Monday, Oct. 12, 2015 I woke up after four and a half days of fall break, wishing that I could do anything but attend my 9 a.m. honors seminar. It’s a great class and I am only annoyed by half of my classmates (a record low), but I was exhausted, due to the fact that I stayed up late doing French homework and catching up with my roommates. Seth had informed Joel, Michael, and myself that he had only gotten 12 hours of sleep from Wednesday to Saturday night. None of us believed him, but we humored him and pretended to care. Never mess with a ginger.
I climbed down from my lofted bed, narrowly missing the “Novice: First Place Speaker” trophy I had earned in Arkansas a couple weekends before. That trophy merely meant God gave me “radio” vocal cords, and I knew how to BS my way through long sentences that didn’t mean anything, but sounded marvelous.
I dropped to the ground, careful to check my landing spot beforehand. I turned off my noisemaker, grabbed a change of clothes, my contacts, my deodorant, and a towel. I always seemed to forget my towel, and have to ask someone to grab it for me.
There are four main options when you forget your towel after you've already taken a shower. The first is to commit harakiri with the closest sword shaped object. If you do this, be sure to stand in the shower so the police have less to clean up when they arrive. This is considerate. The second option is to drip-dry, willing your body not to become hypothermic as the water droplets evaporate from your skin. Once most of the water has transformed into a gas and left your epidermis, you can even dry off with the clothes you slept in. Make sure the older clothes aren't covered in blood or small shards of glass before you do this. The third option is to slick back your hair and make a mad dash for your room, hoping you can run so fast that your roommates don’t have a chance to marvel at your pale, misshapen body. This option should only be used when the first two fail, or prove impossible. The fourth and last option is to cry for help, praying that your roommates are both awake, and willing to help. This option relies on what kind of person you are, and also depends on your roommates. If your personality is that of a serpent, and your friends are likewise, then they will definitely not help you. They may in fact grab your towel, soak it in ice water, and then throw it into the middle of the commons, surrounded by bear traps.
Anyways, it is best to remember one’s towel. I quickly took my shower, and then spent an exasperating 80 seconds styling my hair. I have a wonderful pomade that I apply to my hair which gives it that sensual sheen that everyone goes ape for. Also, it keeps it laying down, instead of transforming into a white boy afro. I changed into fancier clothes (read as: Not gym shorts and a ratty graphic tee) and headed out the door with Augustine’s confessions and my French textbook. Both classes went well, and I used the free hour between them to clean my room to an extent. By clean, I mean remove any hazards to myself from the path I take to my bed and the path I take to my desk. I only “clean” clean before a room check, or if there’s a girl coming over. Hold on to that second example.
I went to lunch and sat down with my very good friends. Haha I actually have no idea who I sat with. They were probably friends. I have too many. I can’t be expected to keep track of all of them. Anyways, at 1 p.m., I received an email from my Resident Director, Rusty Tuders, which I have copied and pasted below.
I am the Assistant Resident Director here at Union. We've met a few times this semester already. I need to meet with you in the commons at some point tomorrow to talk through some things. Could you let me know a time that works for you between 3:30 and 5?
Assistant Resident Director Of Heritage Complex
Now those x’s are obviously not a part of Rusty’s phone number, I just don’t want you being creepy and calling him. Read that email, and tell me your insides don’t curdle a little bit. If you tell me that, you’re a liar. “Talk through some things.” Those are the scariest four words in the English language, next to “I’m actually a dude.” I was terrified, obviously, but tried to keep my cool. I responded like this:
I have work at 4, so I would need to leave campus at about 340 or 345 to get there early. Is there a time earlier we could meet? I could also meet today any time from now until 415. I can meet after I get off work both nights. Probably after 10.
Pretty smooth, right? I’m incredible. The rest of the conversation is below.
Rusty: How about 3 pm tomorrow and we'll try to keep it short?
My beautiful self: Sounds great! Is there anything I need to think over beforehand?
Rusty: Nope. It shouldn't take long at all. Thanks for meeting with me, Clark.
