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Higher Education: School Daze - Gateway to the Future

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Previously, on a very special Clone High:
The clones are seniors now! That’s all.


“Miiiister B!” Principal Scudworth trilled it out, clamboring on top of his desk in excitement. “It’s all coming together. My MASTER PLAN.”

In one hand Scudworth held a pink feather duster, which he used to dust the top of his ceiling lamp, while gesturing with the other hand.

“Your plan is categorically the same as the plan of the shadowy figures,” Mr. Butlertron responded, in his usual metallic robot voice. “I'm just sayin’. Brahhhhhhhh.”

Mr.Butlertron had vacationed to Cancun the year before, and had picked up the lingo of the inhabitants. It did not appear to be a defect that he had any intention of fixing.

“YES,” said Scudworth, balancing with one foot to reach the top of the lamp cord, precariously listing on one long leg. “We are placing each clone at what are known as “colleges” or occasionally, “universities. Within the general population, they will act as sleeper agents, recording data and beginning the next phase of our project!”

Mr. Butlertron nodded, bouncing up and down on his wheeled feet. “Duh, bro.”

“But, little do the Shadowy Figures know, that my plan supersedes their plan!” Scudworth oscillated wildly in excitement and fell onto his desk, scattering papers and files and dust.

As he stood up and brushed himself off, he continued. “MY plan is to secure for our most sports-inclined clones numerous athletic scholarships, sign them up for every university, pocket their tuition money, and then take them on the road as an exhibition game! It’s FLAWLESS, Mr. B!”

“That’s hella dumb,” said Mr. Butlertron. “Wes-ley.”

“I’m already going on the road,” said Ghandi.

Principal Scudworth jumped. “Whaaaat,” he screeched. “Where did YOU come from?”

“I’ve been here for twenty minutes. I got sent to the principal’s office for drawing devil horns in mustard on all the shadowy figures,” said Ghandi.

Scudworth and Mr. Butlertron blinked in unison.

“College is for chumps, man,” Gandhi continued, ignoring their befuddlement. “Just another way to become a wage slave, a cookie cutter cut out working for the MAN.”

“Get out,” said Scudworth, pointing with the duster.

“I want to see the world,” Ghandi said. He kept talking as he stood up and backed out of Scudworth’s office, and continued backing his way down the hallway, past classrooms and lockers. “I want the wind in my hair, I want to see the highway stretching out in front of me. There’s nothing college can teach me.”

“NOTHING, Abe,” Ghandi reiterated, backing his way into the library, where Abe was hunched over a desk.

“Ghandi, how do I showcase my complex and unique personality or distinctive upbringing so I can get into Skidmore?” Abe said.

“I’ve got an upbringing for you,” Ghandi replied, sitting on the floor. “Why don’t you bring UP your SOUL and get out of the grind, man?”

“No,” said Abe, tilting his head, considering. “I don’t think so.”

“Why do you want to go to Skidmore anyway?” Gandhi asked.

“It’s a beautiful campus, with a small but rigorous undergraduate student body!” Abe replied, squeaking a bit at the end. “With a great location.”

“Oh yeah?” said Gandhi, clearly not listening.

“Also it’s near Bard,” said Abe. “Where Joan is going.”

“Maybe,” said Joan. “Maybe Bard, but maybe Oberlin or Rice.”

Abe jumped straight up, his long legs extended. “What are YOU doing here, Joan?”

“It’s the library,” said Joan. “I’m always here. And keep your voice down.”

“Hey, er, ah, Joan!” A familiar Bostonian accent echoed around the table.

Joan’s eyes narrowed.

“Joan!” JFK appeared in the doorway. “Are you a, uh, library book? Because I’m, er, CHECKING YOU OUT! Ha, ha, HA!”

Joan’s eyes remained narrowed somehow, even as she rolled them. She put her arm out, and it fit cleanly around JFK’s waist as he arrived next to her. She leaned into him.

Abe stuttered slightly, but no one seemed to notice.

