By "Mike"

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"Justy," Miguel whispered. "Grady has never uh, ....never..., he's still a ..."

"WHAT???" Justy shouted in disbelief, loud enough to be heard at the next table.

They were seated in a booth at Chili's across from Best Buy, waiting for Grady to join them on his dinner break. Miguel's voice took on a serious tone.

"SHHH," Miguel pleaded. "He doesn't want anyone to know."

"Well we're gonna take care of that!"


"You know how. He needs to join Chi Delt. Why do you think you and I joined it? To get girls."

Justy was right. The Tri Omega sorority was the finest one on campus, which attracted by far the prettiest and therefore most popular girls. But they were forbidden to go out with Wranglers, ever since the famed "donut incident".

Some years before, a few Wranglers got a little drunk at one of the Tri-O's sorority parties and got in a fight with another fraternity, causing some pretty significant damage to the sorority house. The girls got their panties in a wad and excluded the Wranglers from attending their upcoming formal as well as any other functions "until further notice.". The morning after the formal, which The Wranglers were forbidden to attend, The Wranglers sent a pledge over to their house with a large, beautiful box of donuts, along with a nice note, apologizing for their past behavior and asking for their forgiveness. Two hours later, they sent another pledge over with a photograph of all the Wranglers from the neck down, naked except for their chaps, WEARING THE DONUTS. The anger that ensued between the two groups increased to the point that the sorority pledges were forbidden to date Wranglers, and even actives had to ask permission. Rarely, active members would break ranks (for Justy, of course, and a few others) but it was still frowned upon.

Fortunately, there was a solution to this. The Chi Delts, the so-called "best" Greek frat on campus, and the brother frat to the Tri-Os, did not discriminate against Wranglers. Being in a good Greek frat was a golden ticket to scoring the best girls on campus. Somehow, if you were a Wrangler AND a Delt, you made it past their stately white columns, and hopefully, into what you were really after. Miguel and Justy had pledged the year before, and both had already reaped the benefits. Grady had to come on board.

"Here he comes", Miguel said. "Don't let on that you know."

"Howdy guys!", Grady greeted, sliding into the booth beside Miguel. Justy lowered his voice almost to a whisper.

"We are going to get you laid, my friend!"

'DAMMIT MIGUEL!" Grady shouted under his breath.

"DAMMIT JUSTY!" Miguel said angrily.

"I'm not going to join that fucking frat you guys want me to join", Grady said, for perhaps the third or fourth time. "I've had it with all that hazing shit. I'm not going to be humiliated. And I've already gotten my balls hit with a paddle. Forget it."

"Grady it's not that bad", Justy countered. "Sure, there's some hazing and a little paddling. But it's nothing compared to Wranglers. Right Miguel?

"Right.", Miguel added, knowing how much Grady hated getting his ass beat. " Its not even close. The paddles are skinny and they don't know how to use 'em."

Grady was losing this fight, finally putting his elbows on the table and his head in his hands.

"Can't you guys just take me to Mexico?"

"No way, Grady.", Miguel countered. "The border towns aren't safe, and Boystown has shut down."

"Grady. Miguel and I will take care of everything," Justy reassured. "You don't have to do anything but show up. I'll sign you up. We'll make sure you get a bid, and one of us will be your big bro. You're a good looking guy! And with Miguel and me as your wingmen, we are going to get you taken care of quick! Have you seen those girls?"

"Yeah. They're a bunch of stuck up, white, blond bitches". Grady said, shaking his head. I hate those clubs and everything they stand for. Why would I pledge? Just so I can move their couches outside so they can sit and watch all the non-members walk by?"

"Grady. It's not like that. There are some good guys in it. We didn't join it to sit around and sip gin. This is the only way you're going to connect with the most beautiful girls on campus."

"Look at you, Justy. You can get any girl you want." Grady said, turning his conversation to Miguel. "Whenever he comes into the store, women come out of nowhere. All the female employees keep asking me when my 'cowboy friend' is coming back. Look at those hostesses. They're talking about him right now."

