The Haverfield Scare by Noah Trainor

The Ohio State Office of Transportation and Traffic Management fried chicken breast sandwich. Boom Boom sauce. Cloudy yet crisp, brown and yellow ambrosia. It was another Tuesday night and another excursion to Sloopy’s with The Grove Creative Writing Club. Between the slurps, sloops, bites, discussions, and memes, I thought to myself how excited I was to be able to select my housing as early as tomorrow morning. With a sloop of my drink, I silently thanked Dr. J for the good fortune she had bestowed upon me. However, something felt off… the J was mixed upon arrival and my fries were soggy. A coincidence, I thought to myself. Just as I was thinking this, though, I heard the opening bars to Def Leppard’s “Photograph” playing over the diner’s speakers. Nicholas visibly shuddered, and I began to think that all of this was a bad omen. But for what?

The next morning, my early alarm for 10:30am woke me with its usual repetitive tune. This was it; it was time! I booted up my trusty laptop and logged into BuckeyeLink. Desired Campus: North or South. Desired Room Type: Slooper Double. I scrolled through the options: Archer, Blackburn, Scott, Smeeb… They were all vaguely interesting, but none felt quite right. Eventually, however, I found the perfect room: correct dimensions, room type, private bath… I was slooper happy to have stumbled upon it. As my eyes shifted to see its location on campus, however, I gasped and recoiled. What I saw was that I had nearly fallen prey to dank, evil temptation. The room was located within the evil walls of Haverfield! I quickly went to click the back arrow and get myself away from this webpage which held the possibility of locking me into a year in Hellverfield. To my slooprise, though, the page did not change. I clicked again, and again; once more, and then F5… but nothing. The page wouldn’t close, either. As I paused to think of a slooplution, I noticed an almost imperceptible movement of my cursor. I jiggled my mouse, but nothing; I seemed to have no control as the cursor moved at an agonizing crawl towards the “Confirm Selection” button. Gadsloops! The forces of dankness had infiltrated my laptop and were trying to lock me into an eternity of residence among the dankolytes (and perhaps even the Pale Mistress herself)! Power button, lid slam, Ctrl+Alt+Del, Ctrl+Alt+Esc… Nothing worked! I could only sit in wide-eyed despair as my fate was sealed. My room assignment for next year would be in Haverfield.

I couldn’t bear to attend my classes that day, so I stayed back and tried to think of a slooplution. If they could take full control of technology as advanced as a Dell laptop, a phone line would be child’s play for the dankolytes to sloopbotage; calling housing would be a moot venture. The day went by, and with each hour, I racked my brain even harder than the last. There had to be a way! I spent the next few days in this sort of limbo when at long last, it came to me. I needed not go through this alone; the divine could assist me! I put on my headphones, started playing a recording of “Carmen Ohio”, and let myself fall into a deep, meditative state. How long it took me to get there I remember not, but at some point I found myself in a bubbly, hazy brown/yellow dreamscape. I looked around and called out for guidance, and eventually I received it. Before me materialized a large figure, but not nearly beautiful enough to be the Doctor. “Who are you?” I asked the silhouette before me.

“Javaune imparts her wisdom through many vessels. I am an entity in whom you can place your trust.” As the figure moved out of the haze, I saw that it stood tall, muscular, and imposing but also soft at the edges and gentle. It was, in fact, a bear! The wise bear stood tall on hind legs, facing me, and began dexterously twirling a BuckID—my BuckID– between its claws. As I was about to speak, the wise and dexterous bear held up a claw, silencing me. “You must go to the holy diner, Sloopy’s, and face a trial. Request a table for one while there are many people standing around and waiting to be seated. After enduring their vaguely judgmental stares and the host or hostess’s awkward and visible pause, you are to sit alone and order one Dr. J. For your meal, you may order what you like, but I advise you keep it small, for after this you must travel to Raising Canes and consume a Caniac Combo before the sun sets. I know a follower of Javaune’s blessed way likely needs not to be told, but the Combo must be consumed without the coleslaw; it is a dank, evil substance which must be substituted for a second piece of Texas toast. After this, all shall be right in the world again.” Just like that. the wise and dexterous bear disappeared, and I awoke as abruptly as if I had been punched in the snout by a middle-aged Halfling.

I went out and did exactly as the bear said, and on the walk home from Canes I received an email… from my prospective Haverfield roommate! In it, he simply said that I needed to text him to “talk.” Apparently, it was quite an urgent matter. A bit wary of his potential to be a dankolyte, I nevertheless texted him, inquiring as to what the issue was. He replied with a veritable essay outlining how he wanted to room with his friend and said friend was willing to switch rooms with me. The room in question was 100% identical to the Hellverfield room, except in Barrett. Thanking J for this blessing, I gladly accepted the offer and traded rooms. With all being right in the sloopiverse once again, I indulged in a trip to Sloopy’s for a well-deserved, premium Dr. J.

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