Categories > Movies > Newsies > Zimbardo

Lighthearted Beginnings

by Polly 0 Reviews

The gang learns about the experiment. Too bad they're not taking it seriously.

Category: Newsies - Rating: G - Genres: Drama, Humor, Romance - Characters: Bryan Denton, David Jacobs, Jack Kelly, Kid Blink, Les Jacobs, Mush, Racetrack Higgins, Sarah Jacobs - Published: 2007/02/23 - Updated: 2007/02/23 - 7666 words

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Zimbardo

"Give it back, Sarah!" David shouted, attempting to retrieve his Geography text book from his twin sister. Sarah was holding the book behind her back, succeeding not only in keeping the book away from David, but giving the others a good reason to laugh. Finally, when he himself gave the excuse of, "I need it for my homework," she returned the book.

"I was this close to putting it in my shirt," Sarah joked, and David rolled his eyes. Jack, however, looked quite disappointed for a moment, then laughed out loud with his girlfriend. David attempted not to smile, but was amused by their antics, and the rest of the students in the room quickly joined into the laughter.

The group sat in David and Jack's dorm room for the first time since Christmas Break had started. There were six in the room, and a few more people expected. The ones within the dorm already were Joey "Racetrack" Higgins, who happened to be their dean, Les Jacobs, Sarah Jacobs, David Jacobs, Jack Kelly and Jeffrey "Kid Blink" Bar. They sat on the edges of two bite sized beds as the spoke to each other, joking about non-important things. This was the main joy of being a college student: there was very little time to think about actual important issues. It was far more useful to spend time with your friends.

"You know, Sarah, that was really gross," Les, Sarah's younger brother, noted with a giggle. Jack pulled him into a short choke hold, then let him go.

"It's only natural," she told him. "Besides, David's my brother, who cares?"

"I really don't want to know what you two do at home, then..." Kid Blink raised his eyebrows.

"No! I mean...no..." Sarah laughed nervously. "That's not-"

"Ahem, I believe we can all agree with Blink here," Racetrack lifted his hand.

"Guys...ew..." Les complained. David let his head fall into his hands.

"We do, however, want to know what Jack and Sarah do when they're alone, but he never tells us," Racetrack gave an evil grin.

"Okay, seriously guys-" David began.

"Seriously guys," Blink mocked.

"-She's my sister. I do not - under any circumstances - need to know what she and Jack do when they're alone."

"Aw, come on!" Racetrack prodded Jack in the arm.

"And if anybody other than them ever finds out, I'm going kick Jack so hard in the-"

"What if Sarah's the one who tells everybody?" Jack kissed her on the cheek.

"That would mean there's something to tell!" Kid shouted.

"Not so loud," Sarah said quietly as she smiled. There was a loud 'oh' from the group, which David pretended to ignore.

"Dude, where's Mush?" Blink asked, checking David's night stand clock rather violently. David quickly replaced it to its original spot.

"I don't know. When did he say he was coming?"

"Like, ten minutes ago."

"He's probably just on the way here or something," Racetrack offered.

"Yeah, I guess," Blink agreed. "Anybody else coming down?"

"I know Spot is...he'll probably bring Chloe."

"Yeah, probably," Les yawned, now completely out of the conversation. David glanced at him.

"How late were you up last night?"

"What?"

David rolled his eyes.

"How late were you up last night? You're...zombie-like."

"I don't know. Like, 'till two or three."

Sarah grinned at Jack in pained amusement.

"Two or three! Are you serious?"

"Yeah. So?" Les yawned again, this time stretching out his fingers.

"Mom would kill you."

"So what. I'm in college."

"You won't be if you're dead."

"Okay, okay," Jack intervened. "Let's just take a little roll call. Who's coming to that seminar thing tonight?"

David exhaled, annoyed at his brother.

"Alright, so all of us are going, yeah?"

Everyone in the room nodded.

"'Kay. So I know that Mush is going, so probably Paula too, Dutchy and Specs are going together...Erin's sick, so she's staying home. Jake told me last night he'd be there, so Swifty's a given, and I'm pretty sure Bumlets is carpooling Pie Eater and them."

"Yeah, he is," Racetrack told the group.

"All the first years are walking over together, too," Les offered quietly. Blink jumped into the conversation.

"I'm driving Mush, Paula, Snitch and Itey...and Echo, of course," he added, lovingly.

"Echo?" Sarah asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Sorry. I hate having two Sarah's in my vocabulary, so she told me to call her Echo instead. She felt left out, I guess," Blink laughed.

"Why Echo?" Sarah asked. "It sounds so...mean."

"She said it sounded pretty," Blink shrugged.

"You should call her the Prep Queen," Jack rolled his eyes. Blink glared at him.

"She's not a prep...she's just stylish."

"She's too cute."

"Is cute a bad thing?" Sarah turned to look at Jack.

"No, but she takes it so far-"

"What time's she coming back tonight?" Sarah interrupted Jack, hitting him in the arm. He shrugged a half-hearted apology.

