Battle of The Books

Battle of The Books

Ayla Wize, Director of Audio Content

This week the ‘club’ known as “Battle of the Books” (also going by B.O.B) started. Ordinarily, our school would overlook such a club, mainly due to the fact that it goes mostly unpromoted (this is what makes Journalism and B.O.B easy allies- being forsaken by the school has its benefits). However, this is the first year in a long time that the school pushed the club into the spotlight, and that begs the question: why? The school only promotes events and clubs that they are proud of, like Knowledge Bowl and the Football Team (for some reason). Along with this, the original members of B.O.B had become increasingly sporadic- to the point where they blatantly threatened world domination. So, in the interest of checking in on our B.O.B allies, the Journalism class sent me out to check on them.

I can now say that something is wrong with the Battle of the Books people.

Before I get into the uncanny valley-esk thing I’ve just witnessed, I must first bring up how the Battle of the Books kids worked. The people there were a hardworking bunch of intellectuals, ones who fan-girl over the latest works of an author, show, or indie game. If you ever had the pleasure of meeting them, you would realize that they are proud of being in B.O.B- and had no problem letting you know it. They had a lot in common with Journalism in that regard. But over the course of the new school year, something was… off about them.


What led to the discovery…


The B.O.B kids no longer greeted the Journalism kids with friendly screaming- and they no longer walked around with the same aimless direction. Instead they were with their own group, planning something. Watching everyone who passed them. With growing concern, the Journalism class sent out one of our own (who requested to remain anonymous) to check on a few of the B.O.B kids. When they returned, they had a grim expression on their face and even grimmer news. “When I asked them if everything was okay, they just smiled and laughed. Then they pointed to a poster-.” (The poster was of a book with a sword) “I don’t think that they- that they are in the same league as us anymore.”. Within that week we all got bombarded with B.O.B kids telling us to join- not an unusual request from B.O.B kids, but something felt wrong with it.

The following week an announcement came over the P.A. It addresses B.O.B, and how they now are officially meeting after school. That never happens- B.O.B is too unrecognized for that. Out of sheer panic, Journalism had made a split-second decision- we would again send one of our own to check in on the B.O.B kids. The one who went the week prior refused- they had seen too much, and they did not want to be sucked down the Battle of the Books rabbit hole. With a heavy heart and no fanfare, I volunteered to check on our allies. My fellow Journalist friends called me “dramatic” and threw our interview microphone at me. Jerks.


Confronting B.O.B


Walking into the library for the first official B.O.B meeting was a strange thing. I was met with the chanting of “BOB, BOB, BOB,” in a cacophony of voices. Instantly I knew something was off, mainly because B.O.B had only eight members, and I was hearing about thirty people. I entered cautiously, reporters mic in hand and a sense of impending doom in my heart. Inside the library I saw the original eight members- four of whom I knew- surrounding the other twenty two students. I sat in the circle as well, just to see what was going on. 

While our newest librarian, Ms. Gallagher, instructed us on what was to come for the latest year of B.O.B, I caught the original eight members looking- analyzing– the new prospective members. When one of them- a thing going by the name of Aaron- looked at me I felt my very soul go cold. Something was very wrong. Aaron twitched his eyes (it was a very unsettling gesture) and continued looking at the new people. Once Ms. Gallagher finished her speech and allowed us to talk with one another, I instantly got up and began the interview process.

Interviewing a large group of people is not an easy task even if you have it all planned out. Interviewing a large group of people that seems to be held hostage by a cult-ish club is even harder, as people are figuring out ways to leave all the time. To combat the problem, I went straight to the source- I went to interview the original eight members.

The first one I interviewed was an old friend of mine, one named [REDACTED]. They were caught ever so slightly off guard by me shoving a mic in their face and demanding a quote about B.O.B, but they answered nonetheless.

“Hi [REDACTED]! I’m a member of student press-”

“Oh! The club will love to have some coverage.”

“Yeah! Could I get a quote from you? Why do you think there’s so many people here today?”

