Living in the Trap House: a Psychological Thriller.

By: Henry Wallace

Read time: 5 minutes

As a hypochondriac, I began diagnosing myself with psychotic schizophrenia a couple days after I moved into my house on Lorillard. Perhaps my sophomoric psyche was too fragile to withstand the weltschmerz of keeping a sanitary house.  My psychosis first manifested in solo cups that would appear out of thin air and try to compete with me and my roommates for living space. Even after I’d spent hours clearing them up. Even after I filled 3, 4, innumerable trash bags with the detritus left from the previous night’s revelries.

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I tried to convince myself that I was hyperbolizing the dunes of red, blue, and green solo cups out of which I created monuments of plastic. Particularly disturbing was that the specific shade of subdued, toxic green cup that cropped up evoked revelers’ sour apple four loko vomit. Many of the cups had been trampled to shreds, which I then had to painstakingly pick up one piece at a time. I began having a recurring nightmare where I was double fisting black trash bags filled to the brim with the fragments of solo cups and, relieved that after hours of work I’d finally managed to clean up the basement and kitchen, walked out to my backyard for some air. In the dreams I would open the door and see the piles of shredded plastic in gaudy shades slowly grow until they towered over me. The plastic bags I was holding would rip. Fragments would spill out and envelop me in the sticky leftover alcohol that had fermented further in the red light of a sunrise that, to me, began to look like the bottom of just another red cup.


I would try to scramble out of the sticky mess. I would try to reach toward the giant, blood red circle that was consuming my world in a pitiful effort to escape. In my dreams I would gasp for air, inhaling plastic shards covered in sticky, discolored residue. I would wake up to find that there were at least 20 or 30 solo cups in my room. Maybe if I’d slept a second longer they would have tried to consume me like their compatriots did in my dream. My psychological state deteriorated further when the incessant pounding of music that was really a siren for drunken, underage drinkers became the soundtrack of my waking nightmares. I would wander through parties in my house (although it’s hard to say when a party ended and a new one began) unable to tell if I was really awake.


I can’t tell if it was an especially twisted nightmare or just the cold reality of the life I was living, but i distinctly remember wandering through a sea of solo cups desperately trying to make eye contact with the people that were sweatily attached. My knuckles were clenched. Nails digging into palm. I exerted every ounce of willpower to hold myself back from the void of insanity that the demonic cups were edging me towards. In my peripheral vision I saw cups in swaying, inebriated hands laughing at me as their contents spilled out across my floor. I could already smell it fermenting in the hot and sweaty press of bodies.


The music changed. The sound of a twanging banjo filled the petri dish that my house had become. And a voice began, in a Seussian tone, to tell me:

“Now a red solo cup is the best receptacle

For barbecues, tailgates, fairs, and festivals

And you sir, do not have a pair of testicles...”

Toby Keith’s Red Solo Cup was the last straw. Reality fractured and I felt as my sanity was engulfed in the tide of red, blue, sour-apple-vomit-green plastic that had just broken through the threadbare dam of willpower I’d held, white-knuckled, together all evening.

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I looked out over the battlefield that was my backyard. The roof of the storage shed in my backyard was bouncing up and down in time with the music because people had climbed on and started “dancing” to the beat. Then the crowd on the roof parted to make what looked suspiciously like a dance circle. The subdued shreds of my psyche were ready for the husk they inhabited to be incarcerated for the inevitable manslaughter charges that would be filed when one of those drunk kids killed themselves falling off my roof. There are no solo cups in prison right?


A lone “dancer” made his way to the center of the dance circle. I felt the anticipation of a crowd that didn’t quite know what to expect. He stood there. Solemn. Still. A figure of peace in a roiling sea of sweat and liquor. He evoked a Christ that had turned too much water to wine. Then He started to backflip in time with the beat. 3. 4. 5. 6. Then 10. I witnessed as backflip Jesus spun through the air for his rave apostles. Everyone was cheering.


I made eye-contact with my roommate.

“We need to kick everyone out” he mouthed over the flailing limbs.

I nodded.

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CultureVictoria Munoz