"About an hour before it starts. I'm going to pick her up at the airport."

"Pick who up at the airport?" Mush had finally arrived at the open door, dragging Paula, a short brunette, behind him.

"Polly!" Sarah cried, standing up to hug her friend. Paula accepted the gesture happily, after setting down her bag just outside of the dorm room. After hugging Sarah, she pulled off her scarf quietly and wrapped it around Mush's face.

"He refused to wear a coat outside," she explained shyly, "so now he gets to sweat inside."

"After the 'most exciting vacation of your life,' you're still the quietest actor I've ever met," Kid Blink laughed at Paula, standing up to greet a blinded Mush. After helping his friend find the light beyond the purple scarf he approached Paula for a quick hug. She sat down beside Sarah after hugging Jack, leaving Mush to continue greeting the others in the room. Blink grabbed Mush's attention as he sat beside his girlfriend.

"We're picking up Sarah, remember?"

"But...Sarah's right here," Mush noted, naively pointing to Jack's girlfriend.

"Can't I make anybody happy, anymore!?" Blink cried, now annoyed. "Echo-Sarah...Sarah Cippole? Ring any bells? God," he rolled his eyes. "We're picking her up when she gets back from Utah tonight."

"You're driving?"

"I'm the one with a car."

"All the way to the airport?"

"Duh."

"Do I have to go?"

Paula laughed at Mush's childlike response. Blink glared.

"It's on the way, an we sure aren't coming back for you."

"Oh, come on. I hate waiting in airports-"

"That's only because you're afraid of flying," Spot entered the scene with as much grace as he could, attempting in his usual way to sound all knowing. Chloe Marie Cormac stood beside him, her red hair wet and dark from a recent shower. The pair stood outside of the now completely filled dorm room...apart from an empty chair next to David's computer.

"Take it," Spot told his girlfriend with a shrug, "I'll go Indian style."

Chloe entered the room cheerfully, promptly taking her seat. Spot followed behind her and sat cross legged next to the chair, spinning and jolting it annoyingly. Chloe held on to the arm rests as he did so, and was finally able to continue the conversation after a few more greetings.

"Speaking of airports: how was the vacation?"

"You know," Mush looked at Paula for reassurance, "other than the actual plane ride, it wasn't too bad." Paula smirked, but stayed quiet. Mush continued, "Some genius decided to make us watch an episode of Monk on the plane. You know the one where he's afraid of flying? It was just cruel. I had to take a sleeping pill on the way back."

"Is that why your eyes are all blood shot?" Racetrack asked.

"Are they?" Mush blinked. "Are they, Paul?" Paula nodded to him, and kissed his right eye.

"You know, it's kind of stupid that you're afraid of planes, yet you always drive everywhere," David offered. "Planes are statistically-"

"-Safer than any other vehicle," Mush finished for David. "We've been through this, remember? Who cares...it was a great time once we got there, and out of the death cylinder."

"Death cylinder?" Spot laughed.

"Shut up," Mush muttered.

"Anything to add?" Jack prodded for Paula to say something. She glanced around the room quickly, taking in her audience.

"The Eiffel Tower is a lot smaller than it seems in the movie theatres," she told the group in a whisper.

"Oh, come on, that's all you're going to give us?" Blink looked annoyed.

"We spent a fair bit of money to get down there," Polly began coyly. "We're not about to give up any major details without a large but justifiable fee."

The group laughed.

"Finally, she's speaking," Jack announced. Paula blushed and laughed along with them, pinching Mush's index finger lovingly.

"So, what's this guest speaker going to be talking about tonight?" Spot asked the group, leaning against Chloe's knees.

"Some experiment they want to do with the school, apparently," David told him.

"It's two hundred bucks a day, they said in the newspaper," Jack chimed in, now completely behind Sarah, who was sitting quite comfortably on the edge of the bed. He attempted to squeeze in between her and Paula, but there wasn't enough room on the bed.

"What do you have to do?" Spot continued questioning.

"Work at a jail...but it's like a role play," Mush answered.

"Sounds kind of freaky to me," Chloe played with Spots hair as she spoke.

"Yeah," Paula agreed silently. She instantly began laughing as Jack began to push her into Mush in order to be beside his girlfriend. He finally got in between them, causing Mush to fall off the edge of the bed entirely. The entire group laughed at him, until a voice was heard between Blink and Racetrack:

"What's going on!?" Les yelled, seemingly disoriented. He had been completely asleep for half of the conversation.

"Alright, alright, just go to bed already," Kid Blink told him, standing up. He made his way towards the door. "Remember, Mush, six o'clock."

"Okay, I know already," Mush yelled from the floor. Blink looked at Paula.

"Make sure he's ready. I'm not wasting any more gas on him."

"Sure," she answered, making a point of not helping Mush back onto the bed.

"It's not me he should be worried about," Mush mumbled.

