(page 9 of 12)

I felt trapped. If I refused to play, then everyone would think I had something to hide, and with all the talk questioning my sexuality, everyone would assume it’s true. But if I played and got asked the right questions, then they might figure me out. Shit, I thought, suddenly realizing that fraternity life has a dark side, a side that I had ignored for two years, a side I had been able to skip away from, until now. I wanted to go running, to streak down Caddo Hill, keep running north out past Highway 58, trekking across the country out past Thomas, toward Enid, further and further until I passed the Kansas state line, until I was out of the country hauling ass through Canada, approaching the Arctic Circle.

Rodney filled a pitcher of beer, took a pint of Jack Daniels and dumped it in, then he handed the pitcher to Holly, one of the Gamma Lambda Pi girls, a classy woman who was above the tag, Gaputater. She was my big sis, not that we were close or anything. I had hardly spoken to her since our ritual exchange party two years before, but because of this I felt a degree of comradery with, hoped she’d be a friend during this perilous game. I looked at the other faces in the crowd. Mick was there, and so was Jimmy, and they eyeballed me, smirking. They weren’t going to be friendly, I realized. The other women in the group just sat there, glancing at each other, lips pursed, concentrating. Holly smiled, patted me on the shoulder.

“Loosen up, sport,” she said. “It’s just a game.”

Rodney opened the line of questioning. “Are you a virgin?”

Holly didn’t hesitate. “Yes,” she said.

I glanced around at the faces in the group. The women nodded. Jimmy seemed perplexed, but Mick looked skeptical.

“Bullshit!” he said.

“I am too a virgin,” Holly retorted. She somehow sat up straighter, flipped her long light brown hair and checked the button at the top of her white blouse.

Even Rodney seemed convinced. The crowd nodded. Holly passed the pitcher to me.

Everyone edged closer.

Rodney asked the question. “Are you a virgin?”
Some laughter riffled through the crowd, but it sounded amused not malicious, not yet.

I raised the pitcher to my lips, started to chug it down. The crowd started their chant, “Chug it! Chug it!”

“You’re an animal,” Mick said.

“A mutant,” Jimmy added.

I got down to the last few ounces. The beer and whiskey brew boiled in my gut, and I started feeling light headed, already well on my way to being drunk.

Mick grabbed the pitcher from my hands. “Fill it up,” he said.

Rodney filled the pitcher, added some more whiskey, too. He handed the pitcher back to Mick. “Are you a virgin?” he asked, barely able to contain his laughter.

“Yes,” Mick said.

The whole crowd groaned with disbelief, and Mick chugged the pitcher, watching me the whole time. He stood up, nudged Rodney away from the keg and filled the pitcher, again, then he handed it back to me.

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About Paula Sophia Schonauer

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Paula Sophia Schonauer likes to ride motorcycles, trying to find Zen on the back roads of Oklahoma. She almost made it once, but a curve threw her off balance.
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