Tales of Undergrad

Tales of Undergrad: How to Raise $500 in 30 Minutes

How my fraternity managed to raise over $500 for charity while simultaneously selling two of our members into slave labor for a black magic cult.

*This post contains explicit material*

The Tales of Undergrad posts are what I remember of my real life occurrences between the years of 2012 and 2016, my time in undergraduate college. These stories are only from my perspective, and like most of my stories, they are filled with inaccurate exaggerations and feature a vulgar use of the English language. You have been warned.

All male friendships are essentially quixotic: they last only so long as each man is willing to polish the shaving-bowl helmet, climb on his donkey, and ride off after the other in pursuit of illusive glory and questionable adventure. -Michael Chabron

How to Raise 500 Dollars in 28 Minutes

Zeb Carbaugh


            Greek organizations (fraternities and sororities) go above and beyond to show the rest of society that they aren’t just a bunch of savage sex crazed alcoholics by raising money for charities. Now don’t get me wrong, the vast majority of greeks will drink you under the table and bang your significant other with ease, but they do raise money for the less fortunate like no other.

At some point, all greeks began to adopt a few charities for them to support. My fraternity supported two charities, one for homeless people and one for MS. This wide spread greek organizational adoption of charities was probably the result of the well-known stereotype of fraternities and sororities just being party animals and nothing else.  And so the greek philanthropy chair was born to appease the communities of America.

In my fraternity’s chapter, the philanthropy chair was regarded as unimportant. Their job was to remind the chapter of its obligation to raise some money every semester for our charities. Every time he spoke at meetings he was met with usual grumblings from every other member, because none of us wanted to be reminded of the non-party related money raising needs of the fraternity.

At my college, the sororities always did more for charity than the fraternities. They would create and oversee these elaborate events to raise money, and you would always see a sorority member on campus asking you to give time or money towards one charity or other. Fraternities on the other hand had a different approach towards philanthropy. It’s not like we didn’t care about raising money for charity, but more like we were too drunk/hungover to give it that professional spin.

Most philanthropic events held by frats seemed a bit “thrown together” more than the sororities. My fraternity in particular was especially good at throwing together a philanthropic event at the last minute, because we forgot about our charitable duties quite often. Even though we were a band unruly miscreants, my fraternity was able to win multiple awards for the amount of money we raised for all kinds of charities. We had gotten pretty damn good at raising a ton of money in no time at all. Honestly, looking back on the level of innovation my brothers and I showed while we were shit-faced drunk in the name of charitable donations, I feel confident in America’s future.

Our last minute planning payed off most of the time. Except for a few mishaps, we were the Davinici’s of drunken charity work. Of course, those few mishaps were pretty  memorable, like the time my roommate was sold into slave labor for a dark magic worshiping cult…

It was the last semester of my time at undergrad. I had pretty much stopped giving a damn about the boring obligations that the fraternity opposed on its members, but I still participated the minimum amount of events to avoid fines and backlash from the other brothers. Amongst minimum chapter GPA requirements and mandatory chapter meetings, I also showed up to the occasional chapter philanthropy event. During one of our weekly chapter meetings, we realized that we hadn’t contributed to one of our national fraternity’s charities in a few years, so we came up with one of our special spur of the moment money raising ideas.

Between the usual banter that consisted of who was sleeping with whom and who destroyed what house appliance, we devised a plan to raise money for our MS charity. The idea was brought up by one of our chapter’s biggest alcoholic members, Mick. Mick was the guy you called upon when a fight broke out at one of our over-populated parties. He lived off regular visits to the University gym and Keystone Ice (Pennsylvania’s cheapest and most alcoholically potent brews… it tasted like shit). Most words he spoke were bellowed over the words of others and he prided himself on his ability to beat the living hell out of most people he came across. If an idea came into his head during a meeting, everyone knew about it through an aggressive disclaimer on his part. He was seen as a bit of an Alpha Male by our younger members, because of his “I don’t care about your inferior opinion” essence. He was a red blooded republican and one of my closest friends in college. When our chapter became obligated to come up with some money for charity, he had the bright idea of selling each one of us at our own auction.