He reached his arm up onto the top of the bed, and pulled himself up into a standing position. He motioned for Paula to join him. She stood up, and quickly picked up her bag outside the door. Returning to the inside of the room, she said a quick goodbye. Mush followed suit.

"I'm just going to go put some stuff away," he told Paula, reaching for his own bag. "I'll see you guys tonight," he told the remainder of the group.

"See you there," Racetrack told him, also standing up. When Mush and Paula were gone, he looked at the group. "I, unlike you kids, have work to do."

"Deans have to work?" Jack joked. "No wonder I didn't get the job!"

"Plus, you're a measly second year," Racetrack made his way towards the door.

"And you act like a no year, but we all have our quirks."

"Did I mention that my job is filling out behavior forms about you?"

"You're a wonderful, wonderful, intelligent human being."

"That helps. See you tonight."

Racetrack left the dorm. Sarah kissed Jack on the cheek.

"I should go help Paul unpack," she told him.

"You? Help?" David raised his eyebrows.

"Okay. Gossip. I'm a good multi-tasker."

"Don't I know it," Jack whispered, smirking.

"Jack - ew!" David yelled.

"Ignore them, Sarah," Chloe stood up, pushing Spot out of the way mischievously. He mumbled a complaint, and then took the chair. Kissing Spot, Chloe grabbed Sarah's hand and pulled her out of the dorm room.

"Be good in there!" Chloe yelled at the boys as she and Sarah left. The boys looked awkwardly at each other, and then David noticed the textbook that still sat in his hands.

"Okay, everybody out!" David yelled when the girls were gone. Spot didn't move.

"Hey, I just got here!"

"Yeah, well, now you're leaving. Les, you-. Les? Les!"

Les woke up with a start.

"What?"

"Out."

The two left, mumbling their complaints. David turned to Jack.

"You too, out," David pointed at Jack, then at the door.

"In case you've somehow magically forgotten over the break: I happen to live here too."

"Yeah, well I have work to do. Go- hit on somebody, or something."

Jack jokingly considered the idea.

"You know, your sister is currently with two other girls..."

"Oh god...you and your gutter brain, just go!"

Jack laughed as he complied with his orders. He had actually made plans for that time slot, but didn't dare tell David. It was way better to make him feel like he was the rude one.

Jack walked along the campus, stopping to talk to a few people as he passed by them. Finally, he reached his destination: Tibby's. He was meeting Itey and Snitch for a quick snack before the seminar, and had been waiting for his Tibby's hot dog all vacation. Sure, he could have come back to the campus area for one, as he only lived an hour from the Academy, but decided that it would taste better if he waited. Itey waved him inside, and Jack followed those instructions to the "t".


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David looked through his Geography textbook, staring at each page for any mention of the Hurricane he was meant to be studying. When he found the information he was looking for, he quickly wrote it out on paper into his own words, then into one paragraph, then into point form, then all typed out onto his computer, again and again until he felt sure that he knew the material inside and out. When he had finished, he glanced at his clock. Only 5:30PM. David sighed, and leaned back in his comfortable computer chair and saw a photograph of the group - the entire group. He was suddenly reminded of how they came to be.

It started with him and Jack. They both had a paper route, and soon found out that they were going to go to the same high school. That was when Jack met Sarah, David's twin sister. They fell in love almost instantly, and had dated since their first year together (there was a rough patch in the middle of grade ten, but nobody ever mentioned it). David and Sarah followed in their mother's footsteps by going to the same post-secondary academy she had gone to, and Jack followed Sarah, finding an English program he truly enjoyed. It all snowballed from there.

Jack's cousins, Kid Blink and Paula, also ended up going to the school, and Mush - Blink's best friend and Paula's boyfriend - followed along. They quickly found Racetrack, a boy who they had all happened to go to camp with for most of their lives. He, being a third year, introduced them to Bumlets, Snoddy, Pie Eater and Skittery. It was Paula who had brought attention to Itey, Snitch, Jake and Swifty through her acting courses, and Jack had met Dutchy and Specs in his English History class. Spot was just one of those people that happened to live on your floor, and you just couldn't bear to not become friends with them. The next year, Les came to the school, and became very good friends with his fellow Music majors: Tumbler, Slider, Snipeshooter and Boots, as well as Emilie, another one of Jack's cousins who lived in that district. Naturally, none of them had nicknames yet. That happened when Bumlets realized their strange relationship before Les came to the school, and decided to throw a party for the entire group. It was a joke that had remained until that very day, and all of the new first years were quickly dubbed.

Now they were all going to go a seminar to learn how to make some money...a very important thing for poor college students. David glanced back at his clock. Jack would be returning soon to take him and Sarah to the seminar. Sarah walked into the dorm at that very moment.

"Ready to go?" she asked.

"Yep," David replied, standing up. "Let's meet him at the entrance."

David grabbed his coat and they left.


