Chapter 8: Romans 16:18
For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.
“Here you go, Chumps.” Frank Spinelli handed flyers to Andy, John, Kurt, and Mike. They read “Open House, Friday Night, 9:00 to 11:00, suite 629. Experience Alternative Dorm Life and its Amenities. Hosted by Frank Spinelli.”
“Alternative Dorm Life?” Kurt questioned. “What the fuck is that and how many other people are as lucky as us to have received this invite?”
“Why are you giving them out in the cafeteria?” Andy asked. “Why didn’t you just slip them under doors?” Frank ignored Andy’s question.
“I’m glad you asked that, Nose,” Frank responded, “because I’ve invited about half the floor and a few of the folks from the seventh floor.”
“How many of the invitees are girls?” Mike asked.
“Ros, this is strictly a male affair, and should you decide to partake, you’ll understand why.”
“Like I said, Frankie, clearly you’re queer.”
“Again, Ros, you are a very funny man. Hopefully, your girlfriend will let you out of jail for a couple hours, and I’ll see you there.” Frank left carrying his empty tray out with him.
John looked at the group, nodding his head, and folding his lower lip over his chin. “As of now, I’ve got nothing on tap for Friday night, except maybe hanging out with Mary, but we should probably smoke and check out Frankie’s set-up.”
“Yeah,” Andy said, “knowing Frankie, it’ll probably be pushing the limit!”
Donna smiled as she read the invitation that Mike provided her. “Seriously, you should go, Mike. It will probably be worth some laughs, but you’ve got to tell me about it. I’m going to get some reading done to free up the weekend. Maybe you can stop by after it’s over.”
“Really, Donna, I would much rather be in a room just watching you study.”
“Maybe you could try studying as well one of these nights. You go, but not just yet. I want to hold you.” Donna gently pushed Mike onto her bed and positioned her body on top of his, kissing him deeply. He closed his eyes and gently rolled her body to his side where he could hold her tightly, taste her kisses, stroke her hair, and simply become lost in the world she had created for them, a world that was so much more powerful than he ever had imagined. Donna was changing him, reconstructing him. Even clothed, she rendered him naked, delving beyond the physical and overwhelming him at the emotional level. As he held her, Mike allowed for time to go unimpeded. He fancied her as the edge of a cliff from which he was dangling, and wondering. Would it be safe to lose his grip as long as he was in her arms, or should he be scared of needing someone so much?
Donna watched him go about half way down the hall before she closed her door. She lightly touched the area between her breasts as she observed the rest of his journey from the privacy of her peephole, a dorm room security amenity. The distorted vantage point afforded by the peephole made the end of the hallway seem so distant, but she kept looking.
Making it back to his room, Mike turned the key, and felt a tap on the shoulder. “Hey, Mike,” Carol said, “I came by earlier but you weren’t here. Are you busy? ”
“Oh, Hey, Carol, no, I’m just looking to take a quick shower and eat an early dinner. I want to get some reading in before the Open House.” Oh shit! Does she even know about this?
“That’s what I was hoping I could talk to you about for a couple of minutes. Do you mind if I come in?”
“No, please come in.”
She took her spot on his bed right about where she had left her butt print a couple of Sundays ago.
Mike sat down on his desk chair, straddling it so that the back portion could provide a resting place for his arms. “So, Carol, what’s on your mind?”
“Obviously, I didn’t get an invitation to this Open House tonight.” She made the universal quotation marks gesture. “We’ve known each other since your freshman year at Harmon. I hope you know that I consider you a friend, even though I rag on you because you deserve it.”
“Go ahead, Carol.”
“I worked hard to become an RA. For me, it means not having to pay room and board which is allowing me to save for my education beyond Hillview. I’ve had to grow up quickly, and I’m concerned that there will be some kind of stupid behavior going on that I’ll be held accountable for.”
Mike noticed that Carol seemed a little nervous, tapping her foot as she spoke. He asked, “You want me to kind of keep an eye on Frankie, don’t you?”
“Not just Frankie, Mike. I don’t know anything about Little John. Please let me know your thoughts. There have been some strange things happening since he got here.” Again, her foot tapped impatiently.
“What kind of things have been happening since Little John got here?”
“Well to start with, no one has ever come up with the idea of sleeping four to a room and using the other as a study room, and as she said this, Carol again made the figurative quotation-mark gesture. “I’ve been seeing a girl around here hanging out in that room, and I know she’s not on my roster.”
That’s got to be the famous Toots, Mike thought.
“Today, all the RA’s got memos from the cafeteria management asking us to be on the lookout for trays that apparently aren’t making their way back from the tables.”
“Okay, I may have your culprit there, but I’ll hold back until I’m sure. Frankie’s Frankie, and I really haven’t got a clue about Little John.”
Carol rose abruptly, her eyes seeming distant. “Hey, thanks for listening. I’ve got to get back. Thanks for being a friend.”
