©01 The Media Desk
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Jimbo stood and stared. The group around the man on the ground was clamoring for more kicking.
"Dirty cock lover." One of them growled and kicked the man again. This time the victim screamed in pain.
Jimbo had recognized the voice, but now he was shaken into action by the scream.
He reached into his car and seized a tire iron. Then he leaped into the crowd, standing protectively over the injured body of his friend, bashing everyone that came into range with either tire tool, fist, or foot. Jimbo was a street fighter from the old school, he tore into the hate inflamed crowd with passion and conviction.
The former object of their violence was more than just a friend of Jimbo's. They were very close friends. Jimbo was a closet homosexual, the bleeding man on the ground had been open for years, but he had always been very careful.
This time he had gone to the wrong homecoming party with the wrong people.
He had been looking for Jimbo.
The new fight didn't last long.
Most of the crowd didn't have the stomach for a real gangfight, and Jimbo's idea of a fight was not to their liking anyway. He didn't curl up and start begging, he hit them upside their head with cold steel.
The beaten man on the ground was almost whimpering as the cowards ran into the night.
The crowd was gone. Jimbo picked up his friend and carried him to his car.
"Jim, don't take me to the hospital, just take me to my apartment. I don't want the police. Please Jim." The wounded man put his smashed hand on Jimbo's arm.
Jimbo held the hand gently. "Ok. Just take it easy Carl."
Again they woke up in the dead of night. Mary got out of bed and checked Jack's clothes in the bathroom. She felt sort of domestic making sure his socks were drying.
Jack called to her softly. She went to him.
They stood by the window and looked at the lights of the apartment buildings and houses that surrounded this side of the campus.
Jack held her shoulders. "I am so proud of my homecoming queen."
"I'm only second runner up."
Jack went ahead and said it. "You're my homecoming queen." He kissed her neck softly.
She turned to face him and pushed him back toward to the bed.
Jack knew when it was best to not resist.
The butler made sure everybody was up, and breakfast was in progress long before six a.m. The TV crew rolled in right on schedule, then some of the people from the class showed up.
The girls came downstairs in civilian clothes and rehearsed the number. Then they ate a bite and went back upstairs to change into the school spirit outfits.
The TV reporter came in, she was to be the person at the scene while Varscroft's friend asked the questions from New York. The producer from Chicago was very accommodating, he liked the idea of using the girls, and he got the 'go ahead' from New York to have them sing 'good morning sunshine' before the opening of the show, and then they would introduce the weatherman.
The crew was taping shots of the house and the campus, and would highlight the entire two hour program. This was more than anyone had counted on, and the science segment would be extensive, for morning TV that is, almost five minutes. AND a possible bit on the nightly news.
Mary woke up first and decided they should go out to breakfast, especially since all they had was three warm beers and some leftover pizza. She got dressed and called home.
"We're not going to make it." Her mom said.
Mary's eyes filled with tears. "But I wanted him to be there..." Her voice failed.
"He's had a bad week, the doctor is afraid to let him travel."
Mary didn't hear any more. Her mom apologized again for her dad, but her words didn't even register.
In a few minutes, Mary said she would be home Saturday afternoon to tell them both something. Her mom couldn't wait to see her.
"I just hope dad's feeling better."
"He should be. He's getting more like himself every day sweetheart."
After she hung up Mary tried to decide what they should do later.
She had to be at the stadium at five to be briefed on the rally, then there was a banquet with the president and some other important types, then the rally at seven. But until then, there was more spirit judging, an art display of things from past homecomings, like a rendition of the Lincoln Hall in toothpicks. Or maybe you'd like to see a painting of the University Seal done in condiments from the cafeteria? How about a model of the 'Signing of the Declaration' in taxidermied prairie dogs. This stuff was billed as relics from the last fifty years of homecomings, and it proved that the silliness of today was a long honorable time proven tradition.
Well, at least it was fifty years old.
Jack woke up and turned the TV on, the morning news said something about the campus, and a live TV remote hookup with a new scientific breakthrough. Mary went to the bathroom to wash up.
"Jack your clothes are dry. Let's go get some breakfast."
"You want to risk the union? You know how stupid they can be."
Mary thought. "Let's go somewhere else." She remembered Betty saying the married dorm's breakfast was usually an all morning affair on weekdays. And with most classes canceled today, they would probably be a little slow rolling out.
But she knew better than to tell jack where they were going.
Jack and Mary got dressed and walked out to her car behind the music hall. She drove around the campus. They saw the Delt's setting up a hot air balloon, a truck that said 'Stervoto Bros. Human Cannon' was turning off Naval down dorm row.
"Seems a good time to stay away for awhile." He said.
Word was out all over campus. TV's were on everywhere, but nobody knew who it was about. Some speculation was they were going to have the human cannonballs on TV, others thought it was a stunt by the Media Center to win the prize. They would find out at seven when the news came on.
Dale had a bad case of the willies. He wasn't sure he would be able to talk when his turn came, he thought his tie looked stupid (it did), he was convinced his face was a world class pimple collection (it wasn't), and he had already forgotten which show they were going to be on (it didn't matter).
Harrison was pacing around, "Where's that damned Ralph?"
"I called his apartment, his roommate said he left to come here an hour ago." Mr. Crowley said levelly.
They were taking their places just before seven when Ralph made his entrance. "You know every street around campus is blocked by all sorts of stupid people? I had to walk over here from the church."
"That's only one block." Dale said.
"No I mean that Church of God the Father. FIVE blocks away." He plopped in a chair. He had shaved, mostly, he had on a fairly new shirt, and Peggy smelled cologne on him. He almost looked repespectable. Martha gave him a cup of coffee.
"Thank you dear lady. I'll see about a sainthood for you."
The TV producer motioned them to shut up. In the hall they heard instructions to the girls. Their monitor was on with no sound.
"And on three, ...two... go..." Somebody in the hall said.
