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One of the many things that bond so many of us fraternity men are our stories. There are certain moments during your time in college that stand out. For me, most of those memorable moments came during pledgeship, if only because that is the only time in college when someone actually puts restraints on when and how much you can drink.
I recounted one of those memories in my Hell Week post last week. But one of the few enjoyable days of my pledgeship came on our “bolt” day.
Some fraternities have different names for this day. Whether it’s “walkout”, “dash” or some other kind of moniker for fucking over the actives at the most opportune time, it’s done by every pledge class in the country at some point during their pledge semester. If you didn’t do it, then you’re in a bottom tier house with no form of pledgeship and you should probably quit.
Our pledge trainer gave us the rules of our pledgeship our last night of grace week. Naturally, I was mortified. No drinking during the week? Study hall for four hours a night? Clean the house every Friday for 10 hours? No TV or video games? Shit.
But he gave us one final suggestion before sending us to our first study hall of the semester. He told us that every pledge class isn’t required to, but recommended to do a “bolt” some time before finals week, where the entire pledge class leaves the house without telling a soul, fucking over the actives in the process and going somewhere far away to get absolutely shitcanned for one night, free from the constraints of pledgeship. One condition: be back at the house for morning sign-in at 9am the next day.
So we schemed and planned for the better part of two months, trying to figure out when the best time would be to fuck over the actives. We circled all of the major holidays. Halloween, Thanksgiving and the night before Christmas break, which were all supposedly the worst hazing nights during pledgeship outside of hell week.
A week before our Halloween party, our pledge trainer told us we would be able to attend and not have to sober drive for the night. Sweet, right? We weren’t so sure. Halloween was on a Monday that year, no way exec would be up for letting the pledges go out on a Monday night. So we put the plan into action, getting a leg up on the actives. Times and locations were set. We had the thing down like it was a fucking Black Ops mission.
The inevitable “sorry, we changed our mind” came from the pledge trainer a few days later and we put it to the final vote. We would bolt on Monday night, leaving the actives without sober drivers on the biggest party night of the Fall Semester and leaving town without cleaning the house, giving the brothers a filthy house to bring back slams dressed like slutty firefighters, slutty school girls, and slutty sluts to.
One of my pledge brothers had a farmhouse about an hour and a half north of town, that was our destination. The farm was 20 of freedom that had 25 cases of Natty with our names on them.
Monday came. We would be gone without a trace by 4pm. I had Spanish 1000 at 3 o’clock and would be meeting my ride at 3:50 at an old church near campus.
About halfway through the class, my phone starts buzzing. I read a text from my pledge dad: “Need you back at the house after class. I need you to take me to get food.”
Sure enough, a minute after that, I get a text from Butters (everyone has a nickname): “They know. Get out now.”
My heart rate skyrockets. How the fuck am I going to get out of a Monday class? Easy. “Professor, I have an advisor meeting at 3:30. I couldn’t schedule it any other time. Sorry.” Off I went out of the classroom, zipping up my fleece and pulling down my hat over my face. I might as well have put a giant neon sign on my back that said: “I’m a pledge about to leave the city without permission”
The building my class was in was literally in the middle of fucking campus and I had 80 pissed off brothers hot on my trail. I snuck through the law school, doubling back through the commons, but I was fucked. It wasn’t a passing period and 3:30 on campus isn’t exactly a hot spot for foot traffic and I was sticking out like a sore thumb. I figured to just make a bee-line straight to my meet-up point.
I was almost there, when I saw two actives walking across the north quad by our admin building. The church was about 50 feet away. I dove under a car like some kind of fugitive who was wanted for assassinating a political leader. The car pulled up and we were home free…or so I thought.
All four of us in the car were laughing and yelling. “We fucked them over so bad!” “Fuck yeah!”
Then the picture showed up on our cell phones.
Two of our pledge brothers tied up with extension cords in our basement, and just covered in god-knows-what. A text followed:
“$500 at the library. Cash. You have until 5.”
So we go to the bank, drain our bank accounts, hoping the pledge fund would pay us back, and put it in a brown paper bag like a couple of transient fucks ready to pick up a tenth of Walter White’s blue meth. I texted my pledge brothers and instructed them to stick to the plan. I’d take care of it.
So there I am, standing outside of the library when out walk the two pledge brothers, dressed and ready to go. A brother taps me on the shoulder. “Give me the money. Get the fuck out of here. You’re so fucked.”
We hit the road, loathing what we would be facing when returning to the house in the morning. It didn’t matter, we had fucked them over, even if we had been caught. The price was worth it. They knew we had gotten the better of them and punched back.
We arrived at the farm at about 7 o’clock and drank until the sun came up. We got in our cars and headed back to what was sure to be an absolute house of horrors.
We all made sign in at 9:00am. The house was a wrecked. Half of the drywall was shattered on the floor. Brothers had crapped in a bucket and put it in the foyer. The basement had about a half inch of beer, piss and whatever nasty fluid the actives could find. It looked like a Katrina of human waste had blown through.
It didn’t matter. We were all hungover and tired, but we had won. The actives were pissed in the short term, but over the long, arduous run of pledgeship, we had gained an ounce of respect amongst the brothers. And as a pledge, you knew damn well an ounce of respect can go a long way…if they felt like acknowledging it.
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