"So it's settled then", Justy said, ignoring the comment. "I'm signing you up. You'll get a Delta bid. Guaranteed."

"I'm a Sophomore. Not a Freshman." Grady sighed in resignation.

"No problem", Justy assured. "Miguel was a Sophomore when we pledged."

The three finished their dinner quick, just in time for Grady to go back to work.

"Listen, you guys," Grady said, placing his money in the middle of the table. "If you're lying to me about any of this, I'll never forgive you."

"You just get ready to be in blond heaven," Justy assured him, as he rose from the table and headed back to work.

"Shit, Justy!", Miguel said as he walked away. "Why did you tell him all that? He's not going to like some things."

"Because. I know what's best for him. He needs this."

"He's not going to like the 'Weenie Roast'", Miguel said cautiously.

"Yeah", Justy said as one of the hostesses brought the receipt to the table. "I decided not to tell him about that".

Miguel glanced at the receipt, smirked, and handed it over to Justy.

"I think this is for you".

"Cindy", who dotted her "i" with a heart, had included her phone number. Justy had been down this road before, and he was grateful Grady had left earlier and didn't see it. On the way out, they paused at the hostess stand. Justy was not interested this time.

"Hi Cindy. Can I introduce you to my friend Miguel?", Justy said, smiling. Miguel knew he was a distant second choice, but it would be worth a try.

A few weeks later, Grady rushed. He attended several rush parties, and not only did he receive a Delta bid, he got bids from every house on campus. It did a lot to boost his morale. The hazing was silly and harmless, compared to Wranglers. There would be typical lineups with questions about the frat and other members. There were songs they had to learn, and nightly serenading the Tri-O sorority house. Justy lobbied to be his big brother and got him. Everything went relatively smoothly until the second week.

Justy angrily pulled into the parking lot at Best Buy to talk to Grady in person.

"What did you want to talk to me about?" Grady asked, knowing full well why Justy had come. "My boss is on the floor."

"Grady, what the fuck is the matter with you?" He picked up a laptop, pretending to consider it more closely.

"You're getting paddled tonight at lineup." Grady's eyes widened in anger as Justy's eyes met his over the open laptop. "I have to give you ten licks."

"THE HELL YOU ARE!", Grady said angrily. "What for?"

"You know what for. Because you didn't turn in your fucking pledge sheet!"

"You're gonna have to catch me first, BIG BROTHER!"

"Look, would you rather get it from someone else? I told you this would happen! All you had to do was study it and get signatures."

"I told you I didn't want to do this shit!", Grady shouted under his breath.

"So you're just going to fuck it up." Justy replied angrily." I worked really hard for you. Do you even care how bad this makes me look?"

"Justy, you've never looked bad in your life. Fuck you and your little tassel-loafer friends. I have to work anyway."

Grady took the laptop from Justy's hands and snapped it shut. Justy turned to leave, ignoring the two girls who had left the break room to watch him and his perfect Wrangler butt stride down the aisle and out the front door.

That night the line up was in the basement of the fraternity house. Following the lineup, the pledges and their big brothers were going on a run through campus, practicing their frat songs in cadence. The uniform for the night was shorts and bare chests, for the enjoyment of the ladies who always lined the campus streets for this weekly show of testosterone. Just as the pledges were lining up, Grady walked in in his Best Buy shirt and khakis, moved to a corner of the basement, changed into his jock, shorts and running shoes and took his place in line. Justy looked over at him, and the two smiled at each other, in a sign of mutual apology.

Shortly after Justy left the store that afternoon, Grady thought about the exchange between them. In the relatively short time they had known each other, he had found the true meaning of friendship. He thought back to his abusive life in Arkansas, compared to the life he knew now. He had taken a chance and won a scholarship to a school where he knew no one, and had made lifelong friends in Justy, Miguel and many others. He had been welcomed into Justy's family and friends, and felt loved and appreciated. Not only did he now appreciate the fact that Justy had come into the store to tell him about the ten licks, he actually felt he deserved them.

