Gatherings

Gatherings
By: WingZ

NOTE: The following is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual person, places or events is entirely coincidental. The following is the intellectual property of the author. Please do not repost without permission. The following contains content inappropriate for readers under the age of 13. Others should view at their own discretion. The author does not necessarily condone or support the views and actions of the characters.

Prologue
Chloe Wassler sat alone in the Women’s Center, a cumbersome volume of Margaret Atwood balanced on her tiny lap. The wall clock, shaped like a cat and always a few minutes too fast, let her know that it was nearly 9:30. Chloe sighed. It didn’t look like anyone was going to show up. She had already resigned herself to continuing her reading in her dorm room when there was a tentative knocking upon the door.
“Come on in,” Chloe called.
The knocker was hesitant to enter and Chloe rose to answer the door herself. She should have thought to do that in the first place. Many of the people who came to the Women’s Center were embarrassed, scared or skeptical (or some combination of the three). Whoever it was, Chloe hoped her problem wasn’t too serious. At 5’0" and with a voice that would make Cyndi Lauper cringe, she did not exactly radiate confidence. Then again, sometimes it helped just to have someone to talk to. More times than not, Chloe had been just that person.
The knocker was not familiar to Chloe. She was fairly tall, had red hair and appeared to be scared out of her wits. Chloe wasn’t sure, but she was leaning towards guessing that this young woman had just found out that she was pregnant. Her nervousness seemed consistent with such a discovery. Then again, it could be anything.
“Come on in,” Chloe repeated, smiling this time as she said it. The redhead nodded and slowly entered. Chloe shut the door behind them.
“I’m Chloe. What can I do for you?”
The redhead did not answer at first.
“Can I have a glass of water?” she asked.
“Sure.”
There was a water cooler in the corner by the bookshelf. Chloe fetched a paper cup for her and filled it while the redhead took a seat.
“Better?” Chloe asked after she drank.
The redhead nodded. She seemed like she was ready to talk at last.
“I think…” she began.
CRASH!
Glass exploded outward as a brick went cascading through the window. The redhead shrieked and Chloe leapt to her feet. Both were greatly alarmed.
“Hey ya bitches!” a voice called from outside. “Hey ya fucking babykillers. Choke on this!”
A second brick flew through the window adjacent to the one that was shattered.
“I’m getting help,” Chloe declared, her voice loaded with disgust.
“Don’t leave me here” the redhead protested.
“Relax,” Chloe replied. “There’s a phone. It’s probably just some drunk…”
“Hey ya fucking CUNTS!” the phantom voice roared. “I GOT SOMETHIN FOR YOUUUUU!”
The redhead closed her eyes and screamed. Chloe felt like screaming herself. What the fuck was happening?!

The Druids
“Check this out,” Ryan Lewis said to his roommate Chris Broderick. Ryan had the latest issue of the campus newspaper spread out in front of him and was reading diligently. Chris sat on his bed on the top bunk. He had been listening to music and making a half-assed attempt to do some reading with his first year seminar course. With a deft flick of the wrist, he used the remote to click off the stereo they shared.
“On Friday night, unidentified persons threw bricks through the windows of the Women’s Center and shouted profanities at those who were inside.”
“That’s really messed up,” Chris replied.
“Their insults were graphically sexual and violent in nature,” Ryan continued to read. “Although property was damaged, no one was harmed.”
Chris shook his head. “Who’d do something like that?”
Ryan shrugged. “I dunno. I don’t even know what the Women’s Center is anyway.”
“It’s a room in the Student Center,” Chris explained. “They’ve got like resources and info there on planned parenthood, crisis counseling, dealing with abuse…stuff like that.”
“Oh. You go there or something?” he teased.
“No,” Chris replied. “But Stacy does sometimes.”
“Gotcha.” Ryan smiled slyly.
It was no secret that Chris had a crush on one of the girls on the floor. He and Stacy Rose shared the same astrological sign, the same tastes in movies and the same first year seminar course. Though he rejected the idea that this was fate at work, he nonetheless thought that he had a definite connection to her. She was also easy on the eyes: short and blonde with plenty of curves. Had it been high school, Chris wouldn’t have even thought that he had a chance. This, however, was not high school. This was college. The level of maturity was higher and the desire for understanding ran deeper. Besides, Chris thought he was rather easy on the eyes himself.
Ryan continued to read excerpts from the newspaper and Chris zoned him out and went back to work. He still did not feel compelled to concentrate.
“This is fucking boring,” he groaned.
“What is?” Stacy asked. She and her roommate Ashley were standing at the door. Chris felt himself tense up.
“Oh…. um…. reading for sem.”
Stacy rolled her eyes. “I didn’t even start on it yet.”
“Yeah, well it’s pretty bad.”
“Did you guys here what happened?” Ashley asked. “Some asshole threw bricks through the Women’s Center.”
“I was just reading about that,” Ryan replied. “They have no idea who did it.”
“Nope,” said Ashley. “But I have a feeling.”
“Oh God,” Stacy muttered. “Here we go again.”
Chris smiled bemusedly as he listened to Ashley’s rant.
“It says here,” Ryan read. “That while the Christian Alliance had been vocally critical of the Women’s Center’s support of reproductive rights, they do not advocate violence and are not responsible for the attacks. You ask me, it’s probably just some random guy.”
“Or,” Ashley explained. “A not so random guy from Empire. Think about it: those guys come here all the time to party with us and they are total pigs. Maybe they got pissed that we beat them in football one too many times and…I dunno, I’m rambling.”
“What do you think, Stacy?” Chris asked.
“Hmmm…” she answered. “Well, I’m not exactly Nancy Drew, but I don’t think it was just a random thing. I think it was meant to scare off whoever was in there.”
“That’s horrible,” Chris said. “Seriously.”
She shrugged. “It sucks that there’s nothing anyone can do.”
After the girls had gone but before Chris could get back to his reading, he and Ryan were paid another visit. This time, their guests were Chuck and Pete, their neighbors across the hall. Chuck Gordon was big, athletic, nice enough most of the time but slightly abrasive. Pete Silbeck was gaunt, worrisome and hardly said a word. Chris thought whoever was in charge of housing had really fucked up that combination.
“You guys believe this shit?” Chuck asked.
“'bout what?” Ryan replied.
“The throwing the bricks.”
“Yeah,” Chris told him. “We’ve heard. Sucks, doesn’t it?”
“What sucks is that they are making this a big fucking deal. You have any idea how much vandalism goes on around here? Some drunk asshole keys someone’s car or steals something and you don’t hear shit. But then this happens and they don’t shut up about it.”
“Well…” Pete began. Chuck abruptly cut him off.
“And then look who they try to blame for it. The Christians. The frats. Maybe a girl did it.”
“They said they heard male voices,” Ryan corrected.
“They said,” Chuck mimicked.
“Dude, what’s your problem?” Chris asked.
“Look,” Chuck explained. “If you ask me, they got what was coming to them for supporting all that abortion and women-are-oppressed-so-it-must-be-the-man’s-fault bullshit.”
“Don’t start,” Pete said.
“Did you do it?” Chris asked, annoyed. As far as he knew, the Women’s Center contained only information. Sometimes, people would be on hand to answer questions and point others in the right direction, but they didn’t advocate anything. He didn’t know where Chuck was getting this from, but it made him sound painfully ignorant.
“Fuck no! I’m not stupid. But I would have liked to have been there.”
“Whatever,” Chris replied. “Look, man, I’ve got some reading to do.”
Chuck cackled. “First year sem. That’s bullshit too.”
Not long after he left, Chris threw down the book in frustration.
“What is with that guy?” he asked. “Is it his life’s goal to be a prick?”
“I dunno,” Ryan answered. “But you have to admit, you’re being kinda defensive.”
“About what?”
“Stacy.”
Chris bit his lip. Ryan had a point. Why was he reacting so strongly if not for her?
“It’s still not right,” he concluded.
“No one’s saying it is,” Ryan told him.
“It’s……I dunno……it’s confusing, man.”
“Personally, I like Ashley better. She’s got those athletic legs.”
Chris nodded wearily and glanced at the book he had dropped. He hopped off the bed to retrieve it. Just as he was about to begin reading again, another visitor emerged.
“Hi guys,” said Christine the RA. “How you doing?”
“OK,” Ryan answered.
“Did you hear about….”
“YES,” they said in unison.
“Hold on now. You didn’t even know what I was going to say.”
“What were you going to say?” Chris asked.
“There’s a lecture on witchcraft coming up on Thursday night.”
“Oh.”
“Let’s try this again,” she said. “There’s a lecture on witchcraft coming up on Thursday night….”
She held her arms out and waited for them to give the appropriate response.
“Umm…we’ll be there,” Chris told her.
“Great!” Christine perkily replied. “Let me go tell everyone else…”
“She needs to ease off the coffee,” Ryan remarked.
Chris nodded. He wasn’t going to get any reading done.
In addition to her prodding her residents into attending lectures and programs, one of Christine Beyer’s more annoying habits was to refer to them all as Druids. The name of the dorm was Drew Hall (it’s not a person, she explained to them on the very first day). The name of the school was Central State College. Something very bad was about to happen.

Thursday: Of Witches and Blowjobs
Chris was on his fifth hand of computer solitaire when Ryan came in holding a letter.
“I don’t believe it,” he said. “I mean, I don’t fucking believe it.”
“Believe what?” Chris asked.
“Read for yourself,” Ryan said, passing the letter to him.
“Dear Mr. Lewis,” Chris read. “Congratulations on your being accepted into our leadership training program. You were one of several applicants…what the hell is this?”
“Right before school started, I applied for this thing,” Ryan explained. “And now I get to go to DC for two weeks and hang out with members of Congress. I don’t believe this!”
“Congratulations, man. When is this thing?”
“Next week.”
“Next week?”
“Yeah. It was sent out a while ago. I’ve just been lazy about checking my mail.”
Chris laughed. “Maybe I should check mine. Who knows….I could have won the lottery or something?”
“I still don’t believe this,” Ryan replied, bewildered. “I’ve gotta call my family. They won’t believe this either. Shit, man, it’s right in the middle of the semester though…”
“Don’t even think of not going,” Chris warned him. “This is D.C. You meet one person down there, you’re like set up for life.”
“And to think,” Ryan lamented. “I was this close to dropping the Political Science major. Now I’m gonna need it.”
Chris went to his 3:30 class and returned to the dorms around 5. Ryan was still in a state of disbelief and Christine had come around again to remind everyone for the umpteenth time about the witchcraft lecture later that night. With some time to kill before dinner, Chris began to formulate a way to get Stacy to go out with him. He didn’t feel right about asking her outright (and besides, what if she said no) nor was he one for dropping subtle hints. In fact, he couldn’t think of any method he could use…. short of her falling into his arms by coincidence.
“This is hopeless,” he complained. “I mean…. what am I supposed to do here?”
“Just ask her,” Ryan suggested.
“I can’t,” Chris argued. “It’s not even so much that she’ll say no; it’s that we’ll be in limbo.”
“Limbo?”
“You know…. that odd state where you know someone likes you but the feeling isn’t mutual and you keep giving each other awkward glances and stuff until you aren’t talking. We’re on the same floor and we’re friends and I can’t have that.”
“Gotcha.”
Ryan was still clutching the acceptance letter and gave it yet another read. He was, Chris thought, a pretty good roommate. They didn’t always see eye to eye on everything, but at least they could talk things out. On the other hand, he hypothesized that Pete would end up murdering Chuck before the year was out. Maybe he wouldn’t wait and would get it done even before the semester was over.
“Dudes,” Chuck hollered from across the hall. “Matt’s coming.”
Chris had been around just long enough to realize that Matt Tover was someone of importance on campus. Junior class president, Phi Chi treasurer and co-captain of the lacrosse team, Matt also appointed himself a counselor to freshmen…in a very different way than any of the faculty had intended. Surely enough, as Chris leaned his head out the doorway, Matt’s familiar blue bandana came into view.
“Hey froshes,” he greeted. “Whadup?”
“I’m going to DC!” Ryan gloated.
“Cool, man. You going to be here tomorrow at least?”
Ryan nodded.
“Good. Party at the Phi Chi house. No obligations. Just go and have a good time. $3 at the door will get you a cup.”
“What kind of action are we talking about?” Chuck asked, his eyebrows arched.
“For a freshman like you…. not much,” Matt informed him. “All the cute freshmen chicks are gonna be taken before you even walk in the door.”
“Fuck that,” Chuck sneered.
“Don’t even think about an upperclass girl. Not when you’re a frosh, anyway. They won’t put out for you. They’ll give you head, maybe, but go any further and it’s like a knock against their rep. If, however, pigs should start flying and any of yous should happen to bang one…. we’ll look mighty favorably upon that come pledge season. So…. are you in?”
Chuck and Ryan both voiced their assent and Pete silently nodded.
“What about you?” Matt asked Chris.
“I dunno…”
“What’s your name? Chris…right?”
Chris nodded.
“You have a girl.”
“He’s looking,” Ryan divulged.
“Dude, shutup,” an embarrassed Chris remarked.
“OK, look,” Matt explained. “Anyone worth getting will be at this party. It’s a good way to you, know, break the ice, loosen up and make your move. And if you strike out, there will be lots of other chicks around. Sound good?”
“Yeah.”
“Matt Tover!” Christine chirped eagerly. “Will you be going to tonight’s witchcraft lecture?”
Matt smiled broadly at her. “Not on your life.”
The witchcraft lecture took place in a large auditorium. The turnout was sizeable to say the least: there was hardly a seat to be had. Chris, Ryan, Stacy and Ashley occupied a portion of one row towards the back, Chuck and Pete and a few other Druids from their floor occupied the seats behind them.
“I heard she does this every year,” Ashley remarked.
“So what,” said Stacy. “It seems like it’s gonna be cool.”
“Yeah,” Chris agreed.
“Whipped,” Chuck whispered in his ear.
Chloe Wassler stood at the podium. Under her feet were two phonebooks that gave her the necessary height to avoid looking utterly ridiculous.
“And now,” she said to the large, impatient audience. “I am proud to welcome Professor Ann Rukeheyser.”
Chloe stepped down and a woman in black approached. Her hair was dark and curly, with a streak of white in the front that reminded Chris of a skunk’s tail. It was impossible to tell her age.
“Freaky lady,” Ryan remarked.
Chris nodded. He was no longer merely pretending to care: this really WOULD be interesting.
“The word witch originally meant wise-woman or healer,” Rukeheyser began.
“This is bullshit,” said Chuck.
“Imagine,” Rukeheyser told them all. “Being accused of horrible crimes, having your flesh ripped out, having stones thrown at you and being burned at the stake all for things you did not do.”
“Ugh,” Stacy whispered. “I just had a really bad image.”
Her hand felt for Chris’s, found it and squeezed. Though surprised, he allowed himself a slight smile. It might have meant nothing, but it felt like it meant everything to him. She continued to squeeze his hand as they took in tales of terror and persecution and horror and woe. Bad images abounded throughout, but the worst ones, even after the lecture ended, were still yet to come.

