Quite the College Career Pt. 01

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Nothing like that first day Freshman year. I got a decent scholarship to a college on the other side of the state, and while I convinced my parents to let me take my car I couldn’t convince them to say goodbye at home. Our two car convoy makes the five hour drive in closer to six (thanks dad, ever so careful) but we made it to the campus just after three o’clock, perfect time to check in. We wade through the crowds of new students and their parents to my dorm, and here I’m glad my parents are here so they can help with the luggage. I meet the RA, short guy who surpassed the freshman 15 some time ago and kept right on trucking, but nice. We head down a hall smelling of musk and Lysol to my corner room and I see my roommate has already arrived, his parents already vacated. One great thing about the modern age is how easy it is to come in to contact with people, so Alex and I have already talked to a good amount. He brought the mini-fridge, I brought the microwave. He smiles when we walk in and leaps up from his computer. We shake hands, say it’s good to meet in person. He shakes my dad’s hand as well and gives my mom a hug, seems like a good guy. Indian, grew up in the states, just a little taller than me and skinny as hell. We’re planning on different majors but some of our general classes this semester line up. We make easy small talk those first few minutes as I unpack a few things and my mom insists on making my bed.

After that I walk my parents to their car and we say our goodbyes, my mom with tears in her eyes. My dad, usually the more stoic type, gives me a hug and says Alex seems like a good guy. I agree, say we’ll look out for each other. He claps me on the shoulder, tells me to visit before the semester ends. My mom hugs me again through the tears, reminds me about the cookies she packed in my luggage. I laugh, say thanks and hug her again. Then they’re in the car and gone, and it’s just me.

Just me? That’s the best way to describe who I am. Pretty average dude. Have I said my name’s Erik yet? Played some sports through high school, got pretty good grades, made great friends. Picture your average college freshman (not the frat type) and you pretty much got me. Everyone I was close with stayed closer to home, so it’s a blank page for me here. I’m looking forward to it. Our campus is nestled in a pretty decent mountain range, so I made sure to pack my camping gear. Hiking will be great on the weekends, and while the town is small it’s a great college town. Plenty of clubs and bars that I will definitely not visit until I’m 21 and lots of coffee shops and book stores, the kind of places that could only exist near a university. Along with a healthy mix of old hippies and just enough businessmen to keep the place running, it’s an eclectic but intriguing spot.

I walk back to the dorm, keeping my head up and eyes open to take in the natural beauty of the campus and the mountains around it and who am I kidding I am dying to see the girls on campus, and there are plenty to be seen. Come on now people, 18-year-old guy in college, what else could (should?) be on my mind? I dated a handful of girls in highs school, but nothing serious. Since I’m sure you care I’m “technically” still a virgin, but wouldn’t mind losing that distinction in the semi-near future. Not saying that’s my only goal with a girl, of course, neve been much of a one-night stand kind of guy… but I mean it’s college, right? The time to branch out and try new things.

I get back to the dorm room, hang out with Alex. After a bit it seems our minds are on the same track – get the grades but have a good time, and get a few girls while we’re at it.

“Gonna get a job?” Alex asks. I shrug. “No need to rush into one, I saved up a decent amount over the summer.” I worked in a warehouse – god-awful, but since a buddy’s dad owned it the pay was pretty good. “You?”

“Yeah,” Alex says, sighing. “Hopefully on campus. Don’t need a ton of cash, but enough to stay alive. Want to pay for my own booze too.”

“Truth,” I say, laughing. “Might look around with you. I don’t want to lock too much time into it, I definitely plan on enjoying myself.”

“Same here,” Alex says. “But I’ll enjoy college more if I’m not starving.”

“Also true. Bro, I am looking forward to this.”

Who can say enough about college? Those first days are a whirlwind, but there really never is a better time in life. Everyone needs friends so everyone is social, no cliques have formed and everyone is willing to leave their comfort zones in order to best enjoy campus life. Freshman arrived a few days before the rest of the student body, and outside of orientations and all the other mandatory events there were concerts and parties and random get togethers hosted by both the school and the various campus societies hungry for fresh blood. The days pass in a blur, and that weekend the upperclassmen arrive in force, the campus turning into a teeming ant hill overnight. Alex gets invited to a party Saturday night and brings me along, we enjoy ourselves çankaya escort (I enjoy myself too much), and I wake up late the next morning, mouth dry and head aching. Alex is already on his computer, and glances over as I drag myself up and stumble to the sink in the corner.

