Tales of Undergrad

Tales of Undergrad: Part III Don’t Take Velcro to Mexico

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.

What I like to drink most is wine that belongs to others. -Diogenes the Cynic

Don’t Take Velcro to Mexico

by Zeb M Carbaugh

May 3rd, 2017

*This post contains explicit material*

            I was sitting on the vomit, piss, and cum stained couch in our living room at 3am on a Friday morning. The only sounds to be heard were the faint chattering of sorority girls on the back porch waiting for their DD ride home, the giant speakers in the basement playing a faint humming sound from the exposed and forgotten auxiliary chord, and muffled grunts and squeals coming from one of the brothers’ rooms. There was an almost artful pattern of partygoer shoe prints drawn in the layer of mud and beer coating our floor. And the pools of cheap beer that had gone untouched for decades in every corner of the house had once again wafted that familiar smell of rotten fermentation into the air.

It was my favorite time of night, and I was completely trashed. Somehow words still managed to escape my lips, but I wasn’t going be aware of them in the morning. It was a blackout folks. By my senior year at Slippery Rock U blackouts had become a VERY common occurrence, and sitting across the living room from me was no stranger to blackouts. His name was Velcro.

As I woke from the “nap” I started in the middle of the party (more like I passed out), I lifted my head to find Velcro draped across the fraternity’s green pleather couch. Velcro was a newer member of the fraternity, so he and I hadn’t yet had the chance to become better acquainted with each other. That being said, I had a general idea of the kind of person he was. He liked to drink (an unwritten requirement for being one of the brothers), he was rather smart, and he had a wicked sense of humor. You could tell by his accent that he’s from the state of New York. Physically he towered above most of the other brothers at about six feet two inches, and he had an odd habit of walking on the balls of his feet. Of course, his given name isn’t Velcro. It was a nickname.

Everyone at our fraternity got a nickname. Mine was Hulk, because one night at the fraternity house as a rushee I smashed every empty can in the house. I went around the entire house stomping on Natty’s and Busch lights, and every time I did I yelled “Smash!” as if I were the Hulk.

We gave out nicknames to pledges to give them a sense of belonging to the fraternity. Some nicknames were used just like mine, when a particular situation called for it. Some of them didn’t stick at all because they were too stupid. And some nicknames were just so damn good that they were used instead of the brother’s actual name. Velcro’s nickname was one of the good ones. Most older brothers and Alumni couldn’t say his name even if they wanted to. Most just knew him as Velcro.

Even though Velcro’s actually a very cultured and smart guy, his nickname’s origin came from the exact opposite of intelligence. During his pledge process, Velcro acted like a complete dumbass. Yeah, he was a cool dude, but when he got drunk he acted dumber than most drunk people. He was like the dumb kid in school.

Although it was 1968 when Puma introduced the world to the first major sneaker that used Velcro fasteners, it wasn’t until the 1980’s that practically every kid in America had shoes with Velcro straps (Suddath, 2010). By the 90’s Velcro shoe had developed a bit of a warped reputation from America’s youth. I remember in elementary school it was common knowledge that only the dumbest of dumb kids wore Velcro shoes. To our little cruel minds, the logic was like this: if you wore Velcro shoes that meant you were too damn stupid to tie your shoes. So, to all us kids raised in the 90’s, Velcro meant dumbass. By the time we were in college, us 90’s kids obviously didn’t actually think people who wore Velcro shoes were stupid anymore. But the idea almost became code. When us brothers christened Velcro with his nickname, it was like an inside joke to an entire generation that said, “This dude is a dumbass.” It was pure genius. Of course, when Velcro’s parents or some hot chick would ask him how he got the nickname he would simply say “I guess it is just because I always stick around.” Now back to 3am with me sitting on the cum-stained couch across from Velcro.

As I woke up on the couch, I was staring at him laying across the room from me. Although his body looked like he had simply been dropped there, Velcro was conscious. Just as my eyes started to shut again I heard a voice.

“Morning sunshine,” Velcro said to me in a slightly condescending tone.

I heard his voice, but I had no idea what it said. I was still far too inebriated. My eyes were still closed, but I assumed the voice was trying to see if I was alright. I answered with a grunt and pitiful excuse for a wave as if to say “I am not dying from alcohol poisoning. Now leave me alone.

“Wake up dude. You don’t want to sleep on the couch at the house when your apartment is like 100 yards away.” Velcro was trying to be nice. He knew the couches at the house had seen more fights and fucks than an Italian neighborhood in Jersey. “Zeb, wake up bro. Time to go home.”

“Screw you Velcro. I can just sleep here.”

“No, come on man. I’ll get us a couple glasses of water, you can smoke a cig, and we can both walk home to our nice comfortable beds.” Velcro knew the prospect of tobacco could get me to do just about anything, so I perked up fast at the thought of a cigarette.

A few minutes later Velcro and I were out on the back porch trying to sober up a bit. We started talking about traveling, and life in general. It was one of those priceless conversations I had quite a lot of in college.

“Yeah dude, my family owns a vineyard in France,” Velcro tells me.

“No way! I speak French!” I told him.

So, Velcro asks “Où as-tu appris à parler français?” Then Velcro and I both learned that I do not speak French. I only thought I spoke French because I had just completed my French minor requirements at SRU.

I blame public education for letting me get a minor in a language that I couldn’t really speak at all. Google translate got me through seven courses of French at SRU. I got a A+ in every single one, but I digress.

Velcro and I laughed over my lack of knowledge on the French language, and like most late nights at the Blue House, some good quality brotherly bonding took place. We were debating whether Mike Wazowski blinked or winked when Velcro brought up the fact that he hadn’t traveled in a while. I jumped at the opportunity to let him know that I was looking for someone to come on a trip with me.

“Bro! My mom has a time share down in Mexico. It’s an all-inclusive resort. I’m bringing Norm and Robby, but we need one more person. You should totally come with us!” That was my pitch to him of an all-inclusive Mexican resort for Spring break of the following semester.

“That’s nice of you man. Yeah, I’d love to come,” Velcro answered. He seemed hesitant, because he and I didn’t know each other that well yet. “You sure you want me to come along?” he asked me.

“You’re darn tootin’ I do. Velcro we’re brothers now! If all four of us go down it will be insane!” I reassured him.

We shook on it and then it was official. I was going to bring Velcro to Mexico. That night, as Velcro predicted, we walked home and slept in our own comfy beds. The next morning, I had no recollection of conversation. I didn’t remember waking up on the couch across the room from Velcro at 3am on the vomit, piss, and cum stained couch, and I don’t remember inviting him to Mexico for Spring Break. It figures, some of the best conversations I had in college were at around 3AM on the back porch with a good friend, and I barely remember any of them.

Almost every Thursday at SRU, each fraternity paired up with a sorority and threw a mixer. So almost every Friday morning at SRU the entirety of Greek life was hungover like nobody’s business. Friday mornings were especially bad for hangovers for a couple reasons. It was like two storms coming together to make a mega storm. The first storm was a nationwide change.

You see, there is an organization that call themselves the National Panhellenic Conference or as most sorority girls know them, Panhell. Panhell rules over the biggest sororities in the nation. What they say goes, and in 1998 they decided that Sororities could only hold a social get-together with a fraternity if there was no alcoholic substance on the premises. If this rule was broken the sororities would suffer some extreme consequences. So, the tradition that was in place for years, where the sororities and fraternities took turns in hosting their weekly mixers, was now outlawed. Across the nation, fraternity houses had to take on double the wear and tear as they were accustomed to, but the frats didn’t seem to mind. They could still throw ragers in their own houses. Panhell’s 1998 decision is why you see such disgusting frat houses, but sororities don’t have that stereotype.

The second storm that caused SRU’s Friday morning hell was a bit more of an unofficial change. There was a delicate ecosystem of alcoholics before Panhell’s decision in 1998. If the frat guys showed up to the sororities’ parties then the sorority girls returned the favor by showing up to the frat parties. But since that couldn’t happen anymore, fraternities were forced to come up with elaborate parties to entice the girls to come. The beach mixer, heaven and hell, and redneck wedding were just a few of the themes my fraternity used to get the lovely ladies to show up. But tacky decorations and perverse party themes just aren’t enough sometimes. Sometimes we had to make juice. Like bees drawn to Mother Nature’s sweet nectar, sorority girls flocked to the house when we made Jungle Juice.

Every fraternity made their juice differently. We made ours by buying a plastic storage tub big enough to smuggle an immigrant in. Then we added approximately five handles of Vladimir Vodka (the cheapest vodka known to man), and one handle of the cheapest tequila the liquor store had that day. Once the alcohol was in, we filled the rest of the tub with nasty Slippery Rock water (1), added a ton of Kool-Aid mix, and typically the closest brother standing next to us while we make the juice pours a bit of his drink into the mix. That last step is just to keep things interesting, and sometimes that wildcard ingredient didn’t really improve the taste of the juice (white Russians). Then the Jungle Juice is ready for consumption. As you can imagine this potent concoction knocked people on their asses. Jungle Juice was credited for having the Liquor Control Board shut down all our parties one semester (too many people didn’t know how to hold their liquor). Like most drinks, the stronger and cheaper it is, the more you will feel it in the morning.

Panhell’s 1998 decision and the potency of jungle juice hangovers made Friday mornings in Slippery Rock a comically unproductive slice of hell for Greek life members. On Friday mornings, classes were filled with frat bros and sorority hoes clutching a half gallon of green tea and fighting to hold back vomit. Those who had work the next day barely got anything done. One of these mornings I woke up, checked my phone, and saw the text from Velcro that thanked me for inviting him to such a cool trip.

