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144. Pushing upward

I had a friend at school who was like a rabbit. His sister even kept rabbits. He was a very good boy, by nature, I think—though it was hard to tell because his father was a senior teacher at the school. This is a burden, for the boy carries his father’s reputation and authority together with his life; he is never an “ordinary” pupil, and he is always scrutinised—by pupils and staff alike, a potential traitor to both. The boy can never be a real boy in these incestuous circumstances. He was amiable, a swot in Latin and Greek; and, in a school of nominal Catholics, he was one of a handful who were the real thing. I mean, even in this world, he was pretty close to an actual believer; or he followed the rules closely, anyway. His parents were converts and the flame still burned in them, while the old Catholics took the whole affair for granted. The other boys, keen enough to affirm Catholicism when it suited them, were, like all men, out-and-out pagans.

Now there was a trend to give a guy’s underpants a sharp tug upward from behind on his birthday. They called it a “wedgie” then, perhaps they still do; it has been going on for aeons: wherever there are boys, especially if the sex-instinct is riled by a lack of girls, there will be a ritual like the wedgie. Usually, it was harmless enough. The guy would be chased and, eventually, tugged; the faster and stronger boys could flee the mob or fight them off. It was not so bad, a short jolt and a certain exhilaration. Men were made to hunt other men; and, against biology, there is even a thrill in getting caught. This never troubled me, my birthday was in the summer holidays and, besides, I had grown fat at the time and wore outlandish clothes. We are all of us working out a way to protect ourselves: some grow stronger, others become fast, others become comedians—and others too gross and outlandish to molest. Be assured, we men are always, one way or another, working on our defences.

When the day came for my friend’s birthday, it all got out of hand. All the resentment and fury locked in those boys, all the times my friend’s father had told them to tuck their shirts in or called them back for detention—or just acted like any teacher, an adult who cannot bully other adults and so chooses children instead—came back. This was to be a revenge, a sacrifice.

When I ate with him at lunch, the boys came; not the usual five or six, but twenty or thirty. We moved to leave, changing our exits, but the mob rushed every door. My friend slipped out to run, but the mob rushed him and caught him and carried him to a corridor. There, pressed to a wall, I watched as they hoisted him up again and again, until his underpants snapped and down he came. Imagine taught underwear slicing at your genitals. I watched the tears in his eyes and I enjoyed it because I am a man—and, perhaps, I liked him less than I pretended. I even slowed him a little, psychologically, from leaving the canteen; so beware the man who tries to help you—it could be me.

They filmed the whole thing—just to make sure the whole school could see they sent it round by email, another joke to join the vid of the girl soaked in donkey cum.

Another friend took him away to the infirmary, shaking and with tears rolling down his cheeks. He had children, though; they did not geld him—I know that much. “Boys will be boys,” as my headmaster used to say, no harm done. The boys had their revenge, and from that day I knew what man was and what I was too—it is a war universe, so save yourself.


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