Another Friday Night at the Military School


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5:00. Another Friday night rolled around. I lay on my bed daydreaming. At fifteen, I left home to become a boarder at the military school, a private school far, far away from home. Since then, every Friday night had become a blurred feeling of boredom coupled with the same repeating people and places. Every time I looked for an answer to excitement, or simple entertainment, I hit a wall of restrictions. Due to these very annoying rules, I had no car or place to go. I lived in room 208 of a three-story dorm with a roommate who was not only thought insane, but also had even less of a social life than I did. My dorm held the image of a swinging tower of terror. Sophomores and new students filled up the first floor. They lived innocently compared to the rest of the dorm. They consistently stayed almost completely shut off from any kind of disobedience or adventure. My best friend Kyle's room unfortunately lay on the first floor. Second floor lived a little bit more dangerously. We learned a few tricks to stay up late and pushed the rules a little harder than first. But neither first nor second floors touched the craziness contained in the third floor hall. They lived on the edge of the blade. Almost the entire hall consisted of seniors who had more guts then a Bruce Willis movie. I didn't dare venture onto the third floor, not because I felt afraid; I felt more curious than afraid. Being an insecure sophomore, I didn't know the first thing to say to the zoo full of seniors. This Friday began to bring back all the depressing feelings of past nights spent at the mall for 4 hours, or wandering the lonely streets of Chattanooga.

"So what do you want to do tonight anyways?" I said with a sigh.

"Same old, same old, I mean its not like we have much of a choice! Bus only goes to two places; the mall or downtown," Kyle exclaimed with a laugh.

"Well, we better go check-in either way," I shrugged.

6:00. I stumbled down the hill to check-in with my dorm head, who waited suspiciously inside the dinning hall. I made my way through all the assorted trays, scooting chairs, and scrambling students. I finally arrived at my dorm head. He moved his eyes around more than his head to see me.

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"Mr. Corne, what are you going to be doing tonight?" The teacher asked.

"Just going downtown on the bus," I mumbled almost as a reflex to the question.

I moved through the lunchroom once more, seeing strange and familiar faces. I watched the groups of seniors, juniors, and sophomores sitting in their respective groups conversing. I had to leave. Although every weekend seemed to melt more pathetically into the next, it never seemed to stop me from giving my best efforts of getting ready. I walked back to my dorm to excessively prepare myself for the night ahead. After I finished ironing, combing, and dressing in the most expensive clothing my young pockets could afford, I gave myself a smile, a look of acceptance, and walked out the door. I walked down to the awaiting bus while hearing the hoots and hollers of high school testosterone. I found my friends and sat down for another embarrassing ride in the McCallie bus.

8:00. Time passed slowly as we wandered around aimlessly downtown. We went to the same restaurants and ran into the same people. I felt sick from all the dejavu. The bus came to pick us up at ten when our curfew wasn't until twelve. We rode back to McCallie in silence.

 

11:00. I returned to my dungeon to get undressed with an all too familiar feeling of regret. What had I accomplished all night? I began to unwind. Took off the armor of clothing I had on and threw on some loose pants and a pair of socks.

"So what did you do all night?" Tim said with only a small amount of interest.

"Nothing, as usual. There's just nothing to do in Chattanooga, ya know? At least when all you have is the big blue bus to get around in," I said trying to sound interested.

"Excuses, excuses," Tim replied, not looking up from his computer screen.

"Not like you did any better," I mumbled under my breath as I left the room.

Before lights out, I made a round to all my friends to see if anyone held a plan for the uneventful night. I only received meaningless responses and small conversations. The dorm fell into a slumber as the lights went out.

 

12:00. I climbed into bed and acted asleep while the duty teacher came around. I had two choices in front of me: I could go to sleep and try to ignore the nagging desire for excitement, or I could stay up and see how the night progressed. I lay in the darkness and felt overwhelmingly empty. I had to stay up. Like an empty glass just waiting to be filled, I waited in my bed silently until it became safe to get up. I slid out of bed and crept to my door to softly open it and peek out. A dark, lonely hallway stared back at me. I stepped out. The tile felt cold as I tip toed over one door to Chris's room. I slipped inside the door to meet my first destination for the night. Stepping into his room felt like going through a portal into another dimension. Posters lined the walls, glowing florescent by the black lights, which were the only form of light in the room. I felt trapped in the negative of a picture. Like a zombie staring at his feast, Chris lay sunken back in his chair mesmerized by his computer screen.

