Into the Multiverse: Stuyvesant’s Secret Wormhole

A student meets fellow Stuyvesant students from across the multiverse.

Reading Time: 5 minutes

As the Swim Gym teachers yelled at me to stop drowning, I decided to actually try for once and began to thrash my legs around in the water. That’s how you swim, right? Swim Gym is usually the time when I zone out and contemplate life.

I think I might’ve kicked my feet a little too hard, because the edge of the pool quickly came into sight. But instead of slamming my skull into the smooth tile, my head made contact with a hardwood table.

“Ow!” I cried as I fell back onto the floor. I glanced behind me, expecting the judging eyes of my grouchy swim teacher. Instead, I saw what looked like a disk of pepperoni circling around the ceiling. That’s when a sudden chill hit me and I realized that I wasn’t in Stuyvesant anymore.

However, that joyful realization was quickly interrupted by a confused cough. I looked up to see four pairs of wide, human eyes staring at me. There was also a rat at the table, but I’m used to that by now—subway rats can be ruthless.

I could see their eyes scan my body, judging the cheap swimsuit I bought last summer at Walmart.

I quickly got up. “Why are you looking at me like that! There’s literally a rat sitting right next to you!” The rat gave out an offended squeak. “Sorry,” I said instinctively, forgetting that I was talking to a rat.

“Stuyvesant students are weird…” one of the kids at the table said. I couldn’t help but notice his hoodie emblazoned with the words “Brooklyn Technical High School.” I guess there were two rats.

“Shut up, Timmy,” a girl snapped, “that right there is a Wormhole.” She pointed at the pepperoni. “The multiverse is real!”

I shrugged. I never doubted Marvel. “So we’re all from different universes?”

“Yeah. And we’re all Stuy kids. Except Timmy, obviously.” We all glared at him. He covered his hoodie defensively.

“So, what are your universes like?” I asked, desperately trying not to be awkward. I took the last empty seat at the table, my wet swimsuit squishing against the back of the chair. Everyone was silent.

“I’ll go first, I guess,” I muttered. “In my universe, Stuyvesant is full of nerds.” A murmur of assent swept through the room.

“I guess that’s a constant…we also have a lot of escalators! Whether they’re working or not is a different matter, though.”

“You have to pay to use them, right?” a girl interrupted. I gave her a funny look.

“What do you mean? You have to pay to use the escalators?” I asked, thinking of my monthly LIRR ticket budgets.

“Like, you don’t have to pay $8 for your monthly escalator pass?”

“$8? That’s so random. Wait, isn’t that how much you have to pay for Twitter Blue? Did Elon Musk buy Stuyvesant’s escalators, or something?” I asked jokingly.

“The entire New York City Department of Education, actually. That didn’t happen to you guys, I suppose,” the girl whispered, the trauma evident in her eyes.

“Uh, yeah. Last time I checked, Elon Musk almost went bankrupt buying Twitter. How did he even buy the DOE?”

“Duh, he built that resort on the moon! Even Mark Zuckerberg went! Anyway, as soon as he bought the DOE, he tried to rename Stuyvesant X Æ A-12 because he couldn’t legally name his child that. Thankfully, Principal Yu did not let that happen; instead, we named it Muskvesant.”

“But you still call it Stuy?”

“Yeah, the change didn’t really go over well. I was actually in a rebellion meeting when I got sucked into this wormhole. We were discussing the disbandment of the Spectator Humor Department. Funnily enough, that’s Musk’s only popular policy. According to him, comedy is now illegal. How ironic.”

A deathly pale boy emerged from the shadowy corner of the table. “Humor?” he asked, his voice small and meek. “What is that?”

A chill went down my spine. Something was seriously wrong with this kid. “Does it have anything to do with my nightly 100-minute Animal Farm reading assignment?”

“Wait, 100 minutes? Doesn’t that exceed the homework policy?” I asked.

“Homework…policy? I’ve never heard of such a thing,” he said grimly, his black eyes staring deep into my soul. “We get at least five hours of homework a night. And that’s if you’re lucky.” The rest of us exchanged worried glances.

I saw his hands twitch out of the corner of my eye. “Heh, well at least I’m a freshman, so it’s not that bad for me.”

His face contorted into a grimace as I revealed my true identity. “A freshman? You filthy creatures have rights?” I couldn’t help but back away from the table. I stared at him in shock.

“What do you mean?”

“At MY Stuyvesant, freshmen are nothing but servants to the esteemed upperclassmen.”

“Aw, but freshmen are just little minnows in the large ocean of high school!” the kid sitting across from me exclaimed.

We all turned to her. “What, do you guys dislike minnows or something? That’s weird, because they’re all around school.” Our stares turned into confused looks. “The Hudson is full of them, guys—the ones in the Hudson actually have three heads.”

By now the room was silent except for the snores of the pale, lifeless boy. “Are you saying that Stuyvesant is under the Hudson in your universe?” I asked slowly, trying not to gag at the thought of the putrid murky brown water as I passed the riverfront each day.

“Wait, you guys go to high school on land?” she asked, her eyes widening. “That explains so much.” She glanced at the oblivious rodent that had begun to eat the hair of the snoring freshman-hater.

“I’m sorry, but how do you even survive under the Hudson?” Timmy asked, daring to speak once more.

“Oh, well, one in three students develop genetic mutations, and by sophomore year at least half the grade has lost their sense of smell,” she sighed, touching her nose. “This is what I sacrifice for a quality public education in New York City.”

“Could’ve just gone to Brooklyn Tech…” Timmy mumbled. A period of silence followed until laughter broke out among us, including the rat. Timmy sunk low in his chair.

“Brooklyn Tech?” the girl wheezed. “You’re too much, Timmy.”

Suddenly, the door burst open behind us. “Who are you?” the intruder exclaimed, dropping the lunch tray he was carrying. That’s when he noticed the wormhole, turned, and sprinted back out the door.

I stood up and peeked outside after him. “Guys… we never checked what universe we are in currently…” We were surrounded by glass walls looking out into the never-ending abyss of outer space. Displayed upon a hanging banner was the name of this alternate reality: “SpaceX High School.” A tear rolled down the Muskvesant student’s cheek.

“We still can’t escape Elon out here!”