As rumors swirled about police crackdowns on fake IDs and popular bars closed down for serving alcohol to minors (they would later reopen with new names and then continue serving alcohol to minors), I decided not to push my luck in procuring beer for LOST night one week. By now the weekly event was familiar to many in the dorm community, so when I put out word that I needed help buying some beer, people offered advice and suggestions.
At the time, I put a lot of trust in OJ despite his propensity for bad ideas. When he offered up a guy that he knew who could help, I was ready to jump in the car and escort the contact to the liquor store. The first red flag, which of course I was too naive to see at the time, was the fact that we didn’t need to go to the store. Our source had the beer in his dorm and I just had to go up and slap some cash in his hands to get it. I asked OJ for more information on the guy, but the only real detail that I was given was the guy’s prodigious skill on the rock climbing wall.
The clock ticked closer and closer to LOST time and I became anxious about whether or not we would have any beer to put in solo cups that night. As I happened past the courtyard where the chain smokers hung out, OJ waved me over to meet a tall, pale guy with bleached blonde hair combed over haphazardly. I’m not really sure if he ever gave me his name or not. All I know is that after that night, we always referred to him as Cat Burglar.
He was very economical with his words, responding to my beer inquiry with a simple, ‘Follow me.’ I was reluctant to pick up the bizarre vibes that this guy was radiating, so I obliged. He took me to his dorm room in the building next to mine. We climbed the stairs in silence, made our way through the common room on his floor in silence, and then entered his room in silence.
The room was sparsely populated. His bed had a fitted sheet with the other sheet for cover. There was no comforter. His belongings must have all been put away and organized, because I didn’t see much of anything that would indicated that he actually lived in this room. Harnesses for climbing hung on his bedpost along with a black beanie. Unlike my abundance of space, Cat Burglar legitimately didn’t have a roommate. He mumbled something about the guy dropping out or something, but I assumed he killed and ate his roommate or else has him locked in a trunk somewhere. His silence was accentuated by the Rammstein that was humming from a small boom box.
“So you’re into rock climbing?” “Yep.” It was a grand piece of conversation. In his own strange way, Cat Burglar was in a hurry to get the transaction over with. From underneath his bed, he produced a lumpy blanket that had been folded strangely. The physics of how he unrolled it perfectly are still a mystery to me, but laid out in an orderly fashion were several bottles of Bud, Bud Light, and assorted Coke Products.
I asked him where he got them, to which he responded, “I acquired them,” as if that were an adequate answer. I ended up paying him around $1/beer, which isn’t a wonderful deal, but the guy was so off that I had to acknowledge my growing desire to get the hell out of there.
When I recounted the experience to OJ, he let me in on a secret. Word around the campfire was that Cat Burglar used his superior climbing skills for evil. He would scale the side of the arena and then Mission Impossible his way down to the concession stand, snagging brews before ninja-ing his way back out without leaving a trace.
Weeks later, when I saw him walking purposefully out of the dorm building wearing black shirt and pants that matched his black beanie and the climbing harness that was draped over his shoulder, I didn’t bother to say hello. I assumed he was on a mission and didn’t want anyone to be alerted to his presence.
In case you’re wondering, this was the only time that I bought beer from this guy.