Although I didn’t remember inviting him I decided to just go along with it. The months between that morning and Spring Break really weren’t anything special. Velcro, Norm, Robby, and myself, the four destined to go to Mexico, continued to get shitfaced five nights a week as usual. Winter break came and went. My last semester at SRU started and before we knew it spring break was a week away. My mom organized all our travel details so all we had to do was drive to the airport, get on a plain, take the shuttle to the resort, and begin our epic spring break adventure. My mom enjoys creating unforgettable experiences for people, so she hooked us up. She paid the resort fees. The four of us just had to pay for plane tickets. Robby took out all his stocks just so he could come on this trip. We were hyped up!

Our flight left Saturday morning at like 5am or something really early. The four of us decided to skip class that Friday so we could drive the 5 hours down to my mom’s house, spend the night, and get up early for our Saturday morning flight to Mexico. I live for road trips so I was even looking forward to the drive, and plane ride down. I’m one of those cheesy bastards that believes the saying “it’s about the journey not the destination.”

Driving down to my mom’s that Friday was filled with kickass music and the usual fraternity banter. When we got to mom’s house we found a blue folder with a sticky note stuck to it. The note read “decided to go on vacation for the week, the house is yours, enjoy.” The blue folder itself had something written on it with ball point pen. The folder said “don’t end up in Mexican prison. Love mom.” Inside the folder was boring flight and resort information that wouldn’t really be worth mentioning if it weren’t for the pesos mom left us. Amongst the boarding passes and brochures were four 20-peso bills, or 4 20’s (my mom knew we were all pot heads so the 4 20’s was a little tilt of the hat). After going over all the crap we had to do to get to the resort we all hit the sack.

The next morning, we high tailed it down to Baltimore Washington International Airport to catch our four-hour flight to Riviera Maya, Mexico! Try to imagine the amount of sheer “bro-ness” that was just emanating from my 2002 Ford Escape as we sped down the high way. Four buddies on their way to spring break. For Norm and me it was the last spring break we would ever have before walking across that stage at graduation. For us, this spring break trip was the grand finale of all the crazy shit we had done over the last four years of college. We weren’t just traveling to Mexico to have a good time. We were headed to Mexico like an old veteran heavy weight boxing champ stepping into the ring of a match he knows he is probably too old to fight. We were headed to Mexico to give our wild sides’ one last chest pounding victorious “Hoorah!”

Even though Robby protested that his civil liberties were being violated the whole time he was getting frisked, we made it past airport security with plenty of time before our flight. To kill some time, we all went foraging around the airport to find a decent breakfast. The diner we found was nice, but the entire time we spent stuffing our faces with flapjacks there was this younger woman staring at us from few booths over. Every time I made eye contact with her she would awkwardly act as if she was looking at someone or something else. I told Norm, Robby, and Velcro that we had a fan a few booths over. Velcro stands up, walks over, and with the subtlety of a rhinoceros just comes right out and asks this lady in his New York accent “do you know one of my friends or something?”

As the rest of us are laughing in our booth the young woman replies “Oh, sorry for staring. I just recognized your one friend over there.” As she pointed to Robby, Velcro donned the biggest smile on his face. “I’ve seen him on TFM before, a few times actually.”

Velcro bellowed over the diner. “No way! Hey Robby, this chick knows you from Failed Fridays!”

We all busted up laughing and the woman began to blush. Robby waved over in recognition, turned back around to face Norm and I and said, “those photos of me will haunt me forever.” He was referring to the two times he was featured on TFM’s Failed Friday articles. I took both photos of Robby that ended up on TFM. The photo that made it to the cover of an issue showed Robby sitting on a tarp with his body slumped over a trashcan and completely covered in his own vomit. The other photo showed Robby spilling beer all over himself in his attempt to drink like five cans worth of beer out of a two-story beer bong. When it comes to drunken adventures, Robby was Indiana Jones. That’s why he and I got along so well. Velcro walked back to the booth where Norm and I were picking on Robby. Robby waved once again at the young woman like he was a celebrity. He was proud of his infamous reputation.

Once we finished breakfast we boarded our plane and made our way to Mexico. The flight was standard. We were high in the sky when the stewardess came around to ask our section if we wanted a beverage, the air was filled with your typical responses.

“And you sir?” the stewardess asked.

“Nothing for me thank you” some random dude said.

The stewardess gestured to a lady. “Um, just a ginger ale please.”

She asked more and more people. Norm and I were sitting together, but Velcro and Robby had individually separated. “Just water for me,” some old guy requested.

“Pepsi is fine” Norm said.

She looked at me. “Uh, diet Pepsi please.”

A few moments later and the stewardess is still taking down people’s drink orders. Her voice hadn’t become any softer, but Norm and I had pretty much tuned her out. Next thing we know there’s Velcro asking the poor lady “can I have pretzels instead of peanuts?”

“No sir. I’m just getting everyone’s beverage orders at the moment,” she responds. Velcro now has this clueless look on his face, he’s all confused as if he didn’t hear the 30 people before him exclusively ordering drinks. “If you will be patient the snack cart will come by soon,” she assures him.

“Oh, ok then just water,” he decides.

Norm and I look at each other and chuckle, because we know how Velcro’s mind just wanders off sometimes. More moments go by, Norm and I lose interest in listening to people’s drink orders until we hear Robby. “Yes, thank you for asking ma’am. What kinds of single barreled scotch do you have aboard?” he asks like he’s a whiskey connoisseur touring a distillery.

The stewardess is just about to inform Robby that he’s not getting any scotch when Velcro chimes in, “Robby you dumbass! It’s 6 in the morning. They’re not servin’ scotch right now.”

Robby’s all dumb founded because for him, the time of day has zero relevancy as to whether someone can or cannot be drinking alcohol. Norm and I turn around to see the stewardess just shrug at Robby as if to say, “he’s right, no scotch for you.” It seemed as if the whole plane got a laugh out of that one. Next thing you know we’ve landed.

I had been to this resort before, but it was a very different trip. It was like a mother-son trip where my friend from high school, his mom, myself, and my mom all went down. I was 18 so my high school buddy and I still drank. But that trip was a very different dynamic from the trip I went on with just three other friends from college.

As our shuttle drove us from the airport to our resort I remembered how depressing this part of Mexico seemed to me. Everything just looked like a boring desert speckled with pockets of even more depressing half-abandoned towns. Although I had experienced this exact ride before, Norm, Robby, and Velcro were all experiencing it for the first time. There was this weird feeling to the air in that shuttle. It was like a thick cloud that tasted like “some bad shit’s about to go down.

About half way into our 90-minute shuttle ride we drove through some sort of a police check point. I shit you not, there were five dudes in uniforms wearing knock-off Oakley’s and armed with Uzi standing alongside the road. The check point didn’t seem to faze our shuttle driver, but the four of us had our eyes glued to the guns on the officers’ hips and the seemingly abandoned civilian vehicle parked off to the side. A few moments after the check point Robby turns around from the front seat and says, “If we get kicked out of this resort we’re all screwed.”

“What do you mean? We literally haven’t taken a single turn since we pulled out of the airport parking lot. I feel like I could remember the way back,” Norm responded.

“What I mean is that we’ll definitely be mugged if we have to walk all this way back to the airport. I wasn’t talking about the directions,” Robby responded.

I gave some fake reassurance by saying “yeah but we’re not going to get kicked out guys. Don’t worry about it.” I wasn’t too sure about my own words as they came out of my mouth. I wore a confident smile, but an all-inclusive resort where my three fraternity brothers and I can literally drink until 4 in the morning seemed like it could be a train wreck. Luckily my positive façade of fake words and body language seemed to ease Norm and Robby’s minds.

Then Velcro chimed in, “Yeah, but if we do get kicked out, Robby’s right. We’re screwed.” The rest of the shuttle ride had a grim feeling to it. That is, until I ripped a fart so nasty it made the shuttle driver cough. I can always count on my anus to lighten the mood.

Our white painted shuttle pulled into the resort’s front gate where we drove past two security guards. The resort security guys looked shorter, fatter, and overall less intimidating than the guys in charge of the police check point we drove by earlier. They wore these obnoxious yellow polos that said “Security” on them in English, black cargo pants, and sneakers. The only thing these guys were armed with was a flash light and whistle. As we drove by these rent-a-cops a smirk emerged from my subconscious as if to say to the out of shape security guards “try me, I dare you.”

The shuttle drove onto the brick roundabout of the resort lobby. There waiting for us was someone from my mom’s resort travel club. We stepped off the shuttle letting the sweet tropical 80o air hit our faces. As we all stood there feeling sluggish from the plane ride and having to wake up at 5am, I looked to my right and saw the random Flamingo pond. There were about 20 of these pink flamingos just walking around eating algae and shitting in the pond. I thought it was peculiar to have a random flamingo pond right there at the entrance. The shuttle driver stepped off right behind us and started unloading our luggage.

“Hello Carbaugh Party and welcome to the Riviera Maya Resort. My name is Francisca. I am here to help you get settled” the travel club rep said with a sexy accent. She was tall, light skinned, and was drop dead gorgeous. We tipped the shuttle driver and he quickly drove off. Francisca took us over to the front desk where she helped us get our travel club bracelets and room keys. I immediately noticed how much the people working behind the resort desk looked very different from Francisca. They had less impressive uniforms than Francisca and were about a foot shorter. My mind drew a connection between these resort workers and the Umpa Lumpas from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

After we got our bracelets and keys Francisca took us to the travel club lounge where she said she had to talk with us briefly. We walked into this super clean all-white room with glass walls. She sat us down on two white leather couches and asked us if we wanted something to drink.

