Emma Grob · Emily Green · Bronwyn Dix · Peter Ray · Neria Zhang · Andrew Berry · Elva Lu · Josiah Teh · William Pledger · Ainsley Lemon · Nicholas Shey · Christine Niu · Jake Moore · Aaron Shey · Eunice Tan · Madison Asher · Stasi Dulle · Isabel Yang · Anina McKnight · Hannah Houser · Sarai Morato
This is a story about magic. Not everyday magic, of course, like the sort with drab wands in bland fairy tales about courageous, redundant heroes and heroines, but the type of magic that sends icy shivers through the heart of every worthy and laudable professor of English. It is not magic produced through timeless spells found in dusty tomes stacked obscurely in hidden bookcases, but the impeccable magic produced when a student procrastinates. For indeed, the fleeting moment of inspiration created in a state of last-minute panic is magical, mystical, and altogether elusive.
Much to his teacher’s chagrin, Emmett was one such individual who had long possessed this magic of procrastination. Yet as prudent magicians acknowledge, magic is seldom precise or predictable and is often tempted to go awry (ZUIDERVEEN).
Now Emmett wasn’t your usual master of procrastination. He didn’t whine or moan or grunt or squeal; he didn’t make big puppy eyes and he didn’t even ask for an extension. What Emmett did was commit the fatal error of doing TOO much, and accomplishing TOO little (RAY).
Emmett’s teacher felt enraged and intrigued, but prohibiting such injustice to her class to go unpunished, she consulted her old friend Gandalf (LU). The wizard muttered something profound about “Do not be too hasty to deal out death or punishment,” turned away, and blew a majestic smoke-ring… which promptly ensnared Emmett, who happened to be walking by (BERRY).
Emmett coughed repeatedly as the smoke irritated his lungs, before quickly composing himself and stuttering out, “I was born ready,” his signature line (TEH).
In response, the red-faced wizard stormed toward the insolent boy and sent a giant puff of smoke into his face with the words, “I was born ready first, mind you, child. Submit that paper on warlocks now, boy, or face the wrath of Sargon (TAN).”
Emmett, being slightly afraid by Gandalf’s threat, thought up a retort quickly. “A paper is never late, Gandalf, nor is it early. It arrives exactly when it means to. Didn’t you say something of the sort yourself a long time ago?” (DIX)
“I may have said something of that sort long ago, but I was not speaking to you, young fellow,” remarked Gandalf angrily. “You do as your teacher says or it will be the end of you” (LEMON).
Eager to defend himself against the threat, Emmett mumbled: “I’m going to ask the Wizard of Oz to defeat you” (LU).
Appalled at Emmett’s disgraceful comment Gandalf blocked Emmett from moving any further, put his long, powerful staff in front of him and yelled, “You shall not pass!” (HOUSER)
“I shall not pass?” responded Emmett with disdain. “I want to see you try to get past me!” (ZHANG).
The wizard stared at him and shook his head. “Boy, I fought a balrog and lived to tell the tale. Do not mess in the affairs of dragons and men” (NIU). And so it begins, Gandalf and Emmett were done with their bickering and agreed to go head-to-head in what would be the battle of all time (HOUSER).
As Gandalf raised his staff, Emmett’s teacher cut in: “I love a duel as much as the next guy, lads, I even have mutton jerky, but I’m sure Emmett wants to finish up his big English project the students have worked all semester on.” (PLEDGER). Emmett turned his back on the irritated wizard as if to heed his teacher’s timely intervention. In his heart, he angrily resolved to shirk academic responsibility in pursuit of revenge. (ASHER).
That moonless, eerie night, as the winds of fate howled and shrieked in his ears, he made his decision, one that would change the course of his entire life: he would utterly neglect the crucial English project in order to pummel and pone puny Gandalf by the potent magical power of procrastination (BERRY). With his most trusty procrastination tools in each hand, an iPhone and a cute cat, he summoned his powers and ran full force towards the mighty Gandalf (GREEN). But right at that instance, his neglected stomach resolved it was prime time to demonstrate the power of its vocals– not the usual scales or arpeggios it liked to hum when it was in the mood for an oreo, but its most intense fanfare rumored to make a fly ten leagues away deaf: the whale call. And it knew that Emmett most certainly would not ignore this warning…or would he? (YANG)
Embarrassed by the sound of his stomach, Emmett thought to himself, “perhaps I should stop for a quick five-course buffet at the local diner.” (TEH) Taking advantage of the small opening created by Emmett’s hesitation, Gandalf ambled forward at a measly pace and knocked over Emmett’s starved body with a small push of his staff (N SHEY). Emmet’s gaunt and bony body wriggled in its failing attempts to take one last swing at Gandalf and then tumbled awkwardly, head over heels, into a pool of bubbling acid (A SHEY).
