The sober geniuses of the dorm were fast asleep in their matching sheet and bedding sets, dozing contentedly on eggshell foam pads that protected battered and lumpy mattresses. Not an eye was cracked to the constant hum of the fluorescent hall lights. Absently, legs twitched at the thought of an early morning trek to introductory lab classes. All was stone silent on an early Saturday morning. Yet, an angry rumbling whisper of discontent seeped out of the furthest triple from the Resident Floor Gestapo, eluding the broken weather-stripping at the door’s seal. Inside, the room was a chaotic scene, with laundry and men heaped everywhere.
“There’s no alcohol allowed here!” Sweet Cream complained. “It’s outrageous, I tell you.”
“What, you didn’t get enough bargain basement beer at the party?” The Man asked, towering over Sweet. “Because Home-School, here, sure did.” To punctuate his remarks, Home raised his head from his upper bunk, and began to babble again.
“You guys are she greatest. I mean, the greatest. Have I have ever…”
“Yeah, yeah.” The Man said, waiving at Home with sober disgust, “Go back to passing out.”
Everyone lounged in their respective niches of the cramped room, waiting anxiously for Home to fade out again. A half-hour ago, the Man and I had dragged him back from the party, his feet swaying in the fall wind, and all two-hundred and fifty of his pounds being nothing but dead weight on our aching backs.
“No, it’s not that.” Sweet said indignantly from the computer, absently surfing the web for nothing.
“Well, you could be living in the library.” The Party Member noted from his place, sprawled out on the lone patch of shag rug on the linoleum. “A couple of my friends down at the Business School still have to live in those little rooms until they find them housing.”
“Sure, that sucks.” Sweet rebutted. “But that’s why I’m not in the L-School, I’m an engineer...What I’m saying…” Sweet said, re-phrasing his thoughts again. No one was really listening to him, because during the dragging, he had been staggering around, yelling at cars and challenging them to duels like an untamed junkyard dog. “Is that if I have to live in one of the ugliest, oldest, dorms, with the most serpentine corridors, and with moldy-ass underwear, that’s closest to buried toxic waste, then I want to be able to have beer when I want, not just cheap beer, but any kind of drink, you know in our rooms.”
“There is no toxic waste other than that underwear.” I noted lazily.
“Eh, bat-boy, you don’t know that.” The Secret Asian Man noted from the Man’s bunk.
“Fine. Let’s have Sweet look it up on the internet then. Missing nuclear waste – I’m sure there’s some sort of page for that.”
“F-that.” He said. “I want to have beer. All the time.”
“Alright, look.” I said leisurely. “You can’t have beer all the time, because you’re underage. More important than that, we’re supposedly in a substance-free dorm. We can’t have cigarettes, drugs, or alcohol in our rooms. So deal.”
“Well, I didn’t sign up for that.” He stated, sliding off the hard wooden chair. “Did you? I was placed here. Because of the lack of housing.”
I had actually signed up for ‘Substance Free’. I had done so under duress, because my collegiate sponsors, my parents, had made me pledge to do so before I left their watchful eyes. However, I had a number of theories about why the contract was invalid, and once outside of their ring of surveillance, I had no intention of honoring it under any circumstances.
“Besides.” SC continued. “It’s not like we really fit in around here, so we could use a drink on the side, now and then. I mean, look. Other than us, everyone did their homework and went to bed at eight on a Friday night.”
“So, whatcha saying?” The Party Member asked.
“That we should do something about it, you know – maybe form some sort of drinking club, here in the dorm, you know, buy liquor, hang out, like we already do, except do it on our own time too.”
“So, you’re saying you want to form a cabal…interesting…yess…it…could work…” The Secret Agent Man said, in between quick cat naps.
“Sure, if a cabal is what I’m talking about, then let’s do it.” Sweet said. “In the next afternoon, of course. LA – what do you think?”
“I’m in.” I said, stretching. “Only if our first act is to get those nasty underpants out of the bathroom.”