The Student Publication of Keystone

The Keynote

The Student Publication of Keystone

The Keynote

The Student Publication of Keystone

The Keynote

Stone Soul Quarter 2: “Stone Catching”

Young B-Law
Young B-Law

[The second in a series about Stone Soul.]

What is “Stone Soul?” Some say it was created by Dr. Lawrence, long ago, to commemorate the day he wagered his soul and won. Sometime between his birth and his hiring by the Keystone English Department, he and his wife were driving through the sticks when his car sputtered and ground to a halt. 

Tumbleweeds blew hollow through a blistering, rocky landscape–save for a mysterious school that shone scarlet in the twilight. B-Law picked up a stone from the ground for protection before he and his wife entered. Whistling wind bounced over decrepit arches and moth-eaten textbook pages atop abandoned desks. What do you want most? read an inscription on the blackboard. Turning his head to the sky, B-Law wished to be the best English teacher the world had ever known.

Immediately, a man in Prada materialized in front of them, grumbling something about New Hampshire lawyers. B-Law jumped back as the mysterious patron chuckled under his foul breath. The buzzing of flies seemed to ring around him like an aura of menace.

“I’m Mr. Scratch, a representative of Big English Corporation,” the salesman said. “I’ll grant your wish. You will bring infinite joy should you accept. You will be revered till the last star tears itself apart. You…will slay.” B-Law looked at the interloper with curiosity and extended his hand. “Ta-ta-ta-ta…not so fast. My only request is that you’ll have to sell me your mortal soul.” 

Tucked beneath the salesman’s arm, a manila folder strained as if the contents were begging to break free. B-Law realized that flies weren’t buzzing in that folder–it was the faint screaming of trapped souls. Over the warnings of his wife, B-Law spoke.

“I accept.”

The two men shook hands. Instantly, Dr. Lawrence felt the English prowess coursing through his veins. 

“Good, very good.” The salesman held out his hand. “Now, your soul.” 

Feeling a heavy object fall into his hand, the salesman threw back his head and laughed. “Don’t you see?” It was a scratchy sound, gurgly and sharp in the throat like a buzzard’s retch. It continued even hearing their footsteps retreat towards the car. “I paid Charles Dickens BY THE WORD! I invented metaphysical poetry!” The stranger’s eyelids and skin melted away to reveal a soulless, skeletal hell-creature. “When the first SAT question was written, I guided the pencil!” He laughed and laughed and only when he turned his eyes down did he realize that B-Law had given him his stone instead.

Howls echoed through the sticks as Brian tried to start his car. Come on, come on…triumphantly, the engine whirred. Dr. Lawrence floored the gas. As the car approached terminal velocity, the hell creature threw the stone in anger. Trailing flames, it hurtled like a rocket towards the passenger seat–towards his wife. Instinct kicked in. With his god-level reflexes, Brian drifted the car. In one motion, he stabilized the steering wheel and lowered his window, which the stone was now speeding towards instead. Effortlessly, he caught the stone.

“To submit an act,” he said, turning towards the puzzled reader, “all one needs to do is to scan the QR code on the posters around campus and fill out a form. As long as it’s approximately less than four minutes and not extremely explicit, B-Law and the council will approve it for performance.”

December 8th! Mark your calendars, mark your heart. It’s cold, but a winter chill is the price we must pay for experiencing Texas’ best months of the year. Though hands may grow numb and car windows may frost, the music remains as fiery as ever. Yours truly hosted for the first time opposite Rafa. The literary elves crawled out of the woodwork and set up as promised. And, in my humble opinion, it was one of the best Stone Souls that we’ve ever had.

 

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Caden G and Morgan opened with a sweet performance of “Love to Keep Me Warm” on vocals and guitar. Neerja, Cristiano, Ali, and Zander recited a poem together, and I think we all appreciate the recent literary element added to Stone Soul. I hope it stays a staple of the event for many years to come.

Ricardo “Ricky Martin” Martinez serenaded us with “Disparo al Corazon” on guitar and vocals, and Audrey’s singing proved that the ceiling could not hold us. Ruudi, always with such incredible dexterity, played “A Charlie Brown Christmas” medley.

The lunchroom then played a trivia game, with questions ranging from general to extremely niche about Keystone teachers. The fan-favorite questions were the location B-Law and a cadre of English teachers ate after a conference (Hooters), Mr. Lindsay’s location and house mortgage amount (I don’t know, you stalkers), and the names of the legendary European monuments that Dr. Caraway has urinated on (the Berlin Wall and the Eiffel Tower). As both correct answers were shouted out almost immediately from the audience, a familiar hearty chuckle shook the cafeteria air.  

