The Educated Roach
May 5th 2004

           Sergeant Edmond Roach was perched between two books on a bookshelf silently watching an English class in session. He was on a reconnaissance mission for the motherland; the colony of roaches that lived inside the tin walls of the school. His primary goal was to scout the English class to see if a platoon of twenty roaches could sneak through it and into the teacher's lounge to bring supplies back to a starving roach outpost. There were many different types of food in the lounge; coffee, apples, sodas, and of course doughnuts. Edmond Roach saw that the raid was feasible so he began crawling back to a crack in the wall, which led to the headquarters.

           Inside the Decagon, Commander of all Roachland Forces--General Douglas MacRoach was fuming. He and Prime Minister Winston Roachill were discussing the tactics of their raid. Their reconnaissance roach was due back thirty minutes ago. Suddenly Sergeant Edmond Roach stumbled into the room. Now General MacRoach could see what took so long--his whole lower carapace had been crushed. Edmond told General MacRoach that the raid would be risky, but could be pulled off. He also said he had been spotted and a hail of spitballs plummeted around him. He was hit, just as he was about to make it back to the crack in the wall. General MacRoach sent him to the sickbay and then called up the Green Roaches from their station in the science hall.

           During the briefing, General MacRoach told them of the hazard of spitballs, and that he expected no roach to surrender, turn traitor, or desert--no matter the odds. The Green Roaches nodded their antennae, and jumped up. They armed themselves with unbent paperclips, thumbtacks, and bits of old pencils. The unbent paperclip was the best the army had to offer because they were durable, sharp on the ends, and lightweight. The downside was the time spent bending them back and forth to break them. The standard M-16 paperclip took about two days to make. Thumbtacks were hard to come by, so few were wielding them. The bits of pencils were cumbersome because they were heavy and usually blunt. However, the finely tuned fighting group made the best they could of the circumstances and marched off to the teacher's lounge.

           The Green Roaches were arranged into four squads of five roaches apiece to try and avoid detection. The first squad was to get the attention of the students while minimizing the risk of direct fire to themselves so the remaining three squads could get into the lounge undetected. After the three raiding squads left the English class, the first squad would hide and wait for their return. Upon the return of the raiding party, the first squad would do their ruse again to allow an easy return to the Decagon. The second squad was to guard the door of the lounge, while the third and fourth squads gathered all the crumbs they could carry on two little squares of paper to be dragged back to Roachland.

           The first squad had done well, and the remaining three squads had made it through the classroom and were on their way to the lounge. The first squad hunkered down behind some books on a bookcase and waited for the raiding party to return. Meanwhile, General MacRoach had commandeered a wasp and was hovering above the battlefield giving orders to the supermarket raiding squads. They ran toward the supermarket as fast as their six legs could carry them, and when they got there the second squad guarded the door. The third and fourth squads ran inside and began gathering crumbs. Just as they were finishing up, a teacher lumbered into view, crushing the second squad that was guarding the door. General MacRoach flew in to the supermarket and warned the third and fourth squads of their impending doom if they were seen. He then flew down low and began stinging the teacher, who rushed out of the room and down the hall. Now that the route was clear, the third and fourth squads began to carry their plunder back to Roachland.

           Once they returned to the classroom, they found the squad that was supposed to cause a distraction in the class had left! This was because an evil lieutenant named John Kerroachy, had persuaded the first squad that the battle was a waste of time. The first squad had packed up and left for the Decagon! Once they arrived, they threw their weapons over the fence and fled into the darkness of the secret passages in the tin walls.

           Thus, the full force of the enemy was directed at the raiding parties. General MacRoach saw children screaming, throwing pencils, books, papers, pens, anything at hand. A few students rushed over and began stomping the raiding parties, killing off General MacRoach's fellow warriors and friends. He immediately began dive-bombing the students with his wasp, which gave the roaches on the ground time to regroup and try to drag home the precious food. A few made it, and they rushed into the crack in the wall and onward to the Decagon. Seeing that the food had been obtained albeit with heavy casualties, General MacRoach flew his wasp back toward the Decagon. As he landed, he was overcome with grief. Out of twenty roaches, five deserted, twelve were killed in the line of duty, one was missing, and two made it home with minor wounds. He looked at the food they had brought in and wondered if it was worth it. Were thirteen valiant roaches worth a square of paper loaded with a few crumbs that might get the outpost through a few days? He concluded that it wasn't and invited the two warriors to sit down and share a Krispy Kreme crumb with him.

