In time, we became inseparable. Mealtimes. Skipping chapel. Late night runs to Whataburger or The Hot Biscuit. Dave and I really connected with each other. Our love of music and philosophy and our disdain for the evangelical bubble of our school were our bonds.
I went home for Thanksgiving. Dave stayed in the dorm. I invited him to Baytown with me but he graciously declined, in a Dave kinda way. “Thomas,” he said, “your old man wouldn’t know what to do with me.” He was probably right. So I packed up and headed out thinking that Dave probably wanted some quiet time to kick back, spin some records, and enjoy a carton of smokes. After all, he’d had a tough time putting up with the local tribe of campus preacher boys.
When I returned on Sunday night, Dave was passed out in bed. The place smelled awful. Like Julia Chiles died in the middle of cooking a pot of cheap cigars. As I unpacked my clean clothes (thanks, Mom!) I went into the bathroom to replace the towels, but found a nice little science experiment, full of household products, allergy medicines, and other unidentifiable ingredients being cooked up into a nice little homemade brew. (Remember the boardgame ‘Mouse Trap’?)
Dave was making methamphetamine. His own private little lab. In our bathroom. Ready to either get us both expelled or blown into tiny little Odd Couple bits.
I guess that’s why Dave stayed during the holiday. He’d been on a Turkey Day bender. On Monday, I told him to get rid of it or I was calling the cops (forget the campus rent-a-cops). And he did, until Christmas.
The week of finals I came in from a ‘study party’ (which was more ‘party’ than ‘study’) and found it reconstructed in the bathroom once again. Dave and his car were nowhere to be found. Furious, I trashed everything I could find that I thought he could use. Everything from Sudafed to Contac Cold medicine. Almost 24 hours later I got a call from the police station. It was Dave. He had wrecked his car, spent the night in jail, and needed a ride home and, yeah, I picked him up.