“Like… alcoholic drinks?” Norm asked with anticipation.

Before Francisca could get a word out, Velcro told Norm “It’s too early for drinks man,” just like he told Robby on the plane.

“Actually, our bars open around 9am here. Please order whatever you would like,” said Francisca.

“Well in that case let’s get a round of Margaritas!” exclaimed Velcro.

As we all sipped on our margaritas Francisca was explaining the small problem we had with our trip. I didn’t understand like 80% of what she was saying. Between her accent and my brain comprehension of that long awaited first sip of alcohol, the problem at hand was lost to me. So, I just asked “so, we’re all good, right? My mom paid in advanced. We should be good. Is there a problem with the rooms or what’s going on?”

Francisca realized that she wasn’t getting through to us. She just said, “you know what, just go get some food and drinks and we should have this all sorted out by morning.” And grab some drinks we did.

As our rooms were being prepared, the four of us visited one of the resort buffets. We stuffed our faces with food and laid out our plan to tackle the resort’s 32 different bars. We ate like kings for that first meal. They had steak, burgers, tacos, nachos, and every tasty-ass food you can imagine. After a few minutes of me trying to tell my brothers where my favorite bars were on the resort, Velcro chimed in. “Screw it! I say we leave this buffet and just start walking. Every bar we come across we order at least two drinks,” he proposed. I had to admit that his plan was pretty solid. We would get to see a bunch of different crowds and get a good lay of the land on our first night. When we left that buffet we had high hopes. We were hopeful not just for the night but for the rest of our vacation.

The first bar we arrived at was the closest one to our rooms. Without getting a shower, changing our clothes, or even getting a chance to charge our phones we all straddled a bar stool at 2pm. The bar was empty so we the bartender approached us immediately. “Hola seniors,” he said.

“Hola,” we all said in our white-boy accents.

“What can I get for you gentlemen?” the bartender asks switching straight to English.

Usually when I start drinking I start off with a beer. It helps me ease into things, but today was different. We all just wanted to get hammered real fast. “Long Island Iced tea por favor,” we all said in unison.

“You boys are on a mission ain’t ya?” The voice came from a tall broad-shouldered man a few bar stools to our right. “You know you can pace yourselves, right? They aren’t gonna run out of booze anytime soon, plus this place is all-inclusive. They don’t even expect tips here guys,” he said. He looked like someone I knew but I couldn’t quite place him. He turned his gaze back towards the wall of liquor bottles behind the bar.

“Oh yeah? Anything else we should know about this place?” I asked him.

Looking down at his drink, the old man gave a grin. “They’ve got great customer service, that’s for sure,” he said.

“Well thank you for the warning kind stranger, but we all can hold our liquor quite well,” said Robby.

The stranger swiveled on his barstool towards our group white holding up his expensive scotch in his right hand. I don’t even know where he got what looked like good scotch. The only booze I saw was cheap as hell. An oddly familiar smirk showed on his clean shaved face as he said, “well in any case, I hope you boys find what you’re looking for down here.” All four of us lifted our Long Islands and gave the man a nod. As we sipped our drinks we realized that they tasted stronger than the jungle juice we fed to the sorostitutes back home. A subtle look of disgust fell over our faces for a brief moment. Then we all acted like it was normal.

“All I’m looking for is to get sloshed,” Velcro said in a hushed voice. He looked down at his drink. “Looks like I’ve found it!”

We all got a chuckle out of Velcro’s joke. A few moments later three gorgeous girls came up to the bar and ordered some drinks. They got the attention of all four of us, but Velcro was the first to swoop in. He had a girlfriend at the time and he wouldn’t have cheated on her, but the guy was just a natural flirt.

After checking out the hotties, I turned back to see if the stranger had any reaction to the girls, but he was gone. All that was left was his empty glass. I raised a brow in confusion and looked around for him, but he was nowhere to be found. The old man just vanished from a wide-open lobby bar. Norm put his arm over my shoulder and said, “whatcha lookin’ at big guy? There are ladies to woo.” I turned towards Norm, chugged the rest of my Long Island, and hopped off my bar stool to make my way towards the wooable females that had wandered into our watering hole.

We drank with these girls for a bit. They were cute, but other than their looks they weren’t too interesting. Velcro kept telling stories about the time he spent in France and Robby would chime in every once and awhile with a fun fact that was only loosely relevant to the conversation. Norm’s biggest move was to just poke fun at the rest of us. He would make fun of Robby’s awkwardness, my brashness, and Velcro’s New York accent. I just focused on getting drunk and laughing at the spectacle of my friends trying to get laid.

The girls’ names were Kylie, Amber, and Jenna (typical white girl names). Jenna was the apparent ring leader of their lady bar crawling squad. We talked to them for quite a while. Like I said, they were ok to talk to but nothing spectacular. So, when they said they were leaving to go to the beach I said, “have a great time” and my attention quickly drifted elsewhere.

“Hold on ladies,” Robby said. “He turned towards us three and with the girls to his back he protested, “I want to go with them. I think I have chance with the one girl.”

“Which one?” Norm asked with a chuckle.

“The leader, Jenna,” Robby answered.

We all laughed and Norm said, “Rob, even if you did have a chance, none of us have our swim suits. I think we should stick together tonight dude. This place is huge, you’re already starting to slur your words a bit, and by now our rooms might be ready. Let’s go back to the rooms, get showers, a change of clothes, and start the night off right.”

“That sounds like a good plan to me. What do you think Velcro?” I asked. Trying to convince even slightly drunk Robby to do anything was a team effort.

Velcro understood. “Yeah Rob, let’s go get freshened up.”

Robby gave off a reluctant grunt of approval. I don’t think he would have agreed if Jenna hadn’t told us which bar she was going to later that night. Thankfully she did, so we were on our way back to the rooms. Norm and I shared a room and two doors down was Velcro and Robby’s room. Norm and I got two twin sized beds. Robby and Velcro were stuck with just one king sized bed. There must have been a mix up and the resort people probably though Robby and Velcro were a couple or something. It’s funny because Velcro’s a very private guy. He immediately put like 6 pillows in the center of the bed to act as a barrier between him and Rob.

The building our rooms were in was on the outskirts of the resort. To get there we had to navigate across a golf cart path, through a small pool area and a long path surrounded by tropical forests. We freshened up nicely. After showers, naps, and a change of clothes, we emerged from the Iguana building looking fresh and ready to take on the night.

Norm said he was a little hungry, so we stopped at the closest buffet for a quick bite. Looking back, I think he just wanted us to get some food in our guts to help keep alcohol poisoning at bay, but we didn’t eat for long. We scarfed down some dinner rolls and headed back to the bar we had visited earlier. There we met a nice family from Canada.

The dad was your typical American dad. He drank beer and cracked slightly offensive jokes. He and Norm had very similar senses of humor. The son was 17 so he wasn’t’ permitted to drink. That didn’t stop me from sneaking him Banker’s Club whiskeys under the bar. The daughter was 18, cute, and loose as hell. I swear I saw her stroke Robby’s khaki shorts under the bar a few times. As for the mom, Velcro and I went back and forth flirting with her. She was a stone-cold fox. We had a good time with that family, and we might have stayed there all night. Unfortunately, the daughter got sick. She ran to the bathroom with her hand over her mouth. Robby was so drunk that he totally misread the situation. He tried following the daughter into the bathroom thinking it was an invitation. Norm grabbed him and explained that she was spewing chunks. That made the blood rush back to Robby’s brain which allowed him to remember Jenna.

“To the Waterfall Lobby!” Robby shouted like he was commanding an army.

We said goodbye to the Canadian family and headed towards the Waterfall lobby bar where Robby was determined to meet up with Jenna. Although Rob was the most shit-faced, all four of us had long passed the point of just drunk. We stopped at a map so Norm and I could figure out where we were going. Robby was pissing in the bushes, and Velcro had noticed someone following us.

“Wait up eh!” It was Carl, the 17-year-old Canadian kid. “Sorry if I startled you. I ditched my parents while they took care of my sister. Do you care if I tag along? I want to drink with you guys.”

Norm and I looked at each other. “What’s the harm in it?” I said. “Come with us buddy.” Our route was plotted and the five of us tromped our way to the Waterfall lobby.

It took about 15 minutes to get there and upon arrival we saw that the waterfall lobby had a party going on. There was a live band singing American songs, but with terribly thick Mexican accents. The waterfall lobby bar was much more crowded than the bar we had just come from. Scantily clad middle-to-old aged women were either sloppily dancing around their drunk husbands or over getting handsy with male resort staff. The bartenders all had the same look on their faces. It was a mixture of exhaustion and amusement. Some old guy wearing a visor was sleep swaying over his white Russian sitting on the bar. This was quite the scene. Our group of four American college boys and one Canadian minor had never seen this side of our parents’ generation. It was like looking at a geriatric zoo filled with Baby Boomers and Generation X’ers. Of course, the alcohol coursing through our veins didn’t allow us to be astonished for very long. Like sharks with the scent of blood in the water, we smelled alcohol and we wouldn’t stop until it was sloshing around in our gullets.

At this point, the night’s story started to blur for all of us. We all kept ordering Long Island Iced Teas. I remember telling the bartender to make mine stronger every time I ordered one. Eventually my Long Islands were just comprised of straight liquor. The bartender told me “senior, these are not Long Islands anymore. You and your friends get Strong Islands.” You see, in the states when you become too visibly drunk at the bar, they cut you off. But in Mexico, or at least at this resort, they just tried to get you even more drunk.

