Bottom Tier Chronicles: The Halloween House Fire

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Nice Move

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It was an eerie, bone-chilling, hazy autumn night. Piles of dead leaves crumpled underneath the feet of pledges who were putting the finishing touches on an oversized paper mache Jack-o’-lantern entrance for Beta Gamma Omega’s annual Halloween party. Brothers were hanging lights, stocking the bar full of product, and setting up shop out front to welcome guests and hand out wristbands.

Brandon, dressed in a blue shirt with a phone cord and rubber chicken around his neck, walked up to check in with a handle of Fireball. Wes wore the same priest costume he had worn the three previous years, all of which ended in him baptizing some poor freshman girl with his own “holy water.” Jerry, a monstrously rotund, soft spoken giant and wise cracking, fast taking, lanky Chuck sat at the table.

“What the fuck are you McLoughlin?” Chuck addressed Brandon.

“You don’t get it?” Brandon responded.

“Some type of Erotic asphyxiation mixed with beastiality?”

“What? No. I’m Chicken Cordon bleu.”

“I don’t get it.”

“The rubber chicken, the cord, on a blue shirt.”

“Whatever floats your boat, chicken fucker.”

“Well you two assholes aren’t even dressed up.”

“Sure we are. We’re before and after pictures.” Chuck stood up in unison with Jerry. “Nice, Wes. You went back with old reliable.”

“Just getting my money’s worth.” replied Wes.

“Well here are your wristbands. Just walk through the pumpkin and help finish setting up.”

“That’s a pumpkin?” asked Brandon

“Well technically a Jack-o’-lantern. But same fucking thing.”

“It looks like the Syracuse Orange with stage 4 cancer.” said Wes.

“Well they are pledges, Wes. Of course it’s going to look like the number 5 pool ball we had our boy Jerry here digest during his hazing. This savage is still feeling the pain from squeezing that thing out.”

Jerry nodded in agreement.

“Alright, you slapdicks are holding up the line.”

Brandon and Wes see two portly, out of breath exercise balls crammed into corsets behind them and shook their head before walking in.

The backyard was virtually empty, full of nothing but brothers and a few girlfriends that are regulars at the house. Tyler, in a suit and full blown blackface approached the two with beers in hand. Wes laughed at the absurdity that stood before him.

“What the fuck, Tyler?” questioned a stunned Brandon.

“What?” responded Tyler.

“Is that? Are you wearing? You’re wearing shoe polish on your face?”

“Yeah, it’s shoe polish.”

“And you don’t see a problem with that?”

“Why would I?”

“One picture of you and we’re fucked. More so than we already are now.”

“Calm down, McLoughlin. It’s not blackface.”

“What would you call it then?”

“Well, technically it’s blackface. But I think it’s fine because my costume isn’t a black guy.”

Brandon was at a loss for words.

“I’m the Jazz Singer.”

“The Jazz Singer?”

“Jesus, you philistine. Watch a movie one time for me.”

“But you’re not a black guy?”

“Nope. I’m Al Jolson. A white guy who plays a white guy, that wears blackface. That’s why it’s not offensive.”

“That makes sense to me.” chimed in Wes.

“You look like the black version of the Cleveland Indians logo.”

“That’s just how overboard it was in the movie. Besides look at Marcus and Anthony over there. Our brotha brothers are in full blown white face as the Wayans from White Chicks.”


“So that seems like a double standard. But again, it doesn’t even matter because I’m not a black guy.”

“Go wash it off now.”

“Well it’s not that easy, the shoe polish dried.”


“And it’s going to be a bitch to get off. Don’t worry about it. I know you’re president and everything but just relax and have a good time.”

“Tyler, I swear. If one picture gets out. I’m going to murder you.”

“10-4, chief. So what’s with the chicken?”

Two hours pass, and party is still dead. The backyard is about a quarter filled and only about ten of the guests are girls, the majority of which are taken.

“Where is everyone?” asked Brandon.

“Beta Chi.” responded Wes.

“That’s right. They’re having their party tonight too.”

“Not that it really matters. This is just the pathetic state we’re in now. For christ sake we have 35 brothers.”

“Membership reviews are bullshit.”

“Ain’t that the truth.”

Wes and Brandon drank beers on the back porch in somber silence for a few moments before Brandon finally had a spark of inspiration.

“Do we still have those mortars from the 4th of July that we never used?”

“Yeah, they’re in the basement. Why?”

“I’m not spending my senior year at parties like this. We need to get more people here.”

“I’ll go see what I can find.”

Wes came back from the basement with a giant shit-eating grin on his face.

“Let’s blow this mofo up.”

The first firework flew high into the sky and majestic streams of light filled the sky as party-goers looked on in awe followed by a second and third. Brandon took the lighter from Wes and ignited another batch but stumbled getting away from the shells and knocked them over before takeoff. The pyrotechnics rocketed towards the giant Jack-o-lantern and exploded into one giant fireball spreading to the fence, to the deck, and eventually to the house.

“Mother of God.”

Brothers sprinted into the house to get the fire extinguishers in an attempt to put out the fire but to no avail. The deck quickly became fully engulfed in flames. Their off campus house soon followed and everyone was evacuated to the front as they helplessly watched their residence burn to ash. Sirens filled the air, the crowd they so desperately wanted to attract finally made their way to the party to witness the disaster, and the school newspaper was on the scene just in time to snap a picture of Wes, Brandon, and blackface Tyler in front of their burning frat castle.


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