"Good morning sunshine the earth says hello..." The girls sang.
Dale wished he could see Peggy better than in the black and white monitor.
After a minute the singing stopped and the producer congratulated them.
They heard the reporter lady talk about the campus to the camera, then she said, "But this insanity doesn't effect the serious brainwork inside the classroom, a graduate level class has been exploring the universe inside light particls space. That and more after these messages."
The girls started singing again on cue, then it all stopped when the red light on the camera pointed at them went out.
Jack was surprised when Mary couldn't turn down London street toward the gym. She wasn't heading for the gym, but she had to park off the alley behind the engineering building.
"We can walk from here." She said.
They walked around the empty engineering building, and toward the line of sorority buildings. But they didn't stop. Jack saw a bunch of girls pushing a huge paper mache wheel toward their building, but Mary didn't stop. She skirted a crowd looking up at an office building that was being covered with plastic.
His jaw dropped as they walked toward the married dorm.
Dale sat and waited.
"THREE MINUTES. THREE MINUTES." The producer said. Everybody got ready.
The reporter lady looked into the camera in the dining room.
In a minute Dale watched the camera light come on, and the reporter talked for awhile, then she was explaining some video shot earlier, and mentioned the twenty one human cannonballs. Then she talked about the class, "The physical principals of the ahhh, algabra...." She stuttered to a stop and looked at the cue card with her eyes watering.
Dr. Varscroft spoke up. "The physical principals of the trigonomic calculations and algebraic theorem of Pthagoras and Archmedes."
"Thank you sir. But I hear one of your students has christened it 'the Greek Math Class' May I call it that." The professor nodded. "What does a 'Greek math class' study?"
Dr. Canney took this one. "We study almost anything in the sciences that is expressed in mathematics, which is almost everything. Math is the universal language."
Ralph couldn't resist. "Even human romantic interludes can be expressed through mathematics." He smiled at her.
"So this new ground you broke is just mathematical?" The lady asked.
Mr. Blumn answered, "No ma'am. We are pushing the frontier of science into the realm of the very stuff of the creation of light itself."
Jack was scarred to even go in. "This is the Married Dorm. We ain't married."
Mary took his hand and led him in. They followed chatter and the smell of bacon down the main hall. The kitchenette was busy. Some of them recognized Mary from the queen presentation. A couple of the men remembered Jack from the basketball team.
The residents welcomed them with open arms, and fresh biscuits.
Mary was kidnapped and showed several of the resident's rooms.
Jack got to discuss basketball in depth with a man who was an assistant coach at the city's Catholic high school, something Jack enjoyed immensely, he really enjoyed it when faced with a large plate of bacon and eggs with fresh buttermilk drop biscuits and honey in front of him.
"Mary I hope you move in next week. It'll be great having you here around Thanksgiving." A girl said that she knew from several classes last year, but she couldn't remember her name.
"We're not getting married until the week after Thanksgiving." Mary said.
"No matter. I lived here with Ivan for two months before we got married." She smiled. "They aren't that strict about it as long as you've set a date and all. Why don't we go look at rooms."
"I was hoping we could eat breakfast.
"SURE! Let's go." Her friend started out of the room on a mission.
They discussed the new theories with the science editor in New York. Mr. Cramer, it seems, was fairly knowledgeable in the general ideas of where they were going, but as Dr. Canney and Harrison talked animatedly about what the class was pursuing, he seemed to drop out. After they had gone to commercial the lady asked Dale what he was doing in the class, was he a mathematical wizard or prodigy?
Dale didn't realize they were back on the air. He answered like he was just talking to her, not the entire country, "No, it was a mistake, I tried to get out of the class, but hey, I got interested and just sort of stayed around. It's been a lot of fun."
"Dr. Harrison, Dr. Varscroft told me the original idea for this inquiry had been Dale's. Is this true?" New York asked.
"Sure was, Dale wanted to know why a photon couldn't deteriorate in space without outside influence if it wanted to. I tried to explain to him that it wouldn't want to, then I thought what if it really did. Could something inside the photon influence the infinity of the non-relative universe inside? The answer was yes."
"So a college freshman has changed the course of modern high energy physics and relativity."
It's possible, and even likely, that our boy Dale has thrown a knuckle ball to the search for the Unified Field Theory." Ralph said.
Dale was blushing. "I didn't mean to." He said.
Mary's friend banged on John and Betty's door on their way down to the kitchen and dining area. Mary had just been given a plate of breakfast and was doing more eating than talking, this didn't seem to bother her friend, she was talking enough for both of them.
John came in, he was happy to see Mary, then he spotted Jack, he knew Jack from somewhere, but couldn't place where. Betty came in and acted like Mary and Jack were going to move in today.
Before she knew it Mary was upstairs looking at rooms on the third floor, she was shown a corner room, then a room on the short side of the 'H', then a huge room that used to be somebody's apartment. Mary was bewildered. She had lost track of which she liked and which she didn't.
"I think Jack should see some of these." She finally said, but when they got back downstairs, the men were gone.
They found them in the backyard next to the small parking lot, shooting baskets. Jack was standing with Guy Brooks, the assistant high school coach, they were trying to get one of the residents to jump from his leading foot on a lay-up.
Jack was shaking his head, he took the ball and walked to the sidewalk that marked the in-bounds line.
"Go Jack." Mary said softly.
The interview was over, but the girls still had to make one more appearance on the show, before the next weather segment. So they hung around the dining room, talking to Dr. Varscroft's friend Cramer in New York. The reporter was fascinated, he wanted to know where this would lead.
They talked some more, but most of the house people and the class were discussing the brunch that was being laid out by Martha and her helpers for them and the TV people.
They heard the girls sing another number, then it was over. The singers came in to a round of applause. The butler said how proud he was of everybody.
The group shared the brunch and chatted.
They watched the rest of the morning show and talked to the TV crew who was not too shy to join right in the brunch.