Rusty, why? Why would you do this to me. “It shouldn’t take long at all.” THEN WHY CAN’T WE MEET TODAY. Everyone knows how it is when your parents say “there’s something we need to talk about.” Your insides drop out, and you instantly think of every wrongdoing you have ever committed. This is, of course, where my mind went, and I started thinking of everything bad I have done at Union, which is relatively little. I have been in or on two separate buildings that I wasn’t supposed to, but that had happened earlier in the semester. Surely they wouldn’t wait this long to confront me about those incidents? I then began to think about what else I had possible done. Maybe they saw that I watched an ‘R’ rated movie on Netflix? Maybe I said “stupid” in the presence of some impressionable sophomore? Wait, could this have anything to do with that time that I murdered that frat guy? No, I’m kidding. The courts said I was an innocent bystander.
As one can imagine, I was terrified for my life the rest of the day. I cleaned my room half-heartedly, barely paying attention to my surroundings, like a dog who has lost all vision, hearing, and smell. Thankfully, I had work at 4:45, which finally managed to get my mind off of the dreaded confrontation on the following day.
I woke up on Tuesday, Oct. 13 with two thoughts in my head. The first was “I’m 20! I beat teen pregnancy!” and the second was “This is my last day of college on Union’s campus.” Now Tuesdays are a horrendous day, second only to Thursdays. The Thursdays are exactly the same as the Tuesdays physically, but due to the fact that they’re later in the week, I am exhausted, and thus hate them with more of a passion. The first class is at 8 a.m., and it’s Argumentation and Debate. That’s the only class I’ve missed, once because I slept through on accident, and then again because I slept through it on purpose. I woke up once at 7:15, looked at the clock, and laughed. Then I went back to sleep. Sorry, Dr. Drake. I love you, I just hate waking up after five hours of sleep. Anyways, I made it to class on time Tuesday.
This late in the semester, there are two debates per class. On Tuesday, Blair and Lauren debated whether or not restaurants should allow smoking, and then Jourdyn and Joey wrassled with the idea of making Mardi Gras a national holiday. Both debates were decent, but I was slightly distracted by my impending doom. Immediately after Argumentation and Debate, I have comparative politics with Dr. Greg Ryan.
Dr. Ryan has the perfect kind of humor, and I normally love his class. It’s the highlight of my Tuesdays and Thursdays. He has a very dry, cynical sense of humor which really aligns with mine. Unfortunately, I knew that my time on earth was limited, and my time on campus was even more limited, because I was going to be suspended.
Honors Plenary is on Tuesdays, and we discussed the history of Saint Augustine during that hour. Plenaries are typically cool, but much like saltine crackers, they aren’t nearly as good when you think you’re about to lose all of your scholarships.
Class ends at 12:05 or thereabouts, and I made my way to the cafeteria, which my roommates and I have affectionately labelled CoBrewHahaHeeheeHoho. It’s a rather long story. Actually, it’s not that long, I just don’t want to take the time to type it out. I sat by myself, because it was my birthday, and Russell Richardson, my RA, didn’t offer me a seat at his table. Way to be a pal, Russell. On my birthday too. After a few minutes, a few people joined me. Ben Donnell, and two other guys, to be more specific. There was also another guy I know, but I forgot his name and don’t want to go get my phone to look him up. I tried to make small talk, but there was a lump in my throat. Part of that lump was really watery pasta, but the other part was terror. Sometimes the pasta is really bad at Union.
About halfway through the meal, I saw Rusty sit down a few tables away. Part of me wanted to go talk to him, but then the sane part of me (whatever is left) said “No, Clark. Bad Clark. Bad Clark” and then beat me with a newspaper for even thinking such ludicrous thoughts. I think I accidentally made eye contact with him once, and I felt like Frodo being stared down by the eye of Sauron. I quickly scarfed down my meal (scarf is a weird word) and then headed back to my room. I grabbed my computer, and then walked back to Barefoots Joe, which is the campus’ coffee house. Danielle Lisk, my swing dance partner, and I were going to get coffee at 1:35, due to the fact that I had been unable to swing dance the night before. I needed to read through some of Augustine’s “Confessions” anyways, so I went a few minutes early.
