Dashwood Revelations

       It came to pass somewhere in middling days of Comstock that a powerful coalition began to form around the nucleus of Dan Mooney deep within the bowels of his basement. Unseen by the judging eyes of society at large, they lurked in the darkness, coming together under the banner of some minor occultist in the tradition of Dee, Crowley, or that “a la peanut butter sandwiches!” guy from Sesame Street. The preferences of young men who name themselves after so fey a name as Sir Francis Dashwood is questionable at best, as are the intentions of the same. This tale will take though through the secret origins of the group, its meteoric rise to power, and inevitable plummet to the depths from which it came.

        I was not present, nor even invited, the day of origin, so as I have demonstrated with numerous precedents, will attempt to spell out the story using what inaccurate, exaggerated, or completely fictitious information I have. This of course will constitute the ‘Official Story’ and serve as the historical written record for time unending. I have no doubts whatsoever that all mentioned parties will fervently wish they had gotten off their fat lazy asses and wrote this story first, but be that as it may, my distorted view hereby becomes the benchmark of truth and accuracy. Your outrage will only serve to amuse us.

        Although Dan was in the habit of making the long stroll over to Comstock when in need of companionship or to satisfy the desire to watch extremely low grade films and drink, at times inclement weather kept him closer to the home front under the tender care of his mom. When not busy breaking his leg on misplaced ice and being locked out, he enjoyed the environs of the basement and impressive collection of VHS tapes within it. The quality of these tapes, closely resembling that of those found in the basement of Collector’s Inn, likewise drew in all manner of odd disjointed folk. The primary two in the early days were Brian Young and Jeff Falker, more familiarly known as Big Brian and Jeff Death. The trio represented, in the eyes of Ben Pierce, all that was wrong with the fine thespian endeavor what was Rocky Horror. They reveled in this and used the collective love of cinematic crap and cross dressing on stage to form a society of equals, looking out for each other’s best interest in brotherly love. As every new outfit begs a name, they set about choosing theirs. My sources tell me that The Apple Dumplin’ Gang was ultimately rejected due to copyright law, and The Dashwood Society adopted as a poor alternate.

        As with any new organization impressed with their own machismo and panache, they set about recruiting new members they could ultimately feel superior to. I was brought in as an early candidate, and it was that experience that kept me far for some time thereafter. I was initially attracted to the notion as this was still the heyday of Dark Pistacio and I saw this as an opportunity to get in good with the cool kids at Rocky. While Dan and Jeff might be highly suspect in that department, Brian was inarguably a cool cat with the black beret and jazz man image. I arrived early and was let in by Dan who showed me into the basement and promptly disappeared for other corners of the house. I sat down across from Jeff, whom I had never spoken to and knew only as that freak in the gold underwear at Rocky. What transpired chills me still when I recall the night and my inner monologue throughout.

        Jeff sat across from me, leaned back in the chair, a strapping farmer in overalls, hands folded across his stomach and shit eating grin splashed across his face. Silent, he stared at me, grinning. My eyes darted back and forth to see if he was still looking (he was) and the stairs in hoped that Mooney was coming down them. Man, this guy is creepy. Where the fuck did Dan go?

“So Jeff, how long you been doing the Rocky thing?”

“Yep”

It wasn’t a yes or no question. He continued to stare and cold droplets of sweat began to form on my forehead.

“You, um, you live around here?”

“Nope”

“Really? Oh, um, what town do you, you know, live in?”

“Country”

He nodded slowly, continuing to grin all the same. Where the motherfuck was fucking Mooney?

“Hey Dan, you coming or what?” Silence from above. Even Mighty Thor was silent. To add to the surreal aspect of the evening, one of the mutant cats occupying the premises sauntered by growling ominously. What the fuck was Dan doing up there anyway??

“Them folks who did Texas Chainsaw didn’t know shit about making furniture from human bones.”

“Uh. Daaaaaaaaaan!”

Whether Dan left me down there with this redneck zombie, who was assuredly sizing me up for use as a new coffee table, on purpose or not while he masturbated to the latest Dress Barn catalog I never found out, but it was time to retreat and live another day. I bade Jeff pass along to Mooney my best wishes but something suddenly came up. I bolted out before the lummox could lunge and ran full tint though the secret back entrance to the Tops parking lot.

My sudden unexpected disappearance (to become a trademark of mine up though the Air Force years) no doubt eliminated me from consideration as part of the Dashwood ruling class, and unwilling to be ruled, maintained an honorary membership status. Meanwhile, the ranks grew on their own pulling in all manner of outcast and undesirable freaks who fit in no other group. The full roster was generously posted by Dan himself in the Madison origin story that Aaron will no doubt insert a link to shortly.

