The Student Publication of Keystone

The Keynote

The Student Publication of Keystone

The Keynote

The Student Publication of Keystone

The Keynote

Stone Soul Quarter 3: Apres moi, le deluge


Après moi, le déluge.” The words translate to “after me, the flood,” which is a phrase famously said by the hedonistic King Louis XV some years before the French Revolution. He knew the monarchy and country would suffer from his terrible rule as king. He also knew he’d be gone by then, so it wasn’t his problem to care about or fix.


In that spirit, we pass on the Stone Soul torch to the juniors—though, I don’t think heads will roll after we’re gone.


But what is “Stone Soul?” Some say it’s a survival tactic against psychological warfare programs. In interviewing B-Law, I learned he transferred from the US Air Force Academy to UT Austin. But do you know why he transferred? 


One chilly summer night, Dr. Lawrence was in his fighter jet, flying a mission over mysterious territory. Out of the black, a missile tore up the sky and hit his left wing. His radio crackled and shut off. The plane went into a tailspin and he ejected himself just before its final death spiral. Dr. Lawrence landed in a field and was immediately dragged out by hooded figures at gunpoint. He was taken to the headquarters of CollegeBoard, where they kept him in a prison cell and attempted to brainwash all the joy and merriment out of him.


They tried to break things dear to him. He was forced to burn books. He was lowered into shark tanks and spike pits until he agreed that yelling at children for asking questions was good. They steadily encouraged him to crush creativity at its roots. They tried making the SAT his god and GPA his archangel.


Legend has it he resisted the brainwashing by having a “stone soul.” He closed his eyes and imagined his soul as a solid stone amidst waves of deception and greed. The water simply could not move his convictions and principles, and he stayed sane through the torture.


One night, the lock fell off his prison window. (CollegeBoard had neglected to spend money on their prison in favor of selling minors’ data without their consent.) Freed, Dr. Lawrence ran across miles of wetland—through barbed wire nests—into the promise of dawn. Just before he reached safety, he decided that he would dedicate his life to battling this educational titan. He would become a teacher. He turned around to face the camera.


“To submit an act to Stone Soul,” he said to the puzzled reader, “all you need 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 obscene, B-Law and the council will approve it for performance. 


Anyhow, our third Stone Soul of this year was hosted by Julia and Olivia Vilagi. Like every other Stone Soul, it goes without saying that it was absolutely fire.




Straight out of the gate, Stone Soul opened with a bang. “King For a Day,” a metalcore song performed by myself (guitar, backing vocals) and Yaseen, the only other person I know who can metal-scream, went hard as the kids say. Yaseen belted out unhinged roars while I picked sixteenth notes with frenzied hands. I thought of my first Stone Soul, performing death metal over Zoom during the pandemic winter.


Immediately following this furor came Kate R. performing “Rachmaninoff Elegie.” It was a soft, mournful lamentation that reminded me of ocean waves and tears that cannot break the surface. It tugged on my heartstrings. Audrey performed “Casa” by Ouidad, an upbeat French pop song with an acoustic guitar backing.


Some people consider modern art awful, for it purposely breaks conventions of realism and artistic technique. Others consider it groundbreaking and subversive. In that vein, eight freshmen (led by Taj “Steve Harvey” Hans) performed an episode of Family Feud where everything goes wrong. My friends and I sat four feet from the stage and couldn’t tell who won. Papers fell off, questions were exposed at the wrong time, the mic peaked every five seconds, and much of it was incomprehensible. I loved it.


I’m not sure how much of it was intentional, but maybe the line between disaster and performance art is more blurred than we think. I foresee many more promising acts from them in the years to come.


After a game where a pair of best friends from each grade were tested on their knowledge of each other, Taiga (guitar), Charlie (vocals), and Yaseen (guitar) performed “No Surprises” by Radiohead. I’m not sure if my favorite part was Charlie’s vocals or the driving tambourine beat over lyrics about slow death and carbon monoxide poisoning. Probably Charlie’s vocals—he’s just an amazing singer.