Through the haze of that night I remember Robby did in fact meet up with Jenna. In fact, Jenna was with Kylie and Amber again. Norm nudged my shoulder and pointed over to Robby swaying back and forth in front of all three of them. He had a pissed-off look on his face and was shouting something. I couldn’t hear what he was saying over the Mexican cover band trying their best to sing “What’s Up” originally by the group 4 Non Blondes. What I did hear was the slap Jenna landed on Robby’s left cheek. It was a good slap. Good technique and the wind up was solid, but when it connected it was almost as if Robby didn’t even notice.

The girls walked away from Rob. He then turned toward Norm and I sitting at the bar. He gave us a nod and sort of drunkenly slinked over to us. “I’ll take it you’re not getting lucky tonight?” Norm asked Rob.

“They were assholes. Jenna… Jenna’s just an asshole,” Rob stammered. “Senior!” Robby called for the bartender. “Another round of Strong Islands for me and my bros, on me!”

Norm looked at me with a big ass smile on his face, “I don’t think he’s grasped the fact that it’s an all-inclusive resort yet.”

The bartender finished making our Strong Islands. Robby, Norm, Velcro, and myself lifted our glasses. “Cheers gentlemen, to the spirit of spring break!” Velcro said.

The next thing I remember is my head feeling like it had taken a few swings of a sledge hammer to it. I cracked open my eyes. Floating dust particles were taking turns being illuminated by the beam of sunshine peering through the thick burgundy curtains in our room. Everything hurt, that was my first thought. My second thought was “where am I?” Thirty seconds went by, just enough to process that I’m not in the US of A.

I let out a quick low grunt to see if anyone else was in the room with me like a sad reconnaissance mission. I was facing the window so I couldn’t see if anyone was in the bed next to me. I feared that if I tried to roll over my stomach would switch to eject mode. In response I heard an even sadder grunt come from about 5 feet away. It was Norm. Two out of four were accounted for now. Knowing he was alive I slipped back to sleep. It was to delay the inevitable pain of my hangover.

Next time I regained consciousness I was too awake to fall back asleep. No idea how much time had passed, I grunted again. Again, norm responded with a prompt reply grunt.

“Where are we?” I asked.

“I hate you,” he responded.

I let out another grunt. “Is Rob and Velcro safe?”

“I hate them too,” Norm responded. He paused briefly. “I have no idea where they are.” The words had barely escaped his mouth when he quickly rolled out of bed, fell to the ground, and then ran to the bathroom to puke his brains out.

While the sound of Norm’s retching filled the room, I shifted over to the night stand to grab my phone. There was only one notification. Velcro had messaged Norm, Robby, and myself in a group chat. The message read “I’m alive. Walking back soon.” It was 8am and his message was sent at 7:22 am.

Three out of four accounted for. That was enough for me to fall back asleep for a few minutes. When I woke again, I had to piss like a racehorse. I opened the bathroom door to a cloud of hot mist. Norm was in the shower.

“Holy shit dude,” I said while pulling my dick out of my boxer briefs to take a piss. “What happened last night?”

“We got drunk off our asses. That’s what happened.” He was talking to me from the other side of the shower curtain, but I could still hear a noticeable amout of distain in his voice.

“Fucking Mexico,” I whispered.

“Fucking Mexico,” Norm said. “Some resort worker dude dropped off a note this morning. It’s from Francisca. She wants to see us at noon, and did you see Velcro’s message?”

“Yeah I saw his message. Maybe Velcro didn’t get that drunk and went for breakfast or something. Maybe he can tell us what happened last night, because the last I remember is Robby getting slapped,” I said. “Wait, what? Francisca wants to see us?! What for?”

“I don’t know what the note says. But it’s not crazy to think it’s something bad,” said Norm.

The note read:

“Hola Carbaugh Party,

Please report to the member lounge by 12 noon. We have something to discuss about your trip.

Sincerely, Francisca.”

The note had me freaking out. My hangover brain had me thinking we were going to get kicked out for doing god knows what the night before. Crazy-ass scenarios started playing out in my head. One where we all went to Mexican prison. In one, we got kicked out of the resort and had to live off the land to survive. My head goes to weird places when I’m hungover. I asked Norm if the resort worker who dropped off the note told him what it was about, but Norm said he just found the note slipped under the door.

“Shit man. This is bad. I’m going to stick to just beer the rest of the time we are here. I swear. No more liquor. I can’t get us kicked out!”

“Don’t kid yourself,” said Norm. “You’ll be drinking cocktails by the end of the day.”

It was a good 45 minutes until Norm and I had washed up, gotten dressed, and were willing to walk outside. When we did, we went straight to Velcro and Robby’s room down the hall to try and piece the night together.

I must have knocked on that door two dozen times before Robby cracked the door and immediately shuffled back to his bed without greeting us. Four out of four were now accounted for. We were all alive and safe for the time being. It only took until like 9:30 in the morning. Not bad timing compared to usual.

I remember having a conversation with a sorority girl back at Slippery Rock one time. I told her about this article I read. The article said how girls who live in a house together, like a sorority, for long enough time eventually “sync up.” Their periods eventually happen at the same time. It was the first I had heard this. I told the sorority girl to see what her reaction would be, because I like getting a rise out of people. She countered by telling me, “Yeah our periods sync up, but Fraternity guys’ blackouts sync up.”

She was right. When she said it I just sort of said “whatever,” but looking back I realize she was right. All the brothers drank at the same time because of parties. But when one of us blacked out, we all blacked out. That meant that we all got the worst hangovers on the same mornings. Months of experiencing our hangovers at the same time, we began to recognize how each of us had our own methods for coping with a hangover. Norm and I had known each other since freshmen move-in weekend and Robby was only one year behind us. So, the three of us knew how we acted after an Armageddon-type black out.

Velcro on the other hand was only a sophomore. While he was a pledge he couldn’t drink and he never lived at the house. That means we weren’t as familiar with how he coped in this situation. When I read his group message (“I’m alive. Walking back soon”) I assumed he took it like a champ. I was very wrong.

When Norm and I entered Robby and Velcro’s room we saw the two of them sprawled out on their king sized bed. Velcro was giving me the death stare for knocking so many times. His blood shot eyes pierced my soul, he was filled with rage and cheap booze. Robby tried falling back asleep.

“Who pissed themselves?” I asked, pointing to a clear plastic bag filled with wet clothing.

“Looks like Velcro’s clothes,” Norm pointed out.

An odd sound came from Velcro’s side of their bed. It started off as high pitched, low volume complaining sound. It quickly built to a down right hate filled moan. It was a disturbing noise to say the least. We all understood his pain. Robby picked his head up to reposition his head and he let out a muffled laugh.

“Get out,” Velcro commanded.

Robby chuckled again. It became clear that Velcro needed more time to process the night. Too bad for him, I didn’t give a care. I was too worried about the note Francisca gave us. I ripped the covers off Velcro and basically ordered him to get washed up and ready for breakfast. Both he and Robby reluctantly began to get showers and get dressed.

Walking to the morning buffet we all looked like a hot mess. As we scarfed down enough buffet food to sober us up we wore sandals, cheap sunglasses, and that uncomfortable look every hungover person has on their face. We had all held our questions for each other until breakfast. That wasn’t because of some unspoken rule we had or anything. We just all felt downright awful and feared that if we spoke too much before putting food in our stomachs we might upchuck all over the resort sidewalk.

“So Velcro, what happened last night? Where did we all end up?” I asked him. I was still hoping he was the one out of the four of us that didn’t get too smashed. I was hoping he would piece it all together.

Velcro’s bloodshot eyes got real wide. He raised his left eyebrow and gave me this confused look. “You’re asking me!?” He asked with an agitated inflection. “How the HELL should I know!?”

“Geez! Alright, we’ll come back to you then. Rob, what happened to you?” I asked.

Norm started to chuckle, put a big ass grin on his face, and leaned back in his chair with his elbows on the arms of his chair and his fingers linked together across his chest. “I think I can help with that question,” he said. “Robby somehow managed to get cut off at an open bar. We’re at a place where getting stupid drunk is encouraged and Robby managed to piss off the bartender so much that he was kicked out of the lobby!”

It was surprising to see Norm acting so nonchalantly. I was still worried we were going to get kicked out during our meeting with Francisca at noon. I looked over to Robby to see if he would confirm or deny Norm’s story. He just shrugged his shoulders and said “beats me. Last thing I remember is talking to Jenna and her two friends.”

“Well what happened to you Norm?” I asked him.

“I had to promise the bartender I would escort Robby home so he wouldn’t ask someone from the resort to do it. After that I just went to bed,” Norm answered.

It was a typical story. One brother drinks way too much and normally we just let them fend for themselves. However, if the threat of security or law enforcement is looming over a poor drunken bastard, fraternity brothers will lend a hand. But that still left Velcro and I’s story untold.

“Ok, so what happened to me? The last thing I fully remember is watching Jenna slap Robby. Then there are some fuzzy memories that I’m hoping I just dreamt,” I asked.

Norm started to chuckle again. “At approximately late-as-all-hell o’clock last night, your ass showed up to our building in a resort security golf cart.”

“What’s the time of night have to do with it?” I asked him.

“Well by the time you showed up, the bars had been closed for quite some time AND before they got the cart completely stopped you started screaming my name,” Norm explained. “You told me to ‘pay the man!’ You insisted I give a big tip to the security guy driving the cart so he would, and I quote, ‘not throw you back in time-out.’ I gave him a five dollar bill and we went to sleep.”