           Meanwhile, as Prime Minister Winston Roachill was watching the midday news over a cup of tea, he saw to his horror that a news roach on a wasp had gathered remarkable footage of the missing warrior! He was being held captive under a plastic cup in the History Department. He immediately turned the TV up and watched as five students slowly took out their pencils and began to decapitate the Green Roach! Once they had performed their dire deed, they held the head up for all to see and then threw the body into the filth of the hallway. He immediately called General MacRoach and explained that Roachland must upgrade their tactics and weapons if they were to survive. Since General Douglas MacRoach commanded all forces, he asked for a meeting of the Joint Roaches of Staff. They agreed, and they were soon discussing the possible ways to upgrade their army. After the meeting they decided to commit their top scientists to designing new weapons and transportation. For weeks the scientists hitched rides beneath the school bus undercarriages to sneak into the Vocational Technology School. There they overheard the strength of steel, the angle for the strongest knife blade, and even the ingredients to gunpowder. Armed with this information and much other valuable knowledge, they returned to Roachland ready to try out their acquired knowledge. After hours of sweltering heat from forging, Roachland turned out its very first batch of paperclip swords. The swords were made by heating a straightened paperclip until it was red hot, and then beating it with pebbles until it was flat. Then they scraped the sword against the floor until it was very sharp. Now it replaced the M-16 Paperclip as the mainstay in Roach warfare. It took a while but finally all soldiers of Roachland were armed with a sword, due to round the clock work by workers overseen by the scientists.

           Cannons were made from metal pens found on the school floor. One end was crushed shut by being thrust between a locker and its frame during class changes. It was an incredibly dangerous job, so only a limited amount were made. After one end was mashed shut, a touch hole was bored through with a pointed paperclip. That was very time consuming work but in the end, industrious labor prevailed. As a result, three cannons were made and were serviced by the newly created Artillery Devision. Roachland also made armored personnel carriers (APCs) from lengths of discarded pencils wired together with paperclips. They had six wheels made from plastic bottle caps and were totally enclosed except for a small removable slat in the front so the driver could see. Roachland also made armored trailers so more of the food would arrive unscathed. Now Roachland was a fearsome enemy to the children of the English class.

           General MacRoach now had no doubt about the ultimate success of the next raid on the lounge, because of the APCs. He fearlessly led his troops out of the crack in the wall, and into the hail of spitballs, rubber bands, and pencils heaved at them. A few of these projectiles scored direct hits on the APCs, but the only discernible effect was a brief pause in forward motion. General MacRoach decided to use two APCs with trailers to make up the raiding party, and no squad stayed behind to distract the class. Once the APCs were safely on their way to the teachers lounge, the whole Roachland air force was put on high alert.

           The raiding party gathered the two trailer loads of food from the supermarket without a hitch, and they were now on their way back to Roachland. Halfway home, General MacRoach ordered the air force bombers scrambled, and the new artillery pieces were wheeled into range. Just as the raiding parties burst through the door, the bombers dropped fifteen smoldering homemade firecrackers that startled the class. As they dropped, the Roachland artillery began firing pebbles at the students. First a measure of powder was poured down the barrel, followed by a roughly round pebble wrapped in paper. After ramming the projectile down, a burning strip of paper was dropped on top of the touch hole. In response to the popping firecrackers and the roaring cannons, the children dove for cover under their desks and the new Green Roaches drove their careening APCs into the crack in the wall and onward toward Roachland!

           Once the food had been handed out to the starving outpost, General MacRoach made a grand feast with the leftover food for the scientist, warriors, and smelters who given their all for the success of the mission and glory of the Motherland.