This letter was delivered late last night, February 12th, to Mugdown HQ addressed from former Student Body President, Jeff Pickering. At first we did not think anything of it, that is until we opened it. The following are the unaltered contents of his letter:
If you received this package, that means that I am already dead. What I am about to reveal has cost me so dearly and will undoubtedly rip the very fabric of our beloved school. It all started so seemingly innocent and well-intentioned, but power got the better of us. Like a Bothrops Asper it slithered into the dark recesses of our hearts, poisoning all that it bit.
The contents of this package reveal the rampant corruption and political scandals that have festered under the nose of the A&M student body. Mark my words, the Illuminati may or may not exist, but it pales in comparison to the the true power players of Texas A&M. The seedy underbelly crawls all the way to the top.
Who do you think created the whole uproar about Johnny Manziel getting paid for his signatures? Who do you think would create rumors about Governor Rick Perry becoming A&M’s next president? Who do you think feeds the ducks at Research Park? It’s all just a dirty ploy to divert our attention as the Great Stage Magician pulls the real trick over our eyes.
It is what little I have left of a conscience that compels me to tell you details of the latest corruption. While it would be easier to say nothing, I must speak if we at Texas A&M are to remain free. It all started January 13th, 2014, Loftin’s last day.
I didn’t think things would go as far as they did, but like the Aggies running out of the tunnel at the football games, some men just love power.
And perhaps things wouldn’t have escalated if it weren’t for a man named Cary Cheshire. Unlike the other vermin I dealt with, he was no great illusionist. He was just a man that got in the way.
Almost everyone knew Cary. A handful even liked the guy. Most recognized him from serving as a campaign team assistant for the past two years’ second place SBP candidates – Thomas McNutt and Garrett Nerren.
I should have known that it was going to be Cary to spoil the plans. He was always looking for a fight. Well, he got one. He got one hell of a fight.
I was visiting the SGA office for old time’s sake when I saw a disheveled Bowen Loftin leaving Reid’s office. I knew something was afoot immediately.
Reid was sitting at his desk with his feet up and wearing a weird look on his face. One that I hadn’t seen before. Was it a smirk? I couldn’t tell. We made small talk for a bit. It didn’t last long.
He asked me what I knew about Kyle Kelly. I told him, “not much”. That wasn’t entirely true.
Obviously, Reid knew that I was a part of the Student Body President Club, and I suppose that if I’m already dead, you should know about the Club. As former student body presidents, we talk. There’s a secret handshake. A trapdoor in the MSC. Typical elitist secret society stuff.
Reid then explained to me that Kyle Kelly was the new man chosen by the SBPC to take over the regime. This was to be expected. He was in the unique position of being able to reach the Corps of Cadets, Maroon Coats, Fish Aides, and the Christian Bubble. His only flaw was that he was a Senior.
Reid told me that he knew exactly how to make this thing work, but that he had to go a bit higher up the food chain.
That explained Loftin.
I had a lot of questions. Could he even endorse a SBP candidate as former president? Did he even know Kyle?
Joseph saw my confused look and stopped me. He pulled out an envelope: large, manila, with a red string. The kind used for secrets. He didn’t tell me what was inside. But I knew. Every SBP knew. Hell, every administrator at the school knew about the blackmail the Board of Regents had on Loftin. I nodded, finally putting the pieces together.
Blackmailing the former president of a University was bold and unprecedented, but it wasn’t surprising. I’ve heard crazier SBP stories, but those I’m taking to my grave. Joseph pulled out a laptop and played the video of the endorsement Loftin had recorded just minutes ago.
I will admit it seemed entirely genuine. You could barely tell that Loftin was reading cue cards and had his ankles zip-tied to the leg of Joseph’s desk.
“Could you hear the whimpering at the beginning?” he asked me. I could not.
The smirk returned to his face and I shuddered.
At that moment, Cary Cheshire turned into the SGA office.
Reid stopped and stared out the small window on his door. We both heard Cary outside, but we didn’t know what he heard. Or rather, how much he heard.
One month later, all was well.
After a discussion with the SBPC, we came to the conclusion that Cary was unaware. I soon learned how truly wrong we were.
I awoke at 1:02AM to my phone buzzing from the one number I fear most – the private SBPC line. After the Cary run-in, I immediately assumed the worst. And I assumed correctly.
I answered the phone to hear an enraged Kyle Kelly and a crying Reid Joseph on the other end. After multiple attempts to calm the two down, Kyle Kelly was finally able to force out the name I knew was coming.
“Cheshire. Cary. Cheshire.”
“He knows, Jeff. He knows everything.” Reid breathed heavily into the red phone. “The club, the room, the scandals, the machine – JEFF, HE KNOWS!”
I wanted out, but it was too late. Like tissue I was being sucked down with the rest of the filth. You know what happened next. The whole campus knows what happened next. Cary Cheshire filed for impeachment – not exactly music to a Student Body President’s ears.
I told them to calm down, that we can maneuver through this. I knew that if we could handle the Claybrook 2013 scandal, we could handle anything. I told them to trust in the system and we would begin the damage control.
The plan came too easily. We needed to shift the blame off Reid and on to somebody else. Someone to serve as the scapegoat. Richmond Howard was perfect. He was Kyle’s biggest competitor and there was just something I didn’t like about that receding hairline. So we pulled out the biggest weapon we could bear – The Blue Book.
Our best friend and our worst enemy, the Book is what we live by. The Blue Book is the receipt of our politics. It contains the names and positions of people we owe and more importantly, the people that owe us. After flipping through the book, one name stood out – Jake Walker, Editor-In-Chief of The Battalion. He owed us, and he owed us big.
When he helped to expose the Josh Light scandal in 2012, he kicked a larger hornet’s nest than he realized. He was in trouble, and trouble is our business. It only took six Cadets and one conversation later and Jake was in our back pocket that fateful Spring day.
Now was the time to cash in.
By 2:00AM, Jake had a letter in his mailbox from his favorite ‘Grandma’ holding instructions on what to write and who to write. By 11:00PM the following night, Jake published an opinion piece, and the rest will be history.
We’ve gone too far. Cary thinks he got them, that he got us. But he is Icarus and we are the scorching sun that will set his wings ablaze. If there’s a God, I’ll have to beg his forgiveness.
If history is written by the victors, I hate to see what the textbooks will say. That is why I sent you this letter. Tell the students. Tell the city. Tell the state. The whole world must know the truth.
Jeff Pickering ‘12
Student Body President 2011-2012