"Ladies and Gentlemen. Myersong, President of the University, and Mister VonVareing President of the Homecoming Committee!" The butler announced. The gentlemen walked into the room.
The TV crew had good instincts, the camera man fired up his equipment and had it running before the president was done shaking hands with Varscroft.
Jack didn't seem to hear her. One of the other men acted like he was trying to defend. Jack dribbled and stepped one way, then he broke the other way, dribbled maybe twice more, then he leaped, it wasn't slam by a long shot, but it was the prettiest easy-up lay-up that basket had ever seen.
"Now Sal, you do it that way." The coach said to the trainee.
Sal took the ball. To him it looked like somebody had raised the basket two feet since Jack's shot. He looked for Jack, then saw him.
"With inspiration like that we should make the Final Four this year."
Jack and Mary were kissing again. Something they seemed to do a lot.
The coach cleared his throat and Sal tried to make his shot. The ball ended up bouncing around the parking lot.
The ball bounced back towards the coach, Jack looked up from Mary. The coach dribbled back to the top of the key, a bare spot just before the sidewalk. Jack walked with Mary onto the court. Guy passed it to Mary, who almost missed the ball, she basically handed it to Jack with a look on her face that nearly melted his belt buckle, Jack took the ball and ran about four steps in a long circle to the basket, then he leaped.
"Dang Jack! I ain't never seen a slam dunk in person before. WOW. How do you jump that high?"
Sal was still talking.
Jack was kissing Mary again.
The assistant coach was amazed as well, he wanted to know how Jack could get enough momentum from a short run to carry the ball to the basket over the distance he covered in the air. Basketball was the last thing Jack was thinking of.
The president was introduced all around, Then he made an announcement "It has been decided, prior to any other events today, that this residence will share the spirit award equally with whatever other organization wins the usual competition." The President then nodded to the president of the committee.
"For giving the University unusually positive and wide-spread exposure in both the academic and extracurricular light, you have already been selected for the top prize in the competition, to share the overall award with the group chosen by the committee during the competition. Congratulations."
The group cheered, the TV man got it all on tape. Then the President of the University agreed to stay and have some brunch with them.
The coverage had brought the Rozbilski house into a position it was not accustomed to, people started coming by to see the place. The butler had to lock the big gate and post a small sign that read 'Grounds Closed'
The rest of the day was spent in celebration and plans were made for the house to ride on the butlers float tomorrow and attend the huge pep rally tonight. They decided to have Colleen, Harrison, and Rob accept the award at the rally. Harrison would represent the class and the other two the house, since it was a combined effort some of the class would be on the float with other house people as well.
Dale hated to admit it, but he still felt a little frayed around the edges, he wanted to go take a nap. He found himself being guided upstairs by the butler. "I'll come get you before the rally sir."
Jack had had his breakfast, and an impromptu basketball practice, now Mary wanted to go look at rooms in the married dorm with him. This was no simple matter however. The assistant coach came, and brought the basketball, Sal had an opinion about the west wing on the floor, and it seemed everybody else had a recommendation as well.
Mary showed him the corner room, with two windows looking at the back of the office building and another overlooking a formal garden behind a big house to the north. She thought it could be cozy, he thought it would be drafty.
They went down the hall a bit to another room.
Because of reasons nobody had ever understood this room was odd shaped with a three-sided closet, and a small alcove with a desk crammed into it next to a very narrow window The room hadn't been rented for several years, when Jack turned the wall lights on, two of the bulbs exploded.
"Perfect." Jack said. "I like this room, it has character." Mary looked around. It needed a coat of paint, and the carpet needed cleaned. But she saw potential here. It already felt homier than her dorm room in Cannon. Jack was already planning where he would hang his tapestry of Canada his grandparents had sent to him from their trip. Mary knew she didn't have anything she really wanted besides 'Swan Lake.'
"I think we could move in real soon." She said.
Dale was still groggy at the pep rally, but the first sonic blast from the Prairie Fire woke him right down to his soul. They played a long and brutal thunderstorm of sound to quiet the crowd and announce the beginning of the rally. Dale didn't go on stage, he sat and watched them announce the Rozbilski house as winners of half the spirit award through ingenuity and simply taking advantage of a situation.
It was not unusual for the sprit award to be split, there was even records of the award being split between a dormitory that constructed a 'Stonehenge' of newspaper bundles, a fraternity which flooded the first floor of their house to the ceiling and lived in scuba gear for two days, and an apartment complex that jacked a house trailer fifteen feet into the air to prove something that wasn't entirely clear, the three way tie was under the theme, 'the spirit is at home'.
It sat a record for confusion on the judging committee. Since then there had only been one other dual award. Until this year. This time the split was announced before the judging had even officially started. So the tradition of strange and unusual was intact.
Dale sat awe-struck when the Homecoming court was announced.
All nine of the young women were dressed down to the ground. Ralph got up and nearly killed himself and others getting to front row center stage.
Mary was surprised that all they needed to move into the married dorm was a paper that Betty produced from an antique filing cabinet that said they were married, Betty scratched out a few words and wrote in, 'to be married' and left the date blank. They both signed it and Betty witnessed it.
They looked at each other, it had been natural to sign it, then they thought about the implications.
"We need to get a marriage license. And a blood test don't we?"
Jack looked at Mary, "You're not my cousin, why do we need a blood test?"
Betty was puzzled. "You haven't gotten your test and license yet?"
They shook their heads.
"We should get that started right now. Let's go downtown now and get that, you can move in a little when we get back." Betty said.
Mary and Jack just nodded.
Betty was an organizer, she instinctively planned out what they would do the next few days, including the banquet and the rally, and where they could park, and it was a short walk from the married dorm to where the parade broke up, and every other detail. Betty made it all fit, and sound easy, then she wrote it all out in neat curving script for them.
Jack stood in the hallway, Mary kissed him, "I guess we're going to go through with it." She whispered to him.
