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Fast forward one week. It was Saturday again in the dirty South, and the typical dogs had come out to play. Our morning scramble to get all of our shit together for tailgate was familiar, and we had begun to streamline the ass pain of a process. We had one team rounding up the alcohol, another team transporting the furnishings, and the final team transporting the tent.
Let me take a minute to break down the origins of this tent. It was a massive party tent, on loan from us from a senior brother’s father. He owned a country club and a golf course and utilized the tent for special events, loaning it to us free of charge. That fact was brought up by this brother whenever he got in trouble with judicial or needed a pledge to complete a personal task, which was at least twice a week.
Back to the story. I was a member of the tent team. We shuttled the tent parts in the backs of three trucks to the tailgate lots. By the time we arrived, the furnishings team and alcohol team had already delivered their loads, and were happily sitting around, using my team’s delay as an excuse to drink a few beers and rest up for the day ahead. We arrived, much to the rest of my pledge class’ dismay, and began unloading the pieces of the tent. As we laid out all the parts and piping for the various legs, we would each pick up our pieces and individually man a leg station on the perimeter to begin the assembly. I grabbed my pile of steel piping and trudged off to my station to begin. As I snapped the top two parts of the leg together, I made a horrifying discovery.
I was missing the bottom piece of the leg. That missing piece meant that my leg would abruptly stop about four feet off the ground. This was a very obvious fuck up.
I looked over to the remaining pile of tent pieces, and when I saw that all the pieces had been claimed for the other leg stations, the blood drained from my face.
“This is it. I am absolutely, 100 percent fucked. Should I drop and walk out? Should I tell our pledge trainer?”
The ramifications of that missing pole swirled in my brain as my imagination took the wheel.
The thought of the hell that was about to be unleashed upon myself and my pledge class began to make me feel light-headed.
At this point, my disturbed inner dialogue was interrupted.
“PCP! Hurry the fuck up, you dirt star!”
I looked up from my pile of tent pieces. My pledge trainer glared at me in a way that seemed to express utter disbelief that such a slow moving sack of retard had ever managed to slide out of his mother’s uterus.
“We’re short a piece,” I said. “I’m going to have to go back to the house to look for it.”
As I said that first sentence, a fiery river of expletives, mostly about me being an autistic pole smoker, erupted from my trainer’s mouth. My pledge brothers looked over at me in disappointment. They knew what this meant.
Finally, as the trainer calmed down a little, I was able to stammer out that I would take a couple of my pledge brothers and scour the house that we stored the tent in for the missing pole. This momentarily appeased the pledge trainer, and before he had a chance to get angry again, or mention the Charlie Foxtrot to any other brothers (most notably, the brother whose dad owned the tent), we had hopped in a truck and were peeling through the lot towards the gate.
As we made our getaway, I couldn’t help but let my mind wander toward what kind of horrible fate lay ahead for our weary band of goats..
To be continued…