The Chiliad, Book II

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He, too, joined the ranks of the Greeks in the final defense of their rightful rule over Dartmouth.

Here follows the catalogue of frat stars, demigods whose legends are sealed everlasting in the branches of the galaxy, whose chillness rivals the tundra of Thule, the pillars of fraternitas who everafter shine brighter than the sacrificial fires of a great army, spread out at dusk upon a foreign beach, at the cornice of violence and fame.

Sing, O Muse, for you are a goddess, make to stand before the eyes as clear and splendid as alabaster, as vivid as purple irises and the all-spreading descent of rose-fingered Aurora, make known the names and feats of bravery and cunning of those all-great men, who stormed upon campus and surpassed in bounds the borders of blackout.

Hark, arriving to the aid of the Greeks was James Dalton II ‘21, fleet of throat and gut, who could quick-six in fifteen seconds while still a sophomore at Hotchkiss, the son of James Dalton I, the king of Drumlith & Dalton, a hedge fund of so many billions that could shake and break the seats of senators and elders.

And Aldo Corelli, ‘21 of Princeton Day School, who boasted the freshest leather weekender upon the earth, who could always obtain a reservation at Dorsia, and funneled tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of blow to campus through a clandestine connection in Cambridge, a junior major in Geography and Economics, the son of Pietro Corelli, in-house consultant at Ferrari, whose mafia ties were several times over investigated and dismissed.

He, too, joined the ranks of the Greeks in the final defense of their rightful rule over Dartmouth. As did Stern Woods ‘20, captain of the lacrosse team, pledge trainer at Delta Gamma, the little of Rob Lauffen ‘19, scourge of geeds and narps, infamous for instituting “bring-a-flask-to-class-day” during the fall term of his sophomore year, who Eiffel-towered the Dean’s babysitter with Chad McCoy on steps of Rauner, whose booting shook the earth like the spear of Hades, heaved towards the center of the earth with the anger of a lioness before the bloodied bodies of her cubs, lately slaughtered by the hunter and his flesh-seeking darts.

And hailing from their quirky citadels on Webster, bedecked in magnificent flair, howling chants of unspeakable terror, beating upon their breasts with glitter-painted paddles, leaping about uncontrollably, arrived among the Greek forces the terrifying faction of Chadeës, and their Queen, Lizzy Rivenbeck ‘20, vice president of Glee Club, alumna of the hoary stones of Deerfield, major in Art History and pre-med, whose cries uniting freedom and boldness rattled the planets in their orbits.

And at their heels came the chariots of a second army from the region of Cappua, dressed in linens so white as no fuller could render in brightness, more stunning than the lonely, wind-worn snowcaps of high mountains beyond the touch of all but wing-footed Hermes, bearing bags imported from the estimable hideworkers of Longchamp, crowned in baseball caps, gilded in yoga pants – a fleet of impeccable maidens that rivaled Aphrodite for beauty and Artemis for cunning, led by their Queen, Sarah Malibou-Carter ‘20, two-time summer intern for Allen Partners Capital, class president at Rosemary Choate Hall, Biology and English double major.

All these assembled and more, so many heroes whose glory time will heft ever upward, the spectacles of ages, exempla of fortitude and might. Gathered they in the hallowed hall of Collis Commonground, and drew close the shades upon the windows before the open air of autumn, that middle-aged season of shriveled leaves and stinging gusts, when dreary young undergrads shod in rainboots betake themselves with shudders to their 10As, dreaming of the bygone summer dog days, the prismatic, elongated hours spent lolling like crocodiles by the flashing waters of the far-flowing Connecticut river.

Nash A. Redford, Jr. ‘20 stood forth among the men and women, who gnashed their teeth at the spreading rumor of the impious justice done against his formidable house at the hands of Joey Russell ‘22, that cursed, pathetic, philandering waif of the Phrygian nation. Standing upon a center-stage rostra, robbed out of the basement of the Phrygian house in a night-raid by nimble-fingered pledges of Alpha Gamma, Nash brought a soft avalanche of silence upon the room, like a chief ape who can quiet the roar of the jungle into a whisper by the turn of his thumb and a shake of his massive head.

“My friends and brothers and sisters,” he began, holding both fists behind his back and turning to the left, as if to begin striding, “I have found myself on the horns of a sharp dilemma. I had a meeting with Cal Kaspar in a reserved room at Berry this afternoon – Cal, you know, works at Parkhurst on project-based web dev jobs. His unique proximity to the gods’ chambers has availed him with information vital to our mission. As you will recall, last winter term, some drunk girl pulled a fire alarm during a tails event at Alpha Gamma, resulting in the activation of a sprinkler system and substantial damage to the house’s furniture.

“The College picked up the bill for repairs, granted that we comply with them in delivering any information regarding the perpetrator. So far, we have abstained from cooperating, for the simple reason that we have no idea who pulled the alarm. They have retaliated, convicted that we know the precise identity of transgressor, and have suspended our privilege of storing anything in our basement, including alcohol, tables, bikes, speaker systems. Just this past week, they arbitrarily extended the measure to all Greek basements, such that we are now faced with a crippling hindrance to our plan.