Using Dan’s basement as a base of operations, with frequent field trips to Denny’s, Your Host, the Olympic, and Comstock, the fledgling Dashwood Society cooked up scheme after scheme to spread their funky brand of misrule upon the good people of the world. The first great assault that we became aware of is told best in the Greatest Party that Never Was post (assuredly linked by Aaron by now). I was admittedly one of those who thought it would be a good idea to allow Dan to throw the party of his choosing on our premises and willingly gave permission. I quickly questioned this judgment upon seeing the flyer pasted up outside Knox 20 in garish hot pink. That this attempt at wanton revelry and destruction failed miserably meant nothing and their ranks continued to swell with more and more bizarrely named cretins each day.

Insufficiently homosexual to forcibly enter the party planning scene, they turned instead toward Big Porn and the promise of wealth therein. Temporarily under the malevolent direction of the sinister Dr Harkey, they put together a production team and cast their net far to pull in any aspiring young actress both willing to be balled by Mahatma Nick, and to be seen doing so on tape. While none of us doubted the core competency was there to put the production together, there were grave doubts as to the existence of a woman so lacking in self esteem to be associated with this mutant crew. Funding was scarce as most of the group members were confined to living in parent’s basements or other such degrading habitats. Larry said it best when he remarked that the quality was likely to look as though tens of dollars were spent. We doubters were temporarily silenced when Dan gleefully announced that an actress was found and signed on board. After sufficient time went by without news, however, we came to find that the starlet to be failed to produce convincing proof of age. The schoolgirl look, where attractive on adult women, looses much of the luster when looking at the real deal. Her price of help on her earth science project also should have given her away.

It was becoming clear that Dashwood as a ‘legitimate’ business entity was likely not to be. Good ideas were scarce as was funding; venture capitalists preferring to pass on disorganized gangs of unruly youths. Rumors abounded that pimping, loan sharking, extortion, gambling, and a briefly successful chain of lemonade stands were all tried and subsequently abandoned. At Comstock, out in the sticks, news filtered in slowly and inaccurately, even from the horses mouth. During those days Dashwood existed in the periphery of our egocentric world, but this was to change once we moved closer to the epicenter of the madness of Mooney’s idea forge. Once up close at Princeton, it was clear how far the reach of Dan and his minions extended. Aaron expressed a growing terror, while I continued a limited liability association.

Fearing his power might wane due to the failed ventures, Mooney donned his thinking cap to determine the next course of action. Businesses gain money and power by providing some good or service, no matter how loathsome, people are coaxed into feeling they need. Religions, however, gained even larger profits and near unlimited power simply by setting up rules of questionable value and telling people what they want to hear, with a dash of fear thrown in for good measure. Inspired, he acted quickly. Some short time later, Dan arrived, as always without calling first, and by some stroke of fate I was in enough of a good natured mood to let him in anyway. Bursting though the door, he sat down, lit up one of my cigarettes, and pulled forth a certificate from a freshly arrived envelope. Inscribed on the parchment was undeniable certification that his check had cleared and that he was now legally the Reverend Doctor Daniel J Mooney. My heart skipped a beat.

In those wild days before the internet, Dan had sifted though enough periodicals of ill repute and found an ad for a church in California willing to sanctify the willing for a small fee, and would gladly confer upon generous souls an honorary doctorate for an additional $20. He brought with him a videotape to share with me and commemorate the event. As we all know, one can expect to see anything from a children’s classic with dubbed over voices to a documentary ending with a man fucking a llama when Dan’s at the VCR. Nothing could have prepared me for this. It began with a pair of lesbians in leather hoods speaking in German. A little S&M, OK. To my utter revulsion, however, they quickly moved on to the most disgustingly graphic acts of coprophagia I have ever witnessed. To this day I still barely am able to retain the contents of my stomach when thinking of it. I put a quick end to the viewing and bade the new holy man adieu.

Where a triumvirate officially led Dashwood, Dan created a subgroup within under the banner of the Church of Unconscious Revelations where he wielded absolute power. The name of the newly minted religion was based on the notion of attaining religious experience though the consumption of alcohol to the degree where one passed out; mind now open to supernatural intrusion. Generally most churches prefer that ministers ordained in their sect maintain direct affiliation to its tenants, Dan saw things differently and set forth creating new doctrine and dogma. The first major change was the trinity itself, booting the Holy Ghost to go haunt some more passive sect like the Buddhists or Amish, to bring in perennial bad-boy and crowd pleaser, Satan. How the other two felt about the change in line up remains unknown, but as there was no smiting or divine lightning, it was assumed that all but the disenfranchised party were satisfied with the arrangement. As far as I could tell, worship consisted of shots of vodka and prayer in the form of random shouts of ‘wakka-dakka baby!’.

