The following day was Friday, the final day of the first week of classes and of the pledges’ second week with the Four-Beta Sorority. At 5:30 the four young women got off their cots and prepared to go for the morning run. Tracy came downstairs, only to be pleasantly surprised that her charges already were up and getting ready for the morning PT. Still, their readiness did not spare them the usual morning slap on the bare bottom as they went past the Pledge Mistress to go upstairs.
After the morning exercise, clean-up, breakfast, and assignment presentation, Tracy took her pledges to the university. She dropped off Lisa at Burnside’s office and took the others to class. That morning Burnside was not in, but had left a note on the door that a key was with the receptionist. Lisa let herself in and locked the door behind her. She took off her clothes, hung them in the closet, and prepared to review the readings she had for class that day.
Lisa managed to pay attention to her coursework for about 15 minutes. However, when the air conditioning came on and she felt the cool air blowing against her bare body, she was reminded of her unusual situation, sitting completely naked in her professor’s office. The erotic feeling of being so exposed returned, and she found herself beginning to daydream. She moved to the professor’s desk, imagining that she was Burnside. Or better yet, Dr. Lisa Campbell, the first naked professor in the United States of America. Professor Campbell, who never wore clothes in public, and whose trademark was lecturing and speaking in the nude.
Dr. Campbell became the Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences and spoke at numerous commencement ceremonies. She was a well-known and respected economist, in great demand to appear on television and at conferences. She was very approachable, but any public appearance by Dr. Campbell had a condition. She had taken an oath never to wear clothes, so that need had to be accommodated by anyone issuing an invitation to speak. If she appeared at a commencement, she had to have a microphone not attached to a podium so her body could be fully visible to her listeners. If she appeared on television, the camera angle had to show her figure in its entirety, and absolutely no electronic censoring was permitted.
Dr. Campbell’s opinions and knowledge became more valued over time. She traveled to various international development summits and was called before Congress to testify in committee. As always, her demand that she appear naked needed to be respected and her exposed body became a familiar sight on Capitol Hill. She frequently spoke on national television, her nakedness contrasting with the dark suits of the politicians standing behind her...
As that fantasy ran through her mind, Lisa’s fingers explored her body and finally made their way to her vagina. Soon she was trembling with pleasure and her sweat saturating the smooth leather of her professor’s desk chair. The room reeked of orgasm as she took her time pleasuring herself. Precisely as she was about to climax and was totally distracted, Lisa heard a key in the door’s lock. Before she even had a chance to jump out of the chair, Ruth Burnside and Jim Halsey entered the back office. She scrambled to her feet and stood at attention, her face white with terror and embarrassment.
Burnside was clearly infuriated. The student noticed the older woman’s eyes looking over the sweat-covered leather on her chair.
"Lisa, there is some leather cleaner and cleaning cloths in the cabinet in the outer office. I expect my chair to be cleaned properly. If the surface of that chair is damaged, you will be paying me to have it reupholstered."
Without saying a word, Lisa rushed to the outer room to get the cleaner. Unfortunately, the door from the outer office to the main hallway was open and several passing students saw her before she had a chance to slam it shut. She grabbed the cleaner and cleaning cloth and ran back into the back office to attempt to salvage a piece of fine furniture that probably was worth $ 1,000.
Lisa trembled with fright as she sprayed down the chair and began wiping it. Her body continued to drip sweat and the smell of her interrupted orgasm had not dissipated. After about five minutes of desperately cleaning, she looked up at the two professors, both of whom were standing watching her with crossed arms.
Lisa continued to tremble as she stood at attention. She felt the cool air blowing against her very wet vulva and the exposure of her swollen vagina to the two senior professors. The two professors, meanwhile, moved a pair of chairs directly in front of Burnside’s mortified student and sat down. It was Dr. Halsey who addressed her, "Young lady, that was quite an impressive performance you just gave us. I presume you were fantasizing about something?"
"I... I... yes, sir... I... I mean, Dr. Halsey...I was fantasizing..."
