"Go back and grow up. But I warn you: once you've grown up, you can never come back. Never!” –Peter Pan
Flashback to January 31, 1985. An eleven year old boy sits up alone, waiting eagerly for the new year. Dick Clark helps the boy pass the time until the big moment. Clark's timeless image on the black and white TV wavers and fuzzes a bit, as the reception from the rabbit ears isn't too great. The boy doesn't notice. Cable TV is a thing for the rich, as is color.
He sits quietly, glancing up at the TV only occasionally because he is busy cutting a piece of paper into giblets so he will have confetti to throw when the ball drops. The idea of a new year is a new idea to him. Never before has he been able to stay up so late, much less alone. An intense sense of wonder pervades him, filling him with questions that cannot be asked aloud, for they have no words equal to their pattern. Only experience can answer questions such as these.
Time passes slowly. An hour seems to take a day. A second, forever. Dick Clark announces that the moment is nigh, only ten minutes to go! Giddy with excitement, the boy squirms in his seat. To while away the few final minutes, he plays with the Christmas presents he got a few days before. The guns fire! Smack, smack, go the rubber darts on the television. Bull’s-eye! He spins them on his fingers and sheaths them in imaginary holsters, John Wayne style.
The room is getting chilly. Getting up, the boy checks the wood stove. Sure enough, it needs feeding. Only a couple of sticks in the firebox, so he puts on his coat and heads outside for a good-sized log. It's bitter cold and his breath hangs about him like the haze of smoke creeping out of the chimney. Stopping by the woodpile that he and his father helped to build just that day, he gathers up a large log with both arms. For some reason he looks up at the sky. The clouds, which for days have hung over the town in which he lives, have parted, allowing the celestial beauty to shine through. He makes a quick wish upon the first star he sees, forgeting it almost as soon as it is uttered. He smiles at the beauty of God above him and goes back into the house where the hungry maw of the stove awaits its feeding.
The crackle of the wood chips combines with the sizzle of the frozen log, while eager tongues of flame lick its sides like a dog smacking its chops in eager anticipation of a soup bone. It's magic and song to the boy's ears. It warms him inside to know that he helped to cut the wood, drag it home, and prepare it to be brought inside and sacrificed within the altar that keeps his family going. A primal joy comes to him as he watches his contribution ignite.
His reverie is broken by the call from the television. One minute to 1986! Snapping the stove's door closed, he sets the damper and sits down at the table. Trembling with anticipation and sheer delight, he watches the TV, transfixed to the lighted ball over Times Square as it creeps down the pole. Slowly at first, then faster, faster, until the countdown is at 10... 9... 8... He grabs his confetti and counts with Mr. Clark, "3... 2... 1... HAPPY NEW YEAR! Welcome to 1986!!" The confetti flies up into the air and the boy cheers with the crowd, being careful however to not wake his family. Several giblets stick to the inside of his hand but he is bewitched by the pieces fluttering down in front of the TV. They seem to stop momentarily in time and space at that moment. An odd milestone has been reached in his life that he is just now beginning to realize. As the moment passes and the paper hits the floor, he is filled with a strange feeling of lonely despair. Auld Angzyme drones on in the background as he looks down at the giblets scattered at his feet. The moment is gone, the ecstacy escaping as quick as it appeared, in a way that he will not know again for at least another four years, when the shadow of sex rears its bestial head above the waters of his youth.
It is in that second that he realizes that time is a valuable commodity that can never be returned. We are mortal, with our time allotted to us by the grace of God. The great "Thing", the mystery of the passing seconds, means nothing to the world around us. There was no wave-front at 12 o'clock. No great miracle that could be felt that actually separated one year from the next. No great miracle except that a boy realized that we are only given so much time to work with. The greatness of God comes from what we choose to do with that time.
Turning off the TV, the boy kneels down to pick up the paper he threw. Turning on his knees, he opens the door to the stove and feeds another little bit to the beast within. The fire takes him away from this place in time and space and he floats there, perhaps to this day. For you see, the boy was me. At that moment, looking into the fire, a piece of me grew up and let go of the child that had been. Let it free to wander the stars and heavens of his own personal Neverneverland. I'm sure that the little boy still plays there with his cars and trucks, cap guns, and kites, alongside the other Lost Boys and girls that have wandered in over the years. Never will they grow old in that place of magic and Pooh-Bears.
May we all someday prove Peter Pan wrong and be reunited with the shadow of the child we once were. It lives in a place not too hard to find. Merely follow the second star to the right and go straight on till morning. Once there, perhaps Wendy will be kind enough to sew it back on for us.
Teddy Roosevelt is to receive the Medal of Honor for his charge up San Juan Hill. His great-grandson, Tweed (who the hell came up with that name and why??) Roosevelt, said that Teddy would have said, "Bully". *We let people like this run the country*|
Okay, if you’ll remember, the first battle had been ultimately won by the pledges. We were in the house and the actives were not. It had taken some doing, but all and all the operation had run fairly smoothly.|
However, we knew damn well that this was not yet the end. In fact, the stated rule is that nothing was over until the pledges had successfully completed full construction of the cardboard cave system. Until then, the actives were bent on getting back into the house with the express purpose of stomping the shit out of anything under construction they could find.
But I was drinking in a room with a terrific view of the perimeter, I was armed and ready. And I had face paint on. I was unstoppable.
In any case, the pledges in the engineering core (everybody but me, Parks, and Smitty) were that morning busily going up and down stairs, dragging cardboard from the basement stockpile and placing it all over the house where it would later be turned into a gigantic cave system. The massive amounts of cardboard we had collected over the semester had all been stored in a large room in the basement, right at the bottom of the steps that lead up to the back stairwell (the one that contained the back door and its barricade). You should have seen how much cardboard we had down there. It was literally like a gigantic cardboard floor had been placed in the basement, one that raised the elevation by about six feet. Most of the cardboard was in the form of large broken down boxes for things like refrigerators or washers and dryers. The boxes for any major appliance that was shipped into Des Moines during the 5 months of our pledgeship ended up in that basement.
So, in any case, the first job for the people not as lucky as Parks, Smitty, or myself, was to drag most of these boxes and place them all around the house to prepare for the construction.
About 30 minutes into digging through that stockpile, two pledges noticed that there was some sort of burrow in the cardboard, like a foxhole. Kind of like a sofa mattress fort. In any case, they tore it apart in their routine, and to their surprise found another active. He was huddled in the fetal position around a bottle of Captain Morgan’s rum, totally passed out. His name was Ptazak, an Australian bloke, and also, like so many of us, crazy as a loon. A cool guy though. Apparently, his idea was that he would hide out in the cardboard of the basement while the house takeover was taking place, and when the pledges were through getting most of the actives out, he would then creep out and steal around the house, unlocking windows and dropping rope ladders and whatever. So at 8 PM the night before he had came down with his bottle of rum, a pack of smokes, and an ashtray, and tried to wait us out. Unfortunately, he failed to account for his sloppy drunkenness, and Captain Morgan had his way with him before we could get to him. The only thing he really accomplished that night was to pee on a large portion of our cardboard reservoir. Well, two pledges picked him up, like carrying a drunk out of a bar, took him up the stairs to the back door, and then threw him out with a foot in his ass for good measure.
Also, not too long after that, Smitty and I were the only people on the third floor as construction on the caves on the first floor had begun. Smitty would come over from his third floor window every once in awhile to grab a beer from the keg sitting next to me that the actives had so kindly provided for themselves. He was sitting there on one of these breaks, we were smoking in one of the few rooms in the house that smoking was expressly prohibited in (The Observatory, which was Lund’s room that he shared with 3 others, each of whom were AVID non-smokers and two of whom claim to get nauseous when they smell smoke), mostly out of spite, when all of a sudden we hear the shower in the third floor bathroom come on. The main bathroom was on the second floor, and Carl was hiding out in there waiting for The Beach to open up. The third floor bathroom just had a toilet, a sink, and a shower with no curtain. In any case, Smitty and looked at each other quixotically and then proceeded down the short hall on the third floor to the bathroom.
We open the door and see, bare-ass naked, an active in the shower. He was a short squat really muscular dude name by the name of Fuller. In case you are wondering, by the way, in our fraternity you were generally either known by your last name or some crazy ass nickname like Paint CHiPs. Well, Fuller was just standing there washing himself, and then he sees enter two pledges with super soakers, duct tape on their belts, and war paint, dressed in all black. He blinks his eyes a few times, obviously trying to recollect what the fuck was going on (in all fairness, sights such as pledges with super soakers wearing war paint was not all that uncommon in my frat), then all of a sudden it dawns on him, and a look of frightful determination came across his face. "Awww shit, I forgot. No no, you motherfuckers ain’t getting me!!" It seems Fuller had suffered a similar fate as Ptazak. He had holed himself up in a crawlspace with a bottle of Jack Daniels, and had, as the night wore on, ended up passing out. And, as finding yourself waking up with all your clothes on next to an empty bottle in a utility crawlspace was also not all that uncommon in my frat, had figured this was just the result of another night of heavy drinking and had gotten up to shower. Well, he hadn’t lost his resolve, only forgotten it briefly in a drunken haze, and once it all came back to him and he saw us standing in the bathroom doorway, he got in a football crouch and bare-ass naked, tried to barrel through us to safety.
Smitty and I grabbed him, but as he was naked and wet, it was hard to keep a hold of him. We started shouting for assistance and somehow Fuller slipped by us and started running down the hall for the staircase. Right before he reached it though, Parks was in front of him, having come up the same staircase in response to our cries for help. Parks tackled him and knocked him to the floor, at which point we duct taped him as best we could, trying hard to avoid his genital region. Once we got him sedated, we dragged his naked ass down the stairs and threw him out the back door.
This lead to another pretty funny site, a completely disheveled looking still drunk active name of Ptazak, still standing by where we had thrown him trying to figure out what to do, being knocked down into a pile of snow as we threw a duct taped naked man at him. I am not entirely sure how that situation was resolved by the two, as we quickly closed the door and re-barricaded it, muttering "sucks to be you" under our breath.
