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By suffering through three or four long months of servitude, men are initiated into fraternities and expected to uphold the values instilled within their resolve during their pledgeship. Some men continue to embody the virtues of the badge bestowed upon them while others fall victim to carnal desires and disgrace the badge’s integrity. The former are granted everlasting life in Frat Paradise. The latter are condemned to an eternity of atonement within the nine circles of Frat Hell.
On a Frigid November evening, the night before founder’s day, you awake on the banks of Fracheron, the river of fraternal woe. Regaining your wherewithal, your guide, Firgil, appears from a dense woodland behind you. He helps you to your feet and tells you of your journey ahead. To better understand the folly of fratkind and save your brothers from eternal damnation, he must lead you through the nine circles of Frat Hell. He leads you aboard the waiting ferry, towards the gates.
Circle 1: The Fratuous Un-bidded
After crossing Fracheron, you are met by the virtuous men who never found the light of fraternity life. Many of Frat Limbo’s lost souls saw their best years pass before the Triad at Union College forged the first social fraternities.
Just past the gates, in a dimly lit tavern, our founding fathers still toast like it’s 1776. At the epicenter of the greatest men to never dawn a fraternal badge is George Washington, a man who spent nearly ten percent of his annual presidential income on booze. Beyond just our freedom, we owe much of our modern chapter proceedings to the habits of our founding fathers. Without them, there would be no drinking during meeting or threatening to declare our independence from IFC.
Over a disintegrating, cobblestone path, Firgil leads you into a great, derelict mansion with vaulted ceilings and splintering rails. In a distant parlor at the back of the mansion, writers like O. Henry, Edgar Allen Poe, and Ernest Hemingway take swills from tin cups of cognac. Many of these virtuous writers suffered plenty for their craft during their mortal years, and as such, wait out an eternity of Limbo in relative comfort.
Firgil urges you to press on, through the streets teeming with the fratuous un-bidded, to the second circle of Frat Hell, Sexile: where fraternal men guilty of the most heinous sexual crimes against their houses are kept.
Circle 2: Sexile
Past the caving archways of Limbo, your journey through Frat Hell takes you to the second circle, Sexile, where Greek-lettered men are punished for lustful crimes against their houses.
At first, you’ll notice what seems to be an endless row of wooden doors, each inscribed with the words Domain fratris ignominiam Eius: Fouled the domain of his brother. The sound of cries and scratching emanates from the other side of the doors and fills the corridor. The men guilty of impermissibly invading brothers’ rooms to wash their quiver bones in sin are each exiled to a small, dark linen closet within the corridor. In the last room on the left, a small, cadaverous man in a blood-soaked Polo hat has his screams smothered by a crimson pillow as he pays for his bedroom transgressions. Carved into the door are the words Effusionis sanguinis virginem: Shed virgin blood.
Near the sticky gates to the rear of the second circle, men guilty of crimes against their brothers’ girlfriends and sisters are crushed in a quarry of large, blue stones — their cries almost inaudible against the din of shifting boulders. A stone is added for each impropriety against his brothers’ trust.
As your feet stick to the foul rocks, Firgil pulls you through the quarry and towards the rear gate, into the third circle of Frat Hell: Intemperance.
Circle Three: Intemperance
Fraternity men who live virtuous lives with responsible inebriation are granted everlasting life to swim in the fountains of ale, cast in natural light. Men who were drunken liabilities to their chapters pay for their immoderate ways in the third circle of Frat Hell: Intemperance.
The ground of the third circle is soaked in a putrid cocktail of stale beer and vomit. The mud pools around your Sperrys as sickened bodies line the foul-smelling streets of Intemperance. These men lay on their backs, moaning with beer and urine stains down the fronts of their shirts and pants as the world continually spins around them. The smell is nearly unbearable. A vile rain blankets the groveling bodies and only a dim light shines on the blackened streets from a ruined Taco Bell far in the distance.