“Confessions” is hard to read normally, but when your heart is racing as you try to extrapolate hidden meanings from a vague email that determines the course of your life, it’s a bit more difficult. I barely managed to clamber through one paragraph before Jean Peaches, one of my friends and my life group leader, decided to talk to me. I was honestly astounded by her interruption, as she is normally considerate. I am pretty sure she just hates Augustine, and doesn’t want me to read it. I’ll show her.
Danielle showed up shortly after, and we three talked for some time about life in general, but specifically fall break. I distantly remember Regina Vargas showing up at one point, and joined the conversation for a brief amount of time. Karis Lancaster even stopped by, to wish me a happy birthday. It was apparent from my composure that I was worried about something, as she asked if I was alright.
“Oh sure,” I replied, with a heaping spoonful of lies, “everything is superbalicious.”
Karis gave me a strange stare, which is when I told her to stop looking at me with her “rabbit eyes.” This was apparently offensive, although I tried to justify it by saying rabbits are cute. Jean refused to believe rabbits are cute, and actually wants to murder all small fluffy creatures. She said if there was a major that focused on murdering cute, helpless woodland creatures for fun, that would be her major. Jean is definitely a psychopath.
I continued to talk about life with Danielle until about 2:56, when I realized that I was definitely going to be late for my meeting with Rusty. We bumped into Jon Hall on the way back, and I pretended to not hate him for having liked all of my Facebook profile picture just that morning. It takes a special kind of person to perform Facebook necromancy on someone on their birthday. Really Jon, why would you do this? I said goodbye to Jon and Danielle once we reached the Heritage quad, and then headed to McAfee commons.
It’s strange how in moments of extreme peril, you remember everything vividly. As I passed my room, I remember seeing my roommate, Michael Horton, smiling sadistically as if his plans for enslaving a country were succeeding. I remember this one blade of grass moving in the breeze, as if a baby breeze was learning how to use wind. I saw a sidewalk couple at the side entrance of McAfee, so I went through the front entrance. I don’t need cooties, so I always avoid those kinds of people.
As I gripped the cold metal of the door to the commons, I felt my soul leave my body, and a chill filled my spinal canal. As the door swung open, everything went slow motion, and I could hear my heartbeat. Every footstep sounded like a drum, and I almost passed out as I blearily made my way to the RA desk. Rusty was in his office behind the RA desk, and waved me inside. This was it. This room would be my Room 101. I would be dead or alive when I stepped back out of this room.
“Have a seat” said Rusty, as he gestured to a seat. He was way too happy for the situation, which made the whole thing worse. I wished that he had a fake smile on, but it was far too real. At the same time, there was a glint of sadness behind his eyes, which made me concerned. He was inscrutable, like a statue or a dead cat. I took my seat, and pretended to feel normal. My heart was going about 300 bpm, but I don’t think he could hear it. I leaned back, and crossed my arms, waiting for a hint of what was going on.
“Well, Clark,” he began, “how are you?”
AHHHHHHH NO DON’T DO THIS TO ME RUSTY I AM A FRAGILE HUMAN AND I JUST WANT TO KNOW WHY I’M HERE!
“I’m doing pretty well,” I said, not expressing my internal feelings in the slightest. “I had classes, hung out with some friends, and now I’m here. Also, it’s my birthday.”
“Awesome,” said Rusty, “Happy birthday!”
I smiled and tried not to lose my mind.
“How are classes going?”
It was at this point that I resolved to never do anything wrong again. It wasn’t worth this mental stress. The small talk continued for another six or seven minutes, and my hair slowly began to turn gray and then fall out. This conversation was the worst thing that had happened to me since the lady at Great Clips had given me the wrong haircut, and not apologized for it. Finally, after an agonizing period of time, Rusty sat back, and adopted a more serious face.
“Do you have any idea why you’re here?” he asked, with his fingers tempting like a maniac bent on world domination.
“Haha no. No, I have no idea.” I think it was at this point that my composure cracked, and I developed a crazy glint in my eyes. I just wanted to know why I was in this interrogation and what I had done wrong. Most of all, I wanted to know why Keanu Reaves was seemingly ageless. Rusty continued.
