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ROSWELL — Sighing as he stumbled down the main stairwell of the 12 bedroom house, junior and house resident Hayden Hill knew it was finally his turn to entertain the police during a party.
“Half the in-house brothers were hitting the slopes in Joe’s room when we heard a loud knock on the door. Ryan and Jamie already have two misdemeanors apiece, this semester alone,” Hayden recalled. “Now that I think of it, I’m pretty sure everyone else at the party had been subject to some university litigation this year. Fortunately, I wasn’t among the six guys who spray painted “Stop killing dinosaurs” on a billboard for the local museum, or the other four that were busted for “borrowing” wheelchairs to race across Fifth Avenue while repurposing the IV poles for beer bongs. I had a clean record, so it was my turn to take one for the team.”
At the tender age of 20, Hayden knew the police, in all likelihood, wouldn’t slap him with a big boy crime — just a MIP or maybe, at worst, a disorderly conduct too. “Good thing my dad’s a ‘Super Lawyer,’” he mused, downing his beer, tossing its crushed remains in the box that holds the Guitar Hero controllers, and slipping through a crack in the front door. “I can have this thing taken off my record by finals.” Repeated requests for the definition of “Super Lawyer” were met with a response of, “Doesn’t matter; you couldn’t afford him.”
“I was so relieved to see township cops,” Hayden said. “The campus police would have reported us to the campus judiciary board, the head of Greek life, IFC, and maybe even the freaking Pope, but not before giving everyone on the block an underage. Township cops are different. I think they have bigger fish to fry — like actual crimes. They’re probably tired of coming here. Most of the time, they don’t even try to come in. They just ask us to kill the music and kick out the randos.”
Locking the door behind him, Hayden stepped outside, shut the house, and faced the men in blue. The township police scanned the porch with a flashlight and asked Hayden if he took up residence in the crumbling mansion behind him as a wave of stale Keystone and weed smoke swept over the cops like a wave over a corpse on a South Jersey beach.
“We told your buddy if we had to come back tonight, you were gettin’ cited,” the first cop said. “Your neighbors called again and complained their walls were still shaking and someone urinated on their bedroom window. Now we’re back. What’s your name, son? Let me see your ID.”
“It’s HAYDEN,” the junior said, handing the cop his driver’s license. “And this might not be the best time to mention it, but I haven’t had any run-ins with you guys before. We were just about to kick everyone out. You see, I’m trying to get into law school in a year and my dad’s a Super –“
The second cop cut him off.
“Son, you’re being charged with violating the local noise ordinance by hosting a disorderly gathering,” the cop said, slashing a yellow piece of paper from his ticket book. “You can mail in the amount shown on the citation, or, if you wish to challenge it, you can request a hearing by the nineteenth,” he barked in cadence. “Now shut this thing down. If we get another call from your neighbors, we’re taking you in and you’re all getting charged with furnishing alcohol to other minors. Have a good night, Mr. Hill.”
The policed rolled out. Hayden hung his head and walked back into the house as a throng of grinning brothers galloped down the steps to meet him.
One of the resident fifth-year seniors, Jimmy, pressed a 3/4 full bottle of Jose into Hayden’s chest and slurred: “Here’s your graduation present.” Taking note of Hayden’s crestfallen demeanor, he added:
“Hey, everyone gets pinched. But you did it right. Now, let’s get back upstairs. I got a black diamond hill sitting on my nightstand.”.