The beer flowed easy on floor 3-D, its inhabitants reacquainting after four short weeks away. Conversations bubbled in mini-pods, tales of things done and of things missed, of classes ahead and classes completed.
In the nondescript sixteen by twenty foot space sets dominated – parallel but opposite spring beds, laminate desktops, and vinyl cushioned chairs, offset by a solitary chocolate beanbag corner-placed in back, near sliding windows forming the upper half of the outside wall.
Some left their consciousness; too much, too soon. Others trooped on, their resistance levels higher. Still, by one-thirty, the room distilled to its two inhabitants. The rest, crashed in their rooms.
At 2AM, a signalling alarm woke three-hundred-sixty; practise, most assumed, grumbling of six-degree weather faced in bare-armed tees. From four sections and fourteen combined floors, the dwellers poured onto the sidewalk, eyesight tickled by flashing coloured strobes and scurrying officials. An order came to seek alternate shelter, necessitated by indefinite delay; it ended at two hours. The official reason spread fast: a bomb scare.
It happened again the night next, and several times over the next few weeks. After a month, only a message announced the latest. ‘We received a bomb threat. You may remain, at your own risk.”
With the change, a fire chased all out, a torched garbage chute. Bomb scares continued and rarer, actual fires. Two weeks from school’s end, fear grew the responsible party would seek the spectacular, loathing students ignoring the threats.
On a lazy Saturday, two calls flooded floor 3-D with authorities. Their information placed four individuals on my floor at the time of both calls. By eight PM, police made an arrest. The occupant of one of two single rooms on the floor, the building fire marshal, stood charged with fifty-four bomb scares and four actual fires.