Taiga (vocals, guitar), Nicolas (keyboard), Yaseen (drums), Charlie (bass), and myself (vocals, guitar) played “505” by Arctic Monkeys. Ruby played an original piano piece titled “Siri’s Song”–it was an elegy. Like poetry, playing one’s original music at Stone Souls seems to be a growing trend that I hope to see more of.

Zero and Austin sang and played “From the Start,” by Laufey, a bossa-nova-ish acoustic pop song about how unrequited love drives you insane. Isa blessed us with a live guitar performance of “Un Día de Noviembre.” She played on video recording for the last few Stone Souls as a containment measure—if we heard the notes in person, we’d burst into flames–so she had to ease us slowly into it.

After a short break outside, we resumed with a dazzling string of solo performances. Yaseen performed “Grave” with bouncy capo-ed acoustic guitar and vocals. Kate played “Si t’étais lá” by Louane–one of her favorite songs–on vocals and piano, and though no one knew how to pronounce the title, it was wonderful. Tavi played “I’ll Be Here in The Morning,” by Townes Van Zandt. Sitting in my plastic chair under cafeteria Christmas lights, I felt like a drifter used to passing through towns, hopping trains, and drowning his sorrows in corn liquor finally finding a person who he’d stay for when the sun rose. Ajay played piano, each key gently bouncing off the cafeteria ceiling and gracing our ears.

The second game was my favorite. Five contestants played an unwrapping game where they felt objects inside wrapping papers. They had to guess the object itself and the teacher who owned it. The decisive object between first and second place was guessing Dr. Lopez’s candy jar. 

First prize, Tavi, won an autographed picture of youthful Dr. Lawrence in a varsity jacket. Really, you would’ve thought that Josh Hutcherson walked out on stage from the amount of screaming after it was revealed. It is, truly, an insane photo. As Mrs. Hall would say, “It’s so rizz.”

Second place, Julia, won a consolation prize. Words fail. I fail. 

After the game came more poetry! Nidhi delivered “Wearing My Insecurities on My Sleeve,” a heart-wrenching poem about obstacles, identity, and restrictive societal norms. I got chills. I played “Last Christmas” by Wham and invited the whole crowd to sing along. 

Joanna, Evalyn, Abby, Niraj, and Kate performed a self-titled “Body Trick.” Essentially, they did handstands facing away from each other at an angle to where their legs would interlock and act as support beams. Anyhow, they got up to five people balancing this way. They bodied the trick. Caden G, Rafa, Tavi, and Mars ended the night with a second performance of “Last Christmas” and then a finale of “Cut Your Hair,” which had the whole crowd headbanging as they turned the intensity up to eleven.

 

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Like a screeching guitar frequency fading into silence, a pile of interlocked bodies obeying the laws of gravity and arm strength, or a rapidly weakening stream of urine hitting the base of the Eiffel Tower, all good things must come to an end. 

Some longer extension cords were quite tangled and as people left the cafeteria, it took three minutes for LitMag to get them properly unwound. Fun fact: including that in this article was about as necessary as the recent confrontation of the Keynote Editors-in-Chief and creators of Nepos by the school administration!

The crowd dissipated–chattering, catching up with old friends, remembering absent ones, finishing off the ruins of the candy boxes, and loading guitar cases and exhausted students into cars. I drove home, a speeder’s halogen lights in my mirrors burning as bright and toxic as an LA sunset. The highway drone in my ears, I dreamed of moving to the far Northeast–hopefully, a place with snow, wilderness, a good and affordable college, and a live metal scene. A place I could call home.

Back at school, Brian Lawrence climbed the stairs to his classroom, savoring the supernatural power of being a goated English teacher. Suddenly, a scarlet portal opened near the Star Wars poster, and the hell creature blocked his doorway. The demon had finally located B-Law after all these years and was looking to steal his powers away. However, B-Law opened up his jacket to reveal a varsity jacket, and then beneath that, the hundreds of stones that he had caught that night simply by having a Stone Soul. 

He pelted the demon with stones and just did not show mercy. The hell creature fled into the night, down Craig and towards Alamo Heights. It passed Dr. Caraway’s house. Mistaking it for a UNESCO World Heritage Site, he urinated on it.

Until next time…keep on rocking in the free world.

 

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About the Contributor
Evan Hamaoka, Student Life Editor
Evan Hamaoka is a senior at Keystone. His hobbies include creative writing, playing guitar, eternally searching for the worst movie of all time, listening to music, performing harsh vocals, running, and over-analyzing media. He is a part of LitMag, theater, soccer, and track.

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