9/24/2012

Cosmic Flash - Chapter 2: World's Worst Frat Boy




"Yeah, he might as well be."  The cap of the beer can snapped open, shooting a large stream of foam high into the air and splashing onto the face of the curly-haired flipped-collared frat boy.  The guys around them erupted in laughter as he quickly wiped the beer foam off and looked to them in annoyance.  "Okay, who shook up my beer?"

"Don't worry, Ward," said one of them, a Latino guy with his hat turned sideways and a large colorful sweater fitting comfortably over his skinny body.  He pointed at Ward as he spoke.  "I'm sure that's not the first time you've had white stuff splashed in your face."

"Hey, you can get some yourself, Jack, how 'bout that?" Ward lightly tossed some of his beer onto the boy's lap, causing him to rise up vigilantly.

"No thanks," he said, wiping the beer off and smiling up at Ward playfully.  "Save it for your girlfriend."

"Alright, so anyway, what was I saying?"

"You were talking about this guy, Zach English."

"Oh right," Ward said, taking a sip of his beer before continuing.  "Anyway, when he gets here, whatever you do, make yourself seem dumb as hell.  Like you need to make him wonder how you got to College in the first place.  And you need to do it individually too, never in a group.  He'll take advantage of you in a group.  If he sees a group of ignorant people, he'll try and actually preach.  He'll think he can lecture and teach a lesson in this bitch and that's when things really go south.  You need to be by yourselves and individually show him that you're idiots.  By that point, he'll just be like 'whatever' and walk away.  Saves yourself the trouble."

"Damn," The second boy, a slightly built blonde guy, responded.  "This guy sounds more complicated than my girl or the Calculus test I took yesterday.  How do you deal with him?"

"I don't.  He hardly comes around here unless we ask him to."

"Then what the hell is he doing in Alpha Mu Delta then?"

"I told you, his dad forced him into it.  I don't know what his deal is.  I mean, you've seen the rest of this place and how everybody seems dedicated to the Fraternity and what not, right?  Watch the looks he gives when he gets here.  I'm telling you, the guy does not care about anything related to AMD."

"Sounds like a douchebag to me," Jack said after taking a large gulp out of his beer can.

"Pretty much.  But I tell you what, man.  His girl, Danielle?"  Ward pulled back and shook his head with a vibrant smile.

"She's hot?" the other boy asked, gauging his reaction.

"Tom....She's a goddess, okay?  I don't know how a guy like him got a girl like her but man...."

"What does she look like?" Jack asked, leaning up curiously.

"You'll see when she gets here.  She looks like a cross between Phoebe Cates and that chick from that movie we saw last year, One Crazy Summer."

"Demi Moore?" Tom asked with enthusiasm.  "She's freaking gorgeous!"

"Wait wait wait," Jack interrupted, holding up his hands to stop them.  "When you say Phoebe Cates, are we talking 'Gremlins' Phoebe Cates or 'Fast Times At Ridgemont High' Phoebe Cates?"

"Fast Times."

"That settles it," Jack said finally.  "I'm jappin' her.  I'm stealing her from him."

Ward shook his head and smiled.  "Good luck with that.  They've been together for like three years, I highly doubt you'll be able to get a budge out of her.  Believe me, I've tried.  She seems pretty happy with him."

"Are they humping?"

"Actually no," Ward said, almost as if it were new information to him as well.  "No, I've heard very recently that they're trying to wait."

"Who is, her or Zach?" Tom asked curiously.

"He wouldn't tell me, but the way he made it seem, its probably him that's waiting.  I mean, he is the reserved paranoid one that would do some crap like that.  It would make sense."

"I'll find out tonight," Jack said with determination.  "If I find out it is him, I am wrecking her by the week's end.  You can mark my words on that."

"I'll hold you to that," Ward replied with a nod.  A loud horn honked outside and Ward stepped away from the group that sat on his bed as he made his way to the second floor window of the Frat House.  He spotted Zach's bent-up Volvo pulling up in front of the house and chuckled to himself.  "He's here.  He's got the booze, I'm sure."

