As my blog post deadline approaches, I’m realizing more and more, I’m stuck. Each time I sit down and think about where I want to take Potterless next, I get flummoxed. So, in an effort to change things up and get the creative wheels turning again, I thought back to a homework assignment from high school.
My English teacher gave us a list of ten or fifteen words and we were asked to create a story with that list. I don’t have that list or the story that came from the original assignment unfortunately, but I did a poll on my Facebook to get a list of words and my friends came through. I’ve put this eclectic vernacular at the end of the post to see if you can guess what they are as you are reading.
Thank you for helping me expand my vocabulary.
If there’s one thing you can count on in college, it’s that if an activity is banned, the students will somehow figure out a way around it. As such, Cornwall University, in their attempt to emulate Harvard, banned Greek Organizations. And yet the fraternity and sorority culture existed right underneath the faculty’s nose.
To join either, you had to know someone, or impress the right person. Personally, I was perfectly content not to be associated with the generally mollycoddled portion of our student body, but there was something to be said about gaining an invite to the social gatherings The Fraternity would host from time to time.
I managed my latest party offer through my partner in Econ 301 using a very unlikely avenue, my new-found affinity for blockchain technology.
“Seriously,” Jim said, “I’d be so screwed on that part of the mid-term if you weren’t able to dumb this stuff down. Bitcoin, ICO’s, decentralized payment . . . I was completely lost. By the way, want to accompany me to a party on Saturday?”
“What’s the theme?” I asked.
“It’s our annual Bacchanalia.” Seeing my confused look, he continued, “The festival in honor of Bacchus.”
I nodded, vaguely understanding, “Ah, so it’s a toga party?”
“That would be the proper accoutrement, yes.” he mused.
I thought a moment, “Sounds like fun.”
“Great! Things should start around nine, and we are asking you to change at the house once you arrive to not draw too much attention.”
“How very courteous of you.” I could see his expression becoming more and more gruntled as my acceptance of his invitation solidified.
“See you Saturday at around nine then,” Jim concluded happily.
On Saturday, I made it a point to ensure I had a good solid meal in me, attempting to avoid the mother of all hangovers I was otherwise sure to experience the next morning. I could feel the scathing looks of my floormates as they eyed my plate loaded with a mountain of carbohydrates; they were currently denying themselves in preparation for a tropical spring break trip.
“How the hell do you stay so thin eating like that?” Kristen asked me.
“It’s called exercise, as a member of the hockey team I have the luxury of burning more calories than I consume,” I replied curtly.
Andrea turned the conversation back to the trip, “Think we’ll find any sea glass at the beach?”
I tuned them out as I ate happily, thinking about Jim. He was definitely more alluring than sea glass. His dark hair and blue eyes were certainly things I found incredibly attractive.
I finished my plate, wondering why the hell I’d grabbed bologna for my late-night sandwich, and headed back to my room to thoroughly vet my party outfit. The base was simple enough, a sports bra and the leggings I usually wore to my workouts, but the toga? I finally settled on the bed sheet I had purchased recently, it wasn’t nearly as comfy as expected for sleeping so why not repurpose it.
My roommate Alexis giggled as she entered the room, “So you got an invite to the party?”
I nodded, blushing, “Yeah.”
“Have fun,” she said as she pulled a couple condoms out of her drawer and tossed them my way.
“Any chance you want to come?” I asked her.
“I got a thing with Scott, but keep me in the loop, just in case,” she replied.
As nine o’clock approached, Alexis and I finished draining a couple of Molsons before going our separate ways. She left with Scott, the two deep in conservation about the coatimundi habitat in Arizona; that was panning out to be a boring Saturday evening.
Meanwhile I pulled on a pair of jeans, a tank top, and my favorite leather jacket. I packed my toga, the condoms, and twenty bucks towards the party fund, then made my way across campus towards what The Fraternity had dubbed, the Curmudgeon House, in honor of the past Dean who outlawed their very existence.
Walking up the wooded driveway, I grew nervous as the house showed no signs of any sort of gathering. Was Jim trying to flimflam me? With trepidation, I knocked on the huge oak door. Jim opened it, smiled, and said “I was starting to think you’d blown me off.”
“Maybe later. It’s a party, I was trying to be fashionably late.”
Someone from the depths of the house called out, “Don’t forget the password Jimbo!”
Jim rolled his eyes, and called back, “She’s my guest, and yes, she’s up for shenanigans.”
Another brother rounded the corner, I recognized him as Matt, the class president, “Excellent, has she come prepared?” I smirked, and pulled out a corner of the bed sheet from my backpack.
Jim offered his elbow, “Let me show you a proper place to change.”
He led me up three flights of stairs, “Now, most of the guests are going to be using the more public bathrooms. You can use my room. Your stuff will be safe here as well.”