Now, it was assumed by many that the Dashwood Society and the Church were one in the same, but my understanding was that they were separate entities, not mutually exclusive, but collectively exhaustive, one organization eclipsing the other. One could be a Dashwoody only, or be a Dashwoody and an Unconscious Reveler, but one had to be the former to be the latter, although inclusion in the former did not necessitate membership in the latter. I feel this is very clear. While the Dashwood society seemed willing to take almost all individuals interested in watching blood and porn in the basement, entrance to the Church required a baptism of sorts to initiate the new disciple into the fold. Such initiations quickly became the stuff of legend.

First to join was scrawny nudist and wanna be porn star, Mahatma Nick. I remember his initiation, undertaken gleefully and videotaped, of Nick running though Tops parking lot, boys flapping free in the wind, only to be so overcome with the spirit that he began jumping up and down on a parked car and attracting all sorts of unwanted attention. His enthusiasm absolutely guaranteed him membership into the Church and whatever bargain basement afterlife was promised to the easily duped congregation.

The most famous initiation was of course the milkshake. I had the good fortune to be present that day and can thus present a first hand account of the proceedings. The supplicant in question was Erik the Martyr (not tree punching Ensign Mark Raffe as some assumed), a Dashwood hanger on eager to be brought further into the fold. He begged entrance into the diabolical fold, and volunteered for whatever initiation would prove to be the magic price. Where some may have guessed Dan would have chosen a hefty tithing schedule, he instead went the route that most would have assumed was the most discouraging. The price of admission would be the consumption of a fresh load of Dan’s semen. Erik jumped at the chance to everyone’s surprise. Such was this enthusiasm that Dan wisely decided to forgo insisting it be taken directly from the source, as Erik was likely willing enough, and Mary would have taken enormous exception to having her man blown by this slavish worshiper. To everyone’s further surprise, Dan’s heart grew three sizes larger that day (as measured in Grinch standards) and declared consumption of said foul substance could be in disguise. After having seen the video, I had to assume it was not due to any disgust factor.

The day finally came when the initiation was to take place. I was the only non-Dashwood person there, and the whole CUR was present – Dan, Mahatma, and the novice. The blender was prepared with reverence, filled generously with vanilla ice cream and milk. Solemnly, Dan and Nick each took a small paper Dixie cup along with their preference in porn, and retreated to the houses 2 bathrooms. Both lusty fellows returned in fairly short time, perhaps having already become excited to the point of explosion at the thought of foolish Erik slurping down their man juice. As each entered the kitchen cup in hand, the crowd shrank back against the counter, each member regretting having chosen to stand so close to the path of entry. The jizz was dumped, first by Nick, then by Dan, and the button was pushed blending the baby batter inextricably with the former frosty goodness of the dairy treats. Erik trembled in excitement as Dan said a short but overly dramatic prayer ending with the characteristic ‘wakka-dakka’ and ‘Praise Jesus, Hail Satan!’. The glass was poured, and as the crowd took a sharp intake of breath, Erik put it to his lips and drank down the thick and evil concoction.

Disturbingly, he elected not to spit after and even declared the mixture ‘not bad’ and went so far as to volunteer to have another glass. The newest CUR member then baptized, the evening drinking commenced. I elected not to stick around too much longer as I could not help but notice that neither Dan nor Nick washed their hands following the production phase and since then had put their grubby tainted mitts on most surface areas. I resolved not to return until Mrs Mooney had conducted a thorough cleaning. It remains unknown if she ever learned of the gross misuse of her treasured appliances. Later that evening I took great delight in informing Aaron of the proceedings. He turned a shade of green and vowed to work tirelessly toward the destruction of the Dashwood behemoth and its sibling CUR.

When CUR was at the height of its influence, Dan obtained a full authentic priests garb through a venue he refused to disclose, creating much speculation. Most memorably he used it to attend a protest against the movie ‘Priest’, then playing at the Amherst in University Plaza. The movie caused a great deal of Catholic controversy at the time and inspired vitriolic protest from the devout. Dan’s presence was immediately welcomed by the crowd as Papist priests generally tended to issue statements rather than sully themselves with the rabble at public protests. Naturally his opinion was sought and the crowd hushed to hear the verbal admonishment no doubt about to be issued against the insulting film. “You know, I thought it was pretty fucking good! I think I’m going to see it again” He strode off to buy a ticket, leaving the horrified protesters crushed and dismayed.