"Please do us the honor of describing your fantasy to us. We are interested. Take your time describing to us in depth your most secretive thoughts and leave out no detail. Please tell us what mental journey overrides the sanctity of Ruth’s chair; a chair which, you might be interested to know, I presented to her to celebrate the fifth anniversary of her tenure."
Lisa began trembling more visibly upon hearing Halsey’s words. Oh, great! Not only is that chair worth a lot of money, it’s a gift from Burnside’s lover!
Lisa continued to shake as she described her fantasy about being a famous and well-known economist, but spending her entire professional life completely in the nude. The fantasy’s hold over Lisa did not diminish, even as she faced the utter humiliation of having to describe it to her professors while facing them naked with her legs spread and her hands behind her head. The fear she was enduring gave her a tremendous sexual rush, and even as her knees continued to tremble she felt a wave of sexual energy sweep through her crotch.
Burnside was the next to speak, "My... my... my... I see that your fantasy really does have a hold on you. Yes, you certainly would look lovely in Washington, that nice figure of yours on the nightly news. Yes, you’d be the naked economist, the uncovered seeker of the truth, the trustworthy witness with nothing to hide. A lovely idea, Lisa. Very lovely indeed. Perhaps one worth pursuing."
Burnside was not speaking sarcastically. It seemed that she really did like the idea of Lisa standing naked in front the news cameras of the entire nation.
At that point Halsey's cell-phone rang. He glanced at it, kissed his lover goodbye, and left the room. As soon as he left, the mood in Burnside’s office took a very strange turn. Burnside glanced at the chair and could see that it was none the worse for Lisa’s perspiration. Fortunately the student’s bank account would be spared the expense of reupholstering Halsey’s gift. However, there remained the issues of her indecent behavior and her ongoing state of arousal. Burnside knew Lisa well enough to understand there was no way she could go to her next class as sweaty and aroused as she was. She would have to be brought to orgasm and then shower off before going to class. Fortunately there were two hours before her next lecture so there was plenty of time to attend to the girl's needs.
Burnside announced that Lisa was facing discipline for her indecent behavior in the office and her terrible act of disrespect. The professor gave her student a choice, either she could take discipline from her and nothing would be said to the Four-Beta Pledge Mistress, or she could wait until the evening and personally explain what had happened to Tracy, with the other three pledges present and listening. The choice was easy enough; Lisa would take her discipline from Burnside. The older woman nodded, took off her jacket, and sat down on the sofa. Lisa sighed with relief. So it would just be an over-the-lap hand spanking. Phew! A mere spanking she could handle.
Burnside grabbed Lisa's wrist and pulled her over her lap. Lisa, still grateful that she only was facing a simple hand spanking, settled across Burnside's thighs. The professor instructed Lisa to move forward a bit and tilt her bottom up. The younger woman obeyed as the professor slipped her hand between her legs. Lisa obediently spread her legs to better expose herself to her boss.
Burnside always had enjoyed the sight of Lisa’s bottom, which she found very attractive. Now that lovely bottom was submissively positioned, with her bottom-cheeks slightly bent and spread. Burnside gently massaged Lisa’s backside, enjoying the sight and feel of her student’s tanned skin and firm flesh. So lovely...
While Lisa had gone over Burnside’s lap expecting a simple spanking, the professor had much more in mind. Yes, there would be a spanking, but her intention to exert her authority over her student went way beyond a simple punishment. Burnside hoped to use Lisa’s erotic fantasies and the weakness of her body to teach her a hard lesson. If Burnside so desired, she could use the girl’s body to control her emotions and force her to completely surrender herself.
Burnside continued to massage Lisa’s bottom and thighs, using sensuous touches and light tickling with her fingertips until she noticed a subtle change in the young woman’s posture. At first Lisa was very tensed up and nervous, but Burnside’s experience in establishing control over other people’s bodies allowed her to get the girl to relax, then finally to enjoy what was happening to her.
"I want you to keep your fantasy in the forefront of your mind," noted the professor. "Think about maybe starting as early as today, proctoring my class with nothing on. That would be the very first act of your naked career. Imagine being exposed to an entire auditorium of students, all eyes focused on you as you hand out syllabuses. Doesn’t that idea appeal to you?"
