I, Fraternity: A Novel In Progress: Chapter5
Eta Iota Mu Fraternity House
As Mattie and I stood on the porch drinking, about another dozen Rushees began making their way towards the house. I recognized some of them from the three other rushes but was never probably introduced to them and so didn’t know their names. One pudgy-looking rushee approached the house and was greeted with a high-five from Brother Ian. Neither Mattie nor I received such a greeting. Brothers John and Eddie also walked up to him and began patting him on the back as he made it up the stairs of the front porch. They knew him better than the other Rushees. By then, the porch was getting really full and loud and so I didn’t catch his name at the time, but I got to know Baloo soon after wards, as he became one of my closest brothers in the fraternity. Not only did Baloo remind all of us of the character from the Jungle Book movie because of his shape and size, but his demeanor as well. He rarely took anything too seriously, including the pledge program, happily reminding us to always have fun.
By the time Ian called everyone inside the house, the entire porch was filled up. We began filing inside the commons area, still holding our cups of beer. Unbeknownst to me, the beer was Busch, which at first I didn’t much care for. Before joining the Etas, I always thought that Busch beer was the shit that spilled on the brewery floor while making Budweiser. The workers there, I thought, would simply mop up the shit and wring it into a bucket marked “Busch.” It wasn’t a big deal. I drank it, because it was always on tap—I’d live on the stuff for my next three years at Saranac. After some time when drinking it, I realized that by the fifth or sixth cup, it really didn’t matter anymore. By then all beer to me at least, tasted the same, like water.
After a minute went by the president, which I would later on in secret, refer to as “Archon,” walked into the commons area and all the brothers hushed each other. When the room quieted down, the Archon looked around the room and smiled.
“You fuckers ready?” He said out loud. One of the brothers began howling like a wolf. Another brother yelled out loud, “Bring it on!” Some of the other brothers began clapping and cheering just like on the porch when the Rushees were making their way to the house. I didn’t know what to do and so turned to look to my right where Mattie stood. He looked back at me and shrugged his shoulders. Ready for what? His expression seemed to say. At the front of the doorway, the brothers began to part as a three-hundred-plus pound Samoan man made his way into the commons area. The Samoan didn’t say “Excuse me,” to any of the brothers as they practically trip over one another to get the hell out of the way. When you’re that big you don’t have to ask anyone to move. He walked in sideways so as to fit through the narrow corridor that wasn’t narrow for anyone else then positioned himself against half the commons area wall with his hands folded.
“We want Sherry!” One of the Brothers yelled. “Sherry Pie!” Another added, followed by some laughter. Next thing, a girl in her early twenties appeared in the doorway as the cheers reached a head-splitting crescendo. Her manager stood in the back wearing sunglasses and a suit. He was almost as big as the Samoan. Sherry had strawberry-blonde hair, green eyes, and a sultry tan that seemed to sparkle underneath the lights. She was wearing a Catholic school girl outfit with white leggings made of lace and garters which crept up her slender legs then burrowed underneath her plaid skirt that practically had no length whatsoever. Above her skimpy plaid skirt was a perfectly flat tummy you could build a house of cards on, and north of that were arguably her best assets, which size were somewhere between either a pair of grapefruit or a pair of cantaloupes—round and just as ripe. Those were held tight in a knot of what was a short white blouse that would be coming off very shortly.
The music in the commons area changed abruptly: “Stairway to Heaven” was replaced by “It’s Raining Men.” I hoped that it was music Sherry bought and not part of one of the fifty or so brother’s dubious CD collection. Sherry began dancing around the floor, swinging from one brother to the next as her manager or whatever, watched very closely and was ready to strike at any moment’s notice. Sherry was like a dancing DMZ: Any threat towards her was sure to trigger some heavy fire. Brother Greg was an Aw Shucks kind of shy-guy. When Sherry began entertaining right in front of him he got red in the face amongst a jeering crowd. Suddenly, Sherry turned around with her back facing him and touched the floor with the tips of her fingers, just inches from her toes that were encased in black sling-backs. She then reached back both her hands and began fanning him with her plaid skirt, giving him a show in which her white thong was the star.