Re: Gatherings

First Gathering: The Party, the Coven and Beyond
Professor Daulton presided over his Intro Statistics class with the authoritarian determination of a minor deity. He knew his students hated the class and hated him, but they would learn something, damnit! As they had actually stayed awake for the entire class (a first), he decided to reward them…by letting them out five WHOLE minutes early.
“Class dismissed,” he magnanimously declared. “Happy Halloween.”
The entire class let out a collective sigh of relief. Chris rose from his seat and felt his joints creak. After sitting through stat, his limbs felt like cement. It might have been Halloween, but the class was as dull as ever. That half of the people in it were costumed lent the situation sad irony.
Fortunately for Chris, it was the final class of the day. As he walked back to the dorms, his thoughts turned to the party. Unlike many of his peers (Chuck, for instance), his interest was not in boosting his reputation or having some sleazy fling with a girl whose name he wouldn’t remember the next day. He actually did want to have fun, and for him that meant being there with friends: namely Ryan and Ashley and Stacy.
“Hey Chris,” Christine greeted. She had painted whiskers on her face and wore a hat with cat’s ears.
“Whatever it is,” he told her. “I’m not interested.”
“I was only going to say Happy Halloween.”
“Oh. Same to you.”
As she turned and walked away Chris noticed that someone had placed a sign marked PUSSY on her posterior. He thought of telling her but decided against it.
“That’s just mean,” said Ashley.
“But funny,” Stacy added.
“Poor Christine. Someone ought to tell her.”
“Eh…. she’ll figure it out eventually. What are you up to, Chris?”
He stretched. “Just got out of stat.”
“Yuck.”
“Are you going to the party later?”
Ashley raised her hand. “I am.”
“I’m not,” said Stacy.
Chris looked at her skeptically, trying in vain to mask his disappointment.
“Just somewhere else I have to be,” she explained.
“Gotcha.”
“But hey…. maybe I should wear a costume anyway.”
“Yeah,” Ashley teased. “Then someone will put a sign on your butt.”
“Cya later,” Chris said, retreating to his room.
“She’s not coming,” he confided to Ryan.
“Well…. like Matt said….”
“Fuck what he said, man. I want HER.”
“Then tell HER. Or, get over it for the time being. I mean….no offense, but you aren’t doing yourself any favors by waiting around like this.”
“I know,” he confessed. “You going in costume?”
“Yeah,” Ryan replied. “Guy who can’t believe he’s going to DC.”
“Still not over that, huh?”
“What about you?”
Chris grinned. “I think I’m gonna dress up like Matt.”
“Matt?”
“Yeah. Might as well have some fun with this. Besides, he’ll get a kick out of it.”
“Or he’ll get pissed off.”
“Whatever.”
Chris was able to get a hold of a blue bandana and wrapped it around his head. He also donned a black shirt, turned inside out and a pair of soccer shorts. Despite being shorter and less bulky, the resemblance was more than just passing.
“Hey Matt,” Chuck greeted. “Wait a second…Chris?”
“Yup.”
“Holy shit! Matt’s gonna piss his pants when he sees this. I wish I had thought of that.”
Chris shrugged. He could only hope that the costume would cause as much of a stir when it counted.
The frat houses were located just behind a wooded area that marked the campus’s northern border. Matt urged everyone to take the long way and follow the road and not try to walk through the woods.
“Believe me,” he said. “It’s really easy to get lost in there. Of course, everyone thinks it will never happen to them. But every year, without fail, some asshole ends up staggering around in the dark at 3 AM. I should know: I was that asshole during freshman year.”
Chris took the advice to heart. He and Ryan and Ashley and a few others set out for the party together and they did in fact take the long way. Ashley had adorned a vamp/hooker costume and Ryan could not keep his eyes off of her.
“That’s a disaster waiting to happen,” Chris whispered to himself.
As it turned out, his costume failed to make much of an impact at all. Matt got a good laugh and a few people commented but most were content to leave him alone. Chris initiated a few interactions and drank a little, but he failed to generate any worthwhile conversations. When it became evident that he was having a lousy time and wasn’t going to score, he decided to quit the scene.
Despondent, Chris left the party, walked past the main road and journeyed into the woods. By the time he realized where he was, he was well on his way to getting lost.
“Shit ,” he mumbled. “I just joined the asshole club.”
Concluding that walking in the same direction would eventually lead him SOMEWHERE, Chris proceeded at a slow but steady pace. He wondered if Ryan and Ashley were getting it on at the party. He wondered if Chuck had succeeded in upping his rep. He wondered what in the hell Stacy was up to.
In the distance, Chris heard voices. It sounded like some people were having a party of their own. Curiosity compelled him and he abruptly turned to the right. The voices grew louder. He saw brightness. Brightness and dancing.
“Wait a minute,” he told himself. “I didn’t have that much to drink.”
There was a small fire and about a dozen or so people gathered around it. All were in costume. He couldn’t recognize anyone, but they looked to be having a good time. And there was no charge at the door (because there was no door).
“Hey,” he called as he approached. “Mind if I join in?”
Masked faces turned to him and solemnly froze in place. It was if they cast their collective gaze upon a gargoyle. Chris began to wonder exactly what kind of party was going on here. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea for him to crash it. He began to slowly step away.
Suddenly, half a dozen hands emerged from the darkness and fell upon him. They seized him and dragged him to the ground. A sock was crammed in his mouth and a hood was thrown over his head. As he struggled to gain comprehension, he felt his shorts being tugged down.
“Nyumph!” he grunted. What was going on here? What were they going to do to him?
His masked captors were silent no longer. Their voices, all female, joined together in a chant.
“By will of the Great Spirit
Our mother, the sky
Remove the evil
From this one’s fly
Return him to innocence
Remove him from pain
Let not his curseful lust
Harm us again
Let it be said and let is be so
As the Four Winds Scatter
Let us now go”

Chris flinched. The hands that had held him left his body. He removed the hood from his head and spit out the sock. Anxious, he looked around: the masked women, the fire…. they were all gone. He was alone in the woods with his shorts down and without the slightest clue what just happened. Gazing at the night’s full moon, he began to scream.

Chris’s Dilemma
“…aaaaaah……”
“Chris!” Ryan snapped.
Slowly his eyes opened. He was lost in the darkness once more. This time, however, it was the much more familiar darkness of his room.
“Wha?” he asked groggily.
“You’re having a nightmare, man.”
Chris yawned. Nightmare? Then it didn’t actually happen? And yet, he couldn’t remember finding his way back to the dorm.
“Sorry.”
“It’s OK,” Ryan said. “I should probably be up anyway.”
“What time is it?”
“7:30.”
Chris nodded. No use going back to sleep. He yawned, stretched…and felt something terribly wrong. Ryan flicked on the lights and Chris looked around in disbelief. His sheets were drenched in urine.
“Fuck!” he exclaimed.
“What?” Ryan asked.
“Nothing.”
“No, what?”
Chris sighed and shook his head. “If you tell anyone about this…you’re gonna wish you stayed in DC.”
“OK, I get the idea.”
“I wet my bed.”
“What?!”
“See for yourself.”
“I don’t need to,” Ryan remarked. “I can smell it. Ugh…dude…”
“Look, this has never happened before. I don’t know what….”
“Take it easy. It’s probably the nightmare you had.”
“Yeah.”
“Must have been one hell of a nightmare. What was it about?”
Chris shrugged. “I couldn’t even begin to tell you.”
“OK, well….hit the shower, do some laundry, get some air freshener going in here….no biggie.”
“Yeah. I don’t believe this!”
“Hey,” Ryan cautioned. “That’s my line.”
Chris showered and got dressed and Ryan doused the room with air freshener. He used so much, in fact, that they both began to cough and had to thrust open a window.
“Gah….what’d you use?” Chris complained. “It smells like a fucking forest in here.”
“Better than the alternative,” Ryan replied, taking a big gulp of air from the window.
Chris stripped the sheets from his bed. When it came time to wash them, however, he hit a stumbling block.
“Shit. Out of quarters.”
“Don’t look at me, man,” Ryan told him apologetically. “I ran out a week ago. Luckily, I get to go home for a bit before going to DC. I still…”
“….can’t believe it. Yeah, I know. I’ll go ask around.”
“It’s still early,” Ryan reminded him. “And it’s a Saturday and people were partying last night. Nobody’s gonna be up right now.”
“You’re right. Speaking of last night….”
“No, I didn’t. Ashley didn’t either. And Chuck got really hammered.”
“Maybe I shouldn’t have left early. What else did I miss?”
“Christine. If you thought Chuck could get bad, you should have seen her.”
Chris’s jaw dropped. “Christine?! What? What’d she do?”
“Oh man…. what DIDN’T she do. Let’s put it this way…. the next time she asks me to go to a dumb program, there’s no way that I can say no. Not after seeing that.”
“Damnit!” Chris snapped. His night had been a total washout: he left the party before it got good, got lost in the woods, may or may not have been molested by a gang of masked females and woke up in a wet bed. He was disheartened to say the least. “I’m getting some breakfast. Later, man.”
When Chris returned from having eaten, he found Ryan packing up some things.
“Get quarters?” he asked.
Chris nodded. “When are you going?”
“My parents should be here in about an hour. It sucks how they don’t let us have cars.”
“Yeah. Well…there’s next year.”
“Do me a favor and keep me posted while I’m away,” Ryan asked. “I’m gonna call back a few times.”
“No problem,” Chris replied. He then turned his attention to the bundle of wet sheets. “I should probably take care of these.”
“I’d hold off on that if I were you,” Ryan suggested.
“Why? So they can ferment and grow mold?”
“No. Look at your pants.”
“My pants?” Chris glanced downward and was shocked to discover that his pants were wet.
“Oh man…this is starting to freak me out!”
“Maybe,” Ryan said uneasily. “You came down with something. You know, got sick. A virus maybe….I dunno.”
“Yeah,” Chris said doubtfully. “That’s probably it.”
For the second time that day, he changed clothes and hit the showers. His thoughts turned back to his encounter in the woods, which he could only vaguely recall. There was dancing…. he approached…. they grabbed him and whispered some weird mumbo-jumbo that he couldn’t remember and then it was over. He must have wandered through the woods and eventually found his way home. But why couldn’t he remember any of it?
Chris wished Ryan good luck on his DC trip and they parted company. Alone, he was left to deal with the mystery of his sudden loss of bladder control. It didn’t make any sense. If he didn’t know better, he’d swear a curse had been placed on him.
There was a knocking on the door and Chris opened it slightly. Chuck forced it open the rest of the way and wrinkled his nose in disgust. The air freshener had merged with the scent of urine to form a potent uberstench.
“Dude, it fucking reeks in here,” Chuck complained. “Open a window!”
Chris pointed to the wide-open window and the gust of wind emanating from it.
“I…uh…. got pretty loaded last night…” he fibbed. He knew it would sound more plausible if he wet his bed because he was drunk than if he wet his bed because he was cursed.
“S’aright,” Chuck said. “Happens to the best of us. But if you think you had it bad…you aren’t gonna believe what happened with Christine.”
“Oh yeah….”
While he listened to the Christine story (she had, at some point, become convinced that she actually was a cat), he became aware that the problems with his bladder were far from over. Every so often, he would stare down at his pants to make sure they were still dry.
“What do you keep doing that for?” Chuck asked.
“Doing what?” Chris replied.
“Staring at your dick. You afraid its gonna fall off?”
“No.”
“You’re weird, man.”
“Whatever.”
“Look…the thing I came over here to tell you about was that I heard there was a rumor that a bunch of girls were holding some kind of witchcraft session in the woods. You hear anything about that?”
“No,” Chris lied.
“Probably bullshit anyway. Later, man. And open a fucking window!”
“It IS open, you asshole,” Chris muttered as he left.
Chris spent much of the remainder of the day in agony. His attempts to do homework and watch a movie were punctuated by constantly checking his crotch and running to the bathroom. Even despite his best attempts to prevent it, leakage occurred. After donning his third pair of underwear, Chris contemplated simply giving up. If he really was cursed (which he still denied), then what was the point of fighting it?
Acceptance, Denial and Candycane Underpants
“They should really have a timer,” the girl remarked.
Chris nodded. They had both been standing in front of the washer in the laundry room watching their clothes tumble 'round and 'round. According to the dial on the machine, the final spin cycle had already ended. Why then did his clothes continue to spin? Was there a spin cycle beyond final spin? Chris was reminded of Nigel Tufnel’s now-famous declaration in This Is Spinal Tap: this amp goes up to eleven! So did this washer, apparently.
Eventually, the madness ceased with a deafening buzz of finality and Chris made the transfer from the washer to the dryer.
“No timer on these either,” he remarked as he stared into the odious dial.
“Yeah, but you figure it takes about an hour. I’m Pam, by the way.”
“Chris.”
“Nice to meet you. Be back in an hour.”
And with that, she disappeared. Chris wondered why, with all the vandalism that occurred on campus, there weren’t more thefts of clothes. After all, nobody stayed around to guard their laundry – not even him.
His solution to quell his bout of uncontrollable wetting was a simple one: for the rest of the day, he simply wouldn’t eat or drink anything. So far, it had worked. His stomach was rumbling like Warren Sapp dancing in the end zone, his throat was dry and he was starting to feel lightheaded but at least he had not suffered the indignity of wetting himself. Victory would be his…haha.
When Chris returned to the laundry room to retrieve his clothes, he found Pam leaning halfway into a dryer, her denim-clad ass on display. He thought back to Christine and the PUSSY sign and suddenly had a good idea of how that had happened.
“Lose something?” he asked.
“A sock…I think. They always seem to get away from me.”
“Hope you find it.”
He opened the door to the dryer and his clothes came tumbling out at him at high speed.
“What the…”
“You didn’t wait for final buzz, did you?” Pam asked.
Chris threw his hands up in defeat. “That’s it!” he exclaimed. “I’m through with this laundry crap…can’t I just pay you to do it for me?”
Pam giggled. “Sure…if you want me losing your socks too.”
Chris picked his clothes up off the ground and crammed them into his laundry bag.
“Bye Chris,” she said as he exited.
“Cya.”
Nice girl, he thought. Almost enough to make him forget how much he wanted Stacy – and how unlikely it was that he would have her.
Ignoring the rumblings of his stomach, Chris went about putting away laundry. His room had yet to entirely air out and he cursed Ryan for using that horrible air freshener.
“There,” he said once he had finished. “And now to…”
There was nothing to do. Chris opened the door and stepped out into the hallway. It was curiously empty. He had to remind himself that it was a Saturday and people often went home on the weekends. Shrugging, he decided to see if there was anyone around on the floor above him.
He ran into Stacy on the staircase.
“Hiya,” she greeted.
“Hey.”
“Where are you off to?”
“Nowhere. Just going to see what the guys upstairs are up to.”
“Oh. No one’s really around.”
“No one?”
“Not that I saw. Everyone’s either out or went home for the weekend. I’m totally bored.”
“Yeah…so am I.”
“Good. So then you can keep me company.”
Chris nodded. He wasn’t going to argue that.
Stacy’s room, Chris thought, is what a girl’s room should be like. There were posters of guys on the wall and distinctly feminine sheets on the beds, but it was otherwise the same as his. Contrastingly, the rooms of some of the other girls on the floor bore great resemblances to hostile alien environments. He told her of his laundry mishaps while she sat crosslegged on a beanbag chair and laughed at his plight.
“Yeah…. I definitely need to do laundry,” she remarked. “I’m down to wearing the dorkiest clothes ever.”
Chris glanced at her skeptically. She had on faded jeans and a sweatshirt.
“Well…” she said, blushing. “It’s more what I have on underneath.”
“Underneath?”
“If you can keep it a secret, you can see for yourself.”
Chris made a gesture of zipping his lips and Stacy lifted her shirt and showed him the top of her panties. They were white with a design of teddy bears holding candycanes. Instinctively, he began to chuckle.
“Shush!” she complained, giggling herself. “I saw them on sale a year or two ago and thought they were cute. Little did I know they’d make me look like I’m six.”
“You don’t look like you’re six,” he told her.
“I’m very short and I have candycane panties,” she replied. “Alls I’m missing is an imaginary pony and a pretty pink bow.”
“Well, you know what I think…” he began. That was as far as he got before he collapsed from the chair to the floor.
“Ohmygod are you OK?!” Stacy exclaimed, rushing to his aide.
“Ow,” he grumbled. “Yeah…I think so. I…”
He tried to get back up and fell down again. Stacy supported his arm and helped him on to Ashley’s bed.
“What happened?” she asked.
“I haven’t had anything to eat or drink since breakfast,” he explained.
“Why?”
“Because…I…. wasn’t feeling well.”
“Oh. Diaherria?”
Chris blushed. “No.”
“Because if it is, you should still try to at least drink water. Crackers wouldn’t kill you either.”
“It’s not diaherria,” he replied.
“It’s OK to admit that it is,” she told him. “I mean….who doesn’t get diaherria?”
“It’s worse.”
“Worse than diaherria?”
“Would you please stop saying diaherria?!”
“Oh. Sorry. So…what is it?”
He cleared his throat. “Can you keep a secret?”
“Hey…I showed you my panties, didn’t I?”
He nodded. “I…er…wet myself.”
“Wet your…. you mean like peed your pants?”
Solemnly, Chris nodded. Why did he have to open his big mouth? Now he’d never hear that end of this.
“I don’t get it,” she said. “That’s no reason to not eat.”
“It happened more than once,” he explained.
“Oh. Well…umm…”
“Look, it’s not like this is a normal thing for me,” he defended. “I had a nightmare. A freaky-ass nightmare. And when I woke up, my bed was wet and I’ve been pissing myself ever since.”
“Wow,” Stacy gasped. Chris detected nervousness in her voice. “That must have been some nightmare.”
“It was,” he said. “Masked women dancing in the woods.”
“Come again?”
“I said it was about masked women dancing in the woods.”
Her face went pale.
“What?” he asked.
“Nothing,” she replied. “Stay right here, OK? I’m going to go get you some help.”
Chris nodded. He felt too lightheaded and weak to go anywhere anyway. Something about the way Stacy reacted, however, made him very suspicious. Could she have had anything to do with what was happening to him? No way. Unh-uh. They were friends…weren’t they? Or maybe he just didn’t want to believe otherwise.