It did, and the slight chance that Burnside might not be joking brought Lisa back to the edge of sexual arousal.
"Now, imagine yourself a couple of years in the future, teaching a seminar in the nude. Maybe by then the laws have changed and you’re allowed to leave your clothes at home, or, better yet, you got special permission to always be naked while everyone else has to stay dressed."
Lisa was very wet, and tilted her bottom up, desperately hoping Burnside would slip her fingers between her thighs and touch her...
Burnside smiled. She had Lisa right where she wanted her. She teased Lisa’s labia with the tip of her index finger as Lisa involuntarily tilted her hips even more, hoping that Burnside would touch her clitoris.
"I’d bet you’d like a nice orgasm right now..."
"I... yes... please..."
"You’re going to have to earn that orgasm, Lisa. I’m not just going to give it to you. You’ve got to earn it."
"Dr. Burnside... please..."
Burnside patted Lisa’s bottom. "You stay in position and behave yourself, and I’ll reward you when we’re done."
With that Burnside began slapping Lisa’s upturned bottom. At the beginning she did not spank very hard, just with enough force to put some pleasant heat and sting in the younger woman’s eager bottom. She slapped more quickly than she would have slapped during a real punishment spanking, since her purpose was different from a normal punishment. She wanted Lisa to feel sensation in her bottom that came close to, but was not exactly, painful.
Lisa’s sweaty bottom continued to redden under the attention of her professor. The mounting heat and stinging in her backside was just enough to enhance her sexual arousal. Every so often the professor took a break from the spanking to tease Lisa’s vulva, by lightly touching her labia or running her fingertip over her vagina, but the touches were just enough to torment Lisa and keep her state of arousal from diminishing. Burnside’s goal was to keep her student as close to climax as possible for as long as possible.
As Lisa’s bottom reddened, Burnside began slapping much harder. The painful slaps only added to Lisa’s feeling of sexual desperation and willingness to do anything to be allowed to climax. Burnside now had Lisa completely under her control as the heat and stinging became much more intense and erotic. Had Burnside started out spanking Lisa as hard as she was spanking her now, the girl’s sexual arousal would have vanished because of the pain. However, Burnside knew how to gradually increase both the pain and the girl’s sexual desires.
SLAP! SLAP! SLAP!
After about 15 minutes the spanking was reaching its climax. Burnside took longer breaks to continue teasing Lisa between her thighs, pleased that her student was desperately spreading her legs and lewdly exposing herself as her posture silently pleaded the professor to satisfy her sexual desires. Lisa’s desire for an orgasm filled her thoughts and canceled out any hint of dignity or self-control. She wanted that orgasm, and that was all she wanted.
Burnside’s fingertips sensuously explored Lisa’s vulva, staying in contact with her labia and gently circling her vagina. Lisa’s body trembled and she moaned with pleasure, as she relished the feel of the older woman’s invasion of her most intimate area. Finally Burnside’s fingertip touched Lisa’s clitoris. At first the touch was tentative and light, but gradually Burnside’s fingertip began massaging Lisa more seriously, with the intent of finally bringing her to orgasm. The younger woman bit her lip and groaned with delight as Burnside’s fingertip worked its magic on her body. As the professor continued to massage Lisa’s clitoris with her right hand, she ran her left hand over her back and bottom.
Lisa climaxed, but Burnside was not done with her. She inserted her finger into Lisa’s vagina, then again explored her labia and clitoris. The second orgasm was so good that she nearly passed out from the extreme pleasure.
Lisa remained over Burnside’s lap after she calmed down, too tired to have any desire to get up. The professor ran her thumb over Lisa’s vulva to lubricate it, then touched the girl’s bottom-hole several times with her wet thumb to prepare her for the final part of her lesson. Once Burnside was satisfied that both her thumb and Lisa’s sphincter were adequately lubricated, she pushed it deep into Lisa’s bottom-hole while penetrating her vagina with her index finger. Lisa, who was just starting to come to her senses, gasped at the professor’s new intrusion into her body.