On paper, the idea held up, but then again, so does communism, and we all know how that worked out for the soviets. We would rent a room at the University student Union, and host an auction to sell ourselves off. Every member of the fraternity was obligated to sign up for four hours of our time to be sold to a crowd of our peers. Mick’s pitch at the meeting was “all of us agree to forfeit four hours of our time for whatever the highest bidder asks of us. We get an announcer to comically describe each one of our likes and dislikes as if we were on some 70’s dating show, play a walk out song, and accept bids from members of the audience. We’ve got all this man power sitting around, why not put it to use?” The idea was simple enough, and no one ever questioned Mick’s announcements, so the idea was accepted by our chapter’s executive board.

To my fellow brothers sitting in on a meeting that no one wanted to be at, listening to an obligatory event that none of us wanted to go to, Mick’s pitch sounded like a quick and easy solution to our charitable obligation. We all voted to go ahead with the event.

The auction was given the name “Buy-a-Xi-Guy.” A date was set, and positions needed to run the event were divvied up amongst us barely functional fraternity members. The position of auctioneer was unanimously decided to be myself. By this time, I had worked up a bit of a reputation in the greek community as everyone’s beloved extroverted asshole. We all left that meeting with high hopes of a comical event that would be successful even if we were all drunk for it.

A few weeks later it was time to throw together this auction. Most brothers forgot about the event entirely but they showed up anyway. Luckily, our president at the time had booked the room in the union for us to use and had assigned everyone a walk out song. The list of attributes, likes, and dislikes were organized via text message over the span of those couple weeks since the deciding meeting. This thing was really happening and none of us saw a single thing wrong with it. No permission, license, nor contract was created to make this thing legit, and to this day I have no idea if what we did was legal.

Our rented ballroom was beginning to fill up with familiar faces. The pledges dressed up in ridiculous outfits purely for our amusement, and every brother’s girlfriend was there to make sure another slut didn’t buy their boyfriend for a night. I popped up on stage with a mic in my hand. The brothers began to line up, and the student union rep assigned to make sure we didn’t trash the room had our PowerPoint presentation up on the screen.

The auction started off strong. The pledges were sold off first. “At five foot four, weighing in at a whopping 135 pounds, ladies and gentlemen give it up for Kevin “Gonj” Garcia.” I bellowed that shit across the ballroom like I was announcing monster truck night in Texas. “Gonj enjoys walks on the beach, listening to rap music, and as his last name suggests, will work his little ass off for next to nothing.” Gonj was sold off for about 20 bucks to Mick.

Mick had a plan to start the auction with a high note to get the other audience members to cough up more cash for the rest of the members. Throughout the night, he would place a bid or two if he felt the crowd getting quiet. Mick didn’t mind blowing the extra cash if it meant raising more money overall. Plus, the more bids he placed, the cleaner his apartment, car, and laundry would be later on. Mick actually ended up buying me. I just cleaned his apartment which he and I immediately trashed right after with a night of drinking. Unfortunately for Gonj, Mick had no intention of making his task so easy. By the time his four hours were up, Gonj had Mick’s truck spotless and all of his laundry cleaned and ironed.

The rest of the pledges were sold off to dick thirsty sorostitutes for some Netflix and chill sessions (yeah, Gonj really got the short end of the stick) except for our oldest pledge, Dale. Dale was this 30-some old dude with two kids and an ex-wife somewhere. He had been in the military and stationed in South Korea for a period of time. Dale loved hard drugs and was a bit of a mystery to the rest of the brothers, but we all thought he was a cool dude. Dale and I actually had gone on a four day music festival down in Georgia earlier that semester so we knew each other pretty well (the festival is an entirely different story for another time).

Dale was the last of the pledges to be auctioned off. We had him wear some Hawaiian themed bullshit to make him look more appealing/ridiculous for the crowd. “Dale is a tall, strapping old man at the age of 30 something. He probably doesn’t want to be here but who cares, he has to do what we tell him.” I joked over the mic. “He is a veteran and…”

“Fifty dollars” a lady in the back interrupted me.

“Um, ok, I hear 50 dollars, 50 dollars, can I get 55?” I said with a slight stutter. The crowd was silent and most people in the room were turned around looking at the mysterious bidder from the back. “Sold to the miss with black hoodie and black hat in the back.” I was taken aback because the unknown bidder was the only unknown person in the room. All other audience members were close friends, girlfriends, or brothers themselves. As far as I know, this unknown bidder was the only person in the room whom nobody knew. And, her bid was the highest bid of the night so far. The five pledges auctioned off before Dale had been sold for 10 to 20 bucks at the most. But who am I to argue with someone who just gave us $50 bucks? Dale’s face had a look of confused disgust on it as he stepped off stage to go talk to the lady dressed like Johnny Cash. The auction proceeded.