“Oooooookay, that’s weird.” I had no recollection of that happening, but I had a faint idea what I meant by “time-out.” The fuzzy memory I hoped I had just dreamt involved me getting into some trouble. I remembered running down a hallway that led to a kitchen. I was running because I was being chased. I had no idea who was chasing me, but I remember them eventually catching me. Next thing I faintly remember is sitting in the Waterfall lobby scared as hell. The same people chasing me were over at the front desk. They kept going back and forth between talking to someone at the desk and looking at me. But that’s it. That’s not much to go on.

After hearing Norm’s side of the story, I pieced together what the ass end of my night was like. I must have broken into some part of the resort, maybe a buffet, and then got caught. Whoever caught me took me to the nearest lobby, found out where my room was, and dropped me off for the night. But what the hell happened between the time of Robby getting slapped and me getting caught in a kitchen? I couldn’t say.

I told the others there at the breakfast table what I thought happened. Right as I was finishing up my story. Velcro interrupted.

“Then who left me passed in the lobby naked!?” Velcro looked pissed and confused as he swiveled his head to look all three of us in the eye.

Robby spit out the piece of omelet in his mouth and went into a half choking, half laughing fit.

“Excuse me? Um, could you repeat that?” Norm asked in the most serious manner he could muster as he was holding back a wave of laughter himself. You could tell all three of us immediately found the humor in the situation, but Velcro wasn’t having it.

“I texted you guys telling you I was alive. I figured you were concerned when I didn’t’ come back to the room last night,” Velcro said.

The group message Velcro sent to Robby, Norm, and myself wasn’t his morning declaration that he was hangover free like we had all thought. Velcro sent that message because he didn’t make it back to the room until about 8am, and he figured the rest of us were worried. Turns out, we didn’t even notice. Even Robby, who actually shared a bed with the guy, didn’t notice no one was sleeping on that king-sized with him all night.

Velcro went on to explain that he remembered Norm walking Robby back to the room. Apparently Velcro and I stayed out to keep drinking and hit on cougars at the Waterfall lobby. Unfortunately, he had no idea how or why I broke into a buffet, nor did he have any idea as to why he woke up naked in the lobby.

The first thing Velcro remembered was waking up in the Waterfall lobby close to where new resort guests were getting off their airport shuttle. He was sitting upright in a single chair. When he woke up there was a white resort towel over him. New guests were taking pictures of him with their phones like he was some kind of Mexican monument to drunken white people. Velcro, naked and passed out drunk, was the first thing families where seeing on their Mexican vacation. The only thing that would have made it better is if a resort staff would have put a sombrero on his head and hung a sign around his neck that read “Welcome to Mexico, enjoy our Tequila.”

Once he composed his thoughts a bit, he checked under the towel on top of him to see he was wearing nothing but his tighty whitey underwear.

“What is it with our fraternity and waking up in random places in our underwear?” Norm joked.

“Well how’d you message us with your phone if you lost it?” I asked Velcro.

“If everyone would just shut the hell up… I was getting to it,” Velcro said, barking at us.

Because he woke up still drunk, Velcro sat in his lobby chair for a good 5 minutes after he woke up. He pretended to sleep while he decided what to do next. The guy was in broad daylight with families from the mid-west taking pictures of his half-naked and supposed unconscious body.

Eventually Velcro realized he couldn’t just sit there any longer. Action had to be taken. He stood up, wrapped the towel around his waist and walked barefoot to the closest information desk.

“Um,” Velcro said to the poor girl behind the front desk. “Uh,” he couldn’t decide where to even begin to explain his predicament. After an awkward exchange of anticipating looks from the front desk girl and Velcro stuttering, all he got out was “hola.” Before he could continue to ask for his clothes, a man came from a back room behind the desk.

The man took one look at Velcro and turned right around to return the back room. A few seconds later the man returned holding a clear plastic bag, the contents of which were Velcro’s soaking wet clothes from the night before.

“Senior Velcro, here is your clothing,” the man said. “I am sorry for their condition. The laundromat is locked at night to ensure our guests clothing is safe.” The man kept a very professional demeanor throughout the entire conversation.

“Uh, that’s, um, fine. Thank you,” Velcro told the man with a confused look on his face. “You wouldn’t have any idea where my phone is do you?”

“Si senior, I am glad you mentioned it. I almost forgot.” The man leaned over and reached under the desk. When he stood up straight again he presented Velcro with his phone.

“Wow, thank you.” Velcro assumed his phone was either dead after a night without charge or that it had water damage based on the condition of his clothing. When he pressed the home button, he was astonished to see his screen light up. “Whoa, it works!”

“Si senior, I had last night’s staff charge it for you,” said the man behind the desk.

“That’s damn good customer service,” Velcro said.

The man nodded in agreement. Velcro thanked the guy. He also thanked the girl behind the counter, but he could tell she was just as confused as he was.

After getting his phone back, Velcro sent his “I’m alive. Walking back soon” message to Robby, Norm, and I. He started to shuffle his way back to his room. That’s when he noticed pain on the lower half of his legs. Lifting his towel, he saw dozens of scratched on his shins, calves, and ankles. “What in the name of…” he softly muttered to himself.

The waterfall lobby was so far from our room building it took Velcro like 25 minutes to get home. It didn’t help he had to shuffle barefoot wearing just a towel while caring the heavy bag filled with his soaking wet clothes and shoes. I could only imagine what he looked like in that moment. The hot, bright, unforgiving sun beating down on his jet black hair. His head slumped in a sign of defeat. I pictured him getting dirty looks from families walking to breakfast and just giving them a wave. I could even see him sarcastically saying “lovely morning for a stroll isn’t it?” That’s just the sense of humor Velcro had.

“Wait, Robby, did you know about this?” I asked him.

“I didn’t even notice until I let him in this morning. You should have seen him standing there in the doorway; clothes in one hand, holding up his towel with the other, and dignity nowhere to be found,” Robby said while chuckling. “I was going to tell you and Norm, but I figured I wouldn’t be able to do the story justice. I wanted you guys to get as much enjoyment out of hearing him tell his story as I did.” Robby started to laugh again, but before he could, he squinted in pain. Velcro’s story was so funny that Robby forgot he was hungover for just a brief moment. His laughter made his headache throb in full swing. He started guzzling the water on our breakfast table.

“Screw you Robby. That’s what you get,” Velcro said.

“Well gentlemen, I’d say the first night was a success!” Like always, Norm was laying a thick blanket of sarcastic humor over the entire situation.

“I wouldn’t call it a success. There’s a good chance we’re going to get kicked out of this place and wind up in Mexican prison,” I said.

“Say what?” Robby asked with concern.

I told Robby and Velcro about the note that was laying on the floor of our room that morning. I told them how I suspected we were going to be thrown out based on the note. If Velcro passed out in his underwear in the lobby and I got caught breaking into some place in the resort than it isn’t a stretch to think we were going to be punished.

We finished our breakfast and started walking towards the member’s lounge where we were supposed to meet Francisca. Her note said to meet her there by noon, and we arrived a few minutes early. The whole time we sat there waiting for Francisca, Norm was sitting in a laid back position with his hands comfortably behind his head. He had the same mischievous smile on his face that I had already seen many times before. I noticed it, but I was too worried about what punishment we might be getting to ask him what he was hiding.

“I’m worried. I’m nervous and I’m worried” I said.

“Chill out dude, they are not going to throw us out. That is not how these places work,” Velcro said while ironically inspecting the mysterious scratches on his legs.

“Yeah Zeb, I wouldn’t worry about it. Our trip has already been paid for, and I’m sure they deal with drunk people all the time.” Robby tried to reassure me that everything was going to be alright, but I could tell he didn’t even completely believe his words.

Norm remained silent on the subject. He only sat up from his laid back position when Francisca walked in the room.

“Buenos días Carbaugh party. How is everyone?” Francisca asked.

We all said “Good” in response.

Francisca smiled and began to explain why she held the meeting. “Glad to hear. I am sorry about the mix up from yesterday. Normally we would have schedule all of this upon your arrival, but we were having the difficulties. Now everything is set. So, would you like to schedule the free event your party gets for being on a member’s trip?”

I was a bit dumb founded. “Come again,” I said. Francisca’s English wasn’t too bad. You could understand most of what she said, but I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

“Members get to choose one of six different excursions with our resort. Because your mother is a member, you and your party get the same benefits,” Francisca said. “I explained this to señor Norm this morning.”

By this time, Norm was cracking up. He was laughing right at me. The entire morning I had believed that the note that was shoved under our room door was to summon us to our Mexican doom. Now I had come to find that we were being treated to even more luxuries than we already had, and Norm had known the entire time!

Earlier that morning when he told me about the note, he said that he had just seen it under the door when he got up for his shower. He said he assumed someone slid it under the door while we were both sleeping, but that wasn’t true. Norm opened the door when Francisca brought the note to us and knocked on our door. She clearly explained what the meeting was all about to him. That sneaky devil had me sweating bullets all morning over nothing.

“I told you dude. We’re all good,” Velcro said.

“This calls for a celebration! Francisca, could you get us a round of Margaritas?” Robby asked her.

As I picked up my Margarita, still hungover, Norm grinned at me again for like the 10th time that morning.

“What you asshole? What is it now?” I asked him.

“I think it was about three hours ago you told me you were going to stick to just beer for the rest of the trip. What happened to that big guy?” Norm asked me.

“Screw you, you dirty Irish bastard,” I told him.