Re: Gatherings

Secrets and Lies, Secrets and Lies! (And a Great Big Surprise)
Simon Nokes loved his dog, so he felt a tad guilty that it shared the same name as his ex-wife. He didn’t want that bitch (Sally the dog) to have anything to do with THAT bitch (Sally the vindictive marketing consultant). And yet he could not bring himself to rename her. He had changed his own name half a dozen times or so, but the dog had always been (and probably would always be) Sally.
Sally was laying around absentmindedly on the floor while Simon jerked off to a porno video. The phone rang and Simon reached for the remote. He waved his finger over the pause button and hit mute instead. Why should this asshole caller have to disrupt his pleasure?
“Yeah?” he answered. “Well…if that’s what you’re looking for, I’m your man. Uh-huh. Follow them? Got it. OK, then what. No…don’t you worry about that. It’ll cost you, but it’s something I’m prepared to do. Hey…don’t worry…this will never come back to you. I’m a pro, and for that kind of dough, I’m extra careful. Yeah…you too.”
Simon hung up the phone and smiled.
“Sally,” he said. “It looks like we’re gonna be moving out of this shithole pretty soon. What do ya say to that, girl?”
Sally barked her approval. She was a good dog all right: about the only thing in the world Nokes would feel bad about killing.
Meanwhile, Chris lay on Ashley’s bed in confused agony. All his strength had left him. Deciding to suddenly stop eating had not been smart. Furthermore, he felt the beginnings of a headache. What bothered him most, however, was not what was going on inside his body but what was going on inside his mind. Was Stacy one of the girls who had attacked him (if he really was attacked)? What was she hiding?
Suddenly, it dawned on Chris that he was alone in her room. He could easily look around and get all the answers he wanted. Or, he could even have some fun. But what if she caught him? He tried to imagine what his friends would do.
Chuck: Dude, start sniffing her panties. That’s about as close as you’re gonna get.
Ryan: I don’t believe this! You are in an ideal position, my friend. Now you want to go do something stupid and screw it up?
Pete: (Shrugs) Like you actually expected me to say something. Let it go…
Torn by indecisiveness, Chris began to very slowly pull himself up out of bed. He had nearly succeeded when Stacy returned carrying a plastic bag. She still seemed quite unnerved and looked to be out of breath.
“OK,” she said. “I brought you some things to help you feel better.”
“I think I’m OK,” Chris said modestly. “But thanks. Really.”
“You’re not OK,” Stacy told him. “Can you walk?”
“I think so.”
“Can you dance?”
“Umm…no.”
“There…see. Now just relax and let me help you….mmmok?”
Chris was about to reply that he couldn’t dance regardless but found it futile to argue. If she wanted to help, let her help.
The first item Stacy removed from the bag was a bottle of juice.
“Orange mango,” she explained as she raised his head from the pillow. “Ashley’s not going to be happy that you were in her bed, but hey…. mine’s all the way on the top.”
Chris nodded and began to drink. It seemed as if his thirst knew no limits. Next, Stacy produced a package of goldfish crackers and poured a palm full into Chris’s hand.
“Some for you,” she said, pouring some into her own hand. “Plenty for me. Hehe.”
The two of them devoured the package in short order.
“Thanks,” he said. “That helped.”
“We’re not done yet,” she told him.
“We’re not?”
“This next thing is to make sure you won’t have any more…um…accidents.”
Chris looked at her skeptically. What could she possibly mean by that? In a moment, he had his answer.
“No way,” he said flatly as Stacy held an adult disposable diaper out in front of him. “You actually freakin expect me to wear that?!”
“Come on, Chris,” she urged. “It sucks, I know, but it’s better than having to do laundry all the time.”
“What do you mean all the time? This was probably only a one-day thing. A…a virus or something, and I’ll probably be over it tomorrow.”
“No,” she told him pityingly. “You won’t.”
“How do you know?” he snapped. “What the hell is going on?!”
“Please just calm down…”
“I want some answers, Stacy,” he told her firmly. He then watched her grow very sad. All the cheerfulness, the wit, the irreverent confidence seemed to slip right out of her. The knowledge that his suspicion had somehow hurt her made him feel even worse.
“I can’t!” she objected. “I wish I could tell you, but I can’t. At least not right now. Please, Chris…. you have to trust me on this. Please?”
He looked at her doubtfully and bit his lip. If he had said no, and flat out refused her, they would enter limbo. And yet he was afraid to say yes, for he knew not what that ‘yes’ might mean.
“OK, fine,” he told her. “I won’t ask anymore…if you’ll answer me three questions. Just three.”
“All right,” she said, her voice trembling. “I can do that…I think.”
“Am I cursed?”
“Maybe.”
“Does this have something to do with what’s going on in the woods?”
“Yes.”
“Why are you helping me?”
She smiled and kissed him. He was stunned. He always thought he’d be the one to kiss her first. And he wouldn’t just kiss her; he’d practically devour her with kisses. But she had kissed him and he felt none of that now. In fact, he felt little of anything.
“Umm…Stacy?”
“Yeesss?”
“I…uh….oh, shit….I’m not feeling anything…like…sexually. Is that a part of whatever this curse thing is?”
“'Fraid so,” she told him.
“Damnit!”
“You weren’t going to get any anyway,” she teased. “I like you, but I’m not THAT easy.”
“Oh, thanks a lot,” he replied. He didn’t know whether to feel flattered or disgusted.
“Here,” she said. “Let me help you put your diaper on.”
“Umm…”
“Trust me, Chris, these next few days you are gonna need them.”
“Even still, I’m pretty sure I can put it on myself. How hard can it be?”
“Pretty damn hard, actually,” Stacy told him. “You see…it’s got six tapes and they all need to be sort of aligned for it to fit right. Otherwise, it might slip and then you’ll leak and that’d be totally gross. The package even says that the wearer – that’s you – should seek assistance.”
Chris groaned. “Not like I have much of a choice, do I?”
“Nope. But I promise I’ll take good care of you and I won’t tell A-N-Y one.”
“That’s a relief,” he muttered as she pulled off his pants. Though she was very gentle, he still wished he could feel something. Instead, he remained limp throughout. He also felt ridiculous.
“I feel ridiculous.”
“Don’t,” she said. “You look cute.”
“That’s why I feel ridiculous.”
“Hey.” She raised her hand. “Candycane underwear, remember? Am I ridiculous?”
“No,” he told her. “You’re cute.”
She smiled. The confusion remained, but the horror had at least abated.
“So…um…yeah,” she said. “I don’t want to seem like I’m rushing anything, because that’s not my style…but why don’t you sleep here tonight? In case you have another nightmare, it couldn’t hurt to have company.”
“Is that the only reason?” he asked.
She donned a puppy-dog face. “Well. I get lonely too. My roommate is gone on weekends and all my pets are at home. Unless you count Christine.”
“You heard that story too?”
“Everyone has.”
“I wonder,” Chris remarked. “If she has a boyfriend.”
Christine did in fact have a boyfriend. They were together for two and a half years until he dumped her two weeks ago (thus prompting her to get drunk and make a fool out of herself at the party – she knew damn well what she was doing). Every day, after trying (and failing miserably) to inject her residents’ lives with cheer, she would retreat to her room and cry. No one knew. No one bothered to care either. Meow!

Second Gathering: Recovery, Bliss and the Hockey Mask Brigade
“Chris?”
He glanced at Stacy’s alarm clock. It was 12:15 and for a minute he didn’t know where he was. “Wha? Huh?”
“You’re having another nightmare,” she told him. “You keep tossing and turning and mumbling stuff.”
“Oh. Sorry. For a minute, I thought you were Ryan.”
“I oughta punch you in the mouth,” she teased. “Come on up here before you totally ruin poor Ashley’s bed.”
Chris nodded and ascended the bunk to Stacy’s bed. Dorm beds were not built for two people, but it would have to do.
“Hi,” she greeted as he squeezed in next to her.
“Sorry,” he repeated. “I know I’m not leaving you much room, but…”
“Shh.” She pressed a finger to his lips, pulled him in closer to her and wrapped the sheet around both of them. “If you start having another nightmare or need anything, just squeeze my hand. In the meantime, don’t worry and try to get some sleep. 'Nite, baby.”
“Goodnight,” Chris mumbled. Sleeping with Stacy helped. The nightmares befell him no longer.
When Chris awoke in the morning, he found that he was far from cured. His diaper was cold and wet. Stacy was lying directly on top of him and her knee was driving into his abdomen. In an attempt to dislodge her, he tumbled off the bed. Fortunately, he avoided hitting his head and his diapered posterior absorbed much of the impact. Stacy, upon hearing the impacting thud, opened her eyes and glanced down upon him.
“What are you doing?” She yawned.
“Good morning to you too,” he replied. When he told her what happened, they both had a good laugh.
“Now look,” she said to him, after he had hit the showers and changed. “You can’t keep coming here every time you need a change. People are gonna start spreading all those weird ‘floorcest’ rumors and pretty soon even Christine will have something to laugh at. Soooo…what I’m gonna do is put a bunch of diapers on you now, one at a time, so they are taped just right, and then you can slide them on and off when you need them. Mmmok?”
“Whatever,” Chris grumbled. He still wasn’t over the fact that he was actually wearing diapers.
“I know, I know…you don’t like it. But I promise…. by the end of the week, it will be straightened out…I hope.”
“If you are only hoping,” he said. “Then you shouldn’t promise. And if you care enough to be this nice to me, why can’t you tell me what’s going on?”
“I thought we agreed that you weren’t going to ask any more questions.”
“You agreed. I changed my mind.”
“Don’t be a jerk, Chris.”
He sighed. “Sorry. It’s just all this shit. It…”
She kissed him again. All complaints ceased.
By the middle of the week, Chris had adjusted, more or less, to the idea of wearing diapers. He wasn’t thrilled about it, but Stacy was doing her damnedest to make sure he was happy (or, at the very least, comfortable). Despite being temporarily impotent, he was able to please her with his humor and by merely being good company. Ashley didn’t mind having him around so often either, although she began to suspect that something was amiss. The only thing left unfulfilled in Chris’s mind was an explanation. He felt he had one coming. And a damn good one at that.
There was a brief item in the campus newspaper about reports of partying in the woods on Halloween night. Nothing further was mentioned. No masks, no fires, no weird curses or hexes. Chris shrugged. He didn’t care what the paper had to say.
There were others, however, who were very much interested. They convened in those very same woods on Wednesday night to further discuss the matter. All who were in attendance wore masks: Jason-style hockey masks.
“What’s the deal with the masks?” Chuck asked Matt.
“Dude, what else are we gonna wear? White hoods?”
“Why am I here?” Pete asked. His question, as per usual, went unanswered.
Professor Gary Thorne stepped to the front of the crowd. He was the only one among them who remained unmasked. A tough looking man of nearly fifty, he bore a slight resemblance to baseball great Wade Boggs and shared Boggs’ love of chicken.
“You know,” he said, addressing the crowd before him. “I’m all for a liberal arts education. But since when did that mean becoming so goddamn liberal? Last week, as you all know, some irresponsible individual vandalized the Women’s Center. And this college’s administration reacted with a fury. A fury! They pointed the finger at Christians, at athletes…at MEN. Of course, they didn’t dare question any women, because they, being the oppressed sex, could never do something like that…. right?”
“Bullshit!” Matt shouted.
“Quite right,” Thorne continued. “And then, we received reports a few nights later of trouble in these very same woods in which we now stand. We heard rumors of fire and dancing. Of possible drunkenness. Of sorcery. Of witchcraft. Which, Ann Rukeheyser would have us believe is harmless nature worship.”
“Bullshit!” Matt shouted again.
“We hear this and what does this college administration, with its liberal, pro-feminist, bend-over-backwards agenda do? Nothing. No investigation, no follow-through, not a single damn thing. Oh, but it doesn’t end there, my friends. Any number of my colleagues in the history department are revisionist, Commie-sympathizing bleeding heart cowards. Which, I suppose they are entitled to be, this being the land of the free and all. But when they start TEACHING that…you said it best, Matt, that bullshit, it just burns me up! Men make up less than fifty percent of the student body of this institution. The administration is overrun with sanctimonious liberal hypocrites who have nothing better to do than disgrace their roots and cater to minority groups. Well guess what…. we, the patriotic, God-fearing American men have become the minority group. And I for one, say that it is time to take the power back! There will be no more witchcraft here…not on my watch!”
“Yeah!” the crowd cheered, raising their fists in unified frustration.
“Let us be very clear on this, gentlemen,” Thorne continued. “We are not to resort to violence. We will not make any threats nor will ANY hate speech be sanctioned. That would be like letting them win. Like proving they were right to keep us down. We will, however make ourselves heard.”
“Yeah!!!”
Thorne smiled. “Now. Professor Michael Goodman of the Philosophy Department is holding a lecture on the Morality of War. He is, to the best of my knowledge, another socialist bleeding heart who happens to have an advanced degree. He will speak, undoubtedly, of a right to protest. Let’s show him what protest is all about.”
With a thunderous “yeah!” of approval, the Hockey Mask Brigade successfully concluded its first meeting and established its first initiative. First, they would take care of Goodman and Rukeheyser and the rest of the administration who would pose a problem. Next, they would come for the Coven. The campus was about to go to war.
Thursday Squared: Revolt, Dissent and A Big Old Slice of Pie
Come Thursday, the curse sill hung over Chris’s head. Confined to diapers, he had proven to be incapable of either maintaining an erection or controlling his bladder. Despite Stacy’s accommodations, he had grown quite impatient. It was nearly the end of the week and he had no answers. Did she really think that just because she was being nice about it that he’d simply forget? He made up his mind to confront her about it. He would ask for…no, he would DEMAND answers. And they’d better be the right ones.
“And now,” declared Dr. Morsey to her First Year Seminar class. “Because I don’t feel like teaching, time for a movie. Write a one-page reaction paper for next class. Wait…I might not feel like grading that either. Just try to learn something, OK?”
No one in the class objected. That the movie was a Woody Allen film made the experience all the less painful. After the movie…er…. class ended, Chris grabbed Stacy by the arm and dragged her aside.
“I’m not cattle, you know,” she commented. “There’s no need to heard me around.”
“Stacy,” he said somberly. “It’s been nearly a week. What the fuck is going on?”
“Didn’t I tell you not to ask me that?”
“I’m getting really sick of this.”
“Why? I take good care of you.”
“That isn’t the point.”
She sighed. “Tomorrow, OK? All will be revealed. In the meantime, calm your little diapered butt down.”
Chris flushed in embarrassment. He had woken up with the firm resolve to get answers, and that result now lay broken.
“You know what,” Stacy said to him. “I’m in the mood for pie. Come with me and we’ll go get pie.”
“I…” Chris began to object. “Forget it. Fine. We’ll go get pie.”
Disappointed, he allowed her to lead him to the dining hall where she procured a rather large slice of cherry pie. Chris wasn’t very hungry and placated himself with a granola bar. He watched as Stacy ate and got cherry filling all over the corners of her lips.
“You might be the one in diapers,” she joked. “But I think I need a bib.”
Angrily, Chris rose to leave.
“What?” she asked.
“You’ve got a big mouth,” he told her.
“Hello? Look around. It’s not like anyone’s listening in. Besides, I think people have better things to do with their time then care that you….”
“Shutup!” he hissed. “Just shut up.”
“Well fuck you if you’re gonna be such a jerk! You don’t want my help? Fine!”
He flipped her the bird and left her to finish the rest of her damn pie.
Upon entering the dorms, Christine ambushed him with another program announcement.
“Hey Chris,” she greeted, cheerful as ever. “There’s a super-cool lecture tonight. The Morality of War. You gonna be there?”
“I’m really not in the mood.”
“Aw, come on…”
“Don’t you have some guys’ legs to brush up against?” he snapped. “I heard you got down on all fours and did plenty of licking. You should be real proud of yourself.”
He passed by her without looking her in the eye. Had he lingered a moment longer, he would have seen her cry.
Chris tried, half-heartedly to get some homework done. Things were bad. He missed having Ryan around. If for nothing else, he provided decent conversation. They had spoken on the phone just last night. Ryan was having the time of his life. When he asked how Chris was doing, he said just fine. A lie. Chris felt bad about it. He had a lot to feel bad about.
There was a loud knocking on the door and Chris begrudgingly answered it. Ashley stood before him with a disappointed frown.
“What?” he asked.
“What do you mean what? Stacy’s really upset. So is Christine. So am I. What the hell’s gotten into you?”
Before Chris could answer, Chuck came sprinting excitedly down the hallway.
“Dude,” he said. “She’s actually crying. Christine is actually crying. She started to tell me about one of her programs and shit and I blew by her like I always do and she just started to lose it.”
Ashley kicked him in the shin.
“Ow! What was that for?”
“For being a bad influence on him.”
“Bad influence?”
“I was the one who made her cry,” Chris explained. “I brought up the cat incident.”
“To her face? Man, that’s pretty cold.”
“Yeah,” he replied sardonically. “Thanks, Chuck.”
“Is your goal to be mean to EVERYONE today?” Ashley asked. “Because so far you’re doing a great job.”
“I….no. I wasn’t trying to be mean at all. I’m just in a pissed off mood and people have been getting in my way.”
“Well…”
“Well what?”
“Apologize!”
“Yeah. Like that’ll do anything.”
“Either you do it,” Ashley threatened. “Or I’ll kick your butt. And then I’ll tell everyone your secret.”
“What secret?” Chuck asked.
“Not for you to know,” Ashley told him. She dragged Chris out of his room and marched him down the hallway, prodding him along with a few well-placed smacks on his diapered behind. They stopped when they got to Christine’s room.
“Who is it?” she asked, sniffling in between the syllables.
“It’s Ashley. Open up.”
She opened the door but recoiled when she saw Chris standing there.
“I’m really, really sorry,” he told her.
“A lot of good that does!” she replied. “My residents hate me. I’m a joke.”
“No,” Chris answered. “You’re not. You’re a good R.A. You actually care. If it wasn’t for you being such a pain in the ass, half of us wouldn’t even leave our rooms.”
Christine’s tears abated and she abruptly threw her arms around him in a tight, constricting hug.
“Umm…is that what I think it is?” she whispered into his ear.
“It’s a long story,” Ashley explained on his behalf. “And you really are better off not knowing.”
“OK,” she replied. “So I guess I’ll be seeing you at the lecture then……right?”
Chris nodded and Ashley dragged him to her room. Stacy was not crying, but she was visibly shaken.
“I…” Chris began.
“Don’t even say anything,” she interrupted. “I had to spend fifteen minutes talking to Pete just to convince me that you aren’t the antichrist and are just having a bad day.”
“Pete?” he questioned. “You talked to Pete.”
“Well, more like I talked and he listened. But you get the idea.”
“I’m sorry, OK,” he said. “I lost my cool. I blew it. But you have to understand: this problem of mine is very embarrassing. First you talk about it in public and then you tell Ashley?”
“Actually,” Ashley corrected. “I figured it out on my own.”
“Chris, I don’t tease you to embarrass you,” Stacy told him. “I do it because…well…maybe if you lighten up, it won’t seem so bad.”
“I guess I should be thanking you then.”
“You guess,” she repeated. “Get your diapered ass over here.”
Chris approached and she yanked down his pants. Before he could react, she planted a deep kiss on his face and followed it up by smacking him sharply on the leg.
“Ow!”
“I love you,” she said. “Don’t hurt me again.”
As promised, Chris found himself in attendance of the lecture that night. He had not yet decided whether it would be agonizingly boring or wickedly captivating. Michael Goodman was a short, bearded young man with a scholarly demeanor. He approached the podium and cleared his throat.
“HEY GOODMAN!” a voice from outside the auditorium screamed. “PROTEST THIS!”
Suddenly, everyone was roused to alarm by the honking of airhorns and wild rebel yells. Chris and others darted to the windows. They could not believe what they were seeing. A dozen or so people, dressed in hockey masks and robes, were skating around in front of the building like maniacs. They held signs and chanted in rhythm.
“DOWN WITH HYPOCRACY! WE WANT DEMOCRACY!”
“What…” Goodman began, scared beyond belief. “What is going on?”
Chris wasn’t sure he knew. By the looks of it, a war had begun.