“HEY,” JFK continued, leaning down to nuzzle Joan’s hair. “You’re, uh, STACKED, pretty lady. Wanna get STACKED, in the STACKS?”

Joan rolled her eyes again, but a slight smirk crept out, and she kissed JFK’s cheek.

“Where are you going to college, JFK?” Abe asked, his voice impossibly high.

“JFK is being recruited at a bunch of schools for football, as well as futbol.” Joan’s Spanish accent was, as usual, impeccable.

“But I’m going to Hahvahd,” JFK said. “Haaaahvaaaahhhd.”

“Ugh, that is so unfair,” said Cleo’s voice. Everyone’s heads swiveled, trying to find the source, but she wasn’t immediately in view. “There’s no way JFK could get into Harvard without his stupid athletics.”

“I’m standing right heayah,” said JFK.

“Oh, there she is,” said Ghandi. He backed slowly out of the corner where Cleo was crunched up under a pile of textbooks and blotted notepaper.

“I'm applying to all the Ivies,” said Cleo, talking fast. “I have an essay coach. I’ve taken the SAT 8 times.” Her eye makeup was smeared, dark angular lines down the side of her face.

“Cleo’s gotten...stranger,” said Ghandi.

“Yeah,” said Joan. She almost seemed sympathetic, but not quite.

“With all that, AND an impeccable outfit, Harvard is almost a match for me, or a near reach,” said Cleo. “But never for JFK.”

“Again,” said JFK. “I’m, uh, standing right heayah.”

Cleo looked at him blankly.

“Besides,” JFK continued. “As a, uh, white man of means, er, with, er, athletic prowess and rugged good looks, I’m, uh, exactly the candidate Hahvahd is looking for. Look at my ABS!” He pointed at his stomach lavishly.

“I hate you,” said Joan, but she was smiling slightly.

“Yeah, I mean,” Abe was sitting down now, looking somewhat calmer. “Bard, to Harvard. That’s like, a pretty huge distance.”

“Three hours,” said Joan and JFK, in unison. They pointedly looked away from each other.

“No, I mean...intellectually speaking. YOU know.” Abe’s eyebrows waggled very significantly.

There was a pause.

“Bard is pretty close to Skidmore though!” Abe continued, oblivious. “You could take the Greyhound.”

“MAN, that’s the first good idea any of you squares have had,” said Ghandi, now sitting cross legged on the floor again. “Take the Greyhound, travel across the country. See what’s REAL.”

“Be broke and end up in a town like this again,” said Joan. “No, thank you.”

“You wouldn’t understand,” said Ghandi. He lit the hand-rolled cigarette that he seemed to be carrying around all the time now.

“Man, now that we’re graduating…. Do you think we’ll all stay friends?” Abe asked.

“Nah,” JFK said.

“No,” said Joan.

“As if,” said Cleo.

“But we’ve sure had some great times, haven’t we?” said Abe.

All five of them stared straight ahead as figures - laughing, swimming, falling over, lighting things on fire, picking up litter, makeovers and totem pole construction - scrolled over their faces.

“Hey, what are you guys looking at?” Carl Sagan stood in front of Gandhi, waving a hand in his face.

“Oh my GOD, Carl, be quiet, it's a LIBRARY!” Joan had her hands on her head now, looking completely exasperated.

From a far off corner of the library came a scuttling noise, and then a slopping, wet sound.

“Oh no. We woke up the librarian,” said Joan. “RUN!”

They scattered, knocking over books and bookcases, panicked in their attempt to flee the scene before it was too late. Abe knocked over a whole bookshelf in his rush, but didn’t stop. The lights flickered, fizzing on and off, as the clones stumbled out the door, gasping. In the distance, heavy, wet footsteps could be heard, shaking the whole library with each step. Dust rained from the ceiling. Far off, a dolphin trilled.

 

Next week, on a very special Clone High: Is this the end of the clones?!…..high school career? Will Ghandi get robbed in a rest station parking lot? What’s UP with Cleo? Brah?