The Very Strange Ordeal of Baron von Pajamapants

Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Secuity Task Force

I'm writing this at 3:04 a.m. (Daylight Savings Time), sipping a gin and tonic with a lime wedge as thick as the drink is deep, waiting for a frozen pizza to bake in my oven. What hath brought me to these depths? Well, good reader, sit back, make yourself a G&T, and I'll tell you the story.

A little after 8:30 last night (I had just finished watching The Simpsons), I went upstairs to gather my notes. I'm working on a group project for my Business Communications class, and although that may sound like a joke of a class, it's more work than I put into any of my "real" classes (it's work mainly because in graded speeches, construct counts more than content, so everything needs to be "just so"). We were all four of us to get together to put together our information on Powerpoint slides (yuck!). I got an IM from my friend Kyle asking if I was up for hanging out. I wasn't able to do so, since I had to meet the rest of the group at 9:00. I told Kyle this; he suggested that we do something later.

At ten to nine, I started towards my designated meeting place, the computer lab in on of the campus's class buildings. My roommates gave me the obligatory you're-not-actually-going-to-do-work?! shpiel that occurs whenever I have such an appointment. (Apparently, as a Political Science major, I have less work than anybody they've ever even heard stories about.) Only one other person of the group, a girl named Hope, was already there. Well, I was a few minutes early--a personality quirk of mine is that if I don't show up at least ten minutes early for something, I'll be late. I excused myself to the bathroom, and when I returned, Amy, a pretty Asian girl, also part of my group, was also there. We got to work then, because the fourth member, Abbey, was apparently not going to show. Well, that worked out okay for me--Hope and Amy were lookers, and Abbey's actually kind of scary-looking, with a very freaky-looking square jaw and a perpetual mean look on her face (I don't actually know her well enough to judge her true personality, though, so I can only describe the impression she sets). My superficial maleness was finally being rewarded! Ironic, considering the subject we were covering was Liz Claiborne's domestic violence prevention programme (not that I'm a domestically violent kind of person, or so inclined to be, but it's definitely a female-centric topic). I got to ogle them a bit for about two hours. At around ten after eleven (a funny name for a time if you think about it), we finished up, and parted. Now, Hope and I happen to be seniors, and a perk of seniority is priority in housing; as it so happened, both of us have occupied specialty housing semi-off-campus for the past two years, next door to each other, although we never really got to know each other. Still, we were going the same direction, so we walked home together--I got to know more about her in that two-minute sojourn than in two years of living a hundred feet away. I should mention to the reader, however, that this is not to establish Hope as a potential romantic actor in this tale, but rather, simply to recount the events of the night.

I got home, and Kyle came up to the house to hang out. He had gotten me a copy of Julio Cortázar's short stories at a used-book sale, so he came by to drop it off. It was a cool gift--I had gotten him turned on to JC, having only read the original Spanish myself in high school (and thanks to a lucky find at a Barnes & Noble), but this one was translated. I'll read <<Continuidad de los parques>> first to see how good a translation it is. Now Kyle, being my best friend, and sharing many of the same tastes in movies, music, etc., spends a lot of time up here at my house, so you, the reader, may be suspecting, as my roommate Scott often chides me, that there is some homosexual attraction there. Put that out of your head immediately. We were only upstairs in my bedroom because Scott was downstairs studying. Well, after about an hour and a half, we decided to go to Wal-Mart: it was after midnight, we were college students, and I was hungry.

A few facts I've forgotten to mention so far, which may or not be red herrings (we'll find out by the end of this tale):

  1. Between my return and Kyle's arrival, I had changed my pants.
  2. My new pants were a looser, lighter pair of cotton pants that I often use as pajamas.
  3. Being mid-April, it was warm enough to walk to Wal-Mart, even in my light pants.
  4. Kyle's self-loathing about his weight--which is not really a problem, but he tends to be rather obsessive--contributed to our hoofing it.
  5. Kyle left his CD-player and my DVD copy of The Matrix that he was going to borrow in the house until we got back.

We went to Wal-Mart, about a twenty-minute walk one-way, rambling about the same type of bullshit we always discuss (at one point, I gave a dissertation on Esperanto grammar). Whilst there, I picked up some Ivory soap, contact lense solution, and a Tony's Frozen Pizza (plain, original crust--I'm a very boring person). Kyle remarked that he didn't know I wore contact lenses (the response was that I'm usually too poor to afford the lense-cleaning solution, so I end up unable to wear them for stretches at a time). I said that one thing I'd always wanted to do was to wear one contact lense and a monocle. He correctly surmised that in so doing, I would instantly become inquisitorially argumentative (in an obviously fake German accent: "Zo, Nicholaz, vat colour iz zis? Purple?! Surely you yest! Ze eye can plainly zee that it is marroon. Purple conzists of equal parts red unt blue, but zis has a dezidedly reddish tint to it!"). I used the automated self-checkout, since at 2:00 a.m. there aren't many registers open, and the few that were had queues. My change popped out, including the new Alabama-theme quarter. I remarked, "Oh, it's got some guy sitting in a chair," then upon closer inspection in better light, I realised that "some guy" was Hellen Keller. Oops. Well, I had to tell the old "how did Hellen Keller's parents punishe her?" joke, and we started home. The 2:00 a.m. traffic consisted of a very suspiciously slowly-moving police car, which we watched until it passed, just to be safe (we could have been jaywalking or some stupid shit like that) and my friend Jim, who offered us a ride home. We were content to walk, since it was finally warm enough to do so (the weather in western Pennsylvania is about as fucked-up as you'll find; I once, as a college tour guide, experienced three seasons in forty-five minutes: winter, autumn, and spring, in that order! Needless to say, that prospective student never registered for classes).

