[In the Phillies High Cafeteria, where a number of students are sitting down for lunch and discussing some of the problems that have cropped up early in the year.]
Dom Brown: Aw man. Aw man.
Carlos Ruiz: Si. Aw man.
Cole Hamels: We are not off to a good start this school year.
Chase Utley: No we are not.
Cole Hamels: And I can’t figure out why.
Jimmy Rollins: I know. We got almost all the same people back from the last couple years, and we added young Ben and young Dom, but our grades are still swagless.
Roy Halladay: I’m studying harder than ever and I’m still doing worse. I don’t get it.
Cliff Lee: [chews gum]
Ryan Howard: [reaches for bite of meatloaf with fork, flails wildly, punctures milk carton]
Cole Hamels: It’s so strange. Something doesn’t add up.
[As soon as Cole finishes his sentence, two students leap up from the table next to them with notepads in hand]
Jimmy Rollins: Oh great…
John Gonzalez: John Gonzalez, Phillies High Times. You can call me Gonzo. What’s this about something not adding up?
Cole Hamels: No, John. It’s not like that. It’s just a little strange, that’s all…
David Murphy: David Murphy, Phillies High Times. You can call me High Cheese. Would you say there’s a … conspiracy afoot?
Cole Hamels: No, not a conspira-…
John Gonzalez: Now, this conspiracy, would you say it goes … part of the way to the top?
Cole Hamels: John, I…
David Murphy: Most of the way to the top?
Cole Hamels: No, it’s…
John Gonzalez and David Murphy: [in unison] ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP?
Cole Hamels: Goshdarnit, you two. Not everything is a conspiracy. Quit twisting my words.
John Gonzalez: But we do have you on record as saying “Something doesn’t add up,” right?
Cole Hamels: Sure. Fine.
David Murphy: We better hurry to the newsroom on this one, Gonzo. Don’t wanna get scooped.
Chase Utley: How can you get scooped if the school only has one paper?
John Gonzalez: [furiously writing in notepad] Good point. Why do we only have one paper? Seems fishy. I’ll look into it.
[Gonzo and High Cheese rush back to the newsroom to work on the story. Veteran Phillies High Times reporters Les Bowen and Kevin Cooney are in the room hustling to meet the deadline on their expose about the cafeteria food.]
John Gonzalez: Oh boy, we have got a hot one.
David Murphy: Real hot.
John Gonzalez: Like an oven.
David Murphy: On the sun.
Les Bowen: Will you two shut up? Kevin and I are working on a real story, not one of your crazy conspiracy theories.
Kevin Cooney: Yeah, what do you got this time? Principal Manuel’s Secretary Secretly Alien Princess, by Gonzo and High Cheese?
John Gonzalez: NO. AND SHUT UP. IT’S A REAL STORY WITH LEADS AND EVERYTHING.
David Murphy: [points to notebook] YEAH. WE GOT A QUOTE.
Les Bowen: Ooo, a quote. Listen, why don’t you two go play over there while we work on the real news?
David Murphy: [walks away, mumbles] I’ll work real news right into your stupid face, you stupid…
Kevin Cooney: What’s that?
David Murphy: Nothing.
[Gonzo and High Cheese sit down at a computer to start tackling the grades conspiracy story]
John Gonzalez: Okay, first we need to go to Principal Manuel and grill him.
David Murphy: Nonono. We need to work our way up to him. Interview the teachers, janitors, bus drivers, everyone. THEN we storm into Principal Manuel’s office and set the trap.
John Gonzalez: Oooo, I like it. Then we take it to Superintendent Amaro and bring this whole corrupt system down.
David Murphy: Yeah. Front page, here we come.
[Gonzo and High Cheese compile a list of questions and interview subjects, then head out to seek answers. Much to their chagrin, they find none, as no one seems to know what they’re talking about. Principal Manuel even threatened to give them detention for hassling the lunch ladies. All in all, it was a very unsuccessful venture, and the two of them started making their way back to the newsroom.]
John Gonzalez: Well, that sucked.
David Murphy: Yeah. A big one.
John Gonzalez: How are we supposed to break big huge stories when nothing exciting ever happens and no one will spill the beans?
David Murphy: I hate this stupid school. I hate this whole stupid town.
John Gonzalez: Me too.
[Just then Gonzo gets a text from a number he doesn’t recognize. The text reads “KEEP F-CKING DIGGING.”]
John Gonzalez: Hold on. What’s this? What should I do?
