I traveled south to Champaign-Urbana as an exchange student1 to my new host parents: Romanian ex-gymnast Corina Ungureanu2, her husband, and their baby daughter. When I arrived, Corina and the baby were home alone and she began telling me all about what life was like on the hard-edged industrial wasteland3 that was the western edge of Urbana. Surviving was tough, but they got by somehow.

After Corina put the baby to sleep, we sat together near a window and watched the sun set through the hazy, pollution-soaked sky. The fading light bathed the room in a warm orange glow and Corina and I began to move closer towards each other until we kissed tenderly. After a few minutes of kissing and over-the-clothes fumbling, she tore off her shirt, revealing her breasts and, surprisingly, pierced nipples4. We continued on that strange erotic journey to you-know-what, when suddenly the door flew open and into the room strided Corina’s husband5. Seemingly unaware of what was going on between me and his wife, he grasped my free hand and welcomed me to his home. The three of us continued to make awkward conversation for several minutes, until there was another rap at the door.

I opened it, and in the massive hallway of the building were many of my friends from my earlier ill-fated tenure at Champaign-Urbana as a student6. I hadn’t seen them in many years, and we all started playing a pickup basketball game on the hoop that had been placed in the hallway. The game quickly began to resemble something out of NBA Jam, with absurd dunks and my scrawny friend Isaac bombing 3-pointers7. After a rough and tumble game, we all agreed to go out to White Horse later that night for some Rolling Rock and karaoke. I went back into the apartment to get my shoes

…only to find Corina missing and QXZ and Walter standing in her place. Well, not exactly. You see, QXZ was QXZ, but Walter was a gimpy-looking white trash guy with a blonde mullet that claimed he was Walter. No matter. We both said our hellos and began catching up with each other, when suddenly a large group of small children ran into the room and demanded that Mullet-Walter tell them a story. Mullet-Walter began telling them about his years riding the rails and living the life of a hobo in the deep south. QXZ looked at me with a bit of distain and said, “He always does this, now we’ll never get out.”

The kids sat around Mullet-Walter in a circle, lapping up his tales with total awe, and as I looked at them I realized that all the children were my entire 2nd grade class from grammar school. One little boy (a 7-year-old Marco Capasso) stood up and said “Mr. Walter, I want to live on a train just like you!” Mullet-Walter looked at little Marco and said, “Damn straight, kid! The life of a hobo is exactly what the doctor ordered! Who in the Sam Hill wants to be trapped in a musty old house like them damn city-folk?”

“But Jeff”, I interrupted, “You and Keith have a pretty cool place to live in the city.”

“WHAT?!? That don’t belong to us! We’s SQUATTIN'!! Every man’s gotta take a breather once in awhile”

QXZ rolled his eyes and walked over to the window behind me. I turned to say something to him, only to find that Corina had returned, her shirt had not, and QXZ was otherwise occupied. I turned back to Mullet-Walter and told him point blank, “What are you talking about? I know you love it in New York.”


Mullet-Walter suddenly pulled out a makeshift knife8 and ran at me. During his run, he morphed into regular Walter and leapt on top of me, ranting and raving in Charles Manson-like gibberish. Just before the first knife blow hit, I woke up.

Take from this what you will, I’m blaming it all on the feta cheese and lemon-lime Gatorade I ate before going to bed last night.

1 Why I would travel as an exchange student to someplace in my own state I don’t know.
2 Who does actually exist
3 Which does not actually exist
4 It was surprising that her nipples were pierced, not that taking off her shirt had revealed them. I really don't find that sort of stuff particularly attractive, strange that a dream girl would have it. Then again, remind me to tell you about the one I had with Ginger Spice where she had a penis.
5 Whose name I think might have been Milos, but also does not actually exist.
6 We’re not going to talk about this.
7 Which is more absurd then it might seem, because they were all Computer Science majors and looked the part.
8 or shiv

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