Grady's punishment was the first order of business. The fraternity president, Chad Nelson, spoke in a loud voice.

"Pledge Miller. I understand that you did not turn in your pledge sheet this week."

"That's right, sir"

"Phelps said that you would probably be de-pledging. By your presence here tonight, do you now wish to remain a pledge'?

"Yes, sir, I do. "

"Please step outside while the group votes on your reinstatement."

Grady went outside for about five minutes while they voted. He later found out that the vote was unanimous and immediate, but they made him wait as though there had been discussion. They sent Justy to bring him back in. Justy directed him to stand, just in front of the president.

"Pledge Miller, the group has voted to allow you back in, subject to the required penalty. Do you understand what the penalty is for failing to turn in a pledge sheet?"

"Yes, Sir. Ten swats from my big brother, Justin Phelps."

Without being told, Grady took a few steps back, removed his wallet and bent over, grabbing his ankles. He placed his wallet between his teeth and clamped down. He was sideways to the other pledges. Justy reluctantly accepted a paddle from the pledge master and moved into position to the left of Grady. They both knew that these swats were to be disciplinary, and hard enough to satisfy the entire membership for a serious offense. Justy had traded a few licks in Wranglers but had never given a serious paddling, especially to his best friend. He channeled Coach Mac, deciding on a rapid-fire set of hard swats, giving Grady little time to react between them. He knew that Grady hated the paddle, and it would be over quick. The outline of Grady's jock strap was clearly visible beneath his thin cotton running shorts.

"Make sure your junk is up front", Justy whispered to him. Grady had taken Dr. Shepherd's advice and switched to briefs and always wore a jock for running. He slid a hand down the front of his shorts and adjusted the jock containing his large low hangers safely out of harms way. Justy placed the shiny, varnished frat paddle against Grady's ass.

"Let's get this over with.", Justy said out loud, in true Coach Mac style. He wasted no time, in an effort to shorten Grady's anxiety.




Grady was shocked at the intensity of Justy's swats and the quickness with which they were delivered. He started to wince and squirm under the pain.



He breathed hard onto the wallet between his teeth as the tears mounted in his eyes. Justy wasn't sure whether he or Grady was more relieved that the punishment was half over.




Grady involuntarily rose to his feet under it, but tearfully went back down into position. Justy waited for him to get back in position, his eyes shone with tears as he prepared the final two swats to his friend.


Grady rose again, but got back down.


When Grady stood up, the fire began to increase as is the case with rapid-fire swats. He was clearly in a lot of pain. Justy returned the paddle and turned his attention to the president.

"Mr. President, Sir. Is it okay if we go outside for a few minutes?"

Chad nodded, and Justy and Grady went outside while the meeting continued without them. The group was impressed, if not surprised at the seriousness of the paddling, but then again, these guys were Wranglers, and knew a thing or two about paddling. Once outside the door, Grady paced around, rubbing his ass.

"I'm sorry, man". Justy told him.

"No", Grady replied, "I'm sorry I was such a dick to you today." He continued to sniff tears. "I was mad at something with my boss. You were right. You and Miguel are doing this for me. I promise I'll take it seriously from now on."

It was a short meeting, with the silence broken by the sound of a few licks here and there, the results of missed questions in the lineup, coming from inside. They both commented that the noise was nothing like the sound of Wrangler swats. Justy and Grady returned inside, where the actives were painting the frat's Greek letters on the pledges' bare chests with black shoe polish, and white, in the case of the two black pledges. Grady took his place in line. Soon The doors opened and the group of twenty five pledges and their big brothers and a few others came out and broke into a loud run. Justy and Grady joined in, and were met with words of encouragement from the other guys.

"Hey Grady! Show us your ass!"

Grady laughed and slid his shorts down briefly during the run, revealing the angry, red skin to his running mates, which was met with laughter and amazement. The run ended back at the fraternity house. Justy remembered he had gotten a ride to the meeting and was without his truck.

"Hey. Why don't you crash at my house tonight?" Justy asked. "My mom's been cooking."

"You sure? You're not still mad?", Grady asked him.

