The Demon Butterflies: a Visitor's Guide

by Michael Reid Busk

Kickoff is at noon, but you'll want to be there by nine for the goat-roasting and midget jousting. Of course, many undergraduates hold vigil the night before, marching around Lepidoptera Stadium in black monkish robes, bearing waxy tapers that cast ghostly shadows on their faces. Some have described it as a ten-hour séance with a half-mile radius. At dawn, they extinguish the candles, releasing a pall of smoke into the sycamores that ring the stadium, waking the crows conditioned to know goat flesh will not be long behind. If you do arrive early, guard your children closely, especially those that smell of hay or still perambulate on all fours.

While the undergraduates strip bare and ritually bathe in Lake McTavish, some of the more eager alumni will descend onto campus in dirigibles, while those crossing the central plains often arrive in kilometer-long trains of Conestoga wagons, the report of their gunfire mingling with the yaks' guttural bleats. Of course, there are rumors that some alumni have never left campus at all, prowling the deep pine forests in feral packs, unshaven and unwashed, sleeping in high hammocks or hollowed-out trees, sneaking into the dining hall after midnight to pilfer sides of beef or barrels of lard. It is these self-described "Fillmore University Demon Butterfly Samurai" who discover the lodging of opponents near campus, the Taft College Jungle Monkeys, the Arthur A&M; Giant Chinchillas, and of course, the arch-nemesis Buchanan Tech Belugas. Legend has it that certain of the FUDBSs have dumped buckets of rotting fish in the heating vents of opponents' hotels, kidnapped and maimed star wingbacks or strong safeties, leaked mustard gas into offensive coordinators' rooms and sealed the doors with woodshop putty. They are the ones who don diaphanous wings and march to the stadium in lockstep while chanting fierce ballads, wilting daffodils along the way.

In kiosks near the stadium, unlicensed gypsy peddlers will try to sell you relics purported to have been touched by Head Coach Gideon McTavish himself—Big Mac wrappers, well-annotated scraps of Dickens novels, elastic bands in scribed with the phrase "Fruit of the Loom," long scrolls scrawled with hieroglyphs diagramming plays so complex they look like Kandinsky sketches. But do not let these gypsies fool you. Gideon McTavish is an illiterate vegetarian who does not wear underwear and composes all plays on-field. Some necromancers have claimed he will never die.

If your seats lie below the student section, wear Kevlar and a grenadier's helmet, for although the Fillmore Archers are notoriously accurate, their arrows do occasionally miss the referees' testicles or the earholes of opponents' helmets. Moreover, if you or your loved ones are put off by the smell of rotting squid, you might consider sitting elsewhere, perhaps with the alumni, hard to miss in their rainbow fleeces and baseball caps emblazoned with the Demon Butterfly gnawing on a human femur, or with the graduate students taking their weekly break from photons or Foucault, the stringy-haired ones with the high Adam's apples and a tendency to sniffle. Or, if your resources are more meager, you might rough it with the locals whose seats are so high they bring oxygen tanks. They're the ones who look like they haven't read Heidegger.

Do not be alarmed when you notice the Demon Butterfly quarterback appears to be a beardless dwarf. Ollie Shunt might only be eleven, but he is descended from Apollo and has never yet been sacked. Legally, his mother must attend every team practice. She is difficult to miss on her dais, ten rows up on the fifty yard line, wearing an iridescent veil and a chiffon dress with a forty-cubit train. Yes, those nubile young lovelies attending her are dryads. On the sideline, Gideon McTavish sta