.

He unfolded an… origami frog? It sprung open when he touched it, and the message on the inside was in completely different handwriting. “Ha ha ha! All of these things are part of the dastardly plan of the true lord of the cyborg dinoclones!”

Clarence glanced up at Minjun, who was glancing over at him. They’d both gotten one.

He looked up at the teacher. She glanced up at him, and he quickly bent down and looked like he was working. Math math math forty-two.

He nudged the crane note out from under his paper and glanced at the teacher. She was back to her tablet. Quickly, he scribbled “Who is this nefarious fiend?” and went back to his math.

Out of the corner of his eye, he watched the note. After a minute, it twitched. The sheet slipped out as if by accident, and drifted to the floor; as it fell, it folded itself this way and that way until it was an airplane, flying low through the legs of the desks and out of sight.

Whoa! Whoever this was, they had some kind of, like, tele-paper-kinesis! He looked around again, but he didn’t know half of the kids here, especially the older ones. Could it be that girl with the cool hair? That guy in the back with the glasses? Carla was here – she had some kind of plant powers, and paper was made of plants, right?

Something bumped into his leg – another frog, hopping on his foot. He kind of casually reached down, and it hopped into his hand, unfolding itself neatly. “That’s for me to know and you to cower in fear of! I am the master secret manipulator of all you see before you!”

Wow, whoever-it-was wrote really fast. And they were better at silly drama than he was! Unforgivable! He wrote back, “No way! There’s no chance we’ll go along with your plan to destroy the ozone layer!”

One of Minjun’s squares appeared. “Yeah! And we’ve teamed up with the dinosaur rebellion!”

Both of the notes folded themselves into airplanes and flew casually between the desks. Another frog carried a new message. “Ha ha! The rebellion was actually part of my perfidious plot all along! Now my mind-controlled super-dinoclones are ready to blow your base sky-high!”

This was getting intense! “Then we’re going to use the power of friendship to un-mind-control them!”

“That’s right!” said a square. “And use our cyberpowers to put a virus in your systems that takes down the superdinos!”

“But,” said a frog, “the virus was just what I was counting on to upgrade their systems to MAXIMUM DINOSAUR!”

Oh man! So that must mean that–

The bell rang.

Clarence raised his head. All around him, the other students were eagerly gathering up their stuff and getting the heck out of there. Detention was over.

Oh. He looked at the pile of unfolded papers on his desk and swept everything not-so-subtly into his backpack, and caught up with Minjun as he was heading out the door.

“Hey, do you know who that was?”

“No idea, man! That was really cool, though…”

Ms. Abergel chuckled as she packed her tablet away. This generation was doing all right for itself, but they weren’t getting up to anything like the shenanigans she’d been part of back when she was in detention every other week. Of course, that was probably for the best – the bechamel sauce would never come out of this blouse.

Her papers lined up and dove into her valise. She shrugged on her coat and headed out.

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