Twice a year the Cleftomaniacs set aside a weekend to hole themselves up somewhere and spend quality time together learning their music and learning about each other. Work, play, and more work come together mark this overnight retreat, and voices have been known to have been lost over the duration of the stay both from the hours and hours of rehearsal and from the festivities that begins as soon as the sun goes down. This Fall the Cleftos were invited to stay at the house of member Catherine Smith thanks to the extremely benevolent graciousness of her family, whose hospitality included plenty of blankets, plenty of party snacks, and fudge-coated brownies in the morning. Thanks so much, guys!
Unfortunately, however, when asked for opinions or even a brief synopsis of the retreat, not a single Clefto was willing to utter a word. It was as if there was an unspoken law that whatever happened that night was to stay buried forever in Catherine's homely mansion. There's only one thing to do with things that are buried though, and that's to dig them up, so sure enough we did some digging and we uncovered the remnants of the journal of Freshman Keira McCarthy who was evidently taking time-stamped notes of her reactions to the occasion. We feel it is our duty to share with you what we found. The following notes are entirely unedited.
Saturday, September 19
8:45 AM - I have arrived at the parking lot we were supposed to meet at, at the time we were supposed to meet. Other people look just as tired as I am. I take this to be a sign that we have something in common.
8:55 AM - I have been herded into a car with the redhead, the loud one, and the sassy director. Luckily, the drive is less than an hour.
9:20 AM - The redhead seems pretty chill. Unfortunately, she keeps getting drowned out by the loud one. He's extremely preachy and seems to think he has some sort of advanced philosophical insight that no one else does. Hopefully he gets tired easily.
9:22 AM - He does not tire. I've decided to refer to him as "Preachy".
9:37 AM - The sassy director has been very nice to me so far, perhaps she's only sassy to the pointy director. I can't stop looking at her tattoo.
10:03 AM - We have arrived at Panera for breakfast. I quickly sat down at a different table than my car to be free of them, and was simultaneously reunited with my other half. No matter what happens, at least I feel some sense of normalcy with him.
10:48 AM - After another brief yet insufferable drive, we have arrived at the house of the one that reminds me of a mysterious wood nymph, Catherine. I refer to her as "Calypso" in my head. Now that the whole group is together in one place again, I recall how much I enjoy most of their company. The pickle man, Clint, seems very sweet and fun, and the one named Sean seems like he's just an earnest, normal guy. My fellow initiate, Amy, is a delightful bundle of snark and giggles, and I want the one they call 'Natty' to be my dad.
11:32 AM - Spirits are much higher now that I've been reunited with the members of the group whose company I actually enjoy.
12:23 PM - Back at the house and time to start rehearsal. Some of the members are complaining, but I'm looking forward to it. I signed up to sing, after all!
1:44 PM - Breaktime. Several members found an automatic foot-massager and the tall, ginger one is now sitting on it. I have silently decided to never use that foot massager for my feet. Or for anything, really.
3:27 PM - The pointy director has now mentioned himself for what I can only assume is the hundreth time in the past hour. He's now polishing the side of his tea mug so that he can look at his reflection.
3:28 PM - I have decided to refer to him 'Narcissus'.
3:59 PM - The words "Chicken & a Biscuit" have now been uttered one too many times.
4:13 PM - Will looks like a cute little beaver when he's beatboxing.
4:56 PM - Everbody is going around and talking about what the various songs we sing mean to them. I think this is a pretty cool idea, but right now all they mean to me is a memorization deadline. Does Narcissus understand the concept of a simple arrangement?!
5:49 PM - Rehearsal is over. After hours of dedicated toiling I can proudly and successfully say that I have memorized most of the names of the songs in our rep. Who knows what's in them though.
6:14 PM - Chipotle for dinner! Amy's enjoying her first Chipotle burrito ever, and she looks like a chipmunk trying to cram as many nuts into her mouth as possible. It's positively adorable. I'm sitting across from the one they call Erv, even though her name is apparently Alex. She seems quite sweet. Glad to know there's another grounded soul here.
7:03 PM - Frozen yogurt for dessert! Yogurt isn't a dessert, of course, but everyone knows that frozen yogurt is just another name for fancy ice-cream so I'm not bothered.
7:35 PM - Quality time at the house! Will and Sean are just the greatest people. They make everything feel so eager and positive without any of the creepy pretention that Preachy and Narcissus have.
7:38 PM - Calypso's dad has arrived with refreshements, including a large bag of M&M's. I now no longer care what we do for the rest of the night.