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Jack approached Snitch and Itey with a smile, shaking their hands quickly before sitting down at the table they had saved. They had already ordered a plate of fries, to Jack's glee, and seemed to already be in mid conversation when he arrived. He listened to them talk a bit before they realized that he didn't know what they were talking about.

"What if she doesn't like sushi?" Itey asked Snitch, also sitting back down.

"Everybody likes sushi!" Snitch grabbed a fry.

"I don't like sushi."

"Well, you'll have to suck it up then."

"Dude, I don't think you get it. Sushi and I don't mix. It gives me serious gas."

"What a turn-on," Snitch smirked, dipping the other half of his fry into the ketchup. Itey stared.

"And don't you seem to be the king of turn-ons," he said dryly.

"You know it."

"Why am I suddenly reminded of a Seinfeld episode?" Jack interrupted. The other two boys looked at each other for a moment, and then realized their mistake.

"Ah, sorry 'bout that, Jack," Snitch began. "We're just talking about some girl problems."

"Girl problems!" Jack called, embarrassingly loudly. "For heartthrobs like you guys?"

"Hey, it's not me," Snitch covered, "It's him. I think we may have finally found Itey here a girl."

"Oh yeah? Who?"

Itey blushed, and scratched the side of his head in order to block his face from the rest of the restaurant.

"You know that girl in my journalism program?"

Jack glared.

"I know fifty."

"Oh...sorry..." Itey began to get redder. "I mean, the one with the dark brown, curly hair? It's really long? Oh, and the, like, perfect teeth."

"Does she have a big nose?"

"Jack!" Snitch elbowed him. "This is Itey's true love we're talking about, here!"

"Sorry. What's her name?"

"Anya," Itey whispered.

"Oh...yeah, I've know her."

"You know her?" Itey asked, removing his hand.

"Well, I know of her. She takes a computer course with Sarah. They had a project together once."

"How can you possibly remember that?" Snitch asked, dumbfounded.

"I'm...Sarah's boyfriend. She's on her floor, too."

"I still think that's weird," Snitch admitted, double dipping yet another fry. Jack laughed, then looked at Itey.

"So, what's the issue?"

"I don't know..." Itey sighed.

"Then...sorry?" Jack looked confused.

"I haven't asked her out yet. I'm not sure that...I should, you know?"

"Of course you should. You like her, yeah?"

"Well...yeah, but that's the problem. I mean, it's not like I go through a lot of girls or anything like that."

"Don't I know it," Snitch jested, flicking a burned fry at Itey.

"Do you really like her?" Jack continued.

"Yeah."

"Then...ask her out."

"I can't!"

"Why not?"

"She'll...I don't know. She'll say no or something."

Jack couldn't help but laugh.

"Itey: It's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Which you definitely haven't, until now."

"I've had a crush before!" Itey complained.

"Have we ever known about them?"

"Well...no..."

"Look, Itey, do you ever talk to her?"

"Sure, all the time."

"And is she nice, or is she...stand-offish?"

"She's really nice."

"Then ask her out!" Snitch and Jack yelled in unison. A few people in the restaurant turned around to see the three boys. They stared back, Itey completely embarrassed, then all began to laugh. The strangers turned back around and continued their own conversations as Jack checked the clock.

"We should get to the dorm for the carpool soon," he said, then began grabbing at the French fries. "Is Anya going to be there?"

"At the seminar? Yeah."

"Can you think of a better time to ask her out?"

"Let's just finish these fries, okay?" Itey mumbled.

"Not before I hear you say it."

"Fine."

"Fine what?"

"I'll ask her tonight."

"Good. Now we can finish the fries."

"Thank you!" Snitch began rapidly.

"Oh, and just for the record," Jack began, getting the other two boys' attention. "I hate sushi, too. Gives you bad breath."

"Told you," Itey grinned at Snitch, who rolled his eyes. The boys had left Tibby's within the next five minutes.


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Blink rolled up to the Dorm Building in his small, five seat car. Mush, Paula, Itey and Snitch were waiting for him, all freezing. It had been Mush's idea that they just wear light jackets, as the building for the seminar would probably be quite warm from the amount of bodies there. None of them had expected Blink to be the one who was late.

"Ten minutes!" Mush yelled as Blink unlocked the doors. "You go all Nazi on me, telling me to be on time, and then make us wait in the freezing cold for ten minutes!"

"You could've switched jackets," Blink replied.

"What if we had missed you? Then we would have been the ones getting in trouble!"

"Just get in the car. Looks like you have to ride in the trunk," Blink added, noting the long back seat was already filled with the other three passengers.

"I don't get the front?"

"You think I'm going to make Echo sit back there?"

"There aren't any seatbelts?"

"No, but there're lots of nice walls to hold you in. Now go."

Mush mumbled his complaints, making his way to the back of the car. He opened the trunk door and slipped in, ending up behind the back row of seats. He began hitting the other three in the backs of the head after closing the trunk door, annoying them to a great extent.

"Gee, I sure hope I don't block your rear view mirror."

"Just put your head down, smart alec. I'm not about to get pulled over by the police because of you."

