Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Campusland Snippet #4 - the Brothers of Beta House



No tale of college life is complete without a fraternity in the mix, right? Meet the Betas. The university hates them, but they're okay with that. In this scene, they're pretty much lying around doing nothing, but things will heat up later.

Excuse the language, but this is college we're talking about.



The Brothers of Beta House


Finn Belcher, a slovenly but tech-savvy brother from the mid-west, walked into the common room, waiving his phone. “I’ve been working on an app.”

Everyone, it seemed, was working on an app. Jimbo Peters had one that required you blow into a breathalyzer - attached to your phone - before calling or texting anyone you had previously tagged as an ex. The default blood-alcohol threshold was .08, same as drunk driving, but you could set it wherever you wanted. Someone else had an app where you could calculate your carbon offset based on how much you farted. You had to take the phone out and notify the app with every fart, which the brothers, who were all recruited as beta-testers, turned into something of a contest. In the end, The Mound didn’t have any real competition.

Unlike most of the brothers, though, Finn was a Comp Sci major and actually had some coding chops. This had the others listening in semi-interest. “You point your phone at someone,” Finn said, “push this red button, and the app randomly pairs a word with “douche.”

“A demonstration, if you will,” suggested Teddy, sitting up with growing interest.

Finn pointed his phone at Teddy and pressed down. The phone suddenly spoke in a high, nasally voice.

Douche-bucket!

He pressed again.

Douche-nozzle!

“Again!” Teddy said.

Douche-licker!

“Or if you want, you can stick with the classic…” Finn pushed a second button repeatedly.

Douche! Douche! Douche!

“You can also change the voice.” He clicked again, this time producing a basso profundo.

Douche! Douche! Douche!

“That is fuckin’ awesome! squealed Digger. He and Teddy high-fived. “I so need that.”

“Of course, it’s not completely random, since you can only pair with nouns, and not every noun is funny when you pair it with douche. Something like douche “motherboard” would, you know, suck…”

“Would suck balls, sure,” Teddy said.

“But a surprising number of words actually work.”

“How many you up to?” inquired Digger.

“Seven hundred and forty-two.”

“Do you have douche “rocket?” asked Digger, intently.

“Nice one! Consider it added.”

“Does this app have a name?” Teddy asked.

“I was thinking of “Douche Buddy.”

“Belch, we are humbled,” said Teddy. “You are a credit to the fraternal order.”

Another brother wandered in, Bryce Hillson from New York. “Hey guys, I know this freshman chick from the city. Smoke show. Mind putting her on the list for tonight?”

“Our man Mound is manning the door. Hey Mound, wake up!”

Mound, a football player of prodigious girth, had been buried in a nearby couch, sleeping. He reluctantly rolled over. “The fuck,” he said. He meant, why did you bother me just now and what do you want? Mound was gifted with an economy of speech. Teddy liked to say he was post-articulate.

“Bryce’s got some chick he wants on the list.”

“Name.”

“Lulu Harris.”

“Done.” The Mound rolled back over.

“Hey Mound, any good hit-and-runs today?” asked Digger. Mound’s thing was to tour Devon’s newly designated transgender bathrooms where he’d lay down a tremendous bowel movement in each. It was about as political as Mound got. The brothers were tracking his progress with great interest.

From deep in the couch: “Fuckin’ a.” Why yes, I had some success in that matter.

“Good man, Mound.”

Mound was an anchor on the Devon football team. Last year, he led the team with forty-eight tackles. He was not, however, destined to be remembered for gridiron heroics, but rather for an academic misadventure of sorts. During last year’s football season, Mound took Art History 101 because he heard it was a blow-off. Students were assigned to pick any artist that was well represented in the Devon Gallery of Art and write a paper about that artist’s stylistic evolution. Venturing to the gallery for the first time, Mound examined the small labels next to each painting with care and picked an artist who seemed well represented, who painted in many different styles, and whose career was extraordinarily long.

That artist’s name was “Circa.”

Mound’s teaching assistant handed the resulting paper back with “Are you a moron? written in big red ink letters. That was it. Are you a moron. No grade. Apparently the “F” didn’t require extra ink to be understood.
Confused and seeking elucidation, Mound made the mistake of showing the paper to his roommate Jimbo, who was also in the class. Elucidation was not forthcoming. Jimbo promptly ran into the dining hall, laughing hysterically and wielding the paper for all to behold. One student wag pointed out that if Mound had turned the same paper in as an ironic statement on, say, the “cultural vapidity of traditional art,” he’d surely have scored an A.

The Mound was less amused.

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