My heart rate increased as Mr. S approached. I averted my eyes, staring straight ahead. I was concentrating on walking ‘normal’. “HEY, come here” I thought I was home free but he called me back.
No, no, no, no. What does he want. I could barely cope but I was gonna have to.
A couple months ago my best friend Scott was asking me if I wanted to get high. “Of course not.” He had gone to the same ultra-religious schools I had. What was he doing?
Luckily Scott knew of my desire to learn and always do the right thing so he knew the tact to take. “Ken, how are you going to know what you are saying no to unless you do it?”
Pot was hard to come by at this specific school nestled in the Bad Lands of Northwest Nebraska but another Scott was able to produce. It was rolled not much bigger than pencil lead and 3 of us shared. They began giggling like morons but I got nothing. Well, it’s got to start somewhere and it just did.
We took another run at it a week later after the whole affair of being sneaky and all. Being sneaky was a must as smoking pot or ANY drug use was bad news at this particular school and the cops were called on ALL who were caught. Again, nothing.
Being the disciplined person I was, it was now a mission to find out what I used to say no to. A week later we pooled all the money we had to buy one more of these super skinny joints and this time I went into full la-la land. Nothing but a giggling mess of stupid pudding. Never in my life had nonsense moved through my system with such authority. Now that I knew what I had been saying no to, I felt a personal responsibility to never say no again. Course, as I got older I discovered an ability to be silly without having to smoke.
So here I was hiding out making sure not to get caught but I had to make my way to another dormitory. Planning my route carefully and practicing my ‘normal’ walk I headed out.
About half way there some men were exiting a building and one of them came walking my way. Oh shit, shit, shit, keep walking. Don’t look at him. No, no, no, look straight ahead. Mr. S. glanced at me as we passed. Made it! “HEY, Come here.”
“Hi Mr. S. what’s up?”
“Uh, Ken, you’re a real good student here and I feel like we can trust you. Would you like to help us with a project?”
“Um, sure. What do you need?” I was freaking out.
“We have put together a special task force with the staff and the security cadre to catch people who have been smoking pot. The thing is though, we are going to need assistance from the students. I’d sure appreciate it if you would be willing to help out. Whatcha think?”
“What do you need me to do?”
“Well, If you see anyone that has been smoking pot, I want you to come to me right away and we will catch them.”
“OK” I nodded. Of course I wasn’t gonna tell him nothin’.
He started to move on then paused. “Do you know what people look like when they’ve been smoking pot?”
I shook my head no.
“GO LOOK IN THE MIRROR!”
I can still feel the sensation in my facial muscles when I remember the horror as I looked into his eyes. I was busted.
He spun and walked away. I stood stupidly for a few seconds before zooming to my bunk to hide the rest of the night. For a few days I wondered when the shoe was gonna drop. Weeks went by before I could even look at Mr. S and then things went back to normal.
Being old now I can clearly see how much he must have enjoyed scaring the shit out of me. Hopefully I can do that to some other kid before I die.