“Nice,” I said.

          “Fuck yeah,” Blake agreed with an impressed look in his eyes. “This thing definitely lived up to the hype.”

          My friends and I stared at the huge party. Hundreds of people were gathered in the large backyard and there were multiple kegs tapped and flowing. You could taste the excitement in the air. The Miami game was tomorrow and FSU had the number one football team in the nation.

          “Come on, Blake,” I said, “let’s take over one of these fucking kegs.”

          “Hell yeah, yo. Fuck these clowns.”

          My spiky-haired roommate and I marched to the nearest keg and bullied our way to the front of the line.

Some toolbag was manning the tap. When his cup was close to being full, Blake snatched the dispenser from him.

          “What the hell, dude?” the kid asked in surprise.

          My roommate glared at him like a lion standing over his kill. A downward glance at Blake’s big brown arms and the wild look in Blake’s fierce dark eyes deterred the young man from further griping and he prudently walked away. We grinned like schoolyard bullies.

          Now with the tap firmly in our control, the rest of my friends passed me their cups and I passed them to Blake for him to fill. During this process, he occasionally filled a stranger’s cup in order to keep the masses content. After the last of our many cups was full, Blake tossed the dispenser to the guy standing next to him and we strolled off laughing.

“We just became the assholes of the party,” I said.

          My roommate shrugged. “Good. I love shit like that.”

          “You feel like fighting tonight?”

          He grinned. “I’ll stomp a motherfucker’s face tonight.”

          I chuckled softly and we joined our friends.

          For every action there is a reaction. Ten minutes later, someone threw an empty pitcher of beer over the crowd which bounced off Tadd’s back. The large redneck whirled around and marched through the party towards a group of guys whose hyena-like laughter made them the most likely culprits. Their laughter immediately ceased when the large muscular frame of my friend emerged from the crowds, bearing down on top of them. Mickey and I were only a few steps behind.

          “What the fuck?” Tadd yelled at the hyenas. “Which one of you assholes hit me with the pitcher?”

          A slim kid with glasses seemed to be Tadd’s primary suspect. The brawny ROTC redneck got into his face, nose to nose, drill sergeant style.

          “You piece of fucking shit!” Tadd yelled. “I’ll fucking school you, boy!”

          Their faces were so close together that the guy with glasses flinched away from the small particles of spit flying off Tadd’s lips. He looked around and was horrified to discover that his pack of fellow hyenas had abandoned him.

          “I should fuck you up right now!” screamed the muscular redneck.

          “I…I didn’t mean to hit you,” the guy stuttered.

          “You’re a little bitch, aren’t you?”

          “I’m sorry, dude. I’m sorry.”

           It looked like Tadd was about to bury the kid with one of his huge forearms, but to my disappointment, he turned around and walked away. Tadd may have had tree trunks for arms, but he wasn’t really the type of guy to start a fight at a college keg party.

          Mickey and I lagged behind the brawny redneck as we walked back to where most of our other friends were waiting.

          “That sucked,” I muttered. “I was hoping he’d lay that kid out.”

          “All that muscle for nothing.”

          I smirked. “You put forty pounds of muscle on a pussy and you still have a pussy.”

          Mickey laughed. “Did you just call Big Tadd a pussy?”

          “No…he just doesn’t have the balls to swing on someone who hasn’t swung on him first.”

          “Because he’s scared shitless of getting in trouble.”

          “Yeah, that’s part of it, but he’s also scared to throw the first punch. Most kids are.”

          Mickey nodded. “It takes cruelty to jack someone in the face when they haven’t swung on you first.”

           “Yeah, and it takes balls to start a fight. Think about it. How many times do we see frat boys and thug wanabes talking all kinds of shit, but never doing anything?”

          Mickey snorted. “And the only time they do fight is when they have drunk muscles and twenty frat brothers ready to back them up.”

          “Fucking pussies,” I grumbled.

          We rejoined our friends and were approached by two attractive girls. Emily was a fashionable, bubbly-spirited young woman with red-hair. Melissa was a cute Italian girl with long dark hair and an abnormally thin frame which I attributed to excessive cigarette smoking rather than an eating disorder. Both girls wore tight jeans and stylish tank tops.

          Emily smiled at us. “I’m proud of you guys. We thought you were gonna get into a stupid fight or something.”