One by one, all of us brothers were sold off to either a girlfriend or a friend from another fraternity who planned to mess with us for four hours. I was enjoying making fun of my brothers, and we had already raised a good sum of cash for charity. Other than Dale’s unfortunate bidder, everything was going smoothly.

“Next up is TZ! At five foot six, 130 pounds, TZ is one of our smallest members in the Fraternity, so ladies, be gentle,” I say as I wink at the crowd. TZ was my roommate. We had a lot in common and were both known to be a good time at a party. To give some context as the type of person TZ was, his favorite gag to pull at parties was to convince everyone he had already or was going to chug the house’s jug of bleach. Once he had gotten to the right amount of shitfaced, he would find a corner with some sexy bitches standing and staring at their phones. Then he would usually grab a brother to play along and make his bit seem more convincing, grab the bleach from under the sink and continue to convince the basic bitches that his insides were going to be chemically cooked that very night. It sounds kind of fucked up, and most girls didn’t find it amusing, but I thought it was hilarious. Our brothers enjoyed a good dose of dark humor. Other than his bleach joke, TZ was a quiet guy. He didn’t get into fights or have the record for most girls banged in a night or anything, but he always made the party better.

“He enjoys beating off to Japanese anime porn and flying his nerdy drone around campus. Let’s start the bidding off at 10 dollars. Can I get 10 dollars for TZ, ladies and gentlemen?” As soon as I asked the question, I saw her ZooPal go up.

We as a fraternity didn’t feel like paying for or putting in the extra effort to get numbered signs for the bidders so we had the pledges go out and buy the “most ridiculous looking shit possible” for bidders to hold up while placing a bid. They somehow found a stash or ZooPals in the back of the town dollar store. It was hilarious watching everyone lift up their frog, duck, and dog plates every couple minutes.

“Fifty dollars,” the mystery lady had said placing her bid.

“Okay, the lady in black strikes again. Fifty dollars. I hear fifty dollars. Can I get 55? No? Okay then,” I turn to TZ. His scared little face was trying to figure out who this lady was while he shook his head inconspicuously at me.

“Sold to the lady in black for 50 American dollars. TZ, go greet your new owner,” I commanded with an evil smirk on my face. TZ hesitantly stepped off stage and towards the lady who now had bought two brothers.

The rest of the auction went pretty fast. By the end, everyone was sold off and we had raised over $500 in under a half hour. It was the most money we had raised in that little amount of time in the four years I was a brother. We were ecstatic. All of us were happy except for Dale and TZ. They both were excited for the raging party we were about to throw back at the house, but they were also worried about what the lady had told them before she left.

The rules stated at the beginning of the auction said that each brother auctioned off had to fulfill their four hours of labor or whatever the highest bidder wanted them to do before the end of the semester which was two and a half months away. Before she left, the lady in black got Dale and TZ’s contact information and simply said “you will both be hearing from me soon” with the style of Cruella fucking Deville.

Both Dale and TZ came up to me during the after party (yeah we threw an after party for a half hour charity event, we were down to celebrate anything). Dale and TZ were trying to see if they could get out of working for this lady.

“Listen, its only four hours and she’ll probably forget about it before the two months are up. I bet she doesn’t never gets around to texting you two, so relax,” I told them. But she didn’t forget, and she did call them both.

Three weeks after the auction, almost every brother had completely forgotten about the event. I cleaned Mick’s apartment the day after, and most brothers fulfilled their obligations the same night as the auction. So when TZ came back to our apartment from class on a Friday afternoon talking about some crazy lady who wanted him to get in a van, I had no clue what he was talking about. Another brother Rob and I had already started pre-gaming.

Rob and I had a ritual. He and I would get obliterated on whiskey before each party at my apartment about 100 yards away from the fraternity house. Our pregame ritual consisted of booze, music, and First-person shooter video games. Then, we’d show up to our own fraternity’s party and crash it by acting like total asshats. This particular Friday was no different. Rob and I were already slurring our words and screaming profanity at the Call of Duty players of the world when TZ bursts in the room.

“Holy shit, she found me,” TZ said in a slight panic.

“Who found what? Shhpeak in full sentences,” Rob slurred at TZ.

I followed up with a sarcastic “yeah, are you drunk or something TZ?!”

“No seriously you assholes,” he said. “That crazy lady in black from the auction. She found me!” He was starting to sound more worried.

