Unlike myself, who most people would describe as borderline incompetent in most everything I try to accomplish, my old friend Bob True succeeds where most have failed. This is nowhere demonstrated more clearly than when Bob tried to “surprise” the Dean of Boy's Dorm #3 at the school where both Bob and I did time.
The story goes like this.
Our Dean, a spaghetti thin, limp-wristed, squeaky voiced Christian shared a place in the hearts of both Bob and me that was dark and dangerous. While we could not specifically name the crimes that this man had committed, we both agreed that he was vile and deserving of the worst that two grade ten boys could conceive. And so (this was all Bob's idea) an extension cord was purchased at the local “Home Hardware.” The female end (of the extension cord) was snipped, and wires were bared. Sinister smiles were exchanged as we both anticipated . . . well, we didn't exactly know what to anticipate but we were certain the results would be spectacular.
Every night the Dean of Boy's Dorm #3 did room checks. He especially did room checks on the rooms of we who had gradually throughout the year been moved from other floors down to the first floor where he, the Dean, wouldn't have to race, leaping two or three stairs at a time, in order to catch whomever it was causing at ruckus after lights out.
The wires were carefully screwed into the locking mechanism on the door. Bob, who normally slept on the top bunk, crouched by the plug-in. He said not to worry, he could jump into bed before numb-nuts makes it through the door, IF he even made it through the door.
Without any attempt to keep from waking us up (See! that's one of the crimes that ignited our hatred), the key was shoved into the lock. The extension cord was shoved into the outlet.
A shower of sparks.
A piercing scream.
All went black.
I mean, the whole dorm went black. Moaning could be heard from the other side of the door. Was that the smell of smoke and burnt human hair that wafted under the door?
You may not believe this, but I swear it's the truth. Nothing happened. Nothing happened! No pounding on the door. Certainly no attempt at re entry via the locking mechanism. No calls to parents. No trips to the Principal's Office. When, the next day, the Dean appeared with a severely wrapped arm, ticked off names as students entered the dining hall for breakfast, not even eye contact was made. Or so I'm told, because none was made on my part either.
It would seem that only sheer luck, and the immediate blowing of the breaker kept a profoundly stupid act (It was all Bob's idea) from turning into an event that would have gotten me kicked out of school a whole year sooner than when it actually happened.
And the Dean? He retired that summer. He was never really cut out for a job like that. I heard he was teaching swimming lessons at a Bible camp somewhere in Manitoba.