"Whatever," Mush sighed, curling up into a ball on the floor. The car began moving, and Mush began kissing his butt goodbye.


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Jack, Sarah, David, Spot and Chloe were the first to arrive at the Seminar Building, having begun walking quite early. They sat on a bench outside, watching as strangers and acquaintances walked through the doors, and waiting for their own group of friends to come. Jack was the first to notice when a curly haired brunette with a rather protruding nose approached the group.

"That's her," he whispered to David. He had obviously already told the story of Itey's crush to the group. Sarah stood up to greet her friend.

"How was your break?" Anya asked Sarah, sitting down between her and Spot on the bench.

"It was alright...pretty dull without everybody around," David stuttered a complaint, "but nice to be away from school for a while. Yours?"

"A bit lonely, yeah, but good."

"Aw, you didn't fall in love with any hot young bachelors?" Sarah jested, using the knowledge of Anya's alleged crusher.

"Only the one on the TV show," Chloe laughed, "But I don't think he'll go out of his way to find me any time soon."

The three girls began chatting about the show's most recent season, to the despair of the boys. There was a sudden awkward silence.

"We are we always first?" Spot asked, rhetorically. Jack sighed.

"I don't know what's going on. We saw Snitch and Itey make their way to Blink's pick up spot. Think Sarah's plane got delayed?"

"I hope not," the other Sarah stated, now worried.

"I just hope Les isn't still asleep," David muttered, breathing heat into his hands half-heartedly.

"Well, knowing him-" Sarah began, but was cut off. The entire group was instantly interested in a long black limo that had pulled up to the building. The windows were pitch black, leaving them all to wonder who was inside. The driver opened his door and made his way to the one in the back. Three men came out of it. The first man was dressed in a black suit and sunglasses, the second was dressed in a much lighter suit and a colorful bow tie and the third man was dressed just like the first. The limo driver got back into the vehicle and drove away.

"It's him," Anya marveled. "Brian Denton!"

"I thought you hated him. You said so on MSN," Spot turned to look at her. Anya hit his arm.

"Not so loud," she hissed at him. "Of course I don't hate him: he's brilliant. His experiments just scare the crap out of me."

"I get where you're coming from," Chloe said to her in a regular voice. "I guess I just don't have quite as much respect for it all as you do."

"No? That's disappointing. I've lost another of my few fans."

The entire group stared at the man who seemed to have snuck up next to them. Brian Denton had an amused smile on his face, nearly laughing at their expressions.

"I think I have to use the washroom," Anya stood up suddenly, and quickly ran across the street to the nearby gas station. Brian Denton laughed a bit at her departure.

"I mean...it's not that-"

"No, it's fine," Mr. Denton shrugged, still seeming happy. "It's not like I don't know how controversial my work is. I hope you kids enjoy the seminar, and perhaps sign up for the experiment, yes?"

Brian Denton left the group completely awestruck as he made his way through the doors.

"Way to make a new friend," Spot told his girlfriend sarcastically.

"Way to warn me that he was two feet away," she responded with attitude. Spot shrugged and rolled his eyes. He then noted the arrival of a small group of first years about half a block away, being led by Les Jacobs.

"Your brother's awake."

David's head whipped around. He stood up and ran towards the group, which included his brother, Boots, Colleen (his girlfriend), Snipeshooter, Tumbler, Tumbler's girlfriend (to many people's surprise) and Slider.

"Where've you been?" he demanded of his brother. "The seminar starts in fifteen minutes!" The group stared at him.

"David...I hate to break it to you...but fifteen minutes is actually kind of early," Les answered. David glared at him as a well endowed, blue eyed first year made her way to the front of the group. She looked beyond David to the group of second years on the bench, and began running towards them. Tumbler chased her.

"Hey," she said to the group, grabbing Tumbler's hand when he had caught up to her. "Is Paula here yet?"

"No...we don't know where any of them went," Jack stood up to hug his cousin. "How've you been, Emilie?"

"Not too bad, had an alright vacation, I guess...I hope they get here soon. Mom's going to call for Blink and I in a couple minutes, to make sure we got here alright."

Jack snorted a bit.

"Well, that's Auntie Barb."

"You have no idea. She's been going crazy. She thinks this experiment is Satanic or something."

"What about you?" Jack asked, curious.

"I think it's really unethical, but I'm not afraid of it like she is."

"That's such a Sullivan answer."

"At least I'm not a Kelly," Emilie laughed. Jack turned to the boy holding her hand.

"Hey Tumbler...what's up?"

"Nothing yet. Hey, is Skittery in there yet? I need to talk to him."

"No, they haven't gotten here yet. What's going on?"

Tumbler took a deep breath in.

"Nothing. I just need to talk to him."

Jack rolled his eyes.

"Whatever," he said. He then noted the arrival of four boys: Swifty, Jake, Specs and Dutchy. They walked up to him.

"Everybody here yet?" Dutchy asked.