As they headed out to Betty's van Mary noticed several of the guys heading up the stairs with rollers and buckets of paint.
Dale couldn't believe how beautiful the homecoming court all looked, they were escorted by the R.O.T.C. in full dress uniform, and were presented by the heavily dignified university president, and some other assorted dignitaries.
As they were introduced the girl appeared with her escort, they walked to the President and the chairman of the board of the selection committee, there they exchanged bows and the girl walked to the front of the stage alone, she nodded to the screaming and cheering crowd, then she was joined by her escort and they walked to one side of the stage and stood there uncomfortably while the next finalist was introduced.
Ralph couldn't have gotten any closer to the stage, but luckily for the girls the footlights of the stage were so bright they couldn't see his facial expressions.
Colleen, Harrison and Rob were waiting just off stage. They would be announced first, then there would be music and some last minute stunts, and after a final conference by the judging panel, the co-winners will be announced.
Dale was now thoroughly caught up in the general excitement, for the first time since Monday he felt like himself again. Dale saw a plastic shopping bag about half full of small cans of beer working through the crowd. He knew beer was forbidden here, he told Dr. Canney to grab one for him as the bag came by. Canney did better than that.
The physicist looked around at him. "You sure you feel back to normal?"
"Yes sir. I feel a lot better, I think I'm cured."
"You look like your old self too. Unfortunately." Canney grinned and handed him a plastic cup full of beer from a keg he was sitting on. "You don't see nothing." He said.
Jack was lost while the clerk asked them a bunch of questions.
"Are you a leper, are you in love with your sister, are you two related by adoption, do you live in New Jersey, have you ever been arrested for impersonating a republican, are you now or have you ever been an Eskimo?" And things like that. Mary answered for both of them, then Betty walked with them down to the Health Services in the City building.
Jack bled buckets on cue. But the nurse had a little trouble getting Mary's vein to cooperate. Mary was concerned that the bandage would look bad on stage later, so the nurse took special care with the needle, finally the vial was full. Jack was amazed at how beautiful Mary's blood was, he hadn't looked at his own. But hers was deep red, it looked strong and vital. He held her hand and looked deep into her eyes as she winced as the needle was withdrawn.
"I guess there's a little less of you to love now, so I'll have to work harder at it." He said to her.
The nurse felt nauseous, seventeen years in public health hadn't bothered her at all, until just now.
The Pep Rally was in full swing.
Dale stood in place and did and slowly turned in a full circle. He watched the pep band dancing and playing. The cheerleaders doing a routine. Various sports figures were pumping the crowd up even more. The place was standing room only and Dale tried to see every person there. Back by the entrance some security guards milled around hoping they wouldn’t be needed. On the other side, some of the court waited to be called out. The marching band was there too. As well as a couple of TV crews. An energetic photographer was running in place trying to get even better pictures of it all.
“Wow.” He said. Then he took a sip of his beer.
“Wow wow.” He said when he realized he was drinking a beer in public.
The fact that absolutely nobody else in the place would even notice never occurred to him.
Back at her dorm Mary changed for the banquet and gave instructions to Jack about what to move for her so they could spend the night in the married dorm. Once she even called it "Our new home."
Jack was still a little uneasy about moving into the 'Campus Married Student Housing'. One of the men he had met was a Theology major, in his five minute chat with Jack while the girls were upstairs he had quoted four Bible verses, one in Greek and English, Jack wasn't sure Hairy would even come visit.
Jack had made a trip to Mary's car with her huge suitcase stuffed full, her laundry basket stuffed full, and three plastic grocery sacks full. Jack noticed her poster was off the wall, and most of her knickknacks had evidently been packed. Jack took her computer apart and put it back in its box, well, most of it, parts of the computer seemed to not go anywhere near their box. He gave up and carried it down to the car. He was tying her books up with her belts when she came back into the room. Maggie and Cindy were behind her. Jack had seen her in her gown before, but the total package, with sash and flowers and hair and...
"Jack, you're hyperventalating." He heard Maggie say.
"Jack, close your mouth, you're drooling." Cindy said to him.
"Jack, I love you." Mary said.
"How do you keep getting more beautiful? Its magic."
"No not quite." Cindy said. "Thirty dollars of makeup, maybe. But not magic." Mary tried to kick her. "Those shoes are a lethal weapon girl."
"You've got to get to that banquet." Jack looked at his watch.
Mary's face dropped, for the first time Jack noticed she was wearing quite a bit of makeup. "I know."
Jack dropped her off and unloaded the car at the married dorm, then he made a quick trip of his stuff. There wasn't an awful lot of 'his stuff.'
Jack did not own a typewriter, or a 'real' computer that was worth moving, though he did have a nice small stereo, and his own easy chair, as well as one of the ugliest floor lamps ever made in Taiwan. His clothes took up one shopping bag and Mary's suitcase, Jack's suitcase had vanished awhile back. His 'junk' for the most part he gave to the house, that is, he abandoned it.
At the married dorm he found their room had been painted, there was a huge fan in one window and another in the hall, the carpet was still damp from the cleaning, "I hope you guys like the color, it was what paint we had left from another room." John said to him as they carried the stuff up. "We've gotten good at painting, there was a guy here a couple of years ago who worked for a painter while his wife was in school, he taught us how to paint, fast and good. One coat."
Jack thought painting a room took a week, several coats, and you had to get paint all over you and everything else. Betty met them on the stairs, "We're all ready to go to the rally and cheer for Mary"
"You're going to cheer for Mary?" Jack couldn't believe it.
"Yeah sure, well, some of us anyway. Mary lives her now, and since she was representing the Independents instead of a dorm, moving won't disqualify her. So we're going to be her official cheering section."
Jack thought, 'why not?'. He knew they gave out a prize to the finalist, not counting the queen herself, with the loudest cheering section, so she had a good chance of winning. With the basketball and most of the soccer team, the house, her dorm, and now the married dorm in her corner, she might win the noise prize.
