It all started when my suitemate posted a list of rules on my door. They started pretty simple:

  1. Empty your trash regularly
  2. Bed must be made by 8:30am
  3. Lights out at 11:30pm

I assumed all suitemates exchanged rules like these, so I tried to respect them. But one night, I lost track of time and walked in a bit later than I planned. Just a little late. Not really late at all. 11:35 pm. But there she was anyway, with her arms crossed and her hair in curlers, aggressively tapping her watch. “You’ve violated the rules.”

“I know, I know, I lost track of time.”

She arched her brow: “This is your first warning.”

Come the next morning, a new set of rules was posted on my door. 

  1. Brush your teeth for at least thirty seconds
  2. Finish your plate at mealtimes

Usually, I’m pretty good at just taking what I want, but one night I scooped a little too much lasagna. When I got back to the room, there she was again.

“Would you like to explain what happened at dinner tonight?”

I tried to duck around her, but the stamp of her foot caught me off guard. “I have had enough of you disrespecting me.” Her fingernails tapped against the developmental psychology textbook she’s always carting around. “You’re GROUNDED. Go to your room.” To smooth things over, I went.

But the rules only grew more specific and the punishments more dire. Soon she brought out the whip, the brazen bull, the Catapelta, and the cattle prod.

I got out of bed at 8:32 am this morning with her face looming over me, her pocket watch ticking against my ear.

“Good morning…it’s time for your punishment.”

I walk out to find that she had installed a giant cross in our common room, propped alongside the minifridge. “It’s time for crucifixion,” she sing-songed. 

After a few hours up there, I decided it had finally gone too far. I knew I had to take it to the dean.

—O. Goldberg