The next best use of the outfit was in a videotaped interview Dan was the subject of. Brian was the unseen interviewer and to anyone not in the know, it appeared to begin with a serious recounting by the clergy about the state of the world today, circa 1995. As it went on, however, the interview took an odd turn as the very thoughtful and lucid priest stopped every few minutes to down a shot of vodka. As things progressed, the priests’ quiet intelligence slowly degraded to slurred obnoxious commentary punctuated with liberal profanity and occasional bouts of laughing. While I don’t know if it was intended to be a purely comedic endeavor, I still remember it as one of the funnier things I have seen. Unfortunately, after repeated requests for a copy years ago, Dan announced that it was irretrievably lost, or in Brian’s possession, which could be construed as one in the same.

I would like to say that Dashwood/ CUR went out with a bang, but in truth it was like all of us, a victim of age. Dashwood dropped in membership one by one and turned full focus on to producing the Madison’s. CUR retained only the founder as a member, and if I recall right, at the 8th annual Madison awards, Dan with great fanfare formally announced his abdication from the throne and officially reverted back to plain old Daniel J Mooney in order to better concentrate on shaping the minds of youth without being the subject of a Channel 2 expose titled, “Are Evil Cults Teaching Your Children?”. A wise move indeed.

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Sicko

Let me begin by saying that this entry is in no way affiliated with nosy busy-body Michael Moore’s epic drama by the same name. It is, however, likely to be in poor taste being a tribute to all those who saw fit to regurgitate their last meal upon our premises. If you feel the subject matter will offend your delicate constitution, I urge you to read on nevertheless as the mental image of your queasy retching reaction is too precious to forego. Claimers and disclaimers now delivered with due diligence, I present to you the following nasty tale.

It is often said that he who laughs last laughs best, and taking that to heart, I will present my own sordid tale to start, so that both you and I may forget by the end and enjoy that last laugh at someone else’s expense. By now, having read all of these entries in order no doubt, you are intimately familiar with the types of goings on we began to experience in the dorms of Goodyear. One of the more memorable days that year has been alluded to as the Chester Cheetah day, the rum and coke party day, the Dark Pistacio threatens Rocky Horror day, and such. In any event, while the day started with the best of noble intentions, it quickly devolved into one of the least shining moments of my college career.  That spring semester was quite a bear, and in order to relieve some of the pressures, it was decided by committee to have a blow out party in the dorm the evening after Knaus and Aaron’s big Thermo mid-term. We planned to invite everyone we knew, and in preparation utilized the fully aged services of CK to procure us a big bottle of rum from one of the liquor stores near campus.

The day itself began with an air of excitement. My mid-terms were complete and I had the day off from work or any other such care. The night previous, it was advanced, and agreed upon, that it would be a jolly good prank for me to attend the Thermo mid-term and have a crack at the test myself. Aaron recounts this beautifully and with some deal of inaccuracy in Chester Cheetah Takes Thermodynamics. Close enough for NASA work in any case. I do hold to this day, however, that the 2 shots of yak piss had well worn off by the time we descended the dark and cluttered stairway from atop Ceramic Dreams, colloquially known as the Knaus house. In any case, I digress; the day began with boyish good humor and we returned to the dorm to set up Knaus’s stereo and prepare for the party. On the way back, we stopped at McDonalds in the University Plaza and got some chow. Knaus suggested our chocolate milkshakes could be considerably enhanced by the addition of some of the rum we procured, and things just get murky from there.

The event itself was a success. We had in attendance not only the four of us, but S. O’Donnell, Burns, Mooney, Dave W, Louis, Jeff S, Schultz, and in order to ensure it wasn’t a complete sausage fest, invited my sister Laura and her friend Jen Topolski. A gala affair, lacking only in black ties and tails. To be perfectly honest, I don’t remember a whole lot about what went on that evening, except that it was a good time and the rum milkshake was going down smooth. Knaus was the first to reach the state of total inebriation and made his way down to laundry room, refunded his McDonalds in the washing machine and crawled into the dryer for a nap. It was some time before we realized he was gone, but when the search party located him, he was already on the road to recovery and picked up his rum consumption where he left off.

Although I was having a good time right where I was, Dan managed, probably with surprisingly little effort, to convince us that going to Rocky would be the perfect cap on the evening. Although I was already seeing double, I was able to adopt the guise of Pistacio. Aaron was convinced to paint his face as well that night, although I don’t believe he adopted a full on clown identity that could be conveniently resurrected for future enjoyment. A merry group of eclectic troubadours, we marched down the halls of Goodyear as a sight to frighten all children, nursing mothers, and conservative republicans alike. Trouble began by the time we reached the day room. Spying several discarded fluorescent lights jutting up from a trash bin, I decided to demonstrate my Mu-Tai prowess by shattering them both with one magnificent blow. The magnificence of the results was somewhat marred by several flying shards hitting Knaus in the face. Though his legendary temper arose, it was subdued in the same instant by the effects of the rum allowing for my survival.