Firgil leads you over the insect-ridden bodies of your drunken brothers, paying for each couch they ruined and linoleum floor they coated with bile, to a cliff near the circle’s limit. At the cliff’s edge, you spot a skeletal man in a tattered Josh Gordon jersey, sporting a ruined blonde wig and broken sunglasses, peering over the rocks, down into the putrid waters below. You pull the crestfallen man from the edge and sit him up against a stone formation to your right. Through gasps and wretches, he tells you the journey through Frat Hell has just begun. There is much more suffering ahead on your way. Your hand in Firgil’s, you dive over the cliff, into the fourth level of Frat Hell, Embezzlement.
Circle Four: Embezzlement
The fields below intemperance are home to the embezzlers: the men who pocketed door money, kept the change after trips to Costco and used the fraternity American Express to buy Chipotle. In the fourth circle of hell, these greedy men suffer through the throes of Embezzlement.
The first field you land in, the field of non-dues payers, is set in perpetual cold. The men who leached off of the treasury without ever making a notable contribution atone for their free-riding ways by way of suffering through piercing winds and bitter temperatures. As you traverse the tundra, pulling your jacket tightly around your shoulders, men stripped of all clothing huddle together to brave the frost.
An ice storm kicks up in the valley ahead. As you gaze down into the bowels of the fourth circle, you see the ice coat the worst of the sinners: those who used dues money for their own recreation. Skirting the tempestuous valley, you near the end the fourth circle, accented by the rush of the river Fryx, the gateway to the fifth circle of Frat Hell.
Circle Five: Violence
As the river looms nearer and nearer, the wails of its inhabitants grow deafening. The river, a disgusting mixture of mud, blood and beer, swells around each house’s thug. Not content to just drink and mingle, these men spent their time as undergrads picking fights at bars, getting dropped by bouncers, and sucker punching people in line for the bathroom. These men now spend the rest of their unnatural lives clawing, punching, and gouging each other in the thick, bloodied water of Fryx.
In the deepest part of the river, you make out the bobbing heads of men guilty of committing acts of violence against other members of their houses. For their crimes, these men tread and choke on the foul water, as they once choked on rage.
As you cross the river, you hear the screams of men who once committed violence towards women, far downstream. Without venturing in their direction, Firgil tells you they endure the worst eternal punishment of all the violent men, though he hasn’t the heart to speak of such perdition.
Once you make it across the river of the enraged, you spot a large, ominous tomb, dedicated to those who speak ill of their chapter.
Circle Six: Heresy
At the entrance to the Tomb of Heresy, a faded epitaph reads: Intrate in sepulchro Silentium, or “Enter into the Tomb of Silence.” As Firgil leads you through the blacked passages of the tomb, you make out the silhouettes of men standing in silence, eyes shamefully downcast. Prisoners of the sixth circle of Frat Hell are stricken with silence for their Earthly sins and sentenced to exist in a state of lineups forever. The men condemned to suffer in silence for all eternity are the weasely brothers who spoke ill of their chapter and used Facebook and Greek Rank to cast shade on its members. Taken from the entombed are their voice, so as to never speak ill of their kin again.
Noting that your gift of voice has not been taken, you see a taller figure with curly hair, a sweater of chest fuzz and a mouth of white dog shit. You recognize the stepbrother as the Delta Tau Delta, who recently advocated shutting down the Greek system. You call to him, but he does not lift his head. Burned into his chest are the words Non est perfidiae in silentio: There is no treachery in silence.
In the rear of the silent tomb, a lever protrudes from the floor. With a few mighty pulls, the lever gives way, sending you tumbling backwards and springing open a hidden door. On the other side awaits the seventh circle of Frat Hell, the City of Destruction.
Circle Seven: Destruction
Ahead on your way is the City of Destruction, a final resting place for wall-punchers, bottle-smashers, chair throwers, and window-breakers. The destructive guys who once kept the president and house chair awake at all hours of the night now duck a flurry of stones and glass. Ruined buildings melt into the street as screams of agony and suffering bounce off the shattered blocks. The men who once drove up your insurance and dried up the security deposit with their violent tendencies now hide within the ruins of the broken city as hail and cyclonic wind rain debris down upon the exposed souls.
You take a quick step back as a small man is thrown against a rock wall three feet in front of you and Firgil. His shattered remains fall into a heap at the wall’s base as Firgil takes your hand and leads you over the fallen soul, through the war-torn streets of Destruction. Images of sledgehammer parties and the nights of testing the integrity of basement doors with drunken haymakers flash across the sky as more stones collide with broken bodies and the fallen souls hit the glass-strewn streets with sickening force.