The room was probably the same size as my own dorm, but he had it all to himself. It had a double bed, a desk with a laptop, a TV with a pretty decent looking sound system, and a large reclining chair. He bowed out of the room to let me have some privacy.
Donning the toga only took a couple minutes, so I used the remaining time to look at how Jim decorated his room. He liked records, and I could tell he had some of the most coveted classic rock albums. I was jealous. As I was perusing his collection, he knocked, “Are you decent?”
I called back, “Yes, I’m ready.”
Jim opened the door holding a bottle of wine and two glasses, now sporting his own toga. “A little something before the madness begins… see anything good in there?” he asked noticing my curiosity.
I pulled out Let it Bleed by the Rolling Stones, “This is a favorite of mine.”
He smiled, “Mine too, put it on,” as he uncorked the bottle of Caymus.
Jim poured a small measure into his glass, swirled it and took a sip, nodding, “Stupendous!” then poured me a full glass. The aroma was divine, and that first sip, well, I’d never enjoyed something so delicious, and said as much.
“It had better be,” he mused. Which reminded me.
I reached into my bag and extracted the twenty, which he promptly refused, “No, no.”
I protested, “C’mon, I know you guys. This party isn’t cheap.”
“And that’s why we bamboozle the underclassmen. Your money’s no good here.”
I conceded defeat but stuffed the bill into my bra. Side one of Let it Bleed had finished, and as he flipped it and the beginning chords of “MidnightRambler” started, someone started pounded on Jim’s door, “Dude we need help unloading the van!!!”
Jim sighed, “That means the band is here.”
“Need any help?” I offered.
He shook his head, “Relax, enjoy the music and the wine.” I noticed him hesitate a moment as if he wanted to kiss me, but refrained.
He left me to enjoy this glass of fabulousness, free to bask in one of the best Stones’ albums of the era. I topped off his glass while refilling my own, and as “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” was fading out, he reappeared.
“The band’s on stage, and it’s one of those nights,” he quipped.
I retorted, “Does the drummer think he’s dynamite?”
Jim smirked, “I knew I liked you. So, shall we?”
I nodded, unsure whether or not to take my glass, but Jim immediately grabbed his, and split the remainder of the bottle between us before descending the staircase. When we reached the main level, there was a line at two different rooms where people could change into their togas. Also, there were a couple of the younger brothers handling the clothing check.
Jim nudged me, “It’s good to be a senior.” I nodded in agreement as we plunged down yet another set of stairs into the basement.
The soundproofing was indeed remarkable, because until you actually opened the door at the bottom of the stairs, you’d never know there was a band and a couple hundred people conversing loudly in the space that was elaborately decorated in a very Greco-Roman theme.
I took it all in with awe. There was a full bar where a senior classman was trusted to pour your libation of choice. The band was in a corner playing whatever they felt like, with a small contingent of groupies dancing to their heart’s content. And there was the game room where beer pong, flip cup, and card games were already in full swing. It was amazing how quickly things escalated.
My attention was then drawn to a floormate who I knew to be pre-med whom we had dubbed Doc Buttons. He had perhaps misinterpreted the invite to be a “one item of clothing” party because he was only wearing a blood pressure cuff.
He drunkenly noticed me gawking at him, “Oh, hey Morgan, like my sphygmomanometer?”
“Uh, yeah! I’m impressed you got that out in one try,” I replied while trying to maintain eye contact.
Taking a large swig of wine, I turned away quickly and was abruptly face to face with one of my ice hockey teammates.
“Oh my God Stevie, you’re here!!!! And you’re dressed up!” Angie took me into a big bear hug that actually lifted me off the ground, she was so happy to see me, you’d think it had been years.
Jim nudged me, “Stevie?”
I replied, “Last name’s Stevens, hockey thing.”
“So no Stevie Nicks reference?”
I smirked, “I’m not that flamboyant, but I like to think I have a pretty good singing voice.”
Jim steered me away from Doc Buttons who had just loudly declared after a disastrous stumble that he had “Severely scraped his wenis.” At least his member was well protected.
“OK, enough of that… what do you think so far?” Jim asked as we approached the bar.
I thought a moment and realized how ubiquitous alcohol was at this party. If you wanted beer, there were kegs a plenty. Something more adult; the bar was fully stocked with everything from bottom to top shelf. Jim was clearly a wino and procured another bottle of Caymus, which once uncorked, he guarded with his thumb.
He seemed to notice my observation, “I don’t want anyone to taint my wine.”
“I appreciate that,” as I offered my empty glass for a refill.
We stood by the bar and listened to the band do a terrible cover of Pink Floyd and when they started to flounder on Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide,” Jim and I agreed to explore other rooms.