"Nice," Jack said, standing up.  "What's so funny?"

"His ride is jacked up.  I don't know what happened but he's probably pissed.  He's actually a sport when he's pissed."

The trio stepped out of the room and headed down the hallway, passing the half-naked guys that stood around waiting for the long-awaited party they'd been planning all week to finally begin.  They walked outside to greet Zach, who was carrying the twelve pack from his trunk up the steps of the walkway that led up the hill to the Frat House.  Ward, Jack, and Tom reached them with Ward giving them subtle looks as they approached.

"Damn, dude," Ward started, waving in his direction as he caught Zach's attention.  "What happened to your ride?"

"Shut up," Zach snapped, tossing the twelve pack at Ward, who caught it recklessly.  "You have no idea what I had to go through to get your precious beer."

"Calm down, bro, its not that serious," Ward replied, rolling his eyes.  "Hey Zach, this is Jack and Tom."

"Hey," Zach waved.  "How do you know Ward?"

"High School; we're just visiting," Tom answered, holding out a hand to shake.  Instead, Zach stuck his hands into his pockets and motioned his elbow in Tom's direction, to which Tom awkwardly bumped his elbow against his.

"Sorry, I don't shake hands," Zach responded when he noticed Tom's confusion.  "I'm a little OCD when it comes to germs."

Ward turned slightly and whispered in Tom's ear.  "He's really not.  He's just got trust issues."

Tom nodded delicately as Ward turned back to him.  "Come on in, man, we've been waiting for you.  I was just about to call up the chicks so we could get this bitch started."

Zach sighed impatiently.  "I thought you just wanted the booze, Ward.  I've kinda got some stuff to do."

"I know, I know.  Coast to Coast starts at 8:30, I know how important that is to you.  But dude, come on, it's going to be fun.  Being cooped up inside that Sardine can on a Saturday night isn't good for you.  Plus, this party is called the "Hurricane Emily Party" for a reason.  They're calling for the hurricane to hit tonight, so if you don't want to be soaked and drowned in the rain all night, I'd advise you to stay here for the evening, bro.  And Danni is coming as it is, I know you want to spend some time with her.  So just stay."

After some thought, Zach shrugged finally and nodded.  "I guess I can stay for a little while longer."

"That's my boy.  Let's go."

--------------------------------------------------

In under a few hours, the party was in full-swing, with the entire Frat House engulfed with people by nightfall.  Every light in the building was on, illuminating the streets outside and blasting music so loud that the residents from around the block could hear it as clear as day.  It was apparent on sight that there were more females than males occupying this party, which was how Ward, who had organized the whole thing, intended for it to be.  He had no means of entertainment or specific details planned for this get-together other than the massive amounts of alchohol, various mixtapes of pop and rock he'd recorded from the radio blasting over the Fraternity's personal sound system, and the no holds barred atmosphere that was quickly taken advantage of by the sex games in the living room, the group of frat boys that measured their bottle-tossing distances from the roof of the house, and the various couples taking it to the extreme in the middle of the crowd.

Danielle Gallager, a gorgeous brunette and Zach's longtime girlfriend of two and a half years, had arrived to the party late and was quickly led away from the chaos by Zach, who had grown tired of the insanity fairly soon after the party started.  It wasn't hard for Ward's friends to spot her when she arrived; she was easily the most beautiful girl at the party and when they saw her and Zach embrace for the first time, it was apparent that she was the girl in question.  Jack watched her follow Zach upstairs with lustful eyes, vowing to get a piece of her before he and Tom headed back to their own college across the state at the start of the following week.

Zach led Danni into his own room and shut the door behind them.  It was fairly empty since he rarely used it but was still reserved for his use whenever he needed it and it would come in handy at a time like this.  Danni smiled brightly as he returned it, leaning in to kiss her.