For awhile the morning progressed uneventfully. Good progress was being made on the caves by the poor schmucks who had to do all the hard work. Smitty and myself, on lookout on the third floor, were starting to get slightly buzzed, and were sitting on our asses by windows on opposite sides of the house. Parks was going around and bothering the pledges on work detail, asking them which actives they could remember getting out of the house, trying to figure out the whereabouts of the 4 who nobody had remembered seeing. When all of a sudden, at about 10 AM, we hear a gigantic crash and a ruckus coming from the second floor. Smitty and I immediately run down, and we see Crazy Carl, with his arm lodged in the doorway of the beach, throwing all his weight on the door trying to push it open. The sounds of a few actives on the other side, desperately trying to get the door shut once more against the force of this beast. Apparently, figuring the coast was clear as the only sounds that could be heard were the pledges on the first floor working on their caves, the three guys in The Beach had decided to peek out and see if they could make their way down to the back door to let in the actives who were lurking around outside (there were still a few). However, after opening the door not even an inch, Carl had barreled his way across the 3 or 4 yards from the bathroom to the Beach and had literally thrown himself against the door, throwing one of the actives on the other side across the fucking room as the door suddenly smashed into his chest and nose. The other two guys in that room then immediately lurched into the door in an attempt to shut Carl out. When we saw what was going on, we joined the fray.
Carl though really didn’t need our help. By himself he was already quickly pushing the door open, even against the force of the three actives in the room trying to shut it. It looked like a man pushing a truck, digging his heels in and gradually getting the thing to move his way. But with Smitty and I throwing our weight in, we finally shoved open the door enough for Carl to squeeze in, and that was pretty much that.
Carl, once inside, immediately grabbed one of the actives and got him into a half nelson. Another active ran for him, at which point Carl grabbed the guy by the shirt collar and threw him over a coffee table and into an entertainment center. There are no "acceptable rules of engagement" to a guy willing to bash his head into a plaster wall because it is looking at him funny. And the third guy was already on the floor holding his bloody nose after having been knocked back when Carl had first thrown himself on the door.
When Smitty and I got into the room, our first job was to calm Carl down and tell him to please not kill anybody. It took some doing, but we finally convinced him that bashing the guy in the headlock’s head into the nightstand a few times for good measure was probably not a good idea. Secondly, with Parks’s help (who had finally arrived), we took to duct taping the three and dragging them down the stairs. Parks, Smitty, and myself carried two of the guys. Carl himself had picked up the third, thrown him over his shoulder, and was already on his way to the window.
A job well done, we thought. The Beach had been secured, we had been able to lock the windows that lead to the porch and no longer had to fear the actives getting in that way.
The rest of the early afternoon went about pretty uneventfully. The caves had been coming along nicely, and now the only way to get around in much of the house’s interior was to crawl about in a complex series of cardboard caves. Most of the third floor was still clear, but the first floor was almost entirely covered in caves now. The caves were set about in a maze of sorts, that went up and down stairs, curved around to dead ends, and had a bunch of "rooms", places big enough to sit in comfortably. The rooms were themed. There was a make-out room that housed two couches and could only be gotten in and out of by climbing over the kitchen counter, and also contained a stereo with only CDs like Barry White and Parliament. There was a psychedelic room with black lights and Day-Glo paint and an oriental rug to sit on. Also, the entire bar-room (the back room where Lund got his) was open, so people could mill about and pour drinks, but the only way to get to it was to find your way through the gigantic maze of cardboard. Same with the bathrooms, though that one was, in retrospect, probably a bad decision. The only entrance to the house for the party would be through the basement. There were two steel doors, like tornado shelter doors, on the far end of the basement, and the caves would start there. Basically, if you wanted to get anywhere, you had to crawl, but it really was dope and a pretty fucking unique setting for a big party.
Though it was still under construction at this point.
At about 1 or 2 PM, Smitty had shouted to me something like "Hey Paint CHiPs, I think I just saw Miegs lurking around out here!" I heard him fire off a few bottle rockets, kind of warning shots, though he couldn’t be sure who it was out there or what they were doing. At about the same time, I saw two actives to my right, crouched down and silently running out of the forest by the parking lot towards the mattresses beneath me. I leveled my bottle rocket, fired, and shot a guy in the leg, who yelped and ran back into the forest. The other guy had made it to another little cluster of trees between us and the sorority house, immediately in front of me. I was firing bottle rockets at the tree that the guy had hid behind, focusing straight in front of me, when all of a sudden from my left a bottle rocket whizzed by my head and exploded on the awning right above my head. I jerked back into the room and fell over a futon. Smitty was furiously firing off bottle rockets of his own across the hall, and I could hear him saying "Paint, Paint, what’s going on?! I see about six guys running around! Out here!". I shouted, still on my ass, "Yeah, same here!! PARKS?!! PARKS!??! BE READY!!!" When from the other room, I heard Smitty yelp and saw him duck just as a bottle rocket flew in from his window, across his room, out his door, across the 3 feet of hall space, into my room, and landed and exploded on the futon I had just tripped over.
"ACK!" I shouted, as fire started to come up from the futon. I jumped on top of it and started stomping out the fire. I succeeded in stamping the fire, and the futon, to death. Finally, I grabbed my plastic cup of beer and poured it over the remaining pieces, extinguishing it in a haze of smoke that wafted around the room. Unfortunately, all my stamping had rendered the futon into a charcoaled pile of kindling and skanky beer. Take that Lund.
I quickly stumbled back to my window and looked out. A bunch of actives were dragging the mattresses away from the windows and driveway. As they were right below me, I grabbed the bucket of piss that the actives who had barricaded themselves in the room the night before had used, and I dumped it out my window. It splashed all over about six guys, who scattered, though they got two of the mattresses. Another hail of bottle rockets shot for me, and I ducked back in the window.
From downstairs I heard a lot of activity as Parks and the other pledges were running around making sure everything was barricaded. When I peeked out again, I saw actives running from tree to tree, sneaking up on the place. The mattresses had been dragged into the forest and now were forming a kind of duck blind, propped up against some trees in the semi-distance from which two actives were firing at me and at the back of the house. I saw a few guys running up and down the driveway.
Now, I had been firing bottle rockets at the people in the distance, and was fairly successful at staving them off. But once they got close to the house, it became nearly impossible to aim my bottle rockets, as when you try and aim straight down the rocket slips out of the bottle before it goes off. And besides, my bucket of piss tactic has already been used.
So, I saw two guys directly below me, who had flattened themselves against the wall so as to not be seen by the pledges through the first floor window. So I lit three bottle rockets I had in my hand, and simply dropped them.
This turned out to be a wonderful tactic, and Smitty started doing it as well. You see, when you just drop a lit bottle rocket onto concrete, what happens is, when the fire hits the fuse, the bottle rocket starts to spin around. Then, all of a sudden, it will rocket itself in whatever direction it happens to be facing and explode at whatever point of impact it meets. Deliciously chaotic.
In any case, I dropped the three bottle rockets, shot off a few at the mattress barricade, and watched below as the two actives who had flattened themselves against the wall tried to run in opposite directions. One of the bottle rockets shot off towards the forest, but one of them shot right at one of the fleeing actives, hitting him in the ass and dropping him to the ground, and the other rocket (I only found this out in conversations later), nailed the other active on the back of his hand, leaving a scar he still has to this day. Thus, the actives, in approaching the house, or in trying to get from the back to the front via the driveway, had two options. Try to give the house some distance, at which point they risked our aimed fire and being seen by the other pledges in the house, or they could try to stay close to the house, at which point they didn’t really have to worry about being seen so much, but had to worry about bottle rockets being dropped all around them that could conceivably shoot off in any direction. Also, there were the buckets of piss to consider.
As more and more actives started to get close to the house, I needed a new weapon. The dropped bottle rockets were still working, but the actives had figured out that when I drop them on the ground, they shoot off at low angles. And thus, when one was dropped in front of them, they either jumped on it to extinguish it, or grabbed an awning or a gutter or something and climbed up a few feet. Besides, I was dealing with the random chance that the rockets would shoot of at an active and not into the forest or the yard. Granted, it was really hard to get away from if it chose to shoot off at you, as it was short range then, but also really hard to ensure consistent effectiveness. I probably hit an active with these random rocket drops about 15 times, out of maybe a hundred dropped (though I was dropping them at a really fucking rapid rate, so being on the ground approaching the house was like running across a minefield full of Bouncing Betty’s).
In any case, at one point Parks ran upstairs and gave both Smitty and me buckets filled with water balloons of a great variety that the pledges downstairs had been making on and off throughout the day. Some were filled with shaving cream, some with Crisco, some with piss, some water, some with hot coffee, whatever. It was like a box of chocolates; you never knew what you were going to get. So in addition to shooting bottle rockets and simply dropping them, I also began throwing water balloons. THESE I can aim. It was great fun, nailing a ducking guy in the back and watching shaving cream explode all over him. Or dropping a balloon full of Crisco square on the top of some guy’s head from three stories up and watching him stumble away in a panic and a daze, covered in slimy non-stick goodness.
However, as I was doing this, the downstairs people were having problems.
It seems that we had missed a single active who was still hidden in the house. And this one did not have a drinking problem (though in my frat that was all quite relative). His name was Gerald, a really good guy, levelheaded and cautious. What he had done was to hide out. There was a small space, actually one right next to The Beach, that is kind of hollowed out, the space beneath the stairs that lead to the third floor. In that space we had kept a file cabinet, a rather large one, that kept all kinds of frat records. We also kept various things in there like broken chairs or stolen lawn art or fire hydrants or whatever.
Well, what Gerald had done was to empty out all the drawers of the file cabinet and lock them away in his room. He had then taken a bunch of older drawers that had fallen into disuse and ended up in a junk heap in the basement (a room we called "Storage" that contained artifacts deposited by frat members from as far back as 1968). In any case, he had gotten these old shelves and had sawed off all the parts except for the faces and the part that holds it to the cabinet. He then GOT INSIDE the hollow file cabinet, and from the outside, it looked the same as it ever did.
Well, once the actives were starting to claw there way inside from the first floor, all the pledges had run down to try and help stave them off. About 20 actives were trying to pull apart the barricade of the front doors, and were semi-successful, so most of the pledges were there, trying to rebuild it and support it. Gerald then got out of the file cabinet, and ran to the beach and threw out a rope ladder from its window. He then ran towards the back of the house and threw another rope ladder out of a very small room, the only single in the house. After doing that, he attempted to get to the third floor (he was one of the non-smokers who lived in the Observatory), but when he got there, he found Smitty and myself. He quickly had a face full of shaving cream, pants full of burn holes, and a body covered in duct tape. We didn’t have time to get him out of the house, so he laid there, in the third floor hall, shouting "Paint CHiPs, put out that cigarette!!! Quit smoking in my room!!! And what the fuck happened to Lund’s futon?!?!"
