“Whoa! Wait! Hold on! She did what?” Lloyd asked me with a look of amazement.
“She grabbed my balls,” I calmly repeated.
“You’re full of shit,” Jeff said. His voice betrayed a lack of confidence in his defiant statement.
“She didn’t grab them hard enough to bruise them so I can’t show you and prove it to you. You just have to take my word for it that she grabbed my balls,” I told Jeff. Mike from Wes-Del was laid out on the bed laughing at our exchange.
“What did you do?” Lloyd wanted to know.
I steeled myself for the razzing they were about heap upon me. A lie might have been the preferred way to go. That was not an option to use on my friends.
“I pushed her away.” I girded up my loins for their slings and arrows.
The three roommates took turns chiding me.
“Pushed her AWAY?”
“Are you kidding me?”
“Are you crazy?”
“What’s wrong with you?”
“You shoulda got some.”
“I would have got some!”
“I’ve heard that about you Yorktown guys.”
“You could have – what did you just say, Mike?”
I tried to explain my concerns about hooking up with the hooker: the threat of disease; my complete lack of a method of payment for the services rendered; and getting my ass beat for it by her pimp. The guys weren’t buying any of it. They started back in with the barbs. Their almost-libertine attitudes were surprising to me.
The conversation continued for far too long. It was reminiscent of a process flow chart that had a start point with no way to get to the stopping point. It was a continuous loop with no end in sight until I got fed up and finally put a stop to it.
“Look!” I yelled. “I didn’t do her and nothing you say will convince me that I should have, okay? She was a fox and probably would have been the hottest woman I’d ever be with, but I don’t care!”
My three roomies shut up and stared at me with eyes wide open, not daring to say another word.
“I don’t want VD and, to me, nothing is worth the risk of catching it,” I added.
The three of them nodded their heads and each one muttered “Yeah, okay.”
“All right then,” I finished. “I’m going to start packing up to leave.”
“Yeah, we should probably get on that,” Jeff stated. “I’m just disappointed that the Wes-Del guy had to hear all of that,” he added as he threw a pillow at Mike.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
“Thank you,” I repeated to the pretty girl at the Hotel Edison gift shop counter. She flashed a smile that melted my heart. Why, oh why couldn’t it have been her I ran into this morning? I wondered as I grabbed my suitcase and walked back over to the rest of the Yorktown entourage.
The entirety of the Indiana State Thespians group was crammed into the lobby for our checkout. Ray Casey was stationed at the front desk working with the hotel staff and trying to make the check out as smooth as possible. The process was going painstakingly slow. The Yorktown group was standing off to one side waiting for Terry to be called up to the desk to check us out.
I was ignoring a couple of the girls in our group who were yammering about their favorite part s of the visit when a trio of boys from another school entered the lobby from the street. The boys joined their schoolmates and told some other boys something that caused them to run out to the street. The trio shared whatever it was they were exited with another group of boys who also ran outside.
Curiosity got the better of me so I walked over to the next group the trio was talking to.
“We just saw Mark Hamill at a store around the corner!” one of the boys told his friends.
Mark Hamill? I screamed in my head. Mark! Hamill!
“THE Mark Hamill?” I asked. “As in ‘Luke Skywalker’ Mark Hamill?” I was in full geek mode and ready to burst at the seams.
“Yeah! Him!” the kid responded. “Is there another Mark Hamill?”
“Where is he?” one of the other geeks asked.
“Some store around the corner from here. Turn left out the door, turn left at the corner, and it’s a few doors down,” the first kid told us. The other boys lit out like their asses were on fire.
I turned to Terry and the others to tell her I’d be right back then took off like a bolt of really slow lightning.
“What?” Terry exclaimed. “Thad, wait! Where are you–? Thad!”
She was too late and I was too eager to meet the actor who played my hero. I was out the door and on my way to the biggest moment of my life. Nothing was going to keep me from meeting the great Mark Hamill.
Nothing, that is, except for the man himself.