“Erik man, you alright?” He asks. I mutter an answer, somewhat noncommittal. He chuckles. “What do you remember?”

I shrug. “Nothing too crazy. I didn’t do anything stupid, did I?” Alex shakes his head. “No. You remember the job?”

I straighten up in front of the mirror, squinting at myself as I try to remember. “Job?”

Alex shakes his head, but chuckles. “Didn’t think you were that far gone. The Nipley?”

The Nipley. Stupid name, but close enough to nipples to make me laugh. That’s what happened last night. Drinks. Beer pong. Big bearded dude.

“Live music,” I say. “Almost every night of the week.”

“There you go,” Alex says. “Live shows Tuesday night through Saturday. He needs a couple guys, twelve bucks an hour.”

Really good pay for a college gig, but I have a more pressing issue. “Friday and Saturday night?” Alex laughs. “You said the same thing last night. He said we could work Tuesday through Thursday every week, then every other weekend. Out by 2 am every night. Works out to a little over 30 hours per week.”

I have 7:30 classes Tuesday and Thursday. “Uhhh… so we have the job?” Alex shakes his head. “We’re meeting with him this afternoon at 4 to see if we make the cut. Brandon.” I nod, starting to recollect. “Big bearded guy?

“That’s the one. Seemed like a cool dude. Says he needs guys who know amps and sound boards.”

“Aw hell” I say. Alex cocks his head. “So?”

“I can turn them on that’s about it.” He looks at me for a moment, then cracks up. “Bro, drunk you is a fucking talker. Listening to you last night you’ve been a roadie since birth.” I stare at him. “Seriously?”

Alex continues to laugh. “I was convinced, Brandon seemed to be too. Think you can keep it up for the interview? It actually sounds like a pretty sweet gig.” I stare at him for a long moment. “I’ve been to a lot of concerts. Played piano as a kid.”

Alex squints at me. “Bro, you don’t seem like a fuck up. I can handle a sound board, teach you what I know pretty quick. Think you can fake it ’til you’re good?”

I give him two thumbs up. “Been faking it for years.”


We go to our appointment in Polos and Jeans, dressed up for two college morons looking for a gig at a dive bar. I love it as soon as I walk in. Could hold 70 people on a good night, one long bar with a stage on the far side of the room. Walls are covered with band posters and scratched in initials and ‘Zeppelin rules!’ Every music club in every college town you’ve ever seen that refuses to sell out the man and keeps the ‘real music’ flowing. Brandon is leaning on the bar while we let ourselves in, straightening when he sees us.

“You showed up!” He bellows, holding out his arms in welcome. “You passed the biggest test.” He gestures to the barstools across from him and we take a seat.

“So here’s what we need,” Brandon says. “A couple guys can stay up late and put up with bullshit from prima donnas who wouldn’t be given the time of day once the sun comes up. They carry the bulk of their gear, but I like to have people here who can help ’em out. You work the sound boards and set up what we need to before the show, and make sure no one does something stupid. You’re babies so you can’t serve drinks and won’t be getting any, but we try to keep it a good time. You guys down?”

I look at Alex, he looks at me. We shrug.

“Sure,” we say in unison. Brandon smiles. We talk about the essentials then he gets to the pay. “You good with getting paid in cash? Every two weeks.”

We both freeze up, and Brandon notices it. He holds up his palms and continues. “I know it sounds sketchy, but hey, stick it to the man when you can right? Under the table means he,” pointing up to either heaven or the government “takes out a hell of a lot smaller bite out of your ass, and mine.” That didn’t sound right to me, but hey I’m looking at more than $1,400 a month tax free. At 18, with the room and board covered, that makes me just about a millionaire. I say I’m in, and Alex says likewise. Brandon smiles. “Best job of your life boys, as long as you don’t fuck it up, you’re golden.”

And we are! Start class Monday, start work Tuesday night. Two bands came in with a crowd of maybe 30, a mix of young and old. Alex and I did as we were told and then some. The music was loud (and mostly terrible) but the atmosphere perfect, and by the end of the night I was exhausted and enthralled. I envisioned my college job as making lattes and selling shirts in the campus bookstore, but found myself in a tiny slice of a different world, where rock n’ roll dreams never die. Just before two a.m. I’m sitting at the bar next to Alex, across from Brendan and his longtime bartender Sue. We toasted (water only) to a successful first night.

“Welcome to ankara rus escort rock boys,” Brandon says. “You gonna be ready for class tomorrow?”