"What are you up to?" I said to Chris, hoping beyond hope he would have some kind of answer to revive me.

"Nothing. What are you up to?" He said, still mesmerized by the screen.

I felt myself sink lower by his response. I headed for the door.

"I'm going to go see what Kyle is up to," I replied as I walked out the door.

As I left the room, I turned to be directly facing two choices again: to go upstairs or downstairs. I hesitated there in the darkness, staring at the staircase. Should I ascend up to the third floor and take my chances with the zoo of seniors, or descend to the comforts of my friend Kyle's room on first floor. I slowly began to move up the stair into the abyss. I turned the corner of the stairs more slowly than ever and began to hear noises. Distant laughter and mumbled words wafted to my ears. I don't know why I stopped, but I heard myself-saying, "What are you going to say if you get up there?" The thought of rejection persuaded me enough to turn around. I cursed myself the entire way down to Kyle's humble abode. I burst through the door and crashed onto the bed.

"What's with you?" Kyle said.

"Just that I'm a wuss," I replied while sliding my hands behind my head.

"Yeah! I've known that for a while, I didn't know when you were going to figure It out!" Kyle said with a laugh.

"Shut up," I replied as I lifted myself to look around.

Kyle's room looked clean, rather plain, and brightly lit. It had a homemade feel to it. The walls were bare other than a huge British flag hung on the left wall. Kyle sat at his desk to my right. His roommate sat to my left. We formed a triangle of conversation. A friend from down the hall found a chair next to Kevin and joined us. So the four of us laid back and let the conversation flow.

 

1:00. I lay there toying with inanimate objects while holding steady conversation with friends. I started to feel a little bit better. I wander comfortable here talking with my friends, nothing to worry about. Then we heard a few noises. We stopped talking and listened for a minute in silence. We soon forgot about the distant noises and continued chatting. Time passed as we lazily forgot about our problems.

 

2:00. More noises arose. This time they were louder. We began to hear what sounded like screams or hollers. And just as we settled comfortably back down into conversation, it all started. First, the door flew open, and about 6 almost naked seniors flocked into the room dressed like a Halloween party screaming. We all jumped to attention. Each wore randomly assorted garments, such as lacrosse helmets, bandanas, and gloves. The group did have one thing in common; they were all wearing one sock. Only they weren't wearing it on their foot. They were wearing one sock, and that's all. (You can guess what the sock covered.) My first thought should have been to get out of there. But instead, I fell back laughing. I couldn't help myself.

"What's up guys!" The leader of the pack yelled as he came in casually.

He took off his helmet. I recognized Bill as his face was exposed. Bill was quite notorious for having more guts than brains. All of us laughed instead of answering him.

"Have you never seen a guy wearing a sock before?" He said again with a smirk.

"Not like that," I replied still laughing.

Some of the seniors settled in and began talking. Others ran out of the room periodically, only to reappear later. Something made me admire them more than reject them. They had the spirit and the courage to risk it all, for just a little fun.

"So who is going to join our gang of bandits?" Bill questioned.

"What do we have to do?" Kyle answered.

"Umm, well there is only really one requirement...do you have a sock?" bill questioned.

We all started laughing again. Looks of acceptance slowly began to float around the room between the still clothed. A spontaneous desire overwhelmed me.

"I got nothing to lose!" I said as I started taking my shoes off. The group of seniors just smiled, and I heard a few claps. The others in the room began to follow my lead. With a newfound sense of craziness, we followed the group of seniors and they ran out of the room like monkeys.