"No, not even close. How's Erin?"

"Still not feeling well. She'll be fine, though. You going in?"

"You guys go ahead. We'll wait out here."

Dutchy nodded and led the small group of boys inside. Jake glanced at his watch as he followed.

"There's about ten minutes 'till it starts, 'kay?"

"'Kay. Thanks," Jack nodded, a little exasperated.

The rest of the first years had finally made their way up to the bench. David and Les could still be heard fighting.

"You have to learn to be more responsible-"

"I am responsible!"

"Look, you're in college now, you're on your own. I can't be your babysitter anymore!"

"Who said I needed a babysitter?"

"You obviously do, if you can't get anywhere on time-"

"I'm on time! I'm early!"

"We were here twenty minutes ago - that's early, not like you with your-"

Suddenly, the two brothers were interrupted by the sweet smell of burning, squealing tires. Kid Blink, the world's most feared driver, had finally arrived on the scene. The yelling could practically be heard the moment the car doors were unlocked.

"Oh...my...gosh," Itey whispered after he had jumped away from the vehicle, which had still not stopped entirely. He instantly turned around and pulled Snitch out of the car by his collar, getting him out as quickly as he could. Snitch looked even more frightful.

"We made it," he said to Jack. "I can't believe we actually made it."

Jack watched behind the two boys as Paula creeped out of the car behind them. She put her finger to her lips when she noticed Emilie, who stayed silent. She continued sneaking up to them as they told Jack about the car ride, and finally:

"Ah, ha!" she yelled, pushing them both forward. Each boy let out a satisfying scream. Paula giggled a bit. "You should have seen them," she smirked, pushing them out of her way to hug Emilie, who was still laughing. "I practically had to hold their hands."

The entire group snickered.

"If you would have seen the way he was driving-" Snitch began to Jack.

"We're not kidding-"

"Oh, stop your whining," Kid Blink shut his door and began moving towards the other side of the vehicle. He opened the passenger seat door. A petite girl with a periwinkle blue coat and brown ponytail stepped out, kissing him on the cheek.

"Hey," she said to the group. They all replied. Sarah ran to her for a hug, and led her to the bench. Jack walked up to Blink.

"I hear you had a decent ride this time," he joked.

"What can I say, there was traffic," Blink shrugged. "I'm just going to go park, I'll be right in." He began moving back to the driver's seat.

"Um...Blink?" Paula began in her small voice, but with an amused look on her face.

"Oh! Right!" Blink walked around to the trunk of the car and opened. Mush, who had been riding back there, was found attempting to crawl over the back seats in order to get out of the car.

"I'm a little stuck," he called, and Blink pulled him out of the small space between the seats and the ceiling. "Thanks," he said, humorously brushing his clothes off.

"You guys go in, I'll just park," Blink said before closing his door. Jack began to call out to him, then shrugged and looked at the group.

"We might as well go in...it doesn't look like Bumlets and them are coming."

The group walked through the doors. Snitch and Itey talked to Jack at the back of the crowd, still shaken from the ride.

"He passed cars on the highway - the highway, Jack-" Snitch began.

"They should take away his Driver's License-"

"I think we killed somebody on a skateboard-"

"It's amazing that we're still alive!"

"Hey, Itey."

Jack had to bite his lip to keep from laughing. Anya had just re-appeared behind Itey.

"Anya! Hey...we were just talking about-"

"Blink's driving. I heard," Anya smiled, showing off her perfectly aligned teeth. Jack noticed Itey's eyes lingering on her smile for a moment. "Trust me; I almost got hit by you guys on the way back here-"

"Were you riding a skateboard?" Snitch whipped around.

"If I say yes, will you feel better?"

Snitch and Itey both blushed for different reasons. Jack nudged Itey. They were almost at the door for the seminar room.

"So...you're covering the seminar for the school paper, eh?"

"Yeah. It should be interesting...if I can actually keep looking at Mr. Denton without feeling like I'm going to vomit - sorry about that, Jack."

"Oh, no problem. If I knew who he was, I'd probably be doing the exact same thing."

Jack made a point of nudging Itey in the stomach. Itey understood, but glanced at the clock.

"We'd better get it there...only three minutes before it starts." That excuse would definitely not work for Jack. When they got inside the door, Jack made a point of leading everybody in front of them into a row of cushioned seats near the back of the theatre before Itey and Anya, forcing them to sit next to each other at the edge. Itey glared at Jack across Snitch for a second, and then looked quite pleased with himself. Just then, a loud voice was heard just a few rows behind the group.

"Where've you been?" Pie Eater's voice called. They all turned around. Pie Eater was sitting in a row next to Bumlets, Snoddy, Racetrack, Skittery, Specs, Dutchy, Swifty and Jake.

"You've been here the whole time?" Jack yelled at them, dumbfounded.

"We would've come to get you, Jake," Swifty yelled back, "But we wanted to see what you'd do when you realized we weren't here. Apparently," he added, "the answer is 'not much.'"

