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The Fratcastle Cook

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The fratcastle cook is hands down one of the most interesting people you will meet at a fraternity. The longer tenured and/or more personable ones tend to become beloved figures within the house. You can always count on them for things like “folksy” wisdom that usually ends up being more entertaining than helpful.

“Roscoe, what should I do if I like a girl?”

“Give her a chocolate rose and slap her right on the pussy. Women wanna play games. Let’s ‘em know you don’t.”

Well played sir. Advice like that is as much a testament to the cook’s persistence as it is to his parole board’s incompetence. Fraternity house cooks obviously don’t all fall under the category of charismatic creeps, just the best ones. Generally they range from legitimate caterers to shady weirdos who could only find employment with legitimate caterers. In my time as a fraternity man I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing just about every character on that scale. My favorites by far, as I said, were the ones who were just a little off.

When “Dwight” started cooking for my fraternity at the beginning of one fall semester, he seemed like a nice enough guy. He was quiet, polite, helpful, etc. He was a funny guy too. As he came out of his shell a little more he’d do things like give the pledges shit for a half-assed kitchen cleaning. If he caught a brother attempting to sneak a young giantess out of the house before anyone else was up Dwight would wait until said brother was eating lunch with a group of people, approach him, and generously offer to plate up some pancakes and sausage for the lady the next time she was being escorted home so early.

“Or you want me to make an omelet for her? She like cheese in her omelets? Yeah she does. Extra cheese on that omelet.”

Of course Dwight had his shortcomings too. After all he was a charismatic creep. Creep still described at least half of his personality. The breakfast joke would lose some luster when he’d later ask the shamed brother for the wild creature’s phone number multiple times. But like fans of an NFL star with nine kids, three felonies, and the concussed brain of a seventy-year-old man, we didn’t judge him personally because he was so damn good professionally. Dwight could flat out cook. His Cajun nights were completely worth his soliciting the brothers and pledges for some extra cash so that he could go out and pick up a prostitute, or as he affectionately referred to them: “pee hoes.” That expression still makes me simultaneously shudder and chuckle. The Thanksgiving feast he whipped up was culinary brilliance, just like mom made, if mom was also quasi homeless and trying to sell us laptops with filed off serial numbers. The food situation at fraternities varies from house to house, but more often than not the meals are superb. It was a testament to Dwight’s abilities that his cooking that autumn stood out among all the other semesters. It was probably an even truer testament to his skills that we put up with all of his hobo-ery simply because his meals were marvelous.

To return to the NFL analogy, if Dwight were a football star, he might be Pacman Jones. Eventually his off field issues encroached upon his incredible on field abilities. To be more specific, about three weeks before Thanksgiving break Dwight became homeless. None of us ever really knew what his living situation was, we all assumed he lived somewhere, but apparently he did not, at least anymore. He never quite said why he had been evicted. Maybe he couldn’t pay rent, maybe one of his pee hoes stabbed the landlady with a broken bottle of MD 20/20. It didn’t matter, we were less concerned with the details of his dereliction and more so with the fact that this predicament somehow affected his job and thus our meal situation. The company that provided our cooks was an inconsistent supplier of quality kitchen staff. The fraternity had suffered through both good and bad, and we were unwilling to trade three amazing meals a day for months of undercooked chicken and stale au gratin just because our cook faced living in one of the boxes our industrial freezers were shipped in. If Dwight were Pacman Jones, the fraternity was Jerry Jones. We were his enabler.

The rules were simple. Dwight was allowed to sleep at the fraternity house while he looked for a new place to live. He had to sleep on a couch in the basement and he had to leave three hours before we threw any parties or any time we told him and not come back until we okayed it. He had to find someplace else to shower (our bathrooms were bad enough without adding a smattering of hobo pubes), there was no talking to girls, and he wasn’t allowed above the first floor without a brother escorting him. Oh yeah, and no pee hoes over to the house, ever. “Ever ever ever EVER,” I believe were the president’s exact words. Dwight sweetened the deal by offering his services as a 24/7 live in cook. Any time we wanted food we just had to wake him up and ask. “Totally worth it” thought the shortsighted minds of exec members more concerned with eating well than possibly being prison shanked while they slept.

For a while the situation worked our pretty well. Coming home at 3:00am to quesadillas and burgers every Wednesday through Saturday was amazing. And although “Don’t worry about it” became the most uttered phrase in the fraternity, since about a thousand questions were asked by slams, the whole affair stayed relatively quiet and normal. Then Thanksgiving break came. Obviously we didn’t plan on leaving Dwight in the basement unattended for a week, so we informed him, well in advance, that he’d need to find another place to sleep. He said it wasn’t a problem. We also informed him that our charity was reaching its limit and that, although we appreciated the food, it was about time he found a more permanent solution to his rooflessness and pay to be inside of something other than a mangled street vagina. He agreed.

So Dwight left the house, as did the brothers and pledges, for Thanksgiving break. A week later we returned, ready to finish off fall semester and continue eating like kings. But those dreams were soon as shattered as the once locked doors to our rooms. It had appeared that our charming, hooker loving cook had broken in and robbed just about every room in the house. Mostly electronics were taken, game systems and computer monitors specifically. We were standing around the house stunned while he was somewhere living it up, no doubt knee deep in pee hoes. I mean that literally by the way. I think he was actually knee deep in pee hoes. I never saw the type of woman he was consorting with but I have to assume that a couple Xboxes would easily pay for enough of them to stack, laying flat, floor to knee. Now to be fair, Dwight was provided a key to the house by the fraternity so that he could get in the morning and cook breakfast. He would have had this key whether or not we had decided to be charitable. We, however, were still furious.

Obviously the police were called and Dwight was arrested. Our president was lucky enough to present for the part of Dwight’s interrogation in which he attempted to give an alibi. It turned out he was much better at crafting pies than lies. The alibi was, as best I can remember, as follows:

Dwight claimed to have come around the house to retrieve something, although at this point he couldn’t remember what, most likely due to a blow he would later receive to his head. He also claimed to have walked there from a location he could not remember, again because of the blow. While walking to the house two men stalked him closely and when he arrived at the house they forced their way in. Once inside the men beat up Dwight, in the process apparently selectively destroying his memory. The fictional assailants then, according to Dwight, tied him with “twenty feet of rope.” He never did get a good look at them though. They must have tied him up fast, maybe they were sailors once. Either way Dwight had no way of explaining why there was in fact no rope, or no sign of physical trauma.

Naturally Dwight was arrested and given a new home, specifically the Boone County Jail. His trial was open and shut. None of our possessions were recovered. We never heard from Dwight again. Presumably he was now someone’s pee hoe (he wasn’t a big guy). The rest of the semester and in fact the year was spent suffering through the subpar cooking of our replacement “cook.” The situation was so bad that many brothers actually claimed to miss Dwight, even those who had some of their belongings stolen. After awhile everyone was agreed, they’d gladly give up another valuable possession to get back the best cook we ever had.

Dwight if you’re reading this I just want to say…actually fuck it, there’s like an 80% chance you’re dead.

Follow me on Twitter: @BaconTFM

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