There’s absolutely nothing more fun than being somewhere you’re not supposed to be. I mean it, absolutely nothing: theme parks—overrated; getting whacked out on that sweet devil’s lettuce—doesn’t compare; playing catch in the front yard with your dad, and even though you’ve never really had the best hand-eye coordination and you didn’t realize you needed glasses until the eighth grade, he’s still trying his absolute best, because you’re his son and he loves you so much—not even close to how good it feels to loiter in a space that someone doesn’t want you to be in.
That’s why we stayed in the library for three hours after it closed its doors to the Kenyon student body.
Friday nights, the library closes at 9 pm exactly, so we arrived at about a quarter to. I’d been planning this for quite some time, so we had hiding places in mind and had already gone to the market to stock up on the supplies we needed, which included:
- that’s it, actually
So, that taken care of, we waited until a few minutes before closing and found our separate hiding spots. Not to reveal a magician’s secrets or anything, but I just crouched myself down real small into a fetal-like ball and wedged myself behind one of the red couches in the third floor study room, you know the one, the one with the nice couches. The Couch Room, colloquially.
So, I’m in The Couch Room, and I’ve turned the lights off, and I have my phone out with the brightness all the way down so I can both text my partner—she’s hidden in another room—and keep an eye on the time. The white digits start getting closer and closer to the end of the hour, and I was beginning to feel like, maybe, I’d made too big a deal out of the whole thing, when it hits nine, and the PA system pings on.
Now, I have stayed in the library till closing before, and had heard the closing announcements more than once. A simple “The Library is now closed, have a good night,” is all the farewell ever offered. Tonight was different.
Bagpipes slowly roar to life, blasting a rendition of “Kokosing Farewell” which I have never heard before in my life. My skin starts to crawl as these fucking Celtic-ass notes drone through the speaker system. I’ve never seen any of those Purge movies, but I’ve seen the trailers, and you know the part where a disembodied voice declares that the Purge is starting? That’s 100% what this felt like.
The bagpipes faded out, and an almost too-cinematic sounding voice came over the speaker, telling us that the library was closed. I could hear this sort of smug smile in this man’s voice, almost like he knew me and a friend were hiding out there, daring us to try and evade him. Then the speakers shut off, and all was quiet.
So I waited, still quietly losing my mind over the Kokosing Farewell thing that had happened—because what the fuck? Right? Like, what the fuck?—when the lights snapped off in the rest of Olin third floor. And then… music, again. Slowly building, slowly getting closer, that song “Heads Will Roll” (you know the one, it plays at like every party, and you’re like “Damn okay this song slaps but also is it about beheadings? That’s weird”) starts building, getting closer and closer, and only when I realize what the song is do I hear the door to the Couch Room opening.
The song “Heads Will Roll” is absolutely blasting now, and there’s someone else in the room with me, and for a second there I swear to god I thought I was about to be executed. I thought the punishment for sneaking yourself into the library was death, by decapitation, and here came my punisher to bring me to the afterlife.
But then the door shuts, and the music slowly starts to fade, and again I’m safe, and again I’m losing my fucking mind that the person who checks to make sure the library is empty plays hot party jams when he does it. But the music is gone, and the library is dark. And we’re waiting. The rest of the night can be described best in time-stamps, so without further ado:
9:30—The lights in Chalmers are still on, so I remove my shoes to scope the place out silently. Third floor is empty; they just leave most of the lights in Chalmers on overnight. What a shame.
9:34—The two of us are out of our rooms now, and both use the bathroom. It was a mistake to drink beer before hiding for an hour.
9:40—More beer! And chips, good, eat the loudest and crunchiest snack in the quietest place.
9:58—It finally dawns on us that we don’t have to whisper. Embarrassing it took this long to be honest.
10:04—We compare the different mouth feel of different chips, namely Cape Cod chips and Fritos, which are significantly different and warranted a lengthy discussion on the floor of Olin.
10:14—We draw some classic meme-related humor on the floor-to-ceiling whiteboards, pictured here:
Around this time I also found a Peirce cup, which bothered me but I didn’t want to touch it, so it stayed where it was.
10:25—You know the empty book shelves in the Couch Room, and you see them and you’re like, “Damn I wish I could climb those”? Climbed them. Anticlimactic, if I’m being honest.
10:32—We used the library search computers to watch Shrek, which I was a little doubtful of at first, from a humor perspective, but hearing that loud ogre scream echo throughout the empty stacks of the library was a life-changing experience. This night, like ogres, like onions, had layers.
10:41—We raced those wheely chairs down the ramps from Olin to Chalmers and I fucking won, because of course I did
10:51—So in my notes for what we did throughout the night, at 10:51 I just wrote “paper toss” and I actually don’t know what I meant by that? I was kind of drunk at this point, “paper toss” could mean anything, but god knows what it was specifically. So nothing goes here, actually. Hey, thanks for reading the Thrill, love you.
11:07—I moved one of the little step-ladders over to the side of a friend’s carrel in Chalmers and climbed into it through the top, then climbed back out. It was very dusty up there. I have yet to tell her I did this, actually. Hey, sorry about briefly infiltrating your space. I like the pictures you have tacked on the wall, though.
11:15—Shrek again, actually
11:22—Okay. So, at this point, we decided we were going to film a fake promotional video for Olin-Chalmers Library, which quickly descended into just recreating, shot-for-shot, the dance scene from “The Breakfast Club,” where I played every single character. Video content of this will appear at some point, so don’t worry your little heads about that, but for now just let me say that I think Ally Sheedy must’ve needed some serious massage therapy after that because the amount of times she twirled her arms around like that fucked up my neck and shoulders something fierce. The next two days I was sore. I was genuinely a little mad at John Hughes for doing this to me.
11:48—Halfway through recreating the dance scene I realized the Peirce Cup from earlier was bothering me too much, so I put it in the dish return bin. Return your Peirce Cups, you privileged fucks.
12:19—The video wrapped up, we realized that our initial plan of spending the entire night in the library was ridiculous, mostly because neither of us wanted to do that, so it was time to leave. Problem is, as we moved to the second floor we realized that there were security cameras trained on the doors. Yikes, an issue. In this moment I had wished we’d had Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, but like when haven’t I wished that, tbh? Also it’s Wednesday when this is being posted, happy Harry Potter day y’all. Anyway.
12:21—Realizing we didn’t have any other choice, we shoved through every door in our way, stopping just once to read the sign that said, in big red letters, ALARM WILL SOUND. The second we made it past that door and into the first floor lobby, we ran as fast and hard as I’ve maybe ever run in my life. Genuinely I expected to have attack dogs called on us. We sprinted away from the library and didn’t stop running until we passed through the Gates of Hell.
In conclusion, this building is going to be a pile of rubble soon, so I’m glad I got to have some special moments in it before we send it off, Viking funeral-style.
In a second conclusion, literally where the fuck can I find that bagpipe “Kokosing Farewell?” It was really good, actually, and I can’t find it anywhere.