Alex and I look at each other. Probably not, but we’ll make it.

After about a month, we fall into a steady rhythm. We work way too late but catch up on sleep when we can, which is often (single college life, remember it?). Our classes are less than stressful in our first semester, though my math class tends to sneak up on me. Brandon pays on time and is faithful to the rate promised. We find ourselves showing up to work earlier than necessary just to be in the Nipley, talking to the acts and hearing their road stories. After that first month, we’re working a Friday night and a redhead catches both my and Alex’s eye early in the night. She glances our way as we’re in the sound booth, and after a few more furtive glances from her we decide Alex is her target. I take over for him and he slips down to talk to her during a break in the music. He walks back a few minutes later, beaming, her number locked in his phone. They text throughout the rest of the night but he keeps his head in the work, and he’s able to slip out a few minutes early. Brandon inquires about his absence when I join him at the bar at the end of the night, then both he and Sue nod in appreciation when I tell them the situation.

“Plenty of college chicks in here,” Sue says. “With the music? If you can’t get laid while working here you don’t stand a chance in the real world.”

I nod without speaking. I’ve spoken to plenty of girls this first month, but haven’t made much traction towards a relationship or a bedroom. I’m driving home before 2 a.m., only takes about 7 minutes to get back to the dorm. I’m tired and out of it on my arrival, and am not paying any attention to my surroundings.

That is a mistake.

I open my dorm door to see the redhead naked in Alex’s lap, both of them naked and his head buried in her tits. He jerks his head at me and stares, she glances over and winks.

“Sorry!” I yell, throwing myself out of the room and slamming the door behind me. A couple guys in the hall, clearly returning from a party, chuckle as they walk by. Wide awake after stumbling in on my roommate and his new girl, I leave the dorm and head out into the night. I stop just outside the building and pull out my phone. I debate my next step in my head, then go ahead and text Alex.

Me: Bro. So sorry. You guys take your time, let me know when it’s good to come back up.

I really hope I didn’t completely kill the mood. I think back to her wink and think they probably picked right back up where they left off. My thinking is, Alex will see the text when he’s ready to see the text, so my message shouldn’t be too intrusive. I sigh and start walking, trying to take my mind off the redhead. Only saw her for a second, but damn if she didn’t have a tight body and phenomenal tits. And that wink? Any girl who reacts like that to some dumbass barging in must be something else. I must look sufficiently bewildered, because the group of girls seated around a picnic table I walk past moments later do not try to hide their laughter.

“Rough night?” One of them asks. I turn to face them, shaking my head. “Actually, pretty good overall.” I look them over, three in all. “You?”

“Wait wait wait,” says another, leaning across the table. “You sound way less drunk then you looked a second ago.”

“Ha, wish I could say wasn’t,” I reply. “Sober night, just got off of work.”

The three are tipsy, but seem to be in good control. One makes a face. “Ew. Where do you work?”

“The Nipley.” For the first time, I get a good gauge of my employment. The three girls exchange an impressed look.

“Really?” Says one. “That’s a good spot. Good music. Can’t get a drink to save my life though.”

I laugh. “Yeah, Sue and Brandon don’t mess around with the alcohol. Haven’t had more than sip of water there in a month.”

“Well,” says one of the girls, leaning forward with a conspiratorial whisper, “how about some wine?” She pulls a half empty bottle of red from a backpack on the far side of the bench. She looks familiar, but I can’t place it.

“Sure,” I say with a shrug. “Got an extra cup?”

They do, I sit down, we talk. They tell me about the parties of the night, I tell them about the bands and walking in on Alex and the redhead. They laugh and pour me some more wine.

“Coulda’ least put a sock on the door,” says the one sitting next to me. No names are exchanged, because this is college and this is one of those great one-time things that will never happen again. You enjoy the hell out of it and have great talks with great people, then move on as if it never happened. I keep glancing at one girl though, thin with blonde hair cut just above the shoulder. Her face nags at me. We talk until my phone buzzes.

Alex: All clear bro.

The wine is gone and the girls are yawning, so I thank them for their hospitality and stand up, hesitating for just a moment. ankara yabancı escort But their goodbyes are sincere and seemingly without underlying meaning, so I head back to my dorm. Alex is lying in bed, both hands behind his head.

“Bro, I’m in love,” he says. I laugh, then sit down on my bed. “I didn’t kill it, did I?” He looks at me like I’m crazy. “Not in the least. Think getting seen turned her on more. Bro…,” he shakes his head, no more words needed. “Bro.”