Although my full range of mobility remained with me down the seven flights of stairs, it had somewhat abandoned me by the bottom. Before making the long trek over to Rocky some hundred yards distant, I developed the sensation that my bladder would not maintain its full condition for that amount of time and insisted I stop to pee on the rocky outcrop of the Goodyear escarpment. When it became apparent that I could not retain the agility to both stand and urinate at the same time, S O’Donnell, in a selfless act that no doubt haunts his dreams even to this day, held me up by my waist as I erratically sprayed about. If I missed getting any on him, it was by no means intentional, and it stands to reason that this was the very last event he ever attended. Relieved, the both of us, we rejoined the group and stumbled incompetently across Main street.

My adventure in elimination cost us precious time, as did the glacial pace at which we were able to move the herd forward, so when we reached the ticket counter, we found it closed. Needless to say, after all the drunken effort expended, I was to some degree upset, especially given that I fancied myself an integral part of the show in my Pistacio persona. The ignorant ticket wench feigned a complete lack of knowledge of my importance and even identity. No, my name was not on the list, and my golden ticket was safely tucked away in my other pants. I ranted, pleaded and finally threatened, all to no avail. Eventually, bored with my repetitive red faced diatribe, she closed the door in our faces with a smug superior look.

I was pretty gone by the time the rant occurred, and the energy expended finished me off. After this point, I only have the highly suspect recounting of the other drunken idiots who were present. Dave’s version of this story, at first telling, has me collapsing in the middle of Main Street where after I had to be carried across the rest of the way. Subsequent tellings and retellings, however, have me being schlepped across Main dozens, then hundreds, of times as I would suddenly revive and dart back across only to collapse once again on the far side. I liken the accuracy to that of the salami sandwich tale. In any case, it can be assumed that either alone, or with the patient Sisyphusian undertakings of the assemblage, I did indeed make it across alive, if not well.

Under the tender care of those few brave souls who remained; I was brought back up to the room and dumped into bed. I have no recollection of this, but the description of my vomiting experience is not for the weak of stomach and included graphic visions of excessive mucus and repeated attempts to dive directly into the vomitorium itself. I slept the sleep of the dead that night, further illustrated by the thoughtful placement of a toe tag on my person that can be viewed in one of the pics.

I awoke the next morning feeling somewhat worse for wear, but overall relatively OK. At my feeble request, Aaron was kind enough to procure me the famed special of the basement eatery – chicken sandwich with cheese with a side of spiced up waffle fries, also with cheese. He did so still wearing the remains of the previous nights face painting and apparently elicited a considerable amount of worried staring by the staff. As I hungrily wolfed this down, Aaron, O’Donnell, Knaus, Dave and Little Dave (who Dave went and picked up) went down to play basketball. Having finished my greasy repast, I felt good enough to go down and join them, having recovered remarkably. Even so, the night taught an important lesson and never since that time have I ever imbibed spirits to the point where I was forced to return them, slightly used and well mixed.

By the time we made it to Comstock, I found myself more often in the role of the responsible one. Not that I was not enjoying myself to the fullest, but I was now the one holding the barf bucket rather than using it. Granted, the housemates and most of the hangers on generally had enough good sense to know when to stop, but they tended to bring along colorful individuals who did not. During those rough and tumble dark days between the tragic end of his engagement to Carrie and his later taking up with Mary, Dan would bring by a different girl to each of our gatherings. We were never quite sure where they came from; likely ECC, Rocky Horror, or found shooting up behind a 7-11, but they did have in common a morbid insistence on puking somewhere on our premises as a first and last impression.

Sue the Boot was probably the first of these treasures. During one of our shindigs she managed to get completely knackered on whatever cheap watered down beer we had about; likely Schlitz at that point as I recall it being the foundation of the beeraymid. She was one of the few courteous enough to make it all the way to our disgusting unclean commode. Matt, ever the observant toady to her whims, followed her in but lacked the gallantry to close the door. There being a show to watch, watch we did and I have imprinted on my brain the image of her, dressed in red, clutching the porcelain god with frantic might and heaving the contents of her stomach into it. Matt made a half assed attempt to hold her hair back, but obviously failed as I recall she found vomit within it not long after. This may have been the same night she deflowered the quirksome spry lad, which would explain her condition.