Burnside’s thumb and fingertip worked their way in deeper and pressed together inside Lisa. The sensation was strange and somewhat sinister. Combined with her sore bottom and exhausted muscles, the firm grip inside Lisa’s body gave her the feeling that she had completely lost any control over her existence. Burnside knew what she was thinking, because the sensation her student was experiencing was exactly what she had wanted her to experience.
"Lisa, I have a question for you. Between us, who do you think is in charge?"
"You, Dr. Burnside."
"That’s right. I am the one who’s in charge. I expect you to remember that. Whenever we are in the same room together, I want you to remember that I am capable of controlling you. I know how to take over your body and use it against you. I’ve just demonstrated that, haven’t I?"
"Yes, Dr. Burnside."
"Now, whenever I tell you to do something, what’s going to happen?"
"I’m gonna do it...and not question your authority, Dr. Burnside."
"Very good, Lisa. That’s what I want to hear."
With that Burnside pulled her fingers out of Lisa’s body and ordered her to stand up. Lisa, her body covered in sweat, her muscles sore from her orgasm, and her bottom sore from the spanking, was unsteady on her feet for the first few seconds she was off her professor’s lap. Burnside ordered Lisa to go into the outer room, get some wet wipes, and to "clean your shit off my hand". Lisa complied, getting the wet wipes and returning to the sofa where her professor was sitting. She knelt and cleaned the older woman’s hand as best she could. Burnside sat back with satisfaction, pleased at the relative ease with which she had managed to "tame" her new student aide.
As soon as Burnside’s hand was as clean as Lisa could get it, the professor handed her a robe and a key to the bathroom used by tenured faculty women. The bathroom had a shower, which would allow the student to wash off the residue of her very strange morning and make herself presentable for class. She handed Lisa a towel and her Four-Beta uniform and escorted her down the hallway of the Economics Department. The bathroom was hidden at the end of a small side entrance next to a conference room. Burnside decided to go into the bathroom with Lisa so she could properly wash her hands. Once the professor was satisfied her hands were clean, she unceremoniously left Lisa to return to her office. She still needed to change her skirt, which was stained with her student’s sweat and juices from her recent arousal.
Lisa showered as quickly as she could and put her uniform back on. She discovered to her dismay that the redness from Burnside’s spanking extended down the tops of her thighs and was not completely hidden by her shorts. Anyone walking behind her would be able to see enough of the redness to tell that she recently had been spanked. She hoped that the color would fade within an hour or so, but doubted that her skin could recover before she had to go out in public to make her first class.
Lisa looked at herself in the mirror, still badly shaken from her morning’s experience from the professor. There was no question that, in theory, what Burnside had just done to her was very illegal. Had Lisa wanted, she could have turned in the professor to the university administration, formally accused her of sexual assault, and had her dismissed from her position. However, Lisa, Burnside, and the Four-Beta sorority all knew there was no way that was going to happen. The professor held the key to Lisa’s future, because she had given her student a job that most sophomores could only dream of getting. Any attempt to destroy her professor’s career would destroy her own prospects as well. Burnside’s association with the Four-Beta Sorority and her leadership in the local S&M scene made her a vital presence in Lisa’s social life as well as her academic life.
There was a much more personal reason why Lisa never would turn on Burnside for inflicting discipline on her. Her personality and sexual tastes were too close to those of the professor for her to see anything morally wrong with her mentor’s behavior. Burnside chose Lisa to be her assistant precisely because the two women viewed the world in much the same way, preferring to handle problems through private discipline rather than airing them through the legal system. The professor and her student already had a verbal agreement that any problems between them would be settled through physical discipline. Lisa had agreed to accept what had just happened to her when she accepted Burnside’s job offer. Anyone who knew Burnside very well knew that any person working under her could expect to endure physical discipline at some point in their employment. An occasional sore butt was simply part of the reality of working for Dr. Ruth Burnside.