Smitty and I had no clue what was going on downstairs, we just held our positions at our windows. After a short while though, I couldn’t see anymore actives, though Smitty was shooting off as many fireworks and balloons as fast as humanly possibly. At one point, he shouted to me "Paint CHiPs, they’re climbing up the fucking walls!!!!" He couldn’t see the rope ladder, which was hugging the wall below the single room a bit to his left. 8 guys were under it, 6 of whom were beginning to climb their way into the house, and two of whom were simply staving off Smitty by constantly sending a barrage of bottle rockets and roman candle fire his way. It got so bad that all Smitty could do was keep the window cracked and throw out water balloons, careful to not extend any appendages out of said window for fear of fire (which lead to him scrapping his earlier idea of just pissing out the window and bypassing the piss balloons altogether). The barrage of bottle rocket fire from the actives below was so bad that from that day forward, it was nearly impossible to see anything out of that particular window, so covered in soot and fire and ash as it was.
Since I had no more targets on my end, and as I heard a helluva lot of noise from downstairs, I decided to go help out the struggle on the first and second floors. As I reached the staircase, I saw an active who had stopped at the bottom of the stairs on the second floor and was staring up at me, not sure of how to proceed. I then shouted over my shoulder, "HEY GUYS, LET’S GET HIM!!!" at which point he took off. The bluff worked.
What had happened is that through the single room below Smitty, about 5 of the actives had gotten in and were now running around the house kicking through cardboard and trying to find ways to let more actives in the house. Carl, meanwhile, had seen the actives coming in through the Beach, and even though the door opened inward, had barricaded the door with a bungee cord stretched to its limit attached to a toilet somehow.
To this day I have no clue what all happened. All I know is that I ran into the single room that I had just seen another active run out of, and there I saw two guys--Petey and Bob--coming towards the door. I screamed for backup, and as they went for me, I managed to get to the rope ladder hanging out of the window and throw it to the ground below. The two actives that had made it into the room were on top of me, but by this time another pledge, Bowser, had come in to aid me. He closed the door behind him so the actives couldn’t run by us, and I took Petey and Bowser took Bob.
Meanwhile, downstairs, the actives had busted in through the front door and about twenty of them had been standing in the main room, kicking apart cardboard boxes and wrestling with pledges when Stimmel came in from a back room, dressed in combat fatigues, and holding his .45 above his head he shouted at the top of his lungs "EVERY ACTIVE IN THIS GODDAMNED HOUSE HAD BEST GET THE FUCK OUT RIGHT FUCKING NOW!!!!". At that point, he shot off two blanks above his head. BANG!!!! BANG!!!!
I wish I would have been there to see the actives run, but apparently, it took about 5 seconds and the main room was cleared of actives.
Meanwhile, Bowser and I were still locked in combat, wrestling around on the ground with the two actives. There were also about 8 other actives running around the house being chased by a bunch of pledges. Not to mention however many actives had gotten locked in The Beach by Crazy Carl. Also, the house president and probably the most responsible of any of us, an active name of Barringer who had gotten in somehow, was running around trying to see if somebody had been shot or not.
I had almost gotten Petey immobile, and had an arm snaked around his neck ready to choke him, when all of a sudden the fire alarms in the place went off. This was nothing new, the fire alarms in the place were notorious for going off at any hour for any reason. So we continued to wrestle around.
However, a cloud of white smoke began to creep in through the closed door.
It took us awhile to even notice, as we were locked in combat, but at one point, Petey said "Wait! Wait! Hold up guys!". To which I replied "Foolish active, I will not fall for such a ploy!!!" "No no," he continued, "Paint CHiPs, Bowser, Bob, I’m serious, I think the house really is on fire!" Still holding each other but no longer struggling, we each stopped and, breathing heavily, looked around. We let go of each other and opened the door, and the hall was full of a white powdery smoke. Petey said to Bob "Fuck this" and they took off down the stairs for the back door. I said to Bowser "Holy Christ, let’s find that shit and put it out!". At that point, we dove into the caves and started shimming through them as if they were Viet Kong dugouts.
It was truly a site to behold. The second floor was full of this white smoke. On the first floor actives were trying to find the quickest route out of the house, as Stimmel was still brandishing his .45. Some of the pledges, convinced the house was on fire, were leaping out of windows. And then there was the glorious scene in the middle of the second floor that involved Ptazack, 4 other actives, and Parks and a few pledges.
I wasn’t privy to this as I was shimming around the caves up and down the back staircase looking for a fire and asking anybody I came across if they had seen it. But apparently, A few actives had been chased around by Parks and his pledge goons, and they had finally gotten cornered. In front of them was where the construction of caves had ended and the rest of the completed caves began. Basically, a hall full of cardboard caves. The rest of the second floor was not yet done, so they had been moving about freely, but going through the cave mazes with a bunch of pledges in hot pursuit would be slow going at best. So, Ptazack turned around, grabbed the gigantic industrial fire extinguisher off the wall, and sprayed it all in one gigantic shot at the oncoming pledges.
This had two effects. For one, it stopped the pledges dead in their tracks, as they were covered in the CO. The pledges then all went right for the bathrooms to try and wash and/or towel off the freezing cold liquid.
But secondly, it had created an enormous cloud of white hazy smoke that filled the house and caused everybody to think it was on fire.
Total chaos, to be sure.
Barringer had finally found Stimmel, gotten the explanation for the gunshots, and had taken the .45 away from him (it was handed over voluntarily; even despite the war games, Barringer had the ultimate authority). The actives were now divided into three or four different camps. The vast majority of them were already gone, figuring either Stimmel had a .45 and had cracked or the house was now on fire. Another large group of people were actives and pledges who were jumping out of windows or finding their ways to the doors, convinced of the same things. Then there was the group with Ptazak who knew exactly what was going on and were now going to un-barricade the front door.
I’m not sure how, but at least among the actives and Barringer, word of what had really happened began to disseminate. The pledges who had originally fled got back in, and all the actives had either fled of their own free will or were now at the front door, either coming or going, in one massive bottleneck. The pledges were also at the front door, shoving the rest of the actives out of it.
That was a scene unto itself, the massive struggle of 30 or so guys. Water balloons flying in every direction, one guy got accidentally punched in the face and was screaming bloody murder, Hijinio was trying to get in and screaming in Spanish about his family portrait.
At one point, when the tide had clearly turned in favor of the pledges, the actives who had, up until then, been trying to push INTO the house, all of a sudden began to try and pull pledges OUT of the house. This came as quite a surprise to the pledges, who went from pushing to being grabbed and forced to pull the other way in a split second. I was at the back of the fray. It took a few minutes, but finally we got them out of the front door, though they had gotten a pledge named Boucher and had him on the porch and hog-tied.
We decided to sacrifice him for the sake of the house, and had closed and were furiously re-barricading the front door. We found out later that the worst fate that Boucher was forced to endure was to sit in an active’s apartment and take shots.
It was about this time the cops showed up.
Now, the street the house was located on was solely home to all the fraternities and sororities of Drake University, so the cops getting strange calls regarding those properties was nothing new to them. They also tend to go by the mantra of "more trouble then it’s worth" in regards to how they deal with it. But when shots are fired and fire alarms are going off, they have to at least send a car out. So at the same time as the actives all began to disperse, the cops showed up.
This lead to another funny scene. Barringer, the president, goes out to meet the two cops that show up. They glance around, see duck blinds made of mattresses, rope ladders out of a front window, urine, shaving cream, and spent fireworks EVERYWHERE, men with war paint walking around leaving the scene nonchalantly, four guys carrying a hog-tied man away, and Barringer walking up to talk with them, sweating balls and scared out of his wits because he has Stimmel’s .45 in his pocket.
In any case, Barringer, who had had much experience talking to police on behalf of our frat, convinced them that both the gunshots and the smoke was from fireworks. He got lectured a bit on fire safety and noise levels, the cops made sure the hog-tied man was okay ("yes officer, we are just playing around") and everybody got warned to cut all the shit out. They had briefly thrown around the idea of going inside the house to check things out, but one active told them "I don’t think you’re going to be able to get in there".
More trouble then it’s worth, officer. The cops left. The actives left. We finished the caves.
The party that night was truly dope. We had a few thousand dollars worth of alcohol. At the bottom of the tornado shelter doors that lead to the basement from the outside, before people entered the caves, every single frat member and every date got a bottle of champagne of their own, dug out of a garbage can full of ice. It was a blast. All the actives were no longer pissed, but rather much of the time was spent trading war stories amongst each other. I had at least five guys come up to me during the course of the party and show me scars that my bottle rockets had caused, saying "Hey Paint CHiPs, that was AWESOME! Nice fucking shot!" A few of us approached Hijino and said "Hey man, we’re really sorry about your family portrait" at which point he guffawed quite a bit and said "It’s okay man, I’m really sorry for lying to you about my family portrait". Charlie had even returned, and he was in the middle of a circle of frat members, recounting his fabulous story of how he got from the Iowa wilderness 60 miles away to St Louis and then back to Des Moines again (more then a few people said "Dude, we thought you were dead.") That rugby player I had blinded hours earlier came up to me and asked to see the super soaker I had wielded against him. I handed it to him, at which point he smashed it to bits against the wall. He then turned and shook my hand and said "Good fucking show." Everybody was tired as fuck, but the exhilaration and booze kept spirits and energy really high.
We had an insane amount of alcohol and women around (the ones that stupidly wore skirts to the party had to crawl around on their hands and knees being followed by a pack of guys). Everybody was all smiles, telling stories about the day, complimenting people on various aspects of their maneuvers and on the incredibly complex system of caves, and generally having a great time. People and their dates were exploring the caves, meeting other couples in the middle of a space maybe 4 feet by 4 feet by 4 feet and sitting down like Bohemians to finish their drinks and start up a conversation. All over the house people were wandering around in cardboard caverns, trying not to spill their drinks, and marveling over the amount of work and effort that it must have taken to create the caves. And the dates didn’t even know the half of it.