 

3:00. At first, I wondered how much fun we could possibly find in an all guy's dorm at three o'clock in the morning. I soon found out what how much mischief could be created. The dorm felt like Christmas Eve. Everything looked dark and serene. All seemed quiet, except for the scurrying of ten half naked lunatics. Someone came up with an ingenious plan. Saturday held SAT's for all the juniors, so they had all gone to bed peacefully. So we had no choice but to wake them all up. We split up and traveled around the dorm to annoy our slumbered friends. We got some pretty strange faces as they were awakened at three in the morning by a group of guys wearing nothing but socks. We couldn't stop laughing as they squinted their eyes to assure themselves they were seeing straight. I walked back into Chris's room. This time he looked up from his computer screen and his eyes grew to golf balls.

"What the hell are you doing!" He exclaimed as he, too, skeptically checked his glasses

"Laundry day," I said casually. He began to laugh as I explained how I came to stand before him wearing nothing but a sock. Before I knew it, he joined us, and then others. I found myself smiling more and more as the night progressed.

 

4:00. We began to run out of juniors to amuse ourselves with so we had to find more mischief. Very soon we were talking about who were the most hated guys in the dorm. Two names just kept repeating themselves; Tom and Jerry. They seemed to take pleasure from spending countless hours making our lives hell. A plan of revenge slowly began to form. We were smart enough to know that if we woke them up with conventional pranks, the fun would be over. They would wake up and turn us in. So if we couldn't go in their room, we weren't going to let them come out. We took a mattress off one of the beds and began the barricade. First we duck taped the mattress over their door. Then, we began to stack anything we could find to lock them in. We used wooden chairs, industrial size trashcans, anything we could find, until there stood a mountain outside their door. We surrounded the masterpiece and laughed. We spent some time gloating over the masterpiece and laughing at our revenge. As the group dispersed somewhat I found myself back down in Kyle's room. After we got dressed, we talked and laughed about the night so far. I knew I'd never forget it.

 

5:00. We were all chatting when the group of seniors reappeared in the room, this time equipped with clothes and a new plan. Breakfast seemed unavoidable as we neared morning. We weren't technically breaking the rules considering some unusual people go out to breakfast at five thirty in the morning. As I got ready, I began to think how ironic the night had gone. Twelve hours ago I foresaw the night as becoming a repeated scenario of boredom. I looked back now and laughed.

 

6:00. We all arrived at IHOP starving and piled out of the two cars like clowns in the circus. Again, we were met with wide eyes from waitresses as ten or so young guys walk in at six o'clock and sit down. We thought nothing of it. We laid back, ate our fill, and let the conversation flow. Our problems seemed so far away. As we left the restaurant, our sense of revenge for Tom and Jerry just didn't quite feel complete. We went to a phone, found their number, and decided to give them a wake up call.

"WAKE UP -------!" Bill screamed into the phone as soon as Tom picked up. Still filled with night's excitement, we all playfully jumped around and moved towards the car. I heard a few shouts for "shotgun!" and "window!" as we piled back in. I had a grin on my face as I slammed the door. The engine roared, and we headed back to the military school.

 

7:00. When be got back to the military school, I looked up to see the sun rising and finally realized we had reached the next day. The night had passed us by. It seemed strange to see the sun rising. It made me feel like a champion. I felt like ending a race and finally acknowledging victory. As I climbed the stairs to my room I heard loud banging and laughter. A yawn slipped out. My hand moved up to reach it. At the top of the stairs a crowd had gathered around our sculpture. The group amused themselves banging on the barricaded door to wake the trapped mice inside and share in our revenge. I acted surprised to see it. Juniors exited their rooms in a sleepy haze to go down to SAT's. They also stopped to admire our group's handiwork. My smile remained as I went in my room to get undressed. My roommate, completely oblivious to the night's actions, laughed and asked.

"Whoo, do you know what happened?"

"I have no idea," I replied as I rolled over in my bed smiling.

My clock read eight o'clock when my night came to an end. I met sleep happily. But before I fell into a deep slumber, I contemplated my life here at the military school. I thought of the feelings of emptiness I used to have. I thought of my quest for excitement. And I knew, I would never be the same.


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