©01 The Media Desk
Back to the Desk
The butler handed out their freshly cleaned clothes. "You gentlemen my be happy to know that some refreshments have been prepared featuring a smoked salmon and a fresh Dutch Apple pie. IF you will ready yourselves, I will inform the ladies you will join them."
Kremin stared at the door after he had left. "That man has to ride with the Hell's Angels on his day off."
Dr. Harrison shook his head. "I've never known him to have a day off."
The group in the dining room was fairly impressive for this time of day in the house. The house was chartered to hold about twenty 'students', and four or five more 'academicians'. Since nobody was sure what the last category really was, it was used to bring into the house people that brightened up the atmosphere a little. Serious academics are usually a pretty boring lot left to themselves. So the trusties made sure there was a smattering of music majors, artists, maybe even a theater major, as well as the typical nuclear biologists, engineering students, computer types, and one young man who was studying philosophical law.
Kremin was nominated to fill a gap left when a drama student moved out to join a bagpipe commune. When Kremin declined he was asked to find them someone who was, 'young'.
"Mary." Jack said looking at her intensely, "You have to care. Nobody else seems to. I mean, I was late to practice the other day, and nobody even noticed. I think the coach is going to cut me."
Mary looked into his eyes, he was drop dead serious. "He wouldn't cut one of his fastest players would he?"
"Yes, yes he would. Especially after that Kentucky nonsense."
Mary tried to smile, "But your primary sport is basketball. You hardly ever started on the soccer team."
Jack nodded. "EjJohn is almost good enough to try out for the Olympics or something. I guess I'll never be that good."
"In basketball you are. That truck driver at the pinball machine wasn't kidding. I think you could turn pro..." She trailed off. Jack was far away.
"Come on.... I gotta tell somebody."
They drove to the parking garage behind the science building. Jack ignored the sign that blinked 'full' as he drove up to it. The Toy fit between the gate and the barricade.
"You've done this before." She smiled at him.
He circled around and up until they were on the top floor, looking out over the residences bordering this side of the campus.
"Now what did we come all the way up here for you to tell me?" Mary asked him as he turned the crackling radio down.
He gripped the steering wheel hard and didn't look at her. "Do you know Frank EjJohn, or Ben Kraig. Or maybe John Gaugehammer?"
"I've heard of them. Starters on the soccer team aren't they?"
Jack nodded, "Gaugehammer also plays b-ball." He took a breath. "They all use. Frank is real heavy into a lot of stuff. Coke, speed, a lot of pills. He even shoots up sometimes."
Mary's eyes got wide. "Drugs?"
"Almost the whole soccer team uses. A lot on the other teams too. Hell Mary, the only team that's tested regular is the football team. Every other team is loaded with drugs. Ben comes to practice so high he can't find the locker room. John doesn't do a lot, but he sells, his locker looks like a pharmacy." He turned to look at her. His eyes were wet. "Mary." He still had hold of the steering wheel, like he was taking the strength to talk from the little old car. "Mary. I couldn't stand it any more. I love to play. I know I'm not going to the World Cup in soccer, but I love to play. And they're ruining it all. If Ben had been straight we could have beaten Indiana College last week."
Light dawned on Mary. "You turned them in...."
Jack really looked at her for the first time in several minutes. The idea occurred to him that she really was very pretty. "Yeah, to the State Police on route 36." He looked out the window. "Names, places, the whole bit..."
"Jack." Was all she could say.
"I even told them there was a game tonight. After post game meeting and stuff they all get loaded up. Tonight, half the police in the county will be there as well."
"I don't know what to think." Mary said after some silence.
"Mary. I'll confess, I smoke up once in awhile. But I've never even tried anything heavier. Except some speed once in awhile. I got real scared one time, Christ, I thought my heart would explode. But Frank, he would get so wired, he was fast, damn fast, and the intensity, then the crash..." He didn't want to think about it. But he had to talk about it.
Kremin didn't tell Dale he was nominated because he was a nerd. That would be too hard on the kid. Dale couldn't help it, he was just a very young eighteen year old. And yes, he was a little 'geeky'.
For instance. Dale believed his socks, like shoes, have a right and a left. And he still wore 'school clothes' and 'play clothes'.
Only the trusties and Kremin knew the real reason. His acceptance was taken for granted, he never really formally accepted anything other than another piece of pie from Martha.
The simultaneous selection of Peggy to move in happened very fast and by none of the usual regulations.
Miss Alice asked her to move in.