Re: Gatherings

Third Gathering: Hairy Guy in a Thong…. Or The Really Ugly, Naked Truth
“It was unreal,” Chris said as he cuddled with Stacy later that night. “They all had hockey masks on and were chanting and making all kinds of noise. They had to cancel the lecture. By the time security arrived, they had all gone.”
“Was anyone hurt? They didn’t throw any bricks, did they?”
“What makes you think it’s the same people?”
She shrugged. “Just a hunch.”
“Oh yeah?” he asked, gently cupping the underside of her chin.
“Yeah,” she answered, kissing and licking his fingers.
“Hello,” Ashley interrupted. “Trying to do homework here.”
“Sorry, Ash,” Stacy apologized. “Of to your room then. You’re probably wetters.”
Chris once again reddened at the mention of his diapers. He could not wait to be rid of this curse and yet, at the same time, a part of him would miss it. He immensely enjoyed the attention she gave him on the occasions when she would change him and she seemed to be having fun with the whole idea of babying him as well. That it could continue after the curse was put to rest, however, did not seem at all likely. He would simply wait it out…. and make the best of it.
The hockey mask demonstration was on the tip of everyone’s tongue the next day. No one could really figure out the whos or the whys of the situation, but everyone seemed to have their guess. One chauvinist sow in the Gender Studies department denounced it as “typical angry white maleism.” Others claimed it was “a frat thing”, “the guys from Empire acting up again”, “a cult” or “just random drunk fuckery.” Chris himself did not know what to make of it. All throughout Daulton’s boring stat class, he tossed ideas around until he was called upon to solve a problem and had to withdraw into reality once more.
“And remember,” Daulton said to his students at the end of the class. He had just given them a groan-inducing homework assignment. “Have a nice weekend.”
Chris began to wonder if the monotonous, bespectacled professor had any life whatsoever and if he enjoyed torturing his students. Did he calculate their odds of familiar? Was there a Venn diagram of the “haves” and the “have-nots” of the class lying somewhere in his house? What was the standard deviation of “why the hell not?”
Stiff-legged, Chris limped back to the dorms, changed, and went for a jog around the campus to loosen up. As he passed the halfway mark, he ran into Chuck jogging in the opposite direction.
“Dude,” he greeted. “You hear about those guys in the hockey masks? Crazy shit.”
“Yeah,” Chris answered. “What’s the deal with them anyway? What the hell is their problem?”
“Maybe they don’t have a problem. Maybe everyone else does. Anyway, I wouldn’t know. But I’ll tell you this: there will probably be more to come.”
Chris found his answer curious. Before he could ask another question, however, Chuck was sprinting away into the horizon. By the time dinner rolled around, he was quite on edge. The speculation regarding the hockey maskers continued to grow by leaps and bounds and summersaults. Meanwhile, today was also the day in which Stacy had promised an explanation. He had been good about not bugging her about it, but she had yet to say anything. Maybe, he feared, she never would.
“Umm…Stacy?” he began as she changed his diaper.
“Yes, babe?”
“I don’t want to keep asking, but you owe me an explanation.”
“I know. I didn’t forget. What time is it?”
“7:30.”
“Eh…we might be a little early.”
“Early for what?”
“Follow me.”
Chris shrugged. He didn’t really have a choice in the matter. If he wanted to find out what was happening, he would have to follow her. He only hoped she would lead him down the right path.
When they reached the edge of the woods, he balked. Memories of his nightmare/encounter came back to him and he pieced together stumbling back to the dorms late that night (just like the proverbial asshole in Matt’s story). Stacy didn’t make things any easier with what she said next.
“I’m going to have to blindfold you,” she told him. “It’s the only way they’ll let you come along.”
“As long as you know where you’re going,” he told her as she tied a cloth over his eyes.
“Yeah….I think I left a trail of breadcrumbs. Of course I know. Come one.”
She led him by the hand through the dark and twisted woods. Just as he was beginning to suspect they were hopelessly lost, he heard approached voices. A couple of paces later, he felt the warmth of a fire. Stacy told him he could sit down and remove his blindfold. Chris did so and looked around in disbelief. The faces he saw were not masked but familiar. Pam was there. So was Chloe. So were half a dozen or so other girls he knew from classes or just from around campus. Were these the ones who attacked him? No, it couldn’t be.
“What’s HE doing here?” one girl asked.
“Remember,” Stacy reminded. “I told you he was coming.”
“Yeah, well….it’s too much of a risk. How can we trust him?”
“He has a right to know,” Chloe declared. They all seemed to defer to her.
“What is this?” Chris asked.
“This,” Chloe explained. “Is the new Women’s Center. Until they get the windows fixed and catch the brick-throwers at least. Until then, it’s not safe. So we have to meet in secret. And what’s more secret than out here?”
“I don’t get it,” Chris said. “You mean someone’s really out to get you?”
“Yuppers,” said Stacy. “It SUCKS.”
“Last week,” Chloe explained. “We were all very scared. I mean, really freaked out by what happened. So we decided to take a lot of precautions. Hence, the masks. We were touched by Dr. Rukeheyser’s lecture, but we weren’t practicing witchcraft or devil worship or anything like that. We were just hanging around and having fun. Then, when we heard you coming, we started acting kinda crazy in hopes that you’d think we WERE witches and would just go away. But you didn’t.”
“But why did you jump me?”
“Because we thought you were Matt,” Stacy explained.
“Why would you want to jump Matt.”
“Because,” Pam explained. “He assaulted me.”
Chris stared at her in disbelief. Everyone around him seemed dead serious.
“I don’t believe this,” he remarked, stealing Ryan’s line. “Matt?!”
“It wasn’t rape,” Pam continued. “And it started off consensual. I was at a mixer and he started hitting on me. I felt flattered. He’s like a god around here. That and I was a little tipsy. Still fully aware, mind you, but my guard was down. So we get around to making out and it’s all good…but then he whips it out. And I tell him that I didn’t want to, but he said that I was just a little nervous. He pushed my head down and….oh God…well…you figure out the rest!”
“Jesus!” Chris exclaimed. “Why didn’t you tell anyone?”
“He said that no one would believe me,” Pam said pleadingly. “That it was my word against his and that I swallowed it anyway. Besides, he claims I wanted it.”
“She was just about to tell me,” Chloe continued. “When someone threw the bricks.”
“And you think it was him?”
“No,” said Stacy. “That’s the scary thing. We know it wasn’t. He was somewhere else. Don’t you see, Chris: he has people working for him and covering his ass. That’s how powerful he is.”
“So we decided to meet out here and figure out what to do next,” Chloe concluded. “I had a book of spells that I picked up in a pawn shop. For impotence and incontinence. I never really expected them to work. None of us did.”
“Well it did,” he snapped. “I’m really sorry about what happened to you, but look what happened to me. And I didn’t even DO anything!”
He pulled down his pants and showed them his diaper. There were a few isolated giggles and his face predictably reddened.
“It’s OK,” Stacy said, hugging him and pulling his pants back up.
“Now that you’ve cursed me nice and good,” he asked. “Do you think you can find your way to uncursing me?”
“We can’t,” Chloe told him. “The curse can only be undone when justice is served.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me!” he hollered. “I don’t believe this!”
“You know, Chris, I’m the victim here,” Pam told him. “I thought you were a nice guy. I thought that MAYBE you could help. Stupid thought, huh?”
“I’m sorry,” he apologized. “Of course I’ll help. What can I do?”
“Matt’s got something to do with that hockey mask business,” Chloe explained. “I just know it. He’s spreading lies about us, trying to turn people against us.”
“This is really bad,” Pam added. “People have been sending me nasty letters. I think somebody’s been following me. And there’s not a damn thing I can do about it because I don’t know who it is and I can’t prove anything and ugh….it’s hell!”
“It’s OK,” Chloe said soothingly as she patted her on the head. “We’ll get him. Won’t we, Chris?”
“Umm…”
“Basically,” Chloe explained. “We want you to go undercover for us. Join the hockey mask cult, find out what they’re up to, try to get some evidence on Matt.”
His eyes widened in alarm. “Are you nuts?” he asked. “If they are as powerful as they say you are, what do you think they’ll do to me if they find out. I mean….I’m not a coward or anything and I DO want to help, but this is crazy. It’s too much. I’m sorry, but no.”
“Hey Stace!” a girl protested. “I thought you said he’d do it.”
Chris’s face went pale. Suddenly, he understood. It was all a ploy to get him to help. The whole thing, from the minute he collapsed due to malnourishment, was a lie. Stacy was just warming him up so he would say yes. Well it wasn’t going to work! Disgusted, he began to walk away.
“Chris?” Stacy asked, walking after him. “Slow down. What is it?”
“Stay away from me,” he grumbled.
“Why? What’d I do?”
“What did you do?” he mimicked. “The whole thing was just a lie, wasn’t it? You were playing me so I’d help! You KNEW I liked you and you…you used me. You bitch!”
“No,” she protested. “That’s not true. I really do like you.”
“How am I supposed to believe that? All of the freakin sudden you want to help me. God, I’m such an idiot!”
“Yes,” she scolded. “You are. And you’re an insecure jerk, too. I love you, OK. I love you now and I loved you before you got cursed. I just didn’t realize it right away. But you were always there for me and you were always taking an interest in what I had to say. Stuff that would bore most guys shitless. And I know I tease you a lot, but you put up with it and I really, really respect you. And I really don’t want to lose you and if you don’t want to do it, fine…but don’t you DARE call me a liar!”
He felt numb with confusion, guilt and shame. She was right. He was an idiot and a jerk. He’d allowed his paranoia to get the better of him. Instead of looking at all the positives, he grasped the first negative that came to mind. It was clear now: she really did care for him. How many other girls would put up with an impotent, diaper-wearing boyfriend?
“This really means that much to you?” he asked.
“Yes.”
“OK. Then I’ll do it.”
“Yay!” she exclaimed. “Hey girls….he’ll do it.”
“YAY!” they all shouted and gave him a round of applause.
“The thing that bothers me,” he told her. “Is that while I’m busy spying on them, how do you know they aren’t spying on us?”
Stacy’s jaw dropped. It was a good question. She didn’t know, did she? She had just assumed to trust everyone in the Coven because they looked trustworthy. But what if they weren’t? The thought made her cringe. She would know, for better or for worse, soon enough.