"How've you been?" he asked warmly as soon as they parted.

"I'm good," she answered, sitting down on his bed and flicking on the table light beside it.  "Just got off of work.  I'm off until next weekend."

"Cool," Zach said, heading over to the television in front of the bed.  "You want to watch some TV?"

"Sure," she answered as he flipped it on.  The first image to pop on screen was a series of abstract shapes as a deep ominous voiceover spoke over it.  Zach recognized the program at first glance.

"Oh, Outer Limits," he said excitedly.  "Love this show.  You ever watch it?"

"Yeah, sometimes," Danni replied.  "Its pretty good."

"Um," Zach looked around aimlessly and finally shrugged in defeat.  I'm guessing you want a beer or something, right?"

"That'd be nice, yeah."

"Well, I've already had mine for tonight but I'll get one for you.  Stay here, I'll be right back."  Zach nodded and smiled as she returned it and he headed back downstairs, into the kitchen to grab another beer from the refridgerator.  As he walked by, Jack, Tom, and Ward were waiting for him by the counter in the kitchen.

"Bro, where've you been?" Ward asked as soon as he came into sight.  "I haven't seen you since the party got started."

Zach looked about confusedly.  "I was upstairs."

"With who?  Danni?" Jack asked curiously.

"Yeah - Wait.  Who told you about her?"

"I did," Ward said, raising his hand.  "Figured you deserved the bragging rights, even though you don't use them."

Zach chuckled.  "Yeah, well...."

"Yeah, I've got to say, that is a nice piece of ass you've got up there, bro," Jack complimented with a sly smirk.

Zach pulled the beer out of the refridgerator as the smile slowly disappeared from his face.  "You mind not talking about my girl like that, man?"

"My bad, bro," Jack said defensively but with a devious smirk.  "I'm just giving you props."

"I appreciate it," Zach said, closing the refridgerator door as he began to head out of the kitchen.

"You feeling all right, guy?" Ward asked with a touch of genuine concern.  "You're not rushing to your car to get any documents today, I'm kind of worried about you."

Zach nodded with reassurance.  "I'm fine.  Just got a lot on my mind, that's all."

"Oh okay.  I notice you're getting another beer, man.  You double doing it tonight?"

Zach chuckled.  "No, you know I only drink one beer per party.  I've told you what this manufactured stuff does to your system in large quantities, right?"

"Yeah, I've heard it a million times, Zach," Ward answered, rolling his eyes.

"Just saying," Zach shrugged.

"That's for the lady?" Jack asked with a sneer, motioning his head toward the beer in Zach's hand.  "You guys getting busy tonight?"

"I don't think so," Zach smiled awkwardly.

"Aw, why not?"

Zach shrugged again, this time slightly impatient at being held up once again.  "Just not the right time, you know."

With the final word, Zach stepped out of the room finally, leaving the three of them standing in the kitchen, speculating and coming to an indefinite conclusion about his relationship.

"Yeah, he's the virgin," Tom stated deeply, sipping his beer as he shook his head in shame.

"What a pretentious prick," Jack declared.  He stared at the entrance to the kitchen where Zach had just disappeared.

"He's not that bad," Ward defended, turning to him as he finished his own cup of budweiser and tossed it over his shoulder into the sink behind him.  "Now let's set up the keg, shall we?  Before all the booze is gone."

Zach returned upstairs where Danni had been waiting for him.  He handed her the can and she thanked him, taking a sip from it as he sat down on the bed beside her and the two watched the program on television, relaxing in each other's company.  They laid back on the bed and sat in silence for several minutes before Zach could visibly see that Danni was slightly anxious.  He started to ask her what was the matter, but instead thought it would be more sensible to cuddle her tighter in an attempt to comfort her more.  It didn't seem to be working.  Before long, he noticed that she was giving him frequent glances and once he caught them, he knew what she wanted.  He leaned in and began to kiss her, embracing her closer as they grew more intimate.  After a while, he could feel her hand reaching across his chest, slowly unbuttoning his flannel shirt.