I remember I was with my date in the make-out room, and she whispered into my ear "Let’s go back to your room." I responded, "I’d kind of like to see how the party turns out." It was that much fun.
The party started at 7 PM. At Midnight, also on par with tradition, the caves were destroyed. On the dot, one of the actives shouted "KILL IT!!!" and all of us started stomping the shit out of the caves, reducing them once more to flat cardboard, much to the bemusement of our dates. Viking funeral.
Probably, all in all, that 36-hour campaign and subsequent celebration was the most fun I have ever had in my entire life. Not only was it one of the best parties I have ever been to, but the events leading up to it made it all unforgettable. We had to WORK for it. We got to play Rambo for two days. It was war without consequence.
I got to be Patton CHiPs.
(Finally) The End.
Post script: A few days later, Ptazak, for spraying us all with CO, filling the house with smoke, and making us think the place was on fire, was subsequently kidnapped by the pledge class and taken to the trail that led from the fraternity and sorority street to campus proper. There, he was duct taped upside-down to the trunk of a massive tree that was next to an Emergency Phone, the kind that you are supposed to pick up if you are being raped (known as Blue Phones on some campuses). We left him duct taped upside-down on that tree, left the Blue Phone off the hook, and walked back to campus.
The most honorable Mr. bowmore has graciously accepted an offer to host some trivia contests, and he's hot to trot with it ... we have two sessions coming up this weekend, both general trivia:|
Saturday, 1/13, 6 pm EST, on TLFSunday, 1/14, 10 pm EST, on IRC, #trivia
He has some great ideas for future contests as well, so stay tuned!
What's the first word or sensation that pops into your head when you hear the word "police"? Pig? Sounds and smells of bacon crackling on the big black wooden cook stove? Fear? Anger? |
I thought as I got to college that people would be more accepting of the fact that this society has laws, and laws need to be enforced. I myself break them with regularity, but that doesn't mean I regard the enforcers of said laws with silly prejudices. Still, every time I'm in a car with my friends, calls of Five-O, Po-po, and "I smell Bacon!" fill the air whenever a cruiser is sighted. All I've ever wanted to be is a cop, but is this what I have to look forward to? Hostility and suspicion? Most cops are good guys, trying to make a living doing what they believe in. How many people do you know would willingly place themselves between you and whatever chaos holds for us when the laws of civilization fail?
I personally believe that cops are heroes. For every story of some crooked cop who flouts the laws and gets away with it, there's a story of some police officer braving fire (fire not like wood fire, but under fire) to save some kid, or putting a murderer behind bars. This is a rough world we live in, and I feel like no one appreciates them. Yes, there are chickenshit laws, and yes they have to enforce them. I doubt that's why they feel they're there. I don't want to be a cop to arrest people who grow or smoke pot. But in order to maintain the myth of Lady Justice, Impartiality, police are forced to enforce laws not as they see fit (though they do have a little leeway) but as they are written. Try not to see your own prejudices and the bad side. Try to remember the good they do the next time you see a cruiser.
I can remember sitting at the rectangular wooden table in the kitchen of my parent’s house, surrounded by my two sisters and my Mom when I was about seven years old. The doctors had serious doubts regarding my younger sister’s ability to ever talk , hear or even live. Immediately after her birth she was given a tracheotomy because she was eight weeks premature and her esophagus wasn’t fully developed. The procedure made it possible for her to breathe on her own. However, it also destroyed portions of her vocal chords and they feared she would never be able to speak. |
She couldn’t have been more then two years old when we were sitting at that table trying to teach her sign language with my mother’s help. I recall repeatedly doing the sign for “cookie” as we held a cookie in front of her big blue curious eyes. After about a half-hour with no response from her, we stopped, and my Mom began teaching us other signs, hoping we would assist in her learning. She began to quiz me on different signs that she had gone over and when she came to cookie, I couldn’t remember how to sign it. My Mom repeated it to show me and my sister quickly placed a cookie in her hand. We laughed and hugged her tightly. I remember being so proud that she was finally beginning to understand us as my mom‘s eyes filled with tears. Little did we know at that time that the word itself and not our signs prompted her response.
Her childhood was anything but typical, although my parents tried desperately to keep it as close to normal as possible. The weight of the trach on her small neck, although minimal to us, was enough to hamper her ability to walk until the age of four and she was never to crawl. I suspect it was the fear of harming herself that was more detrimental to her success then the actual equipment itself. My parents, although extremely well meaning, were also greatly overprotective, rarely allowing her to test her own abilities. Until she was able to walk, she raced her way around the house quite efficiently on a little yellow skateboard. She would lie on her stomach and push herself around using her hands and feet. She also achieved quite a bit of joy by running over the toes of unsuspecting family members.
For the first four years of her life she was attached to a heart/breathing monitor while she slept. I remember being wakened many nights by the horrifying sound of the alarm, warning that it wasn’t detecting a regular heartbeat or breathing patterns. All but one of those times, it was because she had moved and a clip came off of one of the little smiley-faced electrodes that were sticking to her chest. The chaos and fear that surrounded the time that she truly stopped breathing was horrifying. I can only remember being in the corner of the family room, while my parents and 3 other people surrounded my little sister on her changing table. My Mom was yelling that her face was blue and she wasn’t breathing. My Dad stood next to her in his red underwear, hands shaking terribly as he tried to help clear her airway. Apparently, her trach had somehow come out in the night, leaving her unable to breathe. The monitor was our only signal that something was wrong considering she had never had the ability to cry in her young life. What a painfully sad sight, to see a child crying, but unable to make a sound. Her eyes would fill with tears until they streamed down her face and her mouth would be wide open, yet there was complete silence as a blue tint consumed her tiny body. After a few short minutes, that seem more like days in my mind, the trach was put back in and her cheeks flushed pink once again.
The years ahead were filled with advances and setbacks as she returned to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia repeatedly to attempt to remove the trach and again failing. The scar tissue buildup narrowed her already minimal airways, making it a high-risk procedure that the doctors and my parents were unwilling to take. Colleen, my younger sister, was becoming despondent, fearing she would be forced to live her entire life unable to truly understand the simplicity of being a normal kid. After each failed attempt she became less cooperative, making it more difficult to advance to the next level. Although I am certain my parents had thought about the possibility of her living her life with the trach, the words were never mentioned. Everyone except Colleen saw it the same way, we would rather have her here with a trach, then not with us at all.
At the age of four Colleen decided on her own that she hadn’t a need for the trach anymore. She had done her best to convince my parents by covering the metal piece that protruded from her neck with her tiny fingers and hoarsely breathing through her own mouth, although for some reason was still unable to breath through her nose. My parents were understandably very hesitant to remove it, however agreed for my sister’s mental well being to try. Preparing for the worst they were near the phone and had a second tube nearby to insert if she was unsuccessful. We all stood by holding our breath as the piece was removed, all but Colleen that is. With a smile on her face she began to cough and proved to all surrounding her that she had overcome this obstacle.
From that day the journey has been filled almost completely with triumphs rather then complications. With the trach removed she learned to walk and then to speak. It’s my personal belief that she has since made up for the four years she was unable to verbally express herself and can frequently be heard above all over voices in the house. She has thankfully never had to have another tracheotomy preformed although the small hole that still remains in her neck is a constant reminder of the struggles of the past. She returned to C.H.O.P. two years ago, at the age of seventeen, to explore the possibility of having it closed. The surgeons fear that because of the high scar tissue build-up, that closing it may cause her airway to be severely reduced and will again have to have a tracheotomy preformed. With that possibility looming overhead she has decided to wait, hoping in the future her airway will expand enough for a higher success rate.
Now, at nineteen, I see little difference between her and any other teenager. She rebels and has mood swings that could be argued to be the best if you asked me. She spends her days working and her nights hanging out with her friends and playing her music entirely too loud without a care, as she should. The obstacles that she has overcome in her life have certainly prepared her for anything tomorrow can threaten her with. You almost have to smile when you look at her now, it’s such a wonderful change from that timid, wide-eyed baby that had a future full of doubt.
Her back sports a nasty wound. A pussy shaped, unnatural orifice that reaches deep. Deep enough to effect the muscles around her scapula. In turn, the injury to these muscles causes her to lurch about with a hunched back. The pain is intense, causing her to perpetually flex these damaged muscles. This causes more tearing, and in order to heal, she must rest.|
She is awake, and turns to amble towards a glass portal.
As she maneuvers the simple exit, she determines her next direction, her destination is clear. She calls for a taxi and placing orders the automotive coach lurches off in the “north west” towards the lumberyard.
The journey is calm, save the ceaseless throb of pain emanating from her upper left side.
She pays real money for the cab.
She arrives at the lumberyard and calls for a jimmy to set her up with twenty wooden planks: some six feet tall, some four feet wide, all precut.
She pays good money for the wood.
She shifts about for five days until a cab arrives with enough suitable carriage to ferry her wooden goods. She plainly offers the cab her desire, and she is shot off towards the “south west:” towards a hardware store.
The gash in her back begins to spurt chunky menstrual blood: she cleans up after herself and saves the liquid in case she meets some dirty thieves who try and monkey with her provisions. Monkeys go bananas for “Snatch Shakes”!
She pays honest money for the cab.
The hardware store houses her final desire: a hammer, some nails, two hinges, and a standard issue utility mechanoid (TM) brought in from Denmark.
She pays the last of her earned money for the aforementioned items.
While shambling home, she is stopped by a fiery band of howlers. Instead of fleeing, she mixes up a hot “blood rag n’ schnapps” and tosses it to her lesser-evolved assailants. Smelling the effluent discharge the monkey bandits go bonkers and begin anal fucking each other. “Snatch Shakes” win the day!
She pays no real attention to her would be attackers.
She arrives back at the initiation of her exodus, the catalyst point for her non-sequential journey. The glass door…
She pays no good attention to her return.
Dropping her sought after goods, she stretches out her hunched back. Lying down, she utilizes the hard wood in the floors to adjust to her mutilated flesh.
Although she thinks that she is doing herself some good, she is in fact damaging herself a great deal. With her open fleshy scapula labia squished against the dirt and shit of her floor, tiny germs and parasites begin to enter her like little sperm. They swim deep inside of her and begin fertilizing her muscle with a child: a worm.
