As he filed out of Mem Hall through the mob of shouting salesmen Vag smiled in triumph. The years were telling. Never before had his pen retained its flourish to the last of these interminable signatures; never before had he strutted so jauntily through the crowd, shoving Coop agents aside with arm free of the dreaded writers' cramp. He grinned broadly when he remembered the look of dismay which had covered the faces of the members of the War Service committee when he had handed them back their Questionnaire, blank and neatly torn through the middle. He'd done his bit: the first three hours of an ARP course. What more could-they want?
Whistling loudly he stepped through the gate and into the Yard. High above him was that fourth floor room in Middle Thayer where he'd spent his Freshman year. He remembered climbing those stairs for the first time, a bag in either hand, hoping against hope that his trunk would be there waiting for him, and his whistle became almost a chortle as he thought of the ready bed and the tidy bureau drawers waiting in his House room. Visions of sweating Freshmen rummaging through trunks to find that dress shirt that just had to go at the bottom of the first drawer filled his mind, and even the heat could not melt his core of superciliousness when he stalked past the bewildered Freshman about to sign his fifth pressing contract under pressure from three burly salesmen. The last salesman to put his foot in Vag's door had left three toes on the sill; now they let him alone.
Yes, Vag had learned the ropes. Even the Dean's Office held no terrors for him, and the grin which he reserved for baby deans, before whom he once had quailed visibly, was only matched by the wink to the secretary as he strolled through the double doors of University 4. Yes, he was set now. Contracts signed, room fixed, and a little black book of telephone numbers to forestall those lonely walks toward the Radcliffe quad. A pounding of footsteps interrupted his thoughts, and he stepped aside just in time to avoid the oncoming rush of Yardlings trying to beat the Mem Hall clock on their way to the meeting at New Lecture Hall. "Ha!" said Vag, and walked on down the path. "The little fat one on the end will never make it. Wait till we get him down on Soldiers Field; will he sweat! Push-ups. Ha!" With a grunt of superior satisfaction Vag felt himself settling back into the well known channels of college life. He'd learnt something from his three years.
Suddenly a boy carrying a green card dashed by. "Study card," thought Vag, and a puzzled frown rose to his face. What had it said on his card? With a gasp Vag wrenched open the brown envelope he'd been dangling and skimmed its contents. What was this: "Two signatures . . . forgotten . . . five o'clock!" With a cry of anguish Vag glanced at his watch and tore down the path. Beads of sweat stood out on his face.