Jack borrowed the third floor bathroom and got his second surprise of the day. The bathroom was divided up inside. The shower stall had been cut in half, the sinks had a partition around them, and the toilet stalls were in a room by themselves for all practical purposes. The room was a maze of false walls and curtains. Jack found his way around and did his business, he just got in the shower when he heard a feminine voice say, "You're new here. I guess you didn't know about the signs."
Jack knew this was God's way of getting even for the way he caught Mary at the beginning of the year. He took a deep breath and opened his eyes. The woman smiled at him, she was a few years older than he was, he had seen her that morning cooking breakfast. He thought she was Sal's wife.
"Hi, Jack. I'm Kim Caldell, you talked to my husband this morning. I know you remember him, the religious scholar and fanatic."
Jack felt about so high. The woman hadn't seem to notice he was naked. She was wrapped in a towell, barely.
"I need to get dressed." He said.
"We'll all leave together after while. Let me explain these signs to you. The blue side is for boys, the pink side for girls." She showed him the sign on the hook. If you don't want to be disturbed, you know, you hang your towel over it." She hung her towel over it and walked into the stall with him. Jack didn't believe it, couldn't...
****** DR. VENSON GREY MYERSONG
"LADIES AND GENTLEMEN OF THE UNIVERSITY FAMILY!!!" The cheering and booing, and clapping, and whistling died. "I will be brief!" Much cheering. "I have had the great honor of being your president through some tough times recently. I have enjoyed my time here. I feel I have learned a lot about you, and myself. I wish to return to teaching... administration has lost some of its appeal recently. I wish to the road I set out upon so long ago. I will resign as President effective December thirty-one. I thank you for this marvelous experience. I will remember all of you... fondly."
The stadium was silent.
"One of my last official duties will be to introduce the two runners-up and your Campus Queen." Scattered cheers, the silence was still almost overpowering as the weight of his announcement sunk into the crowd as the most popular official the school just said he was leaving. The president sensed this and waved the band into action for a few minutes.
After a ragged start, they launched the fight song again.
"And now the second runner up!"
The lady wasn't bad looking, and Jack felt some of the old heat down south, he saw her notice even through his now soaking wet towel he was holding around him. "My husband may be concerned with Eternity, but I still want to live a little, and you're not married yet, so." She moved to him and gently pushed his towel aside looking at him with a smile, then she leaned into the spray of water. And into him.
'Damn she feels good.' Jack thought to himself as she wrapped her arms around him.
Jack was well over six feet tall barefoot. Kim was maybe all of five feet when wearing heels. The difference in height was even more pronounced as she melted into his skin and rubbed her entire body against him gently.
She smiled at herself, she knew exactly when she would stop this, but she was going to enjoy every second of it up to that point. And something between her and him was coming up to a point, full against her stomach, just below her breasts.
Kim hugged herself tight against him. She loved the feel of his muscles against her. She felt his heart pounding here and there.
Jack took a deep breath. "I'm sorry. I can't this isn't. No. I appreciate it. But no. I won't tell. Anybody." Jack undid her arms from around him, reluctantly. And as she backed away and they stopped touching, he sighed meaningfully. Then he retrieved his wet towel and made for the shower door.
He did take one last look at her as she stood in the water almost pouting.
"You are very nice looking, I would have liked to have met you last year. But now. I'm engaged."
She smiled, "Thank you for the compliment. Maybe I'll see you again. There's nothing wrong with sharing a shower you know, it saves water. Maybe some other time?"
Jack smiled back at her. "Sure. We'll just save water together."
Kim looked up and let the water spray her full in her face. She was on fire. It had gone better than she could have hoped. She loved teasing, and jack was perfect. She washed herself slowly, relishing in the touch that had been and the touch that was now.
Jimbo had put Carl to bed and wiped his wounds. Jimbo was sure his friend had a couple of cracked ribs, and he was bleeding badly from one ear. Jimbo knew he was hurt a lot worse than he had said.
Jimbo kissed the nearly unconscious man softly. "Carl, I've got to take you to the clinic. I don't want you to die on me."
Carl was beyond protesting.
The big strong young man easily lifted Carl off the couch and carried him back out into the night.
After he laid him carefully in the seat of his old car he heard car doors slam and shouts. "No, not now, please God not now." Jimbo begged with his eyes closed.
"Faggot lover, I got something for you. And your boyfriend."
Jimbo recognized the voice from earlier. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the man holding a small silverish pistol.
'OK, now we're playing my kind of game.' Jimbo said to himself. One of the lessons his uncle had taught him when he was home from jail and stayed with Jimbo's family was how to saw off a twenty-gauge double barreled shotgun so it fits in an angled hole in your dashboard. Jimbo learned it well.
The man with the little pistol never really got a good look at what Jimbo was holding, and he never got a shot at him that counted. Jimbo came from around his car low and fast, he leveled the stubby gun and let one barrel go as the pistol swung his way. Many small pieces of hot lead changed the pistol man's life forever. The other hate mongers broke ranks, one of them caught some pellets in his hindquarter. Jimbo reloaded and put the gun back where it had come from.
"Now Carl, let's get you to the clinic. I'll send an ambulance for our friend over there." Jimbo held his friend's hand tenderly.
The pistol carrying man, wounded and shamed, made his way back to his car and drove to the next town. He tried to not give his real name, but the police found it out anyway, then he wouldn't say what had happened.
****** THE PEP RALLY
Mary saw Jack waving at her from the other side of the stage right at the very front of the crowd. She waved back, then they listened to President Myersong's speech. Mary got all choked up, she remembered his face and his voice at Carol's funeral. Then the scandal about the fire.
She heard her name called from another world. Then her escort tugged on her arm.
She couldn't resist, as soon as her escort let go of her arm she turned to the President and gave him a big heartfelt hug. The crowd cheered.
