Friday was another scary moment in France. Kerry and I headed over to the dining hall to eat dinner…except that it was closed. We thought we were just early so we waited outside. We were peacefully sitting on the benches outside of the dining hall and talking about current news events, which are usually pretty scary. Suddenly, I heard a loud bang.

It sounded just like the sounds I heard in the woods of Northern Maine during hunting season. A gun. A million thoughts raced through my mind at the same time. Where is the gun? Who has the gun? Why did they fire it? Are they going to fire it again? Random shooting? Targeted shooting? Maybe a car backfiring. Where’s Kerry? Why is she still sitting? We need to get down to the ground…


In a split second, I jumped up and put my hand on Kerry’s shoulder as if getting ready to push her down to the ground when I realized that she wasn’t moving. She wasn’t scared. I looked at where the sound was coming from and she had a clear view of the situation, whereas I wasn’t able to see a thing. A loud group of drunk, college boys. With firecrackers.


They moved towards us. “Do you know where bus 63 is?” one of them asked.

Kerry and I were both standing now. “No. I don’t know. I’m sorry,” I said honestly.

I’d never heard of the bus before. “Well, girls, that was the wrong answer,” another guy said, reaching into his pocket.

In all of the movies, that’s what the bad guy says before he kills the protagonist. I was on high alert at this point. I had no idea what he had in his pocket. My first thought was that he was going to pull out a gun. But this is France. They don’t have guns in France. So…a knife? I judged the distance between us. We would have enough time to escape if it was a knife in his pocket. Maybe.

Within seconds, he pulled out a lighter and lit a firecracker. He threw it at our feet. Luckily, it was a dud and it fizzled out on the ground. “Oh. It didn’t work,” he said disappointed.

For whatever reason, maybe it was the adrenaline, maybe it was the fact that I’ve been very passive in France when people have bothered me, I decided to take my stand. I wasn’t going to let some drunk college boy have his moment. I crossed my arms and said, “C’est dommage.” That’s too bad.

His eyes flashed in anger. Apparently, he wasn’t expecting the five foot blonde with a squeaky voice to say anything back to him. “Yeah. It is,” he said, lighting another one and throwing it close to us.

This time, it went off. Kerry and I didn’t react at all. They stared at us for a moment, then walked away laughing. We heard firecrackers going off in the distance. Then, we turned to each other. We expressed our anger. Those stupid drunk college boys.

We tried to eat dinner…but the dining hall was still closed. After all of that, it never opened and we didn’t know why. We had to go to the grocery store to buy a quick dinner and we talked about the boys with firecrackers.