“Oh, I think it’s because of the posters and propa- erm, I mean-”

“Propaganda? Can you elaborate on that?”

“I- I just meant- it was a joke.”

“Oh, yeah. Of course.”

I moved on from [REDACTED] and went to [REDACTED 2], armed with new information and a half-thought out plan of action. [REDACTED 2] did not flinch when I jammed a microphone into their face.

“Hi [REDACTED 2]! I’m just here to ask about the propaganda you’ve been putting out in the school.”


“You know, the posters? The amount of- uh, screaming?”

“Oh! Yeah- I’m honestly surprised it worked. I didn’t expect this many people today!”

“Great, great. So, uh, how many people did you expect to show up today?”

“A bit less than this, but I’m glad it worked anyways!”

“Cool! I’ve got uh, Journalism stuff to do now.”

“Y’all would get a lot more members if you put up posters.”

I walked away, looking for the next OG B.O.B member to interview. Something was definitely wrong- the B.O.B kids, although slightly unhinged, would not resort to subtle propaganda- it wasn’t their style. They were too blatant, too excited, too themselves to be subtle.


The New B.O.B.


After interviewing several other B.O.B members (and learning about their hatred of both book-banning and young-adult novels), I went straight to the loudest member of the group. Aaron. Aaron and I have met numerous times, mainly over slander and copyright issues (he never got to sue me for libel, and I own the patent to his name now).

“Hi Aaron!”

“Hello!” His head spun one hundred and eighty degrees. Yup, not normal behavior for Aaron.

“Uh, um-”

His head spun back to normal. “What can I do for you?”

“I just have a few questions about the practices going on in this club-”

“Hold up, aren’t you one of the yearbook kids?”

Christ. That’s insulting. Shaking it off, I continue with my questions. “No. Aaron, what is the deal with B.O.B? Why are there way more people than normal? Why are there reports of propaganda and subliminal messaging? Why do some of the people here look like they’ve been put here against their will? Why did you just ask if I was a yearbook kid? We know each other well enough to know what respective clubs we’re both in.”

“Well, on one end, this is the new B.O.B! We finally got it to where the school knows what we are- and it took a long time for that to happen. That propaganda and subliminal messaging is nothing but a baseless accusation.”

“The other B.O.B members were the ones who reported it-”

“BASELESS ACCUSATIONS.” He interrupted. “And those people who look like they’re here against their will- they can leave anytime.”

“So they were still brought here against their will?”

“THEY CAN LEAVE ANYTIME. And for the yearbook thing- don’t yall’ literally just do the same thing? Only, yearbook does it better?”

“No.” Well, yes. But I don’t want to admit that.

Being insulted, tired and flabbergasted, I packed up my mic and began to leave. I would need to write this up immediately, before I could forget or be bribed to not publish it.

“Y’know, Journalism would get a lot more members if they advertised themselves. Maybe yall’ would even get a budget.” Aaron said.

“Yeah, maybe. I think we’re doing fine though.”

“Maybe people would even read what you write. Maybe,” He spun his head again and I started packing up faster. “ If yall wanted,” I looked around to see if anyone else was seeing this. Only the original members of B.O.B were looking. “ We could help. Y’know. If you publish a good article about us.”

“I’ll talk to Ms. Depaz about that.” I did not talk to Ms. Depaz about that.

“Alright. See you next meeting.”

I left the meeting, with nothing more to show for it than a few audio recordings and enough insults and implied threats to last the week. Something is off about the B.O.B kids, and I’m not sure exactly what it is. If they made a deal with the admins, if they sold their souls to the librarians, or if they just switched personalities in the middle of the night- I don’t know. I do know that this is not an article that puts them in a good light, but it is an article about them nonetheless. I’ll be going to the next meeting to see if I can get more information, but something tells me that going might not be a good idea. Anyways, there will be a new article next week over this, regardless of whether or not I get bribed or threatened.

    Thanks to B.O.B for their contributions to this article 🙂


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