Mademoiselle R�gime served the boys. She gave Pat a dry lettuce leaf, a raw carrot and an apple for dessert. He sneaked a look at other tables. A welcome-to-school dinner of steak with French-fried potatoes, salad and pie � la mode was being eaten with a contented clicking of silverware. He quickly checked on the less fat fellows at his side. They were crunching the same miserable dinner as he—rabbit food. He, Pat O'Sullivan Pinkerton, was sitting at the diet table!
He was munching on his apple core when he overheard a rude remark about "the overblown blimp with the two chairs." He spun quickly to Tilly's Table, just in time to hear Jim Finger announce with a grin, "He's Porko von Popbutton, my roomy." As giggles exploded—cut short by Mr. Tilghman—salty tears squirted from Pat's eyes.
"Say, Porko, you look positively sick," said Jim Finger with his grin, up in their room. "Aren't you feeling well, Baby?" Looking out the window, he added, "I guess I should have warned you that the last guys to reach dining hall always get the diet treatment. Nothing like food to cut a guy's wind, eh, Fats Baby? Cigarettes and food. Butts and nuts."
Pat said nothing.
His mother had asked him to write home the first night to let her know how he was getting along. While telling him this she had stuffed paper and a stamped, addressed envelope into his coat pocket. He had said, "Oh, sure, Mom," then dismissed the thought. Now he just had to send an S O S.
"How can I send a telegram?" he asked Jim Finger.
"Telegram?" One-Point-Two-Five asked. The grin spread across his thin face. He turned and looked out the window again. "Go see Mademoiselle R�gime at the infirmary. She'll send one for you." He turned around to see Pat's reaction.
Pat had stood up. He sat down. He grabbed his sheet of paper and with a trembling hand wrote in angry letters:
Dear Mom and Dad,
I warned you they'd starve me! Well, they're starving me! If you love me, send FOOD! Quick! Yours in haste, haste, HASTE!