I used to deliver pizza.
It wasn’t a glam job, I know, but the money was okay, and I needed it for school and other shit. Scholarships only covered tuition, and the school had cut back on work-study jobs. I hadn’t even thought about delivering pizza, but then I ran into my old roommate. I told him about my money problems, and he suggested it.
“I deliver pizzas, you know, for Campus Crust,” he told me. “Two nights a week, and I’m pulling in maybe fifty to hundred, depending on the night. Not enough to retire on, you know, but it buys groceries for the week.”
I thought about it. I had a car, a beaten up ten-year-old Corolla, and my class schedule was light on Fridays and Mondays, so delivering during weekends was okay. I asked my buddy to hook me up, and the rest is history.
It was an easy job. I was a townie, so I knew the campus like the back of my hand. Over time, I learned that fraternities tip for shit, but sororities always go for an additional twenty-five percent. Certain faculty can be generous. Certain dorms were known for pranks. A couple of times I delivered pizza to my friends. Felt weird about charging them, but they were cool. Never once did I have a run-in with any of my customers. Never felt in danger. Never thought I was in danger. Until one night when I got the call for the Omega House delivery.
It was a busy Friday. I had just dropped off a bunch of pepperonis to a law school study group freaked out over finals and was itching for a break when my manager dropped the order email in my hand. “Twenty-five pizzas going to Omega House. They’re ready now. Get your ass moving.”
My manager back then was a heart attack waiting to happen. Fat, bald, over forty, and a porn star mustache. He was the only thing that sucked about working there. Normally, I’d grab the pizza and go, but I had never heard of anything called Omega house on campus. We were being pranked
“Sorry, man. There’s no Omega House on campus.”
“I don’t give a shit,” my manager snorted. “Get those pizzas over there.”
Part of the delivery rules were that once the pizzas were in your car, they were yours. Either the customer paid for them, or you paid for them. “Dude, I’m serious… I know every fraternity on campus, and there’s no Omega house.”
My manager turned his piggy eyes to me. “Kid, either deliver them or get out. And you dude me again, you’re fired.”
Asshole. So I took the pizzas, even though I knew I’d be paying for them. It was sixty dollars’ worth of pizza, too. So much for making bank this weekend. I put the address into my phone and headed towards fraternity row. Ha ha. Pizza delivery to an empty lot. So fucking funny.
Sure enough, the GPS led me past all the big houses.
Make a right turn, Siri told me.
“Where?” I mumble, but sure enough, there was an access road at the end.
Keep straight for one mile, Siri told me.
“Okay, Siri.” It was black as pitch, so black that even my brights did no good. My engine started stuttering. A few more feet and it stopped altogether.
“Son of a bitch.” I tried the engine over and over, but it had flatlined. The phone was dead, too.
Fan-freaking-tastic. Looks like I was walking. I shoved my cell phone in my pocket and put on my Campus Crust baseball hat when somebody knocked on the window.
I yelled bloody murder, fully expecting to see Freddie Kruger’s knife-blade fingers waving Hi.
“Omigosh. Did I scare you?” A beautiful blonde girl in a blood-red summer dress stood smiling at me. “I’m so sorry! Do you mind giving me a ride?”
I rolled down the window. “Sure,” I replied, even though the car was dead. Only an idiot says no to a girl like that. “Where are you going?”
“Omega House. They’re having a pig roast.”
I don’t know what surprised me more, that there was an Omega House, or that they ordered pizza when they were having a pig roast. “You sure it’s up ahead?”
She looked at me like I was an idiot and pointed straight ahead. “Yeah… it’s just up ahead. Are you new or something?”
I unlocked the passenger door. “No… I’m going there, too. It’s just my car choked out.”
“I’m sure it’s fine.” She slid inside and took a deep inhale. “What is that delicious smell?”
“Pizza.” I stared at her dress for a moment. Outside it looked red, but inside it was white. Must be a trick of the light. I tried the engine again; this time it started. “I’m the delivery guy.”
“Cool.” She turned to the radio. “Can we listen to Bon Jovi?”
Bon Jovi? “Uh, sure… I don’t have any Bon Jovi on my playlist, though… ”
“Play list?” She started pressing buttons. “I love Living on a Prayer… where’s your tape player?”
“Tape player? Do they put tape players in cars anymore?”
“Yes. My father’s Cadillac has one.” She stopped fiddling and turned to me, her large blue eyes making promises my body wanted to keep. “Do you mind going in with me? I’m supposed to meet my friends, but I’m nervous going in alone.”
“Make a U-Turn. Drive straight for 1/2 mile.” Siri’s voice sliced the air and nearly gave me a heart attack.
“Crap! I forgot the nav! Sorry!”
I turned; the girl was gone.
My heart nearly jumped out of my chest. I made a weird sound – like something between a scream and a sob – and whipped the car around, flooring it for either a tree or fraternity row, whatever stopped me first.
Fortunately, it was fraternity row. As luck would have it, Zeta Alpha was having a surprise kegger. I pulled up right as they were about to place their order. My manager got his sixty bucks. I got a twenty dollar tip, which I put to good use by getting shitfaced at a townie bar by my apartment.
The next morning I went home, too ravagd by nightmares to handle solitude. Mom was already up, which was fine. She made me some eggs.
As she cooked, I asked: “Mom, what do you know about Omega House?”
“Omega House?” She looked blank for a moment. “You mean Tri-Omega?”
“Maybe. You know it?”
She nodded. “It was a sorority. Tri-Omegas. Had a house down at the end of the old fraternity row. Called it the Omega House because it was the last house on fraternity row.” She dumped my eggs on a plate and handed it to me. “Why do you want to know?”
“We got a prank call last night. Somebody wanted pizzas delivered to Omega House.”
Mom’s eyes grew wide. “You didn’t go, did you?”
I shook my head and toyed with my food. “Yeah. I tried to. It was… there was… I don’t know.”
Mom cursed and took the seat next to me. “Okay, this is something you don’t talk about. You tell anybody else, people will think you’re a liar. That you’re crazy. You understand?”
“I already think I’m crazy.”
She took a deep breath. “Tri-Omega had a feud with their next-door neighbors, some fraternity I can’t remember. The girls ended up reporting the fraternity for hazing and got them kicked off campus. The fraternity members decided to get the girls back, so one night they broke in… I don’t need to tell you what they did there. It was… bad. Ended up setting the house on fire.” She sighed. “I remember they called it a pig roast.”
“Jesus!” My stomach twisted. The girl, smiling at me, blood stains on her white dress. “We’re having a pig roast.” I tasted bile and eggs in the back of my throat. “Why didn’t I know any of this?”
“The university covered it up.” My mother wiped her eyes. “I knew about it because daddy was a first responder. He was out there and he saw firsthand… what those boys did was sick. Sick and cruel.“ She scooted off crumbs into her hand and tossed them into the sink. “The worst is, they didn’t pay for it. Nobody paid for it. The boys had important relatives. If it got out, it could end the university.”
“But what about the girls’ families?”
“Paid off. Everyone got paid off.” She sighed. “The university tore it all down. Even dug up the road and moved fraternity row to where it is now. They keep trying to sell the land, but people can’t develop it… bad things happen there.” She got up to pour more coffee. “Don’t go down there, okay?”
I sprinted out of the house and drove down fraternity row. After the last house was a dead end.
There was no access road.
By Liz Charnes