The New School Store

By PRACHI SINHA, sophomore

Whispers of a hidden student operation run amok in the school. Students are being supplied with strange and unusual devices that have been spotted throughout the halls. I’m not here to confirm or deny these claims, but you’d be surprised by what you can find if you look carefully.

Today started like any other day. In first period I was greeted by a long lecture. Eyelids fluttered and drooped as students struggled to stay awake. There was one girl in the back of the classroom, however, who merely smiled to herself and pulled out a sheet of stickers from within her purse. After pasting a pair of remarkably life-like eyes over her eyelids, she settled comfortably into her chair and slept through the rest of the period. I rubbed my own eyes in disbelief when I saw her fake ones blink. As she walked out of the classroom, I grabbed her by the arm and asked, “Where did you get those?” She looked at me innocently, said nothing, and pulled her arm free. But as she walked away, she slipped a small piece of paper into my hand. “ShutEye—appear attentive while you take a quick nap.” The bottom of the paper was ripped, as if the paper had been hastily torn from an advertisement. The note left me baffled, but I had to hurry off to my next class.

Unfortunately, I ran into a crowd of students that had built up by the stairway. I was definitely going to be late! In the corner of my eye, I noticed a classmate take out a device that looked like a phone. There was a short buzz and then a woman’s voice rang out from the device. “Hallway jam detected. Take the nearest staircase to the third floor, turn left, and then walk down the next staircase on your right. Your classroom will be twenty paces away. 72% of student traffic avoided.” The boy immediately set off, and I followed him in hopes of avoiding the crowd and getting to class on time. Miraculously, I reached my class within a minute, successfully beating the bell. The boy whom I had followed quickly stowed away his device, but I caught a glimpse of the small label on the back: “The [GPS]chool.” Could it be? Was it really a device that could navigate students around traffic jams at school? I had no time to wonder. A thick history test packet was slammed down in front of me, snapping me back to reality and squashing my curiosity toward the strange device.

In my class the following period, some students were discussing how difficult they thought the history test was. Those who had yet to take the test threw panicked looks at each other while frantically attempting to cram in some last-minute studying. When the bell rang, my teacher reminded us to put away materials for other classes, and instructed everyone to open the literature textbook to page 216. As the class complied, the boy sitting next to me tipped his desk over trying to get up, accidentally knocking all of his things to the floor. When he scrambled to pick up what appeared to be his literature textbook, I saw that it was not an actual textbook at all. Rather, it was just the shell of a textbook. Inside, he had attached a study guide for the same history test that my classmates were fretting about. I reached over to help him pick up his pencils and took a closer look at the inscription on the phony textbook: “BookShell—the right book for any class.”

The next few periods passed by quickly as my least favorite class approached: gym. We jogged for what seemed like an eternity, and my legs started aching halfway through the period. I ran past a girl who looked just as exhausted as I was when she suddenly tripped and fell. She slyly glanced sideways and produced a small vial of a dark red liquid. Hastily, she poured a thin pool of the liquid onto her knee and shouted, “Oh my gosh, I’m bleeding! I need a band-aid!” My jaw dropped as I watched the girl leave for the health office while I remained stuck outside on the track. Two students to my left passed me, and I overheard one of them say, “I totally saw what she did. It’s that fake blood they’re calling ‘Gush ‘n’ Go.’ Some kids are using it to fake nose-bleeds and paper-cuts just to get a free trip to the health office and out of class. I think it’s really sketchy, though.”

I walked to my locker with a feeling of confusion and disbelief. Where were people getting all these gadgets, and more importantly, where could I find them? I opened my locker absentmindedly and gasped as my eyes met a handwritten note pinned inside.

“We know that you have seen us. We know what you want. The ShutEye, the [GPS]chool, the BookShell, the Gush ‘n’ Go… all of these and more are available for purchase. We are the future of school. Find further instructions at the following location…

We expect to see you soon.

The New School Store.”

Finally, done! I can’t believe my English teacher assigned our class a speculative narrative. I don’t think I’ve written one of those since the seventh grade.

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