Our first foray down the hall led us directly into a heated debate about the Affordable Care Act.
“Are you so myopic that you can’t justify slightly higher taxes so anyone can have a simple check-up?”
“WE DON’T LIVE IN CANADA!!!!!!”
Various other drunken arguments in a similar vein poured out of this open door. Apparently after a few drinks even college students turn political.
I turned around, “OK, enough of that.”
The next room we entered smelled of herbal refreshment; it must have been some good stuff because everyone was thoroughly discombobulated, most mumbling incessantly.
“This is some dank stuff, bro.”
“Man, I feel like I’m in this sort of dream hole, like really focused on…”
The only person in this group who didn’t seem utterly relaxed was Doc Buttons. He was curled up on the floor in the corner screaming about his grundel.
Jim scowled, “Ah damn it, hold this.” He handed me the wine bottle and his glass as he and his fellow brothers dealt with the situation. I melted back towards the smokey sidewall.
I ended up standing next to a bunch of underclassmen who clearly had way too much of something as they were slurring to one another about what a joy it would be to have some confefe, whatever that was.
One of these lads suddenly turned to me, “Are you in inebria?”
“Are you in inebria?”
“Uh, no…” I shied away and took this opportunity to deposit my twenty into the tip jar on the bar.
I watched as they got Doc up and escorted him out of the basement and ultimately away from the party, I found out later. As if on queue, this night’s revolving door of friendship continued.
The male equivalent to my hockey position approached me, “Good to see you out and about Stevie.”
“You too, Scotty.”
He noted the glasses and the bottle, “You’re going pretty aggressive there.”
I laughed, “I’m sharing with someone, he’s just busy at the moment dealing with the naked guy.”
“Yeah, I arrived the same time he did, seemed pretty lit when he got here. Guess if you’re only going to wear a blood pressure cuff you need, I dunno actually, fuckitol?”
I laughed at the joke. Jim had returned, I gave him his glass and the bottle back as he put his arm around my shoulders. “Jim, this is Scotty Reynolds, he’s the goalie on the men’s team.”
Jim replied, “Nice to meet you.”
Scotty replied, “You as well. There’s a beer around here somewhere with my name on it, enjoy yourselves.”
“Later Scotty.” I waved and turned to Jim, “So, Doc got into too many shenanigans?”
“Yeah, Jesus. I’m surprised he’s not puking to be honest. Now, where were we?”
“I believe we were mercilessly mocking the band,” I replied.
He nodded, “Yeah, and just when it seems like it can’t get any worse, it does. Case in point.”
The band was now attempting a song by Queen. At least I think that’s who they were trying to cover, the music was barely recognizable and the lyrics were all wrong. The lead guitarist seemed to realize this because at the end of the song, he pulled the singer aside and said into the microphone, “We’re going to be taking a short break.”
Jim exhaled, “Well at least the entertainment isn’t my problem. Yeah, I can see Dave setting up his phone to play music, at least what he thinks is music.”
And sure enough, Drake started blasting through the speakers and party goers were excited to be able to bump and grind to something danceable. I rolled my eyes.
Jim smirked at me, “I’m glad to see you feel the same way. Want to get on the list for a game of skill?”
I shook my head, “Drinking games aren’t really my thing.”
“Then, I can be so bold to invite you back upstairs?”
I nodded, “You can be.”
As we headed out of the chaos, I was smiling, both happily and nervously. We’d been flirting with one another in our study group since it was first formed in the beginning of the semester and now here we were heading to what could be the apotheosis of the evening. He led me into his room and excused himself for a moment. I took the opportunity to put my street clothes back on. When he returned, he had done the same.
“So do you have any further responsibilities regarding the party?” I asked.
“Not really, they’ll call me if they really need help, but I don’t see us being disturbed,” he winked.
I blushed. He continued, “Do you want to watch a movie?”
I sat down on the bed as he went over and put on Dogma. I had to laugh, since it’s one of my favorite movies and I could quote each line verbatim. We ended up talking about ourselves until it became apparent that Jim’s housemates were slowly stumbling to bed. His neighbor started loudly hooking up with someone.
Jim frowned, “Well, that kinda kills the mood.”
I shrugged, “I should probably get back.”
“I’ll walk you home.”
“You don’t have to.”
As we walked across campus, arms around each other’s waist, we both laughed at the various drunkards stumbling about. Once we had reached my dorm, the student acting as a security office wouldn’t allow Jim to pass without signing him in.
“That won’t be necessary. I had a great evening with you Morgan. I’d like to do it again, but maybe something a little more intimate.”
I smiled, “I’d like that.”
And that was when he leaned in and kissed me voraciously, much to my enjoyment.
Here is the complete word list: