One Friday, back in the day when I was attending IU, a guy in my dorm asked me if his friend from Oberlin College could sleep in my room a couple of nights. This used to be quite common as on any weekend there were a lot more people coming into Bloomington than leaving. My friends’s friend arrived Friday afternoon, and we hit it off right away. We had several things in common and we enjoyed hanging out.
That evening he went out with his girlfriend which was his main reason for visiting IU. I was asleep when he got back because I had the dreaded early morning Saturday class.
I dragged myself out of bed on Saturday and shuffled off to class where I managed to stay awake through the lecture. As I was walking back to the dorm, a car pulled over and honked at me. It was my new friend who offered to drive me back to McNutt. After I got in the car, he said he had to stop by the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house on the way to the dorm.
He pulled into the parking lot next to the Beta house, hopped out of the car and assured me that he would be back quickly. About five minutes later he came sprinting out of the Beta house leaped into his car, and we sped off. I noticed he had blood all over his knuckles so I asked him what happened. He did not reply, and we drove in silence, not back to McNutt Dormitory, but out into the countryside. He parked on a deserted country lane near a creek. Exiting his car, my mysterious friend knelt down on the bank of the stream and washed the blood off his hands.
On the way back to campus he told me what happened. He claimed one of the Betas had been bothering his girlfriend. He confronted the alleged girlfriend pesterer who unluckily for him happened to be alone in the shower room. A brief fight ensued followed by the Oberlin student’s flight to his car and subsequent escape.
After returning to McNutt, we received word that not only was every Beta on campus looking for us, but the Bloomington police and the campus police as well. The now fugitive planned to stay with me on Saturday night and drive back to Oberlin on Sunday. Unfortunately for him, his car was recognized, he was arrested and charged with assault and battery.
There was a write-up in the paper which said, among other things, that his trial would take place the following month. He didn’t stay with me during his trial. Perhaps the Betas had an empty bed.
Here are some novels in which innocent and mostly innocent people get in trouble through no fault of their own:
Topaz by Leon Uris In 1962, French and American agents report that the Soviet Union plans to ship nuclear arms to Cuba. When their superiors take no action, the agents find themselves involved in a situation that is far worse than they expected.
Psycho* by Robert Bloch This novel was the basis for the Alfred Hitchcock movie of the same name. Do not stop at the Bates Motel lest nutty Norman and his mother pay you a visit.
Dirty Story* by Eric Ambler Petty criminal Arthur Abdel Simpson gets in way over his head when he takes a job as a mercenary with a mining company in central Africa.
Our Kind of Traitor by John le Carre A young couple splurges on a posh vacation in the Caribbean. They befriend a fellow vacationer who turns out to be a Russian money launderer. When their new acquaintance asks them for a small favor, they find themselves in deep — well, you know.
Pompeii* by Robert Harris The late summer weather in Italy is beautiful, the tourists are spending money and all is well. Marcus Primus has just been promoted and is now in charge of controlling the water supply to nine towns around the Bay of Naples. Things are certainly looking up, but wait a minute. There seems to be a problem on the local mountain – Vesuvius.
The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene Scobie is an ethical, responsible man in a West African coastal town. Enter the young widow Helen. Scobie’s love for Helen starts him on a downward slide beginning with deceit and ending in murder. And then Scobie rallies.
Dark Star by Alan Furst Andre Szara who has survived Polish pograms and the Russian Revolution works as a foreign correspondent in 1937 Prague. Szara is co-opted by Soviet secret intelligence and finds himself in the position of spymaster in Paris at the start of World War II.
Nine Coaches Waiting* by Mary Stewart An English governess takes a job at an elegant French chateau inhabited by an arrogant old man and an attractive but mysterious young man. When the governess discovers a plot against her charge, a nine-year-old count, she must find a way to save him.
Misery* by Stephen King A famous author gets in a serious automobile accident on a remote road. Fortunately for him, he is rescued by a nurse who is a big fan of his. Unfortunately for him, his rescuer is more than a little looney.
* I’ve read and enjoyed these novels.
- Well everyone is going to die some day, you know….
- Oh my God! What have I done? Now we’re all gonna die!
- So who’s the lucky man?
- The engineer. Our daughter married the journalist
He put a worm in a glass of water & another in a glass of whiskey.
The worm in the water lived while the one in the whiskey curled up & died.
“All right, son,” Said Will, “what does that show you?”
“Well dad, it shows that if you drink alcohol you will not have worms.”
MILITARISM: You have two cows. The government takes both and drafts you.
PURE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors decide who gets the milk.
REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors pick someone to tell you who gets the milk.
AMERICAN DEMOCRACY: The government promises to give you two cows if you vote for it. After the election, the president is impeached for speculating in cow futures. The press dubs the affair “Cowgate.”
BRITISH DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. You feed them sheep’s brains and they go mad. The government doesn’t do anything.
BUREAUCRACY: You have two cows. At first the government regulates what you can feed them and when you can milk them. Then it pays you not to milk them. After that it takes both, shoots one, milks the other and pours the milk down the drain. Then it requires you to fill out forms accounting for the missing cows.
ANARCHY: You have two cows. Either you sell the milk at a fair price or your neighbors try to kill you and take the cows.
CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.
ENVIRONMENTALISM: You have two cows. The government bans you from milking or killing them.
TOTALITARIANISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and denies they ever existed. Milk is banned.