The Hill Dweller: A story of carelessness on The Hill

“Sko Buffs” (CU Independent File)

Disclaimer: All people, places, and events in this piece are presented in a fictional manner.

The University Hill, an oasis of high rents and front yards just big enough to facilitate mass public intoxication, lies west of CU Boulder. Characterized by its short walk to campus, countless restaurants, Chautauqua Park and, of course, for being a giant hill, this location allows for a peculiar mixture of old-folks and large houses full of students.

The name, The Hill, is spoken on campus as much as the words “like” and “um” during oral presentations. Lining these streets closest to campus are rows of new trucks and Range Rovers that were “totally earned bro.” Broken glass bottles and beer cans swim to the gutters.

As a dweller of The Hill, I often wake to screams of “Sko Buffs” and the music of today’s finest sound cloud rappers. But one day stands out in particular.

It’s Saturday. Eagerly, I jump to my feet, brush myself off, pull my socks up high, fashion a backwards hat to my head and throw on Ray Bans just moments before the sun attempts to take my sight. I am ready for the journey. The stadium is more than a mile away, and I have to cross the wasteland.

I throw down my penny board and push off down the hill. I take long, wide curves on the road — for speed, I think. I don’t know, I’ve never put it up to the scientific method. Cars and pedestrians are my worst enemies, preventing me from getting to my desired speed. So, I cut them off. Then I see something. No, I remember something. The Bud Light can I smashed with my foot, in just two tries, is barreling towards me. WHAM! The scorpion crash position cracks my spine. It’s okay, I haven’t stretched in a while and could use the realignment.

Two girls carrying their shoes and wearing last night’s clothes are laughing at me. I can’t recover from it. As I dust myself off, I notice one of my wheels continuing on the journey alone. It must have been the high speed bearings I upgraded to. I leave my board where it is, next to an old Timberland boot that has been baking on the sidewalk since spring.

I check the time, and notice that I’m low on battery. Perfect, I brought a portable phone charger with me! I rip it from its plastic and toss the trash onto the recently mowed and watered grass to my side. It will be fine, “when was the last time a bottle nosed dolphin inhaled plastic on The Hill?” I ask. I continue on.

With every step I take, the scorching 78-degree sun bears on me. I am panting and sweating, I can taste the Jack Daniels remaining in my blood — I think. I don’t know, I’ve never put it to the scientific method. I am parched but I’ll drink after the game, at any of the houses before me, so that’s not an issue.

However, I must eat. There’s no time to stop, kick off is in 20 minutes. Luckily, I hid a burrito in a bush last Saturday night and it’s only a block away. I rush to the comida Mexicana. It’s still there, next to a nest with small turquoise eggs.

Bite by bite I work my way to campus. I see a stampede of drunken (age 21 and up) girls wearing CU dresses. Maybe they’re shirts. I don’t know, I’ve never put it to the scientific method. One of them drops a bottle of hand lotion. It looks empty.

I must be close. I keep moving. A guy I know from class sees me. He wants to know about homework, but I swiftly dodge him. I enter campus and dash through Norlin Quad, burrito still in hand. I pass the rec center, an old friend. “Hello darkness,” I say. I have one bite of burrito left. I toss it to the side.

I see the stadium. A long line of people snakes around, left to right, waiting to enter. Not me, I cut in front of everyone. “Excuse me, bro,” I say kindly. I push through. I accidentally knock a lollipop out of a child’s hand. “Sorry, little bro,” I tell him. I’m in. I rush up the sticky stairs to find a seat. Someone’s empty cup is sitting on the stands, so I flick it to the ground. I made it with three minutes to spare. Sko Buffs.

The game ends. I stand to smell the sweet victory that lingers in the air. Wait, maybe it’s throw up. I go on. I’m on my way out and I see a freshman attempting to “Kobe” a piece of trash to a dumpster. He misses by a much larger margin than I would have. Angrily, I walk over and pick up the trash. Being the good guy that I am, I’ll fix this. I’ll do the right thing — a redemption for mankind. I lean back, fade away, shoot and … I miss. It lands just to the right in a recycling bin.

Close enough, I guess.

Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Harley Powell at

Harley Powell

Veteran Harley Powell was born and raised in Oklahoma, and at age 19 he enlisted into the United States Army. As an infantryman soldier, he was stationed in Oahu, Hawaii. After three years of shooting guns, rucking up mountains, and failing to surf in the Pacific, he moved to Colorado to pursue his love of writing and an education. He currently attends the University of Colorado at Boulder where he studies English.

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