Back to Part One: Every Beauty is a Tragedy Waiting to Happen
Part Two of the Tragic Beauty Anthology
After our afternoon of madness, Don and I were glad to get back to our dorm and sit in his room drinking cheap beer and smoking bad weed. We watched MTV on the cable he had re-routed from the library (hey, this was 1983, MTV was worth re-routing cable for in those days). We didn't talk much, except where it was necessary to keep things flowing. His two roommates, Paul and Antwaine would bugger in and out of the room from time to time. They didn't stay long, just long enough to pick up some books or ask if we wanted to join them for dinner at the cafeteria. Life was going pretty much back to normal. Then our emotionally unstable resident manager, Kettles Johnson, ended our peaceful easy feeling by banging hard on the door.
"Dude, its like open and shit."
Normally, it was Kettles' job to scold and take "appropriate action" when coming upon scholarly youths such as ourselves imbibing in the privacy of our dorm rooms. However, we knew Kettles was unlikely to say anything, since he had bought our beer for us. It was the policy of the college that in order to drink beer or party in any form you had to have a theme. Knowing one of his resident assistants might discover us, he had brought us a theme. "Quiet Times are the Best Times" was now officially the theme that allowed us to drink in our rooms. We avoided mentioning the tightly rolled smoldering substance we were passing back and forth between us. No theme would allow us to legally indulge in that activity.
"You boys ever been to a black tie affair?"
It certainly wasn't the question we were anticipating. We mulled it over, finished the joint, then carefully placed the roach in the wooden box Don kept in his desk. Then we turned and stared at Kettles, wondering where he was coming from. We also wondered what kind of background check the college was doing on people before they made them resident managers.
"Does this have something to do with Jayne?"
We were beginning to understand obsession as a disease of the mind. Our friend Miles had buggered off in the face of perceived danger, and we knew he had seen more than he expected to in Jayne's room. Now he was somewhere hatching a plot to learn more than he had a right to know. Kettles Johnson was suffering from a deeper obsession. Earlier in the day he had confessed to us his love for Jayne. Did he know her? We supposed he knew her as well as any of us, which meant not at all. His interest in our reconnaissance mission to her room told us he had not been there himself. If he had, it had only been for a brief moment in line with his duty as resident manager. Now he wanted us to go back to her room with him, using his sacred dormitory keys, to unlock further secrets.
"You boys ever wake up in a hospice with no pants on?"
"Dude, that question is just wrong for so many reasons."
I began to wonder if we would be going through so much trouble if Jayne was some weird guy named Larry who didn't want to talk to anyone and wore orange circus pants. Part of the interest was boredom laced curiosity, but a bigger part was that Jayne was a beautiful woman who went to great lengths to conceal her beauty and her life from everyone else at college. Maybe I had read too many Hardy Boys books when I was a kid. I don't know, but I could not look away from the train wreck that was looming in the near future. We were in.
An unexpected sight greeted us as we followed Kettles to his room. Our good friend Miles was in his room with the door open. However, his freedom of movement (as well as his freedom of speech and freedom of assembly) had been taken from him. He was strapped to an upright pallet jack with a ball gag in his mouth and nothing on aside from his kangaroo embelished boxer shorts. We thought about asking Kettles about Miles' predicament, but decided against it and followed him silently to the elevator. (Honestly, we had to take sides, and the man who held a form of authority was a better choice at the moment than the gagged, kangaroo underpants-wearing man.)
The seven foot tall bearded gentleman who wore a black cloak and combat boots was still on the elevator when we embarked on our downward journey. He had been there all day and we wondered if he knew how to get off. Kettles went through the pockets of the man's cloak and produced a rather menacing looking switchblade. He shook his head and "tsk tsk'ed" the man, but left him to his post as we left the tiny, upwardly mobile room.
"We don't allow these kinds of weapons on campus. You know, fights and all."
"Who is that dude?"
"Third year psych major. Eventually they all end up like that."
When we finally arrived at Kettles' room, Jayne was standing in front of the door. Her arms were crossed, and the black ski hat she was wearing was pulled almost completely over her eyes. She sighed, snorted and then told Kettles she wanted to file a complaint. Someone had broken into her room and gone through her things. She wanted the person found and punished. She insisted that the person or persons responsible needed to be expelled. Kettles asked how she knew someone had broken in and she told him. There were footprints on her window ledge and no one had bothered to put back the screen that was displaced in order to provide access.
"They even fucked with my son's coloring books."
A kind of "ooooh" fell over the room. I looked at Don, who looked at Kettles, who then looked back at me. We took turns looking around at each other and finally we all looked back at Jayne.
"Who the hell are these two losers?"
Kettles brushed us off and told Jayne a tale about us losing the key to our room and needing him to supply us with new keys. Then he handed her a stack of forms to fill out. She was to pick and choose which she wanted to fill out, and grew disgusted as she flipped through them. There was no complaint form in the stack, only a bunch of outdated admissions forms and student aid packages.
"What the fuck do you think you are doing?"
Don and I slowly slid ourselves out of the room. Something bad was about to happen and we didn't want to have anything to do with it. As Jayne pounded her angry little delicious fists on Kettles' desk, he began wheezing and coughing.
"I love you, Jayne."
We could see them clearly from the hallway. Don pulled another joint out of his pocket and asked if I was interested in "dulling the moment." I shrugged him off and listened intently as Jayne caught Kettles with a right cross and then made vivid threats about reporting him for breaking into her room and leaving stains of an apparent semenal nature on her bedspread. He insisted he knew nothing about that and that the only time he had been in her room was to investigate a disturbance more than three weeks ago. She would have none of it and grew angrier with every passing minute.
"I'll have your ass, pervert!"
She stormed past us, stopping only long enough to spit on Don's shoe. Alone in his room, Kettles Johnson began crying. We couldn't decide whether to console him or run for our lives, so we stood and stared at him while tears streamed down his face.
Thus ends Part Two of the Tragic Beauty Anthology
Part Three: I've Bought a Watch to Time Your Beauty