Apart from the understanding that physical discipline was simply part of her work expectations, there was another reason why there was no chance Lisa would ever would object to the way she had been treated. There was a very strong erotic component to both women’s personalities, which made Lisa willing to accept Burnside’s way of handling her and sexually dominating her. There were things about human nature that Burnside knew that Lisa wanted to learn from her, the most important of which was how to use a combination of fear, eagerness to please, pain, and sexual reward to control other people. The fact that Burnside, through the right combination of guilt, fear, pain, and touching, had so completely taken control of Lisa’s body for a few minutes frightened her, but at the same time fascinated her. She wanted to learn how to do that, to use her partners’ physical and emotional weaknesses to completely control them. Burnside had that knowledge, and if Lisa proved herself worthwhile, the professor would gladly share her knowledge with her student.
That morning, however, Burnside’s main purpose was to make Lisa clearly understand who controlled their relationship. Lisa suspected that her professor had been waiting for an opportunity to impose her will, and the masturbation incident provided her with the perfect justification to do something she was planning to do anyway. As soon as the door opened and Lisa was caught masturbating, she expected to be punished. If anything, she expected the physical punishment to be much more severe, perhaps a caning or a series of strokes from the professor’s dreaded Danubian police switch. However, what Burnside wanted to accomplish that morning was not to flog Lisa, but instead to use the chair incident to establish her dominance over the girl’s sexuality. She wanted to make Lisa understand that around her professor she had no rights, not even those pertaining to her own body.
Lisa picked up her robe and towel after wiping down the shower as best she could. She stepped into the hallway and returned to Burnside’s office, very grateful classes were in session and the hallway was empty. What a day, she thought to herself, what a day. And I haven’t even gone to my first class yet.
A few minutes later Lisa was walking behind Burnside, wheeling the cart full of lecture supplies to the adjacent building. As before, her shorts worked their way up her bottom, exposing the lower part of her buttocks. The pinkness from the spanking was fading, but still quite visible. The red "B’s" on the bottom of her shorts made a point to everyone around her that was accentuated by the pink skin of her bottom and upper thighs. Lisa noticed everyone, male and female, looking at her as she went by.
The erotic nature of Lisa’s personality re-surfaced at that moment. She decided not to bother trying to pull down the back of her shorts to cover her buttocks. With every step she took more and more of her spanked bottom came into public view, drawing more and more attention from the courtyard full of students. Lisa noticed that several of the guys had erections under their pants or shorts. A surge of arousal swept through her as she remembered her fantasy, the one that had gotten her spanked in the first place. At that moment she wished she could have been completely naked, her bare body and spanked bottom totally exposed to the university. Anyhow, with her shorts pushed up into the crack of her bottom and an entire courtyard of incredulous students staring at her partially exposed backside, Lisa had come about as close to her fantasy as she could get without risking arrest for indecent exposure.
Upon entering the building Lisa sighed and pulled her shorts back down to cover her bottom. Her moment of fun and exposure was over, and now it was time for her to earn her paycheck. She took on a much more subdued attitude as she walked up and down the rows of freshmen students collecting assignments. While Burnside lectured, Lisa was responsible for checking them off against the class roster. Upon returning to Burnside’s office she would be responsible for grading them.
When the two women returned to Burnside’s office that afternoon, the professor addressed her as though the incident in the morning had never taken place. Fortunately the desk chair had dried out and was not stained. Lisa had been properly punished, so there was no point in making any further issue out of her behavior in the morning. Lisa had to strip and stand at attention while talking to the professor, but once she had been given instructions for the afternoon, she quietly sat at her desk and began to work. Burnside also sat down to work, making some final preparations for the first midterm examination in one of her classes.
When Tracy came by with the three freshmen in the afternoon, Lisa was nervous about what Burnside might say about what had happened that morning. When the Pledge Mistress asked the professor how Pledge Lisa had performed that day, the professor responded, "There was an issue with Pledge Lisa’s behavior this morning, and I had to discipline her. It’s written up in the daily summary report on this diskette. However, I want you to understand that I resolved the problem and I want there to be no further repercussions against Pledge Lisa. The incident was settled to my satisfaction and we need to move on."
