Chapter 27:

Vol. 2, Ch. 2: Win at Anything You Try to Do!

The Integrity of the Super Club [Beta version]

On the first day of the Interschool AthletaCom, Southbound Thugwood High School was primed to become a battle royale of competitions. During the biggest school-related event each year, students were awarded points for winning competitions against each other, and the highest-scoring competitors would advance to the final rounds to compete against students from the other Thugwood high schools. Each student in Thugwood was required to meet the minimum participation requirement of receiving twenty points total, or they would not advance to the next grade or graduate.Bookmark here

The full Southbound Thugwood High School student body gathered at the morning assembly in the auditorium where Headmaster gave the same repeated, tired speech and explanation of the rules.Bookmark here

“Yo, I’m ’bout to go over da rules real quick,” the elderly headmaster said into the microphone, tightening the headmaster bandana on his head of snowy hair. He was tall with a slight hunch in his back, and he spoke with a dialect that few people could fully interpret. “I don’t know how ya’ll could forget, being it’s da same rules every year, know what I’m sayin’?Bookmark here

“Just ’bout everything counts as a competition, even made-up stuff, as long as ya’ll can provide clear rules fo it. It can be one-on-one, on teams, or a free-for-all wit each person fightin’ alone. Da winners get points, an’ teams share dem points, got it?Bookmark here

“Each competition needs a faculty chaperone to keep an eye on it, approve it, make sure it be legit, all dat. No faculty chaperone: no points—clear as dat. Da chaperone reviews da rules ya give ’em, decides how many points it be worth for da winner, or dey’ll tell ya’ll it ain’t a legit competition an’ it’ll be denied, fool.Bookmark here

“Competitions can be held anywhere, anytime. Take it wit ya everywhere, even church, as long as a faculty chaperone be observin’. But remember dis! Ya’ll can only challenge da same person once a day, and ya’ll can only challenge da same team once a day. No repeated competitors in a day.Bookmark here

“Each student needs to acquire twenty points minimum each, or ya ain’t movin’ to da next grade, gettin’ held back. Dat counts fo graduatin’, too, an’ we’ll keep yer sorry behinds here. Da alternative is if ya compete in a hundred competitions, den ya pass even if ya don’t get twenty points…but don’t be a loser like dat.Bookmark here

“Da top fitty, er, fifty students wit da most points, ya’ll goin’ to da regionals to compete ’gainst dem other fools from da other schools: Easterly, Westnook, Northish, an’ Mesial.”Bookmark here

Every student in the gymnasium cringed at the mention of Mesial Thugwood High School. Home of the richest rich and snottiest snots, the Mesial Prefecture was the central prefecture of the Thugwood Metropolitan Address, geographically and financially.Bookmark here

In the audience, Rover squeezed his fists. “Grr… I hate those Mesial punks, all rich and snooty and crap…”Bookmark here

“A’ight, den,” Headmaster said, wrapping up the assembly. “Dat’s it. Let da games begin!”Bookmark here

A freshman boy next to Rover whispered, “Hey…what’d he say? I couldn’t understand him.”Bookmark here

Rover shrugged. “Read the AthletaCom manual. That’s the best advice I can give.” With that, he exited the auditorium amid the mass of students.Bookmark here

27!27@27#27$27%27^27&27*27(27)27_27+27Bookmark here

Rover touched the end of the school swimming pool, reaching the halfway point for his race against Djur Woiep, an underclassman by one year. Before kicking off in the opposite direction, he saw he’d taken the lead, but only by a smidgen.Bookmark here

He’d also heard the booing from his schoolmates. People were still fussy that he’d cheated against Benedict Torrent during the most publicized Glove Alien Fight AR match to date, so most of Thugwood wanted Rover to lose at everything ever for the rest of his life.Bookmark here

People can be harsh, Rover thought as he pushed through the water.Bookmark here

When he emerged at the finish line, he heard the splashing of Djur behind him. However, the other boy didn’t make eye contact with Rover as he climbed out of the pool, walking away without acknowledging the race.Bookmark here

“You won,” Mr. Pool Coach said when Rover was on his feet. “Did you cheat?”Bookmark here

“No,” Rover muttered, giving the coach a dirty look. “How the heck could I have?”Bookmark here

Returning that dirty look, Mr. Pool Coach said, “One point for you.”Bookmark here

“Huh? Only one point for a swimming match?! I thought the physical competitions were usually worth more!”Bookmark here

The coach shook his head. “Usually, they are, but the chaperone—me, in this case—decides the points. I typically award three points to simple swimming races, but I’m giving one point to your swimming races. I’ll make sure your competitors know this, so going against you is pretty much worthless in their case.”Bookmark here

As Mr. Pool Coach entered the score into his tablet, which connected to the overall point system in the school’s database, Rover scoffed, toweled himself off, and glared at the coach.Bookmark here

“You know,” Rover told him, “if I get held back from graduation for not meeting the twenty-point requirement this season, which would be something you contributed to, then that’ll be one more year you’re stuck with me.”Bookmark here

The coach’s eyes grew darker than the bottom of the pool’s deep end. “I have the authority to make sure that sucks more for you than for me, Rover Chork.”Bookmark here

The solid stare Rover received told him he had lost that argument. He bit his tongue to keep from hurling insults at the authority figure, and he tossed his wet towel at him before storming out of the pool area. A few students cheered at Rover’s exit, and they made sure he heard them.Bookmark here

27!27@27#27$27%27^27&27*27(27)27_27+27Bookmark here

“Get your power ramen, folks!” Lumpy called out from behind the makeshift ramen stand in one of the school’s commons areas. Several hallways and escalators converged there, making it a prime, high-traffic area. “Fill your energy tanks, save your life, and win at anything you try to do!”Bookmark here

