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Scott stares blankly at the screen in front of him. Displayed prominently, in front of the Instagram Babe of the Day tabs and consequent PornHub searches, is an academic slide containing words and pictures highlighting the ancient Aztec civilization of Tenochtitlan. It’s finals week, and Scott finds himself woefully unprepared. His master plan of not attending class, ignoring the notes, but skating by on exam grades alone has fallen through. Test one went well enough, thanks to a “study session” that actually turned out to be a legitimate study session with the cute girl in the front row. Although he misjudged her intentions, his grade proffered well from the unfortunate miscalculation. Exam two fell right after Logan’s birthday, with the predictable outcome of the scheduling conflict leading to an exam grade horrendous enough to balance out the success of the first.
Scott was upset that this final was taking up so much of his time. He took this Latin American studies course as an easy-write off to concentrate on his more pressing business classes, although in all fairness his schedule was on the easier side to begin with. Still, he preferred to spend his time lounging at the house and drinking away the weekends. Now that his classes had actually ended, it seemed unfair that he had to start working in earnest.
As if to add insult to injury, his usual Adderall hookup, Baker, had been inundated by requests from desperate students and had just sold his last pills to an enthusiastic Asian girl before Scott had a chance to acquire any. Without this miracle study aid, Scott felt completely hopeless and lost. How was he supposed to get through all of these slides without some help? Desperate and sober, Scott decided he had earned a few pulls of whiskey as a reward for at least opening the slide presentation.
Unfortunately for Scott, a few pulls turned into half the bottle, and half the day, before he realized what he had done. As if waking from a nightmare, the realization that he had drank away his study time hit him with the force of a Falcon Punch, and he raced upstairs to recover whatever knowledge as best he could.
Opening his laptop, he was hit with an overwhelming sense of sorrow. What was he to do? He couldn’t possibly learn all of this material in time. Gazing up at the screen in a drunken stupor, he was suddenly hit with a bolt of desperate inspiration. For displayed across the slide, in graphic detail, was the chiseled depiction of the great Aztec god Quetzalcoatl clutching the still-beating heart of an ancient sacrifice as an unwilling offering to bring the great rains that would drench their hidden temples for the coming harvest. This was just the kind of miracle that Scott needed. A sacrificial offering to the gods to conquer this final exam and skate into a passing grade.
But what offering would appease the frat gods and ensure his academic success? Beer? Liquor? Cocaine? No, too pedestrian. What Scott needed was a pledge.
Texting the group chat for an immediate lineup, he began to look over the drowsy and bloodshot eyes of the young recruits entering the basement, wondering what new hell they would be privy to endure on this night. Pacing up and down the tired track of pledges, Scott began to channel his inner Aztec warrior, submitting to an unseen guidance directing him to the ideal pledge that would appease the gods most. As if in a trance, Scott paused briefly before Chubbs, then Skittles, wavering in front of Gator as if looking for a sign. Finally, he felt an indelible tug towards the pledge named Roadkill, so named for once getting hit by a car while running to a mandatory pledge meeting. He may have escaped death once, but tonight he would be called for a higher purpose.
Pointing at Roadkill with paddle in hand, the trembling freshman stood forward, confused and afraid.
“Assume the position!” yelled Scott in a drunken trance. “May this gift of Roadkill’s bare ass appease the ancient gods in all of their wisdom and mercy, and allow me to pass this final with ease, success, and a generous curve.”
Gripping the handle with the deliberate force of a practiced swing, Scott lifted the paddle to its apex, preparing to bring it down deftly on Roadkill with all of the fervor and zeal of a freshly religious proselyte. Just at the pinnacle of tension, however, a digitized bell rang out through the dank basement, bringing the notification of an incoming text. Scott, now brought back to reality by the obtrusive distraction, glanced down at his phone.
[Baker: Hey, you still need some pills for the final, man? You know I got you. Hit me back.]
Pausing for a moment, Scott looked around him at the young pledges, the darkened paddle, and his own precious phone. “I don’t need the gods. I have Addy now. Fuck this,” he quickly surmised.
“Pledges dismissed!” rang out his thunderous final command as he raced back upstairs, leaving the pledges just as alone and confused as they were upon his arrival..