Going Down With The Ship: 6 Months Until Shutdown

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Nice Move


One morning in May, the Alpha house was raided and shut down by the authorities. What follows is an account of the events that led to its shutdown.

After the raucous formal that Alpha had thrown, their president, Carson, was bombarded with calls and emails from nationals. Their nationals rep, Thomas Braddock, seemed like the type of guy who was clinging to the fraternity that he had been an active member of in the early 2000s. He often spoke of “back in my day,” and did his best to glean every bit of insight he could out of Carson. He had a lot of questions, and ended up making the Alpha house put together a file of membership, events, transactions, dates, times, and everything else imaginable. Their chapter had been flagged as suspicious due to all the extra money and attention that had been coming their way for the past year, and Braddock wanted to know everything, all the way down what decorations they used for a recent mixer. They were essentially being audited.

As thorough as the investigation was, the bookkeeping on the part of their secretary, Roberts, was impeccable. When it came to cooking the books, this guy was a master chef. The budgets, expense reports, and itineraries looked perfectly normal, and they came away without so much as a slap on the wrist. The whole process took about three weeks, and those weeks consisted of many sleepless nights for Carson and his executive cabinet. One morning, he awoke to Roberts bursting into his room.

“We did it, man! We’re in the clear. I just got off the phone with Braddock. He says we’re good to go.”

Carson let out a huge sigh of relief. The past three weeks had been tough on him, and his mind would often play out the worst possible scenarios. He looked up at Roberts and cracked a smile for the first time in ages.

“Oh my God. We made it. Let’s get drunk tonight.”

Despite the looming threat of sanctions that could’ve resulted from the investigation, it had been business as usual for Alpha. The parties and questionable methods of income were ramped up, if anything. This whole situation revealed what Carson had always suspected about his house; it was one giant freight train that couldn’t be stopped. And for the time being, it was full speed ahead.

Carson reached for his phone and dialed up his social chair, Nate.

“What up, Carson?”

“We’re in the clear with nationals. Let’s fucking rage.”

“You don’t have to tell me twice.”

Carson heard a click. Nate had already hung up the phone and was most likely making a beeline for the liquor store. He sure was good at his job. By noon, the message had passed along to just about everyone in the house. The theme of the night was “Champagne Showers,” and Nate went ahead and bought around a hundred bottles of cheap champagne, which he had the pledges distribute between five metal troughs filled with ice. Carson desperately needed a night like this to relieve the stress that had built up in his mind for weeks, and his night went as follows:

6:30 p.m.

The pregame began in Carson’s room, where he, Nate, and a few girls started off with a power hour. The power hour playlist was on Nate’s laptop, which he would close every fifteen minutes and dump out fine blue and white powders onto. The surface of his laptop, even after being cleaned, could probably have gotten him jail time.

7:45 p.m.

Carson and seven brothers headed down to the basement for a game of 100-cup pong. Soon after they started, another hundred-cup game began on the table adjacent to theirs. When the game ended, they called some pledges for a ride to Whataburger.

9:10 p.m.

Brothers and women poured into the house, and things began to get popping. The basement featured games of pong, rage cage, flip cup, Civil War, Fuck the Dealer, and a packed dance floor manned by a local DJ. Carson was oblivious to all of this, as he was taking down a big-little combo up in his room. Those two would have some awkward conversations in the morning, but that wasn’t his problem.

11:15 p.m.

Nearly all of the champagne was gone, but a second liquor store run was made. The school’s quarterback, J.R. Crenziel, had come by to celebrate, fresh off of a year that saw him place third in Heisman voting. The party had descended into a momentary lull, but the arrival of him and his entourage brought it back into full swing.

12:20 a.m.

Crenziel had to be carried out of the Alpha house by his right tackle. He was done. The police arrived soon after, which prompted Carson to meet them at the front door and apologize for the noise. He was constantly sniffling due to the high volume of amphetamines he had ingested over the course of the night, and had to stop himself from speaking at a mile per minute cadence. No noise complaint had been filed, so Alpha was good to go. They just had to keep the noise down.

1:58 a.m.

They didn’t keep the noise down, but the officers that had been creeping on Greek Row were now off duty. Carson smoked a bowl in his room with a few other officers, upon which they decided that they were hungry. They called up the pledge president, waking him up from his slumber. A second trip to Whataburger was in order.

4:00 a.m.

Carson vomited up the two hamburgers that he’d wolfed down at Whataburger. He wouldn’t be going there for at least another week. After brushing his teeth, he went out to the deck and burned through nearly a pack of American Spirits. What a night.

7:15 a.m.

Carson and the rest of his exec board polished off another pack of cigarettes and boarded Mason’s SUV to the local breakfast joint, Big Ned’s. They talked a lot about the events of the night, which Nate anointed as “Fuckin’ legendary.” This was high regard coming from a guy who managed to drink two pitchers of beer over this particular breakfast. The pledges had a lot of work ahead of them, and for a second, Carson almost felt bad for them. Then a different thought hit him. Fuck them, he thought. When Carson joined, Alpha wasn’t nearly the house that it was now. These pledges are lucky to be here.

Carson finally got into bed around 8 in the morning and quickly fell asleep with a grin on his face. Things were finally back to normal, and the previous night had been one of the best of his presidency.


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