"Why don't you back off?" Alewine snapped at them.
The two cadets pushed Alewine up against the shower wall.
"You got a problem?" one said. "We can settle it right here."
But nothing was settled until later. It was then, the next night, that things just got out of hand.
Alewine was running a message from his own H Company to the clerk's room at E Company. When Alewine got there, he says, "there was one kid standing in the corner just crying like a baby. And the E Company clerk was holding a broken-off stick, a transom stick." Alewine says that when the clerk saw him, he yelled at him to "brace"—to take the standard position for a freshman in the presence of an upperclassman: chin tucked tightly into the chest, shoulders up around the ears, a position that most resembles that of a child about to be struck.
"You're not bracing!" the clerk yelled.
Alewine braced harder, but it didn't seem to make a difference. The clerk took the jagged transom stick, walked behind Alewine and began jabbing him between the shoulder blades. "Shoulders up!" his tormentor kept yelling as he jabbed him.
Days later Alewine's father would be "shocked," he says, by the "big red lumps" on his son's back. Still Alewine did not report the incident. Unfortunately for him, somebody else did.
Four days later, the infamous night of the Wofford loss, Alewine stopped and braced at the bottom of the barracks stairs to let the upperclassmen down first. One of them was the clerk.
"Hey," a cadet yelled. "Do you know who this is?"