I ripped the cardboard from the ﬁrst box,
ﬁnally making a
tear wide enough to pull out the second box. This was the
one with the printing on the side. But the envelope inside
was what caught my eye ﬁrst. I yanked it out of the
box and shoved it in stuff to spy for
my shirt pocket. By now I was ready to put a match to all
the paper and cardboard and tape.
I looked up and James was staring at me. â€śWhere did you get
the package, Skip?â€ť
â€śSpecial D, James. No problem. Conﬁdential to Skip
His eyes were wide, and he froze as I took the box knife to
the tape that sealed the box.
â€śWhat? Canâ€™t you just leave it alone?â€ť
He leaned down, grabbing the box from my hand as my box
knife went ﬂying. James started down the hall,
his arm, running as fast as Iâ€™ve ever seen him run. I
struggled to my feet, charging after him, hitting my pace
and in seconds feeling winded and weak.
â€śJames. Where are you â€”â€ť Eden Callahan yelled as she jumped
back from her post, and Andy Wireman staggered on his ladder
as James ran by. Wireman held on as James hit the glass door
with his shoulder and plowed on through, racing into the
I got to the door as he heaved the box twenty feet in front
of him, fell to the ground, and buried his head under his
I stood in the doorway trying to catch my breath. The
burning in my lungs wasnâ€™t going away anytime soon. My
roommate lay there for at least sixty seconds and I just
kept gasping for air, thinking I was probably going to throw
I watched him pull himself to his feet, staggering as he
walked back to the building. As he got closer I could see
him sucking in oxygen. We were a real pair.
Finally he reached the door, and I pushed it open for him,
barely able to move the heavy metal and glass. James walked
in, leaning against the inside wall, eyes closed and his
hand over his heart. I knew exactly how he felt. Finally he
slid to the ﬂoor, slumping over, and breathing heavily.