I sidled into the kitchen late that night. It was quiet. Quieter than a pizza crew where no one remembered to bring music. Someone was rummaging around in the reach-in. This might be my contact, I thought. He pulled a Hartlzer’s jug out of the fridge and set it down on the counter. “What’s a Fairkid like you doing in a place like this?” he asked.
"I’m looking for answers," I said. "Pour me a cuppa," I said. He handed me a glass of chocolate milk.
"To OSCA," he said.
"To Oberlin," I said. We drank. The taste of the chocolate was overpowering—sweeter than John Rot lunch and love notes at Thursday lunch outside of the Environmental Studies Center. I set mine down. He finished his milk in a single swig. "Clearly, you’re not from around here," I said.
"I’ve been around," he said mysteriously. "I remember the days when cocoa was food policy and mung beans were all we ate."
"Then maybe you’re just the person I’m looking for," I said. "I got a lead from Debs Gardner that someone named Matthew Borus could tell me about the Brushdog. Word on the street is that someone accidentally gold-plated it."
"Wrong," he said. He poured himself another glass. "Word on the street is ‘Oops, I gold-plated Brushdog.’ Not ‘accidentally.’ One avoids excess words when discussing Brushdog."
"Sounds like you know a lot," I said. "Are you Mr. Borus?"
"That’s what they call me," he said. "I can tell you all about Brushdog. But first, you gotta pay."
This time I had come prepared. I wasn’t going to lose any more Brussels sprouts on this lousy job. “Here,” I said. “A yogurt container full of Bernadette’s best granola. This should be more than enough.”
"Deal," he said, taking the container. He cracked an egg over the stove and I watched the yolk run smoothly onto the frying pan. "One other piece of the legend: During the period when some of us were trying to piece together the brush dog legend (probably in the ‘96-‘97 year), we got a bit more history from someone who’d been around longer and had presumably overlapped with the class of ‘94 grads that Debs mentioned . He said that at one point, there had been a decision to select a Fairchild deity, and Brushdog had been a contender for that impressive title. Pro- and anti-Brushdog graffiti had apparently proliferated, though the piece on the door was all that was left (until we added more). It was never clear how they were going to select said co-op deity (by consensus?), or if one was ever chosen.
I think that the person who told us this may have been the same who when pressed for Brushdog’s then-current whereabouts, shrugged and said, “I think Brushdog graduated.” But the legend lives on.”
"It lives on indeed," I said. It was all starting to come together. The ‘94 grads, the high priestesses, the graffiti… "Thanks for the tip, Mr. Borus. I’ll be heading out now."
"Anytime," he said. "Brushspeed."
"Take care," I said.
I walked back to my office, thinking. So Brushdog had been gold plated, and then in the running for some sort of Fairkid deity in a hotly-contested election. Brushdog had perhaps graduated, but was brought back to life by those intrepid members who believed in him/her/hir. They had built statues of the Brushdog and covered Fairkid in Brushdog graffiti until their time, too, had come to graduate. And here we were, piecing together the mystery. But where did it all begin? Suddenly, just like the kitchen door right next to all our silverware, it hit me.
Now all I had to do was report back to Matt, the (hot) Accessibilities Coordinator, and the case would be closed.
TO BE CONCLUDED in Part 4!
(part 3 courtesy of Sarah Johnson)