"Another young lady moved out last month, she got married and stayed home. We just shipped her things back. The room is lovely, and has a nice view of the Cathedral. We'd love to have you."
The group in the dining room stared at the matron.
Kremin spoke up. "Doesn't that have to go up before the trusties."
Miss Alice seemed offended. "Mistor Ristor, in case you didn't know. I am the chair of the Minority Trusties. The second tier of share-holders of the bonds of the Foundation that owns the House." She held up a bottle of wine with a nearly illegible French Label, "My family label, Estate Reserve stock."
The wine was poured, Dale and Peggy got half a glass each, for the toast to the new residents.
They sat in silence for a long time. Mary finally had to give in to Jack's question about whether he had done the right thing.
"I think so." She said. "If they were all using, and John was dealing, they would eventually get caught. Maybe this will give them a chance to get straightened out."
Jack got out of the car. He looked out at the campus. Mary followed him and didn't say anything.
"I'm going to quit school."
"If anybody finds out what I did."
"The only way they'll find out is if you tell them."
He made a face and looked at his feet.
"I've got to get to the pep rally," He finally said. "Can you come?"
She smiled, "Sure."
Jack kissed her cheek and they got back in the car. He drove out of the garage the way he had come in and parked near the gym, Jack walked slowly over to the stadium locker room.
The pep band was already warming up. If they won this game, they stood to be on top of the conference for the rest of the season. It was as big a game as the soccer team would play outside the playoffs.
Jack fumbled around in his locker for awhile, then he went back over to the gym. Some of the guys were outside waiting on their cue.
"Hey Jack! We're having a party after the game. Come on over, it'll cheer you up."
"Sure Frank. I'll be there."
Suddenly Jack's conscious cleared.
The movers had Peggy packed, loaded, moved, and set up in an hour.
Miss Alice helped her straighten up her room. Peggy told the girls on the floor she'd stay in touch, her roommate was sad to see her go, but ecstatic she'd have the room to herself now. Miss Alice invited all the girls on the floor to the open house they were having in a couple weeks.
Peggy looked at her as they walked down the stairs. "I didn't know you were having an open house. When was it scheduled?"
"My dear. We'll take care of all of that as soon as we get back." She smiled, "It'll be wonderful, we haven't had something like that in such a long time."
Dale, on the other hand, had all sorts of problems.
His roommate was in the way, Kremin was giving orders, the butler was talking the floor assistant out of keeping his damage deposit, and he was on the phone giving his parents the news. Dr. Harrison, while he was in the van on the way over, was now nowhere to be found.
Somehow they got his stuff, his roommates stuff, and unclaimed junk sorted and into the van, at least most of it.
He couldn't believe he had accumulated so much stuff in so short a time.
"You see Dale, junk, when left in the dark, breeds."
"Doctor Harrison! Where did you get to, we could have used some help."
"Well." He started. "I went to the bathroom and then I ran into an old friend and..."
Everybody nodded, same old story.
Dale moved into the Judge Gray room. The judge was a friend of the original Rozbilski. A civil magistrate in some small town in Indiana, but an alum of the school nonetheless. A plaque telling of his thirty-two years of service to the people and a litho of a letter from President Taft thanking the judge for his advice and concern on the tariff matter hung in the room. There was also an old photo of the president and the judge discussing matters of national importance, or whisky, or both, hung between the windows. The room however was small, the dresser was partially built in to save space, the old wooden bed was narrower than a modern twin bed.
Dale looked out the window, hoping for a better view than he had from his dorm room. "Garage, dumpster, bushes."
The idea was for the pep band and cheerleaders to get the crowd pumped up, they'd introduce the team, then everybody would charge over to the stadium where the soccer team would proceed to slaughter the visitors.
It kinda worked that way.
The band played. Loudly. Nobody said good, just loud.
Mary watched them all come out to wild cheers. Even Jack, whom she knew felt as low as the gum under the bleacher seat she was sitting on, responded to the crowd like a champ.
The cheerleaders led the way to the stadium, followed by the team, followed by a good-sized crowd of supporters.
The official pre-game stuff took place, and the game started.
Jack started the game for the home team. The Arkansas State Indians had a lot of speed up front, and the dogs needed Jack's legs against them. And he was determined to show these junkies how to play ball, cleanly, before they all went down.
Arkansas was pumped. Earlier that day their J-V had cleaned, gutted and hung up to dry the Prairie Dog J-V to a tune of like 15 to 4.
The first few minutes went pretty much the way of the visiting school's team. But then...
