U-32’s Alchemist

This article is written by Journalism student, Cody Young.


For so long the forbidden mysteries of U-32 have been kept a secret. From everything U-32 has seen, one student stands out from the rest, trailblazing a path of their own, either to fame or repugnance. Typically, ‘school’ and ‘concoctions’ aren’t seen in the same sentence, bearing such incompatible portrayals. Except, what if they were?


They call him Dallas Sulton ’El, but his legacy lives on as U-32’s alchemist. He was the creator of each appalling concoction in the school. The concoctions consisted of various ingredients. “I would gather stuff from the school lunch…you know, pour milk in there, sometimes water, sometimes both. Sometimes we get some sauces in there. [Then I] mix it up and fuse it into one gross, nasty-ass thing,” said Dallas. “[There was] applesauce, cranberries, and whatever. Usually whatever’s for lunch. Sometimes [there would] be chicken bones floating around in the soup. And then he leaves them outside and it just grows into something,” said Cavan, a student at U-32. “You couldn’t pay me to eat it. I mean, maybe for enough money. Maybe like a million dollars.”


The Alchemist’s recreation of what the concoctions looked like. (Cody Young/The Chronicle)


Dallas has mainly made the concoctions in plastic water bottles, but one time he used a juice container because it could carry much more, making for a greater concoction. However, he ultimately decided against using larger containers for his alchemy. Dallas said, “That was too much to carry around.” 


Blaise MacKenzie—another student at U-32—has Dallas in his TA. “He brought them into TA every single morning in his bag, and he would unscrew them a little bit. I remember distinctly, one time he unscrewed it and it made a hissing [sound],” said Blaise. The smell of Dallas’ concoctions never stayed smelling bad. Blaise said, “When he opened it, he said it smelled really bad because he’d been like, unscrewing it in his face.”


Each concoction could live for days at a time, sometimes upwards of half a year. “[Dallas] said he was fermenting them. I think he said it was to enhance the taste or something like that,” said Blaise. Fermentation ultimately led to mold, which was present in most of his concoctions. Blaise said, “It’s literally just throw-up. There was like a white layer of stuff…rising to the top there was like a white layer of balls. They were clumpy, [and] they got very gross.”


Dallas has many stories of his creations, some being almost unbelievable.


A concoction in his middle school career lasted for over two months, “One of my friends took it out and opened it, and it started bubbling up. It was actually so hot inside [the concoction] that it started melting the plastic [of the bottle]. It almost exploded on the table. Eventually, I poured it outside, because y’know, you want to dispose of it, and it killed the grass,” said Dallas. 


He has made eight total concoctions from middle school to this year, his sophomore year. Five of them were made in his middle school years, two in his freshman year, and one this year.


Despite making eight total concoctions in his career of alchemy, Dallas never had any explicit inspiration to make them. Dallas said, “Most things I do, and things I want to do [I do] just because I feel like doing it. You know? That’s my drive, [I] just feel like doing it. [There was] no motivation, I just feel like it because it’s funny [and] it’s gross.” He made everything by himself.


“It’s funny how disgusting it is, but then once you get past [it being funny], it’s just disgusting,” said Cavan. The question is whether the concoctions hold any comedic merit or not. Wyatt Malloy—a student at U-32 who is hearing about the alchemist for the first time—said, “I think it might hold some comedic merit to a specific group of people that would find this funny, but I don’t think [that] such a thing could be made just for comedy. I don’t think it should be made at all.”


In the event of a further mess due to Dallas’ alchemy, the custodians would be required to clean up his mess if it got too disgusting to handle. “Our custodial staff deal with a lot and they shouldn’t have to deal with these kinds of actions. I don’t think we should put [more of] a burden on them with this concoction. I’m not sure if it’s an object of a liquid, but either way, it’s a disturbing substance [that] I wouldn’t want to have to spend my time cleaning up,” said Wyatt. 


Many students remember Dallas’ most memorable concoctions in middle school. “The locker one was accidental,” said Dallas. “So, a kid told me to put a smoothie in my locker. I thought it was funny because it’s just like a smoothie in a locker. I was going to take it out, but I kind of forgot about it, so the smoothie stayed in the locker until the end of the year [8th grade. The locker bay smelled terrible, but I didn’t use it so it wasn’t really [a problem I experienced]. I found it again when we were cleaning out our lockers before high school. I did [eventually] dispose of it. I brought a trash bag to school, covered it, and I brought it home.” 