“You mean the Buy-a-Guy thing we did last month?” Rob said without sounding concerned.

“Who are you calling an asshole? You’re the asshole… asshole!” I was still oblivious to what TZ was saying.

“Fuck you,” TZ replied to me nonchalantly. “I was walking back from class and the lady in black must have been driving by with her lackies or some shit. A black van with tinted windows pulled over, blocked the path I was walking, and the back seat window rolled down.” Rob must not have been as drunk as I was because he put down his controller out of intrigue in TZ’s story. “The lady in black was sitting in the back. She popped her head out the window with a smile and said ‘remember me? I hope you do. I will be calling you tonight about your four hours you owe me.’ Then she rolled up her window and the van drove off.”

“No way!” Rob said with a chuckle. “This is too much.”

“I know right!? What the fuck is that all about, and who the hell is this chick?” “Zeb, you hear what I said?” TZ asked me.

Meanwhile, I haven’t even noticed that Rob stopped playing the video game yet. I finally decided to chime in to the story at hand,“hey wait just a minute. What van lets you roll down the back seat window? You’re full of shit.” Literally, the only thing I heard him say was about the back seat window.

TZ then repeated his story to me, but again I didn’t hear a word of it. I didn’t even break eye contact with my TV. TZ started to notice how drunk I was and gave up trying to tell me about his encounter on the way back from class. Instead, he decided to just try and get some advice from Rob. “What would you do Robby?”

“Was it a van or minivan?”

“What?” TZ responded to Rob’s random question.

“You said it was a van, but I think Zeb’s right. No van lets you roll down the side windows from the back seat.” Rob starts reading off his phone. “It says here, ‘The 2014 Crysler was the first of its kind to include many new features previously seen in a minivan, including adjustable windows from the back seat.’ Are you sure it wasn’t a minivan and not a regular van?”

TZ just stands there with a “you’ve got to be kidding me” look on his face. Rob must have been pretty drunk himself. He stopped caring about TZ’s situation a while ago and thought my comment about the windows was more intriguing. TZ threw his book bag on the floor and just said “fuck it, I’m getting drunk with you guys.”

Like a miracle, Rob and I both heard TZ that time as clear as day. We poured TZ a drink and the three of us got properly trashed before the party that night. Fast forward past the pre-game, half the mixer, and its 11:30pm.

Rob and I are chilling downstairs at the bar handing out drinks to some regular Blue House patrons when I see TZ stumbling up the stairs with his phone to his ear. He looked concerned and was asking for a pledge to find Dale for him. I told Rob to man the bar by himself for a bit, whiel I followed TZ outside where Dale is waiting.

Note: Our Fraternity’s base of operations was commonly referred to as the Blue House

            All of us are pretty wrecked so I can’t really remember everything, but TZ and Dale had both been contacted by the lady in black. Apparently she first called Dale, who was DDing people to and from the party when she called him and told him what he had to do for his four hours. She left a voicemail on TZ’s phone that he couldn’t hear over the music from the party. So Dale explains to TZ that this lady wants them to meet her tomorrow at the crack of noon at the University Union, the same building the auction was held. There she would pick them both up and take them to Pittsburgh where they would help clean their “facility” for four hours, lunch would be provided. TZ and Dale talked about how weird the whole situation was.

When I made the decision to follow TZ outside, I thought I was going to see a fight or something more interesting on our back porch. I went back downstairs out of disinterest.

Everything I witnessed that day that pertains to TZ’s unfortunate situation had been completely forgotten by the time I woke up the next morning. I seriously had no idea that shit had gone down until Rob reminded me later. Through the course of that night and morning, Dale decided he wasn’t getting in a van no matter what anyone said (smart bastard). But TZ wasn’t so strongly willed. He woke up with a splitting headache, dragged himself out of bed, and stumbled to the Union building to meet the lady in black. His retelling of the events that followed go something like this:

The van pulled up and picked TZ’s little hipster ass up at noon like she said would happen. Besides the lady in black who was riding shotgun, there was the driver and three other people in the van. I’m only two sentences in and already you’re probably thinking “why the fuck would anyone get in that van?” Yeah, I was thinking the same thing, but he did. TZ climbed into a black van with tinted windows with a creepy lady dressed in black, a middle aged driver, and three other people about the same age as himself.

