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In the fall of my junior year, we were put on probation for hazing. The university got us pretty good. They banned alcohol from our house, killed our Homecoming plans (a proverbial death sentence), and informed our pledges they were free to seek brotherhood elsewhere. When nationals heard that we were officially in the doghouse, our funding dried up faster than a postmenopausal woman. Strapped for cash but desperate to save the little bit of dignity we had left, we put together a list of the most economical places we could hold a date function. The contest was short and pathetic, but finally mini-golf defeated bowling by a raw vote to earn the right to be the location of our final stand. Gentlemen, we were going golfing.
Grabbing whatever girl we could find who either felt sorry or was bored enough to give us a shot, we used what little money we had scrounged up to rent the entire mini-golf course out and contract a bus (literally an old school bus) to take us there. The bus wasn’t even able to fit all of us so some had to drive separately. Since our punishment included sobriety in all fraternity functions, someone came up with the magnificent plan to hide alcohol inside Gatorade bottles. It wouldn’t be especially hard to figure out that we weren’t chugging them for the electrolytes, but it was late summer in Florida, no way they would risk a small sorority girl passing out from heat stroke on the 8th hole. We had our plan of attack; all that was left was execution.
The day finally arrived. It was an incredibly hot, gorgeous day for mini-golfing. We rounded up our dates and piled onto our beautifully pedestrian chariot and made our way to the course. After we had arrived, we split into groups of six and proceeded to the first “tee.” My crew was made up of Handsome Tom (a nickname earned for a lack of sexual activity, believe it or not) and his date, One Cup Cameron (ever met someone only capable of making one cup in beer pong EVER?) and his date, and myself and my date. We agreed on a set of rules:
1) You were to drink for the number of seconds equivalent to the number of strokes you shot on the hole.
2) The ball must be played where it lies (or floats).
3) If you shot a hole-in-one, you counted the seconds for everyone else.
4) There was absolutely no max number of strokes you could rack up on one hole.
Pretty damn easy, right? I was actually worried I wasn’t going to be drunk enough; my short game is light years away from Jordan Spiethian levels, but I thought I could handle a putt-putt course. I shot a 26 on the 4th hole. I shot a fucking 26 on the 4th hole. I put the ball in a water hazard and couldn’t drop, took me 26 hacks to scoop the son of a bitch out. So I chugged 26 seconds of a disgusting mixture of tequila and sports drink (my date wanted tequila, even after I explained to her that it was going in Gatorade, she said fruit punch and tequila would be delicious, and she is a dirty liar) and it hit me with the weight of a silverback gorilla on steroids.
The events that followed were nothing short of a train wreck. You ever take your father on in mini-golf as a kid? You thought you could finally take the old man in something, only to watch him navigate the Easter Island Heads and windmills with ease as you smashed into every single one, his beady eyes mocking you with every double bogey. Well, imagine taking that aggression, adding liquor and women, and applying it to your fraternity brothers. It didn’t go well. Handsome Tom put Happy Gilmore to shame with a physical assault on a pirate ship that left his club looking like it had survived a childhood bout with polio. Cameron and I almost came to blows after he insisted a 3-inch putt was a gimme (it wasn’t, drink you piece of shit) and Tom threw his ball into oncoming traffic after he missed a hole-in-one on 12. Even the girls got into it. Cam’s date started yelling out names of various places on the female anatomy whenever anyone tried to putt, and once my date realized I was the one directly ahead of her, she attempted to divert my attention from the game by whispering the graphic sexual things she intended to do to me later in my ear. It worked.
When we had finally come to the end, we decided to head across the street to an Olive Garden for dinner while we waited for everyone else to finish. We drunkenly ordered half the menu and a bottle of wine. After our food had come, Cam excused himself to the bathroom. After he had not come back for a while, Tom went in to check on him. Tom returned with a look of horror plastered on his face. He tapped me on the shoulder and told me we had a “situation” to deal with and led me toward the bathroom. As I entered, the first thing that hit me was the smell — vomit with a side of Italian dressing. Cam had puked EVERYWHERE. He had got it in the sink, in the urinal, and on the floor. The asshole had even soaked the stacks of paper towels by the door that people are supposed to use to dry their hands. It was like he attempted to paint a mural with his vomit, the the Picasso of puke. Cam was now sitting on the floor of a stall, in a pool of his own dinner, fast asleep.