Against the ground, she waits for three years. When she finally does stand up after her 1095 day R and R, she realizes that she is not alone.
Perched upon her back is a fleshy parrot. Emanating from the depths of her disfigurement is the physically manifested bane of her special hole. An obvious tattoo of her shame and her pain: the parasite perpetual.
The parrot makes an awful squawking sound, which accuses her shame directly, openly. Like a bull trying to fuck a goldfish.
Solemnly, she raises her hammer and begins constructing a six-foot by four-foot box (with hinges and lid).
She pays no honest attention to her better judgment.
The completion of the box ushers in a wave of cathartic orgasm for this thing, our heroin. She climbs inside, and directs her standard issue utility mechanoid (TM) to nail the cell shut.
The “parrot”, having nothing to do except read Shakespeare during its hosts concentrated work effort, offered this random advice as limited by its biological ability, just before the lid was shut down forever:
“To die, to sleep –
To sleep – perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.”
She pays the last of her attention to her mutated flesh. Although the being growing along side of her, off of her, is incapable of providing any “real good honest” advice, she is capable of receiving it when it comes along.
She ceases the mechanoid (TM), and heads to a psychiatrist for a spot of emotional surgery.
In time, she learns to lick her pussy wound, cleaning it out before letting it become too infected.
I awoke in the hospital. Blood being pumped into me and an armed guard at the foot of my bed. I was securely strapped down and chained to the bed. I spent a total of, I think, two days in the hospital. I was then returned to my cell at the county jail. |
It was not long until I was to try suicide again. The outcome was close to the same. After I was over the hepatitis I was put into a holding tank with about thirty other inmates. This was where I was about to learn what life in a county jail was really like.
Being in an overcrowded jail is truly a hell on earth. The county jail holding tanks are made to fit fifteen inmates at a time but being that there was an overcrowding problem with the nation’s jails at that time, there was anywhere from thirty to fifty inmates in the holding tank at one time. Jailhouse rapes where fairly common. Inmates that where unable to defend themselves or were too afraid to fight if someone came up to them and took something of theirs and did nothing about it were easy prey. Well, that was a very big mistake, because that was viewed as a sign of weakness by the predators in there, and that was when they would start plotting to rape you. This was something that I learned by watching others and after about my second week in it was my turn to get tested.
Another inmate stole my cigarettes. I found out who did it and I went to him and asked for them back. I proceeded to try to kick his face in. Once the man was unconscious I took my smokes back. Later that week after he returned from the infirmary I overheard him plotting with a few of the clique that he associated with to catch me the next time I was in the shower. This was in the evening. I had to sleep on the floor of the dayroom area that night and I stayed awake all night. The next morning after worrying that whole night over what to do I decided to take a few pencils that I had, about five of them, and work him over with them. So I did. I stabbed this guy about seven times with a handful of five pencils. Needless to say none of his friends stepped in to help him. When the guards came in to get him to take him to the hospital it was quite amazing that no one out of all the people in the holding tank had seen or heard anything. Not only that but another inmate that knew what was going on grabbed me before the guards came in and pulled me into the cell that he had a bunk in and took the pencils away from me and made me change into a new set of cloths that he had hidden under his bunk. This guy’s name was Mike. He was in for manufacture of methamphetamine. After I had changed clothes he took what I had on and with a homemade razor knife he cut the blood stained clothes up into smaller pieces and preceded to flush them down the toilet. After that Mike got me to move into the cell that he and three other guys occupied where he kind of kept an eye out for me cause after that I got to where I would sleep all day and would only wake at night after everyone else was asleep and every night I would find my evening meal there waiting for me. I gave my breakfast and lunch to Mike and in return he would hide my evening meal away for me. I lived like that for a good three months until the depression got to me again, and once again, I attempted suicide. After another blood transfusion I was returned to the county jail but this time I was placed in segregation so that the jailers could keep a better eye on me.
In the county jail I met a person, well three people, that made a dent in my memory. The first was a jailer named Mr. Stevens. Mr. Stevens did nothing more but talk to me, that was all. He kept me occupied and would not let me sleep all day. Next was a nurse named C.K. I don’t know her real name but she would bring me books to read and puzzles to keep my mind occupied and she will always have a place in my heart. She made me realize that I was someone that mattered to another person and she gave me a will to want to stay alive. And the third person I will mention is A.J. McConnell and what Mr. McConnell did was nothing more than be nice to me. He did his job as a jailer but he was nothing other than nice. C.K. had come to me and asked me if I wanted something to do and I, of course, said yes. She talked the sheriff into letting me paint the segregation floor of the jail. Well this took me about a month by myself, when all of a sudden the sheriff decided that I could not do it anymore. I could not understand why I was not allowed to paint and no one could give me a reason. I had gotten quite used to being able to roam around the halls of the county jail. I was a model prisoner. I had gained the respect of a few people while I was in there and they saw me for more than the killer that I thought I was and felt very bad about. I just could not understand why this privilege, that I had and was working very hard to keep, was now being taken away without cause and, well, it hurt me. Being that I still was not very mentally stable I was about to attempt suicide for the fourth time. This time I was determined to succeed.
I scammed a razor off another inmate and I braided a rope out of a bed sheet. I climbed up on the small writing desk that was in the cell and tied the homemade rope to a light that stuck out of the wall. Then I took a razor blade out of the razor and remembering what a county sheriff had told me on the previous try "son you got to cut lengthwise up your wrist to do it right". So that was what I did, and then I stepped off the table.
I must not have been there long before I was found again and cut down and no matter how you cut your wrist I found they can be stitched up. After that CK, knowing how down I was, showed up one day with a puppy. It’s kind of funny, this little dog didn’t care who I was or what I did just as long as I played with it and loved it. Now it was a black lab pup and of course being that I was in jail I could not keep the dog but CK would sneak this pup in whenever she got the chance up until the day I left for prison. I don’t really understand what had changed but I never attempted suicide again after that.
Well, as all this other stuff was happening, I was also being indicted. The grand jury would not indict me for murder in the first, second, or third degrees but they did indict me on the charge of involuntary man slaughter. This was the first time that I had ever had a felony charge against me. I had a few brushes with the law when I was younger and my dealings with Tom where never known to any law enforcement so I had a clean record. I had a fairly good court appointed lawyer who told me to take this to trial and he thought I could get off with probation. I, on the other hand, felt that I deserved to go to prison so when the district attorney offered me a five-year sentience that was non aggravated I accepted it and was off on my way to prison. I had about another week to go sitting in the county jail before I was on my way to the diagnostics unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Huntsville Texas. What a shock this was. Upon arrival you are stripped, searched, deloused, showered and your head is shaved. Also, to make things more interesting there was a smart-ass in amongst us who kept wise-cracking to the guards. Well the guards finally had enough of him and preceded to beat the shit out of all of us using night sticks. There where about twenty of us, we were all buck-ass nekkid and when the guards were through we where thoroughly beaten.
Once we where done with our ass-whooping we were given cells and allowed to go to commissary--the ones that could walk that is. The next day we were all herded into the infirmary for x-rays, a physical, tetanus shots, and to have any broken bones set from the day before. The day after that we where assigned an inmate id number, finger printed, given a statement on what we were in for and had to strip again to show any distinguishing marks that might have been on our bodies. The next and final day at the diagnostics unit was spent talking to guidance counselors about what programs an inmate could get into and you had a trip to see a shrink, then it was back to the cell. The next day everyone on the cell block was shipped to the Goree unit for classification and your first parole hearing. Some inmates never got past here. As a matter of fact, about fifty percent of the people that were on the bus with me were released that day without ever going any farther. I, on the other hand, was considered a risk by the parole board and received my first set off, and at that time was misclassified as a high security prisoner and was sent to the Ellis unit.
Ellis was a very foreboding place. It is home to some of Texas’ most hardened convicts. It’s also home to death row. I learned two very important things while living at Ellis: 1. Never change the TV from Days of our Lives, it will get you killed. 2. Never tell a death row inmate good morning, cause there is nothing good about their mornings, their evenings, or their afternoons. The ones that are going to die and know they are going to die do not give a shit and will be more than happy to kill you just for looking at them wrong. Granted, whenever they were out in the general population they were under guard and where chained up but then again handcuffs could strangle a person pretty toughly. And the reason you never changed the TV channel, well at least I didn’t the third day I was on Ellis.
I decided one day after lunch that I was going to go watch a little TV in the day room area. There were two other inmates in there already watching TV. One was a black guy who was sitting on a bench right in front of the TV and the other was a Mexican sitting right behind him. Well, the black guy was wanting to change the channel but the little Mexican dude was watching Days of our Lives. The black guy, not giving a shit, jumped up and started changing the channel, disrespecting the Mexican. The Mexican did not take to kindly to this. He wanted the Black guy to find what he wanted to watch and sit down. Then the black guy turned to the Mexican guy, jumped at him a little, and asked him if he had a problem with it, to which the Mexican replied "no" so the black guy sat back down. Again in front of the Mexican. The Mexican without ever saying a word reached down into the sole of his boot, pulled out a toothbrush that he had sharpened at one end and melted razor blades into, and proceeded to stab the black guy. When he was done he got up and went and changed the TV back to Days of our Lives. I left the day room never to return for the rest of my stay on Ellis. I figured I would just read a book.
I decided that I wanted to do more than just sit around and work for free for the state so I started back to high school. I finished in less than three months. Then I thought I would give college a try so I took the SAT and passed fine. The first series of studies I would take was administrative office management. I, being able to study almost day and night, I was able to complete the course of study before the end of the year and got this nice diploma from the Temple junior college. I had received a BA in less than a year. Soon after that I came up for my next parole hearing at which I was informed that at my first hearing I was misclassified and was to be shipped from Ellis 1 to the medium to light security farm of Hilltop. I was to go immediately, I was not paroled.