David Murphy: Respond, dummy. Find out who it is?
John Gonzalez: [texting madly] He won’t say. He just keeps texting me cuss words and calling me names. Wait. No. …
David Murphy: What’s he saying?
John Gonzalez: He says if we want the story on why grades are lower this year, we should meet him outside the auto shop at 10 p.m. tonight.
David Murphy: 10 p.m.?! But Castle is on!
John Gonzalez: Come on, Cheese. This is important.
[Gonzo and High Cheese head home from school and try to relax. It’s impossible. They know they’re only hours away from busting open a huge story. And who is the mysterious source? Finally the minutes turn into hours, and the time comes. They head over to the Phillies High Auto Shop separately, and meet up a few minutes before 10.]
John Gonzalez: [is wearing a leather jacket and sunglasses even though it is warm and dark out] Aw come on, Cheese.
David Murphy: [is also wearing a leather jacket and sunglasses even though it is warm and dark out] Why are you dressed like that, Gonzo? I’m the cool rebel reporter who’s hellbent on speaking truth to power no matter the personal consequences.
John Gonzalez: No, I’M the cool rebel reporter who’s hellbent on speaking truth to power no matter the personal consequences. You’re my trusty sidekick.
David Murphy: The hell I am.
John Gonzalez: [posturing like tough, no-nonsense reporter] You wanna take this outside, tough guy?
David Murphy: [posturing like same tough, no-nonsense reporter] A) We are outside, idiot, and B) WHAT IF I DO?
John Gonzalez: Fine by me.
David Murphy: GOOD.
Mysterious Source: [lurking in shadows] God, will you two daisies shut the f-ck up?
John Gonzalez: I… we were just… it’s not important. You’re the source, right?
Mysterious Source: No, I’m the f-cking Easter Bunny.
David Murphy: What’s this all about anyway? Why do we gotta meet out here? And why are you standing in front of that bright light? I can’t see your face.
Mysterious Source: That’s the point, assh-le. Now do you want the scoop or not?
John Gonzalez: Of course.
Mysterious Source: You wanna know why grades are lower this year?
David Murphy: Yes, we do.
Mysterious Source: Fine. I’ll tell you. BECAUSE EVERYONE F-CKING SUCKS. All the students are whiny little c-ckheads who wouldn’t know hard work if it bit them on the ass while they were sittin’ on the can, and the leadership at the school — IF YOU CAN EVEN CALL IT THAT — coddles them left and right. “Oo, little Ryan needs an extension. Wah, Cliffy needs extra credit and Ben has ADHDTDLD or whatever. Boo hoo. The only kids in this school worth half a damn are Chase and Roy, and they’re getting polluted by the other crybabies. THAT’S THE PROBLEM WITH STUDENTS THESE DAYS. You give and you give and you give.Where does it stop? Back in my day, you got the paddle if you acted up. That’s what I did to Rolen, and yeah that little priss ran away to Cardinals High eventually, but not before I MADE A MAN OUT OF HIM. And another thing…
John Gonzalez: Wait. Hold on. Former Principal Bowa? Is that you?
Mysterious Source (Who Is Totally Larry Bowa): YEAH IT’S PRINCIPAL BO-… I mean, uh, who’s Principal Bowa?
David Murphy: No, it’s definitely you. I remember that Rolen thing. The parents still talk about how they ran you out of town after all that. What are you doing back here, anyway?
Larry Bowa: Oh Goddammit. Fine, it’s me. Look, I keep track of things around here. And it makes me sick to see everything fall to sh-t because of a couple Nancypants prima donnas. That’s all.
John Gonzalez: Right … but isn’t there a restraining order out against you. Don’t you have to stay 500 yards from Phillies High?
Larry Bowa: Well, yeah. But I…
[Gonzo and High Cheese look at each other. While Larry Bowa continues ranting about the importance of sacrifice bunts and grit, they secretly text their parents and have them call the authorities. The police show up and take Bowa into custody. Gonzo and High Cheese spend all night writing up the story, using Jolt Cola and Nerds Ropes to keep themselves awake, and bring it into the newsroom the next morning.]
Les Bowen: Well well well. If it isn’t Gonz-NO and Stinky Cheese. How’s your big huge story going?
Kevin Cooney: Yeah, you guys get a quote from Bigfoot?
John Gonzalez: [slams story on table] BOOM. FRONT PAGE.
David Murphy: BOOM. EAT IT.
Les Bowen: [looking at story] Well I’ll be…
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