The life of the Twomp’s living, breathing residents
by Andrea Tudhope, editor; illustration by Sarah Wool, editor
You all know about that house. You know, the one with a moat of urine around it? The one where the cops come only to ask you to squeeze inside? The one where you find yourself each drunken Wednesday night?
You stumble into the house. In the dim red lighting you see the couch that swallows your jackets and wallets. In the next room, you can make out a bar and a dancing stage in the new blue light. Green light seeps through the door to the third room, where a staircase leads to the one and only bathroom. Push your way into the fourth room, and you’ve finished your tour. Forget that you can’t see the floor, the mirror above the fireplace is fogged, and the temperature jumped thirty degrees when you walked in. It’s time to party.
But wait. People actually live here–through sobriety and inebriation, day and night. What is this place?
You guessed it, the Twomp. Yeah, we’ve all been there. And despite our complaints, we all love it. Well, maybe not all of us, but proud CC senior residents Bobby Garcia, Brendan Gangl, and Sam Hartnett do. In fact, they love it so much that they decided to live there.
“We’ve been talking about living here since we were freshmen,” Garcia said.
As summer of ’09 came to a close, Garcia, Gangl, and Hartnett straggled in, bringing with them a new sort of summer. Throwing parties at least twice a week, if not more, these three seniors take their hosting responsibilities seriously. According to Garcia, the best parties this year were the annual “Red party” and “Rave in the Cave.”
You may remember these parties, or on second thought, you may not. For the “Red party,” the residents painted the entire downstairs red, going so far as to repaint the entire bar with red and white stripes, build a new table to paint red, and ask everyone who came to wear all red. For “Rave in the Cave,” they bought brown butcher paper from Home Depot and crumpled it to make rocks, draping the rest low from the ceiling to give the house a cave-like feel.
You may also remember being turned away from the Twomp on occasions when they were throwing big themed parties, such as the two described above.
“A lot of people get upset about being turned away,” Garcia said. “One person cut our screen and was letting people in through the window.”
For big parties, they call a security guard and give him a list of people to let in. According to Garcia, they usually invite in the same people each time and turn away the people they don’t know.
“Our house just gets overwhelmed–everything goes super fast,” Garcia said. “When you put a lot of effort into a party, you really want to enjoy it.”
The people who are turned away, along with those who don’t fit within the Twomp’s crowded confines, tend to hang out around the house and in the parking lot. With high demand from such a large body of people, you’d think the residents of the Twomp would get into serious trouble with the law. But according to Garcia, “even the cops don’t come to our house that often. The college has two police officers on call for CC, and they only tell us to get inside. They never break it up or get rid of the beer.”
Not only is the Twomp an exception when it comes to being busted by the cops, it is also an exception when it comes to working with Sunflower Property Management, the company from which they rent the house. Unlike other houses that face regular inspection, the most inspection the Twomp residents see is the occasional appearance of a Sunflower Management worker picking up trash outside.
“It’s an unwritten rule because this house has traditionally been the party house for CC,” Garcia said.
This house has been the “Twomp” for ages. On CC’s alumni weekend, former students who lived in the Twomp in the ‘90s paid a surprise visit to their bygone home.
“They asked me if I had explored the basement at all,” Gangl said. “When I said no, they told me I needed to explore the basement and figure out what was buried beneath the house. I thought they were joking, but they were pretty convinced that we should check it out.”
All three housemates agree that the basement is not a place to visit frequently. There are red handprints, messages in red paint that say “Help me!” and weird holes covering the walls. Though they try to avoid the basement at all costs, they do occasionally need to retrieve items from storage. Except for the occasional game of “Who can stay there the longest before getting too scared and running upstairs,” storage is the only reason to step foot in the basement.
“Oh yeah–the Twomp is haunted,” Garcia said.
Though it sounds like a joke, Hartnett is convinced: “One day I went down and there was a dead bird in the middle of the floor. [The basement] is creepy as hell.”
The guys returned to their fully locked house one night to find a red glow coming from the basement window. They found two red light bulbs in two rooms that were randomly turned on. And it’s not only the basement that’s rumored to be haunted.
Another night, all three guys got so spooked that they had to leave the house and sleep elsewhere. On the second floor, there is a door that leads up to the third floor. Originally, it had a big lock on it, the key to which was kept by Sunflower Management. This night, on their way to bed, the residents noticed that the locked door was shaking violently. Somehow all of the windows had opened. Just when Garcia suggested that they needed to get the key to go up and shut the windows, all of the windows simultaneously slammed shut and the door stopped shaking. The guys got out of the house as fast as they could.
Along with a reputation for being haunted, the house certainly has its quirks. There is only one bathroom for the three guys to share with carousing partygoers. The walls are poorly insulated, and according to Hartnett you can put a hole in the wall by poking it. Earlier this year before the house was insulated, Garcia went to sleep each night wearing a fur hat, a jacket, and sweatpants underneath a down comforter, and still felt cold. Hartnett left a glass of water out one night only to find it completely frozen by the next morning.
And, of course, there is the fact that it is CC’s party house.
“If we’re not having a party, we don’t go down[stairs],” Garcia said. “We don’t really stay around here very often or for very long.”
But according to Hartnett, “Other than the partying, it’s pretty much like a normal house.”
OK, the Twomp is a normal house. It has a kitchen (however disheveled), walls (despite all of the holes), nights of sleep (though few and far between), and neighbors. Perhaps most “normal” is the Twomp’s northern neighbor, Rattlesnake Al. Rattlesnake Al, who promised the guys at the beginning of the year that he would never call the police on them, because in the 70s he stumbled across secrets about the Cold War and doesn’t want the police to find him. Rattlesnake Al, who told the guys that at one point in his life he had 250 rattlesnakes in his basement before he got busted. Rattlesnake Al, who the guys see less than they see the homeless man who lives on Al’s porch.
A normal house with pastel yellow and light blue paint on the outside by day, and fluorescent red, green, and blue lighting inside by night. With cardboard-covered windows and finger holes in the soft walls.
The fact is that the Twomp isn’t normal. How could it be? Just look at the name: Twomp. It’s not the Soccer House, the Synergy House, or the French House. It’s the Twomp.
“It’s been called that forever,” Garcia said. “Even alumni know it as the Twomp.”
But when asked why it is called [the Twomp], the guys weren’t entirely sure. Hartnett heard a rumor that it was named after the “twomp fungus.”
There is no such thing as a “twomp fungus,” but there is strange black mold growing on the carpet and floors downstairs. According to Garcia, if you see the dance floor empty in the light, you’ll see black spots everywhere. Cleaning at the Twomp consists solely of picking up cups and cans. Living there consists of staying upstairs away from the swamp downstairs.
“It takes a special kind of person to live here,” Garcia said. “I never leave my room without my feet being covered.”
So maybe it’s a little disgusting, and certainly not normal, but what would people do at the end of their nights without it? It’s a social magnet for many of the students on campus.
“The whole idea is to provide a scene for the school which everyone can enjoy,” Gangl said. “It epitomizes the most ridiculous college scene you can imagine. Hopefully kids to come will take what we’ve started and throw ridiculous parties like we have.”
Each party night, according to Hartnett, the three residents have to deal with “hundreds of drunken fools tearing the house down.” Regardless, they wanted to live in a place where they could create an endlessly wild scene.
Everything is crazy when you’re at the Twomp. People come in and puke in hallways, kick down doors, pee in corners, punch holes in the walls, and smash glasses in the kitchen. But all three housemates agree that it has been worth it.
“There’s only so much time in college to do stupid things,” Gangl said. “You might as well live in a shit hole for one year in your life.”