Connivance, Counterintelligence and Pete’s Words of Wisdom
Chris certainly had his work cut out for him. Based on the incredible findings the girls had relayed to him, all he knew was a.) there was a group of wackos wearing hockey masks that were up to no good and b.) Matt was somehow involved. He had reason to suspect Chuck was connected as well, but it could just be that he was voicing his support. At any rate, he hadn’t a clue where to begin.
It had been a week now since the curse fell upon him, and while Chris was relieved to know its nature and its cause, there was otherwise little solace to be found. The urge to get out of diapers and into Stacy (to put it vulgarly) spurred him on to do some sleuthing. Unfortunately, detective work was not Chris’s forte. About the only investigative experience he had was trying to guess the identity of the killer in any number of crappy teen slasher films. Besides, even if Chuck was a credible place to start, he had no idea how to approach him without blowing his cover.
Chris was in the middle of racking his brain when Pam came a’knocking.
“Hey,” she said. “Thanks again for last night.”
“You’re welcome. About that though…I don’t know where to start. I mean, I can’t just walk up to Matt and tell him I want in. That’d look pretty suspicious.”
“Yeah…you’re right.”
“I think Chuck, from across the hall, might be involved, but I don’t know how to approach him either.”
“Why don’t you ask his roommate?”
Chris chuckled.
“What’s so funny?”
“Obviously, you don’t know Pete.”
“Pete…. wait……Pete Silbeck?”
“Yup.”
“Ohmygod…. he’s in one of my classes…. he doesn’t say ANYTHING! And he gets A’s.”
“He’s a bit of a mystery,” Chris remarked.
“Anyway,” Pam said. “I just thought I’d stop by and say thanks and ask if you wanted me to do your laundry.”
Chris seemed surprised. “I was only kidding about what I said last week.”
“I know,” she replied. “I just thought it would be a nice thing to do. You’re taking a big risk helping us and we did place a curse on you.”
“That’s true.”
“Besides…it’s not like I need to worry about washing underwear.”
“Get out,” he said, half-jokingly.
Though he had rejected Pam’s suggestion earlier, Chris found himself desperately knocking on Pete’s door. Chuck had gone home for the weekend, but if Pete was around there was the chance he could be of some help. After knocking for a few solid minutes, Chris was ready to give up. Just as he was about to turn away, the door swung open.
“Hey,” he greeted.
Pete was sitting crosslegged on the floor in a meditational stance. He gestured for him to come in and pointed to a chair. Chris sat.
“How’s it going?” he asked.
Pete shrugged.
“Don’t you ever say anything?”
Pete remained silent. Frustrated, Chris rose to leave.
“Of course I say things,” Pete told him, luring him back to his seat. “People usually don’t listen though. So I don’t waste my breath.”
Chris nodded. It made perfect sense. Having Chuck for a roommate, he’d probably be stricken silent too.
“Well,” Chris said. “I’m listening. In fact, I need your advice.”
“Go on.”
“You heard about what happened Thursday night? People in hockey masks.”
“Yes, I heard.”
“Well…I was wondering: did Chuck have anything to do with that?”
“I honestly don’t know.”
Chris bit his lip. “OK….look. I normally wouldn’t ask anyone to backstab their own roommate, but I’m guessing you don’t like Chuck too much.”
“Have I showed you my voodoo doll?”
“Umm…. no.”
Pete reached into a drawer and produced a felt doll modeled after Chuck. Several pins were placed in key locations. It made Chris wonder what else his neighbor might be hiding.
“Unfortunately, it doesn’t work,” Pete explained. “It doesn’t say “dude” either.”
“Heh. Anyway…if Chuck is involved, I was wondering if you knew a way for me to ask him without it looking suspicious. I’m on a mission.”
Pete stroked his chin in contemplation. “Hmm….for a favor of this magnitude, I’m going to require a couple of items.”
“What items?” Chris asked. He didn’t expect there to be a payoff involved.
“A pair of panties from a girl on this floor, worn. A bra, also worn. And, if you can pick me up a package of gummy worms, that’d be sweet.”
Chris stared at him in disbelief. Exactly what the hell was he up to?
“Ummm….”
“These terms are non-negotiable,” Pete explained. “If you want my help, you’ll find a way to get them for me. The first two shouldn’t be a problem, although the bookstore may be out of gummy worms. In that case, I’ll take Swedish Fish. Good luck and hope to see you later.”
Dumbfounded, Chris left the room and the door was slammed shut behind him. He had no idea how he was going to explain this to Stacy. He couldn’t even explain it to himself.
“A bra and panties?” she teased. “Doing a little cross-dressing, are we?”
“It’s not for me,” he replied. “It’s for Pete.”
Her eyes widened. “What the hell does he want with my underwear?”
“I have no idea. But he won’t help unless I give it to him.”
“Ugh…. I’m tempted to tell you to just raid Ashley’s dresser. But, if she found out, she’d kill me.”
“Look,” he said. “You kept on complaining about how stupid those candycane panties were anyway. Well here’s your chance to get rid of them.”
“Yeah…but now I’m starting to like them again.”
He rolled his eyes. “Do you want me to help or not?”
“Of course I do.”
“Then this is the way we have to do it. That and…do you have any Swedish fish?”
After much negotiation, deliberation, haggling, protest and tickling, Stacy finally agreed to relinquish her undergarments on the grounds that Chris not hand them over until he found out what they were being used for. Chris agreed to these terms and went to make the delivery as scheduled.
“Excellent,” said Pete as he popped a few Swedish fish into his mouth.
“I have to ask,” Chris said. “What is all this for?”
“In a minute,” Pete told him. “Now…you want to get to Chuck, right?”
Chris nodded.
“He thinks you’re a pushover. That you’re spineless and you let Stacy boss you around too much and you’re too easily manipulated. If you want my advice, stage a fight with her where you come out on top. Be a real jerk – I know you have it in you. Then, Chuck will respect you, perhaps even confide in you. If that should fail to work…he loves football and waffles. Hang around the dining halls at around 7AM, wait for him to show up, get a plate of waffles and let him leech off of you. Mention Steve Spurrier and he’ll start talking. Then, once he gets started, you can simply change the topic. That ought to do it.”
“Wow,” Chris remarked. “Thanks a lot.”
“No problem,” Pete replied. “As for these….”
He took Stacy’s bra and hung it from the doorknob and left her panties out in plain view. Chris still did not have any idea what he was up to.
“Do you know Jenna Hoffman?” Pete asked him.
Chris shook his head.
“She’s quite lovely. Chuck’s been after her for about two weeks. Later tonight, she will come looking for him. He won’t be here, of course, but I will. She will then notice the female undergarments lying around, at which point I’ll explain that Chuck’s girlfriend left them here. She’ll be devastated, and…I’m sure you get the idea.”
Chris grinned. “You’re a diabolical bastard,” he said. “And I mean that in the nicest way possible. Thanks again.”
“No, thank you. Good luck on your mission.”
“The same to you.”
Stacy was in disbelief when Chris relayed Pete’s message to her.
“Wow…. Pete….who would have known.”
“I sure as hell didn’t.”
“OK, so all we have to do is stage an argument in front of Chuck and you’ll be set. Sounds easy.”
“Yeah.”
Pam dropped by to let Chris know that his laundry was done. He decided to fill her in on the situation.
“PETE said that?!” she exclaimed. “Wow.”
“Yeah,” Chris remarked, pulling a page from the Book of Ryan. “I don’t believe it. But you know what…what does it matter who said it?”
“As long,” Stacy concluded. “As it works.”

Drama, Lies and Belgian Waffles
With a plan set for Chuck’s return, Chris was able to take it easy for the rest of the weekend. He called his parents and endured a lengthy lecture about how he should call more often.
“We have a right to know what’s going on, Chris,” his father insisted.
“I guess…nothing really,” Chris replied. It was a lie, of course, but a sane one that could be believed. The truth would certainly seem a lie by comparison.
“You’ll keep us posted, won’t you?” his mother asked.
“Sure, Mom.”
“Love you,” they both said before hanging up. Chris sighed. All during the summer, they had been telling him about how much college would change him. They had no idea how right they were. He was just glad they hadn’t decided to pay him a surprise visit. His parents were huggers – how long would it take them to find out he was wearing diapers? How could he even begin to explain it? These concerns gave him a headache, which he assuaged by playing a few more hands of computer solitaire. His winning percentage was dreadfully low.
On Monday, Chris and Stacy left their seminar together and walked back to the dorms. Neither one of them were quite ready to declare a major. Stacy’s problem had been that she liked too many different things; Chris’s had been that he wasn’t passionate about much of anything. Between them, they had spent nearly a day trying to figure out what classes to take in the spring.
“Now remember,” she said as they entered Drew Hall. “It has to be believable.”
“I know,” Chris answered her. “Don’t worry about it.”
Surely enough, Chuck was lurking in the hallway whenst they approach.
“Ready?” he whispered.
“Mmmhmm,” she replied.
Suddenly, he broke free from her and began to walk angrily away.
“Chris…” she called after him.
“No, damnit,” he snapped. “I’m not gonna put up with this anymore.”
“You get back here,” she said, following him.
Chuck broke off from his conversation with the guys next door and watched with amusement. Chris had reached the door to his room when Stacy caught up with him and grabbed him by the arm.
“Don’t touch me!” he snapped, shaking her off. “You disgust me.”
“I just want to talk…”
“We’ve got nothing to talk about.”
“Chris…” she said desperately, trying to touch him again. Once more, he rebuked me.
“I thought I told you not to touch me.”
“Yeah? What are you going to do about it?”
With that, he spun her around and administered a sharp blow to her backside.
“Now get going,” he said coldly.
“Fine!” she sniffled, retreating in teary-eyed anger. “I won’t ever talk to you again!”
“Bitch,” he grumbled, opening the door to his room and throwing his books down in a rage. A moment later, Chuck came in after him, as giddy as a schoolgirl.
“Dude!” he remarked. “What the hell just happened?”
Chris put his hand on his head and groaned. “Don’t ask,” he said. “Just don’t ask. Shit. Now I’m going to be in trouble over this.”
“Women,” Chuck said. “Can’t live with them, can’t fuck them 24/7.”
“Amen,” Chris said, laying it on thick. “She’s been acting totally nuts lately.”
“Probably PMS or some shit,” he commented. “I feel for you, man. Check this: there’s this chick that I’ve been after for awhile, Jen or Gem or something like that. Anyway, I can tell she wants me, but I decide to give it some time. You know, so I don’t look like a shallow ass-fiend. So I go home this weekend…and all of the sudden she doesn’t want to talk to me! Fuck. Pete said she came by looking for me, got pissed that I wasn’t there and left.”
“Go figure,” Chris said, repressing a smile.
“Sucks about you and Stacy,” he continued. “But two peeps on the same floor…. probably not a good idea anyway. I’d totally do Ashley though.”
“Yeah.”
“You know, Chris, you showed some real balls today, dude. I always figured you for being whipped.”
Chris scoffed in denial.
“Yeah, well…be seeing you. Peace.”
“Later,” Chris remarked. Once Chuck had gone back to his room, he sprinted down the hall to report on his findings.
“I’m in!” he exclaimed.
“In what?” Ashley asked.
“We’re fucking with Chuck,” Stacy explained.
“Ooh…can I be in too?”
Stacy looked at Chris. He shrugged and looked back at her blankly.
“Mmm…. nah. Trust me, it’s more stress then you want to deal with right now.”
“Whatever,” Ashley said as she gathered her books to head off to class. “I just hope you get him good. I don’t like the way he looks at me.”
“Hey,” Chris said after she had gone. “I didn’t really hurt you, did I?”
“No, you were great,” Stacy assured him.
“So were you. Really convincing.”
“Hmmm…. think I should major in drama?”
“Maybe,” he told her. “I mean….you certainly could, but do you really want to go fucking with your schedule again?”
“Good point. You know what though?”
“What?” he asked.
“My butt hurts.”
“I thought you said I didn’t hurt you.”
“Well, it doesn’t HURT hurt, it just stings. Plus, I totally wasn’t expecting it.”
He shrugged. “Sorry.”
“That’s OK,” she said, smiling mischievously. “Now come here.”
“What for?” he asked mistrustingly.
“So I can check your diaper, silly.”
Chris allowed Stacy to check him. He was wet and in need of a change, which she then provided. While powdering him, she suddenly reached out and smacked him across the ass. She had been right: it stung if you weren’t expecting it.
The next day, Chris was sure to show up at the dining hall bright and early. He took a seat in an alcove and kept a watchful eye on the door. When at last he saw Chuck coming, he got in line to get waffles. They were Belgian waffles to be precise, with powdered sugar and a cherry topping. Chris was beginning to see why Chuck liked them so much. Just as he sat down to eat, Chuck pulled up a chair across from him.
“Damn,” he remarked. “Look at that line. At this rate, I’m not gonna be able to eat before class.”
“Oh. You can have some of mine,” Chris said, relinquishing his plate.
“Thanks,” said Chuck. “You’re the man.”
He had been hopeful Chuck would extend an invitation to join the hockey maskers, but thusfar all he had done was eat. Suddenly, Chris remembered Pete’s other tip. Chuck liked football. Unfortunately, Chris wasn’t too big on football. He’d have to bluff and hope that Chuck bought it."
“So….what do you think of the…um…Chiefs this year?”
“They’re the real deal,” Chuck replied between bites. “Unless Priest Holmes goes down. Then they’re fucked. But yeah, they’re good. Maybe not 16-0 good, but good. Hey…I didn’t know you liked football?”
Chris shrugged. “What did you think I was into?” he asked. “Knitting fucking socks?”
Chuck snickered. “You know, man, just when I was gonna write you off as a weirdo, you’re seeming like a pretty cool guy.”
“Thanks. It’s just…I don’t know. A lot of the people around here are kinda…”
“Assholes,” Chuck interjected. “Bunch of politically correct, pot-smoking hypocrites. Yeah, I didn’t used to think there were any cool people around here either, but….”
“But what?” Chris asked.
“Forget it.”
“Whatever….”
“OK, look, dude,” he said whispering. “I’d have to clear it with some peeps first, but how’d you like to get in on something?”
“Like what?”
“Like taking back this campus. And having a good time.”
“Umm…sure. Yeah, that sounds like it’d be great.”
“Aright. Well…. I’ll go see about letting you in. In the meantime, you didn’t hear anything from me.”
“'Course not.”
“I’m out. Thanks for the waffles.”
No, Chris thought, thank you.

Re: Gatherings

Fourth Gathering: The Inner Sanctum and Virgin’s Blood
Chuck had given Chris the OK early Wednesday morning. A few hours later, Chris hitched a ride off campus and procured for himself a Jason-style hockey mask. He also restocked on diapers, and, at Chuck’s request, picked up a bottle of fruit punch. The clerk on duty asked what all of it was for. Chris replied that he only wish he knew. It was the truth, too. He had no idea what he was getting himself into.
“They are meeting in the woods tonight,” he told Stacy later on.
“You’re kidding, right?” she said. “That’s perfect! We can just get a video camera and…”
He held a finger to her lips. “Don’t even think about it. If you blow my cover, there are going to be a lot of guys wanting to kick my ass.”
“How do you know they don’t want to already?” she teased.
Chris shrugged. “I always just assumed they would have done so by now. Anyway, I’ll keep my eyes open and tell you what I see.”
“Yeah. You do that.”
Come nighttime, Chris and Chuck took off together in the direction of the woods.
“Do you know where you’re going?” Chris asked.
“Of course I know where I’m going. Only assholes get lost in the woods.”
That would be me, Chris thought.
When they got to the woods’ edge, they donned their masks. Chris had the fruit punch with him and Chuck was carrying a paintbrush. Chris felt like he was about to step into an Andy Warhol painting. Why did the truly strange stuff only happen late at night? Because no one was watching? But someone was always watching. He’d be watching tonight.
In roughly the same place where the girls met only a few nights earlier stood a consortium of mask-wearing individuals. Forget Warhol, Chris thought. This was definite Kubrick territory. As it was too dark to identify anyone by face, he instead tried to find familiarity amongst the voices. He listened for names.
“Hey Chris,” Matt greeted. “Welcome aboard. You get the blood…er…fruit punch.”
“Right here,” Chris replied. Did he just say blood?
“Excellent. Start introducing yourself around. We won’t start for another five minutes or so.”
Chris nodded. This was going to be easy after all. He walked from masked face to masked face, dropped his name, made a few politically incorrect wisecracks and listened for replies. Name upon name tumbled into the registers of his memory. He found it shocking. These were people he knew. Some of them were his friends. And yet, they were…well, he didn’t know WHAT they were doing, but it couldn’t have been good, could it? He was direly confused.
“Yo!” Matt yelled. “All throw down for Father Thorn!”
Chris watched as the crowd fell silent and a masked man stepped forward. Thorne, Chris thought. Where did that name sound familiar?
“Thank you, Brother Matt,” said Thorne.
A professor, maybe? He sounded older.
“You know, I saw something very troubling in the Times the other day. There was an article about an artist who was fired because his sculpture, which was to appear in a town square, was thought by some to be racially insensitive. Beside this article was a political cartoon which painted our President in a most unfavorable light. I ask you, is this not hypocrisy…”
Now Chris remembered. Thorne was a professor in the history department. Ryan had him for a class. He said he was a real hardass. But why was he mixed up in this? As far as Chris could tell, the people here were following Matt. But Matt appeared to be following Thorne. Why? Did Thorne have something to do with what happened to Pam? Intent on finding answers, Chris listened to Thorne’s impassioned rant. He found himself alternately bored and captivated, repulsed and inspired. In his mind, it all amounted to nothingness. It was zero with a lot of fancy rhetoric, but zero just the same.
“And now,” Thorne said. “I figured it’s time we have some fun. Matt?”
“Ancient civilizations believed that painting themselves with the blood of virgins could prolong their lives. Bullshit, of course, but why not give it a try?”
The crowd voiced their approval. One by one, they stepped forth, removed their masks and held still while Matt painted the ‘blood’ (actually fruit punch) upon their faces. When it came time for Chris to step forward, he found that he was hesitant. The blood seemed symbolic of a vow of some sort, a vow he could never keep. He felt like a traitor. So far, these guys had done NOTHING wrong. But would Pam lie to him about being assaulted? What was going on?
“Well Chris?” Matt asked him. “You in?”
Slowly, Chris removed his mask. Matt took the paintbrush, dipped it in the fruit punch and applied a few strokes to Chris’s cheeks. The brush was hard and cold. He felt like branded cattle.
“Live long, brother,” Matt said.
“You too,” Chris found himself replying. When he left the woods that night, he did not report back to Stacy. In fact, he avoided her entirely. Do this, do that. Help us, please. He was tired of being a pawn.