"OK, Dr. Burnside. No problem. I’ll note that you disciplined her, but I can leave out the details in the final entry if you’re satisfied she doesn’t need any further punishment."
"Good. If she needs anything more, I’ll take care of it. We’ll keep it out of her records."
With that Burnside handed Lisa over to Tracy. Lisa knelt to acknowledge the transfer of custody. She put on her pledge uniform and knelt next to her companions.
"PLEDGES! STAND UP!"
The four young women scrambled to their feet and left the building with their Pledge Mistress. As they walked off campus they began sweating under the oppressive heat of the late afternoon. By the time they returned the sorority house, their T-shirts were soaked with sweat and they were glad to put their smelly clothes in the wash. Tracy stripped alongside the others and made a very welcome announcement, "It’s pool-time, ladies. I think a hot walk like that deserves a good swim, don’t you?"
Following dinner and clean-up the sorority held its weekly members’ meeting. Attending the meeting was mandatory for all members, but it was mostly a relaxed and informal affair. The women either could sit on the floor or grab a folding chair from the storage area. Most of the members simply sat on the floor, not wanting to hassle with pulling out a chair.
Clothing in the room ranged from formal dresses, to shorts and T-shirts, to nothing. Some of the women planned to go out on dates immediately after the meeting and were dressed in their best clothes. Others were getting ready to go out exercising or to walk back to campus and were more casually dressed. A few women who had just come in from the pool or the patio area had not bothered to get dressed at all, and entered the room with nothing but a towel to sit on. The pledges, of course, were naked.
Lisa noticed three other naked Four-Betas nervously sitting in chairs near the speaker’s podium. Lisa wondered what was going on with them, because normally they were not among the women Lisa was used to seeing running around the house with nothing on.
Lisa’s question was answered when President Alexandra took her position at the speaker’s podium and announced that the sorority had three "birthday girls" that week, three women who had a birthday within the past seven days. The three naked sorority members stepped forward while the entire room sang "Happy Birthday" to them. As the rest of the sorority sang, the Four-Beta social director snapped several pictures of the blushing "birthday girls".
The sorority had a tradition that anyone celebrating a birthday had to receive a birthday spanking in her birthday suit, which was why the three women were not wearing anything. As soon as the singing concluded, President Alexandra sat down on a hard-backed chair to perform one of the more fun duties of her position. The first of the three women went over her lap, an attractive blond member called Annette.
Alexandra patted Annette’s bottom and loudly asked, "How many years, ladies?"
"Twenty, President Alexandra!"
"Excellent! Twenty years, and one to grow on!"
Seventy women responded by cheering: "ONE!"
President Alexandra spanked Annette a total of 21 times, 20 for each year, concluding with the traditional extra "to grow on". Annette’s friends took several pictures of her while still over the president’s lap, and then had her pose with them for several group shots. The spanking was no big deal and Annette certainly seemed no worse for her experience as she bantered with her friends and wiggled her pink bottom in front of the camera.
The performance was repeated on the other two "birthday girls", first a spanking from the sorority president and then posing for pictures with the dressed members of the sorority. Once all three spankings were completed and anyone who wanted a picture of the "birthday girls" had one, the three women stood at the front of the room to be formally presented with their birthday presents from the sorority; silver necklaces with the sorority emblem. The necklaces were made from pure silver and looked quite expensive. The three "birthday girls" posed together wearing their necklaces and nothing else, for the official photo celebrating the completion of one more year of their lives.
Once the cheering stopped and the three "birthday girls" joined their fellow sorority members in the audience, President Alexandra turned over the podium to her officers. Each officer had a few announcements, mostly items related to the upkeep of the house or academic issues. The social director spoke at length about several summer hikes and camping trips, including one to be held the following weekend with the Tri-Alphas. The hike was counted among the pledge tests, but more so for the male pledges than the females, because the males had to carry backpacks. The sorority and fraternity members would hike 12 miles on Saturday, camp overnight in a remote area, then spend Sunday hiking back.