That bastard Norm knew me so well he was able to successfully mess with my head all damn morning. Francisca told us about the six excursions we could choose from. One was a trek through some ancient ruins. Another was a zip-line adventure thing. There was snorkeling, horseback riding, and even a Segway tour of the resort. All were free for us to choose from. She made it clear that we could all make different choices if we wanted.

“Wait, didn’t you say there were six options?” asked Robby.

“Oh, si señor, the sixth option is a full-body massage at the spa in our resort. I am sorry. I must have forgotten to mention it,” Francisca said.

“Yeah, I’ll take that one, the massage,” Velcro said.

“That sounds great to me,” Robby responded.

“Eh, why not, massage it is,” said Norm.

“I’ve never had a massage, I think it would be fun,” I told Francisca.

Francisca chuckled a bit and gave us a very brief weird look. “Alright, you young gentlemen all want to go for a massage then that is what you will get. You just have to schedule your appointment with the spa staff.” She chuckled again.

“What’s so funny?” I asked her.

“I just didn’t expect you four gentlemen to all choose a massage out of all those options. That is all,” she said in response.

We didn’t care. We wanted to relax and a massage was the best way to do that.

Once the meeting was over, we all went to the pool bar for some drinks. Norm told me he almost felt bad for letting me panic all morning… almost. The rest of our day we spent getting drunk at the pool bar. It was fun to see how drunk we could get and still manage to swim back to the edge of the pool.

The rest of the week we spent down in Mexico was great. Robby, Velcro, Norm, and I all put our livers through a marathon. We continued to have fun, but the fear of being kicked out stuck with me. I didn’t get too crazy. Every night we took full advantage of the open bar and every day we seemed to uncover just a little bit more about our mysterious first night.

The day after our meeting with Francisca, Norm and I were taking a golf cart ride back to our room from the beach. Part way through the ride I turned around to look at the cart behind us. It was a security cart. The two resort security guys wearing their yellow polo shirts were laughing. I got Norm’s attention and gestured to the cart behind us. When we both turned around the security guys were pointing directly at me and laughing. This just confirmed that security brought me back the room our first night. But they remembered me enough that two days later they were laughing at me. Throughout the week we ran into all kinds of clues and witnesses that helped piece our night together.

The resort allows vendors from nearby towns to set up shop in the resort and sell cigars, knock-off sunglasses, and other touristy merchandise. A couple days after the security guards laughed at me, all four of us were walking across the resort on another bar hopping night. We passed an old man with leathery skin selling NFL themed TIKI masks. Like most vendors, he said something to us to try and get us to buy what he was selling. Like all other vendors, I ignored him. But Velcro did not ignore him.

“Hey man. I make this for you!” the old man said to Velcro.

I kept walking, but I noticed that Velcro had uncharacteristically stopped to talk with the man. “Velcro, come on dude. He’s just trying to sell you crap,” I hollered at him.

Velcro ignored me. He was about 15 yards away. I took a closer look at what was going on. The man was holding up one of his masks to Velcro, and Velcro had a surprised look on his face. Then they started to converse between each other. I approached them and listened in on the conversation.

The man didn’t speak the best English. I heard him say “you tell me to make this for you.”

I did? I told you to make this?” Velcro was asking the man.

Out of all the teams the old man had on his rack of masks, he was holding up a Buffalo Bills mask to Velcro. Remember that Velcro is from New York. He’s a die-hard Bills fan. That is what caught his eye.

“Señor Belcro, you tell me to make you Bills mask,” the old man said.

My eyes got real big. What I thought was a just another vendor lying to make another sale, was actually a victim of Velcro’s drunkenness.

“When did I tell you to make this? Was it Friday night?” Velcro asked him (the first night we stayed there was a Friday night). “Was I very drunk?”

“Si señor Belcro. muy borracho,” the old man said.

Apparently Velcro had stopped at this guy’s TIKI mask stand the first night we were there and promised he would buy one. The only catch was that he had to make a Buffalo Bills masks specifically for Velcro.

“I’m sorry man. Look, I can’t afford this. I didn’t bring enough money, but it looks good. The next Bills fan to walk through here is going to love it,” Velcro told the guy. “Let me ask you, was I with any of these guys here?” Velcro motioned to Norm, Robby, and I.

After pointing to me specifically, the old man got a sad look on his face and just kept nodding. He avoided eye contact with us the rest of our stay in Mexico. The poor old vendor had been working on a TIKI mask for a week just for Velcro. At least now we knew one place Velcro and I had been that night.

We started to piece more and more details from that night together. Velcro figured he had fallen into one of the resort koi ponds. That’s why his clothes and shoes were all wet. We figured the scratches on Velcro’s legs were from these weird monkey raccoon things that were all over the resort (2). A more likely story was that they were from Velcro walking through some shrubbery covered in thorns.

Mexican Raccoon Monkey things 1:

mexican monkey

The above picture was from the following video:

Every time we found a new clue we got more and more excited, but the final and best clue came our very last night at the resort. That last night in Mexico we all went out for drinks. We met up with a Canadian couple that approached us sitting at the bar. They came right up to Norm and acted like they knew us. Norm asked them if he’d met them before.

“Well I wouldn’t say we know you guys, but we certainly do remember ya’s. When we first arrived it was pretty late. Our shuttle pulled in at about 3am eh. We saw your buddy over there jump over the front desk, steal a white towel, and take off running through the back door. It was a great introduction to Mexico,” said the Canadian man. He was referring to me as the one who jumped over the desk.

“No. Way,” Norm said as he swiveled his bar stool around to see if I heard the guy.

“Oh yeah, it was pretty funny eh.” The Canadian continued. Norm quickly swiveled back to hear the rest of the man’s story. “He was getting a towel for your tall friend over there. He was out-cold in his tighty-whities in the lobby” the Canadian had to pause for laughter. “Oh you should have seen the big guy vault over the counter like it was a hood of a car and fall right on his ass. The best part was he coulda just asked for a towel and they would have given him one.”

By the time the Canadian was finished talking, he and Norm had been brought to tears they were laughing so hard. The man’s wife was a little embarrassed. They were on their honeymoon and one of the first things they see in Mexico is Velcro and I in our worst state.

With all the clues we gathered throughout the week, including this final and most helpful clue, we had pieced most of the night together. We still don’t know what exactly happened that first night. Even Norm, who was the most sober out of all of us, can’t remember a couple hours of the night. Things could have turned out a lot worse than they did. Thankfully this resort was used to taking care of drunk people. From the guy who charged Velcro’s phone overnight to TIKI mask guy who understood a drunken promise isn’t typically fulfilled, this place knew how to handle us. Like the old mysterious stranger drinking the good scotch told us the first day we got there, “they’ve got great customer service.”



Superscript1: Slippery Rock tap water is like no other water on Earth. It tastes terrible. A report came out a few weeks before my graduation that said Slippery Rock water was nearly as bad as Flint Michigan’s water at the time. Flint’s water quality was all over national news about how terrible it was and how it was connected to so many different illnesses in the area. The report said that consumption of Slippery Rock water was very dangerous and that citizens should avoid even having the tap water come into contact their skin. Meanwhile, I had been guzzling and showering in the shit for four years!

Superscript2: The Coati-Mundi (aka the Hog-Nosed Coon) was found all over the resort. These things were adorable and I’m pretty sure they survived solely on drunken tourist food. One night, the four of us spent like a whole hour feeding these things out by the 24 hour beach snack bar. Below is a link to their Wikipedia page.

Below is a link to a YouTube video of some tourist feeding these things.







Suddath, Claire. “A Brief History of: Velcro.” Time, Time Inc., 15 June 2010,,8599,1996883,00.html. Accessed 24 Aug. 2017.






Tales of Undergrad

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

*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

Tales of Undergrad

Tales of Undergrad: The Blue Sweater

*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.

Put some alcohol in your mouth to block the words from coming out. -Ron Swanson

The Blue Sweater

by Zeb M Carbaugh


            I went to college at Slimy Pebble University of Pennsylvania. It’s a cold, wet, and mostly forgotten town filled with alcoholic college students and a few disgruntled townies. I joined my fraternity within three weeks of my freshmen move-in. The four years that followed were filled with crazier adventures than I could have ever imagined. The fraternal atmosphere I thrived in during college was not for the faint of heart. My fraternity brothers and I pushed our livers to their limits multiple times a week and threw some amazingly elaborate parties. We resembled the Delta house from the 1978 film Animal House, trashy fraternity house and all. Throughout those years I had generated some truly colorful stories, but the most requested story of all is the one you’re about to read.

After three years of only being in town for the fall and spring semesters, I had decided to stay in Slimy Pebble for the summer of 2015. It was the greatest and worst decision of my undergraduate career.

Small college towns are practically a barren wasteland when fall and spring classes aren’t in session. There are a lot less parties going on but that doesn’t stop the drinking. Although fewer friends are around, you get more chances to bond with the friends who do stay. My friend and brother Grady just happened to be staying in town that summer, poor bastard.

Grady was better known as Red Panda. He got his nickname simply because he was a big fat grumpy ginger pothead. He was actually the first brother of our fraternity that I met. He was a year older than me and I always looked up to him. Panda and I knew we were going to have a rather boring summer if we didn’t include each other in our various plans, so when Panda had to go home for a weekend he invited me along. We both had no idea how bad of a decision that was.

