by Jeff Baker
The late afternoon shadows stretched toward the first-floor corner window of the dorm. Inside the four friends sat around in the dim light, blinds drawn, radio turned low to a rock station.
Chris Goldman sat on the floor by his bed, his shaky fingers flattening the cigarette papers he had spread on the two dictionaries laying side by side on his dorm room floor.
“Okay, who’s first?” Chris asked.
“You go first,” Laura Scott said.
“Yeah,” Will McAndrews said kissing her. The two of them were sitting together on the other bed in the room snuggling in the space cleared by pushing Chris’ books to one side.
“I think I got this right,” Chris said shaking the dried leaves from the envelope onto one of the papers. “Hey, you checked that door was locked?”
“I should have brought the padlock,” Deborah Arno said. “We don’t want someone coming in and catching us while you’re rolling up tobacco when you could have gone down to the store and picked up a pack. You know they make them pre-rolled?”
“Yeah, yeah. I know.” Chris said. “Just my older brother said he used to do it this way and what’s the use of being here by ourselves for the summer if we aren’t gonna be adventurous.”
“We’re hardly by ourselves,” Deborah said. “They sure aren’t,” she said indicating the bed where Will and Laura were moving from PG to PG-13.
“Yeah, but we study, we eat, we go to class, we work,” Chris said. “These are the days we should be able to tell our kids about.”
“Like how this room still has a five year old calendar on the wall?” Deborah said.
The calendar, with a picture of a stagecoach in front of a Colorado mountain was dated 1977.
“That’s an heirloom,” Chris said. “It was here when I moved in with Pete. It had been here when he moved in. Look on the back, I think everybody who lived in here signed it.” He looked up. “I think they did.”
“You know, maybe we should all sign and date that thing,” Laura said.
“Mmmmmmph?” Will said, nibbling on Laura’s neck.
Laura, Chris and Deborah started to laugh.
There was a huge burst of sound as Chris suddenly sneezed, the echo hanging on the walls for an instant. The tobacco scattered onto the smashed shag carpet.
“Okay, so much for that.” Chris said, standing up and brushing off his pants. “Who wants to see if the snack machine over in Huffman Hall is working?”
“After that,” Laura said, “we can see if we can find a vacuum cleaner.”