The Nightmare, the Walkout and Chris Gets Busted
That night, Chris had a dream so horrific that it made Gigli seem tame by comparison. He woke from it in the very early hours of the morning, screaming and clutching the covers as if they might provide the sanctuary he so desperately longed for. It caused him to question his sanity. It made him wish he was back at home in his mother’s arms.
In Chris’s dream, Matt and Pam were in the middle of making out. Her legs were wrapped tightly around him as their tongues grappled for position inside each others’ mouths. His hands crept under her shirt and felt the cups of her bra. He was looking forward to what would probably be a very good lay.
“This is boring,” she said abruptly.
He stopped. The look on his face was one of bewilderment. “Excuse me?!”
“Not YOU,” she replied. “This. This school. Doesn’t anything ever happen around here?”
“Sure. There’s parties all the time.”
“I’m not talking about parties.”
He gave her a confused glance and she leaned into his ear and whispered. A moment later, he dumped her unceremoniously from his lap.
“You’re crazy!” he chastised. “Get the fuck out of here.”
“Oh, come on Matt,” she insisted. “You know you want to.”
“Besides, it won’t work.”
“Sure it will. People will do whatever you tell them. You’re a god around here, remember? As for me…. I’m the innocent freshman girl. Why WOULDN’T anyone believe me?”
“This means that much to you?” he asked.
She licked the corners of her mouth seductively. “It means very much.”
And that’s when Chris woke up. It was a harrowing vision. As much as he didn’t want to believe it, it made perfect sense. But it was a DREAM. But did that mean it wasn’t true? And, if it was, who else was in on it? Stacy. No way. He’d already doubted her once and she’d been by his side unconditionally ever since. And yet…
Chris sprinted from his room to the bathroom and ducked his head under the shower. The stinging blast of water woke him up and shook off some of the confusion. Nonetheless, he doubted he’d get back to sleep. It was 4AM and he had class in the morning. He felt like shit. And so it goes.
Chris did not sleep any more that night. While he would undoubtedly be tired later, he felt quite energized by the time his peers were groggily awakening. In fact, he was so energized that he decided to go for an early morning jog. He jogged right by Stacy while she was en route to get breakfast.
“There you are,” she scolded. He seemed to take no notice of her. “Chris?” So she took it upon herself to go after him. He led her away from the center of campus and toward the main road that marked the border. When at last he stopped to catch his breath, she found herself standing behind him with mounting concern.
“What’s gotten into…” she began before he clamped a hand over her mouth.
“I need to know that I can trust you,” he said, crazed in his calmness. “Can I trust you?”
Though wide-eyed and fearing for her safety, she nodded and he removed his hand.
“I didn’t catch up with you last night because I was having second thoughts,” he explained. “I mean, the whole time I was there, they didn’t seem to be doing anything wrong. Nothing! Just a bunch of pissed off guys venting about stuff and having a good time. It felt kind of cool to tell you the truth. And then, last night I had this dream. It was really horrible, but it makes sense you see. I saw Matt and Pam together. It was her idea, not his. They staged the whole thing.”
Stacy seemed to transform before him. Her sassiness disappeared. Her confidence burned out quicker than Keith Richards’ cigarette. She was, just as he had been, completely and utterly confused. And while he felt bad for her, seeing her like that made him smile.
“You mean that thought never crossed your mind?” he asked. “It does make sense, really. She was right: its her word against his.”
“No,” she replied firmly. “Nu-uh. No way Pam would do something like that.”
“How well do you know her?” Chris asked. “I thought I knew her, but…”
“I thought I knew you!” she snapped. “But Jesus, Chris, this is crazy. It’s…. I don’t even want to think about it!”
“Well you’d better start thinking,” he told her. “Because this is only going to get more fucked up. Now I asked if I can trust you. Can I? Or are you just trying to….”
She rolled her eyes. “Yes, Chris, you can trust me.”
“Good. I’m going to continue to find out what I can, only I’m not doing it for Pam anymore. I’m doing it because I’m tired of being jerked around. I want to know!”
“So do I,” she said. “But at the same time, I’m scared. Ya know?”
He nodded.
“You can tell me though,” she said. “I won’t tell the others if that’s what you want.”
“OK,” Chris replied. “I’ll tell you.”
As they walked back towards the center of campus, Chris gave a full report on the night’s findings. He named names. He no longer felt like such a rat doing so. If there were no sides, he could be a traitor to no one.
“You’ve been up since 4?” Stacy asked.
Chris nodded. He had a mouth full of muffin.
“Ugh, that sucks. Well…you can always take a nap later.”
“I don’t take naps,” he said, swallowing his muffin.
“Oh…I forgot,” she taunted. “You’re such a macho guy…. you could NEVER take a nap.”
Chris made a chest-pounding gesture and she laughed.
“Tell you what,” she said. “You can take a nap after sem. You’ll like it. Trust me.”
He nodded. She said he could trust her, didn’t she?

Gary Thorne checked his watch. His class began at 12:30, but he always started a minute late to give any stragglers a chance to get into class before tasting his wrath. As he looked around, he saw a full house. Excellent, he thought. The name of the class was Early American History. Today, he would be lecturing on the Federalist Papers. It was one of Gary’s favorite topics.
At 12:32, Gary cleared his throat and began to speak. When the second hand on his watch skipped past six, his class abruptly rose to their feet, turned and walked out the door. Gary was stunned at first. Was this some kind of a prank? When his students began walking down the hall, he realized it was no prank. His class had simply quit on him.
“Hey!” he shouted after them. “Class is not dismissed. I’ll see that you get Fs. Every last one of you!”
He meant it, too. Somehow, however, he didn’t think that would matter. Gary longed for a bourbon. He’d have to settle for coffee. Life was full of compromises.

After sem, Chris and Stacy walked back to his room. She told him to strip down to his diaper and wait for her. She promised she’d be back soon. He sure hoped so: suspense was a killer.
After standing around in just his diaper for what seemed like a century (but was actually less than five minutes, Stacy returned carrying an armful of things.
“What’s all this?” he asked.
“Gonna make sure you have a nice nap,” she explained. “But I need to change you first.”
Chris lay down for his now-customary diapering. Stacy had yet to get sick of it and continued to show affection while she changed him. He was still incapable of maintaining an erection. It was one of life’s crueler ironies.
After she had finished diapering him, Stacy produced an adult-sized snap crotch onsie. Chris was suspicious.
“A friend of a friend of a guy I know makes clothing for adult babies, among other things,” she explained. “Now let me put this on you. I wanna see how it looks.”
Chris examined the garment. There didn’t seem to be anything overtly offensive about it. It wasn’t pink. It didn’t have decorations of flowers. He shrugged. Why the hell not? After putting it on him, Stacy naturally pointed out how cute he looked.
“It’s a little tight,” he complained.
“I know,” she said. “It’s supposed to be. Besides, it shows off your muscles.”
Chris couldn’t argue with that. He hopped into bed and allowed Stacy to tuck him in.
“We’re not done yet,” she said.
“We’re not?” he asked.
She slid a teddy bear under his arm and popped a pacifier into his mouth. Just as he was about to get up and bring an end to this absurdity, she placed a calming finger upon his forehead.
“Just relax,” she said. “Forget about how stupid you think you look, forget about your nightmares. Forget about Matt, forget about Pam, forget about ME if you want to though I hope you won’t. Forget about all of it and just relax. You’re safe, you’re comfy and you’re perfectly capable of sleeping during the day.”
Chris thought about protesting but realized he had nothing to protest with. He was safe, he was comfortable and he was tired. End of story.
“I’ll be back to check on you in half an hour,” she said. “If you’re not in this bed, I’m going to spank your butt back to the stoneage.”
Chris glared at her and raised his arm from under the covers.
“Kidding!” she assured him and kissed him on the forehead. “Nite, nite babe.”
She had gone but five minutes and Chris found himself drifting impossibly off into a peaceful sleep. That sleep was shattered by Chuck knocking on the door and shouting his name. Not once did he say “dude”.
“Coming,” Chris said wearily. So much for napping. He threw on some clothes over his onesie, threw open the door and threw his face right into Chuck’s incoming fist. There was something to be said for Robert Frost’s poem regarding fences after all.

Judas, Brutus and Alger Hiss
Even in his anger, Chuck had a certain awkward slackerishness about him. He lunged at Chris half-heartedly, more the butting goat than the charging bull. He could have easily floored Chris with one deft blow, but was instead content to paw at him and shove him around. Chris, for his part, tried the best to make sense of what was happening. His best guess was that he had been found out.
“Dude,” he said as Chuck shoved him into a wall. “Calm down!”
Chuck, red-faced and huffing mad, finally took pause from his awkward thrashing of his neighbor.
“What the fuck, man?” he asked. “I thought you were cool. You fucking rat us out?!”
“I…no,” Chris lied. “I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.”
“Professor Thorne’s entire class walked out on him,” Chuck told him. “That means somebody told what we were doing out there.”
“What makes you think it was me?”
“Shit, Chris, you’re always talking to Stacy all the time. Took me a minute to figure it out, but I’m onto you, ya treacherous fuck!”
“Chuck,” he said calmly. “Listen to me. Yes, I told Stacy. Yes, I was asked to spy. But I’m not spying for anyone. I just want to find out what happened.”
His face drew a blank stare. “What do you mean what happened?”
“I think Matt might be fucking with all of us….trying to play us against each other.”
“No way!” Chuck said, pushing him again. “Matt…”
“…is powerful enough to get away with it. Come on Chuck, you know I’m right.”
“All I know is this. You’re gonna stand trial tomorrow night.”
“Trial?”
“Yeah. You don’t show, then you’d better consider transferring, dude.”
And with a final slam of the door, he was gone. Chris found himself sweating and breathing rapidly. He was a mess.
“Fuck me,” he grumbled.
Before he could even as much as catch his breath, Stacy burst in and scolded him for not being in bed. He angrily issued her a summary of the past moments’ events.
“Pfft…trial,” she replied. “Yeah…right.”
Chris remained mute and sullen.
“You’re not WORRIED about this, are you?”
“Yeah, Stace, I am. If I don’t go through this, it’s going to be hell. They WILL kick my ass, and it won’t stop there. How long do you think it’ll take for them to find out I wear diapers? That’ll be all over campus soon enough. I’m screwed!”
“Whoa…Christ…timeout. Take….”
“Don’t tell me to take it easy!”
“You’re getting an attitude, hun.”
He groaned. “It’s like I’ve been taking the fall for someone else all along and I don’t even know who.”
“I wish I knew too.”
“Then let’s find out,” he said.
“Huh?”
“Ask Pam. Ask Chloe. Find out what they really know.”
“I can’t do that, Chris,” she said.
“Why?” he asked. “Because they’ll call you a traitor. Oh, I get it. It’s OK for me to put my ass on the line but God forbid you should have to do the same.”
“It’s not like that,” she said, although her conviction had already wavered.
“I need this,” he said and then mumbled something in an embarrassed whisper.
“What’s that?” she asked.
“I said I can’t do it alone,” he mumbled.
“Then you won’t have to,” she said, kissing him.
“Wait a minute,” he said, pushing her gently away. “Did you tell anyone what I told you about last night?”
“Nope. I’m not stupid Chris.”
“Then how did they know? Someone must have seen us!”
“Orrr,” she said, patting his head. “You’re going crazy.”
He shrugged. “That too.”

A Chemistry Teacher’s Wet Dream
That evening, Chris and Stacy paid Pam a visit. Their timing was fortunate: Pam’s roommate was meeting with a study group. It was just as well, for what they had to discuss was a very private matter. She herself was also studying (or at least looking into a book and seeming occupied) when they came a’knocking.
“Hey guys,” she greeted. “You find anything out yet?”
“Did you hear that Professor Thorne’s class walked out on him?” Stacy asked.
Pam shrugged. “I hear that guy is a dick.”
“He was at that meeting,” Chris said. “Thing is, I didn’t tell anyone that except for Stacy. But somehow, a bunch of people knew, just as a bunch of people knew I was spying. Someone’s been setting me up.”
“Oh. Any ideas who?”
Stacy gave her a blank stare.
“Me? Please, tell me you’re kidding. Hello! I was assaulted, remember?”
“Or were you?” Chris asked. “Call me crazy, but I had this weird dream. You and Matt together, planning this whole thing. It was your idea, actually.”
“I can’t BELIEVE you would accuse me of something like that!”
“I don’t want to believe it either,” said Stacy. “But poor Chris has been getting screwed over time and time again and…well…we had to ask.”
“It’s not true,” Pam rebuked. “It was a DREAM!”
“Me getting cursed was a dream too,” Chris told her. “Only that one was true.”
“I am NOT making this up!” Pam insisted. “Yes, OK, I totally went for Matt at first, but after I said no, it just got disgusting. What more do I have to do?”
“Prove it,” Stacy told her.
“How?”
“I’m going on trial tomorrow night,” Chris explained. “Come and make your accusation then. Bring as many friends as you need to feel comfortable, but don’t leave me hanging. Let’s put Matt on trial instead.”
“I can’t,” Pam insisted. “I want to, but….well…someone’s been following me too. And until I know who it is, I don’t know who to trust.”
“You can trust us,” Stacy insisted. “Come on. Please.”
She took a deep breath. “I’ll think about it,” she said. “You guys keep working at it and try to find out who the stalker is.”
“Will do,” said Chris. “And I’m sorry about…”
“Thanks,” she said curtly. “I appreciate it.”
Chris left her room with his head hung low.
“What’s wrong?” Stacy asked.
“I feel like a jerk for suspecting her,” he said.
“You’ve been under a lot of stress lately,” Stacy said, trying to comfort him.
“I’m not a baby!” Chris asserted. “I’m gonna get whoever’s behind this and things are going to get back to normal around here.”
“Too bad,” Stacy joked. “I’m going to miss you the way you are now.”
He glared at her angrily.
“Kidding!” she insisted.
“You REALLY need to stop with that,” he grumbled.
“Sorreeee. So…what are you gonna do next?”
Chris paused and took a moment to contemplate. “Well…after what happened, I can’t get close to Matt. Chuck’s still pissed at me, but I can get him back. In order to do that, however, I’m gonna have to talk to Pete.”
“Is this going to involve more of my underwear?”
Chris shrugged. “Possibly.”
“Ugh. I hope not.”
They parted ways and Chris knocked on the door of his mysterious neighbor.
“Enter,” replied the voice from within.
Chris entered. Pete was playing a computer game, which he promptly put on pause.
“I sense you are troubled,” he said.
“You’re a regular Miss Cleo,” Chris sardonically replied. “How are things with Jenna?”
“Window dressing,” Pete replied. “She’s a nice girl and very pretty, but not a lot there mentally. Pure window dressing.”
“Oh,” Chris answered, suppressing a smile. “So…you wouldn’t mind breaking up with her?”
“Not if I can find a way to let her down easy. If there was someone who loved me more, for instance, she’d be forced to understand.”
“Hmm…” Chris said. “Would a conveniently placed love letter from Pam work?”
“It might,” Pete told him. “It just might. And then, she’ll be free to go back to Chuck, which is what he wants and he’ll have you to thank, which is what you want, correct?”
Chris was flabbergasted. “How do you do it?”
Pete shrugged. “Ingenuity. Luck. A good guess. Name your cliché. Point is I did it. Now come back to me when you have this faux letter. And don’t forget the Swedish fish.”
Chris nodded. If his teeth didn’t fall out from all the sugar, Pete would have a bright future ahead of him.
Pam was able to fabricate a fairly convincing love letter, which Chris delivered to Pete along with the aforementioned candy. He then scoured the campus in search of Chuck and ultimately found him jogging.
“Dude….stay away from me,” Chuck cautioned.
“I know, I fucked up,” Chris admitted. “But if I can help you get Jenna, will you do me a favor?”
Chuck grinned. “You get me a piece of Jenna and I’ll do everything short of blowing you.”
It seemed that vendettas were not part of the Charles Gordon Jr. guide for better living. Chris was relieved: if he couldn’t count on Chuck, he might NEVER get a hard-on.
What happened next was a chemistry professor’s delight. Chain reaction upon chain reaction was set off until the violent and turbulent forces that had rocked the campus since the days before Halloween finally seemed ready to settle down and play ball. Chris went to get his diaper changed by Stacy, who assured him he was doing a good job and had not gone completely crazy….yet. Meanwhile, Jenna discovered the love letter Pam wrote for Pete and, teary eyed, broke things off with him. While walking around campus to quell her grief, she encountered none other than Chuck, who, despite reeking of sweat and frustration, was able to provide just the assurance and support (not to mention placement of tongue and fingers) that she needed. Chuck then reported back to Chris with the good news that Jenna’s “dumbass boyfriend broke up with her” and told him to name his price. Chris asked Chuck to get close to Matt and keep his ears open. Despite his initial reluctance, Chuck agreed to do so. His findings then led to….

