A story by Mark Smith (part 4/7)
The worst event was one night I got a phone call from a friend who was going to University of California in San Diego. He was at a party and was too drunk to drive home, so he asked me to come and give him a ride. I should have known better. It was night, and when I picked him up he was totally plastered. We made it about 2 km when I was stopped by the military police again. We went through the ID check and all the questions, and then they noticed my friend in the car. He was hard to miss because he thought the whole thing was wildly funny and was laughing uncontrollably. So of course the police started asking me if I had any drugs in the car, and they made my friend get out of the car and started looking for drugs. At this point my friend said loudly “Hey Smitty! I hope they don’t look in your tires! Hahahahahaha!”. My nickname then was “Smitty”. That did it. The cops ripped my car completely apart. They even took out parts of the seats and the door liners. They heaped it all on the sidewalk and then drove away. I should have too and left my friend there, but I had to put the car back together again.
There sure wasn’t any intern summit when I was in San Diego. In fact, I didn’t meet anyone else who was there doing an internship. There were other students doing summer jobs like cleaning up or selling ice cream. They were all locals going to school at either University of California or San Diego State University. I was living in an apartment right next to San Diego State University that I had sub-rented from a student who was going there. I had a roommate who was working in a program called Job Corps where he was trying to help small mom-and-pop companies to solve entrepreneurship problems. He was a business major at San Diego State, and we had some great dinnertime conversations. One of the small companies he was trying to help made sweet potato pies as their only product, and he would bring samples back to the apartment from time to time. Sweet potato pie is completely addictive. It’s a custard pie like pumpkin pie, except smoother. Richer. Silkier. Wayyyyy more luxuriant. Having about 10000 calories per crumb, it should be. But to the small company that made it, it was just “pie”. One day I came back to the apartment to find my roommate face down on the kitchen table and making groaning sounds. It turned out that he had prevailed on the company to let the US Navy sample their “pie”, and the Navy found it to their liking. The test pie was followed by an order from the Navy for thousands upon thousands of sweet potato pies for all of their ships at or near San Diego. And the mom-and-pop company said “no” because they “only had one oven”. I think it drove my roommate crazy. I wonder what eventually happened to him.
As the summer went on things were coming along reasonably well. I had all the circuits designed and built, and mostly tested by the time the new enclosure for the dragons was finished. It was being built at the same time that I was working on my stuff, so I had no trouble adding wires, sensors, and anything else I wanted to the inside. It was a big enclosure with the trees, ponds, and all plus little caves that the dragons could hide out in, and I put sensors in those too. Everything was going according to schedule. The idea was that things would be done and I would have one more week to try everything out with the dragons, and then I would leave to go to grad school. Yeah, that was the plan anyway.
The big day came when everything was done and they put the dragons into the new exhibit.
Stay tuned for Part 5!