The heart-shaped imprint was there again, symmetrical and fascinating, mesmerizing him until a knock on the door interrupted. Donna was on the other side, and her arms were folded as she walked into the room.
“What was Carol doing here?” As she said this, her eyes spotted the disrupted comforter, and her hands began to smooth it out. “And why did she feel it was okay to sit on your bed?”
Mike explained the essence of Carol’s visit with enough detail to apparently appease Donna, and he reached to hug her.
Donna squeezed him to her and said, “Please respect me enough to never be alone in your room with her again.”
Her mind flashed back as she held Mike and held back her tears.
Even with the water running the make-up off her face, she had remained beautiful, the tautness of her body, she looking up at her, feeling inferior. It was one time. Why was it only one time? What was wrong with her?
Open House took on the texture of a real estate showing as people came and went. Groups arrived in a scattered enough fashion, that Frank, who was wearing a shirt and tie over blue jeans, did his tour guide presentation about five times. “I want to thank all of you for coming tonight,” he started. “This is about thinking out-of -the-box in terms of traditional dorm living and finding greater use of space. In the past, the wingman would often find himself the odd man out, and in order to guarantee that his roommate would cop a nut, he would sleep in a lobby area such as this one we boast on the sixth floor. Not so with the arrangement that Squire James, Squire Little John, and I have contrived.” Frank failed to mention or chose not to mention Fred. “Please follow me as I give you the tour of our 21st Century lifestyle.”
“Frankie’s starting his tours in the lobby for dramatic effect,” Andy said to John and Mike.
“Yeah, John agreed, “he’s like one of those tour guides at Disney World.”
“More like one of Cinderella’s mice at the castle,” Mike laughed.
“Wow,” Andy whispered in Foghornese, “we probably needed to smoke to be able to get through all of this,” and the three of them laughed.
“Ahem,” Frank attempted to re-direct. “With the permission of Eggs, Y.A. and Ros, I’d like to continue, please.”
“Upon entry, you will see that we have arranged three desks and four beds in such a fashion as to comfortably accommodate four healthy males in one 11-by-13 space.” There was a bunk bed arrangement at the far end of the room and one immediately visible upon entering and regarding the wall to the left. Three desks were lined up in opposition to the bunk beds, hugging the wall closely to allow for egress.
“Please note,” Frank continued, “that three desks are all that is needed because the individual making use of our study room will not be in there to study. Now, if you will follow me through the hallway.” He led the group through the bathroom and flushed as he passed the toilet, saying, “Squire James occasionally pinches a loaf and forgets to exercise decorum. Damn, Water J, you been eating that Popeye’s chicken again? But I digress; please feast your eyes not on a dormitory room, but a lifestyle, and feel free to help yourself to our courtesy fare of Funyons and Cheetos.” There was laughter and snickering among the guests.
The study room featured wall-to-wall shag carpeting and a futon couch with a side table containing a lava lamp that was in full-motion. A black light illuminated some posters opposite the futon to give the room a boozy quality, something that was made official by the modified desk in the middle of the wall, visible upon entry, which now had a mirror attached to it and rows of liquor occupying its space. Beneath this was a compact refrigerator that revealed about two cases of beer when Frank opened it for the visitors. Two speakers rested on stands on the first wall which housed a receiver and turntable on a milk crate that had a piece of carpeting masking its original purpose. A large light brown bean bag rested on the floor, perpendicular to the speakers.
Mike took all of this in, but pointed out a couple of things to John, Andy and Kurt who had just arrived in time for this last leg of the tour. He then turned his attention to Frank. “What is the folding partition holding, and what’s up with all the cafeteria trays you got sitting in the corner? There must be 20 of them. You know that Carol and all the R.A.’s are getting shit because of how many have been missing.”
Frank manipulated the folding partition and said, “Ros, behold! Behind the folding partition is a state-of-the-art massage table. In addition to competitive market prices attached to our liquor, we have a licensed masseuse on our premises three times per week.”
“Oh, I get it;” Kurt chimed in, “rent our space, pay huge prices for the booze, get a massage, and enjoy the complimentary Funyons and Cheetos.”
“Exactly, Nose. Now, Little John and Water J are passing out some business cards with our contact information. The room is our little getaway, but we are open to time share arrangements, birthdays, and bar mitzvahs. One last word to the wise,” Frank warned. “This is a guy-code thing.”
“That crazy little fucker has got a big pair,” Mike told Kurt as they reflected on the Open House while they were sitting on their desk chairs back in their room.
“Yeah, no fucking way I’m going to pay them to use that room,” Kurt agreed.
“Notice, he didn’t say shit when I mentioned the cafeteria trays, and later I forgot that I had asked the question. I still would like to know why they’re up there.”
“Hey, you asked me to remind you about the show this Sunday,” Kurt changed the subject. “You were going to ask John and Andy to book Little John as the special guest.”