CHAPEL HILL, NC—At their house in Fraternity Court, UNC-Chapel Hill’s chapter of the Sigma Chi fraternity hosted a “Puke and Rally” to raise money for Republican U.S. Senate Candidate Thom Tillis last Friday.
The event, planned by the fraternity’s philanthropy committee, was announced in invitations to “rage face and raise funds” that were sent to alumni, friends, and even Thom Tillis himself.
“The brothers of Sigma Chi are all about Thom’s values,” said Bradley Heller, Sigma Chi President. “We wanted to show our support without having to waste a Friday night doing stupid shit like canvasing.”
The event kicked off around 7:00 pm with an opening statement from Heller, who focused on Tillis’ success as a public figure and political role model. A roar of approval followed Heller’s remarks, driven by anxious desire to black out as soon as possible. The three kegs were simultaneously tapped, and, as the final notes of “The Star-Spangled Banner” faded from brother Ryan Gallagher’s portable speakers, the beer began to flow.
The political spirit hung heavy in the air, carried by Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Freebird.” Around the perimeter of the trampled yard, the Sigma Chi pledges collected solo cups and crushed beer cans, black trash bags heavy on their backs. Cries of “Tillis forever!” periodically rose from the general screaming.
The awaited first puke happened about an hour into the rally, once the sizeable crowd had already spread into the Sigma Chi house.
Terry Fontanelli, sophomore, had been aggressively circling the lawn, chanting “Fuck liberals,” just seconds before projectile vomiting on those standing around him. All gathered and rejoiced as Fontanelli continued to dry heave in the dirt.
“Things really started heating up once Terry blew it,” said Heller. “You can’t have a rally without a good puke first. Soon all of us were throwing up around the yard. We were settled in for the long haul.”
As the rally degenerated into a house party, a grey Buick pulled up slowly to the curb. Thom Tillis, in a full suit, stepped out. To cries of elated, boozy disbelief, he made his way across the vomit-strewn lawn, past picket signs lying checkered with muddy footprints in the grass.
“When Thom walked up to the house I was like ‘Damn, cops’,” said sophomore brother Will Paxton. “But I knew he was chill as soon as he bit into a PBR with his teeth. He tore that shit open like a gazelle’s throat.”
Tillis tossed the empty can into the grass, loosened his tie, and quickly downed several more beers.
Sitting on the house’s front steps, the veteran politician found a bong in his hands, and fumbled with the lighter before asking for help from a passing brother. One witness saw Tillis attempt a keg stand outside. Tillis then stumbled to the porch railing and vomited all over pledge Richard Pratt’s shoes.
Tillis performs a keg stand
“He started to apologize, but then he saw my pledge pin,” said Pratt. “He leaned in close to my face, flicked my nipple and whispered that I should get him another beer before he face-fucked me.”
Tillis did not attempt another keg stand, letting his first 30-second run stand as testament to his skill. As darkness fell, the action moved to dance floor inside. Hazy clouds of cigarette smoke twisted above.
Soon after Tillis came inside, he was holding a joint, passed to him by a young man in a full tuxedo. He took a long draw. The speaker of the NC House floated, lost in a sea of booty shorts and tank tops, as the mid-2000s Lil Wayne iTunes playlist made by senior brother Kurt Lear thundered in the crowded room. Tillis felt the vibrations and nodded his head woozily.
Tillis smoking a joint
“He was lurking in a corner of the dance floor and groping all around him, muttering to himself,” said sophomore Beth Walker. “He was just so sweaty.”
Tillis found his way to a back couch, where he made space to sit in between a couple making out and a man in a bucket hat putting out cigarettes on the upholstery. He tried to make small talk, but the lyrics to Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop” ran through his head in loops and prevented any coherent thoughts from forming.
How long he sat there, Tillis couldn’t say. But suddenly, as if waking from a dream, he found himself pulling a Sigma Chi composite photo off the wall, climbing onto a chair, and smashing the large framed picture against the floor with all his strength. The music quickly faded; the partygoers stepped back and formed an unsure circle around the intoxicated politician. Finding the will to speak, Tillis gave brief remarks.
“This kind of support makes all the difference in a close campaign like this,” Tillis said, leaning heavily against the bar with a Busch light in hand, his tie knotted around his reddened forehead to keep sweat out of his eyes. “It’s important to show the pussy liberals that Thom Tillis knows how to puke and rally.”
Stepping through the shards of glass from the broken composite, he then wandered back into the dance floor.
The beers took their toll on Thom Tillis; impressions soon came to him only as snapshots, and he seemed dazed by the flashbulb as he wandered from scene to scene. He was in a lawn chair, making lewd comments about Democratic opponent Kay Hagan’s breasts. Then he was eating a Cosmic Cantina burrito while sitting in the upstairs bathtub with a girl he’d never met, watching her throw up in the toilet beside him. Later, he was lying on the couch, pouring warm beer on the floor so the pledges would have more to mop in the morning.
These things Thom Tillis remembered. Others, he forgot.
Tillis left just before dawn, smashing one final beer can against a wall before stumbling out to his poorly parked Buick. He revved his engine, laid on his horn, and sped off into the rising sun.
The event raised over $300 for Tillis’s campaign, all of which will be sent to Tillis’s office next week. Tillis has yet to comment on how he intends to use the money. As for the brothers of Sigma Chi, however, future support of Tillis is uncertain.
“He’s just not the kind of dude you want at your parties,” said Heller. “I’m all for the right to bear arms, but when Thom Tillis is waving a pistol in your kitchen and threatening to shoot a pledge who pronounced his name wrong, something’s definitely not chill.”