Re: Gatherings

Pretrial Motions
“….nothing,” Chuck said the next day. “Sorry, dude.”
Chris frowned. That meant he was going to trial and he was going it alone.
“Alright,” he said. “At least tell me how this trial is going to work.”
“It’s gonna work like a trial,” he said. “Professor Thorne will act as judge, Matt’s gonna prosecute and everyone else will be the jury.”
“Do I get defense council?” Chris asked.
Chuck shrugged. “Maybe. If someone wants to stick their ass on the line for you.”
Chris glared at him.
“No way,” Chuck said.
“Come on.”
“Dude…. sorry, but….”
“You know, Chuck,” Chris lamented. “I thought you had balls. But, if you’re so scared of Matt…”
“You’re not gonna get me with bullshit logic.”
“Then what will I get you with?”
“I get you off the hook, you buy me waffles every day for the rest of the semester.”
Chris thought about the damage this would do to his meal plan. He’d have to cut back consumption considerably. Then again, it was better to eat less and breathe more than the other way around.
“Fine,” he said.
The rest of his day was spent in anxious anticipation. He paced angrily up and down the hallway until Christine told him to cut it out and take some valium if he was that nervous. As time passed, the situation got worse and worse.
“I almost forgot,” Chuck told him. “Before I agreed to represent you, Matt took a statement.”
“What kind of statement?” Chris asked.
“That I believed you tricked me and I saw you talking to Stacy a lot.”
“Fuck! That’s just great.”
Chuck shrugged. “Sorry.”
Five minutes later, he was given another news bulletin.
“I almost forgot,” Chuck told him. “You can’t have anyone at the trial unless they are willing to testify.”
“That doesn’t help any.”
Chuck shrugged again. “Sorry.”
When he returned five minutes later, Chris practically ran for cover.
“Now what?” he asked. “I have to supply my own crucifix.”
“Nah, dude, I just wanted to know if you had any Easy Mac.”
Chris nodded and breathed a sigh of relief. His parents, concerned that he would have enough to eat, had purchased for him an economy-sized box of macaroni and cheese. Chris had barely made a dent into it. Being diapered and impotent had taken away his desire to enjoy a good bowel of mac n cheese.
While Chuck feasted on Easy Mac (and criticized Pete for eating too much candy), Chris went down the hall to pester Stacy. As she was not around, he found himself talking to Ashley instead.
“You look depressed,” she commented. “What’s up?”
“It’s a long story,” he said.
“You won’t tell me anything, Stacy won’t tell me anything…I feel like a freakin sheep around here.”
“If its any consolation, Ryan’s gonna be quite lost when he comes back.”
“IF he comes back,” Ashley said.
“Don’t even joke about that. Without him around, I spend all my time here or talking to Chuck.”
“Good point.”
“Yeah.”
“Hey…can I ask you something? It’s a bit of a strange question.”
Chris thought about all the things that had happened over the past two weeks. Nothing seemed strange any more.
“Sure. Go right ahead.”
“What does it feel like?”
“What does what feel like?”
“Being in diapers all the time.”
He shrugged. “I got used to it,” he said.
“The way Stacy talks about it, its like the greatest thing.”
“Oh,” Chris replied with disgust. On the one hand, he was glad that she was glad. On the other hand, he was mad. Why should she benefit from his curse? Then again, why shouldn’t HE?
“So do you think you’re gonna keep it up after the…you know…curse is lifted?”
“I never really thought about it,” Chris confessed.
“It’d make Stacy happy.”
“So you’ve said.”
“Seriously, Chris. She doesn’t like to admit it, but she’s afraid of most guys. Except for you. And even then, she’s afraid that she’s going to lose you. And she’d do ANYTHING…”
“OK, I get the idea,” he said. “I just wish she wouldn’t make so many damn jokes.”
“Humor makes the world go round,” Ashley told him. “But I’ll be sure and pass that message along.”
“Thanks. Can you pass another message along while you’re at it?”
“Sure.”
“OK,” he said, clearing his throat. “‘Don’t bother looking for me tonight. I’m going to lose. I don’t know what that means, but I’m going to lose. Chuck’s on my side, but I’m still going to end up taking the fall…as usual. It’s not your fault though, so don’t go blaming yourself. I should have stayed out of the woods. If I’m around tomorrow, you’ll know where to find me. Love, Chris.’ You get all that?”
“Still writing,” she said as she scribbled the message onto paper. “How wonderfully dramatic!”
Chris grumbled. “How miserably true.”

Trial and Error…. Mostly Error
Much to Chris’s surprise, the trial was not held in the woods. It was to be off campus, but Chuck would not specify the location. Instead, he borrowed a car from a friend and drove around in circles a number of times “to make sure they weren’t being followed.” Chuck eventually parked in front of the frat houses and led Chris into the woods.
“That was pointless,” Chris remarked.
“It’s so we wouldn’t be followed,” Chuck echoed. He then put on his hockey mask. Chris was told he was not allowed to wear his.
As they entered the heart of the woods, Chris noticed that there were a number of folding chairs set up as well as a podium.
“You guys really went all out on this,” he commented.
“Dude…if I were you, I’d say as little as possible.”
Chris nodded. He found himself in the embrace of masked hostility. Blank, white faces burned at him with concealed hatred. He felt every bit the sacrificial lamb.
Professor Thorne stepped up to the podium. He was identified only by the outraged, weathered tones of his voice.
“All rise,” he declared.
“We’re already standing,” someone informed him. “These chairs suck!”
“Right. Defendant has been charged with espionage and treason, punishable by excommunication, public scorn and egging. How does he plead?”
“Not guilty,” Chris said.
“Fair enough. Let’s get this show on the road so I can go home and break open a bottle of Johnnie Walker.”
Thorne stepped down and another masked figure approached the podium. This was Matt.
“Guys, I’m not going to bother with an opening statement. Chris came here as our friend and he sold us out. He embarrassed Professor Thorne, gave away our secrets and played us all for fools. It’s that simple. It’s that damn simple.”
Chuck cleared his throat and approached. “Dudes and dudettes…. he didn’t do it. I know what you’re thinking, but the whole thing is a frame-up and I’m gonna prove it.”
He sat down and whispered to Chris that he thought they stood a pretty decent chance of winning. Chris groaned. It didn’t look to him like Chuck would be getting his waffles after all.
“Prosecution calls Christine Beyer,” Matt said. He then waited in silence for Christine to appear.
“She ain’t here,” someone finally informed him. “She’s at a program or a lecture or something.”
Actually, Christine was making out with a senior biology major named Trent. No one at the trial had any way of knowing it, nor would they have cared.
“Shit,” Matt grumbled. “Well…I’m gonna read a written statement she gave to me. You all can take a look at it later if you want.”
“Objection,” Chuck said. “That’s hearsay, man.”
“I’ll allow it,” said Thorne.
“Chris has been acting weird lately,” Matt read. “‘He’s been pacing up and down the hallways, sneaking in and out at night and sure is spending a lot of time with Stacy.’ The Stacy she’s referring to is Stacy Rose, who, as many of you know, is affiliated with those women’s center wackos.”
“Cross?” Thorne ask.
“He can’t cross-examine a witness who isn’t there!” Matt objected.
“What do you want from me?” Thorne rejoined. “I teach history, not law!”
“Prosecution calls Charles Gordon.”
“Dude,” Chuck objected. “Conflict of interest.”
“Approach,” Thorne said.
He and Matt approached.
“What’s the deal?” Thorne asked.
“He signed a statement,” Matt explained.
“Before I agreed to defend Chris,” Chuck countered.
“Hmm…” Thorne contemplated. “Statement is in, but, seeing as how you can’t cross-examine yourself, I’m going to give you the opportunity to explain it in your own words after Matt is finished asking questions. If you perjure yourself, I’m fining you $10.”
Chuck shrugged. “Fair enough.”
“What the hell kind of trial is this?” asked Patt Borden, a pre-law student who had joined the hockey maskers on a whim.
“Is this your writing?” Matt asked.
“Yeah,” Chuck replied.
“So…in this statement, you said that you felt Chris betrayed you. You also remarked that you saw Chris talking to Stacy on the day after our last meeting, the day of the walkout. Is that true?”
“Yup.”
“Nothing further.”
“OK,” Chuck said. “I thought that Chris had sold me out at the time, but that was based on things I didn’t know that he told me later. Also, he was talking to Stacy because they are going out. They’ve been together since BEFORE he joined us. And he joined us with Matt’s approval. So…yeah.”
The crowd erupted into a series of groans and whispers and exclamations of “what the fuck?”
“Order!” yelled Thorne. “I’ve had enough disorder for one week, don’t you think?”
Everyone lowered their voices and humbly apologized.
“Anything further?” Thorne asked.
“Nah,” said Matt. “Prosecution rests.”
“Defense may call its first witness.”
“Moment with my client?” Chuck asked.
“Go right ahead.”
“All right dude,” Chuck whispered in Chris’s ear. “One of two things is going to happen. Either you are going to tell me what you’re hiding RIGHT NOW or you’re going to get burned when I put you on the stand. We’ve got no witnesses and you’re credibility is shady. So what’s it going to be?”
Chris felt a lump forming in his throat. This was bad. Very bad. If he walked away covered in yolk, that would be the least of his problems. There would be harassment and mistrust. He would forever be known as a traitor.
“I…” he began. Suddenly, everyone was on their feet. Chris wondered what all the commotion was about and took a look for himself. He…

The Note, 180 and The Longest Five Minutes
…gazed right at Pam as she approached. She was accompanied by Stacy and Chloe and the rest. They had come after all.
“This is a closed meeting,” Thorne informed them.
“That’s funny,” Chloe corrected. “The last I checked, the woods were college property. Did you reserve them in advance?”
Thorne rolled his eyes. “I wouldn’t interfere if I were you,” he warned. “Unless, of course, you’d like to see the repairs on the women’s center forestalled. You see, that’s college property as well. And yet, its been made to be somewhat exclusive. One could raise the argument, therefore, that the cost of fixing the windows should fall not upon the college but upon those students who use it most. One could raise that argument very easily.”
“We won’t interfere,” Pam promised. “We just have something to give to Chris.”
She handed Chris an envelope. He opened it and read the letter within, his eyes straining against the darkness to make out the words. It made no sense in darkness and it would have made no sense in light. Overwhelmed with dizzy gratitude, he passed it on to Chuck to examine.
“Can we get this going?” Matt asked impatiently. “I’m sure we all have some reality TV shows that we’d rather be watching.”
A few people snickered. They had VCRs and had remembered to tape their favorite programs. Heaven forbid they should miss just one.
“I’m entering this into evidence as defense exhibit one,” Chuck declared.
“Approach?” Matt asked.
Thorne nodded.
“What is it?” he whispered to Chuck.
“It’s a note,” Chuck explained, his voice racked with the tension of the unexplained. “Signed by every student in Professor Thorne’s class. It expresses an apology for the walkout and explains that they were told to do so by Matt.”
“No way that’s admissible,” Matt contended. “You can’t just….”
“Let me see that note!” Thorne demanded. Chuck forked it over and watched as the professor removed his mask and scrutinized the note under a flashlight. His expression changed from amused to confused to enraged. He was Othello in search of a Desdemona to avenge himself upon.
“That’s a forgery,” Matt argued. “It has to be!”
“I don’t think so,” Thorne very calmly replied. “You see, I’m a firm believer in in-class essays. Most of my students complain, but they always turn them in. As a result, I’ve had a chance to become acquainted with everyone’s handwriting style. A forgery? Nah. But someone around here IS perpetrating a lie.”
Whilst their deliberations continued on in secretive whispers, Chris found himself breathing easy once more.
“How?” he asked. “How did you do it?”
“It wasn’t easy,” Pam explained. “We had to track people down. A lot of them didn’t want to sign it. But, once we got those first few signatures….it got easier and easier. People are strange like that.”
“Guess what, Chris,” Stacy told him. “You’re finally off the hook.”
“I wouldn’t bet on it,” he dissented.
Chuck and Matt each returned to their seats and Thorne stood at the podium before them.
“Due to lack of evidence, the charges against Chris Broderick have been dismissed. The same charges are now being made applicable to Matt Tover.”
“No way!” a voice shouted.
“Nobody go anywhere!” Thorne thundered. “No more walkouts, or, so help me God I’ll shut down this school.”
Nobody moved. They all thought he would do it too.
“Now,” he continued. “Does someone want to explain this to me?”
“I will,” Pam said quietly. “If you’ll let me.”
“Tell us your name,” Thorne instructed. “Speak up so everyone can hear you.”
“My name is Pam Dawson. Several weeks ago, Matt Tover assaulted me. He forced me…to…to have oral sex with him. He told me not to tell anyone. He said they wouldn’t believe me anyway. I believed him. I didn’t go to the police. But it was too much for me to bear alone. So I reached out to the folks at the women’s center. Just as I was about to tell Chloe, however, someone threw bricks through the women’s center windows. Someone has been inciting rumors that we – me and those who have come to support me – are witches. We think thought this someone was Matt. Chris believed us and agreed to be our spy. When Matt found out, and I don’t know how he found out, he tried to get Chris in trouble. Please…if you are protecting him, stop! He’s just using you like he did me. Like he did all of us.”
Thorne cleared his throat and scratched his chin. “That’s…er…very interesting, Miss Dawson. Matt, do you care to reply?”
“Guys,” Matt said, removing his mask and looking out across the audience. “I shouldn’t have to reply. This is nothing short of ridiculous. Pam will tell you that she and I were together – and could be seen together – on a night a few weeks ago and shed be right. But believe me, that’s ALL that she’s right about. What she won’t tell you is that she was loaded that night. What she won’t tell you as that she offered me a lot more than head and I turned HER down. What she won’t tell you is that this isn’t about any alleged assault, its about jealousy. You know the saying: hell hath no fury greater than a woman scorned? Well…I give you your scorned woman. Look, I’m not going to stand up here and preach morality. Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve had lots of ladies. But ask yourself: does that make me a rapist? Who voted on the SGA resolution approving a Take Back the Night program? That would be me. Who came up with the idea of making sure freshman girls had upperclass escorts at our mixers so they weren’t taken advantage of? That would be me again. I’ve been for you guys for four years now, giving you all the max, and you all includes women. This isn’t a gender thing…this is a crock and you all know it.”
Liar, Chris thought. Liar! He wanted to say as much, but he couldn’t. He had no proof that Matt was lying. All he had were his convictions. And, while he was beyond the point of doubt, he doubted everyone else in the woods had come that far…or would ever come that far.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered to Pam in advance.
“For what?” she asked. She was still filled with radiant hope. Chris pitied her.
Gary Thorne appeared at a loss. His ideals of order and process, of doing things right – the American way, had been plucked from him once again. This time, however, the plucker was not necessarily the liberals and the elites, but possibly a student that he had considered to be one of his own.
“Let’s just take a minute,” he urged. “Let’s everyone calm down and take a minute. Think this thing out and we’ll reach a vote. Does that sound fair to everyone?”
“Go ahead,” Matt said. “I’m confident people will do the right thing.”
“Forget it,” Chloe argued. “We’re going to the police.”
“No,” said Pam. “Whatever they decide is fine. I don’t care anymore. I just want it to end.”
“Five minutes,” Thorne said. “Then we vote.”
Chris looked at his watch impatiently. The countdown had begun.

The Ending No One Liked; the Lie They Left Behind
Ryan should have been there. His “I don’t believe it” was sorely needed. He was also the only one who could have made sense of what happened. Chris was mired in the expectancy of defeat. Though not a pessimist by nature, the past weeks had hardened him. He came to expect injustice the way most people come to accept faith. Pam, meanwhile, remained hopeful that people would come to their senses and see her side of it. Chris did not know what fostered this hope. After all, had she not been just as defeated as he was? Matt, for his part, seemed unwaveringly convinced of his own innocence. What was it that George Costanza once made famous? “It’s not a lie if you yourself believe it.”
In the end, no one did believe it. Not entirely, anyway. One by one, they walked away. Thorne yelled at them to stay.
“You can’t just walk out!” he barked. “You have a job to do. A responsibility!”
“Declare a mistrial,” suggested Pat, the pre-law student.
Thorne, disappointed, defeated and disgraced did just that.
“I think it would be best,” he said to those few who remained. “If we keep this under wraps.”
With the exception of Chloe, those who remained seemed to find this amendable.
“This is totally outrageous!” she yelled. “We are going to do something about it. You are NOT getting away with this!”
“You can do what you want,” said Pam. “I’m done.”
“Don’t you want justice?”
“I just wanted to be heard. Everyone knows now. Right Matt?”
He didn’t answer her. He didn’t even look at her. He found himself standing suddenly alone.
“Well,” he said, struggling to sound unphased and not quite succeeding. “SOME people still believe me. Right Chuck?”
“Dude…” he said, scratching his head. “I don’t know what to believe. I don’t know for sure that you did it, but if its all the same, I won’t be going to any more of your mixers.”
Matt forced a chuckle. “You people think you won something here. You haven’t. In a year, I’ll graduate and then I’m going to grad school.”
“If I were you,” Thorne advised. “I’d make that year as quiet as possible. I’d make myself invisible. And I certainly wouldn’t sign up for any history classes. EVER.”
Matt shook his head. “You guys are crazy,” he said, chuckling once more and walking away.
“Well,” Thorne said, trying to regain some manner of dignity. “I think we’re about done here.”
“It’s not your fault, Professor Thorne,” Chloe told. “You were misled. Just like the rest of them.”
“Young lady,” he said sternly. “Don’t presume to lecture me.”
A moment later, he was gone as well.
“We did it!” Stacy exclaimed. “We actually did it. You rock, Chris!”
Chris shrugged. “Hey…you came forward, not me.”
“We couldn’t have done it without you,” said Pam.
“I still think he’s getting away with it,” Chloe protested.
“He won’t,” Chris argued. “He’s finished and he knows it. No one is going to believe him about anything anymore.”
“That’s a shame,” Chuck remarked. “Not what he did. If he did it, he gets what he deserves. It’s just that…Matt was cool, you know. He had all the connections. I wonder who’s going to step up and take his place?”
The girls looked at Chris. Chris looked at Chuck.
“Don’t look at me, dude.”
“Come on, Chris,” Stacy urged. “Don’t you want to be class president? Or head of a frat? Or the guy that everyone turns to?”
Chris thought about it a moment before answering. “You know what…no. Because it sounds great and maybe it starts off great, but then I wake up one day and I’m Matt: the guy who thinks he can get away with anything because people love him. No thanks. Not for me.”
No one questioned his decision. No one, not even Chuck, could claim they wouldn’t have done the same. With their business concluded and their final gathering at an end, the group walked back to the dorms. There would be no more late-night rendezvous, no more propaganda campaigns, no more treachery pitting friend against friend. Things at last seemed poised to go back to normal, and in time they would, but it wasn’t over…yet.

