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The Team

by Bob Chikos


Dave was my first college roommate. Dave was also a jerk.

If there was ever an ethnicity, disability, or sexual preference to be made fun of, Dave was on it.

He was so obnoxious, he was once kicked out of a frat party.

At the end of the semester, he parked his Jeep on the grass next to the dorm. Carrying his laundry a block to the parking lot would’ve been too burdensome.

The thing is, he just left it there for days. I informed him of a ticket I saw on his windshield.

“Dave, you have a ticket.”


The guys in the dorm formed a team and we put our talents together. Barry was a graphic design major, so he printed up a bunch of fake tickets on yellow paper to put on Dave’s windshield. Todd was an English major, so he helped Barry write things to say on the tick­ets. Donnie was an artist, so he got his paints and planned what he would put on Dave’s Jeep. And I was a history major, so I planned to someday remember all of this.

When Dave left to take his final, we went into action. We wanted to get it done before he went to his Bible study that night. My job was to stand at the window on the second floor and be lookout. Donnie made an attempt at painting a Magic Eye illusion on the back of Dave’s Jeep.

Barry and Todd plastered the windshield with about 200 tickets. They looked just like the real thing. They said things like, “Offense: Being a turd bucket. Fine: Screw yourself.”

Then, Todd and Barry TP’d the Jeep. Under. Over. Under. Over. They must’ve gone through 20 rolls.

It was beautiful! I was so enraptured by it that I almost didn’t notice Marky coming down the hallway.

Marky was our custodian. A mountain of a man with long hair, ZZ Top beard, and arms completely covered in tattoos. (This was the ‘90s, that was unusual at the time). He would do his job with a vac­uum cleaner in one hand and a spit bottle in the other, spitting after every lunge of the vacuum.

We didn’t know Marky’s story, but rumor had it, he was out of prison on a work release program. But nobody knew for sure because Marky didn’t really talk. He just kind of grunted.

“Psst! Guys! Guys!”

Under. Over. Under. Over.

“Psst! Psst!”

Under. Over. Under. Over.

He pushed me aside and looked out the window. His chewing slowed to a standstill.

His eyes tracked the toilet paper. Under. Over. Under. Over.

He looked at me and I looked right back at those bloodshot eyes. And I thought: I’m going to die a virgin.

He said, “Is that Dave’s Jeep?”


“Go down there and ask if they need more toilet paper. I’ve got plenty.”

Marky joined the team!