“With much painful turning-over of the matter over in my mind, I have decided that I will journey to the gates of GLOS and deliver unto them my sister, Effigeneia “Effie” Redford ‘22, naming her as the culprit. She awaits me beyond the door; she believes I am taking her to Morano Gelato to celebrate the B+ she got on her Math 008 midterm. This – I hate to say it – is the only avenue available to appease Georgios Apollonikos, head of GLOS, should we wish to win undying glory unto the memory of the Greeks.”

With mourning restraint, still seated, so heavy was their woe, the Greeks applauded Nash’s tragic choice, as he, fearing and trembling, parted the doors of Collis Commonground and gathered to him the slight silhouette of Effie, whom he escorted, unknowing and innocent as a spring bud of grapes, young and unblemished in the rich soil at the neck of a volcano, all about to be dashed into oblivion in the thousand-ton slide of boiling mud and soot. Her he led up the dark stairs to the horrid offices of GLOS, into their grasping hands and into her immediate expulsion, the weight of patriotism and brotherly affection nearly rendering him asunder from shoulder to shoulder, so heavy was his passion.

Would that Nash could have known of the terrible fate that stood lurking for him in the denouement of his heyday, when he would return, dressed in fortune and conquest after his graduation from Dartmouth, believing falsely of the permanence of his stellar magnitude, only to be greeted by the seething betrayal of his own mother, who, seething with infidelity and rage at the expulsion of Effie, would plunge Nash into such ignominy and humiliation as would incite a helix of violence and torment in their family, careening downwards for countless years.

Nash lit alone at the foot of the dark stairs, having done the awful thing, ignorant of his doom, and came back amongst the perturbed Greeks, pale yet energized at the enactment of such a bitter crime against his sister. At the back of the room, Branford Wentworth – who once by himself drained a half-keg strapped to his back at Coachella while simultaneously rolling and high – suddenly arose and bellowed curses at Nash, for he had been hooking up with Effie sub rosa, and was furthermore appalled at Nash’s brash selfishness.

“You outrageous piece of shit! What a dick move! Did you talk to anyone about this? Did you talk to me? Who do you think you are? Like are you fucking with me right now? Are you sure that throwing Effie to the dogs was the only available option? Did it occur to your frog-testicle of a brain to offer anyone else in her place? Or store our shit in off-campus apartments? What a fucking disgrace to you, to Alpha Gamma, to all of us. You know what? Fuck this entire … this entire thing. Fuck you upside-down with a pool-noodle. I’m out. Bounce.”

As he slammed the door behind him, the strength of the entire room seemed to diminish by half.

As he slammed the door behind him, the strength of the entire room seemed to diminish by half.

As he slammed the door behind him, the strength of the entire room seemed to diminish by half. Murmurs of assent began to roil among the onlookers, who stared back at the portal out of which Branford had departed, having retreated to his own chambers to play FIFA and drink Jack alone and mope. His absence threatened the quest to throw the greatest block party in history almost as much as having no place to store beer and batch. Many faces turned, hardened and questioning toward Nash, who stood solidly behind the rostra, gripping it with hints of nervousness.

Then came an impetuous cry from the right flank of the room, where a small figure with an imposing brow had stood up on his chair with an aged volume titled Gentleman’s History of the Sasanian Empire tucked under his left arm, literally shaking his right fist and twitching dramatically in his face as he rained down invectives upon the character of Nash. This was “Crazy Eddy” Thersites ‘20, an ingenious eccentric, well-loved within his frat, Delta Xi (of which Nash’s brother, Michael “Slick Mickey” Redford was president) and generally considered to be a bombass mackdaddy by all subcultures that had the luck to witness his inimitable antics. The record of memory contains no precise picture of just what polemic he launched in Nash’s direction, though there were frequent citations of Mongolian history and episodes from Herodotus, as well as the occasional non sequitur ululation.

Midway through some tangential rant about the blessedness of Tellus the Athenian, Eddy’s logorrhea was quashed by a blow across the back. Odie C. Esteban, the wiliest and craftiest of the Greeks, double major in English and Philosophy, had seized the scepter of Nash from where it lay atop the rostra and thrashed Crazy Eddy for his longwinded impudence – though his sentiments had been much the same as Branford’s.

O poor, miserable Odie, who, post-graduation, would wander for ten years around the Caribbean, having resolved to blackout on the coasts of tropical islands, celebrating his recent attainment of a Bachelor’s at the generous expense of his parents, and who would not reach his home and job as a griping Latin teacher for nearly a decade, arriving upon the shores of his homeland more wasted and hungover than any creature of Prometheus has ever been, having tarried with a Heidegger-obsessed nymph from Georgetown who owned a beachside studio apartment, where she had kept him captive for seven years in sensual lethargy, causing him to forget the memory of his earthly passions and allegiances.

So Crazy Eddy Thersites’s learned insurrection was tamped down, and Nash, thrusting his chest above the crest of the rostra, roused the troops with beastly fervor. As they poured out of the room and down the cyclopean stone steps of Collis, they fell under the high-flung gaze of and irritated Helen Amaliano ‘22, Joey Russell ‘22 (who still imagined himself her precocious seducer), and his older brother, Tim ‘19. The trio had broken into the Bell Tower to smoke a fat blunt and plot. Opening the Facebook app on her iPhone 8, Helen surveyed the Greeks and asked Tim – a senior familiar with most of the campus A-siders – to identify them one by one, whereupon she searched their names, noting mutual friends, where they went to high school, and, on average, how many likes their cover photos and profile pictures appeared to obtain.