That was when the piece of gum that Brother Greg was chewing on fell out of his gaping mouth and hit the floor like a bomb. Everyone, including Sherry’s manager and the bouncer—the Samoan Brothers—were laughing. Some others who were there even wept. After he gathered himself together, Brother Greg then deposited a dollar inside the elastic of her. Sherry told him “Thank you,” then curled one finger underneath his chin, playfully scratching it. She then moved on to Eric who was waiting very patiently and doing his best to not seem too excited. But when Sherry went over to him, she made him smile. She leaned forward and said something into his ear. Whatever it was that she said to him was between the two of them and caused him to turn bright red and smile from ear to ear. When Sherry finished, Eric threw his head back and let out a great whoop. A couple of the brothers leaned forward to hear what she was saying to him to no avail.
“You promise?” Sherry asked him as she began slowly backing away from him while looking at him with bedroom eyes. He shook his head.
“Yeah, I promise.” Eric gushed.
Brothers Ian and Jeremy looked at one another while watching this interchange. “What the fuck was that about?” Ian asked Jeremy who only shrugged his shoulders. “You think the two of them hooked up?”
“C’mon, this is Eric we’re talking about here…I don’t doubt it,” Brother Jeremy said. Ian shook his head.
Sherry then continued to make her rounds throughout the neighborhood of Eta Brothers and Rushees alike collecting more money. Pretty soon, Sherry began resembling a money tree she had so much cash on her, especially around the elastic band of her leggings. And not all of the bills that were protruding from her were one-dollar bills either: There were also fives, tens, and twenties as well. The Eta commons area had within it over fifty brothers and about fourteen Rushees in all. After carrying too much of our money, her manager called her over to him to get collected. He took all of her money and placed it into a strong box he was carrying underneath one of his meaty arms. Sherry then went back out onto the floor of the commons area to reload. This happened for a total of three times throughout the course of the night. I wondered privately how much money she raked in and then wondered what her manager’s cut was and for the services of the other Samoan bear wrestler. Let’s not forget about him. I’m sure his services didn’t go unpaid. And all he really had to do all night was take up half of the space of the Brother’s commons area and appear to be keeping the peace while doing so. Besides dancing around the room, Sherry did just one more thing to entertain us. Having found out what that was, I finally understood why it was that Mattie, myself, and the rest of the Rushees simply had to bring exactly thirty-three dollars.
It began when Charlie tapped me on the shoulder causing me to turn my head. “Did you bring money?” He asked me. I nodded. “Good,” he said simply. I was anxious to know why the brothers wanted us to bring the money. I curious to know what it was for so I asked him, I asked Charlie.
“Hey Charlie, what’s the money for anyway?” Charlie was slow to answer. He slowly shook his head. “You’ll see, brother. I really can’t tell you. If you’re clever enough, you’ll know on your own.” This got me thinking a bit. “Here she comes.”
Sherry was on me. Both her arms were around my shoulders in an embrace as if we were about to make out with one another. Her lips were that close to mine and she was giving me a coy smile, looking straight into my eyes. I know you want me, I heard her say telepathically. You wanna fuck me, don’t you? As if I really did hear her, I nodded my head and smiled. She smelled good. It was the cross between cheap and expensive, if that makes any damn sense—Think about it awhile. I swear, all strippers have that unique smell, like perfume. They all smell the same. All the while Sherry was making herself very close and comfortable with me, I was careful to not touch her. I clenched my fists a few times to resist doing so. A few times I looked over to her manager and the bouncer to check to see if they were looking and of course they were. They’re getting paid to watch and I am paying to watch her, I thought.