"No. I never was mad. Except for that crack about me not knowing what it's like to look bad. That was a shitty thing to say. Are you still mad?"

"No. But why the fuck did you give 'em to me so fast? That hurt like shit!" Grady said, staring up at the sky and rubbing his ass. Justy smiled.

"That's courtesy of Coach Mac. Rapid-fire. Plus, I was afraid you'd be out the door if I'd given you a chance between swats."

Grady's truck turned into Justy's driveway. Randy was in his chair on his porch, when Grady went over to say goodnight. Justy quickly followed. They were both still shirtless and in running shorts.

"Hi guys! Grady! How was your first pledge meeting?" Randy asked, noticing the remnants of the Greek letters on Grady's belly which he had sweated down into the elastic waistband of his shorts. "You guys come up and have a seat."

"Yeah Grady. Why don't you have a seat?" Justy said sarcastically, as Grady eased his flaming ass down into a wooden chair.

"Not so good", Grady said. "My big brother over there paddled me."

"Ten swats. Rapid-fire.", Justy added, almost proudly.

"That's Coach Mac style!", Randy said, looking at Justy and wincing in sympathy. "What'd you do that for?"

"You tell him, Grady."

"I decided not to turn in a pledge sheet. I was going to de-pledge, but Justy came by the store today and talked some sense into me . It cost me ten swats, from my best friend, to stay in."

"Am I still your best friend?", Justy said, extending his hand for Grady to shake.

"I don't know. You told me the paddling was not that bad in this frat."

"It's not. Unless you do something stupid like not turn in a pledge sheet. It's still nothing compared to Wranglers. How would your ass feel right now if I'd given you ten Wrangler licks with a Wrangler paddle?"

Grady accepted Justy's hand and shook it earnestly.

"Thanks, Big Brother, for setting me straight."

"I wouldn't tell Joyce about tonight if I were you.", Randy cautioned to Grady, as he winced standing up. "If she finds out, she'll give Justy worse than what he gave you!"

The next morning, Justy was finishing his breakfast before heading to class as Grady staggered in, still in the same shorts from the night before.

"I put my sheets in the washer because of the shoe polish. Is your mom here?"

"No she's at school. But when I told her you were here, she made all your favorite foods. You've got a plate in the oven. Eggs, bacon, biscuits. Grits on the stove."

"What a sweetheart she is", Grady said, wincing as he sat down at the table. "You're still an asshole."

Grady's pledging continued for several more weeks. He got to know all the guys, and even admitted that he was enjoying himself and looking forward to becoming a full member. As the final night of pledging drew closer, Miguel and Justy began to get nervous. The "Weenie Roast" was the last pledging activity, immediately preceeding the initiation, which was primarily ceremonial and symbolic. The night finally came. Miguel made certain he was there for it to help Justy get Grady through it.


Late that night, an exhausted Justy pulled into his driveway and, as he often did, crossed over to visit Randy on his porch. He stopped in Randy's garage, which the two kept stocked with Lone Star beer in an old refrigerator.

"So how did Grady's initiation go?", Randy asked cautiously.

"Horrible. It was a total cluster fuck. Couldn't have been worse"

"What happened? Is everyone okay?", Randy said, worried.

"Everyone's fine. But Grady came totally unhinged and went ballistic." Justy climbed the steps with the two beers and settled into a chair across from Randy. He kept his voice low.

"Everything was going fine. The pledges were told to strip down and line up in the basement of the fraternity house. Grady was okay with that. As you know, he's got nothing to be ashamed of."

"I'll say.", Randy agreed, recalling Grady's impressive set of low hangers, the night of the Wrangler picnic when Dr. Shepherd examined him.

"Well, they blindfolded them from behind, and an active went down the line with a platter of frozen weenies. Miguel and I were dreading this night. Each pledge had to take a weenie. He was followed by another active with a jar of Vaseline. Each pledge had to dip his hot dog into the Vaseline. This was the final test of loyalty before the initiation."

Randy's eyes widened in horror.