The only bad thing about Hilltop was after coming from a high security pressure cooker like Ellis to a place that now reminds me of "boys town" was quite a culture shock. Ellis had some of the cream of the crop as far as cons go. You had your lifers that knew they had no hope of parole; they were the murders, the rapists, the armed robbers. These were people that you knew, just by the look of them, to stay clear of. Then there were the people you knew to stay clear of or make friends with. You showed them respect if they deserved it or not and you showed no weakness to them or it was like drawing vultures to the kill. At Hilltop the average age of the inmate was twenty-five, the average severity of their crime was breaking and entering, grand theft, or forgery, and the longest sentence that I saw on Hilltop was twenty years for a guy that committed armed robbery. I was not on Hilltop a full hour before I was beating the shit out of a guy. Right after I got to Hilltop I was run through the shower. Well at the same time the Hilltop yard squad was taking their showers and being I was what these guys thought was new meat, one of them whistled at me and slapped me on the ass. Well I turned around and punched the guy so damn hard that I fractured my arm and he just went down. I didn’t get to finish my shower. I was made to get dressed and was marched to the captains' office along with a few witness. I was taken into the captain’s office and this guy was pretty fair. He asked me what happened and I told him the truth. He looked through my folder and saw where I had just came from and shook his head. He then asked me if the story I gave him was going to be the same from the other guys and I told him that I believed that it would. He then talked to two other inmates and sent me to the infirmary under guard where my arm was X-rayed and being that though it was broken it didn’t really move anywhere so it was placed in a cast and the cast was allowed to set for a little while and then I was escorted back to the captain’s office where I was informed that I had put the other guy in the hospital but being that it was him that laid hands on me first no charges were to be brought against me. I was to work for the captain until he could find a suitable job for me.
The next day I started asking about what kinds of vocational training were available on the Hilltop unit and soon I was enrolled in classes for electrical trades, which I really enjoyed. The classes in theory of electricity amazed me and contrary to poplar belief Benjamin Franklin did not discover electricity. It was the Greeks. But anyway, electricity intrigued me. While in prison I was allowed to experiment. I was allowed to build a Tesla coil. Also in class we built a machine that would shrink a quarter down to the size of a nickel using a small but extremely powerful electric magnet, some very large capacitors, and a large amount of electricity. It was quite amazing. The experiment would usually end with quite an explosion followed by a bright ball of electric plasma that was undischarged current that would take a few minutes to dissipate in the air. It looked like a ball of lightening. But when all was over there would be a shrunken quarter. I finished up my schooling and came up for parole again and once again I was turned down but I did learn one thing: I was not going to come out of prison the same person that I was when I went in to prison. I made a promise to myself that very first day right after the beating that this was not a life that I wanted to return to and I was not going to. I was finally released from prison on December 20, 1992.
I was never release on parole, I was released on what was called a mandatory release date. That is where your good time and the time that you had severed equaled up to the full extent of your sentence. In short, I either had to do something so the state could take away my good time or by law they had to let me go. And so they did.
I called my mother from the bus station in Gatesville Texas. I was forty-seven miles away from home and fortunately for me she would come see me while I was in and we managed to develop a pretty good relationship that we still enjoy today. The first few months after my release were a little difficult because of the adjustment of free life and the need to find a job having the skills that I had acquired. I thought finding a job would be a breeze but you know what there isn’t much need for an office manager that also happens to be an ex-con even if he is a licensed CPA. So after about six weeks of going to every damn place in Waco trying to get a job in an office I gave up and went to work at Whatabuger. I flipped hamburgers for a whole two weeks till I got a job dispatching wreckers. I figured what the hell, that beats flipping burgers. I did that for two years and in that two years I took up drag racing motorcycles till I broke a leg, then I switched to cars.
I met my soon to be wife. I was now twenty-one. After I got married I went to work for the commercial metals steel group as an industrial electrician, where I learnt even more, due to an accident with an air tank that almost cost me the use of my right hand I ended up going to school for industrial hygiene and was trained by the department of labor and became a safety director. I started traveling around doing safety inspections for commercial metals. Also at the same time I became interested in computers and started teaching myself how to build networks and computers and how to administrate networks. Well the steel company found out about this and took interest and also gave me some very valuable training in this field. After working for them for four and a half years as a safety directory/network administrator, I decided that I liked computers better and went to work full time as a network admin. Which is where I am today.
I have to admit it’s a long way from being an addicted kid who was headed nowhere to where I am now. And to tell ya the truth, my life has gotten pretty damn boring since my release from prison. I have a beautiful wife and child that I would be lost without and sometimes I look at them in disbelief.
All I can say is that I have proven myself to be more than I ever thought possible. I hate that I had to take someone’s life to do it, and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about him.
I have to admit that I owe my life to a dead man.
“Why is it that when men play, they play at killing each other?”|
--The Talented Mr. Ripley
“In this case what we have to do is go all out. I think this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part.”
“And we’re just the guys to do it.”
I could lie to you and tell you that the plan we concocted in the dorm room that day was a brilliant military scheme that would make Napoleon proud. One that would make Peter the Great quiver in his stockings. But it really was nothing like that. Perhaps a better way to describe it is that a few of us had a vague notion of an organized assault, and then the other 20 guys were planning what they would be doing, regardless of what the rest of the group came up with.
Oh, in the weeks prior to this day, the Friday afternoon before the Cave Party, we had created such detailed plans and organized ideas that Fort Knox would not be able to withstand the onslaught that we were ready to provide. But after the heads of the war committee had been abducted, and good ‘ole Charlie was still MIA after nearly 24 hours (he was, we later discovered, hitchhiking in the wrong direction), a lot of the finer points had fallen by the wayside. It became more of a pissed vendetta then a pure endeavor.
Don’t get me wrong, spirits were high. The pledges had just successfully, against all odds, broken out the captives in a house full of actives. A near unfathomable victory to be sure. But it had taken more then a little effort and resulted in quite a few bruises and burns. Morale was soaring, but the problem was that in the euphoria, in the rush and the thrill, all organization had seemingly been shattered.
Still, we kept to the plan as best we could. Basically, at that stage, the pledge-class-house-takeover idea had become something akin to how a republic works. A few ideas and directions were centralized and permeated throughout, but the individuals all had their own ideas in mind as well.
It was already about 7 PM Friday night, and we had three pledge sentinels standing watch over the frat house, camouflaged. And we also had many other pledges in various areas getting ready. For the most part, however, we were all busy arming ourselves.
I had decided to keep myself as streamlined and ready for combat as possible. Other men were burdening themselves with backpacks full of fireworks and suspenders covered with water balloons filled with piss. I, on the other hand, decided to keep it simple, as I suspected that close-quarter combat would in the end win or lose the day. I had two high-powered super soakers, each of which I strapped to my back like Samurai katanas. Instead of filling them with water, however, I decided to fill mine with laundry detergent. This had, in theory, two effects. For one, if you have ever spilled any laundry detergent on yourself, you know that the sensation is unpleasant at best. It doesn’t burn or cause permanent injury, but it leaves a sticky film all over your skin that lasts for days, and a strange and irritating slimy sensation that counteracts that oh-so-fresh feeling. But secondly, if you get a head shot, you blind the target (basically like getting soap in your eyes). Also, the fact that it probably wouldn’t kill anybody was a plus in my book (the same couldn’t be said for Stimmel’s .45). In retrospect, the laundry detergent super soakers probably made the most effective weapons that anybody in that frat wielded that day, for a variety of reasons that I will get into later.
I also made sure that I was wearing steel-toed boots, black leather gloves, a black sweatshirt, and my trusty corduroy pants. In those days, I could fit a total of six beer bottles in the pockets of those pants, a unit of measure that is only valid in fraternities and Ireland. I had two cap guns in my pockets that served no other purpose really other then to make loud noises. I also stuffed a bunch of bottle rockets in my coat pockets along with my trusty zippo (I had a khaki trench coat back then), a Swiss army knife, and I, like the rest of the pledges, donned face paint (I mean come on, you can’t do something like this without bad-ass face paints!). I chose to go with the quarterback look, while more then a few went with the Braveheart motif, and one guy dressed up like the Ultimate Warrior.
When the sun went down, we set the gears into motion.
Two other guys and myself had crept up to the back of the frat house parking lot. The parking lot was a big one, but it ended on one side right at the frat house, and at the other side, where I was hiding out, it ended in forest, that pretty much surrounded the entire lot. The front of the house had several trees in the front lawn, and then the lawn ended at the driveway on the side and the street at the front.
In any case, it was about 8 PM at this point, and all the actives from all over town and campus were steadfastly drinking in the house and setting up their defenses. The back door could easily be barricaded from the inside with a gigantic plank of wood that we kept there to keep out uninvited guests from our parties and social functions. The front door that lead to the porch would be extremely difficult to barricade due to the architecture of it, but it went right into the first-floor main room, that by this time would have 40 actives and a few kegs. By this point, most of the actives were more then a little buzzed, and morale was high among them. From my vantage point right outside of the glare of the parking lot light, huddled in the snow at the end of the forest, I could hear the bass of the techno music and the many guffaws and loud snippets of conversation.
At 8:10 PM, a mini-van full of pledges zoomed down the block towards the frat house, honking the horn and whooping and hollering. I could hear the actives suddenly turn down the music and pound up and down the stairs towards the front rooms that faced the street. Then the van full of pledges screeched in front of the frat house, hopped the curb, and drove up right into the middle of the front yard. Immediately, the van doors opened and about 10 pledges jumped out and began shooting off bottle rockets and roman candles and cap guns and whatever, aiming at the front of the house. All the actives went to whatever front window they could and started throwing water balloons and fireworks back at the pledges, who all quickly scattered behind the van and trees and continued the diversion.
Meanwhile, in the back, when the ruckus had caused all the actives to go to the front of the house, myself and the other two pledges with me hurried out of the forest and into the parking lot. The other two guys quickly went about hiding explosives and fireworks along the perimeter of the parking lot, while I went and jimmied the locks on as many of the back windows I could. After about five minutes, I had three windows unlocked. I didn’t open them, I left them shut, but I made sure they were unlocked.
After I did that, still listening to make sure the ruckus out front was grabbing the attention of everybody else, I took out my super soaker full of detergent and began to hose down all the cars in the lot, the ones that belonged to the actives. In a few hours the detergent would freeze and leave a shell casing over the whole car. This had no real strategic value as far as I could see; I simply did it out of malice. Motherfuckers kidnap ME!?