Mary let go of the President, then she took his hand and towed him to the front of the stage, he resisted a little, then gave in. Mary raised his hand overhead like he was a boxing champ.
There was a spontaneous standing ovation and the band played "Hail to the Chief". Myersong was speechless. He bowed repeatedly and tried to calm the crowd. Finally order was restored. Mary saw the President had a tear running down his cheek.
"Thank you my dear." He said in a breaking voice.
The band started another song, a sweet slow dance rolled over the crowd.
The president was still standing there, trying to recover his dignity, she didn't give him a chance. She took him and started to dance to the music, he followed, then he started leading. He was a very good dancer.
The crowd loved it. Mary's cheering section led the way. The rest of the finalist and their escorts started dancing too. The Queen felt a little cheated, but the ranking officer of the R.O.T.C. lead her onto the stage and they danced as well. Mary handed the president to the Queen and the crowd roared their approval again.
This was not the way the program was written, but here, the program had a tradition of not being any relation to the schedule of events as they played out.
Dr. Harrison was conferring backstage with the judges, They all agreed, the spirit prize would not be split after all. The whole thing would go to Myersong, with special honorable mention to second runner up campus queen Mary Henderson, and the Roz House, and the class, and the dorm with the human cannonballs. But the first thing they had to do was get control of the rally again.
The TV crew was delighted with the turn of events. It was better programming than their prime time lineup.
Dale cheered, and drank beer, and waved his arms, and fell off the milk crate he was standing on, spilling his beer. Somebody handed him a milk jug of 734-proof moonshine that nearly killed him, so he got more beer. There were beach balls bouncing around, and toilet paper flying, somebody in the back had bottle rockets they were setting off.
"This is GREAT! WOW WOW WOW! OH WOW!" Dale said.
Jack wanted to get on stage and dance with Mary, and in a few minutes she pulled him up to her. They had their dance.
"I give up." The chairman said and went looking for drink and maybe somebody to yell at.
The captain of the football team had the microphone, he was trying to introduce his girlfriend, the first runner up. But nobody was listening.
A man Mary had been introduced to as 'Dr. Harrison' from some house she had only vaguely heard of took the microphone from the president. He looked at it a minute, then he walked over to one of the cords hanging off a light. He wrapped it around the mike, the held it next to the metal pole. A piercing shriek from the speakers nearly deafened the crowd, but it got everybody's attention. He gave the mike to the football captain.
"Thanks." He said. "Ladies and gentlemen! The first runner up! Miss Holidae Carmen!" There was considerable cheering. But the crowd was still dazed and confused by the feedback.
Myersong had recovered from all of it. After the First runner-up had walked a circuit of the stage and had her boyfriend on one side and her military escort on the other side he introduced the Queen.
"May I present to the University Student Body your Campus Queen. MISS. Pamela. Chase!"
This time the crowd roared as one. The queen took her walk.
The president was still clapping for the queen when Dr. Harrison relieved him of the mike.
"After consultation with almost everybody on the stage, it has been decided that President Myersong will receive the entire SPIRIT AWARD for this homecoming! For going out of his way to single handedly disrupt the pep rally!"
The crowd again, on cue, went nuts.
Dale fell off his milk crate again. He hadn't had a real drink since leaving the dorm, more than a sip or two. And he was feeling the effects, but the general excitement was responsible for his lightheadedness far more than any drink. He was really having fun. But suddenly the group from the house was dismayed. Harrison was on stage babbling about giving their prize to the president. With them getting a special honorable mention with Mairnorm dorm's human cannonballs, and the second runner-up.
Rob was back with them from the stage, "We still get to be on the float at the end of the parade, right in front of the queen and court."
Dale was still confused, "I thought that was picked by a secret committee?"
Peggy laughed at him she knew better than to ask that around here.
Rob was jubilant, "Remind me to explain our homecoming to you."
Dr. Canney looked at him. "You understand it?"
"Hell no, that's how I can explain it. Nobody understands it!"
Dale laughed and threw a roll of toilet paper back the way it had came.
The band was playing again. The crowd was starting to filter out.
The house group waited around for Harrison, then they too started out for home.
Dale whistled the fight song in the shower.
Mary and Jack wanted to be away from everybody, but they were surrounded by people, girls from her dorm, people from the married dorm, a TV crew wanting to know why she put the president on the spot, and some people without a mission just looking for a party.
Jack kept telling people he didn't have any plans, Somebody was trying to get the independent house to have a party for their second runner-up. The house was declining with feeling, they didn't need another wild party to get them put on sanction. And the married dorm wasn't ready for a rockus bash.
The crowd stood around arguing about where was the best place for a throw-it-down-and-do-the-war-dance party. Jack whispered to Mary and they eased away from the crowd and literally ducked and scurried back to the music annex. Their room was still undisturbed except for some fresh linen.
"I don't understand, every room on campus is full this weekend, you'd think somebody would want this one."
Mary looked at him, "You know we're roommates now."
He made a face. "Living together, sounds so, so, ..."
"Sinful," She offered he shook his head, moving toward her slowly, "So ahh, permanent, maybe yuppie, TV-ish, ..." She ran out of words.
While the happy young couple occupied themselves in the music annex far from the festivities after the rally, the independent house was being taken over by people looking for the party for Mary.
All of the house guys stood around outside, they did not want to have a party, in any way shape or form with the administration breathing down Dr. Wilson's neck to keep the house in line.
Doug, '76 had an idea.
"Let's all go over to Dr. Wilson's and explain what's going on, and have him have the campus police raid the joint." Doug, '76 looked around at the guys. "Unless you have some contraband you don't want found, but the way its going you're going to end up raided anyway."
The music from the house was getting louder. Barry and Steve talked it over. "I guess we don't have a choice."
Peggy met him on his way back to his room. "You're just going to bed?" She asked.
