This article was included in The Pitch’s April Fool’s Day edition: “The Catch”. All content is fictional and written for the enjoyment of the student population.
On a treacherous, bleak night just a short time ago, wind whistled around Walter Johnson and snow flurries darted through the air. Under a soft, yellow light on the corner of the school’s property, a tree swayed in the wind, not aware of the fall it would succumb to just a few hours later. This tree was the smoking tree, and after its tumble, WJ would never be the same.
The smoking tree stood on the edge of the WJ school complex, near the fence separating the school from the Georgetown Square. Students were known to congregate around its trunk to light up and take a break from stressors in school as well as socialize and chat with friends.
Over the years, knowledge of this less-than-legal meeting place came to the attention of the school’s administration, resulting in surveillance and security postings. During a winter storm a of couple years ago, the tree cracked and fell into the school’s parking lot after facing heavy wind for hours on end.
“Boom! And it was down. It was crazy. I saw it keel over and then the trunk just split right off. I was just driving by and I… what was I doing out so late? Well, that’s unrelated,” witness Gordon Keller said.
The news spread through the community like wildfire, and since the incident, no sprout has sprung up in its place to reclaim the name “Smoking Tree”. Just a small stump now sits on the tree’s original spot.
Curiously enough, in recent months small signs and stuffed animals have collected on the stump, all starting with a message in smudged red sharpie reading “Love u 4ever”.
“I think it’s sweet, you know? It was here for a while and the fall was definitely pretty impactful for some people, so it’s a good pick-me-up. My friend and I made some little cards and stuck some stickers on the roots,” visiting graduates Catherine Smith and Andy Jordan said.