“You sound like a desperate old loon, Lumpy,” Adele snickered as she handed a girl her bowl of curried bear-tiger power ramen with awesomesauce stock.Bookmark here

Lumpy grinned. “Better than sounding like a desperate old loon who doesn’t serve the best dang ramen you’ve ever had!”Bookmark here

“You’re almost as good of a showman as Quinn,” Adele said. “Surprising for a normally chill guy like you.”Bookmark here

“What can I say?”Bookmark here

A couple boys nearby were eating their bowls of the Super Club’s power ramen, the dazzle in their eyes increasing with each slurp.Bookmark here

“This really is the best dang ramen I’ve ever had,” the boy with the nose ring said, his face flushed with heavenly splendor.Bookmark here

“That fried squab egg on the bottom was genius,” the chubby boy added. “When you pop that runny yolk…things get real…”Bookmark here

“You can thank our club president for that recipe,” Adele told them, beaming with pride. “She found the best recipe the internet had to offer, then put her own spin on it to make it radical!” She wiped her mouth as she caught a whiff of the ramen. “It’s taxing every drop of my willpower not to eat it all for myself…haahhh-ha-haaa…”Bookmark here

The smell of chlorine and shame intruded upon the divine ramen aromas. Rover stood beside Lumpy, his hair still sleek from the pool.Bookmark here

“You win?” Lumpy asked him.Bookmark here

“The race, yes,” Rover muttered. “Everything else was pretty much a flop, though…”Bookmark here

Lumpy checked the time on his phone. “Well, you’re in time for Quinn’s footrace. If you hurry to the Big Tower, you’ll see it start.”Bookmark here

“Perfect.” Rover turned to the chaperone for the power ramen sales competition, Mrs. Astrological Literature Teacher. “How’s the Super Club doing for this match?”Bookmark here

She checked her tablet. “You’re winning. Right now, you have seventeen more sales than the Cryptozoology Club’s ramen stand.” She narrowed her eyes at Rover. “You aren’t cheating, are you?”Bookmark here

Rover rolled his eyes and groaned. “Really?”Bookmark here

Are you?”Bookmark here

“No.”Bookmark here

“Is he?” Mrs. Astrological Literature Teacher asked Lumpy and Adele.Bookmark here

“No,” they replied.Bookmark here

She really doesn’t believe me?! Rover thought, his heart sinking to the trenches of his soul’s sea.Bookmark here

“I’m gonna go watch Quintegrity’s race,” he muttered to Lumpy and Adele.Bookmark here

“Let us know how it goes,” Lumpy replied, feeding more dough, ambrosia, and myrrh into the noodle press to restock their supply of fresh, handmade ingredients.Bookmark here

“If it’s Quinn Integrity,” Adele said, “we’re bound to find out the results right away, no matter what.”Bookmark here

Mrs. Astrological Literature Teacher watched Rover trot off down the hallway, boring a hole into his back with her stare.Bookmark here

“Isn’t Rover in a relationship with Quinn Integrity?” she asked with a disapproving sigh.Bookmark here

“Yeah,” Lumpy answered, serving a bowl to another student.Bookmark here

“I don’t get it,” the teacher replied, shaking her head. “Somebody of Quinn’s status and nature doesn’t seem like the type of person to date somebody who’s so underhanded and despicable.”Bookmark here

Adele made great efforts to not agree, but Lumpy spoke before she slipped up.Bookmark here

“That’s my friend, you know,” Lumpy grunted.Bookmark here

“Says a lot about you, Mr. Freeb.”Bookmark here

Brushing that aside with a crooked grin, Lumpy said, “Ever think that somebody of Quinn’s status and nature might be able to see a part of people that most of you are too ignorant or judgmental to see?”Bookmark here

The teacher pursed her lips. “You mean to say that Rover’s got some special quality that only appeals to the best of us?”Bookmark here

“Either that,” Lumpy said, “or maybe Quinn’s not a judgmental bitch like you.”Bookmark here

Adele dropped her jaw, then bit her hand to keep from laughing. The nearby students’ reactions were a mix of flabbergast and amusement.Bookmark here

Lips pursed to absolute pursing limits, the teacher said, “See me after school, Mr. Freeb.”Bookmark here

“Detention accepted, Mrs. Astro, uh…what are you?”Bookmark here

“Astrological Literature Teacher.”Bookmark here

Lumpy grinned. “Right. I heard your real name is Brea Lildoonis.”Bookmark here

“Should we make it a weeks worth of detention?”Bookmark here

“Ugh… No, ma’am.”Bookmark here

First it was Captain Pretentious, Adele thought as she smoldered her giggles, now it’s a teacher. What’s with Lumpy making people mad just by learning their names?Bookmark here

*******Bookmark here

<<<STATUS>>>Bookmark here

Rover… Lvl 999Bookmark here

AthletaCom Points… 1Bookmark here

All Money… {T}63,100Bookmark here

Allowance… {T}62,100Bookmark here

Food Slip… {T}1,000Bookmark here

<<<EXPENSE GOALS>>>Bookmark here

Anti-Grav Skateboard… {T}499,999Bookmark here

<<<CURRENT EQUIPMENT>>>Bookmark here

Weapon… ScribblyBookmark here

Armor… FASCAR ShirtBookmark here

Acc. 1… Candle BadgeBookmark here

Acc. 2… Heist HoovesBookmark here

<<<SPECIAL NUMBERS>>>Bookmark here

#1, #2, #5Bookmark here

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