Another of Dan’s momentary conquests I recall actually being somewhat more pleasant than the average. I want to say her name was Theresa, but I could be mistaken. I remember her only due to her fitting the pattern. In her case, she fell semi-comatose and babbling upon the couch and later began quietly yorking up over the side. Someone noticed and decided to grab the most convenient bucket, being a wok still filled with oil left upon the stove from one of Aaron and my French fry making experiments. That was likely the last batch. She commenced puking several times directly into the oil, where it began to fry at room temperature. When done, the same helpful soul returned the wok and its contents right to the stove where it remained until Aaron was overcome with the sheer hideousness of it and disposed of the evil soup out back. Knaus, it being his wok, vowed dire revenge on the insult to his property.

There were plenty more I’m sure, but the memories are best forgotten being more mundane than the rest I have related. The one true advantage of these occurrences was that the sickened party was usually too embarrassed to ever set foot on the premises again, allowing for a personnel rotation that kept things from becoming stale.

While none of these instances were at all pleasant, the worst of them, from my point of view, was the Christmas when Matt decided to bring over Goldschlager. For those who don’t know, Goldschlager is a clear, sickeningly sweet hot cinnamon flavored liqueur of 100 proof strength and tiny golden curls floating within it. For some reason Matt felt the need on Christmas day to drown out the sorrows of spending the day with family; who could blame him. He ceremoniously pounded down one shot and became immediately drunk, even before the alcohol should have been able to enter his system properly. True to form, he became brash and belligerent, so in response, we encouraged him greatly to do another, which he did. His BAC doubled, he reeled about like a drunken monkey. His antics, having become more annoying than anything, we encouraged him to do one more in hopes that it would put him out all together.

The third shot almost achieved success, but not before it triggered a reaction to escape. At the time I was sitting in my favorite high armed chair in front of the tube, reading over my TV Topics to see what fantastic new Simpson’s or Seinfeld I could expect to tape that week. Out of no where, Matt lurched in front of me, staggering, almost ready to fall. His mouth opened. My instincts took hold and I sprang from my seat, over the arm, with no time to play hero to that which I left behind. “Noooooo!”, I roared, knowing it was too late. He spasmed, and from his mouth gushed a veritable waterfall of sickly schnapps and Mighty Taco, blasting into my TV Topics, laying prone, innocent, and unread. My rage was palpable, but I dared not accost the assailant as he showed every indication of unleashing his terrible weapon again at the slightest provocation. I had no doubt that there was a round in chamber with my name on it. I stalked off, leaving the mess for those who loved the dirty brute.

The rest of the evening dragged on in drama. I mourning the loss of my beloved guide and Matt, somehow in his daze, fearing my wrath had locked himself into the bathroom. His brother was called to come fetch him and was finally able to coax him out of the loo. It was nary the last time anyone defiled our home as such, but that is all I shall relate at the moment.

A Pistacio, Darkly

The dawn of the 90’s saw the age of the clown begin to pass. Clarabelle was put out to pasture in an old age home. Bozo did Pepto Bismoll commercials in the wee hours of the dawn. Mr Sparkles was found dead and bloated down by the docks, strangled by his own cream pie obsession. A new breed rose to replace the old, and the age of the dark clown began. Before Captain Spaulding fried his first chicken; before Pennywise crawled from the sewers; before ICP crooned to pubescent gothic shitheads; Dark Pistacio ruled the night. His origins, once thought lost to the mists of time, are revealed here for the first time; raw, unbiased and horrible.

            Our story begins at one of the epic interludes from the Goodyear dorm experience that has now become the stuff of legends, if nowhere else than our own minds. One Friday night in October, I was away for the evening and Knaus and Aaron went to a party. Finding it far less amusing without my presence, decided to leave and get into mischief instead. Knaus, in his crafty way, found one of the legendary secret entrances to the catacombs that ran beneath the entire south campus, and though his guile and charm, seduced Aaron into exploration. I know not of what transpired between them beneath the chill dark earth, and have dared not ask.

            The following night it was Knaus’s turn to be absent, so Aaron and I found a frat party to attend. Much like the previous night, and this time without Knaus’s altered state of mind or larceny, we grew bored. Aaron told me of the find the night previous and I insisted we depart for there at once, as he was certain he could find his way back to the secret entrance. Being forewarned that it was damp and muddy beneath the earth, we went back to the room to change. I donned old jeans, combat boots and an army green trench coat that would soon become a familiar sight to all. We descended into darkness in the still dead of night.