We finally got back to my house, and as I reached into my pocket, I realised that my keys were not in there. They had been in my other pants, looped around my belt (due to an unfortunate incident a year ago where a crazy chick was stalking me, waiting for me to drop my keys so she could steal them, but that's another story, I always keep them tied to my person, but this time I had accidentally foregone the pants they had been attached to). When I changed pants, I left the keys on the desk, not expecting to leave the house again that night. Well, never fear, surely Scott, who being pre-med, spends most of his time awake and studying while drinking "forties" of malt liquour, was still awake! The lights being on attested to this mistaken conclusion. I knocked on the door, and rang the doorbell, but there was no answer. I looked inside, peeking in through the window; the lights were on but no one was home (a fitting metaphor for my life). A couple more rings of the bell; still no answer. Plan B: I had Kyle hoist me to a broken window by the stairs, maybe I could call in for someone's attention! "Scott!? Aaron!?" I yelled, head inside, to either of my roommates who might be home to hear me. No response. Those sons-of-bitches were actually sleeping? Then it hit me: what about Christian? My third roommate, who spends many nights with his fiancée, often in her house next door, might be able to come to my aid. I had Kyle let me down, and banging my head in the process, knocked the left lense out of my glasses. It was kind of like the monocle I'd always wanted! Ironic. I went over next door, looking to see if any lights were on before I bothered anyone there. There weren't any such indications, but there was an emergency call box on the wall. I used it to phone my own house, hoping that maybe Scott was actually upstairs studying, and would answer the phone. Maybe he just didn't hear the doorbell? It rang until I got the fucking answering machine--taunted by the sound of my own voice! (I really sound like that? Damn. Maybe I should do people a favour and just not say anything.) Kyle and I debated other semi-lawful entry techniques while I took out my wallet to get my emergency eyeglass screwdriver. At least I'd be able to see. Options considered included going in through the kitchen window (which turned out locked), using the back door (also locked), and forcing open the door (the top looked ready to give, but I couldn't forcibly push open the lock mechanism). Even less compelling was the option of going on the roof and enterring through Scott's window (it wasn't that I was concerned with awakening Scott, as Kyle was; I actually know this would have worked, but we had no roof access from the ground).

At this point Kyle suggested getting the college security personnel to let us in. They would have a key, and make regular rounds, so I figurred I'd just wait around until someone came by. At this point, I discovered that it was about 2:20 a.m. I didn't have a watch; I had to ask Kyle. I really didn't want to bother security, however. A few weeks ago, my friend Thom and I had a little incident that resulted in him losing his position as a Resident Assistant and both of us nearly getting arrested. It seems we were the only people ever caught stealing road signs and barrels. Let that be a lesson: forties and gin and tonics don't mix. As a result, I've been trying to keep a low profile from security lately, especially from the actual police officers on the security staff. However, the low-level grunts who go on rounds I'm still in good with, and I wasn't in the least bit tired, so I was content to wait for one of them to show up. Kyle, however, now wanted to get some sleep, and ever the nice guy that he is, wouldn't let me stay on my porch alone. Reluctantly, after fighting this proposal for about fifteen minutes, I started down the road with Kyle towards the security office. I made sure to take the route I knew my security allies would likely come by in the opposite direction (but had no such luck).

As we approached the security office, Kyle suddenly left me to my own devices, parting ways towards his room. The security office is located in one of the college buildings that are always open. Students go in there at all hours to study, or use the computer lab, so I thought maybe Scott was actually in here (he often goes there about this time of night, and has actually had sex in said building). I went inside first, since if he had his key and was around I wouldn't have to bother with security, but he wasn't anywhere to be found. There was a strange cult of students huddled around a computer, eyeing me up suspiciosly as I walked past, but none of them was Scott. I sadly made my way to the office. I went in, and luckily, the officers I was cool with were the only ones on duty. I told my story, and they gave me a lift up the hill, where one of them let me in. I picked up my bag from Wal-Mart that I had left on the porch, and went to the kitchen to fire up the pizza and mix a gin and tonic. That brings us to 5:07 a.m., two hours later, and I'm now going to get some sleep. Maybe.

Oh, yeah--Kyle's radio is still here. I'll have to get that to him tomorrow/today.