"... Jack Foster controls the high header, the pass is to Kraig, then back to Foster. Simpson misses on the attempted steal as Foster cuts inside." The action was speeding up, the radio announcer worked trying to keep up, "Foster is all alone deep in Indian territory. EjJohn comes up to assist, Foster passes to him, EjJohn circles, he passes back to Foster who shoots... SCORE! GOAL BY FOSTER!!!"
The crowd roared. Jack ran into the high fives and back slaps of his team.
In a couple of minutes Jack was getting more high fives after a clean steal and feed to Matthews that led to another goal for them.
By the end of the first half, they were up by three and the air was starting to come out of the visitors.
But in the locker room the coach was all over Jack, wanting to know why he had been holding back until now. He had just been suspended for two games, the coach felt he was showboating now.
"I don't want no superstars on my team." The coach said growling into Jack's face.
Jack stood there for a minute, then he walked out of the locker room toward the field.
The coach's face was so red some of the guys closest to him could feel the heat off it. "Jones." He said still looking at the door Jack had walked out. "Stretch out, your starting the second half. Everybody on the field in two minutes." Then he followed Jack.
They met each other at the entrance to the tunnel through the stands.
"OK Foster. That's it. I've had enough of you. Turn in your uniform. I don't need your attitude any more."
"I sure as hell don't need yours."
They exchanged a few more pleasantries. At sufficient volume that everybody within a dozen rows of the tunnel entrance heard them.
Finally Jack walked back into the locker room as the team was coming out.
The Indians never got their legs back under them. The Dogs, minus Jack, won by two.
He had been sitting in the locker room, he could hear the PA announcer even while he took a long hot shower. Then he dressed and got a little worried about his team as Arkansas State scored two unanswered goals. But the Prairie Dogs stepped up and their defense held, towards the end they scored an insurance goal and held on to win.
The team ran in roaring.
Jack nodded and told the guys he'd miss them.
"You're still coming to the party!" Frank shouted.
"Yeah." Somebody shouted.
Ben didn't want to wait, he had a small square metal box and was tooting up before he was even out of uniform. Frank laughed and fished a bottle half full of a rainbow assortment of pills from his gym bag.
To Jack, it seemed like a dream. But it was terribly real. Two guys in suits went into the coach's office and talked to them for awhile. Jack felt a chill run up his back, he knew what was up. And he thought he'd better stick around because it would look funny if he left. The other guys ignored the two men in the office, they might have been reporters, or the coach's brothers in law.
One of the men walked out of the office and smiled and nodded at one of the trainers as he walked by. Then he noticed Ben.
Ben saw him, he turned and moved toward the toilet area of the locker room. But he never made it. The man in the suit moved like lightening and grabbed his arm and took the box without spilling any of the powder.
The room was suddenly full of cops.
They were all detained for questioning, several players as well as Jack gave full statements and agreed that they would testify. Everybody that had been in the locker room was processed, including urine tests, fingerprints, and a search for open warrants. All Jack had come up was an old campus parking ticket he still owed half the fine on.
The coach drove the guys that were released back to the campus. He did not say a word the whole trip.
But their ordeal was just beginning. The reporters were all over the campus. The coach called an emergency press conference in which he claimed he would fully cooperate with the investigation.
The released players decided that the only senior among them, Jack, be spokesman. He got up and said that he and the others felt obligated to do the right thing when questioned by the authorities. He refused to answer any of the reporters questions. The other players simply said they agreed with Jack and left it at that.
The university administration was caught completely flatfooted and couldn't even muster a 'No Comment at this time' until several hours afterwards. The athletic director was out of town, the President could not be reached, and the Provost took two hours to get to his office once they got him to answer his incessantly ringing phone.
At first light in the morning the NCAA and the Missouri Valley Conference came down on the school like a guillotine. All sports were suspended pending review of each program.
The football team jumped straight up in the air. They had drug tests for every player on file and told the conference they'd bus the entire team, trainers, coaches, and play by play guy to the hospital of their choice for testing, today. Which the conference took them up on. By Friday, the football program was back on track. Winning record intact.
Other programs went through similar pains to prove they were as pure as the driven snow (attempt at bad pun there, oh well) and most were reinstated within a week or so.
Jack, for his part, walked across campus to the Independent House.
He sighed and sat on a bench along the sidewalk.
There was a TV truck and a couple of reporters standing around on the sidewalk.
Two Dorms Part 8
To The INDEX PAGE
Back to the Desk