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Following Up Again - second dorm mate

My junior year I moved up a notch to lofty McMahon Hall, which had two-person rooms in clusters of 4 rooms around a shared common room, several of those per floor. There were men's and women's clusters, I can't remember if they were on separate floors. I know the cafeteria was co-ed.

This time my assigned roommate was a very shy guy. He was very slightly built and mostly kept to himself.

This time they didn't assign my roommate blindly, the councilor met with me to tell me the person they had in mind had been in some trouble with the law, and was in a program to rehabilitate him by releasing him to the recognizance of the University. The way he put it, it sounded like the fellow was not violent, and maybe had stolen something from the bakery where he worked. Or something like that. I said that sounded okay, and I would alert them to any issues.

We got along fine. I was taking a full class load plus directing a play plus working on the yearbook and newspaper as a photographer and writer. I wasn't in the dorm much.

One evening as I am coming in from my shift at the newspaper, the head counselor for McMahon hall, a Jesuit priest in full uniform, is waiting for me, guides me into his office, and the first thing he does is points to the soprano recorder in my belt and asks if it's a knife. Weird. I take it out and play a few notes, which puts him more at ease. The reason he was waiting for me is my quiet, shy, unassuming roommate had been reported by others in the cluster - he had been in the common room, finished a 5th of Jack Daniels, and had a Bowie knife out, which he told the others he was going to kill me with.

WTF?

Turns out they had lied to me about why he was "on parole". The truth was his older brother was AWOL from Fort Lewis, after being courtmartialed for passing out anti-war flyers on base. They were hoping AWOL guy would come out of hiding to visit his brother.

And that's where the world got incredibly small. The summer I was working at KOMO, summer before this one, I became friends with their ace investigative reporter, Don McGaffin, who had interviewed that AWOL soldier, and had given me a photo of the guy to use in a UW Daily article. I was the layout editor for the paper, and I had taken the photo to be halftoned, and had left it on my dorm desk, intending on returning it to Don.

Roommate saw the photo, and had asked me how I got it. I told him "Don McGaffin at KOMO" gave it to me.

The councilor said roomie had thought I said "Tacoma" not "KOMO", knew Don was not from Tacoma, put 2 & 2 together, and knew I was a spy planted there to find and arrest his brother.

Once again, roommate was gone before I got back to the room.

But this time there was someone on the waiting list. To be continued...

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