Suddenly, a loud crash sounded by Emmett’s head. Was that the sound of a loud textbook hitting the classroom floor? Emmett felt a surge of embarrassment as he awoke to find his English teacher glowering over him (GREEN). She glared down at him and exclaimed in an exasperated tone, “Emmett, how many times do I have to tell you not to fall asleep in my class? Now turn in your assignment and you can be on your way” (LEMON). Emmett innocently turned and looked at the class. Small giggles from the girls and boisterous laughter from the majority of the boys erupted in the classroom (ZHANG). If only his classmates knew of all the magic he possessed and the adventures he had been on with his power of procrastination (GREEN).
Turning back to his desk, Emmett started looking fruitlessly through a small stack of papers for his assignment, stopping when Gandalf tapped him on the shoulder and handed him the paper he sought (MOORE). Emmett spent a few moments blinking at the apparition in front of him. “Inception,” he whispered (DULLE). He quickly grabbed his lucky spinning top and spinned it, hoping and praying that it would collapse on the table, but yet it continued to spin and spin and spin, and Emmett began to panic (HOUSER). As it spun and spun and spun, Emmett recalled a small part of his physics textbook about how a perpetual-motion machine is impossible to create. Emmett, with his wild imagination and suspicions about reality, quickly realized that the room he was in must be a construct created by Gandalf as a result of their battle (N SHEY). Suddenly, the top stopped spinning, his laughing classmates disappeared, and it was just him and Gandalf giving each other harsh stares in an empty classroom (MORATO). Gandalf’s face dissolved into whiteness, only for Emmett to wake up to the sensation of wind rushing by his ears and the distance between him and a pool of acid rapidly declining. (A SHEY). Having faced this situation many times before, Emmett slapped his face multiple times and eventually woke up from his dream (N SHEY).
Surprisingly, Emmett’s hand phased through his face, and his eyes snapped open to see the infinite expanse of space in front of him and a rapidly approaching tornado. (A SHEY). Finding that he was unable to move out of the way since gravity had seemed to stop working, Emmett had no choice but to let himself be sucked into the tornado which made him quite dizzy as it spun him around (MOORE). He tried to grab onto an object flying around him, since it seemed that was the only thing he could do, but all he could get a hold of was a book titled “The Essence of Chairness” by Jeffree G (PLEDGER).
“Anything to put off my school a bit more,” he thought with a shrug as he opened the book… which immediately turned into a furious, menacing Gandalf (BERRY). “Not you again!” Emmett groaned, thoroughly exhausted by this time (GROB). He began preparing himself to face Gandalf once again, but then out of nowhere his legs gave out and he blacked out (MORATO).
He woke up a moment later to find himself back in his classroom, which was empty except for his teacher, who asked him if he was planning on leaving now that school was over (MOORE).
“One more thing!” yelled the teacher as Emmett scurried towards his escape. “Remember to work on your 15-page research paper due in two days, finish reading the rest of your calculus textbook, and study for tomorrow’s Physics exam!” (YANG)
Emmett rubbed his head as he walked home from school. That had been one strange day. His mother attributed it to his late-night binge watching of the entire 11 hours and 15 minutes of the Lord of the Rings, but Emmett simply shrugged his shoulders as he trudged up the stairs towards his dreaded homework.
Staring at a blank sheet of paper, Emmett groaned. 15 pages for a research paper? What happened to those seventh-grade paragraph assignments? He pushed the paper aside and began mindlessly flipping through his calculus textbook. His unmade bed looked decidedly comfortable, so Emmett grabbed his calculus textbook and curled up in his bed.
Emmett’s obnoxious alarm shrieked until he awoke with a start. While rubbing the sleep from his eyes in the morning light, his mind groped for the meaning of his life. Wait! The English research paper!
He scrambled from his bed, launched himself towards his desk, flipped open his laptop, and clenched his pen with one continuous motion. He had precisely 1 hour, 43 minutes, and 39 seconds until the school bus drove by his door. With his mind pulsing with creativity and inspiration, he frantically penned the words which would create his English paper masterpiece. For indeed, the fleeting moment of inspiration created in a state of last-minute panic is magical, mystical, and altogether elusive.
Moral of the story: Procrastination is a dangerous thing. Procrastination is also magical.
2nd Moral of the story: If you want an unwanted adventure, procrastinate. But also don’t.
Illustration by: Emily Green (proud supporter of the victorious Team Leanne)