But you know what? Periwinkle Beach's situation is about to go from worse to even worse. That evening, Periwinkle High School is holding its annual prom in the Rockland Ballroom just off Rte. 139(it passes through the small community after you leave Marshfield and before you enter Duxbury). Over 300 couples and guests are enjoying fine French cuisine, open soda bar and a return from Captain Fantastic and his Brown Dirt Cowboys. The country rock orchestra had a very horrible premiere when they performed at a Homecoming Dance here in 1977 and were told never to grace Periwinkle Village again.
Since then, they've had more than 10 #1 records and nearly 30 singles. Most of the crowd is ready for their performance tonight, which features selections from their new album "This Is Not What You Think." As the dancing begins, someone bursts into the ballroom on his Harley Davidson bike and starts shooting at everyone. Over a dozen kids get hit with bullets and several more are injured. As he rides around the ballroom, someone takes a pot shot at him, but he stays on the bike and shoots him in the head.
As he collapses on the floor, the rider throws several smoke bombs into the crowd. One of them hits the electrical set-up and causes a fire to develop. As he rides out back onto the street, a pair of cops shoot him and cause him to crash into a nearby gas station-which explodes into flames almost immediately.
Meanwhile, a panic has developed inside the ballrooom. Everyone tries to flee, but the fire exits have been chained shut. That starts a panic as they break open windows and escape into the dark of the night. By the time the fire trucks from Beltsville, Marshfield, Periwinkle Village, Duxbury and Kingston arrive on the scene, the entire building is in flames.
Marvin Ellis, who's on his late evening walk, looks at the horror enveloping the building and runs into the dangerous edifice to help kids to get away to safety. It takes nearly 5 hours to put the fire out. By the time it's all over, 46 students are dead and more than 100 have been injured. As one of the first responders helps a couple who've been critically injured, he asks him, "Why the devil did they chain the fire exits?"
"Your guess is as good as mine, man," he replies.
Marvin walks away and says, "As if I didn't have enough to worry about. Now this is gonna take the cake!"