The Ban-Ender

The Ban-Ender

  • 3 Keystone Lights, warm and half-foam
  • 2 banned Jell-O shots that weren’t in the fridge long enough
  • Buckets of sweat from an intense pong rally
  • 1 cup of acrid, flat Coke to pace yourself

It was Van Winkle’s first night in the frats after President Hanlon opened, by decree, the floodgates on Webster Avenue and allowed a torrent of thirsty freshmen into sticky basements everywhere. He had appropriately pre-gamed on the second floor of Wheeler with a few ‘stones and was ready for the prime time. Having drenched himself in enough Axe Dark Temptation body spray to mask the scent of fear, he approached the door with an unassuming swagger and wearing his favorite Patagonia windbreaker.

The door: unmanned. Van’s confidence: unchecked.

Making his way down the creaking cellar steps, he found a solitary game of pong in progress. Van was about to proclaim the frat dead and move on down the street, but he was mysteriously drawn to the rhythmic bouncing of the airy, white balls on the table and the intense focus of the brothers consumed by the game. He watched and watched, many minutes passing as he too was drawn into the game. Soon, the brothers rewarded his patience and let him play.

It was exuberant. Each bounce of the ball on the table was ecstasy to Van, and it felt to him as if he were soaring high above the New Hampshire dank basement. It was so amazing that he didn’t realize he was losing. Horribly. He did notice something, though. With every shot he missed and every shot his opponents made, Van’s eyelids grew heavier and his limbs fatigued. He was drifting off to sleep. After the game ended, he went upstairs and lay down on one of the house’s faux-leather couches.

Groggily, Van arose what seemed to be the next morning. He dusted himself off and began to amble back to his home, Mid-Fayerweather, despite the searing rays of a white-hot sun. He crossed the Green, the gravel tugging at his laden shoes. He eventually made it his room, collapsing wearily onto the ice-cold sheets of his bed. His roommate, agape, was startled by the reappearance of this disheveled fellow.

“Bro, where have you been? You missed the whole registration period!” He exclaimed.

Van did not react; his mind focused on more important concerns.

Where on earth was his Patagonia?

By Scrod Herringford