An Adams Hall Survivor

Skip Perterkin had been in the dorms at New Mexico A&M only a week, but for Skip it seemed like longer. He was already missing his family and his home. Skip had never been away from home longer than six days when he went to Cloud Country, a summer camp fifty miles from his home town of Lovington. Now, he was living in Las Cruces, a city eight times the size of Lovington. And despite all the extra people Skip felt more alone that he ever had in his life.
He was a freshman and boarding in Adams Hall, a three floor prison like dorm. In fact, he heard that Adams Hall was designed by a dead white guy, who designed a prison in El Paso, some forty miles away.

Skip’s roommate, Chad Parker, who Skip both envied and despised, was sitting on the bed next to his. Chad was reading the latest Sports Illustrated with Randy Moss on the cover which he thieved from the New Mexico State library. Chad told Skip that he had played sports in high school, but when Skip asked him if he was going to go out for any of the sports teams this year, Chad snorted and shook it off. “I’ll probably join a frat,” Chad said thumbing through the SI. “I’ve got a buddy who’s going to rush me into Lamda Chi Alpha.”

Skip was pretty sure he wasn’t going to get a bid from any of the eight fraternities on campus. On Saturday he went to a Lamda Chi party with Chad. He didn’t understand it and didn’t have the money to learn about it.

“How bout you,” Chad said, “you gonna pledge?”

Chad didn’t want, and didn’t have to wait for an answer from Skip. He knew Skip wasn’t going to get a bid. Skip was shy and only talked to one of the girls at the party, one he recognized from his Econ class. Mostly he paced the party looking down when guys asked him the same questions: Where you from? What’s your major?

Chad went on flipping through the pages of his magazine. The phone rang, like it did when Chad was in the room. It was for him, of course, but he motioned for Skip to pick it up, which he did only because he was sitting at his desk, where he had wired a second phone.

“Hello?”
“Yeah, Chad. What the in the hell ya doing?” the voice said for Chad to hear.
“Hold on a second … Chad,” Skip said looking at his roommate who was pretending to read an article.”
“Yeah?” he said finally looking up. “Who is it?”

Skip didn’t answer and the two looked at each other for a moment. He finally closed his eyes and raised his eyebrows to show the sign that he didn’t care and he wasn’t going to bother to ask. Chad picked up the phone that was hanging on the wall above his head before Skip hung up.
Skip pulled out some papers from a binder he had in his backpack. He pulled out his Economics book and looked at the reading he was supposed to do by tomorrow. “Macroeconomics, an Introduction into the world of Economics.” Suddenly, he lost interest, but he didn’t have anything else to do, so he’d read it. He didn’t want to appear like a nerd in front of Chad, who was busy making plans for the evening, but he was here to go to school.

Chad hung up the phone. He put the Sports Illustrated on his nightstand, turned off the light above the bed and said, “I’m going to Shap’s.” He slammed the door shut, which rattled Skip’s CD’s and then left a silence. Skip didn’t like Shap, Tom Shap, from the first time he met him. Tom Shap was a slimy guy and reminded Skip of a guy in a movie he had seen. He was a real shit weasel who wore a white Notre Dame cap and always walked around with a wife-beater on. Skip knew he had money and didn’t understand why anyone with money would dress this way. One day, he saw Shap pull out of the dorm parking lot in a new Toyota truck.

Skip looked at his Macroeconomics book. He flipped through the pages and began comprehending the boring text. Skip liked reading, but not textbooks. Not economics text. He read and understood. He was a fast reader and it didn’t take him long to bust through the 15 pages of text called the Introduction. He didn’t think college was as hard as he thought it would be. Skip was a good student in high school, but hadn’t done well on the standardized tests. He couldn’t get into the schools of his choice, and it wouldn’t matter that he did, his parents couldn’t afford to send him out of state. So, he got a scholarship to NMSU, a school he had visited only once in his life, nine years ago. It wasn’t far from his home, and he didn’t have to go home every weekend, but he could if he wanted to. Lately, he didn’t want to go home, even though he was lonely. He missed his family but he didn’t want it to seem like he didn’t have any friends.
His real friends were in Lovington. They weren’t students like he was and they decided not to go to college. His best friend, Jimmy, enlisted in the army and was shipping out in November. Skip knew the army would be good for Jimmy, who lacked discipline and sometimes got them into trouble. One occasion Jimmy and Skip got caught setting off fireworks around the house of Old Man Marion, who lived down the street from Skip. He liked the old man but sometimes his grumpiness got the best of Jimmy and Jimmy convinced Skip one day to piss off the old timer. The Old Man came out as the two mid-schoolers were running from the smoking firecrackers and followed them down the street. They didn’t run from Marion but walked briskly and walked to Skip’s house. They looked out the window to see disappointed Old Man look at the house, shake his head and return to his home. They thought it was over when they were laughing in Skip’s room that afternoon, but Old Man Marion returned in the evening to pay Skip’s dad a visit.

Skip wasn’t grounded because his parents understood it was Jimmy who was responsible. But; from there on out, they were always suspicious when Skip said he was heading over to Jimmy’s. For the most part Jimmy was a good kid, a good friend. He wasn’t the best student, but that didn’t bother Skip. He wanted the best for Jimmy, whose parents always told him he was an accident.

4 comments :

Anonymous said...

Lots of characters and lots of action. Hard to keep track of all the names. Why does he both like and despise his roomate? Doesn't seem like there is much to like about him. Admire Skip for being studious. What ever happens to Jimmy? Who is he and why are they friends. And how was the dorm designed by a dead guy? So many loose ends. Keep writing.

Anonymous said...

Lots of characters and lots of action. Hard to keep track of all the names. Why does he both like and despise his roomate? Doesn't seem like there is much to like about him. Admire Skip for being studious. What ever happens to Jimmy? Who is he and why are they friends. And how was the dorm designed by a dead guy? So many loose ends. Keep writing.

Maria said...

I liked it...keep writing

alexandra said...

"I'm a survivor (What?)
I'm not gon give up (What?)
I'm not gon stop (What?)
I'm gon work harder (What?)
I'm a survivor (What?)
I'm gonna make it (What?)
I will survive (What?)
Keep on survivin' (What?)"

sorry ck ... i've been on a weird destiny's child and mariah carey kick lately. hope you're having fun in alaska, hit me up sometime.