Through the vortex of destruction, you see a wooded area in the distance, similar to the one in which you awoke seven circles ago. As you approach, you notice the forest’s façade is deceitful. The trees are much gnarlier now and the vines move as though controlled by a homicidal marionette. You and Firgil have ventured this far and you are determined to see the Frat Hell through to its core.
Circle Eight: Fraud
As you penetrate the forest and dodge the malevolent vines, Firgil informs you that you’ve crossed into the penultimate level of Frat Hell: Forest of Fraud. From the trees around you dangle the forlorn souls of liars and thieves: the men who transcended embezzlement and stole from other brothers to complement the men who committed any of the previously-explored sins and lied about their culpability. Vines pierce the backs of thieves and those who bore false witness against their brothers to symbolize the back-stabbing nature of their contraventions. Liars are hanged by the larynx, fit to never spout mistruths again. You spot the former pledge who was dropped for smuggling six handles of Jager out of the chest freezer, propped up for all to see by a vine passing through his heart. Save for the groaning of vines, the forest is silent and the temperature falls with each gingerly step. The tangled trees grow thinner and thinner as you approach the edge of the forest.
With the forest’s rear in sight, you kick up an old bundle of papers. Upon closer examination, Firgil tells you this bundle of frozen, glossy pages is a November 2014 issue of Rolling Stone magazine, tattered and resting in mud with several pages torn out.
As you step out of the forest, your footing gives way and you tumble down to an expansive, frozen lake, greeting you with dead quiet.
Circle Nine: Defection
Despite a dearth of attributable markings, Firgil tells you in a hushed tone this iced-over lake is the ninth circle of Frat Hell: Defection. A few steps onto the blackened lake opens up a wide expanse of dispirited souls, inanimate beneath the surface of the frozen body. The first ring of souls are the voluntary defectors: the men who quit their organizations to rejoin the ranks of the unaffiliated.
Skating farther across the icy surface reveals the lifeless faces of the true defectors. These men voluntarily sullied their names and blackballed themselves under false pretenses just to join another fraternity and are regarded as the second most disgraceful malefactor to pledge and subsequently be banned from a Greek letter organization.
Near the center of the frozen plain reveals the worst of the defectors: the saboteurs. The guilt is in the intent. Before these men either quit or were exiled from their organizations, they committed crimes fit to be considered treason, such as siccing city police on parties, or worse — revealing deeply guarded fraternal secrets. These traitors suffer a fate much worse than damnation. They are condemned to remain frozen, motionless and silent forever.
Once you pass the suspended souls of fraternal traitors, Firgil tells you that your journey is nearly complete as you and he skate the final stretch towards the frat devil incarnate.
Center of Frat Hell
Half sessily embedded centrally in the bedrock of ice looms the Frat Devil, resembling a pledge educator, three of his six arms brandishing paddles while the others clutch the squirming souls of Greek life’s greatest adversaries: Melissa Click, Hillary Clinton and Sabrina Erdely. Just as one prisoner begs for more muscle, another pleads for deliverance, insisting that she is not a crook. In the distance, the haggard figure of Barrack Obama is barely recognizable. It seems the Frat Devil has kept the 44th president on bows and tows for eons as he tortures the enemies of Greek life and the United States as a whole.
Noting a slight chasm in the ice near Frat Satan’s navel, you and Firgil make a break for the outlet and dive through the ice before the devil’s paddles can rain vindication down upon you and your guide.
Emerging through the adjacent exit to the crevice, you and Firgil find yourselves back in the Deep South. The familiar sound of late ’80s Ford Rangers and the sight of the stars and bars quashes your fears with familiarity. You and Firgil return to your southern campus, just minutes before midnight on founder’s day and stand near the edge of the chapter house’s lawn.
“I hope these revelations shall inspire the men of your time to strive for greatness,” he said. “The frat devil lurks nearer than you may believe. Accordingly, you must instill within your brothers a desire to stay truthful to the principles in which Greek life was founded: friendship, morality and literature.”.
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