          “Yeah, boys,” Melissa said as she blew smoke from a cigarette, “way to show some maturity.”

          Mickey played coy. “Come on, ladies. You know we’d never get into a fight.”

          I grinned innocently. “It didn’t even cross our minds.”

          “Whatever, Darren,” Melissa said and rolled her eyes.

          Emily peaked over my shoulder and asked, “So were there any cute guys over there?”

          Mickey frowned. “Fuck if I know.”

          “Emily,” I said irritably, “don’t ask us shit like that.”

          Her freckled face soured. “Eeew! Then I guess we don’t have any use for the two of you. Come on, Melissa. I need a wingman.”

          As the two girls walked away, I shook my head and said, “Emily is boy crazy.”

          Mickey grinned. “Didn’t you fuck her last year?”

          “No…at least I don’t think so.”

          His grin grew wider. “You did, didn’t you?”

          “Honestly, I don’t remember. I was drunk as shit. We woke up in the same bed, but I have no idea what happened.”

          My friend looked at me doubtfully.

          I shrugged. “I would though. Hit it.”

          “You would?”

          “Yeah. She’s decent-looking and has a nice body.”

          Mickey’s lip curled. “I guess I just don’t do redheads.”

“Why not? Fire crotch is magical stuff, kid.”

 He scratched his head. “Yeah…but Emily, she just seems…”

          “Like a sorority girl without a sorority,” I offered.

          My friend’s face lit up with a smile. “Yeah. That’s exactly what she is!”      

          “I think she actually went through Sorority Rush last year, but wasn’t serious about it.”

          Blake overheard us and asked, “Who’re you talking about? Emily?”

          I nodded. “She rushed last year, didn’t she?”

          “Yup. And she was serious about it. You gotta be to dress up like a Barbie Doll every day and walk to all the sorority houses in that hot ass August weather.”

          My lips puckered. “Those little sluts look so fucking hot walking around campus.”

“Hell yeah. I bet Emily got turned down by the good sororities and she didn’t want to join a shitty one.”

“Probably because she’s a redhead,” Mickey replied and finished off the last of his beer. “Yo, let’s hit that keg.”

          Blake and I chugged our drinks and followed our friend to the nearest keg. As we stood in line, I thought about what Blake had said. If he was right and Emily was rejected by the top sororities, her decision not to join a lower tier organization was a smart choice for the socially ambitious girl to make because girls who joined bad sororities were permanently ostracized from mixing with the campus social elites for the rest of their collegiate careers.

          A few beers later in the night, I found myself standing next to my girlfriend Allison and her littler sister Rachel who was visiting from North Carolina. The two dark-haired girls shared a family resemblance, but unlike her athletically-built older sister, Rachel had freckles and some cushion.

          I smiled at the younger sibling. “So how are you liking your freshman year at UNC?”

          “It’s been great,” Rachel replied. “Chapel Hill is a fun town.”

          “Just wait till basketball season gets going. It’s gotta be ridiculous up there.”

          She nodded. “Kind of like football season here.”

          “Tomorrow will be a lot of fun,” Allison said. “Game days in Tallahassee are always crazy.”

          “I love game days in Tally,” I said to Rachel. “Almost as much as I love your sister.”

          Her gaze lingered on me strangely. “So, if you really do love her, tell me what you like about her best.”

          “Wow,” I replied and pulled Allison to me. “Am I being tested?”

“Always,” Rachel replied with a devilish smile.

Allison laughed.

          “Okay then, let’s see…” I leaned over Allison’s shoulder so that my eyes could stare down her body. “You mean besides her legs?”

          Allison laughed again, but Rachel looked annoyed, so I decided to give her a serious response.

          “Probably her self-reliance,” I said.

          “What do you mean by that?’ Rachel asked.

          “I mean there are two types of women in this world—women who can change their own tire and women who can’t. I prefer those who can.”

          Allison snorted. “He means he doesn’t like helpless princesses—dumb girls who want to be taken care of all the time.”

          Rachel nodded. “I guess that’s a good answer. I’m the same way too. But compared to Florida girls, I guess most girls from Bama probably are.”

          “So did I pass the test?” I asked.

          “Yeah. And I heard you passed our dad’s test too. He never took you out to the stables and showed you his gun rack, did he?”

          “No,” I replied with a surprised look. “He’s done that before?”

