It’s Not Paranoia When They’re Out to Get You

As I write this, it is 5:30 p.m. I have just returned from the U.K. after seven days at sea on one of the world’s most famous vessels. I am not at liberty to identify the ship in question, though I will say that its name rhymes with ‘Queen Larry 2.’

Under normal circumstances, anyone would be thrilled to be aboard this incredibly opulent liner. It was, after all, so swank that by merely pressing a button on the in-room phone, a passenger could cause armies of servants to appear bearing trays of succulent food and singing ‘Be Our Guest.’

Sadly, it was difficult for me to enjoy the experience because I had just become aware of a nefarious plot against my person. Granted, nefarious plots occur against me on a regular basis. Many of them are launched by former residents of McKay Hall, the government of communist China and lovers of the English language who have the misfortune to happen upon my column.

Little did I realize that the most fiendish scheme of all would come from my former comrades at an organization spoken of in whispers at the University of Tampa, a clandestine elite force whose existence is denied by many and almost totally unknown in some circles: the Office of Residence Life.

I have it on good hearsay and conjecture that while my apartment mates were discussing who should get the ‘big’ room in our Straz unit next year, a highly placed figure from The Company, who I dare not name due to fear for my life, blithely suggested that Mr. John Phifer should take the big room. No public advocate had been assigned to argue my case for the big room.

Clearly, this points to a grand scale conspiracy. ResLife, the thin blue line between order and chaos on this campus, has been infiltrated by an anti-Simos force that will stop at nothing to banish me to a broom closet or, worse, a ‘suite-style’ apartment at Kennedy Place.

All the pieces fit together. First, my r’eacute;sum’eacute; was never commented upon by the Weekly Planet. Then, the federal government nearly refused to issue me a passport. A couple of days ago, one of the buskers on High Street in Oxford gave me this weird look. Now, Mr. John Phifer, working in concert with a shadowy conspiracy of unknown depth and scope, has robbed me of my opportunity to live in ‘the big room,’ the goal toward which 50 percent of all human effort since the beginning of recorded history has been geared.

The other major goal common to all humanity is, of course, finding a person of one’s preferred gender to fill the ‘big room’ with once you have it, but we all know that’s not happening for me.

But Mr. Phifer and his deep cover moles in Residence Life are working for a far more sinister entity still: Steve Knauss. And Steve Knauss, though he regularly sits half-concealed in dramatic shadows and strokes a white cat for hours on end, is but a pawn in the plans of a fiendish mastermind who has somehow concealed his machinations here at The Minaret for almost two years: Victor O’Brien.

O’Brien, I’m a-callin’ you out! It’s high noon, and I’m riding in on a white horse, so you know I’m the good guy. Okay, so it may be a white Chevy, but you get the picture! We will settle this like men: with pistols at dawn!

Too long have we sat idly by while you terrorized the populace with unspeakable vices such as punctuality, honesty and journalistic integrity. Now your schemes have come to fruition: two years of operating behind the scenes have culminated in this very evening, when you plan to destroy the University community as we know it’mdash;by not running my article if it doesn’t make deadline!

I won’t let you, O’Brien! Consider yourself foiled! It is now 5:57 p.m., and I have a good three minutes to go! Certainly nothing could possibly go wrong now! I’ll just put this article in a bottle and pitch it in the direction of the shore! The people will know the truth of what has happened here! Certainly nothing could go wrong’mdash;right?

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