As I was doing that, the other two guys were still furiously planting fireworks on all the rocks surrounding the lot, and making sure they were all fused together. Once there were about 20 or so caches of hidden fireworks all along the parking lot, they ran the fuse discretely to a spot right next to the back door. It was fairly well hidden, so that you would only be able to find it if you looked for it, and even on the happenchance that an active did come across it, they would most likely think nothing of it (we had our doorbell and music systems so jury-rigged that there were wires and cords everywhere anyway).
When all that was completed, we went to the side of the house, to the windows of the big front room. This part was tricky, as there were a bunch of actives already in the front room, but since the actives were so caught up with the ten pledges in the front yard who were lobbing fireworks and water balloons at the house, we were cool. We then dragged the five mattresses out of the bushes and put them under the largest window of the house, a big sliding-glass window that looked out from the main room. This was coincidentally also the window that I had earlier in the day leapt out of to escape my captors, and it faced the concrete driveway. We were putting the mattresses over the concrete. We then very quietly shoveled as much snow as we could on top and in the vicinity of the mattresses as we could, so after five minutes it looked only as if a large snowdrift had formed under the window. The mattresses, by the way, were about six feet below the window (I told you it hurt like a bitch when I jumped out of that mug and dove onto the driveway below!).
When we finished with that, the three of us stole back into the forest and headed to the dorms.
After another 10 minutes or so of pointless noisemaking, the Diversion Squad finished their assault, piled back into the van, and screeched off.
Well, here was the plan, and it worked very well I must say. The actives had no idea when to expect us, and each time we showed up they would all assume it was our full assault. So every time that van would pull up, or every time six of us would start pounding on the back doors or the side windows or whatever, the entire house would jump up, start running around in a tizzy, get all pumped up on testosterone and adrenaline, and generally just make a huge ruckus trying to find us and shoot things at us.
So, our plan was to do this about every 35 minutes.
And so we did. At about 9 PM a bunch of us came back and started pounding on the front windows, screaming, “GET THEM!!!!” or “STIMMEL MADE IT INSIDE!!!!” or “I GOT THE BASEMENT WINDOW OPEN!!” or whatever. Then immediately all the actives would flip out and start running around trying to find Stimmel (who was, by the way, safely back in his dorm room doing shots of Jagermeister), and they would open up all the windows and start shooting fireworks at anything that moved, and would run up and down the stairs pounding on doors shouting, “THEY’RE HERE!!,” and then all the people who had been trying to sleep or drink or whatever would also freak out and start doing the same thing. And while all this was going on, the pledges outside were already on their way back to the dorm rooms to watch Ren and Stimpy for another 35 minutes, leaving only a few people behind to constantly shoot bottle rockets at the house.
All through the night we did this. And all through the night the actives were pounding booze, freaking out, running around, and just generally expending all their energy. And we were rotating who was doing the diversion, so that no single person had to do it for more then two hours and then could go get some shut-eye. At one point, maybe about 2 AM, that big Texan who had the day before been one of the captives (name of Parks) actually jumped in a first floor window, ran around the house screaming and shooting off fireworks, and then jumped back out and ran away before anybody could catch him. That lead to another round of the actives that were still up and drinking running around the house looking for more pledges and waking up all the actives that had already passed out.
This occurred about a dozen times all through the night.
At about 4:30 AM, the entire pledge class (save for a few who were still running around on the frat property throwing things at the house) all went to an all-night diner to grab some breakfast. We must have been a strange sight, the lot of us dressed in black and camouflage, wearing war paint, eating eggs and hash browns and drinking coffee at Denny’s. But oddly enough, this didn’t seem to bother the waitress any.
After our breakfast, the real onslaught began.
We all starting sneaking around on the property, getting into various positions, being flanked by six or seven other guys who hung back with bottle rockets and other fireworks. Our last diversion had just ended about 10 minutes ago, so the house was all quiet and 95% of the actives were exhausted and hung over, passed out in their locked rooms or on the floors of the halls. Luckily, two of the back windows I had earlier in the night jimmied open were still unlocked. Parks (who was a football player, a huge guy, and thus was going to be the first to enter) got under the window, and I lifted him up. Due to his girth, though, he is less then graceful, and more or less fell inside, landing on the linoleum floor with a thud. At that point, an active who had passed out in that room (a skinny prick by the name of Lund) awoke, rubbed his blurry eyes, and saw Parks’ fat ass struggling to get up under the immense weight of a duffle bag on his back carrying about 70 pounds of duct tape. Needless to say, Lund jumped to his feet and started howling bloody murder, and Parks, finally standing, ran for him, checked him against the wall, and then ran for the back door barricade to let us in.
The next site was one of sheer beauty. Lund ran to the open window that Parks had entered in, the one I was directly below, screaming some sort of war cry. I had not seen what had happened, as the window was directly above me, but I had heard it. Next thing I know, Lund’s upper body appeared in that window. One hand was holding the windowsill, seconds away from slamming the window shut and locking it. The other hand was holding a super soaker of his own, filled with piss and aimed right at me. I flinched and prepared to get drenched when ,at the exact moment that Lund let out his war cry, one of the pledges who was on point lit his roman candle and aimed. All I remember seeing was the barrel of this super soaker, and then seconds later Lund get hit square in the chest with a brilliant green ball of roman candle fire. His expression was fucking priceless, and he dropped his soaker and fell backwards into the room, at which point I leapt for the still open window and got inside.
It was pretty much around then that my memory of the events that followed gets a bit hazy, as the entire house pretty much erupted into chaos. I had jumped in the window and starting running around unlocking all the other windows I could get to so more pledges could get in. Lund was on the floor howling and tearing his shirt off. I heard a few actives upstairs begin to pound their way around the house in an attempt to wake up all the other actives most of whom were either too exhausted from last night’s drinking and escapades to move or didn’t believe that it was for real, thinking this another diversion. In any case, pledges started popping in from the windows I had managed to get open, and Parks had succeeded in getting the back door open.
In the main room, the one that I was running around in trying to get more windows open, there were five or six guys passed out on the couches. They were weary and dog-tired, but when they saw me running around, and then saw a trickle of other pledges popping in through windows, they all got to their feet.
I turned and saw the first guy come at me, a rugby player by the name of Jason. I was in a corner of the room with nowhere to go other then out the windows, so I leveled my super soaker at him and shot him square in the face. He stopped dead in his tracks and immediately fell over screaming, “GAAAAHHH!!! WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT STUFF!?!?” At which point I opened the main window that overlooked the mattresses on the driveway, and with the help of another pledge who had just climbed in a different window, picked up Jason and threw him out the window onto the mattresses. He was still screaming, “I’M BLIND!!! I’M BLIND!!!”
Next out the window was Lund, shirtless with a big smoke stain on his naked chest. He was still flailing in panic when we picked him up, and though he had no idea what we were doing, he starting shouting, “ACK!!! THIS IS FUCKED UP!!!! THIS IS FUCKED UP!!!!" Out the window he went.
See, the thinking on the window thing was that the normal way of getting them out of the house would be to wrestle them to a door, deposit them outside, and then get the hell back inside before they came back at you. Needless to say, that was a pain in the ass to say the least, not to mention dangerous, as they could get right back inside unless you locked the door, and even then could sit there and wait for you to come back out with another active in tow, at which point you would be suddenly outnumbered and outside. By throwing them out the window, and with the six foot drop to the mattresses below, you wouldn’t run those kind of risks. And besides, there are few things in life as satisfying as throwing a man out of a fucking window.
So we looked out, and Jason the rugby player was still running around blind and hollering, dunking his face in snow piles to try and wash out the detergent. Lund was sitting on one of the mattresses, not saying anything, just sitting there with a pissed-off expression and rubbing his chest wound with snow.
In any case, in the back stairwell a helluva fight was going on between six or seven actives and 10 or so pledges. The actives were furiously trying to push the bottleneck of pledges back out the back door, which was at the bottom of the stairwell. Meanwhile, the pledges, in one gigantic pile of people, were pushing back and smashing water balloons into the faces of the actives. In the main room, the five or so pledges who were now awake were quickly being surrounded by the 10 or so of us who had popped in through various windows all over the house and were now beginning to advance on them as they grouped together wagon train style in the middle of the room. They were shouting for help, and the other actives in the house were beginning to finally awaken out of their haze of dead brain cells.
And, as they had just seen two of their brothers thrown out of the goddamned windows, they were not going without a fight.
So, I shouted a war cry, and then all us pledges ran for them in the middle or the room.
Two of the actives went down quickly in the fray and while the other three were trying to wrestle their way out of a swarm of pledges, two of them were being pinned down and duct taped, at which point the pledges who had wrestled them down joined in on the other three. One of those morons with water balloons filled with piss attached to his suspenders jumped on top of the dogpile, the balloons all burst at once, and we were all suddenly wrestling in urine.
I was on top of a tall skinny hick named “Smokey,” who was known for being a hell raiser in bar fights. I had shimmied myself around his neck and had him in a chokehold, and he managed to get to his feet and started flailing around trying to shake me off. At that point, another pledge knocked his feet out from under him, and both Smokey and I fell to the floor, he was on top but still on his back. I then kind of scissored my legs around and dug them in around his knees, rendering him basically immobile, at which point two other pledges jumped onto him and started duct taping his arms and legs together. One of the pledges was singing “On top of old Smooooookeeeeey!!!!,” at the top of his lungs in a rather disturbing tone. In any case, out the window went old Smokey.
We had managed to throw the four actives out the window, which was a sight unto itself, seeing four grown men in a dogpile on a pile of mattresses on the driveway, writhing this way and that to try and free themselves from the duct tape while a skinny shirtless guy was trying to help and a rugby player was furiously dunking his head in piles of dirty snow. In any case, there were five of us inside in the main room who were still wrestling on the ground with a giant of a man called Lang. The back-door fray appeared to have been won by the pledges, the door was re-barricaded by us, and a pledge guard was left there to un-barricade it when we had to throw a new active out of it.