"Not for you guys," Jack joked. He saw David waving at something beside him. Blink had just walked in. He rushed through the row in order to get into the seat Echo had saved for him and gave her and his cousin, Emilie, a kiss on the cheek. Before Jack could yell anything else at the group, the lights in the theatre began to dim. Brian Denton walked out onto the stage, and Jack couldn't help but notice that when Anya's hand twitched from the surprise, it almost reached Itey's. She drew it away before it made contact, shyly pulling out her notebook instead, but Jack was still happy for his friend. Mr. Denton began speaking soon after the spotlight had reached his body.

"As you all know," he began, "I am interested in performing an experiment using the students from your wonderful school. I'm sorry to hold this seminar so far from that building, but I thought you might all be more comfortable in theatre seating than in your usual lecture rooms." He paused for the moment of applause from the students.

"Again, as you all know, my name is Brian Denton. What you don't know is that I am an absolutely terrible public speaker, and am going to keep this as short as possible." Applause. "I'm glad to see you all appreciate that as much as I do. Now, I'm going to tell you a bit about the experiment, then open the floor for any questions you might have. Don't be afraid to ask me anything...as a small group of students already know, I don't tend to bite off any heads." Jack nudged David, giving him the message to pass it along. The group snickered a bit.

"So, onto the experiment. Essentially, I'm going to be picking twenty-two boys to come and live in the 'ancient' prison building under your Science Building for about one week. The boys will be split up into two groups: prisoners and jail guards. The guards will be given a huge amount of freedom to do whatever they wish with their prisoners, as long as they don't do any physical damage to their bodies. The experiment will last the full week, and in the end will hopefully prove my theory that when people are given a role, they will conform to that role, taking on its criteria even though it's not how they usually are. The participants will be given two hundred dollars per day. This sounds vague, and I apologize for that, but as the experiment is led and partially created by the guards, that is all the information I can, in fact, give. Now, are there any questions you might have?"

Anya was the first to stand up. Jack snorted a little when Itey nearly followed her.

"Hello - My name is Anastasia Duric from the school paper...do you plan on renovating the basement prison in the Science Building before performing the experiment, or simply leaving it as it is?"

"Renovation has already started and finished, in fact, under the great hope that anybody will sign up. Murphy's Law, I suppose."

"And when will the experiment run?" Anya continued, writing down the answers in her notebook.

"It will run from this coming Monday and finish the following Sunday. Now, may I ask you a question?" Anya nodded, uncomfortably. "Would you mind terribly if I asked you to mention my stylish choice in bow ties in your article? They seem to be mocked far too much."

"Not at all," Anya yelled over the laughter from the rest of the students, and sat down. Another girl with long brown hair and a lanky build stood up.

"Hi...I'm Isabella...Isabella Synda. What gave you the idea for this experiment?" she asked.

"Oh, a lot of things. Most importantly, though, I got the idea when I was doing a study on the culture of prisons, and saw how dead some of the long time prisoners looked. It just sparked my interest, I suppose. Thank you for the question."

"Thanks," Isabella muttered, giving a small smile before sitting down.

There was an awkward silence, and then a short girl in the audience stood up. She had bright red hair and black roots, and David recognized her as a bookworm from his Geography class.

"And what's your name?" Brian Denton asked the girl from his podium.

"Angelica O'Conner!" she cried back. Jack noticed that she had a particularly angry tone.

"Question?"

"Yes. Am I mistaken, or did you say that you will be picking only boys for this experiment?"

"You are not mistaken. The experiment will only be open to males."

There was silence.

"Can I ask why?" Angelica seemed a little more angry.

"Well, we are quite worried about the physical aspect of this experiment, and feel that it would be appropriate to open it up to only boys. Also, due to the nature of the experiment, and the separation of males and females in real prisons, we decided to choose males."

"Why not choose all women?"

"We fear that it might be too difficult for a woman to handle the emotional aspect of the experiment."

"How do you think that?"

"It's proven that males are less likely to be as greatly emotionally effected by events in their lives as quickly as women are."

"So, you're saying that girls are more emotional?"

"In a way, yes, but not how you're thinking. It is a simple fact that men don't tend to take these things as personally as women will, and will be less likely to show it if they do. We want to experiment to last the full week."

"But, this isn't fair-"

"May I ask you to please sit down? I'd prefer there not to be any fights in this theatre...we paid a great deal to rent it."

Angelica sat, defeated. Then, a very tough looking boy stood up. He began quickly.

"I'm Tristen Gunn. Might I make a comment?"

Jack had seen this boy only once in an auto-tech program. He knew that he also worked down at the docks.

"If you wish."

"I'd just like to clarify to Angelica that when you talked about your reasons for choosing only guys, you were also thinking of the violent side of it. Men are stronger than women, and therefore less likely to become physically hurt or sick."

Angelica stood back up instantly.

"You're saying that girls are weak?"

