Twice Born A Vagabond
A Novel [Copr. 2008]
By D. DeWitt Thomas
I find it particularly difficult to wax poetic about the absurdity of Rawley's condition but it is my strong opinion that I will succeed in exposing the social hypocracy that is inherent in the flawed system of values that caused it all in the first place. Hopefully by documenting his life experience and telling the story of this young man that I love,
a clear path will emerge that will lead us to a revelation. His life is nothing less than random and disjointed events which cause him to appear to lack self-discipline. This results in him being exiled to Culver Military Academy. Sometimes I feel as though he is tossed from one meaningless moment to the next where there is no obvious pattern leaving him disoriented and confused. The pattern must be there, somewhere, but I know that he just will not find it in the pseudo-regimentation of Culver Military Academy so that is certainly not the solution. His experiences are sequences of abstract and unrelated events strung together over time and space.
Back at Culver, things went well for a few days after he returned from Chicago. Rawley went about his daily routines undetected. He thought that he had safely gotten entirely away with the whole episode. He continued to endure the white glove inspections and marching in platoon formation to the mess hall, however, one day during the rehersal of the academy military band, things did not go as expected. Col. Payson, the band director, was abruptly interupted during rehersal by the Officer of the Day followed closely by the Sergeant at Arms. He tapped his batton and set the company at ease while he conferred with the officers from Sally Port. Leaning over to speak confidentially, his feather plumed shako bending foward, the officer held his saber close to his side. Quickly, he snapped to attention and commanded, "Cadet Ferron...report to the Commandant."
Rawley's face was pale and he felt dizzy as he was escorted from the building and taken to the Commandant's office. The saber scabbard rattling at the officer's side and the Sergeant at Arms close in tow, Rawley knew what was going to happen next as he neared his appointment with the Commandant.
"A working class hero is something to be, but you're all f*cking peasants as far as I can see" wrote John Lennon. Rawley hummed the tune as they walked. Rawley was left in the custody of the Commandant who immediately and summarily dismissed him from the academy. The charge was an Honor Offense. He was found guilty of forgery by conterfeiting the signature of a faculty member on an offical document. However, while departing he was approached by the Academic Dean who felt moved to intervene. He was invited back to attend the academy for his senior year and to graduate the following year. The reason given by the Dean for this exception was Rawley's superlative contribution to the school's music program.
The die was cast. Rawley realized now the power of music. He saw the leverage that music gave to him. He would go on from this point forward to use this knowledge for the rest of his life. Right or wrong, this is the incident that started him down, what most would say was the wrong path, the path to rock and roll. He now had the power. He now could control the outcome. Rawley's and my story are inter-twined, like it or not, no matter who I think I am. It is a story of the human plight and the condition personified by one young man, a musician, who eventually saw through heaven.
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