Tristan and Cash played Hot Ones, an interactive game where they tried progressively spicier wings while talking to the audience. Tristan told a story about being left in a warehouse for two hours as his face turned scarlet as a phoenix. Cash seemed to have a higher spice tolerance, but the final pair of wings combined with the hottest sauce yet caused the pair to stumble. They made it through, without milk or throwing up in the provided bins, to a wave of cheers from the audience.


Ella Sofia, Natalia, Sophie, Sofia, and Lucia performed an acapella rendition of “Try Everything” by Shakira. My first thought was that the Barden Bellas really gotta move over and make way for the next generation. 


After thunderous applause, a metal table was wheeled in with a timer attached. Ryan, in his first-ever Stone Soul performance, dazzled us all by speed-solving three Rubik’s Cubes. His lightning-quick hands solved a 3×3 in less than 13 seconds and a 2×2 in less than five. Afterwards, Ruby performed “The Old Therebefore,” a beautiful song from the Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes soundtrack. Notably, she belted out a sustained high soprano note and the window panes almost shattered.


After a break, we opened up again with Caden Garza (guitar, vocals) and Bella (bass) performing “Starjump,” a shoegaze-y and high-distortion song about love. 


We had two literary acts in a row! Nidhi read another one of her original poems—“Spa Days,” a deeply personal piece about childhood memories and family and time. Lilian did some stand-up comedy about the nature of swearing before they read from their book “Big-Gas Trucks” (about big-gas trucks). I reminisced on the time a big-gas truck almost flattened Shashi in the Yellowstone Wendy’s drive-thru. He was saved by an angel’s hair of divine luck. Anyway, if there was any justice in the world, their book would win a Pulitzer. 


Tavi performed The Promise by When In Rome on acoustic guitar and vocals—a fantastic interpretation of the original, electronic version—and wooed the crowd. 


Yaseen and I performed my original song “Apres moi, le deluge,” the namesake of this article. I composed it in the car and had Yaseen on drums. It’s a melancholy, jazzy song full of stupid hope and violent imagery about various departures—from my home, from school, from the living world. It will have a music video when I publish my album.


The second game was Pictionary on easels with markers. We only got to “Orange Chicken” and “Mr. Spedding with a megaphone.” I wrote half of the cards. The tragedy of it all was that we never reached the card “Extremely ripped Mr. Handmaker lifting 400 pounds.”


Caden (vocals), Rafa (guitar), Tavi (guitar), Mars (bass), and Ollie (drums) performed “Re-Do” by Modern Baseball. I was headbanging the entire time. Ollie finished it off with a frenzied drum solo. Ricardo sang Finishing the Hat, a musical theater song about finishing hats, the struggles of an artist, and love for one’s craft.


Half of the seniors performed a cult ritual, and it wasn’t even affiliated with NHS this time. We chanted choral lines from Oedipus The King about death and gods and divine destruction. I read the lines like a fire and brimstone preacher. Anyway, it lasted way too long and many of us (not naming names) got quieter past the first minute or didn’t participate at all! For shame, heretics! At the end of it, I wanted to smite my father and have four children with my mother.


Lastly but certainly not leastly, a boy named Orion performed “A Boy Named Sue” by Johnny Cash. We closed out a glorious night with that heartwarming tale of country revenge.




The chill filtered out my bones as we exited the cafeteria. We put couches and stands in the wrong places. People forgot their extension cords, ate cookies in the moonlight, or hung out with friends they’re only able to see once every few months. I got a lot of compliments on my original song and rode home happy. On my way home, a big-gas truck (to quote a junior skilled at writing) cut me off and I had not the anger to swear. 


Kate and I, the last ones to leave, walked to our cars and lamented about the end of an era. It was our last Stone Soul as organizers and a sad departure. We talked about hedonist kings and their devil-may-care mantras and decided that we do care what happens after we’re gone. Maybe we’ll still help set up the next one. (Force of habit.)


But now’s not the time to despair or be sentimental. We still have one more Stone Soul left. Until next time…keep on rockin’ in the free world.

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About the Contributor
Evan Hamaoka
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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