7:50 PM - Sean and Will have convinced the group to play a game called "Body Body" which is apparently like Mafia but with movement. Sounds pretty tame.
8:03 PM - We're still explaining the rules. Either this game is much more complicated than it seems to be or people in this group have difficulty understanding basic concepts.
8:05 PM - After the last chorus of "what happens if you find a body?" I have decided it is the latter.
8:07 PM - Maya's here!
8:12 PM - Okay, we're finally starting! I feel like we're not going to play many rounds though, it seems like everyone is pretty tired. Well, I hope we get to have a little fun... Sean put on a happy grin and told everyone "they'd better watch out."
8:13 PM - Yup, this definitely looks like the face of fun...
8:14 PM - Clint, Preachy and Tall Ginger have all gotten up and are starting to turn off the lights.
8:15 PM - Wait, aren't you supposed to leave some of them on...?
8:16 PM - Okay, it's now very dark in here. It's alright though, Will is here, Sean is here, Erv is here... they're all calm, so it must be fine.
8:17 PM - The games begin! I of course head straight for the M&M bag and rip it open. People seem to be bumping into each other and squealing all throughout the house. I hear a few shrieks coming from the foyer, but they're soon accompanied by an oubreak of giggles.
8:24 PM - The first body had been found. It's Calypso. She looks exactly as she always does: judgemental and smooth. Everyone is now aggressively pointing fingers at each other without even the slightest hint of justification.
8:26 PM - Will and the Redhead Sarah are arguing with each other. Will claims that he saw her chasing after Natty, but she claims that Natty was just trying to steal her fruit snacks.
8:27 PM - The Chipotle has now manifested itself through the people here in the form of gas and is permeating the room.
8:28 PM - The Redhead is dead. Natty is having a fit of hysterics. This is looking like it might turn out pretty fun! Time to resume, next round!
8:30 PM - I swear I just saw someone bounding by me on all fours...
8:32 PM - I might be overreacting, but I just heard a ghastly and chilling cackling coming from somewhere in the house...
8:35 PM - I have ceased to hear the sound of anyone laughing.
8:38 PM - I have found Erv. We are stress-eating the M&M's. When we came into the kitchen the trash can was knocked over, but we haven't seen anyone for several minutes.
8:44 PM - The Tall Ginger came running into the room panting. It looked as if someone had been gnawing on his shoulders. Amy appeared shortly thereafter right behind him looking equally terrified.
8:57 PM - We are all stress-eating the M&M's. They are nearly gone.
8:59 PM - The next body has been found. It was apparently Will. However, when we reconvened to deliberate, Will was not there. I asked where he was and Natty grinned at me and said "he's coming." Catherine and Sarah are canoodling on the couch looking carefree, and Sean still looks calm and positive. I suppose it must be some inside joke.
9:05 PM - After an agressive deliberation period, Preachy was voted out. He grumpily sat on the couch next to Sarah and Catherine. Next round...
If you are reading this, listen to my words very carefully. I no longer know how long I have been in the dark, nor if I shall ever escape. I can only recount to you what has happened since last we were plunged into this shadowy hell and I ceased to recognize the people around me. A few minutes after the third round began, Narcissus came into the room where I had only moments before concealed myself. He was no longer himself. He was cackling like a madman and seemed to have torn off his shirt with his bare fingers. In addition, he was lurking around on all fours sniffing the things he came into contact with. He passed through the kitchen and into another room without seeming to notice me. I quickly snuck back into the room where the Redhead, Calypso and Preachy were supposed to be hanging out. They were gone. Will was still nowhere to be seen. I will seek out Sean, he's reliable. He must know what is going on and how to get things to return to normal.
SEAN IS NOT NORMAL
I have found Will as well. He is wearing an adult diaper and is bounding around on all fours muttering to himself about Chicken & a Biscuit. Unfortunately, I can't say I'm surprised. I hear voices swirling all around me. Are these words real? Or are they in my head? I can't tell. I think I'm in a hot tub now, and the color the water is changing ever-slightly each moment so that it gradually cycles through the entire rainbow. There are other voices around me as well, cackling deviously as they dance about me. I give in and begin to dance with them...
Sunday, September 20th
8:45 AM - Another bright and beautiful day with all of my best friends in the whole world! I can't believe I'd ever want to hang out with anyone else! Each and every one of them are the greatest people ever! Breakfast tastes great! I'm so happy that I get to be a Cleftomaniac! I can't wait until next semester when we get new newbies and I get to show them how much I love the group over retreat!