            The catacombs, as so misnamed, turned out not to be the pre-Roman labyrinth I had imagined, but simply cruddy old steam tunnels. This made them no less fascinating and we set forth with unabashed expectation and zealous glee. The tunnels were filthy and it did not take long to become encrusted in dirt, dust and cobwebs. At one point the tunnels reduced in height to a mere 3 feet, necessitating crawling for several dozen yards though wet mud, taking care to avoid the steaming hot pipes inches above our heads. By the time we emerged to a portion of normal height once again, we were sights to behold. Drying mud smeared my coat, jeans (now torn), face and hair, which though action of sweat and mud had gone wildly askew. We were, however, quite lost.

            We came upon a door in a dark hallway that led nowhere. It was though this door that I entered and Dark Pistacio, as yet unnamed, emerged for the first time. Leaving Aaron behind to let me back in, worried it would lock behind me, I paused for a moment, then kicked it open and burst forth into a basement washroom. A scrawny man wheeled about from the unexpected commotion that shattered his perceived solitude in measuring out detergent. “Where am I?” the apparition before him demanded. His eyes went wide for the thing had emerged from a doorway marked ‘Danger – Asbestos – No Entry!’ and appeared to have been there since said asbestos was first installed. ‘P-p-p-pritchard hall…” he stammered weakly. Before the haunting creature could be questioned, he flung open the door and dove dramatically headlong and airborne though it. I expect that poor schnook probably still tells the tale of his near escape from the wildman beneath campus, albeit leaving out the spontaneous urination.

            Emboldened by the rush of causing shock and dismay to itinerant midnight launderers, I lusted over the idea of locating more. Feeling Aaron was only slowing me down; I took the next opportunity when crawling though a low point to move extra quickly and broke into a sprint upon emerging. Picking forks at random, I lost both him and myself. My luck did not pan out and I was able to neither locate nor scare anyone else that evening and eventually became locked out of the tunnels when emerging into the dental building, having carelessly allowed the door the close behind me. Returning back to the room I shed my new disguise and went to bed.

            The following weekend we were challenged by Dan Mooney to come up with impromptu costumes to attend our first Rocky Horror Halloween bash. Dan was a cast member of the geekish troupe and took to dressing up as Roadkill the Clown for some reason even though the character he was meant to portray did no such thing. The original intention was that I would become the superhero Electrocuted Man with Aaron as my faithful sidekick, Cabin Boy. This idea was put to pasture as I did not have funds to paint myself blue and the whole Cabin Boy thing had  too much of a homoerotic feel to it. Rushed for ideas, my mind harkened back to the previous weekend and with great agility, was able to piece the underground wildman concept together with the notion of Dan’s character Roadkill. Liquidating my savings of beer cans, I purchased cheap greasy makeup, red hair dye, a black foam nose, and a marker with which to write a ‘Kick Me’ sign to affix to my back. A name was needed, both sinister and mysterious that would convey the dread I brought to the table. Dark Pistacio was christened. [Editors note: Yes, the author knows this isn’t the same spelling as the nut and that it should technically be Dark Pistachio, but there was no spell checker back then and the name has since entered the common vernacular, so just deal with it.]

            The outfit was key to the Pistacio look. Army green trench coat; single fingerless glove; torn jeans; pit stained tee shirt bearing the pithy saying ‘Sucks to Be You!’. Next came the make up; inexpertly applied and horrendous, appearing smeared on by a blind, fingerless sloth. Only two colors would grace the countenance – black and white- aside from the many locations in which they smeared together into ashen grey. My hair at the time was nearly shoulder length allowing for it to be coiffed up and out, in the appearance of having been the result of curious fingers in a socket. Unknowingly, Knauses economy sized cans of shellac and spray often contributed heavily to the cause. It was only on this first official venture that the black foam nose was donned and the hair dyed as they were soon discarded in favor of a  more ‘Lobo’ like appearance, aping the popular and ultra-violent DC comics creation. The Pistacio philosophy was steal an idea and debase it to the point where the original author was too disgusted to lay further claim.

            The first outing at Rocky was a smash success. We spent the evening in the dorms imbibing liberally in anticipation of the grand event. By 11:00 PM Dan and I took to the bathroom to don our makeup, he applying his with surgical precision and I mine with reckless abandon. A fine sight we represented coming forth from our unicorn and rainbow adorned door. Two evil clowns trailed by a dead hunter, the Crow, and not to be forgotten, a French maid with an Adams apple the size of a Denver omelet. For Paul, Aaron and I, this was our first trip to the legendary Rocky Horror, and first meeting with the dubious characters that acted out the scenes from week to week for no pay and less respect. Pistacio was about to find his true element.

