I’m not exactly sure what makes an albino an albino- I always thought it was pink eyes, but I think I got that from an old action movie that had an albino bad guy- but whatever it is, I’m pretty sure we had one on our hands in college.
It was sophomore year and I lived on a dorm floor that was laid out like a quad. Three of the rooms facing out off of a main common area and one smaller room that had no windows and lurked off at the end of a hallway. That’s where he lived.
A cruel nickname to be sure, but as this story unfolds, I’m sure you’ll understand why a bunch of dumb college guys would bestow such a moniker.
He never left his room. Even when he left it, he didn’t leave it… he emerged. You wouldn’t say a baby left his mother’s womb, there is far too much else involved in the procedure to simply say left. Same with Casper.
Nobody ever saw him during the light of day. The only time he would emerge was in the middle of the night. To use his ham radio. Apparently the reception in the bowels of the building wasn’t great so he would set up shop in the middle of the lounge.
I’m not sure how many albinos there are in the world, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the amount coincides with the exact number of ham radio enthusiasts. He would sit out there yacking away to people on the other side of the globe at all hours and wake us up.
And not with the yacking.
Like a tree frog.
The fucker sat out in the lounge at four in the morning chirping. I’m not even sure how he produced the sound. I was afraid to look. I imagined his neck swelling to enormous proportions prior to the chirp. Maybe all albinos chirp; like I said, I’m not an expert on them. Maybe the chirping was the real communication and all the talk was just cover as the albinos sat up at night planning their eventual takeover.
So you had three rooms full to bursting with the kind of enthusiasm for life you only find on a university campus and one room with a creepy pale guy who nobody ever saw except when they stumbled in late at night. Before you leap to the conclusion he was shunned from the start, just know that we did try to reach out. We would knock and knock and know without a doubt that he was inhabiting the dark confines behind the door but he would never answer.
I’m not sure that he ever showered. It was tough to tell because the hallway to his room smelled like a rotting corpse from day one, so subtle shifts in the odor were difficult to detect.
It was important to us, at least at first, that he felt like one of the guys and that we weren’t excluding him when we headed out to various social functions, but he would have none of it. Apparently the lure of liquor and women did not tug on his heartstrings with the same fervor as his ham radio.
Maybe operating a ham radio is actually wildly entertaining and I’ve been missing out all these years.
I don’t think his eyes were pink though. I would have remembered that. Mostly because if I walked into the lounge at four in the morning, half in the bag, and was greeted with a chirping cave thing with pink eyes, I would have probably leapt right through the window and plunged to my death.
You’d remember a thing like that.
So the year zipped by and nobody ever saw him again or heard anything about him but every time I hear a tree frog, I give a little smile and think about ol’ Casper and wonder if he still haunts the ham radio airwaves.
Fuck that, I’m not going to feel nostalgic for an albino.