I nod in respect. “Hold onto that number. She got a friend?”

He laughs, I brush my teeth at the sink, and we both crash.

The next Tuesday I fall into my desk for my 7:30 class. It’s math. At 7:30. I have only myself to blame, but damn. I don’t plan on paying a great deal of attention this morning, but I have a question answered before class even begins. One of my wine drinking buddies, thin with short hair, comes into class wearing an oversized hoody and yoga pants, hair in a bun. That’s why she looked so familiar the other night! I move to catch her eye but she doesn’t glance my way before sitting at a desk on the other side of the room. I determine to make myself known once we’re out of class.

Believe or not, time does not fly by, but at last it’s 8:45 and we pour out of the classroom. She gets caught in the back of the scrum leaving the room, and I take my chance.

“The hoody belong to a boyfriend?” I ask. She looks at me, perturbed before recognition dawns on her face.

“You drank our wine the other night while your roommate was hooking up!” That exclamation caught us a few looks, but not much of a reaction. I hold up my hands.

“In my defense, you offered.” She waves it off. “You’re good, just needed to remember where I saw your face. How’s it going?”

We make small talk as we move down the hall. My next class isn’t until 10:15 but she doesn’t have a break until after lunch.

“I loaded my classes on Tuesday and Thursday. I’d rather have two crappy days and a longer weekend.” She’s smart, this girl. Which reminds me, I need her name.

“I’m Erik, by the way.” She smiles, holds out her hand. “Emma. My class is this way, see you Thursday?”

I smile, say it sounds good. We break off and I wander in search of food.

Work goes on, class goes on. The Nipley has some good bands, mostly trash ones. Emma and I fall into routine conversations every Tuesday and Thursday, then after a while start sitting next to each other. Alex actually keeps up with the redhead (whom I learn is named Lisa). We party on our weekends off and work like dogs when we’re not, but we love the place. Alex and I, really through necessity, become close. Before I realize it, the semester is half over and mid-terms are a week out. Emma smacks me on the arm as we leave class on Thursday.

“You want to study for this thing?” This ‘thing’ being our midterm next Tuesday. I shrug. “Sure. I’m off this weekend, should have time. What were you thinking?” I lean, make my voice husky. “You’re place or mine?”

Emma rolls her eyes. “So, I actually don’t live on campus.”

“Nice,” I reply. “Got an apartment with you friends?” She laughs. “Not quite. Still live at home. I wanted to move into the dorms, but this way is a hell of a lot cheaper. My parents are out of town this weekend, so I thought we could just chill there and study. If you have laundry you’re more than welcome to bring it.” My ears perk up a bit when she says her parents won’t be there, but she says it without a hint of hidden meaning so I push forward. “You serious? I always have laundry. Want me to bring anything?” Emma shakes her head.

“We should be fine. My little sister will probably be around, but she should leave us alone.” I shrug again. “No worries, I’m great with kids.”

She raises one eyebrow. “That’s good to know, but she’s a senior in high school. Not much younger than me.” Ah. Ah?

“Ah,” I say. “Maybe I can bring some drinks?” Yes I’m underage, but if you don’t know that it’s ridiculously easy to find people to buy for you in college I’m going to assume you’ve never been. Emma shrugs. “Sure. No IPAs alright?”

Wouldn’t dream of it. “Sounds good. Saturday or Sunday?”

She stops for a minute, thinks about it. “Want to do Sunday afternoon? 3 or so?” I don’t have work this weekend so any time is good with me. “Sure, here’s my number,” she pulls out her phone, “Just text me your address sometime before then?” She smiles, say she will. It’s a hell of a cute smile, that’s for sure. We say our goodbyes and I watch her walk away. She’s wearing yoga pants like 90% of the other girls on campus (what a time to be alive), and her figure is slim but she’s got a nice little butt. I shake my head and walk away, telling myself nothing will happen.

This night being our last of the week as well as pay day, Alex and I are pretty chipper walking into the Nipley. Sue shoots us a glance and a wave before going back to her drinks behind the bar. Brandon is nowhere to be seen, probably back in his cramped office. We fall into our normal duties prepping for the night, and Alex asks me if I’m ready to work the sound board on my own. I’m a fast learner and he’s a good teacher, so I’ve gotten pretty handy with it since we began our time here. I nod, say I’ll be good. Alex grins.

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