"No, that's what he's saying-"

"Excuse me," Denton called to the pair. "I'd ask you both to sit down. Please," he added futilely.

"Do you want me to prove him wrong?" Angelica screamed across the room.

"Are you kidding me?" Tristen called over the loud chorus of 'Ohs."

"Sit down!" One of Brian Denton's bodyguards had reached the podium. The students immediately sat down.

"Now, if you don't mind," Denton took the stand back, "I'm going to cut it off there. If you are interested in signing up, the list is just outside of the theatre doors. Thank you all."

There was some applause, and then the theatre began to empty. Most students walked right past the sign up list, but each member of Jack's group stayed behind. Jack signed the list first, and was followed by David, Spot, Skittery, and the rest of the group. Angelica cut in between Specs and Dutchy, stealing the pencil.

"Who cares," she said, signing the list, "He wants to run it with all boys, he'll have to go through me first."

The real trouble started when Les approached the list.

"You have got to be kidding me," David began yelling at him. "Mom would never, ever let you do this."

"She doesn't need to," Les turned on David with attitude. "I'm eighteen, remember?" David shook his head as Tumbler to the front of the line. He took the pencil from Les and began signing his own name. Skittery instantly noticed.

"What are you doing?" he asked his brother.

"I'm signing the list."

"What?"

"You heard me. I was going to tell you before it started. I need the money."

"What could you possibly need the money for?" Skittery asked, watching defeated as Tumbler signed his name.

"I'm going to rent an apartment next school year," he replied, trying and failing to not sound a little annoyed. Skittery glared at him. "Aren't you going to say something?" Tumbler began, but Skittery walked away, angry, before he could finish. "Skittery, wait up!" Jack watched as Tumbler chased after him. There was something humorous about the situation. He was suddenly interested in Itey, who was talking to Anya in a nearby corner. He inconspicuously listened in on their conversation.

"So...I was wondering..." Itey began, quietly. Anya waited patiently for him to continue. "If you liked sushi? I know it sounds weird, but-"

"I hate sushi," Anya told him. Itey hung his head.

"I'm sorry..."

"No, you didn't let me finish," Anya laughed. "I really hate sushi...but I really like you."

Jack couldn't help but smile.

"Are you sure you want to do this?" Chloe was asking Spot as he signed.

"Yeah...I'll be fine," he told her. "It's just a week long, there not going to let anything happen to us."

The same reaction came from many of the girls, especially Colleen, who even though she was usually quite open to new things, was very worried about Boots. Emilie switched between yelling at Tumbler and at her mother.

"You can't do this - it's stupid...no, mom, we're fine...you act as if it's going to help you with anything...Blink got here alright - yes, he drove fine," she added, lying. "You should listen to Skittery...mom, I'm yelling at Tumbler, not you. Yes, I do love you! You too, mom, but I was talking to - oh, never mind - bye, mom," she hung up and continued her rampage on Tumbler. Jack stopped watching and walked over to Racetrack, who was standing with his arms folded.

"You okay?" he asked.

"Snipeshooter's doing the experiment," he mumbled. Jack sighed.

"Well, at least you'll be there with him." Jack eyed Racetrack's disappointed face. "You're not doing it?"

"I can't, remember. I'm the dean."

"Oh...well, he has us."

"I just thought he'd be smarter, you know? He should know that he's not ready for something like that."

"He'll be fine."

"I'm not sure you will," Racetrack gave a pointed look towards Sarah, who was glaring at Jack. He looked back at Racetrack, and then walked over to his girlfriend.

"What's with all the fights this is causing," he said to her, trying to get her of the subject of being mad at him.

"You and David are really doing this, eh?" she asked, peeking out at all the other fighting students.

"Yeah," Jack mumbled.

"And everybody else?"

"Yeah."

"Snitch isn't," Itey walked over to Jack.

"Where's Anya?"

"She had to go type up the article. Lots to write about, she said."

"Oh," Jack smiled at him, punching him lightly in the stomach. "Congratulations," he told him. Itey didn't look very happy.

"I don't think Snitch is too happy. It's weird. We had all pretty much decided we were doing it before we came, and he wasn't mad then."

"Don't you get it?" Sarah looked straight at Itey. "Denton's not allowing girls into the program because he thinks they're too weak. Doesn't that tell you anything about the experiment?"

"No," Jack and Itey said at the same time.

"It means it's dangerous...we don't want you all getting hurt."

"They're not allowing us to get hurt!"

"Not physically," Chloe appeared behind the two boys. Spot followed her, looking slightly angry.

"She didn't talk you out of it, did she?" Jack asked him.

"No," Spot replied with attitude.

"Just...Jack," Sarah got her boyfriend's attention. "Just be careful, alright?"

Jack watched as Paula and Mush hugged each other, Paula looking quite upset. Mush kissed her forehead.

"We'll be fine," Jack told her, and she hugged him. He watched as the others signed the list behind them, and the controversies it was causing among them. He nearly laughed.

We'll be fine.
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