He parted quickly at the touch.  "Danni," Zach warned.

"Zach," Danni said as she stared him in the face, slowly forming a scowl.  "Seriously?"

"You know I can't go there."

"Why not?"

"I told you why."

"I don't get it," Danni said with frustration, stepping out of the bed.  "You're not even religious.  Why is it such a big deal that we have to be married before we can do it?"

"It's just my personal preference, Danni.  We've been over this."

"Are you scared or something?"

"What?  No!"

"Then what's the problem?  You could get a condom from one of your buddies downstairs and this could happen.  Tonight.  I don't understand; most guys would want it, no strings attached."

Zach slipped to the side of the bed and stared at his girlfriend in disbelief.  "'Most guys'?"

Danni hesitated as she analyzed her last statement for anything offensive.  "Yes."

"Why are you worried about 'most guys'?  You don't think I want this as much as you do?  I do want to make love to you right now, okay, I'm just looking out for you.  I want our first time to be perfect but apparently you just want it to be a simple fling like everybody else.  You just want it to be over with."

"I just want it to happen finally, okay?" Danielle said with a flustered shrug.

"You want to know what its going to be like for us if we did it tonight?  The surprise will be ruined.  Sure, you'll get the night of your life, but what happens when we do get married and years pass and you're tired of it?  Then you start looking to other guys for pleasure.  That's how majority of marriages end up failing, Danni."

"You know?  I used to admire you for looking into the future and focusing on that rather than being spontaneous and doing things for the now.  But you're starting to scare me.  And by the way you're acting, you're the one that needs to be scared because I'm going to start looking to other guys for pleasure sooner than you think if you can't be a man about it."

Zach's jaw clenched as he closed his eyes and shook his head.  "Please get out of my room."

"Gladly," Danni muttered angrily, opening the door and slipping outside, leaving Zach alone to his thoughts.  It took a lot of willpower for him not to wreck the room with all his might, though in his mind, he was already tearing apart the walls and breaking windows as we speak.  Of course he thought like other guys, he'd fantasized about making love to Danni on almost a daily basis, but he had more self-control than most of his peers.  He thought that Danni, of all people, would respect that about him more than anyone, but apparently this wasn't so.  Their relationship had gotten to the point where he considered proposing to her in only a matter of months to possibly weeks, but now that he was seeing another side of her, that didn't seem to be as bright of a possibility as he once thought.

Danni made her way down the steps of the Frat House and appeared downstairs amidst the crowd of oblivious people that tended to their own personal affairs, completely ignoring her as she bumped by.  As she came into view by the kitchen, Jack, who spotted her and noticed that she was alone and visibly distraught, raced to her side and tapped her shoulder to get her attention.  She turned to him curiously.

"Hey, Danni, right?" Jack greeted loudly over the music blaring throughout the house, putting on the most inviting smile he could paint on his face.

"Yeah," Danni said impatiently, sizing him up.  "Who wants to know?"

"My name is Jack," he said smoothly.  "I was just watching you earlier and I couldn't help but notice how absolutely magnificent you look tonight."

Danni gave a confused look before it shifted into an awkward smile.  "Thank you."

"No, thank you.  I don't know if you've got a man or not, but I was just wondering, you know, if I could get your number and maybe we could hang out sometime.  If you do have a man, its all good, we can just be friends.  I can dig that.  Just want to get to know you is all."

Danni squinted her eyes but with playful suspicion as she once again sized Jack up and then smiled warmly.  "Okay.  Let's get away from all these people and uh....we'll talk."

Jack nodded in approval as she turned around and led the way to the door.  In a brief moment, Jack spun around and flashed a confident smile and a thumbs up to Tom and Ward, who watched the spectacle unfold from the kitchen, and just as quickly turned back and followed Danni to the exit.  A few minutes passed, and Tom and Ward were soon greeted by Zach, who was looking to be in a worst mood than he had been before.