"Yeah. The rally is over, I was going to get a good night's sleep for the parade tomorrow. I was even thinking about going to the game." Dale smiled like he had decided that on his own. "Do you know who we're playing. I thought I heard somebody say Illinois, I thought that was a lot bigger college than us, won't they beat us? They play people like Philadelphia and Michigan."
"Dale, we're playing SOUTHERN Illinois, it's the same size school as us. And this is a University. Come on, put on your play clothes. I'll wait."
She didn't explain to Dale that the Philadelphia team he was thinking of was a professional team, there was no point.
The group was on Dr. Wilson's porch, they were trying to explain what was going on. Doug, '76, had taken over the job of trying to tell the advisor that this party was not of their doing.
"Where is the rest of the house? Jack and Mary? Hairy? The rest of them?"
Doug, '76, went through the list, he had already learned everybody's name and M.O. "Hairy went with his cousin to a party at the Sigma Sorority, Jack and Mary haven't been seen since the rally was done but they're not at the house, Ramsey went to the hospital to make sure Bonker's really going to be out before the game starts tommorrow, Roger and Larkin are keeping an eye on the house while we're here, and I think Bud is at his girlfriend's dorm. That's everybody that's not here."
Dr Wilson was impressed. "I don't remember you and I was just starting here in '76."
"I graduated mid-term, they got my name on the wall at the house."
Peggy laughed to herself waiting in the hall, Dale may be part of a nationally famous group of deep thinkers, but he was still Dale, with his 'playclothes', and his left and right socks, and his constant state of mild confusion she thought was so cute. Dale came out, she smiled when she read his T-Shirt, 'what I don't know won't hurt you' it said.
"Where did you get that?" She asked him. He turned around.
'The Great Greek Math Class' the back read in fancy lettering.
"It was Dr. Varscrofts idea, we are all supposed to wear them tomorrow for the parade. I thought I'd show it off tonight, where are we going?"
"Just follow me." She lead him down the stairs, Dale noticed the house was empty. They went out the side door towards the fishpond.
Dale was amazed. The pond had been almost cleared of scum, there were funny looking torches everywhere, little boats with candles in them floated around the pond. Dale smelled roasting meat. There was music like Dale had only heard on TV commercials.
The President was there, as well as class, the butler was dressed slightly out of character in a white sharkskin suit with red bow tie. Miss Alice was dressed as some sort of island woman with a colorful knee-length thing with no shape of its own and flowers in her hair, she was having a wonderful time.
"Hey chum, come 'ere of'en." Harrison was trying to be a pirate.
Colleen was dressed to stun. She wore a grass skirt, and no shoes even though the night was brisk, with a top made of a couple of seashells and string, her hair flowed with flowers. She was constantly in motion, partially to keep warm, partially because she loved watching Ralph trip over furniture and people to keep her in sight.
Dale spotted the roasting meat, a whole pig, turning over charcoal.
"Wow." He said.
Doug, '76 started in about how the three years he spent at the independent house were the best of his life and how he hated to graduate at mid-term but he had a job waiting and-
"Sorry Doug but we don't have time for all that now, I'm going to call security and have them meet us at the house."
The advisor shut the door behind him. Doug just stood there, he was a little crestfallen by the interruption. In just a minute the professor was back.
He put his hat on and lead the way back to the house. The party was still going strong. Larkin hailed them with his unmistakable baritone.
"There's more people in there now than while ago, but none of them are ours, or any alumni that I recognize."
Mrs. Smith was around the side of the house looking through the big window. "Mr. Wilson, I don't know any of those people, most of them don't look like college kids."
Security rolled up. "You report a hijacked house?" The lieutenant said with no humor in his voice.
Dr. Wilson pointed to the window. "Those people are not students that I know of, the house residents are all out here or accounted for, this party was not planned or approved, and I want them out of there."
The security man looked the house over, then he called for backup, and a paddy wagon, "OK. We got this." He said levelly.
It didn't take long. The police and security forces had been waiting all night for one of these. They surrounded the house, then the lieutenant walked up to the front door and knocked. When nobody responded he knocked louder and announced his presence in a loud authoritative voice.
The door was jerked open and a mean drunk rushed out intending to be really stupid with the porch full of cops. The lieutenant had the man cuffed before he could belch twice. Then the raid was on.
The party theme was 'a night on the island', which isle was not mentioned, so the participants picked one and had a good time.
Benjamin came out of the garage carrying a kayak, dressed more or less like an Eskimo and announced he was from Victoria Island and he would rub noses with any woman that doubted it. He put the kayak in the pond and paddled around the candle boats like a slalom course. He made it from end to end without touching a boat. The party cheered. He reached up and took a pineapple drink from the butler.
"Very good job sir. You were a natural." The butler said with almost a hint of a smile.
Dale had ran back into the house, he came back with a beach towel and sunglasses. He sat up shop next to the pond and stretched out.
The chauffeur arrived with a date and brought an umbrella chair with him, the party was a big hit, far into the night.
Jack and Mary didn't find out
the raid until early Saturday Morning when Jack showed up at the house to get some clean clothes to wear. It seems he packed his dirty laundry and left his clean laundry in his dresser. Jack didn't even try to explain where they had gone, but he was fascinated by the story of the raid. Billy filled him in while Mary made some phone calls to find out where she was supposed to be.
"All of these townies and some guys from Southern, and who knows who else decided we were having an open party, so they started without us. It was great, there were cops, and a TV crew, and they put the people in a wagon then it was full, so they brought a school bus. And some of them had drugs, and one guy had a gun, ... it was great."
"Did anybody get arrested on anything serious?"
"Yeah a couple of them did, one had some outstanding charges, and they were all fined, and one guy tried to beat up a cop, and some were underage..."
"How many people were there?"
"A hundred or so, the place was packed. It was a great party."
Dale ate roast pig and some rather strange side dishes like hot pineapple chunks that had been cooked wrapped in leaves, and a flat chewy bread, and some figs. He had his picnic with Peggy and the chauffeur on his beach towel. Ben ate aboard ship, the others ate wherever it felt right. The president was having a wonderful time, he had taken his shoes off and was sitting with his feet in the water, eating and talking and sipping from a coconut.
