Samantha’s plebe summer was a challenge from the start, but Lance Wilson had hit her stubborn button. She wasn’t about to be beat down by a bully. She worked with everything she had to make sure he didn’t have any excuse to put her down. Every time he criticized her, she worked that much harder and imagined ways to get back at him. In fact, getting back at him no matter what the cost became an obsession.
As far as I was concerned Lance Wilson was in my crosshairs. I was going to do something to get back at him, and it looked like I might have to get in trouble to do it. But by that time I was beginning not to care what kind of trouble I got into. I was ready to take a risk.
Our rooms, including Wilson’s, were on Deck 4. That meant we had access to the Green Beach, a ledge outside our window that ran around the whole of Deck 4. There was a story, probably apocryphal, about one of the plebe classes saving up newspapers and using the Green Beach to deliver so many crumpled up papers to the company commander’s office while he was away that he couldn’t open the door when he got back. I thought that might be my access to Wilson, but since then they had installed air conditioning in Bancroft Hall. Most of the windows were kept closed. Besides, Wilson had roommates, and I wasn’t after them.
Early on, much of our time was spent with military fundamentals, marching, formations, manual of arms, saluting. It was practice, practice, practice. As plebes we marched to every meal even though it meant going through Bancroft Hall to get to King Hall, and we ate at attention. If we wanted to have food or drink passed to us we had to stick out our paw and be recognized before we could ask for it. When we weren’t busy with training activities, we spent our time making sure our rooms were shipshape or memorizing material from Reef Points and articles from the newspaper.
Keeping our room in shape was an almost impossible task. The inspectors were looking for the slightest flaw. We did better than most, but we still got demerits. It was dust somewhere, or the bed cover’s corner wasn’t 45 degrees or a book was taller by a millimeter than the adjacent book on the taller side of the books on the shelf. And since we were a team we all got the blame. The demerits added up and to pay them off we marched, carrying our parade rifles – non-functional M-1s. Fortunately we didn’t do a lot of that.
When my turn came for Company Mate of the Deck or CMOD, I stood watch in the company office where I answered the phone, delivered messages, and sorted the mail. The first time I had the watch, I got my opportunity. A caller left a message for Wilson, and I was the one to deliver it. I realized this was my chance. I double timed to Wilson’s quarters. As luck would have it, all the detailers were in the yard. I quickly tore down Wilsons rack and remade it with the top sheet tucked in at the top and folded back to look like an ordinary top sheet.
As I left, I checked very carefully that no one saw me and dropped the message off in the nearest other detailers quarters. I expected one of the detailers there to deliver it to Wilson, which she did. I knew I’d get in trouble for mistaking her quarters for Wilson’s, but it disassociated me from the short-sheeting.
As expected, Wilson came to the company office and chewed me out about misdirecting his mail, but he didn’t ask me any questions about why I had done it. Maybe he thought his bullying was finally rattling me.
I waited for the rest of the day with anticipation for him to discover the short-sheet, but the final assembly for the day came around and he treated me as he always did. So far so good.
Danielle, Ashley, and I hit the rack as if nothing had happened. They didn’t know what I had done and went right to sleep. I was too keyed up to sleep. I kept expecting Wilson to bang on our door and roust me or maybe the whole company. Finally, I drifted off. I dreamed once that Wilson was yelling at me and woke in a cold sweat. No one was there. I went back to sleep and woke to reveille.
While we were at PEP, I heard one detailer talking to another, saying that someone had short-sheeted Wilson’s rack and he was mad as hell. Yes! I almost paused in doing my crunches just to relish the moment. Of course there was the question of when he’d come to suspect me and what he’d do about it. But I could and would live with that if it happened.