Charlotte Rotlander ∙ 04/23/2021 ∙ April 2021
Yesterday morning, all of Brooklyn Technical High School’s roller backpacks, vital aspects of the unofficial freshman uniform, were seized and burned by upperclassmen in an all-out riot on the ninth floor.
First-hand witnesses, security cameras, and mystic scrying documented the unprecedented destruction: backpacks stripped for parts, metal handles used to create makeshift swords, and students shouting battle cries as they attacked. “THIS IS FOR MY ANKLES,” cried Brandon, a sophomore (reluctantly) suspended for throwing a roller backpack out of a window onto the street. We asked several witnesses for statements about the incident, in an attempt to piece together what occurred. A “Mrs. J” stated, “Apparently, a Discord server code was given out to everyone who doesn’t own a roller backpack. This was organized weeks in advance. Now, if they put this much effort into their school work-”
“Why did you do nothing but stand by your room and watch the backpacks burn? And, correct me if I’m wrong, but on the cameras, you seem to be smiling.” She declined to comment any more.
We managed to catch up with Brandon, who is now living out his three-day suspension in the pizzeria a few blocks down. “Do you think extreme violence is necessary for this sort of change to occur?” I asked. “Nah,” he said through a mouthful of pizza. “Just wanted to throw something out of a window.”
“Interesting. And, is it true that you see roller backpack carriers as, ‘subhuman [REDACTED]s’?” “Huh. That’s a toughie. It’s more that I see moms who let their children walk outside with those death traps as subhuman [REDACTED]. Their children are weak. So, consider this liberation, Arthur!’’ He exclaimed as he thrust his metal backpack sword into the air.
“No one’s told you to get rid of that sword?” “Surprisingly, nope. It’s getting kinda greasy.” “Wait- is that a gym shirt you’re cleaning it with?” “It’s not mine. I was planning on selling it back to the kid that threw it at me later. Gotta make money somehow, now that I’m on my own.” “Did your parents kick you out?” “No, but they stopped giving me pizza money. Something about ‘not learning the lesson that violence should never result in free pizza.’”
“Moving on from pizza, would you consider the suspension worth it?” “Let me be a martyr for my comrades in arms. People years from now will look back at this moment, look around the hallways, look down at their ankles, and thank me for doing my part.”
“Right. That was an insightful interview. Thank you for your service.” He threw us a soldier's salute on the way out.
In an effort to give a voice to both sides, we also decided to speak with Arthur, a victim of yesterday’s incident. He seemed relatively unscathed, except for a scratch on his cheek. We were assured that the scratch was a cut his cat had given him or “otherwise I’d be pressing charges.”
“So how are you recov-” “Some dude spit on me. Full-on spit. I’m a human, not a goddamn centipede.” “That must’ve been awf-” “It’s fine. I’ll own his a** one day. I’ll make him pay me back. I’ll make him carry a roller backpack to work. One with purple sparkles and a pony on the cover.” His eyes closed in bliss at the horrible thought.
I cleared my throat and his eyes flew open.
“Listen. I believe in one thing only: the power of human will. We roller backpack carriers will get our revenge. It may take a year. It may take twenty. We can wait.” “I’m sorry, was that first part a Stalin quote?” “Was it?” It was.