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Sample from The Great Stravinski
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News and Events

By David Ralph

I killed someone.  It feels good to finally say it.  Well, I didn’t mean to and it wasn’t just me alone; I guess I should say “The Great Stravinsky” killed someone.  Yes, that sounds better: “The Great Stravinsky” killed Lisa Jacobs.  Now you look a little confused.  Maybe I should explain the beginning before the end.


****************END TEASER****************************


Everyone knows that in high school one must find his or her place in order to survive.  If you are athletic you hang out with the jocks and say things like: “Dude, that was a killer kegger last night; I got sooo wasted.” 


If you’re good looking and have money but not much athletic ability you hang out with preppies and say things like: “Like wow, did you see how drunk that football player got last night at the kegger; he was like soooo wasted.”


But if you look like and act like me then you hang out with what most would consider the nerds, geeks, outcasts, and/or whatever the popular joke word of the day was and you would say things like: “Did anyone know there was a kegger last night?”  A question to which the retort consisted of blank stairs.


My friends were kind of an eclectic group but none of us would ever have been invited to a massive drunk fest.  Theresa was my best friend, but she spoke as loud as a field mouse and spent hours working with computers, which didn’t lend itself to the social scene.  Shannon was hilarious, but her size and eating abilities made her the butt of most jokes.  Shaun had enough acne on her face that it reminded one of the geological map of a coral reef and Amy was poor.  I’m not talking about, Amy didn’t have enough money to go to the movies or the mall kind of poor; I’m talking the kind of poor where her family would go without eating at night and she would have to shower each morning in the locker room before school.  We all had something wrong with us.  That’s what made us a group. But even we, as the “messed up” group, had an outcast: Lisa Jacobs.


Look, every high school has its own cliques so I don’t think I need to explain in great detail each and every one at mine…I think you get the picture here, my friends and I weren’t exactly a part of the “in-crowd.”  We didn’t really want to hang out with the jocks and the preppies but we hated being treated like second-class citizens, so we decided to retaliate in the best way we knew how: write a newspaper. 


We were passive-aggressive type people so this idea fit us perfectly.  The idea was to write stories about all the people in school whether we hated them or liked them. It was only natural that I would become the editor. Theresa, would format the stories and print.  Shannon, Shaun, and Amy were the field reporters all doing what they do best: blending in to the putrid walls of our high school to overhear the dirt.  But first we needed a title.  We thought of calling it “The Outsider” but that was almost cliché.  Then “Chunky Monkey” but that didn’t fit the whole group.  “Whistler,” “Stupid News to Use,” “Extra, Extra” all sorts of titles were thrown around.  Then, at a lovely school cafeteria lunch of cardboard shaped chicken patties, instant mash potatoes, and corn bits, Theresa muttered out a word that no one could understand but everyone heard as: Stravinsky.


The name didn’t make any sense but it was interesting and fun to say: Stravinsky.  You could say it sexy: Stravinsky.  Or you could say it like an angry Russian mobster: Stravinsky.  Or you could make it seem grand: Stravinsky.  We all preferred the grand version so with some careful editing on my part we had our paper: “The Great Stravinsky.”


In one week’s time we had enough stories to write a full-fledge paper.  As editor it was tough to decide what should go in and what needed to be held back.  We had all sorts of dirt ranging from “Michael Davis will sell you answers to advanced algebra homework” to “Mrs. Haggleman actually isn’t as mean as she pretends to be.”  Everything was great, but I decided to cut right to the heart of our little publication with a front-page shocker: “Tina Newman Loses Virginity.”  Amy overheard the conversation in the locker room.  Supposedly Tina didn’t want to do it but gave in to her boyfriend because she loved him and thought that he was the “one” even though she’s only a Junior blah, blah, blah classic teenage hormone stuff but it made a great story because Tina was the goody-goody type that lead a local youth group and preached to everyone about abstinence.


We knew that this kind of information could get us in deep trouble so we left each article nameless and anonymously left a copy in all 203 lockers in our school.  Before lunch occurred chaos was in progress.  Student’s that had been written about were in hysterics and student’s that weren’t written about were dying laughing.  Tina Newman was called out of first hour American Studies and didn’t return.  At the end of the day principal pear-pants (he was shaped like a pear) came on the intercom to announce that those responsible for writing “The Great Stravinsky” would be caught and punished to the highest degree.


I remember feeling butterflies, no, more like fruit bats, flying around in my stomach, but I didn’t know if it was because I was afraid of being caught or if it was because finally I was involved in something others in the school could see.   As a group we decided that we needed to keep going with the paper.  It was harmless fun.  But we also decided that we could tone the gossip down a tad, so that in the event we were caught we wouldn’t get into too much trouble.


“The Great Stravinsky” volume two came out only a week after the first.