          Rachel shared a grin with Allison and said, “Yup, to all our boyfriends.”

          The Alabama sisters laughed, but I knew they were serious. Allison’s father was a Good Ol’ Boy not to be trifled with. When I visited their home in Birmingham, I saw a hole in Allison’s bedroom door left there from an incident involving her dad and an ex-boyfriend. I guess Allison learned her lesson. She was the one who taught me that lying perpendicular on a bed is the best way to keep it from rocking when you’re having sex.

          “So, Darren,” Rachel asked, “which one of your friends is single?”

           I looked at Allison and chuckled. “Wow. You were right.”

“Right about what?” Rachel asked.

          Allison smiled. “Darren told me earlier today that you and I had the same forceful personalities. I told him we also have the same level of sexuality.”

          This statement would cause a shy girl to blush and a sexually immature girl to giggle. Rachel snorted.

          “Yeah,” she said, “but that probably has more to do with parenting than genes. I don’t think Mom or Dad ever talked to either one of us about sex.”

          Allison grinned. “Nope. We had to find out everything on our own and we both learned at an early age.”

          I shook my head in disapproval. “Fuck that. The mother of my children will have many, many conversations about sex with my daughters.” I shrugged and added, “Actually…after witnessing what girls do in college, I’ve decided not to have any daughters.”

          Rachel snickered. “Are you kidding? Guys like you are punished with nothing but slutty daughters.”

          I laughed with the two sisters and then excused myself to get another beer. After filling up at the nearest keg, I found some of my boys standing near the backyard fence.

          “It doesn’t matter what you do,” Eddie said in his thick New York accent. “No matter how much you wiggle or how much you dance, the last few drops will always end up in your pants.”

          We burst out laughing at this joke and Eddie continued to articulate the laws of digestion until Melissa and another girl named Heather appeared from the crowds. They were both giggling.

          “Ladies,” I asked, “what’s so funny?”

          Blond-haired Heather was a cute and wholesome, down to earth kind of girl who would have been pretty except for her large nose.

          She smiled at me warmly and answered, “Those guys over there were hitting on us.”

          I looked to where she pointed and saw two skinny guys with their backs turned to us, walking away.

          “Yeah, so?” I asked.

           Melissa rolled her eyes. “When they asked us who we came here with, we pointed over at you and Tadd and they said, ‘Never mind’ and just walked away!”

          The girls laughed again and this time I joined them.   “Yeah,” I agreed, “that is funny.”

          But it wasn’t funny—it was intoxicating. Being an intimidating presence at a party filled with young men was empowering and empowerment felt damn good. This was not the first time the physical size I had amassed in the gym had earned me Big Man Respect. There were a lot of meatheads in Tallahassee which meant there was a lot of Big Man Respect to go around, but I was starting to understand that being one of the big men was a VIP pass to popularity and women. This was especially true for meatheads with a reputation for punching people in the face.

When the two girls walked away, Klein approached me with a frown. The dark-haired Jewish kid from Miami was prettied up tonight in his standard metrosexual gear—gelled hair, a tight club shirt, and designer jeans with black dress shoes.

“It sucks what happened to Heather,” he said.

          “What do you mean?” I asked.

Klein shrugged his lean shoulders. “The freshman fifteen she put on. Don’t you remember how sick her legs used to look?”

“Yeah…she had a beautiful pair of soccer legs.”

          Klein’s roommate Moody heard us and said, “Pizza, beer, birth control, and slowing metabolism levels. It’s a ruthless combination that kills college girls.”

          Klein nodded. “Yup, and a lack of organized sports. Girls like Heather are too lazy to go to the gym on their own. They need a structured workout regime.”

          Moody grinned. “Or they can just starve or puke.”

          My gaze continued to linger on Melissa and Heather. They, in turn, were watching Eddie interact with Allison and Rachel. Eddie appeared to be telling a vivid story and the observing Melissa whispered something harsh to Heather. It looked like she wanted to kill her boyfriend as she sucked down a cigarette and watched him with viper eyes.

          I turned to my boys and said, “Melissa is probably one of the nicest girls I know, but she hates Allison.”

          “Ya think?” Moody asked sarcastically.

          Klein nodded. “She probably feels a little inadequate because of whatever happened between the two of you.”

          I shook my head. “No way. She’s completely into Eddie now.”