Sherry then lifted her right leg and hooked it behind my left thigh and closed the gap between our pelvises. I was screaming down there and very hard. I thought I was going to blow it right then and there, and Sherry just came closer and closer to me. Every Brother in the room was rooting for her to. I reached into my pocket and peeled off three singles from the wad and squeezed it between some crowded singles safely inside the elastic lace of her thigh. She then leaned her head forward to the point where her lips were touching my ear. It tickled. I thought she was going to stick her tongue right inside my ear and that would have been just fine by me, but she didn’t. Instead, she gave me and invitation, that is, in her own words.
“Wanna a lap dance?” She asked me. Her words were hypnotic and any request from her was impossible to abhor. I nodded my head.
“Absolutely,” I told her, or rather whispered hoarsely. Somewhere before attempting to speak to her and before she began arousing me up close, I had lost my voice. She looked over to her manager and motioned towards a door I’ve never walked through before. It belonged to Brother Charlie. The bouncer followed her as she led me by the hand. Finally, I knew why I needed the money the Brothers requested I bring. Was it really thirty dollars for a lap dance? No, that couldn’t be right. A lap dance was perhaps ten dollars, but no more than twenty. Thirty dollars was definitely too much. Thirty dollars is almost enough for a…
“Fuck!” I heard Nick scream next to me in protest. “I wasn’t sleeping, I swear to God!” It’s still dark. It’s always dark, just as long as I’m sitting here blindfolded. The voice I heard was Nick, my pledge brother. One of the Brothers had just flicked his ear real hard. It sounded like a bee buzzing right by, but in reality, was a middle finger cutting the air before striking cartilage. After having closely listened to the exchange, I would recognize whose voice the ear-flicker belonged to. It was Brother Jack. My pledge brothers referred to him as Brother Jack Ass behind closed doors.
“Yeah? Then why was your head on a tilt?”
“I was…Resting. Jesus, I was just resting!” I heard knees creaking.
“Are you lying to a Brother? Charlie, is he lying to me?” The room was silent. Brother Charlie’s talent was the ability to tell whether or not someone was lying. Brother Jack’s talent was being a pain in the ass to every pledge brother.
“No, he’s telling the truth,” Charlie said. But he didn’t sound certain about it.
“Sit up, jerk, or else I’ll put you in the trunk of my car and find the bumpiest roads in Saranac to drive on all night. Let me catch you sleeping and I’ll make damn sure your ass gets blackballed.” To blackball someone, in case you didn’t know, means to terminate a pledge (a person who is aspiring to become a Brother) from pledging in their fraternity. Every week during chapter meetings, Brothers vote on whether to keep or get rid of each pledge—nay or yea. Three nays calls to order a rebuttal, in which the future of a pledge brother is discuss. Such a thing could add at least an hour to a usually two-hour long chapter meeting every Sunday night at seven o’clock. No Brother wants to spend more than two hours at any chapter meeting. By Sunday, almost every Brother had a ton of studying to do, having procrastinated over the past weekend by partying.
As far as whether Nick was asleep or not, he indeed was. That past week of pledging was the absolute worst, as the Brothers turned the dial to eleven. In the past week, neither I nor any of my pledge brothers got a decent night’s worth of sleep and so were popping No Dos, drinking coffee by the pot-full and chewing on espresso beans just to stay awake. Pledging was an after-school function no longer. It was definitely full time. And just when I needed Amy the most, she was always able to help me, including doing laundry for me when I could not spare the time. I barely had any time to eat because I was so involved with pledging. I was confused about how the Brothers expected us to perform pledge functions without proper rest, yet expected us to continue going to class and study for exams.
“Do you understand me?” Brother Jack asked Nick, whose nostrils were probably flaring. I thought he was going to flip out, because Jack was really riding him hard and Nick was not the kind of person you would want to screw around with, pledge or not.
“Yes, Brother Jack!” Nick yelled out. He was breathing very hard. Sitting where I was about twelve feet away or so, I could hear Nick’s every breath; I could almost feel the air he was expelling from his lungs. I feared that he wouldn’t make it through the night.
© Copyright, 2009 O. Dohn Paditsone. All Rights Reserved.
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