The Missing Ingredient
“Anything?” Stacy asked. She had been working furiously at giving Chris a hand job, but he remained piteously limp.
“No,” he replied disgustedly.
“I don’t get it. It was only supposed to be temporary.”
Chris felt like crying. It was supposed to only be temporary and it was supposed to be over with. He had worn a diaper to bed the night before out of habit. When he woke up, it was wet. He had been as incapable of controlling his bladder or maintaining an erection as he was when the curse was first placed upon him.
“I’m sure it’s not permanent,” Stacy assured him as she taped his diaper.
“Wouldn’t you like that?” he grumbled.
“Excuse me?!”
“You LIKE treating me like a baby!”
“Yeah, but I don’t like seeing you unhappy. So…”
“So then help me,” he insisted.
“What more do you want me to do?”
“Go talk to your little inner circle and see if any of them know why I’m still cursed.”
“Chris, you’re not being very fair.”
“Fair?” he asked, patting his diaper. “Try this for two weeks. Is this fair?”
She rolled her eyes. “Fine. I’m going to see if I can find anything out. But in the meantime…you’d better lighten up. I’m NOT going to hang out with you if you’re going to be in a pissy mood all weekend. I have better things to do.”
Cowed by her rebuke, he lay despairingly back in bed as she left to began her inquiry. Gradually, he began to conceptualize his curse as a permanent thing. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad, he told himself. After all, Stacy would take care of him and…. oh, who was he kidding? It would be horrible!
“Well?” he asked when she returned.
“Well,” she mocked. “Nothing. They don’t know what’s wrong with you. That and Pam’s gone.”
“What do you mean gone?”
“I talked to her roommate. She doesn’t know where she is. Neither does Chloe. Neither does anyone.”
“Maybe she went home for the weekend,” Chris suggested.
“Or not.”
“What do you…. no. No way.”
“Come on, you don’t think Matt had anything to do with this? After she exposed him last night? I’d be ever-so-pissed off if I were him.”
“Fine. We’ll go talk to Matt. But I doubt this has anything to do with him.”
As anticipated, Matt as less than eager to see them.
“What the fuck do you want?”
“Where’s Pam?” Stacy asked.
“How should I know?”
“She’s missing,” Chris explained.
“Maybe she went home.”
“She didn’t,” Stacy told him.
“So what are you asking me for?”
“Duh…look what you did to her!”
“Listen, you little bitch…”
“Don’t talk to her like that!” Chris snapped.
“Look,” Matt said. “I don’t know where she is. And I don’t care. She can drop off the face of the earth. Maybe some…”
He froze. His skin went pale and his mouth hung wide open.
“What?” Chris asked.
“Oh shit,” he said softly.
“What is it?”
“If I tell you, it doesn’t leave this room. We clear?”
“Yeah,” Chris said.
“No way,” Stacy argued. “It’s another trick, Chris. He’s just going to spin some lie and…”
He gently pressed his hand over her mouth. “We’re clear.”
Matt coughed and cleared his throat. He seemed more scared now then when Pam exposed him.
“I hired this guy,” he explained. “To follow her around and take pictures.”
“You mean to intimidate her,” Stacy said.
“To scare her a bit, yeah. I couldn’t have her spreading lies about me.”
“Lies?! You…”
Chris again quieted her. “What’s this guy’s name?”
“I don’t know,” Matt replied. “This guy I met at a bar off campus gave me his number. Said he was a real scary dude. I only talked to him on the phone and I paid him by leaving money in a certain place. We never met face to face. I guess he heard I got outed and decided to do something about it. If I had known he was like that, I never would have hired him.”
“Well that’s really concerting, Matt,” Stacy derided. “Nice to know you have such an ethical concern.”
“Look, I…”
“Some psycho is probably after her because of you and you…”
Chris stepped between them and ushered Stacy out into the hallway.
“You’re not helping things,” he said to Stacy.
“This is entirely his fault and you’re just going to let him get away with it? Who’s side are you on?”
“It’s not about sides!” he roared. “These last two weeks have been like a fucking war because people get caught up in their own bullshit. People like Matt and Thorne and Chloe too. Pam didn’t want a war. All she wanted to do was tell her story. And now she’s missing and Matt is the only person who knows even the slightest bit about it and yelling at him won’t get her back.”
“You’re right,” she said dejectedly. “I’m sorry.”
He then walked back into Matt’s room alone.
“You’re girlfriend has a big mouth,” Matt said. “Maybe you ought to tape it shut.”
“She’s just worried about her friend,” Chris said. “And so am I. So…about this guy you were dealing with…”
“Why should I tell you anything? If she gets hurt, you’re going to make it look like my fault. Besides, if I open my mouth, I might be the one getting hurt.”
“If you don’t open your mouth, she might get hurt because of it. Do you really want that on your conscience? Look, man, whatever you did or didn’t do, she and a lot of other people think you did it. If you want a chance to redeem yourself, then help us find this guy. Let’s end this.”
Matt sighed. “You’ve got balls, Chris. I’ll give you that much. But I’m telling you, you have no idea what you’re getting into.”
“I haven’t had an idea for two weeks and that hasn’t stopped you yet.”
“Fine. I’ll give you his number.”

Food for Thought
“Sally,” Nokes chastised. “Stop licking her ear! Do you want her to wake up?”
Admonished, the dog moved away from where Pam lay unconscious on the floor and crept outside. Nokes took another gulp of Schwepps and gin and belched. He had grown sick of playing games with that Tover kid and decided to put the screws to him. The kid’s family was loaded and he would gladly pay. Otherwise, he might find himself facing a murder charge. Nokes was very good at making people disappear and even better at disappearing himself. He’d watched the whole thing unfold from his vantage point in the woods: the trial, the accusation and all that other bullshit. The kid had zero credibility now, absolutely none. Who wouldn’t believe that he would kill the girl to shut her up? And, should Nokes miraculously get caught in the process, he’d cut a deal and claim he did it on contract. Either way, he was getting paid. He would just wait a few hours before he made the call…
Later, after it was all over, Ryan would read the name Simon Nokes in the newspaper and do a double-take. He had visited FBI headquarters during his Washington trip and saw Nokes’ name on the most wanted list accompanied by a composite sketch. He was a paltry number nine.
The guy Matt met at the bar who would serve as his link to Nokes was an alum; an ex-lacrosse star named Wayne Starvos. Starvos had hired Nokes to burn down his fiancée’s parents cabin so that he and Lilly could hit them up for money after they collected on the insurance. Nokes agreed to the proposition, but decided to arbitrarily up his take. When Starvos refused, Nokes threatened to burn down the cabin with the in-laws IN it. The deal eventually went down, sans hitch, and Wayne used his part of the money they eventually received to buy Lilly the engagement ring he’d been unable to get earlier. When Matt came to him regarding the accusation he would soon be faced with, Wayne suggested Nokes. He prefaced his suggestion with the observation that “the dude was crazy.” Matt didn’t care. His future was on the line. Maybe crazy was what he needed.
Nokes yawned. Getting to the girl had been easy. He just donned the phony but convincing campus police uniform, approached her on the pretense of discussing a private matter and knocked her out. There was nothing to it. Fire-bombing a senator’s car at the behest of some Colombian gangsters…now THAT was a challenge.
The girl was wake now, although highly confused and disoriented.
“Wha?” she asked.
Nokes grinned. “Hiya honey.”
The ragtag rescue party consisted of Chris, Stacy and Pete. The latter surprised the both of them by insisting to tag along.
“Why?” Stacy asked.
Pete shrugged. “Boredom?”
“He’s been right so far,” Chris said.
Thus, with the cloudiest of intents, the greatest caution and the weakest stomachs, they set out to investigate Nokes. ‘Investigation’ was really too strong a term: they were going to make sure Matt wasn’t lying to them. At the first sign of trouble, they would call the police.
Matt’s friend Wayne had provided them with an address. Stacy’s hand squeezed Chris’s tightly as they approached the door.
“I’m scared,” she said.
"I think we all are, "he told her.
“Eh,” said Pete. He was eating candy, as usual.
They rang the bell and waited. A moment later, a man appeared before them. His eyes were red but he seemed quite lucid.
“Can I help you?” he asked.
“We’re…um…,” Stacy began nervously.
“We’re looking for a friend,” Chris explained. “She hasn’t been well lately and might be wandering around.”
“Really?” the man asked. “What does she look like?”
Chris gave him Pam’s description and watched his face change.
“Hmm…nope. Haven’t seen anyone around here like that. But I’ll be sure and keep my eyes open.”
With that, he closed the door.
"Ohmygoddoyothinkthatwashim?"Stacy exclaimed.
“Maybe,” Chris said. “Pete?”
Pete was busy feeding candy to a dog.
“She really seems to like this stuff,” he explained.
“Itshimitshimwhatwegonnado!” said Stacy.
“I don’t know,” Chris said. “Pete?”
Pete was still feeding the dog.
“Screw this,” Chris said he began knocking furiously on the door. “Paaaamm! Are you in there?!”
A moment later, the door opened and the man reappeared. He had a gun.
“What the hell’s all this?” he roared.
Before either of them could answer, Pete flicked a piece of candy at his crotch. The dog lunged….
Later on, after they were able to drown Nokes’ screaming out of their minds, Pete swore that he didn’t know that would happen. But they all thought he did.
“I’m just glad you came,” Pam said. She had been tied up in a closet. They found her, untied her and left, stepping over the mauled man on their way out. The dog followed, leaving him behind. She was more like his ex-wife, after all.

Druids II: A Return, an Epiphany and More Sweet, Sweet Candy
Chris blinked. It was 10AM Sunday morning. He had actually slept the whole night. He expected to have nightmares of the man being mutilated by his dog, but no such ghastly visions came. That was his first surprise of the day. His second came when he checked his diaper. It was dry. If two of the three conditions had been met, it didn’t take a genius to conclude what would happen next.
Eagerly, he sprinted down the hall and knocked on Stacy’s door.
“Whaaat,” he heard her groan. He had woken her, but didn’t feel the least bit guilty. It was for a good cause.
“Guess what,” he said as the door opened.
Ashley reached out and grabbed him by the ear. She had picked that weekend not to go home and he had woken her too.
“Honestly, Chris,” she scolded as she dragged him inside. “Banging on doors at 10AM? I’d expect that from Chuck, but not you.”
“Oww…I can explain,” he protested as she sat down and put him over her knee. He could have broken free but probably would have lost his ear in the process. Her grip was Teflon-tough.
“Hey,” Stacy protested. “Nobody gets to spank my boyfriend but me.”
“Nobody is spanking anybody,” Chris said, trying to dislodge Ashley’s fingers from his ear. While he struggled, Stacy snuck up behind him and relieved him of his pajama pants. His diaper came down with them and both girls gasped in surprise.
“That’s what I was trying to tell you,” he explained as he covered himself back up. “I’m not cursed anymore.”
“Somebody is going to be very happy later,” Ashley remarked.
Stacy giggled. “I’ve been waiting long enough. I was about to go lesbo.”
Ashley glared at her.
“Kidding!”
“You know, I can think of someone in this room who needs a spanking and it isn’t Chris.”
Stacy yawned. “It’s too early in the morning for you guys to be so uptight.”
Chris showered and changed into normal underwear. After two weeks, it felt odd for him not to be in diapers. He felt awkward and self-conscious about his movements, as if he was letting it all hang out. Knowing that the worst was over with, he buckled down and tended to his logjam of homework.
Ryan couldn’t believe it. He had been gone two whole weeks and nothing had changed. He bid goodbye to his parents after they dropped him off and made his way to Drew Hall. He passed Christine, who was on her way out. Brimming with enthusiasm as always (although her cause this time lay in the efforts of Trent the senior biology major to satisfy her), she asked him briefly about his trip and informed him about a weekend viewing of Animal House that she was organizing.
When he got to his room, Chris was at his desk doing homework.
“Hey,” he greeted. It was as if Ryan had just gotten back from a class instead of a two-week trip to the nation’s capital.
“Hey? Is that all you’ve got?”
Chris set aside his textbooks. “OK…how was it?”
“Well, since you asked…the most awesome, bitching time imaginable.”
He told Chris of his interactions with fellow students (many of them hot, single female students), the trip to the FBI building and the time spent hanging out with senators and other important people.
“Plus, I learned stuff. I’m totally into history now, too. Hey…do you know anything about Professor Thorne? I hear he’s good.”
Chris erupted into a fit of coughing upon hearing the mere mention of the name.
“Are you OK, man?” Ryan asked him.
“Yeah…fine,” Chris said.
While Chuck was out jogging, he encountered Sally the dog. She came from the woods and followed him as he circled the campus. Chuck didn’t mind. He had nothing against dogs. In fact, he had one at home.
While Chuck was out jogging, he also encountered the illustrious Jenna Hoffman. She was stretching and looked to be getting ready to go for a jog herself. Watching her stretch made Chuck nearly lose his balance. Fortunately, he was able to avoid tripping over his own two feet.
“Chuck!” she exclaimed. “Why didn’t you tell me you had a dog?”
“Dog…. oh…um…yeah. This is Sally. She’s great.”
“I love dogs,” Jenna said, patting Sally on her head.
“Me too,” Chuck said. “You know what else I love…”
Pete sat in the darkness of his room listening to Pam pour her heart out. Despite Chris’s curse, she had still born the brunt of misfortune during the past few weeks. She felt like both a victim and a victimizer, a harlot and an innocent, a player and a pawn. Pete had listened to her state her grievances in his usual fashion: without saying a word.
“I think…” she said, slightly sniffling. “I might want to take some time off. I mean, I don’t want to, but I think I need to. It’s just so HARD.”
“Life wasn’t meant to be easy.”
“Where did you get that one from? The Book of Obvious Quotes?”
Pete did in fact have such a book. He showed to Pam and she smiled.
“Thanks for listening,” she said. “Is there anything I can do for you?”
He shrugged. “Do you have any candy?”
Later that night, after Ashley had convinced Ryan to accompany her to Christine’s showing of Animal House (thus giving their respective roommates some much needed privacy), Chris and Stacy found themselves alone.
“This is weird,” she said. They had been kissing and cuddling for half an hour. He was demonstrating incredible patience despite his urges. “I mean, not weird weird but…I don’t know what I mean.”
“I think…” Chris said. “Nevermind.”
“No, what?”
“I think we’re so used to the diapers and the little power struggles and the arguments and the jokes and the interdependency that we don’t know how to take each other seriously.”
She frowned. “I think you’re right.”
“I still love you,” he confessed. “I just don’t know how to do this.”
“Me neither. Even when I was with guys who weren’t in diapers, which is every other guy but you, there was always something to build around and that became our thing. Like….oh, I don’t know…ice skating, for one. Of course, I was freezing half the time and I fell flat on my ass at first, but when I was with him, it was fun.”
“I understand. But what if we can make something else our thing. Something a little more…normal.”
“Me? Normal? Pff…nah. But I can give it a try.”
He played with her hair. There was something in his eyes.
“What?” she asked.
“Nothing.”
“No, what?”
He sighed. Time for another embarrassing confession. “Or…we can do what we’ve been doing….”
“Oh, Chris, that’s so sweet. I mean, I know you’re sick of it, but…”
“…only reversed,” he concluded.
“Reversed? Hmmm….”
She grinned.

Epilogue
Chloe sat alone in the women’s center. The window had finally been fixed. It was nearly Thanksgiving, but she was glad to have it fixed just the same. She had been printing fliers advertising a forthcoming guest lecturer when there was a knock on the door.
“Entre,” she greeted.
The door opened and there stood Professor Gary Thorne. He was quite literally the last person he expected to find standing there.
“I’m doing a lesson on Susan B. Anthony,” he explained. “Would you like to come in and say a few words?”
“Sure,” she said.
“I see you got your window.”
She nodded.
“I see you got your class back under control.”
He nodded.
“Well then…have a nice Thanksgiving.”
“You too, Professor.”
In another part of the student center, Matt Tover and a group of his few most loyal friends listened to a local punk band put on a free concert. He was on the committee that was in charge of bringing such bands to campus. Some acts were free; others required a nominal charge. As Matt surveyed the crowd, he saw many familiar faces. He even saw Pam.
“Dude, is that…” one of his friends began.
Matt nodded. “You know what the bitch of it is?” he said. “I didn’t even do her!”
This was Central State College, where nothing interesting ever happened…. except for when it did and nobody believed it.
THE END