For about a year I had been working at my on-campus job. I worked for the SPU IT Help Desk where I was a help line secretary/pack mule/the department bitch. The pay was terrible and the work was unbelievably boring. The week leading up to Panda and I’s trip, I decided to do some research on Panda’s home town. Like I said, it was a boring job, so researching a random town in Pennsylvania was my most exciting option. Panda lived in the northwestern Pennsylvania town of Karren. I found that Karren is the home to the largest mental institution east of the Mississippi. Panda also told me that Karren was the birthplace of the hallucinogenic drug known as bath salts. Yeah, the same drug that jump started the zombie craze in America, because one dude took too much and ate another dudes face off, that hallucinogenic drug known as bath salts. Other than that, Karren looked like a pretty interesting town. It had some scenic views and a decent amount of drinking establishments that I had my eye on. There was no doubt in my mind that the weekend ahead was going to be filled with obnoxious bar crawling fun.

Once Panda and I got off work on Friday afternoon, we threw our bags in his car and set our sights north to Karren. I lit a tightly rolled blunt and played some tunes until we arrived. The whole reason for our trip was because Panda was part of a slow-pitch softball league with his friends from home. That Friday night his team The Cleveland Steamers had a game and Panda’s attendance was expected. As we pulled into the dirt parking lot next to the softball diamond, a dopey looking individual wearing dirty work boots, denim overalls, and a trucker hat was trying to get our attention. As he waved us down with a big goofy smile on his face, Panda was slowing his car and rolling down his window. Without bringing the car to a full stop, I watched Panda stick his head out of his window. I expected a pleasant exchange of friends that hadn’t seen each other in a while, but Panda only said “Fuck you Davey! Eat shit!” and rolled up his window. I was slightly taken aback but really that was quite the normal greeting for Panda. Then he leaned over and said to me “That’s Davey, he’s the village idiot. Try not to interact with him or he’ll follow you around all night.” Then we found a good parking spot and walked over to a group of Panda’s friends.

Panda’s friends were a bunch of dip spitting small town boys. There was Jack; an Oakley and Under Armour toting pretty boy. Butch; an older looking guy who didn’t say much but chuckled at almost every joke cracked within the group. Then there was Clayton. Clayton was close to Panda and I’s age but he had his own house where he and his fiancée lived. Panda knew about my tendency to get overly loud and obnoxious when I drank so instead of having me sleep at his childhood home he asked Clayton if we could stay with him that night. This way we could get pretty rowdy when we came home from the bar and not worry about waking up Panda’s parents.

After Panda had introduced me to his circle of friends, he and I hopped back in his car to pick up a couple of twelve packs at the closest hole-in-the-wall bar. Panda just got a light beer but I chose to get man-cans with a very high alcohol content. It was the maximum amount of beer anyone person could buy at bar and walk out with it in Pennsylvania. Then we headed back to the game.

I’m typically a social butterfly. That being said, sitting on the bleachers of a softball game where the only person I knew and all the people he had just introduced me to were busy playing, I felt a little out of place. I relied on my recently purchased man-cans to smooth my social predicament. Within an hour the game was over. I had knocked back 6 of those giant sized beers. It should be noted that a man-can holds 24 ounces of beer. The game finished up. The Cleveland Steamers lost 6 to nothing, but you wouldn’t have guessed their defeat by the way they celebrated afterwards.

Immediately following the game, we went down to the team’s favorite bar. I love going to every bar. I love seeing places that have elaborate and fancy décor and places so run down the floor isn’t even level. In my opinion, every bar is a good bar. This particular watering hole was known for their chicken finger covered salads. The place was covered in banners from local high school teams, photos of the town during its discovery over two centuries ago, and TV’s showing only sports channels. It was called The River’s End. I was ecstatic! Waiting for us at a table in the back and stuffing his face with complimentary popcorn was the last of Panda’s friends I would meet that weekend. His name was Andy, but everyone called him Pudge. Pudge had one of the fattest necks I had ever seen. Pudge greeted us with “Sup’ fuckers! Panda, it’s nice to see you back in town. Who’s your friend?”

“Pudge this is Zeb. Zeb meet Pudge” Panda replied. Pudge had a big mouth and a dark sense of humor. We got along nicely.

The rest of our time at The River’s End I sat next to Butch. Butch went toe to toe with me in terms of alcohol consumption. He and I drank Alabama slammers. They aren’t the manliest drink but they still pack quite the punch. The Team and I drank until our hearts were merry. Everyone else had something to eat, but I was on a mission to get completely plastered. Every time someone told me that I should eat something I gave them my go-to phrase, “Liquid dinner for me.”


By the time we left The River’s End I was three shits to the wind. I didn’t want to leave this newly found oasis and if I had to leave I wanted it to be in pursuit of another place to buy a cold one. But it was already pretty late in the evening and some members of the team had work in the morning. Luckily Panda knew how to coerce me into turning in for the night, a skill he acquired after three years of dealing with my alcoholic ass. We went back to Clayton’s house after leaving The River’s End. I met his fiancée and was shown where I would be sleeping for the night. It was in the basement.

Apparently Clayton had some money because in his early 20’s he had a kickass house. This place had a bar in the man-cave basement, a decent sized kitchen and living room, and at least two bedrooms on the second floor. Oh, and did I mention the hot tub in the back yard? Yeah, this dude had a hot tub. Needless to say I was content with Panda’s decision to turn in for the night.

After assessing this kickass house and meeting Clayton’s fiancée, I immediately asked Clayton where the booze was. Like a shark that’s caught the scent of blood, once I had hit a certain level of shitfaced, I’m looking for nothing other than to reach an even higher level of drunk. I convinced Panda, Clayton, and his fiancée to join me for a few night caps. Clayton busted out a fifth of Fireball. We all took a few shots and got to know each other better. At this point I was having trouble standing up, but I wanted to get in Clayton’s kickass hot tub.

If you know anything about hot tubs, it is a terrible idea to get into one while you are hammered. Something about the hot water mixing with alcohol induced blood intensifies the buzz. Everyone changed into their bathing suits and was ready to head into the tub. The other three grabbed a few beers and they were good to go, but I protested that beer wasn’t enough. I still wanted to reach that higher level of drunk. Being the great host that he was, Clayton reached behind the bar in the basement for a bottle of wine. He said “someone gave this bottle of wine to me as a gift, but I don’t like wine.” I seized the moment in a heartbeat. I’m not very picky when I am rip-shit drunk. I knew that wine would go down like water. Everyone had their beverages, so we headed to the backyard to get into the hot tub. We conversed about life and I got to know Clayton and his fiancée better while chugging some cheap-ass wine.

I swear that the last thing I remember of that night was polishing off that shitty bottle of wine. Next thing I know, I wake up on a padded rocking chair inside an enclosed porch. I had blacked out. I blacked out so hard that to fill in the events that transpired between the hot tub and my enclosed porch awakening I have to use Panda’s testimony from the next morning.

So according to Panda, I finished the bottle of wine in the hot tub. Shortly after, I chugged the beers that the others brought out with them. They were too busy laughing at me to give a shit. At some point in the hot tub I stood up on my seat and bellowed “I love this body and I don’t care who knows it!” I had recently gone through one of those transformative college experiences where I lost a lot of weight, and apparently drunken Zeb wasn’t afraid to let Clayton’s neighbors know all about it.

After everyone else noticed how inebriated I was, they decided everyone should go to bed. Panda and Clayton laid me down on a couch in the basement, and everyone else went to the second story of the house to pass out in their beds. Clayton and his fiancée slept in their bed and Panda took the guest room. They thought that was the end of it.

A few minutes later Panda heard me get up and head for the first story bathroom. He thought “that’s typical; a drunk person needs to piss a lot no big deal.” The only problem was that I didn’t just go to the bathroom. He listened to my footsteps from the second story guest room, and he didn’t hear me go back down to the basement. Instead he heard shuffling noises coming from the stairwell close to the room he was sleeping in. Like a good friend and fraternity brother he got up to make sure I wasn’t getting into any trouble. He found me sitting on the steps stroking the carpeted stairs. After chuckling for a moment he asked me; “are you okay buddy?”

In reply I could only offer the words “they’re so s0ft.” I was referring to the carpeted steps. Panda chuckled and took me back down to the basement to the couch I had fallen asleep on before. Although he knew I was incredibly hammered, he thought that was the end of it. Little did he know it was far from the end of this story.

Next we go to Clayton’s recollection of that night’s events. Clayton and his fiancée were comfortably sleeping in their own bed. They slept well with a decent buzz and a delusional confidence in the fact that their two guests wouldn’t disrupt their suburban dream. Then they were abruptly woken by my fat ass in their bedroom doorway. Apparently I spoke some shit that didn’t even form words. Clayton’s fiancée was totally horrified while Clayton was half pissed off and half amused. He told me to go back to sleep which made me leave their doorway. He was satisfied that I let them go back to sleep and didn’t investigate my actions further. But that wasn’t the end of it.

Panda says that I visited the room he was sleeping in at around two in the morning. He remembers me stepping into the doorway. Unlike my visit to Clayton’s room, I said nothing. Panda specifically remembers that I was completely silent. He was freaked out. Who knew I could be so scary in my drunkest state? To everyone’s recollection, I then retired to my basement dwelling shortly after. Once again they thought that was the end of it. Once again, they were terribly wrong.

The events that occurred between me terrorizing my hosts and waking up on that rocking chair will forever be lost to history. I’ve questioned every party involved and no one knows what happened, so back to the porch.

I remember waking up on a padded rocking chair. I had no recollection at all of the day or night before. I didn’t even remember I was in Karren Pennsylvania. Still hammered, I looked around and assessed my situation. I was inside an enclosed porch filled with tacky decorations. The glass door to outside was to my right and the door to inside the house was to my left. I was still drunk as hell. I had no idea where I was, and I was wearing nothing but my light blue boxer briefs. My first move was to try and open the door to inside the house. I thought that maybe I had been drinking at this house and that through some twisted turn of events I had been locked out. Maybe I just passed out drunk on the porch by accident.

