The problem with telling stories about the people in your life is that those people are in your life. And they sometimes read these stories and have a different memory of your memories than you do. That is what happened with yesterday’s story, and now I have to backtrack and tell one more story so as to rescue my reputation for honesty. Although, it is another story about dishonesty, so maybe it shall be counterproductive. I am honest about my dishonesty, at least, and that’s gotta count for something.
When I said I never stole anything again after the house party raids, I was totally lying. What I should have said is that I never stole another thing that actually belonged to anyone.
The incident in question occurred at our favorite pseudo-frat, Zeta Psi. Zeta Psi was a great place to party but a horrible place to drink. They had one keg for guests, and if you didn’t know any of the brothers, you could wait for 1/2 an hour, 45 minutes before you managed to jostle your way to the bar.
That night, Josh was wearing the “Shimbo” cap, which was a black baseball cap that said “Shimbo” on it. I don’t know what it meant, but the brothers at the house took a liking to it and began referring to him as “Shimbo” when he was around. I stuck close to him in the thought that any recognition at this kind of event would eventually lead to better keg access. As the night wore on, however, it didn’t seem to be doing much for us. “Hey, Shimbo!” the kegmaster would shout as we waited our turn in line, and then go back to serving whatever hot girl happened to be in front of him at the time.
Out of boredom, we decided to explore the rest of the house. The one thing the Shimbo hat did grant us was access. Normally, we wouldn’t have been allowed anywhere above the first floor — the Zetes were careful to keep all of their party activity confined to a limited area, on the off-chance that thieves might show up and try to steal their microwaves — but no one blinked an eye when Shimbo was in the room. We snuck up a back corridor to the second floor, and from then, we were in. We were welcomed with open arms into any room we chose to enter, the Shimbo hat acting like a magical frat cloak that turned its wearer into an honorary brother.
We somehow gained access to the fire escape and decided to climb up to the roof. Once we were on the roof, we thought it would be a good idea to destroy the house’s television antenna. I realize there isn’t much of a lead-in to this part of the story, but that’s only because the adult me can’t fathom it this ever seemed like a good idea. In retrospect, I guess I was kind of a shitty party guest.
Motive be damned, we smashed the hell out of that antenna. Television antennae, we discovered, are pretty unstable pieces of equipment. One little snap was enough to break off the long, round spokes that composed the body of the receiver. We hooted it up for awhile, then returned to the fire escape, clutching the recently-liberated pole parts in our hands. I’m not sure what we were planning on doing with the poles, but they seemed like prizes at the time.
As we were descending the ladder into the house, a frat brother poked his head out of his window, wondering what all the noise was about. He looked from us to the poles, from the poles to us, a confused expression on his face. We froze in position. Suddenly, his face brightened. “Hey, it’s Shimbo!” he shouted. “Come on in!”
We ditched the poles and climbed into the window, then set off on another round of exploration. This time we landed in the empty kitchen, just behind the room where the party was taking place. And there, waiting for us like the sword in the stone, was an untapped keg.
“We must have this,” we said. I can’t imagine what we were planning on doing with it once we got it. We didn’t have a tap. We lived in a dorm where kegs were not particularly welcome. And it was heavy as fuck. But somehow the mere fact that we’d found a full, unguarded keg in an empty room was enough to convince us that it was meant to be.
With much groaning and straining, we managed to drag the 90 pound behemoth (I looked it up) out of a backdoor without anyone noticing us. We sent one of our friends up front to scout for potential narcs. He came back and told us the coast was clear, so we calmly walked around the house to the sidewalk and began carting it back home.
After 1/2 a block, we realized there was no way we were going to make it the 8 blocks back to our dorm. So we covered the keg with a plastic garbage can and returned to the party. We could always return for it later, we determined, now that we knew where it was.
About 15 minutes after we returned, pandemonium broke out in the house. Word traveled quickly that someone had stolen the last keg. No one had ever heard of such an egregious party foul being committed. The brothers were ready to kill.
Party-goers were sent to scour the premises for the beer thieves, to shoot on sight if they had to. We decided it was time to step up and face the consequences of our actions. We went back to the front of the house and removed the garbage can from the keg, exposing our crime for the world to see.
One of the brothers, who happened to be on the front lawn, saw us unearth the buried treasure. “Hey!” he shouted into the house. “They found the keg! Shimbo found the keg!” The brothers swarmed out of the house, patting Josh on the back and shaking his hand. He became the hero of the party; after that, all he had to do was snap his fingers and he’d get an instant refill.
I don’t know what this story tells us. I guess the moral is, a memorable hat can get you through just about anything.