"Dude, you look like crap," Ward said as he walked by.  "You okay?"

"Not really," Zach said, heading for the refridgerator and grabbing another beer from inside.  He popped the top and guzzled it down, marking the first time he'd ever consumed more than one alcoholic beverage within a night's time.  "Me and Danni just had a fight."

"Dude, that sucks," Tom said, but with a lack of real emotion.  He and Ward stepped away from the counter as they set up the keg, which was filled to the brim with a mix of Jager and Budweiser prime for consumption.  "But you should forget about her, man.  Come on, binge with us.  It'll be your first time."

Zach looked around hesitantly.  "Normally, I wouldn't.  But-"

"Do it, man," Ward said invitingly.  "Trust me, you'll definitely feel better.  Who knows, you might actually get enough of that liquid courage to land another broad tonight.  If you don't barf on her that is."

Zach chuckled.  "Alright, why the hell not?"

"Yeah!" Tom and Ward shouted loudly as they called the half-sober crowd into the kitchen.  Zach was first up to the keg.  When the plastic tube was connected to its nozzle and the kitchen was completely filled with people, Zach nervously grabbed hold of the keg's handles as Tom and Ward lifted his legs into the air until his body was vertical.  Zach stuck the tube into his mouth and waited for one of the other frat boys to turn the pressure handle on the keg.

"Low, high, or medium pressure?" the frat boy asked, his hand gripped tightly on the handle.

"Uh, low," Zach muttered uncertainly.

"Aww," the crowd jeered and teased him, coaxing him to choose a higher pressure level on the keg.

"Alright, alright....Medium I guess."

"Medium it is," the frat boy said, twisting the keg knob into a complete 360, setting it to the highest pressure.  Immediately, a jet stream of alcohol raced down Zach's throat and he felt some of it slip out of his mouth before he pressed his lips around the tube and closed his eyes.

"Chug!  Chug!  Chug!  Chug!"  The crowd chanted loudly and in unison, pumping their fists as one of the other frat boys counted over the noise to see exactly how long Zach would last.  It wasn't long before his face grew bright red and he shook his head violently to let them know to shut it off.  The frat boy who operated it put his hand over the knob but didn't immediately turn it.  When Zach saw that he didn't move, he shook his head again with even more force.

"You sure?" The frat boy asked with a smirk.  Zach responded by jerking his head up and down and the frat boy finally twisted the keg off.  Zach spit the tube out of his mouth and coughed dangerously as Tom and Ward let him down on the floor of the kitchen with the crowd of college students standing over him jovially.  The frat boy who had been keeping count got all of their attention to announce the verdict.

"58 SECONDS!"  The crowd cheered as they helped Zach to his feet to congratulate him, shouting and screaming incoherently into his disoriented face.  They made toasts in his honor before making their way out of the kitchen and Ward came up from behind, bear-hugging him aggressively.  Zach inhaled hard at the sudden force being put on his beer-filled gut and struggled to pull him off.

"Dude!" Ward shouted when they parted.  "That's a freakin' record!"

"It is?" Zach said, blinking his eyes as he tried to focus on Ward's sea of swirling faces.

"Yeah, this calls for a celebration," Tom said vibrantly.

"Aren't we already having a party?" Zach asked, rubbing his eyes.

"He's talking about getting the hell out of here and taking over the town.  I say we do it.  Ride straight out into the storm.  We'll take Zach's ride.  Zach, where are your keys?"

"No!" Zach drawled loudly, carrying out the word as if he were a stubborn child.  "Its my car!"

"We know its your car, but in a little bit, if you're not already, you're gonna be too smashed to do anything behind the wheel, so where are your keys?"

"Um," Zach stammered, reaching into his pocket and handing them to Ward.  "Here."

"Thanks," Ward said, snatching them up and pointing to the door.  "Let's sail out, boys."

