Hot Rats StoryTime Theater
Fire on the Lido Deck
By Channing McCleod (Hot Rattus Emeritus)
During the Spring Quarter of our 3rd year as Hot Rats, fires began to burn within most of us…..for fires to burn.
There was a new guy in studio (Steve?), and he was strangely distant from the rest of us Rats. I suppose our band of merry madness was hard to join….Well ‘Steve’ was short on class participation, long on opinion, and his ‘Box with Spikes’ project had a striking resemblance to the Hejduc Boxes that Jim Williamson had under construction. So when he ‘disappeared’ from class and was gone for 3 weeks or so without even bothering to come get his stuff, we (O.K…..I ) assumed that he had quit school never to return. All the while, the Hot Rats were working themselves into a feeding frenzy of late nights, hot days, long hours and projects that seemed to be endless.
During the particular late night in question, tensions were beginning to overflow into sheer madness and time wasting fits of Hot Rat anxiety punctuated with extreme emotions!
“We NEED to burn something,” I vaguely remember mumbling, while scanning the studio for ‘fuel’. Then my eyes set upon Steve’s ‘Box with Spikes’ project that had been gathering dust for some time…..”Perfect.”
So after gathering two half full cans of Spray Mount and Steve’s doomed project, we (I can’t remember exactly who) retired to the Lido Deck for “a little fire”. After pushing all of the spikes into the box, and emptying the contents of the Spray Mount cans into and onto the cardboard cube, bystanders watched and hooted as the immolation began with the flash of a small fire ball.
Soon, as more Hot Rats reached the Lido Deck to observe, chaos took hold of the event. Multiple projects and sheets of cardboard were thrown onto the fire…..paint was sprayed, rubber cement poured, and the flames rose higher and higher. It was at this point that I began to realize that:
1) This is getting out of hand, and
2) We are about to get into trouble.
So I s! tepped out of the circle of light cast by the now raging bonfire…..just in time to see Jim Williamson stepping out of an office on the second floor of the new Architecture Building. As I watched Jim lock the door and turn towards us through the flames, I sobered myself…..then I twinged as Jim looked up to see what must have been a terrifying sight….8′ high flames on the Lido Deck….with Hot Rats prancing around burning architecture in effigy.
I could hear the look on his face.
He started running.
I knew my only chance was to become a ‘hero’, so I left the fire to find some water. Managing to return just as Jim got to the scene, I doused the fire with a bucket of water or two. As Hot Rats scattered like leaves in the wind, Jim demanded “Who did this?”…..I only replied “Idiots.”, and pulled off my deception.
Now, after telling this story to others, I was informed of further details by Mark Gardner. I repeat these details here as told to me. My apologies to Mark for any inaccuracies.
While I was putting out the fire I had started, Jim was in control of the only door onto and off of the Lido Deck. Several Hot Rats had been cornered, and the only way out was past Jim. The safest attempt seemed to be a mad rush of several bodies at once. Mark Gardner and Brian Slocum were two of the cornered observers, and while breaking for the door, Mark tells that Jim yelled at Brian:
“Hey You! Hey Fat Boy! WHO DID THIS?!”
Brian never hesitated…..he ran like the wind
— Channing Mcleod
The events depicted here may in fact be the deranged ramblings of an adult who simply wishes to make their college experience sound more exciting. The memories found herein are the property of the collective conciousness of the HOT RATS and may in no way be used as evidence in a court of law, since the statute of limitations for “reckless architecture” has long since run out. This article and the contents therein may not be reprinted without the express written consent of the author.