"You got it." Justy said, lowering his voice. "The pledge master told them they had to put the frozen weenies in their asses and stop halfway. That's hard enough to do, but even harder if you're blindfolded. But that's the whole point. That's so each guy will worry that they're the only one doing it, kind of like the blindfolded circle jerk the Sigs do. Grady stood there, frozen, while the other guys are trying to shove the frozen weenies in their asses while all the actives laughed. Miguel and I just stared at each other. We knew he was pissed. So he starts playing at it, but he can't get it to go in. You know ...", he paused, "those things are cold, and they're headed to a very warm place."

"Never mind", Randy said, closing his eyes and shaking his head.

"The rest of the guys managed it, but Grady just couldn't do it. Finally, the president said 'Mr. Phelps. Take your pledge back there and get him straightened out'. So I guided Grady to the back of the basement behind this black curtain that was hiding a bunch of chairs, a piano and shit. Miguel sneaked over to help out. Grady jerks off his blindfold and glares at us both. 'I know. I'm sorry. We've got to get you through this.', I said. There was a pledge paddle on the wall next to us. I grabbed it and handed it to Miguel. 'Grady, I said. Miguel is going to give me five licks with this thing and you're going to go out there and pretend it hurt. Understand?' Grady nods and I bend over, but Miguel points out that Grady is buck naked. So I slip down my shorts, and Miguel swats the hell out of my ass. Five times. The president yells 'GOOD! HURRY IT UP!' I said, 'What the fuck Miguel? And he said, 'I'm sorry Justy. They've got to hear it over there.' So I hand Miguel the hot dog and I moved to Grady's face to try and keep him calm and distracted. Miguel says "Grady - spread your ass cheeks.!" Grady says, "Look, you prick. That door swings out, not in". But Grady spreads his ass cheeks and Miguel goes to work. Miguel said, 'If either of you tells anybody about this, I will sic the drug cartels on you. I swear I will!' "

Randy stifled a laugh and took a huge swig of beer, once again turning to Justy in disbelief.

"Finally, he gets the thing in there. Grady is not liking it. All of a sudden, Miguel goes 'Shit! He 'swallowed' it! It went somewhere!'

"It went somewhere?", Randy asked wide eyed.

"Yep!'. You just have to put it in, like, half mast, not have it for dinner." I whispered 'Oh fuck'. Grady says 'Oh shit.' Meanwhile, the guys out there are telling us to hurry up. So I lightly slap the sides of his face to get his attention. I said 'Okay. Grady. You've got to shit this thing out, and you've got about ten seconds to do it. Let's go, Bubba! SQUAT!' 'I just want to die', he says. 'SQUAT!", I said. So Grady squats down and lets out this huge grunt. Miguel whispers 'Okay. Okay. Here it comes. Stop. STOP!' and using the frat paddle he stops it halfway. Just before we go back out, I whisper to Grady, again holding the sides of his face. 'Grady. Listen to me. After the weenies come out, they bring them back out on a tray and make you eat 'em.' Grady stops in his tracks, wide-eyed. I said "Grady. NEW platter. NEW tongs. NEW weenies. NEW Vaseline. NOTHING has been in anyone's ass. Understand?"

Randy's hand was over his mouth. He couldn't believe his ears.

"So we lead him back into the line. Out of nowhere comes this little shit that nobody knew. Turns out he was an active from the TCU chapter, and was here visiting someone. Apparently, any active can attend any function.

"Okay...." Randy said cautiously.

"So this guy, his name was Gilbert, stands in front of Grady. Grady was a foot taller than he was. The smallest guy in the room is challenging the biggest guy in the room.. He pulls a hammer out of his pocket."

"A hammer?"

"A hammer. Apparently they do this in his chapter. He takes this hammer and he hooks Grady with the claw of the hammer by the back of the balls." He stopped and looked at Randy. "You remember Grady's balls?"

"Oh SHIT."

"So the president, Chad Nelson, goes 'Hey guy. What the fuck are you doing? We don't do that shit around here!' But it was too late. Gilbert says 'We know how to handle an uncooperative pledge where I come from'. So 'Gilbert' backs up and Grady's not going anywhere. He just keeps pulling, and he cuts him in the process."

