The Missing Man


The real names of the participants in this story have been redacted in favor of call signs from the movie Top Gun to protect the guilty. I will start by saying I am using pseudonyms to protect the guilty. I used to have a website with old Aggie stories on it and I was asked to take this story down because it was embarrassing to the main character. He worried future employers, his kids, and others would read the story and think less of him. He is my friend, but the story is too good not to tell, however to be sensitive I will name people using call signs from the movie TOP GUN. It was the eve of the annual battle with Louisiana State University. The fourth meeting between Aggies and Tigers I would see. And the game was to be played in Baton Rouge, LA. At Death Valley at high noon. The Aggie Band was slated to load the buses at 3AM for the 8 hour trip to Louisiana. And MAVERICK decided that it was the perfect night to break in a fifth of Jim Beam whiskey. Don't ask me why MAVERICK decided to drink over half the bottle of hard liquor that night. I don't know why. I do know that he was super drunk. And MAVERICK is no small guy. So he had ingested some serious quantities of alcohol. He drank a bottle of picante sauce straight. That is not the act of a sober man. We saw that picante sauce again by the way (I know you really wanted to know that). Anyway, somewhere about midnight, MAVERICK starts puking his guts out in the bathroom. This did make the north crapper on fourth stoop much less popular. After he was done with the regurgitative purification rituals, he passed out cold. And he wasn't going to wake up anytime soon. He went nighty night. Of course, the rest of us realized that 3AM was sooner rather than later, and MAVERICK was not going to be conscious when we loaded the buses. So we made an executive decision. We would heft MAVERICK to the bus, toss him in the back seat, and let him recover on the drive to Louisiana. Great plan. It had a couple of problems as it turned out. So we carry MAVERICK down each flight of steps and lay him on the floor where he proceeds to dry heave for a couple of minutes each time. Of course, his stomach was empty, so he couldn't throw up anymore. And MAVERICK was tougher to carry than anticipated. But we got him close to the buses. In fact we got him 30 feet away when disaster struck. We ran into Major JESTER. "What's wrong with MAVERICK?" he asked. "He's really tired, Sir...Ungodly hour, isn't it?" we parried. He didn't buy it. He got within 10 feet and realized that MAVERICK was drunk as a skunk. "He can't go like that", the Major said. "But there will be a hole in the drill", we said. "Then there will be a hole, leave him here." Ruh-roh. In addition, the major had us drive him over to the quack shack (Beutal Student Health Center). ICEMAN got his truck, and WOLFMAN sat in the bed with MAVERICK. WOLFMAN sat there and watched MAVERICK roll over until he hit the bed well after each turn. WOLFMAN told us later that this was highly amusing. So MAVERICK had to stay in College Station. I wonder if he realized what had happened when he woke up at the quack shack. Anyway, you might think this is the end of the story, but, amazingly, it gets worse for MAVERICK. The trip to Baton Rouge takes 8 hours. Unbeknownst to us, the Band planned to stop for breakfast in Beaumont, Texas, at the Luby's Cafeteria. Now, MAVERICK is from Beaumont. So even though neither I nor my classmates realized we were going to stop, this fact had not eluded MAVERICK's parents. They, and the Beaumont Aggie Club were outside of Luby's with giant posters reading, "We love you", "Gig 'em Aggies", and "Yeah, B-Company". There was a definite theme. So we exited the buses to eat breakfast, and were greeted by MAVERICK's parents. And, not surprisingly, they began to inquire about the whereabouts of their son. I remember them saying to me, "Richard, How are you? Have you seen MAVERICK? Where is he?" What could I say? So I cleverly evaded with the, "I am doing great...MAVERICK? Oh, ask Major JESTER". Oh my, oh my. MAVERICK's father looked livid when he learned the truth. So we get to Louisiana, and we beat the LSU Tigers that day. In the video of the drill, you can see the hole where MAVERICK should have been. Also, being the tremendously sympathetic men we were, we took that chance to gather as a class in restaurants, the stands, the bus, and anywhere else we could think of to take "missing man" pictures in which we all would appear, and we left an empty chair for MAVERICK. Because he wasn't there. And we never let him forget it. To my knowledge, MAVERICK gave up drinking and hasn't touched a drop since that fateful day (I was at his wedding and he did not drink at the reception).


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Copyright © Richard Hay 1998