The Old College Try (My Idea First, And I Can Prove It)
Adapted March 28, 2011
I decided I was finally going to kill Tom, one of my college roommates.
Due to his drunken shenanigans, my grades had really been slipping. There
was always this thing going around that if your roommate kills his or
herself, the school gives you a 4.0 GPA for the semester. All I had to do
was kill Tom and make it look like a suicide. My first problem was that my
other roommate, Scott, found the rat poison and arsenic that I bought. He
wasn’t exactly gung-ho about the idea. I told him not to get in my way. I
prepared a lovely spaghetti dinner and rang the big triangle we keep by the
“Kiddies! Dinner!” I yelled. Tom, Scott, and our other roommate Jeep-Jeep
stampeded into the dining room. I had put the plates down before they
arrived, and Tom, being one for goofy pranks, switched his plate with
“What was that?” I said. “Did you just switch plates. Switch them back.”
“Why?” Tom asked.
“Because I, uh…,” I stalled. “Because Jeep’s plate has coconut in it, and
I know how much you hate coconut.”
“Coconut spaghetti?” Jeep protested.
“Yes, so eat from your own frigging plate.” At that moment I noticed
something rather odd. Although, I specifically placed the plates in a
certain way, we were now all sitting on the same half of the table. I had to
speak up about this. “Hey, why doesn’t anyone ever sit on that side of the
“The cameras?” Tom said.
“What it this, the Real World? What cameras?”
“You know how on television characters always sit facing the camera.
Except on the Brady Bunch. There were probably too many of them to pull that
“This isn’t a television show, Thomas,” I said. “This is a short story.
You can sit on the toilet for all these people care.” I had noticed that
Troy was slow getting started with his dinner, and I was also worried that I
didn’t put enough arsenic in.
“Troy, darling,” I said. “Would you be a dear and get the cheese?”
“Darling?” Troy said, getting up. “Are you coming on to me?”
Once he got up, I sprayed some of the rat poison on his food. Scott, the
attentive bastard, saw this.
“What the hell was that?” he asked me knowingly.
“It’s spray cheese.”
“Can I have some?” Jeep asked.
“No,” I said. ‘There’s a bottle of castor oil in the cabinet. You can
Troy returned with the cheese, a bit too soon for my taste.
“Uh, do we have any pepper?”
“Why not just tie me to a tree and cut my feet off?” Troy said.
I dropped a happy little pill in Tom’s drink, as Jeep, for some reason,
took a bite of Tom’s food. I tried to stop him, but it was too late.
“I want some.”
“Would you like some cheese with your whine, Jeep?” I said. “Tom’s not
having anything you’re not having.”
“Now what the hell was that?” Scott said.
“What?” I tried to defend myself. “It was an ice cube. Jeep, eat from
your own plate.”
“You poisoned his food, didn’t you?” Scott whispered.
“Shut up, Scott,” I told him. “Oh, Tom, would you get some salt too,
“Jesus,” Tom answered. “You know, I don’t even remember the boat ride. I
must slept the whole way.”
“Your not going to get away with this,” Scott threatened me.
“All right,” Tom said, returning to the table with his hands full. “Salt,
five packages of duck sauce, a can of chicken soup, twenty packages of hot
mustard, and twelve non-dairy creamers. Anything else?”
“No, that’s great,” I said. Tom started to take a drink, finally, but
Scott slapped it out of his hands.
“Don’t drink that,” he said.
“Damnit, Scott,” Tom said. “Why the hell not?”
“Because my, uh, teeth are in there.”
“I’m not cleaning that up,” Jeep said.
“Your teeth?” Tom said. “You’re a damn weirdo. You know, this is so much
fun. We’re like a little family. Why don’t I cook dinner tomorrow night?”
“I mean it,’ Jeep said. “I’m not cleaning that up.”
Scott then spilled his beverage all over Tom’s spaghetti.
“Scott, Jesus. You clumsy bastard. Are you going to clean this?”
“Club soda will get that right out,” Scott said.
“We don’t have club soda,” Tom said.
“What do we have?”
“We have beer.”
“But it was beer that you spilled in the first place.”
“All right, everybody shut up,” I yelled, getting impatient. Amid all the
arguing, Jeep-Jeep passed out onto the floor. Tom didn’t notice, but Scott
and I certainly did. I tried to hide what happened from Tom by propping Jeep
“Hey, John,” Tom said as I lifted the 200-pound student up. “Why don’t
you come to the party with us tomorrow night?”
“Uh, sure,” I said. “Why not? What’s the occasion? Kegfest? The Indoor
Binge Drinking Championships?”
“Hey, what the hell happened to Jeep?” Troy asked.
“Uh, he’s just a little…”
“So, really? You’ll go?”
“Tom,” Scott said, “Jeep just passed out.”
“Yeah, so? When hasn’t he passed out?”
“If you’ll excuse us, Tom.” I said, “Scott and I have to take Jeep to the
“Okay, whatever, have fun.”
We exited the townhouse urgently. Jeep ended up being all right and Tom
had foiled yet another of my plans, but as Dr. Claw always told Inspector
Gadget, I’ll get him next time.