Randy's eyes are closed.

"Well, all of a sudden, Grady throws his blindfold down, grabs the hammer, and grabs this guy by the front of the shirt, walks him backwards and lays him flat down on the pool table. Grady's holding the hammer and threatening this guy with it. All we can see are these two little topsiders kicking on either side of Grady's naked ass. He had a small trickle of blood running down one leg. 'GET HIM OFF ME! GET HIM OFF ME!' the guy yells. A couple of actives rush over to calm Grady down. So Grady takes the hammer and brings it down hard on the pool table about a foot from this guy's head. Grady yells at him. 'WHAT'S YOUR NAME? WHAT'S YOUR FUCKING NAME!' The guy tells him. Grady yells, 'I GET BIDS FROM EVERY FUCKING HOUSE ON CAMPUS AND I JOIN A CLUB WITH THIS PIECE OF SHIT IN IT? That's when Grady turns around and throws the hammer into the flat screen TV."

Randy's eyes are wide, his hands over his mouth. "Oh, SHIT!"

"So now there's glass everywhere. The pledges are barefoot and no one can move. The whole thing goes to shit. 'Gilbert' scrambles off the pool table and runs out the door. Grady turns around like Carrie at the fucking prom. His eyes were red. I thought he was going to start fires. 'WHERE ARE MY CLOTHES? GET ME MY FUCKING CLOTHES!' The president says, 'Calm down, Grady. Your clothes are destroyed. You get a robe to wear upstairs for the initiation.' So then Grady turns to me. ' THEN GIVE ME YOUR CLOTHES. I'M GETTING OUT OF HERE.' I came over to him crunching glass under my shoes the whole way. 'Grady! Calm down. They're lighting the fucking candles upstairs! You're twenty minutes away from being a full member!' He screams "GIVE ME YOUR CLOTHES! AND YOUR SHOES!' I turn to the president, and he throws his hands up and says 'Give him your clothes'. So I stripped down to my jockey shorts and handed them over. That's when I noticed. No hot dog. Anywhere. He "swallowed" it again."

Both hands were completely covering Randy's face.

"Grady puts on my clothes. Nothing fits. The shorts won't close and the tee shirt is too tight and his heels are over the backs of the flip flops. He heads out the door, crunching glass all the way and slams it. He's on foot, so Miguel takes off after him. The actives are trying to sweep up the glass so the pledges can move. The lineup is cancelled. A couple of guys got cut. I told you this was a total shit piñata."

Justy took a swig of beer and continued, exhausted.

"So I hustle up a pair of shorts and flip flops from somebody and head out a few minutes later. I never found him but Miguel finally caught up with him about an hour later and took him to the emergency clinic. He had to get three stitches in the back of his ball sack."

"I have two questions", Randy said quietly, taking a deep breath. "What happened to Gilbert, and what happened to the ... hot dog?"

"Gilbert took off like a scalded dog, probably back to Fort Worth. We have him on an assault charge if he ever tries anything. Apparently, ... Grady 'lost' the hot dog between two pickup trucks at the bowling alley. I am not taking the shorts back."

"So. Where does all this leave Grady with the Delts?", Randy asked.

"They still want him. All he has to do is take an oath. ... And buy them a new TV."

"Is he going to do it?"

"I don't know. He's not talking to me. He told Miguel he'll think about it. THINK ABOUT IT? He works at Best Fucking Buy. How hard will that be?"

Justy stood up to head home.

"Guess what his new pledge name is".

Randy shook his head.


Randy spit beer as soon as he heard it.

"He's going to take a long time to get over this one.", Randy said, shaking his head.

"I told Miguel to tell him I'd go fifty-fifty on the TV, since I got him into this."

Justy had just reached the bottom step when Randy added,

"So ..... You stuck a frozen hot dog up your ass?!"

Justy's look said more than his words ever could. He said goodnight and went home, leaving Randy laughing out loud.

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