            Entering the Amherst theater my first sight was of a somewhat attractive bottom heavy redhead wearing nothing but her skivvies and fishnet thigh-hi’s. I was instantly enthralled with the culture, although less so after spying none other than nebbish Larry Fein in the exact same getup sometime later. That evening I had the opportunity to meet all sorts of characters of the type whom Pistacio would feel right at home. As per custom when entering Mooney’s world, Christian names were shunned in favor of more memorable monikers. Where else then could one meet both a Monkeyhead (male) and Monkeyjaw (female) in the same room and find them not related? Aside from people with simian features, I was also introduced to Dr. I (or Eye – never been sure which), Jeff Death, Pretentious Ben, and the memorable Mr. Brian Y., whose presence and sheer force of character rendered the use of a colorful nickname unnecessary.

            Those of us considered to be ‘Rocky Virgins’ had been somewhat forewarned by JP, who in this setting looked considerably less ridiculous in the French maid costume, of what to expect. We came armed with dry goods a plenty to chuck at predetermined times at other viewers, and also managed to smuggle in some beer as well given that none of the staff were too eager to pat down a belligerent unwashed clown. Where most viewers stuck to the script, getting out of their seats at only the rule designated times, as Pistacio I felt no such need to comply and enjoyed myself by tormenting other patrons to the best extent of my ability. Fueled by the evenings consumption and both inspired and protected by brother Roadkill, I made a complete and thorough nuisance of myself. I think the other viewers must have thought me part of the act and though that misconception held back from throttling me as I grated on them in a Beetlejuicesque manner. Saying my name three times only served to excite me all the more.

            After the show was over, we received a backstage invite to the weekly cast party held at Denny’s on Delaware. This location, convenient to the bus routes, was frequented by so many freaks, goons and douche bags that our presence was unremarkable. On our way in, Monkeyjaw took full advantage of the sign on my back and planted her boot half way up my tuckus, ensuring the accoutrement would be disused thereafter. Spending quality time with the cast made me realize they were not just ordinary people like you and me beneath the costumes, but certifiably insane ne’er-do-wells and borderline criminals that had somehow found each other and had in the darkness been bound by a poorly acted cult movie. I wish I could say that Todd Browning’s immortal scene from ‘Freaks’ had come to life that night with Jeff, Kevin, the Monkey Faces, Brian, Dan and all pounding on the tables, shouting ‘One of us! One of us!’, but it was simply not so. I slept very well that night.

            Although it should not have, it came to a surprise to me when Dan informed me that my irritating disruptions to their finely honed pantomime acting was appreciated by the cast and that they were hoping I would return. I believe exception was found in Pretentious Ben Pierce, who feared any additional power Mooney would gain with an ally. I had considered Pistacio a one time deal, dismantled and boxed away until the next Halloween season, if ever. The release of behaving badly in disguise however proved to be a tempting fruit and I was often swayed into making appearances. Ben was in many of my classes, and the opportunity to irritate him at night as he did me in the daylight hours was attractive. Having never seen me without the makeup, I don’t believe he ever put together that Pistacio and I were one in the same. I managed to keep myself disguised from the most of the rest of the cast that way, aside from key members of Dan’s inner circle; the fledgling group that would soon evolve into the powerful Dashwood Society

            . While other things were left in the sophomoric confines of Goodyear, Dark Pistacio found his way over to Comstock with us and continued to make a general nuisance of himself at Rocky from time to time. Winters put an end to that as the walk was long and the trench coat provided little warmth. I would often dress at the house and walk as Pistacio down Comstock to Dan’s or directly to Rocky. People generally crossed to the other side of the street once they drew close enough to get a good look at the grotesque sight coming toward them. For a period, Dan was able to use his cast status to smuggle in a fake sawed off shotgun, which I would use to scare the patrons. Nothing like realistic weaponry to really up the pants wetting factor of a very disturbed looking, and painted, individual. The use of this came to an end one evening when Sue, a girl passed to and fro between Dan and Matt, became annoyed with my antics and used it to clock me over the head.

            As time went on, Pistacio’s appearances became fewer and fewer. Factional infighting at Rocky finally resulted in the Dashwood cabal leaving Rocky for good to seek mischief elsewhere. Pistacio, whose loyalties lay firmly within that circle, was outcast as well. Pretentious Ben was left to lord over the remaining tools who could not see the light of unreason. The essence of Dark Pistacio; the army green trench coat, the fingerless glove, and the ‘Sucks to Be You!’ shirt have been lost to the cruel hands of time and many moves, and were it not for this telling, may have passed from legend and forgotten.