The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024


The Shootout

After a long week of midterm examinations and research papers, Liz, Peter and Walter decided it was time for a day of relaxation completely free of even the lightest amount of work. A trip to the Texas State Fair prior to the Red River Shootout (the annual college football game between the Texas Longhorns and the Oklahoma Sooners played in the Cotton Bowl) fit that description perfectly.

“Walking to the Mock Stat is never as nice as it sounds,” claimed Walter.

“Mock Stat?” inquired Liz.

“Just ignore him,” said Peter.

“Is that you own creation?” continued Liz.

“Why, yes,” said Walter proudly. “It is.”

“Don’t encourage him,” said Peter. “It just makes it worse.”

“I like it,” Liz replied. “I mean, saying Mockingbird Station every time is so tedious. Mock Stat is much nicer, simpler.”

“But,” she continued, “since you’d like us to move off the subject, we’ll move on to you.”

Peter now looked slightly nervous, questioning whether or not he should have argued the validity of Walter’s new nickname for Mockingbird Station.

“Yeah,” exclaimed Walter. “So are you and Melissa truly finished?”

“Completely,” assured Peter without hesitation.

Walter, a little skeptical, continued, “You mean to say that if she came by one night to see what you were doing and, uh, I don’t know . . . wanted to see if you were up for playing shuffleboard, you would turn her down?”

After a quick glance at Liz, Peter quickly pondered his choice of words before speaking. “Well,” he began before changing his mind. “There is no relationship. It’s over.”

“Fair enough,” said Liz before recognizing a break in traffic and tearing across the intersection of Mockingbird and Central Expressway. Both Walter and Peter followed behind her, causing an approaching car to slow down before they reached the other side.

When they reached Mockingbird Station, they were upset to find that the long escalator leading below ground to the train platform was broken. And to add to their frustration, when they were still at the very top, their train pulled into the station.

“Hurry up,” yelled Peter. “If we miss this one, we have to wait 15 minutes until the next one arrives.”

They scuttled down the broken escalator as quickly as they could, but as they reached the bottom, the train doors were beginning to close. Luckily, however, Walter dove between the closing door just in time and forced it open as Liz and Peter snuck on.

“Phew, that was close,” exclaimed Liz.

“Yeah, nice save, Walter,” said Peter.

As they found their seats, the train rushed off underground. The train was much more crowded than usual today and much rowdier. Roughly half the passengers donned burnt orange and the other half maroon, and both sides were busy talking trash to each other. Strangely enough, however, their points were not made based on the strength of their teams but on how much the other team sucked.

When the train pulled into Pearl Station, an announcement over the loud speaker told the passengers that this was the stop for people going to the Red River Shootout. So Liz, Peter and Walter followed the horde of burnt orange and maroon, as they boarded a bus that was destined for Fair Park.

As they sat in their seats discussing the abundance of fried food and various forms of sugar they were going to consume, they soon noticed that their environment no longer matched the classy, pristine atmosphere of University Park or downtown Dallas.

It became clear that they would be given a glimpse of “how the other half lives” during the remainder of their bus ride. As they passed rundown houses and apartments, razor-wire fences and seedy BYOB gentlemen’s clubs, they realized how sheltered and protected they were in the confines of the SMU campus.

Then, flashing red and blue lights appeared around the corner as the bus turned. Immediately to their right was Willie’s Car Wash. The unusual thing about Willie’s, however, was that it was filled with black, unmarked Suburbans, police cars and a SWAT truck surrounding three nice Cadillacs, one with its trunk open, varying in year and color.

A handgun was clearly visible on the ground and a police photographer was documenting its resting spot. Another photographer was taking a picture of the contents of the trunk of the pink Cadillac. In the back of one of the police cars were two young men in handcuffs. Three more were being interrogated by a few police officers. But the most disturbing image was that of a fourteen-year-old boy standing on the curb with his hands behind his head as an officer patted him down and pulled out his pockets.

Liz, Peter and Walter could not believe what they were seeing. It was a drug bust of epic proportions.

“Well, well, well,” grunted the bus driver gleefully. “It’s about time they shut that place down. It’s been corrupting our neighborhood for too long.”

“Yes sir,” agreed his friend, another DART employee sitting at the front of the bus. “I heard they’ve been plannin’ on shutting that place down for a while, but I never thought I’d see it. I guess more of the local cops finally heard ’bout that place.”

“Do you think they had to shoot it out?”

“Naw, sure don’t look like it.”

“I hope not. Could’ve been bad with the school down the block.”

“Yeah, well at least they’ve finally shut it down.”

Liz turned to Peter. “Can you believe this?”

“Yeah, it’s crazy.”

“How about you, Walter?”

“No, I mean that kid over there on the curb is really young. He can’t be much older than my brother. And the rest look like they’re our age.”

“I know,” replied Liz. “Being on a college campus, even one as apathetic as ours, we’re asked to help fellow human beings. As a community, we held a large drive to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina, gathered support and garnered awareness for the Jena 6 and raise money for victims of the violence in Darfur . . .”

“Especially Darfur,” added Walter.

Liz continued, “But sometimes we forget that there are people in our own cities that need help. This neighborhood could probably be vastly helped if it had a community center where kids could go and feel safe in a fun environment or perhaps stay after school and enjoy fun, educational programs. I think we need to do something for the kids of this area.”

“Yeah, that sounds like a good idea,” said Walter.

“Yeah,” said Peter.

The rest of the bus ride was spent in mostly contemplative silence. Liz, Peter and Walter were busy thinking of how they might be able to help prevent what they had just witnessed. But when they got off the bus they were ready to have some fun.

Upon exiting, Walter decided to change the mood. “Come on,” he said. “I’ll buy the fried Snickers, and let’s make our way over to the human cannon ball.”

“Sounds good, man,” said Peter.

“Yeah, that’s why we’re here,” said Liz.

And as the trio walked off into the smell of delicious, fried goodness, they were ready to have some fun and blow off some steam. But in the back of their minds, they could distinctly remember the scene they had just witnessed, the young boy on the curb. It was not something they would soon forget.

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