The three maneuvered their way through the crowd of people in the living room until they reached the door, the patrons patting Zach on the back hard in acknowledgement as he nodded at them weakly.  Ward opened it and stepped outside, breathing in the fresh air and smiling brightly until he heard the sounds of lips smacking together beside him.  He looked over, only to spot Jack and Danielle in a careful embrace by the porch of the Frat House.

"Jack," Ward called sternly, getting his attention.  Jack whipped around curiously to see Ward staring at him with a raised eyebrow before inching his head quickly in the direction of the door where Zach was standing only a few feet behind him.

"Right," Jack nodded, turning back to Danni.  He kissed her on the lips one last time and she smiled back at him before he motioned for her to leave as quickly as possible.  She winked at him and circled around the Frat House out of sight before Jack turned back to Ward.

"What's the hold up?" Tom called from inside the house as Ward had been standing in the way the entire time to prevent them from walking out.

"Is none, bro," he answered with the same vibrant tone, stepping out of the way for the four of them to reunite outside on top of the hill that the Frat House stood on.  They looked out onto the city with pride, watching the storm clouds above loom overhead.  Faint thunder could be heard in the distance as the sky briefly lit up the night and the smell of impending rain was thick in the air.  "There she blows, ladies and gentlemen.  Hurricane Emily.  Alright, I'll drive since I'm the most sober."

"Says who?" Jack asked playfully.

"Says the most sober guy," Ward laughed as he led the way down the hill to Zach's Volvo.  "Besides, I don't think Zach would appreciate anybody else driving his ride but me.  I'm the only one he trusts around here, even if only remotely.  Right Zach?"

"What?" Zach responded absentmindedly.

"He's too smashed to answer you, Ward," Tom smiled.  "That's what happens when you fill a guy with alcohol upside down for a minute."

"He lasted for a minute?" Jack asked, turning back to him in surprise.

"Just about, yeah.  58 seconds."

"Damn, that's better than my record," Jack said, turning to Zach.  "Not as weak in the knees as I thought, English."

As if on cue, Zach tripped over his feet and collapsed onto the pathway recklessly.  Tom and Ward rushed to his side to help him back to his feet, laughing hysterically.

"You might've spoke too soon, Jack," Ward teased, helping him to the sidewalk where Zach's car was parked.  "Damn, I forgot he busted his ride earlier."

"Wait, we're taking my car?" Zach asked, moving away from Tom and Ward as he regained control of his feet.

"Yeah man, you just gave me your keys and everything."

"No man," Zach said, jabbing his finger in the direction of his car aimlessly.  "That thing right there....I love that car, man.  Nobody drives it but me."

"No offense, bro, but you're in no position to drive without killing us all, so somebody's got to take the wheel."

"No no, you don't understand," Zach said angrily, throwing up his hands with unnecessary and weakly-controlled force.  "I got carjacked earlier.  At that convenient store where I got your booze from.  You don't understand, man, I actually grabbed that dude through the window and threw my hands in his face so he'd crash.  I did all that because I love my ride that much.  If you even come close to messing it up, I will destroy you from the inside out, okay?  Don't....don't forget that....Because it will happen."

"Alright dude, I understand," Ward comforted, placing his hand on Zach's shoulder.  "Trust me, its in good hands."

"Okay," Zach replied, smiling brightly as Ward led him to the car.  "That's good, man.  You're a good friend, you know that?  Even though you sometimes abide by the ways of society and involuntarily help fund the Freemason's regime to take over this world, you're still a nice guy.  I guess that's all that really matters."

"All that ever really mattered, bro," Ward said, opening the back door for Zach to enter as he helped him in.  "Watch your head."

"What-"  Zach's head smashed across the hood of the car viciously.  The three of them burst into laughter at the sound before getting into the car themselves and heading off down the road.  "What happened to my glasses?"

"Oh shit," Tom laughed in surprise.  "I think they fell off during the keg stand.  Don't worry, we'll get them when we get back to the Frat House."

"If they haven't been stepped on already," Jack added.

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