The Backpack Mishap

The ringing of a bell. Screaming. The end of the school year at Townsend Harris High School. Saying goodbye.

“Alex, wait you forgot your backpack. Here you go.”

“Thanks, Joe. I need to go home. My mom is going to kill me for being late,” replied Alex.

Joe was Alex’s best friend. Alex ran home. His long legs covered ground quickly. He realized that his backpack was heavier than normal. He ran through a mental checklist of what he had in his backpack: pens and his history book. It felt heavier than that. He finally got home and went to have a snack with his mom and brother in the kitchen of their tiny apartment. Alex’s brother, Bob, told him about his day at Hunter College.

He went upstairs and opened his backpack. He saw his papers, mostly B’s with one A. When Alex picked up his heaviest book, World History, he found a sheet of paper, addressed to himself, with directions to go to a building on West 32nd street. Alex debated whether to go to that building or not. He finally decided to go. He had read a lot of mystery books when he was younger, and he wanted to try to solve this one.

At midnight, he opened his bedroom window and climbed onto the fire escape. He walked down the fire escape. He ran until he got to a tall, faded, red-brick building. There was no traffic in this area which, he thought, was strange.

“Is this the place?” Alex wondered out loud.

Alex knocked on the door. Suddenly, a trap door opened underneath him! Alex screamed, but no one heard him. He fell on a long, twisty slide. The slide let him off in a room far below the street.

“Hello? Anyone here?”

The room was dark, with no visible way out. Then, a bear roared, and the lights came on. A huge seven-foot brown bear lumbered toward him. Alex looked around for anything to defend himself. All he saw was a broom. He decided to use the broom. He swung the broom from side to side as the bear approached. He jabbed at the bear who turned tail and ran. Alex examined the room. He saw a hallway near where he stood. Alex ran into the hallway. He looked into all the rooms hoping to see someone. Then he heard a voice that sounded like Joe’s.

It said, “Stop looking around in there. We are over here.”

Alex followed the voice to a room at the end of the hallway. Joe and a large man were sitting on a sleek black leather couch studded with silver buttons.

“I see you got my little present and passed our test with the bear. I work for MHDO — Mayhem and Destruction Order. This is my boss, Mr. Writer,” Joe said. “We have a job proposal. You will get good pay, and the jobs are not hard. Just sign here.”

Joe handed Alex a huge packet.

“Should I read through this 1,000 page packet?” asked Alex.

“Let me give you a brief summary. If you sign here, you give us permission to do whatever we want to you. Your salary is between pages 857-859. If you have any questions call us at 877-241-KILL. That’s 877-241-KILL. Oh, and by the way, that packet is 1,001 pages long. You didn’t count the deductions page. Yeah, just sign here,” Joe replied.

“Okay,” Alex said, feeling trapped.

“You start today. Your first mission is to blow up a building on Broadway. Here are your explosives. Just toss this sphere through a broken window. To blow this up ,you press this red button.”

Along with the sphere, Joe handed Alex something that looked a bit like a joystick for a video game.

“Will anyone get hurt?”

“No, the building is abandoned.”

“Why are you doing this?”

“That is not your business. If you want to stay safe, do what we say.”

Alex did not want to get hurt, so he agreed. He picked up the bag and walked over to a stairway. Alex emerged on West 32nd street. It was around one, and the streets were deserted.  He walked  to the building on Broadway. Alex took the explosives out and threw the bomb through a broken window. A police officer saw Alex and ordered him to get on the ground. When Alex didn’t do that, they got in a fist fight. Alex got battered and bruised but managed to knock out the officer. Alex ran down Broadway. When he got about a mile away, he detonated the bomb. The sound of sirens filled the air. He went back to West 32nd street. He reported that he had completed his mission and was told to go back to his home.

Alex snuck into his bedroom and stared wistfully at the wall, wondering what to do next. After completing his mission for MHDO, his body was all black and blue. His clothes were shredded and torn. He wondered if he should work for them again. Alex felt he would never fully recover from his experience with them.

Suddenly Alex heard a distant voice saying, “Wake up, wake up.”

Alex woke up and groaned, “Where am I?”

“Don’t worry, honey, you just had a fever. I heard you talking in your sleep, so I came into check on you,” his mom replied.

“So it was all a dream?”

“Yes, you can go back to sleep.”


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