June 21st, 2009


Snippet From My Write-a-thon Story

Everything was fine until the boys of Sigma Phi discovered steam punk.

Paul Van Coover came into Fred's room that morning wearing boxers and a pair of goggles. He struck a pose in the doorway, and said, "Ta-DAH, Captain Hero!"

Fred squinted at him from under his pillow. He'd buried his head there earlier to escape the harsh noises of the birds outside: mostly crows and starlings, but also Jojo, the African grey parrot that was the mascot of the Bibi House, an artist's commune three doors down, perpetually besieged by the straighter-laced frat and sorority buildings surrounding it. This morning Jojo had been doing car alarms. In his long life, rumored to be close to a hundred years, he'd heard a lot of them, and he had been methodically working his way through a series that alternated with odd clangs, harsh and brassy bleats that had grated along Fred's tender eardrums.

"Come on," he said, emerging, his voice weak and ineffectual. "Go bother someone else, Van Coover."

Paul stared at him with his hands on his hips. Sunlight came in through the dirty windows, blocked by a Confederate flag and an Earth First! Banner, both faded. Fred had put them up the first day he'd come in, a gawky boy from Couer d'Alene, Idaho, who'd gotten into the frat because of his test scores and rumored ties to Alicia Taithe-Jones, soccer star and reality show wash-out. At least a few of the boys who'd voted him in had been hoping that his fabled (and large-breasted) relative would show up at least once or twice – the college was only thirty minutes away from NYC-port, for God's sake, so people could come in from outside city, or country, or even planet, for that matter, with relative ease.

Paul walked over to Fred's bed and gyrated in his boxers, white and fresh as though just out of the wrapper, which they probably were. He grabbed his crotch and leered at Fred. "Captain Hero says 'Rise and shine and report for duty!"

Fred put his head back under the pillow. He thought that no one had ever been quite this hungover in the history of the college. He'd been drinking with two girls from the lacrosse team, who'd swapped him blunt black horse capsules. They'd shook their heads, grinning, when he asked what it was, and he took it, despite misgivings, because he didn't want to seem like a prick or a pussy about it all. So he'd taken the two pills one of them had nudged to him over the tabletop and washed it down with beer, both of them smiling in a way that he thought for sure meant sex, but turned out to be wrong again, as so often turned out to be the case.