The hour long drive to Pittsburgh gave the lady in black a good opportunity to explain everyone’s situation. She said that she and the driver were part of a group who believed in free will. This group valued free will and was founded by some British writer/magician from the 20th century. I looked it up on wikipedia and saw shit like “hellfire, ancient Egyptian deities, and magick practices.” Yeah, they even spelled magic with a “K” like a bunch of weirdos. Luckily TZ didn’t google the group name or he would have probably shit his pants on the ride to Pittsburgh. Oh and I specifically remember TZ telling me that this girl said the words “we’re not a cult” like five times while he was with her. So even without googling them, I’m sure TZ was shitting bricks.

They finally get down to “the facility.” The lady in black and a couple of her friends told TZ he would be scrubbing the walls of their basement as well as helping them move old furniture. He did his best to avoid anyone else while on the property. He found a corner of the basement and just pretended to clean the living daylights out of this one corner until they took him home. Two hours into his shift, the lady in black offered TZ and the other laborers some free lunch and beverages.

When TZ told me they offered him food and drink, my brow raised a few inches. “Um, you didn’t drink the koolaid did you dude?” I asked him.

“Hell no!” he quickly responded. “I went to the Subway across the street. I’m not that stupid!”

After avoiding the complimentary and possibly drugged food and beverage, TZ was counting down the minutes until they took him home. He had thoughts of total fear swimming around in his head. Would they even take him home? What if they just drove him to a remote location and sacrificed his little ass to Satan? If he died, who would tell his friends and family what happened to him?

But TZ was returned to our University safe and sound. When his shift was over, they simply drove TZ and the other laborers back to our town and gave them a pamphlet in case they felt like signing up with the dark magic cult in the future. He stepped out of the black van with an overwhelming sense of relief. He had survived one of the most bizarre misadventures of his life! He made the ten minute walk from the student union building to our shitty little apartment with a smile on his face, and just as he extended his hand out to open our front door… “FUCK!” A sinking feeling of fear and regret washed over his mind like a tsunami. His palms began to sweat and a shocking sensation was felt throughout his entire body. It was that feeling you get when the voice in your head says “you’re such an idiot.”

As he patted the pockets of his skinny jeans his fears were confirmed. TZ had left his phone in the basement of a cult that in his mind, he had just escaped. He thought back to when he had lost his phone. Like most people working on something they couldn’t care less about, TZ took a long shit at the facility. During his visit to the basement shitter, he set his phone down on the porcelain sink to finish his business. When he finished up, he walked right out the door, leaving his phone behind.

As he climbed the steps to our apartment, TZ was trying to think of some way to resolve his regrettable situation. Up the stairs TZ found Rob and I pwning noobs in Halo and drunk off our asses as usual. “Um, Robby, can I borrow your phone?”

“Yeah sure, why though? What happened to yours?” Robby inquired. TZ ignored him and proceeded to call the lady in black. Five minutes later, TZ told Rob and I his entire story about the dark nasty basement, the complimentary beverages, and how through it all his phone remained in Pittsburgh, on the sink of a cult’s basement restroom.

After finishing his story, Rob and I look at each other and just burst with laughter. TZ told us that during their conversation on the phone, the lady in black agreed to bring his phone back up to town after her next visit to the facility the following weekend. I told him to cut his losses and buy a new phone. I thought no phone was worth seeing that creepy chick again, but TZ was sure that one more run in with this lady wasn’t going to be worse than spending half a day in their basement.

That night we partied hard as usual, and for an entire week TZ didn’t have a phone. After the lady in black’s visit to the facility she called Robby’s phone to let TZ know she was in our town and that TZ could pick up his phone from her apartment at any time. TZ told me that when he picked up his phone, the lady in black asked him if he gave joining their group any more thought. He simply replied “not a chance in hell,” and just walked right off of her stoop.

TZ hasn’t heard from the black magic people since. In the end nobody was hurt or anything, but it was pretty terrifying. The moral of this story is: if the new way to make a quick buck seems too good to be true than it probably is, don’t sell your friends to strangers, and if someone says “we’re not a cult” they’re probably are cult. Who ever said raising money for charity was boring?

Cult info:

Founded by Aleister Crowley… the dude Ozzy Osbourne wrote a song about… the prince of darkness himself sang a song about this cult’s leader. (I don’t know if Ozzy wrote it and IDK if the song “Mr. Crowley” was written about that specific Crowley but you know, hey, why not.)

Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, surrounded by assholes. -Sigmund Freud

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