“One of your roommates found something in your room.”
Well that’s great. What could they have possibly found? My train of thought switched tracks, and I began to think of what I could possibly have in my room which would warrant a meeting with the Assistant Resident Director. I couldn’t think of anything.
“I sent Russell over to get some pictures,” continued Rusty, “and he sent me these. Do you recognize these?”
Rusty turned his phone towards me, and I leaned forward, desperate to find out why I had been summoned to this hellish interrogation. At first glance, I saw nothing. There was something on my bookcase, and then another item hanging from my bed. They were both red, lacy and… Oh. Oh dear God. What. How. Why.
“That’s a set of women’s underwear, Clark. How did it get there.”
HOLEEEEEEEE CRAP. I’d been framed. This was the only possibility. Somebody had framed me for a crime, Count of Monte Christo style, and after I got out of jail, I would spend years hunting down every person involved, and take them down. Somebody had put red, lacy lingerie in my room, and was framing me.
Any of my friends will tell you that I function strangely when faced with extreme stress. My brain begins to short out, and I begin to focus on one thing. The one thing I was focusing on now was finding out how this foreign clothing ended up in my room. Maybe I had multiple personality disorder, and there was some half of me that was a player? That couldn’t be it. Occam’s Razor states that the simplest answer is the right one. Multiple personality disorder is far more unlikely than someone hating me enough to attempt my suspension.
“I have no idea, Rusty.” I began. “None of us have had girls over in the living room, let alone my room. There is literally no way that could have gotten there.”
Rusty’s face said “a likely story,” and I realized that my life was over. All my years of getting great grades through high school were for waste. I would have to finish up my education at some half-rate community college, and that was only if I didn’t go to jail first. Nobody would ever respect me again, and the world was collapsing around me.
“Well,” said Rsuty, “can we go see your room?”
“Yes. Yes we can.” I got up immediately, and we began the walk over to Dodd. Maybe I should make a break for it while I’m still a free man, I thought as I trudged through the grass. This had to be a dream. This couldn’t be real. I walked up the stairs, my heart dropping further with every step that I took.
“I apologize for the condition of my room,” I said, as we reached the top of the steps.
“It’s not a problem.”
I knocked on the door of Dodd 16, knocking the Old Spice whistle, which was our secret code. The door opened remarkably quickly, and I trudged in with Rusty behind me. Korey sat on the couch, playing Super Smash Bros with other guys from Dodd. My roommates were all standing around awkwardly, and it was apparent that they knew something. Really? They found underwear and went straight to the ARD? They didn’t even ask me about them.
I stepped into the room, shut the door behind us, and my heart sank even lower than before. It was in my kneecap at least. Hanging from my bed was a pair of lacy red panties, and stuck in my bookcase was a red bra. Well, the game was up. I was done for. It was the climax of a Tarantino movie, and I was dead. Everything felt slightly off, and I felt sick.
“I have no clue how these got here,” I said. “Maybe someone put them there yesterday, and I just got home from work so tired that I didn’t notice them.”
I looked at Rusty, and he obviously didn’t buy my story. All my hope was gone, when I had a sudden idea. Seth. My roommate. He would pull a prank like this, and then let it go way too far.
“Hold on,” I told Rusty, “I need to talk to my roommate.” I opened the door, and began to walk towards Seth’s door. His door opened, and six bother guys from our dorm came out, smiling.
“Get out of the way,” I said, “I need to talk to Seth.”
I turned around, and realized that I was a moron. Russell and Rusty high-fived, and I walked away from everyone, doing my very best not to punch anyone. Wow. That was the best I’d ever been gotten. I was stunned, and as they sang Happy Birthday, I was grateful for their loudness, as I was having choice words for all of them.
It turns out that nearly everyone on campus except for me knew about it, and they were all playing me for a solid 26 hours. Congratulations, Russell. You got me. It was the best prank I’ve ever seen, so you should be proud. Just know that I will get you back in the most spectacular fashion possible, at a time when you will not possibly expect it. May this thought be on your mind every night as you attempt to fall asleep. Sweet dreams.