Somehow I had gotten left off the attendance list for study hall in my freshman year of high school. I took to leaving school during that hour, and slipping off to the public library. But by late winter, a small group of my friends had somehow gotten permission to attend study hall in an unused classroom up on the third floor of our building, with little or no adult supervision. I would slip in and hang out with them. G—— was creating a literary magazine he called “Zeitgeist.” B——, on the other hand, liked making illegal things. He brought in a hash pipe he had made from brass tubing, and from that I learned about taps and dies and how to use them. He brought in a ballpoint pen from which he had removed the spring and the ink reservoir, replacing them with gunpowder; the button at one end was linked to a firing pin inside the pen. B—— clipped the pen bomb to a paper airplane, which he flew out the window. The plane hit the brick wall across the way and the pen bomb exploded, leaving a shower of tiny bits of paper. The janitor walking three stories below looked up in surprise.