Ok – now where was I?
Oh yes – held down on the floor by four other Allen Academy cadets, spread-eagled, pants off.
One of them chuckled about how they were going to “blackball” me. Silly me – I had always thought that “blackballing” meant an official banning from a group or a group’s meetings/interactions.
They had a different definition.
One of them produced a bottle of black shoe and boot polish, and proceeded to paint my testicles with the sopping sponge at the end of the applier. I thought that this was purely a humiliation ritual – until the burning started, that is.
The pain was unbelievable. They released me, and I sprang up and into the bathroom, desperate to wash off the burning of the liquid designed to etch its way into cured leather.
I was bent over the bathroom sink, trying to wash the burning boot polish off, when the room seemed to ring like a gong, and I saw blood spurt into the sink and onto the mirror above it.
My next memory was of being on a table with a nurse trying to sew the top of my scalp up, and me trying to tell them that what really hurt was my gonads.
Regained consciousness the next morning in the infirmary, with a school official walking toward the bed, with a chair leg in his hand. It had my blood and some of my hair on it. He sat down, and explained that I had been hit in the head with it by a fellow cadet (name redacted), that he would be punished, and to get some rest.
I nodded (damn, that hurt) and said OK. He left the chair leg on a table there.
Around sundown, I picked up the chair leg, sneaked out of the infirmary (still clad in a hospital gown), crossed the road, and went looking for my assailant, to have a little talk with him.
I got to the barracks, and was advised that the psycho who had opened up my head had been expelled, and was on a bus back to his home state of Oklahoma. They took me back to the infirmary.
Two days later, I was back in the barracks, still suffering a concussion (I had to kneel at times while in formation), but back to attending classes. No one from Administration ever interviewed me, apologised, or acknowledged what had happened.
Wondering why I hadn’t heard from my parents (after a week), I slipped out to a pay phone and called the house. My Mom answered, and no – the Academy hadn’t called them either.
Mom was ready to come down and raise hell, but I asked her not to, as I was two weeks away from the end of the school term.
Two weeks later, home I went.
Last chapter of this sordid saga – “Homecoming” – next Sunday.
(below, the official Allen Military Academy tank – non -operational. They did cover it in graffiti every Halloween, of course.)