By Chales D. Tarlton
I was awakened after midnight by noises in the hall. Some of the first-year cadets and one second-year mentor were gathered at the far end of the barracks hallway. Rogers, straight-arrow from Nevada, had found an eight-foot long quarter inch thick rubber band in the sail loft and was holding one end of it down on the floor with his foot. It stretched to the end of the hall to where the second-year had fastened an M-1 cleaning rod to it. When he lay the metal rod down on the floor, it didn’t move at all at first. But then it slid a little, then some more, and finally picked up real speed, roaring past Rogers as he lifted his foot safely out of the way, and crashed into the plaster wall at the end of the hall. “Mission accomplished,” the second-year said, and everyone started laughing.
You hear about these things, how a girl you dated in college is now a famous professor’s widow, how the first person you met in the cafeteria in 1955 was killed in a motorcycle accident somewhere down on the Texas Gulf coast, how a kid two years behind of you in English classes went on to become a famous poet. Well, I had also always heard that someone from my college days was killed in Vietnam; the story was he’d been shot down over North Vietnam and that they didn’t find his remains for twenty years. When they did find him, though, and he was back in the news, his picture was in the paper and, Jesus Christ! I played football with that guy!