The sudden and unexpected knock on my door caused all of us in the room to freeze. Fear gripped us as the same thought entered each of our minds, we were caught! My hand reach for the doorknob, but my brain, imagining the worse, made my hand stop inches from the handle. Chris’ action of burying our guests alive had been discovered and reported, or worse, a rescue crew of emergency responders had been called in to dig the young men out from the massive snowfall under which they were trapped. All these possibilities flashed through my brain and every scenario now ended with us in trouble facing a discipline most severe at the hands of the college’s administration. How had we been tracked down so soon. Chris had hardly done the deed more then five minutes before? Had there been witnesses?
A second solid knock on the door made me jump. Knowing there was nowhere to hide and the music now needed facing, I slowly pulled open the door preparing myself for whatever consequences that waited beyond.
There stood Danny alone.
“Guys,” he said urgently. “I need that spare key. I am working on a paper, due Monday, and I left some of the notes that I need in my room!” So relieved that it was just Danny, we quickly handed him the key and before we had a chance to explain anything, we were too busy learning to breath again, he left.
Danny was back soon after. His face seemed to have paled several shades. His eyes were wide in disbelief. The mischievousness that had been there when he first encouraged us to prank the visiting high school students was gone, In it’s place a somber look of worry, concern and maybe even tinged with fear. He spoke slowly. “Guys. I don’t know what you did.” He paused. “Maybe this wasn’t a good idea after all.”
Sure! It was fine for Danny to say that now, after the fact, but it was too late to be the voice of reason after insanity had ensued. What was done was done and we were all in on it. Danny seemed to be coming to the realization that he was included in that all and that scared him.
“What happened,” Rob asked?
Danny shared with us his story. ” I went to my room to get my papers. I didn’t want to disturb the boys so that’s why I needed the key, to sneak in without waking them up. When I opened the door all the lights were on. The room was empty and the boys were gone.”
My heat plummeted. A sinkhole formed in the place my stomach occupied. My over-active imagination flashed images of search parties having to be called out, tracking dogs barking on the scent of the two lost high school students, lost in the depths of a city unfamiliar to them, hiding in fear from those seeking to bring them back to safety, not knowing who to trust. Overhead, helicopters hovered, searchlight blazing through deserted ally ways. Police, with rubber gloves, searching dumpsters. The national media setting up satellite trucks and gathering around police spokesmen demanding news of the search and screaming for information on those responsible for causing the college visitors to flee from terror into the unforgiving winter night. On TV, commentators were quoting the statistics of meteorologists, calculating the chances of survival through the night. Outside our building, vigils were forming, people with candles, meditating and praying, teddy bears with ribbons placed on the doorstep, cards handwritten with prayers for safety and pleas to just come home. Throughout the country parents were hugging there children a little tighter. Around the world all eyes are focused on the George Street Residence. There would be no escape for us.
We were doomed. We had reached for the glory of pranking the untouchable. Our hubris in believing we could get away with it now bittered our stomachs. Our subsequent fall from grace would be devastatingly spectacular indeed.
Danny interrupted my nightmare and continued, “I walked into the empty room and stopped in the center. Suddenly the door of my wardrobe burst open, and the two guys, fully dressed in boots, gloves and winter coats, charged me! I tried to move but slipped on a pizza box on the floor. They tackled me to the floor and started to pound me, before realizing who I was. I asked them what was going on? They looked at me and said that they weren’t sure what was going on, then said, “Danny, it seems like there are a lot of people looking for you tonight.”
Danny looked at us as We all started to laugh. This joke may just succeed after all.
We were about to tell Danny everything that happened, but he stopped us. “I still don’t want to know the details,” then added, “…yet.” He left to work on his paper due Monday. We realized after he was gone Danny had not taken the spare key to his room with him. It sat there on the desk.
===TO BE CONCLUDED===