The door was locked and there were no lights on inside the house. I knocked once. I knocked a few more times still not knowing where I was. Still confident that I had been wronged by friends inside this house, I yelled for someone to let me in. No answer was given. I decided it would be best to go around to the rear of the house. I opened the front porch door and walked to the back yard where I found a back door to pester. I knocked so many times at that backdoor that to this day I have no idea how long I was there. At this point in the night a chilling feeling was slowly creeping into my mind.

Mid knock I realized I was in Panda’s home town of Karren. No other information came to mind. I didn’t remember the softball game or grabbing drinks at The River’s End. I just knew I was in Karren PA. So, I demanded “Panda let me in! This isn’t funny anymore.” Again there was no answer. More realizations had come to fruition, but this house still didn’t look familiar in any way. I looked back at the house’s driveway. The car parked behind that house was one I had never seen before. I had fully realized how bad of a situation I was in. I had woken up on and pounded on a complete stranger’s home for I don’t know how long.

My first year of college, during winter break, I was stopped by a cop after a party. That resulted in some unsavory legal issues. Since then I have had a terrible fear of law enforcement. This fear was fitting for an alcoholic pothead like myself. That fear, coupled with the confusion of my current situation, was in full effect. I have never felt so afraid. I realized that I had never seen this house before, and that to my knowledge, I had no idea who lived at this address.

All the realization leading up to this moment pointed to the fact that I had woken up on some random porch in a town I knew almost nothing about. With no phone, shoes, pants, nor shirt I decided to take to the streets. I realize that a person in their underwear probably shouldn’t go outside at all, especially to walk around a suburban neighborhood in the middle of the night. But what would you have done? Remember, I was in the birth place of bath salts AND the town that had the largest insane asylum east of the Mississippi river. To find help, I was going to have to put my communication degree to use. I started jogging around this unknown neighborhood’s sidewalks wearing nothing but my freaking boxer briefs.

The only memory present in my head was that I was in Panda’s home town. As I paced the sidewalks of Karren PA I had only one person’s name on my mind. I started to chant “Panda where are you?” in desperation. I must have jogged over four blocks repeating those same words. All I knew was that I was screwed and the only person who could help was my fraternity brother Panda.

I had no idea what time it was. Without a watch or my phone, the sun could be coming up at any moment, and if that happened I would surely have the cops called on me in no time. My fear had reached an all-time high. The only location in my mind was the porch of some supposed elderly person that I had no connection with. I had reached my mental limit. I decided to return to the location of my reanimation. I found my way back to that enclosed porch. I sat back down on that padded rocking chair with my heart still racing from my failed reconnaissance jog. I had admitted defeat. In my still drunken mind I thought that my only option was to fall back asleep on this rocking chair and wait until someone called the cops on me. I was done. I closed my eyes and recited in my head the words I would say to the officer on the scene. “To be honest officer, I got royally shit faced and now I’m here. No idea how. I didn’t fight anybody, to my knowledge. Hopefully the granny inside isn’t scarred for life. But, you know as Mike Tyson said on The Hangover ‘we all do dumb shit when we’re fucked up.’” I was so full of fear and self-hatred that I decided that would be my official statement. Screw their Miranda Rights, I was going to go down with a legendary arresting statement.

Then out of nowhere I heard a voice. I don’t know if it was my subconscious refusing to let me spend another night in a holding cell or if it was the patron saint of the alcoholic riff-raffs, but that voice told me to get up. As if I was possessed by John “Bluto” Blutarsky himself, I leaped to my feet. Still only dressed in my light blue boxer briefs, I jumped up and decided to accept nothing less than a heroes’ welcome back to whatever domicile Panda was crashing. Once again I opened that enclosed porch door, but this time I opened it with hopes of a happy ending to this nightmare of a story.

I swung that door open and began my search of anything I could recognize. Instead of jogging, I started out walking. I tried my hardest to remember what events had led me to such a disastrous situation. I came up with nothing. So, I decided to just stroll around this neighborhood with a false bravado. I relied on an old shit-show fallback of mine: if in doubt, just be confident and everything will work out. My dumbass thought that if I just acted confident I would be okay. Yeah, that doesn’t work if you are wearing nothing but your boxers! Regardless, I strutted around Karren PA in my underwear as if I belonged there for about 20 minutes. As if a fat dude in his underwear walking around at 2am wasn’t strange enough, now I had a smile on my face. I have no doubt I looked deranged.

By some miracle from on high (or from below), I saw light coming from a pickup truck. With my misplaced confidence, I decided to approach the person meddling in their vehicle. I strutted towards the lit truck still standing on the sidewalk. I said “hello, I need some help.”

A middle aged man peered out from his truck with a very confused look on his face. With his arms still inside the cab of the pickup truck he asked “What?”

I explained “I am in quite the predicament. I don’t know where my phone is and I need to reach my friend.”

He noticed I was in my underwear. This middle aged man who probably was getting ready to go hunting, probably thought that I was an escapee from the largest mental institution east of the Mississippi. He replied to my request with “Back up.”

I replied, “Sir, I just need to use your phone for a little while and everything will be alright.” It is important to note that even though it was late May, it was pretty cold outside and I was shivering.

The man noticed my shivering. He did not appreciate it. He probably surmised that I was either a mental patient from the local mental hospital or that I was yet another participant of the locally founded hallucinogenic narcotic drug known as bath salts. His reply to my request was simply “No way in hell.”

I was surprised at this man’s refusal to help me. I requested “any form of assistance would be appreciated.” I tried to use the most scholarly voice I could muster because I knew how crazy I looked.

He said “What is wrong with you?”

I realized how bizarre this interaction must have been for him. My response was one of honesty; “I went out drinking with some friends. Shit must have gotten out of hand because I have no idea where I am right now.”

To this day, I think he only responded the way he did because of my blatant honesty. The man’s answer was “here’s a sweatshirt. It probably won’t fit, but here you go.” He threw me an article of clothing and went back to his business in the cab of his pickup truck.

I ignored his blatant and insensitive acknowledgment of my portly figure due the current unconventional situation and graciously replied “thank you sir. Thank you very much!”

For all I knew, he was reaching back into his truck for a firearm to threaten me away from his property. I quickly ran away from the sidewalk surrounding his property to avoid any physical harm he may understandably been planning to cause me.

To my luck, the article of clothing fit! It was a blue sweater. I put it on and it fit! It may have been fate that I had just recently lost so much weight or maybe it was just coincidence. Regardless, I was just happy to be wearing anything other than my light blue boxer briefs.

Sporting my recently acquired blue sweater, I walked the sidewalks of Karren Pennsylvania with a newly found sense of security. Within just one minute, I spotted Panda’s car. The same car I had spent two hours riding in less than 24 hours ago. His car was conveniently parked underneath the only street light for miles. The sight of his car literally gave me a high of relief. I rejoiced! I wasn’t going to spend the night in a holding cell. I wasn’t going to face legal charges. I would not have to put my collegiate career on hold once again because of my drinking problem!

I approached Panda’s car with exuberant delight. I peered in the windows to make sure it was the same vehicle. I saw the blunt ashes from the day before and I my uncontrollable happiness was confirmed. I had made it! I walked into the closest house. As I did, I recognized the house as being the house I approached some hours before. I opened the front door, went down stairs to the basement and found my belongings lying next to the couch I was destined to sleep on that night.

I swear I have never been so relieved before in my life. I laid down on that couch still wearing that blue sweater and my boxers. I picked up my phone and texted Panda “You will never believe the night I’ve had. Ask me where I got this blue sweatshirt in the morning.” With that text I fell into a deep relief filled slumber.

The next morning I was woken to the sight of Panda and Clayton staring at me. Panda promptly asked “where did you get the blue sweater buddy?” He laughed uncontrollably through the entire interaction. Clayton was smiling but you could tell he wasn’t as amused as Panda.

Through one of the most devastating hangovers I’ve ever experienced, I managed to answer Panda with “How about I tell you over breakfast.” For my usual hangover routine I requested that Panda and my new friend Clayton take me to the best local breakfast joint.

Clayton, Panda, and I ate breakfast in a nice greasy diner on the outskirts of Karren. During which time, I told them the horrifying events that had happened to me the night before. Not only did Clayton and Panda cling to every word, but the surrounding tables in the diner seemed to be engaged in my story. By the end of the story many laughs were heard and many judgmental looks were cast in my way. I specifically remember an elderly couple listening in on my unfortunate story. At the end of the story the elderly woman had an appalled look on her face, but the elderly gentleman gave me a wink of approval. Somehow his wink made the entire experience worth it.

The rest of the weekend I was too hungover to drink anything. Panda and his friends showed me some of the sights to behold in their interesting little town. No law enforcement agencies ever were involved in the whole incident. I guess the citizens of Karren PA are pretty chill to put up with a nearly naked reprobate like myself screaming “Panda, where are you!” The weekend ended with a humorous ride back to Slimy Pebble, and Panda told me that I was never welcome back to his home town ever again.

The moral of this story is that if you are going to drink like you are the spawn of Satan, do it around at least one person that cares about your wellbeing. Even then, make sure you can keep your cool when that person is nowhere to be found. You never know when your inner demons will steer you away from everything you can possibly recognize.

“Basically, I’m for anything that gets you through the night – be it prayer, tranquilizers or a bottle of Jack Daniels.” – Frank Sinatra