Tom and I had no idea what to do. Should we ask for a mop and clean it up? Should we even alert the Olive Garden staff a bomb had hit their rest facilities? How in the hell had no one walked in here and discovered this mess? We picked the douchiest route. We were just going to bounce. For all intents and purposes, we were never there. Tom left to go collect the girls and pay for the food as I got to Cam and woke him up. Luckily, Tom was one of the people who had driven separately, and his Tahoe was parked over in the mini-golf course’s parking lot. We had decided he would take the girls to the car and bring it around to the entrance to the Olive Garden so I could run Cam out of there. I waited in the stall with a low functioning, but standing Cameron, checking my phone for a text and praying to the good Lord that no one came into the bathroom and discovered us.
After an eternity, my phone vibrated. The text contained a single word: “Go.” Cam could stand, but his head looked like it was on a bungee cord, bobbing up and down. I decided I’d just drive him out of there. I put my hand on Cam’s shoulder like I’d seen the Secret Service do with the president in all the movies where somehow they didn’t know about the threat in the building and had to evacuate him quickly. We exploded through the bathroom doors and out into the restaurant. We weaved around platters of baked ziti and ravioli, my hastily spoken “excuse me” the only peace offering I could muster. About halfway to the door, I heard a yelled “Sir!” from behind me. Out of my peripherals, I glimpsed a purple button down shirt. Oh God, it was a manager. I didn’t know if he discovered our secret or if we had forgotten to pay a check, but I sure as hell wasn’t going to stop to find out. We continued through the restaurant and finally burst through the front doors to see Tom’s Tahoe in front of us, side door open awaiting the package. I rushed forward; the goal was in view. A few feet away from the car, I heard the front doors swing back open and another “Sir!” yelled from behind me. The manager didn’t want to let this go. I threw Cam into the waiting arms of the girls and slammed the door shut. I jumped into the passenger seat and screamed at Tom to floor it. But there was a mini-van backing out of one of the spaces in front of us, blocking the road to the exit. We were dead men.
The manager walked up to the passenger window. I rolled it down and accepted that we had been caught. Can you do time for leaving a bathroom a biohazard? That’s gotta be vandalism or something. The manager looked at me and smiled widely. This was it; he knew he had us. He inspected my look of anguish and said, “One of you boys dropped your wallet on the way out.” I was shocked, relief flooded through me. He didn’t know. He didn’t fucking know. We weren’t going to jail. But my relief turned to dread, sitting in the manager’s hand, was Cam’s wallet. Now this was no ordinary wallet. Being a huge fan of Quentin Tarantino, Cam had purchased a custom wallet with “Bad Motherfucker” embossed on it. However, Cam’s corny taste was not what terrified me. I knew what was on the other side of that wallet, embroidered in big beautiful maroon script — a certain set of Greek letters.
The manager held in the palm of his hand everything needed to ensure we don’t sniff campus for the next five years. All he had to do was put the whole thing together. Frat boys and vomit adorned bathrooms go together like peanut butter and jelly. He makes one phone call and we’re done — no more fun, no more pledges, no more house. I reached out to grab the wallet. Had he seen the letters? They were facing downward in his hand so maybe he didn’t see them. The script was raised, but could he feel the imprint of the letters and somehow put together what it was in his head? I didn’t know. I just knew I needed to get that wallet. I took the cyanide pill from the manager and thanked him profusely, internally cursing Cameron for being a try-hard tool bag who puts his letters on a wallet. The manager turned to walk inside, and Tom hit the gas. So we shot into the night, reeking of shame, pasta, and liquor, thanking our lucky stars that we got away scot-free. To this day, I have never stepped foot in that Olive Garden again, lest the staff recognize me and exact their sanitary revenge..