He smiled at Yyavonne, "You know I haven't been seeing anybody regularly."
She seemed flattered. "I thought you were serious with that lady on the city school board."
He watched a small catfish eat the crumbs he was throwing in the water. "She decided I wasn't her type."
The actress wondered aloud, "Who is your type?"
The University President didn't look at the woman next to him,
"I think you might be Miss Meade. I saw you in that production of
"'Der Ring Des Nibelungen' I was very impressed."
"It was a very bad staging of Wagner. And I am not an opera singer."
"But you did very well. A full Ring Cycle is not an easy thing to do and you handled it much better than most. I think it expanded you. As an actress and as a person." Myersong was a very charming conversationalist, and Yyavonne was more than willing to be charmed, and flattery was always welcome with her.
Miss Alice noticed immediately and had Mr. Burrows, acting as the entertainment coordinator (DJ) for the party change to some more danceable music instead of the steel drum music he had been playing. It worked.
The president asked the actress to dance. They did.
Doug, '76 had decided to do the one thing he had never done while he was a student, throw a party that he could remember the next day. He talked to Dr. Wilson after the raid, and set it up for after the homecoming game. They had heard that Bonker would be released that morning and he would be allowed on the sideline with their football team in a wheelchair with a nurse watching over him. Of course the guys from the house would try to be around Bonk as he made his entrance, and ol' Doug, '76 was going to be right in the middle of it, or possibly die trying.
Jack had read their marriage license about three times every hour. It stated that they were to be married such and such a date, and Jack hadn't talked to the minister yet, they didn't have the reception arranged, he hadn't told his parents, he had no idea where to go on a honeymoon, and he hadn't even thought about renting a tux. Jack realized his idea about wanting to get married NOW wasn't overly practical. He had just a few business days, and three practices to get it lined up.
He looked over at Mary sleeping soundly in their room in the Married Student Housing/Dorm.
"Yeah, I can do it, for her, I think I could do anything.... even eat pistachio ice cream." Jack turned out the light and tried to go to sleep. It was too quiet. He heard music from the big house behind the dorm, and there was lights at all the sororities on the other street, but the music was distant, and the lights dimmed by the trees. He snuggled up to her and finally fell asleep to the sound of her breathing.
Mr. Burrows was back to playing island music and a few tapes of Hawaiian war chants. The President had gone for a torchlight walk around the garden with Yyavonne. They had found themselves kissing in front of the Sun Singer as well, but they didn't worry about it.
Dale had eaten way to much pork, he was starting to believe the speech Poi Kareem made about eating 'swine'.
Peggy had gone for a walk with Jeannie around the house, the chauffeur had become closely involved with his girlfriend so Dale went for a stroll of his own, he was watching the butler who was eating and drinking and having a wonderful time of it with only a hint of his normally formal self, Dale saw many wide smiles.
A few minutes later the butler was chatting with Ben who was trying to get the Kayak out of the pond and getting himself soaked in the bargain. The butler never broke his stone cut face with even a small grin. Dale figured out they had switched sometime since the last time he had saw him, but he couldn't figure out how. Then a few minutes later the butler was first in line for the limbo contest, he ended up flat on the ground laughing to beat the band. Again they had switched, but how?
Colleen showed everybody how flexible she really was, Ralph almost had a seizure of some sort, he drank a whole pitcher of beer to fight it.
Saturday was starting slowly, Mary had her shower and was getting ready to head for the parade lineup. The weather was threatening rain, and a chill wind was blowing from the north. Mary couldn't decide what to wear over her gown, so she took her old poncho in a grocery sack and hoped for the best. Jack kissed her goodbye and said he meet her at the breakup point on campus, the basketball team had decided to only have a couple of players on the 'Spirit of Sports' float instead of their own Leon had volunteered, and James Blackthrawn had been drafted.
Jack got his stuff together and headed for the shower. He had always hated shaving, but Mary liked him clean shaven, so he lathered up and made faces in the mirror. Then he got in the shower, but he forgot the tag outside. He had a nice cloud of steam building up and was rinsing the lather from his neck when he realized he wasn't alone any more.
"You forgot to change the sign again Jack." Mrs. Caldell said softly.
Jack took several deep breaths. "How did you know I was in here?"
"I know everybody's routine. There's Al, he brings a radio in with him every morning, and then there's Biscuit, ahh, Jerry. He always goes back and forth about three times." She was wetting down her hair, perfectly at ease.
Meanwhile Jack was a nervous embarrassed wreck.
The limbo contest came down to Colleen and Mr. Crowley. Everybody started wagering on their favorite as the bar was moved ever lower, Dale had literally fallen out as soon as he had to bend his knees and lean back to get under it.
Slowly the field had narrowed, with one of the Greek Math Class seeming to be the man to beat.
Crowley made no bones about it, his secret was mathematical, weight versus leverage and timing, "But she's just more flexible."
"And better looking." Ralph said to clear that up.
Crowley laughed, and had another drink as they moved the bar down one more notch.
Colleen stretched her legs. Ralph poured ice water down his own back and bet heavily on the woman.
Everybody noticed that Greysong and Yyvonne had returned. They weren't holding hands, but they were standing very close together. Crowley was behind in the betting pool, but it was acknowledged that if he made it past this round he would become the favorite.
"You see, she's more top heavy, that's a disadvantage." Dr. Canney said. He had been betting against his friend, until this round.
"Not from where I'm standing, twenty more on the girl." Ralph waved money towards Varscroft, the leading supporter of Crowley.
The music was going again and Crowley approached the bar, now several inches above Dale's knees. Myersong was in for fifty on Crowley, most of the house was backing Colleen. Dale was confused and had been betting on one this round and the other the next.
Cont in Two Dorms Part 27
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