          “I know, but didn’t she break up with her High School boyfriend for you last year?”

          I chuckled. “Yeah, we were a two week item until she found out I was spending time elsewhere.”

Moody snorted. “Hooking up with the girl who lived across the hallway from her was not the smartest move you’ve ever made.”

 “Dude…it was my first month in college and I was like a kid in a candy store.”

          “That’s my point,” Klein said. “Melissa probably liked knowing you didn’t want to be exclusive with anyone else either. And then you started dating Allison.”

           I shook my head. “That’s not it. She hates Allison because of the way Eddie acts around her. Look at them right now.”

          We stared at the conversing trio of Eddie, Allison, and Rachel. It was now Allison who appeared to be sharing a dramatic story.

          “Anytime you get those two together, they tell stories all fucking night. Melissa gets pissed at that shit.”

          Blake approached us with a freshly poured cup of beer.

          “Hey, Blake,” I said, “you’re a Psyche major. Tell us why Melissa hates Allison. Is it inadequacy because of me or jealousy that Eddie spends so much time talking to her?”

          Blake snorted. “Neither. Melissa’s been pissed at Allison ever since we went to Alligator beach and that seagull shit on her.”

          Moody chuckled. “Allison told her it was good luck.”

          “Hell yeah,” Blake grinned. “That pissed off Italian girl stormed off to the ocean and never said more than two words to Allison ever again.”

          We laughed at the memory and were joined by shaggy-haired Ripper, New York Eddie, and the thuggish Chris D.

          “Hey, Bryce,” Ripper asked, “you want to smoke this joint with us?”

          You know it,” I musically sang.

          Ripper fired up the weed and Moody and Klein took a lap around the party to find some women. When they returned, it did not sound like their journey had been very productive.

          “Any luck?” Eddie asked Klein.

          “Nope. I wasted my time talking to some girl with a boyfriend.”

          “So what?” Chris D asked with a grin that flashed his braces. “I always steal girlfriends.”

          Moody snorted. “Cyber sex with Middle School girls on Facebook doesn’t count.”

          “Bitch, my girls are legal.”

Eddie giggled. “You have online lovers?”

          “Hell yeah, he does,” Klein said. “He gets their phone numbers and calls them all the time. One of the girls lives in Alaska or something.”

          Chris D’s chubby face tightened. “Fuck you! I told you she lives in Oklahoma!”

          My friends burst out laughing and I shifted my gaze to Moody. “So you guys didn’t meet any women tonight?” I asked.

 “A few,” he said, “but they need to get some more light out here. I couldn’t tell if the girls I was talking to were hot or busted.”

          He had a point. There were some lights shining from the back porch of the house, but this only made the areas outside their limited range seem lost in shadows.

          “Don’t worry about it,” Ripper said to Moody. “If you keep drinking, what they look like won’t much matter.”

          Chris D snickered. “Moody loves banging ugly bitches whenever he has beer goggles.”

          “Whatever, Chris D,” his roommate replied. “At least I touch the girls I bang instead of just jacking off to their pictures on Facebook.”

We all laughed hysterically.

“Speaking of beer goggles,” I said with a sly smile, “I think I saw the Halfback breaking tackles around here somewhere.”

          “Shut up, man,” Ripper replied.

          “Yo, did you really fuck her?” Moody asked him.


          “Who’s the Halfback?” Chris D asked.

          I chuckled. “Remember those two big blonde-haired twins living on the eighth floor of Salley Hall?”

          “Yeah, I think so.”

          “Well, we called the bigger one the Fullback and the smaller one the Halfback. Ripper fucked the Halfback.”

“No, I didn’t,” Ripper insisted. “I just hooked up with her.”

           My head shook in disbelief. “That’s bullshit. I definitely heard some grunting going on over there. If you didn’t bang her, then that was some serious dry fucking.”

          Moody grinned and looked at Blake. “You were there too, weren’t you? What really happened that night?”

          Blake shrugged. “It was Panama City. Shit got crazy and they were hooking up on the bed right next to me.” The sound of my roommate’s voice became childlike as he continued. “It was dark and I heard the grunting and I just laid there very still and very quiet. I was scared.

          My friends and I laughed our asses off and continued to give Ripper a hard time until Blake suddenly pointed across the party.

“Hell yeah, yo!” he exclaimed. “Fight!”

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