Zeke Betit—a student at U-32 who was in Dallas’ locker bay—said, “The smell was horrible. Let me tell you, that was a rough time to be in that [damn] locker bay. [The locker bay] was sectioned off for a day, and by the next day [it] was cleaned up. I assumed the janitors came in. I felt bad for them and everyone else [who was in the locker bay].”


“The smoothie [incident] made me start to not want to [make concoctions] anymore,” said Dallas. The whole of his freshman year, he only made two concoctions, both consisting of at most, dirt, water, and paper. Dallas’ most recent concoction was one he made this year in a juice container. “I was trying to cook with that one, but I decided it was [too] nasty, and I didn’t have it in me to do it anymore,” said Dallas. “Kind of like how Mike Tyson doesn’t want to fight anymore, I don’t want to make them anymore. So, I like to see myself as Mike Tyson in that scenario. I’m not gonna make any more.” 


Currently, U-32’s most renowned alchemist has retired from any further alchemic endeavors.


Despite Dallas’ status within the student population regarding his numerous concoctions, there has been a long history of kids making weird concoctions in the past. “I’ve been here for three years and this has been going on since I started [working] here,” said Amber Larrabee, one of U-32’s nurses. “It happens multiple times a year where kids are dared to drink or eat weird concoctions that are developed in the cafeteria. Often three or four, maybe more times a year, kids come [to the nurse’s office] after eating something that their friends or some [other] people have made. I remember a kid last year drank something with a lot of Tabasco sauce in it. It was like French toast and hot sauce all mushed up and ground up together. Maybe [there was] even some chocolate milk.”


“Dallas has a little effect on other people [drinking the concoctions], but I feel like kids are also just generally drawn to putting weird things in bottles,” said Blaise. Dallas never distributed any of his concoctions to other students. However, there have been occasional isolated attempts by other students to dare each other to drink them.


Blaise MacKenzie’s current reaction to The Alchemist. (Cody Young/The Chronicle)


Depending on what the concoction is made of, it could be detrimental to any individual who drinks it because of its acidity. Amber said, “If they don’t have any food or beverage already in their stomach to protect the lining of it, then the acidity might irritate [the stomach], causing heartburn, burning sensations in the chest, belching and acid coming up, or an upset, nauseous stomach.” However, there aren’t any long-term effects, making it not quite a poison.


“I guess my only advice would be if you are going to be dared to do something like that and you want to accept the dare, make sure that there’s something in your stomach [before] [eating/drinking it, since it] could really upset your stomach,” said Amber.


Regarding the use of such concoctions, there are differing opinions on whether they are edible or not. “If someone consumes them, it could be considered a weapon,” said Kerri Zurowski, the high school health teacher at U-32. “Especially [if it] was going to ferment, it could combust. I am [pro alchemy] with the exception of two things. Keep it edible, and don’t let it ferment.” When food ferments, it can essentially become alcohol, graying the area around alcohol and substance use in the school. 


Most teachers are either unaware or unconcerned with alchemy at U-32. “I’ve been caught making [them], but [teachers] didn’t do anything about it because like, what are you really gonna do? It’s not hurting anyone,” said Dallas. However, if the concoctions became explosive, “I think there should be suspension because it could have caused a lot of harm,” said Kerri. “If you dared somebody to consume [them], maybe like in loft, because that person had a choice to consume it, but I think if [they can] potentially cause harm [to] multiple people, I think there should be a higher consequence. You never know what can happen.”


Despite the detest of the concoctions from other students, there is some good that can come from their creation. “I think it’d be kind of cool if they kept it as more of a weird food combination,” said Kerri. “I am all for weird food combinations and all that, but if it could potentially cause harm, you know.” Furthermore, Wyatt said, “It could be cool to look at the effects of decomposition on your own, but I don’t think a school locker is a place for it.”


“Kids are going to do what they want,” said Amber. “I think [completely] preventing something like that is not really attainable.” Without enforcement from teachers, kids can continue to make concoctions to their heart’s content.

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