However, four of those actives who were in that fray had escaped, and, as we were in the front room, they exploded out of the back stairwell and came running for us to try and free Lang. They were running in through the kitchen, so I leveled my super soaker once more and sprayed the linoleum floor in front of them. One guy slid smack into the refrigerator, one guy into the cupboards, one guy into the closet (ironically the closet that contained the cleaning supplies), and one guy just plain fell on his ass right in the middle of the floor. It was fucking beautiful. We got them out of the house in no time. Lang was a bit trickier, as he was close to 300 pounds, so we duct taped him real good, dragged him to the back door, and opened it. There were some actives running around outside, trying to climb back in windows, and they saw the back door open and ran for it. Luckily, we had the foresight of having two guys behind the four who were dragging Lang, and those two guys started firing bottle rockets at the actives, who quickly retreated. We threw Lang into the snow, went back inside, and barricaded the door once more.
At this point, most of the remaining actives in the house were barricaded up in their individual rooms, with about 15 actives running around outside, and all the pledges were now inside (save poor Charlie who was by now somewhere in Missouri in the bed of a farmer’s pickup truck surrounded by chickens). So, we started going room by room, posting sentries around the house at points where actives might try to re-enter, including two guys who were working on their engineering skills trying to barricade the front corridor that led to the porch with a combination of bungee cords and miscellaneous furniture.
The first few rooms we went to were astonishingly easy. We picked the locks with credit cards and then stormed in the rooms menacingly brandishing cap guns and water balloons. What we kept finding would be a room full of five or six of the most hung-over and exhausted men you could ever come across. Remember, they had been up for about 12 hours now, drinking steadily and running around trying to defend themselves from our perceived onslaughts until they had all finally passed out from the exhaustion of our diversions. So what was happening was that we would enter a room, shoot off the cap guns, and the actives would groan and roll over. Then we shouted some more, and they would whine about wanting to sleep, at which point the “shhhhhhkkk” of us taking out duct tape would cause them to sit up and say ,“Okay, okay, let me get dressed,” and they would leave quietly. A few would try to put up a fight, shouting, “Come on guys!! They’re here!!! Help me!!! What’s the matter with you guys!!?!?!,” but it would fall on deaf ears, and they would be quickly wrestled to the ground, duct taped, and thrown out the window.
Some of the rooms were a lot trickier, and we would literally have to pound ourselves into these rooms. We would unlock them, the actives inside would try to put all their combined weight into shoving the door shut, and then 10 or so actives would push back. When we would finally shove our way inside, a wrestling match would ensue, everything in the room would get knocked over, people would get faces full of laundry detergent, and in the end, since there were about 15 pledges that were going room to room in one big group, we would outnumber the actives, and they would end up duct taped and throw out the window or dragged out the back door.
When we got to the second floor, I set up flattened cardboard boxes on the front stairs and hosed them with detergent, forming a slide that we would throw duct-taped actives down. Sounds harsh, but it was either that or have three pledges carry a flailing man down a flight of stairs. Besides, it was pretty funny to watch them roll down the slide and then knock into the wall at the bottom.
On the second floor, we started meeting more and more resistance. One room, for example, was well barricaded and the occupants kept shooting bottle rockets from under their door into the hall, which really freaked us out at first, as there were fireworks coming at us through a closed door. We got into a room next door to that one and an active dumped a vat of Crisco and a bucket of flour on us. That motherfucker got MUMMIFIED with duct tape, but it left five of us looking albino, or like escapees from Pompeii, for the day.
There was one room that we couldn’t get open for the life of us. The Beach. It was the one that had a window that opened up onto the porch roof, so we were worried that they would throw some rope or something down to the actives below. What we didn’t know is that the occupants of that room, a beatnik and a stoner, had shoved the entire bunk bed in front of the door and passed out.
In any case, we posted a sentry there, probably the strongest guy among us, name of Crazy Carl, who had a reputation as being “bad crazy.” He would get drunk off of grain alcohol at parties, and we would find him somewhere in the house in the middle of the night staring at a blank wall, holding a knife in his hand with a crazed expression on his face. It looked like a Mexican standoff, only with a wall instead of another person. And sometimes, a few of us would get lawn chairs and sit in the hall about six feet away and drink rum and just watch Carl with his knife fronting on the wall all night. On more then one occasion, this would last for hours, with Carl not moving or speaking except to pull from his bottle of Everclear. And then, every once in a while on these occasions, we would be sitting there talking and watching Crazy Carl, and out of the blue he would smash his head into the plaster wall, leaving a gigantic fucking hole. And he would then pull back and continue to stare evilly at that fucking wall, as if nothing had ever happened.
But he was strong as an ox, so we left him there, and he hid out in the bathroom directly across the hall from The Beach. So we expressed sympathy for the poor souls who ever dared come out of that room, and went on with our room by room sweep.
Some difficult rooms, some easy ones. On the third floor there were two rooms. In one room, called The Observatory because it looked directly out at the sorority house across the way, there were six guys who we thought would give us a lot of trouble. But the night before, they had at 8 PM gotten a keg for only that room, took it up there, and barricaded themselves in. By 8 AM, they were in no shape to fight.
The problem was, it was well barricaded, and the only way to get to it was by getting into the other third floor room across the hall and then accessing the crawl space (the one the actives didn’t think any of us knew about). That room, though, was a helluva fight. It was the biggest room in the house, and contained about eight or nine guys, all ready to fight. About 20 of us went after that one together, and once we pushed our way inside, it took about 30 minutes of wrestling to start getting the actives under control. At one point, the Mexican dude that lived in that room, name of Hijenio, starting screaming, “YOU MOTHERFUCKER BROKE MY FAMILY PORTRAIT!!!,” and was acting very genuinely enraged at this as he was trying to wrestle his way out of a dogpile of three pledges. As he was being duct taped, he continued to inform us that we were “fucking going to get it” and then he would start ranting in Spanish. We all were genuinely worried, as most of the others were just pissed in a playful way, but Hijenio seemed honestly enraged. Only later did we find out that this is kind of a tradition as well, every year one active that everybody in the pledge class likes and respects will pretend to get enraged in blind hatred over some offense that never occurred. Like “YOU BROKE MY WATCH!!!,” despite the fact that they wouldn’t be wearing a watch, but leaving all the pledges confused and frightened all day. A few of us spent most of the day on and off looking for this nonexistent family portrait of Hijinio’s to see if we could fix it.
In any case, we finally got them all out of the house. We used the crawl space and dug out the Observatory. It was directly above the mattresses, so there was some debate about whether or not we should just throw the fucking guys out the third story window onto the mattresses below, but we finally decided against it and dragged them down two flights of stairs anyway. But in any case, we finally got them the fuck out of the house and the only people left were whoever were holed up in the Beach, but we finally gave up on getting them out for the time being. Carl was on watch in any case; they weren’t going anywhere.
So all the actives were now in the back parking lot in a large group, plotting how to get back into the house and wondering what the fuck that film on all their cars was. Some of them were shooting fireworks at the house, but most of them were in a large huddle, talking under their breath as they hatched various plans of re-entry.
Meanwhile, the pledges inside had begun to get all the building materials for the caves. It was, after all, around 8 AM and we had a cave to build. Parks and I were put on patrol, meaning we didn’t have to do jack shit but be sentries, looking for actives. I sat my ass down in the Observatory next to that half-full keg with about three pounds of bottle rockets and a bucket of piss. Life was good.
Meanwhile, a pledge named Smitty, about 5 foot 3, who was a helluva shot with a bottle rocket, had decided to get the actives the hell off the property to allow us at least a moment’s peace as we re-barricaded the house and tied up all the loose ends. So, Smitty took the big plank that was leaning on the back door off, opened it up, and reached over to light the fuse we had set there earlier that night.
From my perch in the Observatory, that was on the side of the house, I could only make out about half of the back parking lot. I saw the group of actives in the dead center of the parking lot, and when Smitty stuck his head out of the back door, a few of them shouted his name and ran for him, but he had lit the fuse and ducked back inside before they could get to him.
After about a minute, all of a sudden the fuse reached the first caches of fireworks hidden around the parking lot, and the morning EXPLODED in bangs and flashes, coupled with a few pledges opening up back windows and shooting off bottle rockets at the actives. You should have seen it. All the noise and the very sudden explosion of activity from all around them caused them to panic, and they dispersed with great haste in every direction. They almost literally jumped out of their fucking boots when those firework caches started to ignite. For all they knew, the entire pledge class had surrounded them in the forest and was preparing to take all the actives captive like poor ‘ole Charlie. They had had enough of that for the time being, so they all fucking took off. It rocked.
We knew, however, that they would be back one more time during the day, to try to get inside and fuck up our caves. It wasn’t a matter of "if"; it was a matter of "when". Sometime during the day they would launch their own massive attack, but I swore I would be ready. Parks was wandering around the house, watching everybody else do the hard work of setting up an entire cave system out of cardboard, while he was simply looking out of windows and checking locks and crawlspaces. Smitty perched himself on the third floor in a big room across the hall from the Observatory, and he trained his bottle rockets on anything that looked suspicious. I sat in the Observatory with a pair of binoculars and a box of bottle rockets, drinking from the keg that was in there, awaiting their return.
Guh, I had intended to finish this all at once, but it just keeps getting longer and longer, so tune in next week for the (hopefully) exciting conclusion to Patton CHiPs!
Oh, and as an afterthought, I would like to dedicate this one to escape_artist and tack. May The Force be with you both.
Just wanted to post briefly about three things.|
1. Censorship Central has added two more people to its ranks. Welcome bowmore and JoeyCat to the fray. They will be correcting your stupid fucking spelling mistakes and making fun of your writing skills behind your back now, just as missphinx, morgana, bunkum, and billgerat have been doing all along.
2. The problems with The Lost Forum being slow-loading APPEAR to be fixed now. I am the least technical admin of any website you have ever visited, but it seems cool now.
3. But maybe while TLF was loading slower then Stileproject, you all got a chance to wander around in our other forums. Like the fucking Suppository. Yeah, you heard me. That is the place where people are supposed to comment and discuss all the brilliant writing we get up in here. People can't write very well in a vacuum, they need feedback and discussion. And the activity in the Suppository has been lackluster of late. If you have been reading the User Updates and columns and have been enjoying them, the least you can do is say so. Or to say if you DIDN'T like something. Or to begin or participate in a discussion spawned by issues raised in a piece of writing (that's the idea of the forum).
The point is, we have hoped that the Suppository would be a great way of providing interaction between the authors and the readers, something you VERY rarely get, online or in real life. So when you read something on the site and it makes you think, or happy, or cry, or whatever, you should post about it in there. That's the point.
That is all.