When my pledge brother and I signed the lease on our first apartment a few years ago, the landlord gave us but one rule:
I don’t care what you do. Drink all you want. Do all the drugs you want. Sleep on the porch. Jump off the roof. Piss out the windows. I don’t care. Just don’t throw any parties.
Let me repeat: no parties.
We overpaid for the place, but that’s the nature of college. It lacked curb appeal and wasn’t that nice on the inside, either. The drywall was 2016 Ariana Grande-thin and the ceiling paint was yellowed and flaking in some spots. Our carbon monoxide detector alerted us on a few occasions that the building might not have the best air quality. The lease promised us a dishwasher that must’ve been forgotten (like the pool the brothers promised us during rush years ago).
By the waning half of that fall term, the chapter house residents were tired of wayward brothers and partygoers treating the house’s common rooms like Ryan Lochte treats convenience store bathrooms and passed some fun-killing initiatives to spare the house chair’s sanity. To make matters worse, come early spring, our chapter house had drawn the ire of the university and neighborhood after our fifth or sixth busted party, and we were thrown on so-pro as a result. The house was put on a community watch list and tagged as a “disruptive property” (fuck you, Oak Watch). Not to be deterred, we moved the party to our place. After a little bit, brothers looking to ditch their roommates and girlfriends began flocking to our apartment as well.
The location — halfway between the chapter house and campus — made our place a preferred midway stop for brothers looking for a pre-midterm buzz. The entire chapter knew the door code and where I hid the backdoor key. On days I didn’t have morning classes (which included days that my schedule said I did), a living room of brothers, scattered bottle caps, and a low-hanging smoke cloud was the norm. I ended up putting a collection plate by the front door, and guys would drop extraneous bill and change in an effort to keep the tap flowing.
But the damage added up. The cabinets fell off the wall, tiles were coming up, the floor was gashed, and the walls were discolored from the smoke. Our security deposit didn’t come close to covering the damage inflicted on the 1,200 square foot vice chamber.
When we moved out, I made a modest effort to fix the place up. I used a few rolls of duct tape and a box of finishing nails to fix the walls and cabinets, and I took a brown Sharpie to the faux wood floor. I was content, personally. I thought it looked pretty much like the apartment we’d moved into a year ago, but I’m no carpenter.
The landlord’s wife called me on the eve of our lease’s expiration. She was livid for some reason.
I told you all to be out by the 28th and there’s still food in the fridge! You guys destroyed the floor. It’s going to cost us thousands to replace it. Why didn’t you tell us the cabinets were falling off the wall? And you tried to fix them with Elmer’s glue and zip ties?! All the grass under the fire escape is dead and the back lot is covered in broken glass. I hope you plan to pay for all of this.
I didn’t, and I never heard from her or her husband again after I slipped her my lawyer’s number (1-800-RIM-JOBS), said, “Just put it on my tab,” and got a new number.
I miss that shithole..