The Pledge Mistress interjected to the four newcomers, "Next week you’ll need to break in your hiking boots, so I’ll be having you wear them on campus. If you don’t, you might get blisters on the hike."
The Social Director continued by mentioning an event at the end of June called the "Skins and Shirts Ball", that was a formal dance held each semester with the Tri-Alphas. Why it was called the "Skins and Shirts Ball" became evident when she explained to the pledges that before the ball each semester there was a wager between the Four-Betas and the Tri-Alphas. The losing side had to go to the ball naked, while the winners attended in formal clothing. The previous spring it had been the Four-Betas who lost the bet, and thus the entire membership of the sorority suffered the indignity of having to dine, dance, and be photographed in the nude next to their formally dressed male partners.
Lisa had an ominous feeling concerning the "Skins and Shirts Ball" and why it was being brought up in front of the four pledges. A bet, huh? What kind of bet?
The Social Director continued, "I think we’ve already got some good wagers for the fall and spring semesters, and we’ve been trying to come up with a good one for the summer. I’ve discussed it with Social Director Arnold of the Tri-Alphas, and the idea we came up with this year is a naked scavenger hunt for the pledges. Our pledges versus theirs."
It was obvious everyone in the room liked the idea.
"Here’s what we thought we ought to do. We’ll be aiming to do the hunt Sunday night. You know that Stacy who was one of the Four-Beta sophomores) has a job at the library and can get us in after it closes. John Walton has a job at the Student Memorial Center, and Bob’s still instructing at the gym. That gives us at least three campus buildings where we can set up, and Dr. Ruth Burnside told us she might be able to open up the Economics Department for us after midnight. If she can do that and we go with Sunday night, we’ll have four buildings to run around in plus all of Old Campus."
The four pledges had a very sinking feeling. Bubbling with enthusiasm, the Social Director continued, "Now here’s the really great part! Arnold talked to Sergeant Polk from Campus Security, and Sunday night they’re planning on doing a huge parking enforcement operation in the dorm area. What that means is, (and this is a big secret) Campus Security is gonna be completely tied up towing cars out of the dorm lots all Sunday night. We can do what we want on Old Campus because Campus Security is gonna leave us alone! In fact, Arnold told them that if they let us do the scavenger hunt, we can keep an eye on Old Campus for them and they can concentrate on the dorm lots. So, what do you guys think?"
All of the women in the room, minus the four pledges, cheered at the idea. A member of the junior class raised her hand.
"I move we vote to make the pledges do the naked scavenger hunt!"
"Does anyone second that motion?"
Several hands went up.
"OK, Lets put it to a vote. Everyone in favor of doing the scavenger hunt raise her hand!"
Every woman in the room, with the exception of Tracy and the four pledges, raised her hand.
The four pledges did not have the right to vote, so no hands went up against the idea. Pledge Mistress Tracy abstained.
President Alexandra’s voice bellowed out, "Pledge Mistress Tracy!"
"Yes, President Alexandra?"
"You are directed to properly prepare your pledges for Sunday night’s scavenger hunt! I am holding you personally accountable for their success!"
"Yes, President Alexandra!"
When the meeting ended, Tracy ordered the pledges to accompany her into the pledge room. It surprised none of them that her temper suddenly seemed much sharper, now she was to be held accountable if her group lost the scavenger hunt and the Four-Betas had to attend the "Skins and Shirts" ball in the nude. Lisa could see that her hands were shaking slightly. At that moment she saw the Pledge Mistress as very human, a woman who was quite nervous about the difficult task that had been thrust upon her.
Prepare her pledges for an all-night scavenger hunt on campus in the nude. Now, how in the hell was she supposed to do that?
Lisa realized there was one way Tracy could prepare the group. If the pledges spent the next two days completely familiarizing themselves with Old Campus and the four buildings they were likely to be exploring, their chances of searching efficiently and maximizing their time would be greatly improved. It would be especially helpful to systematically explore the area at night and even practice looking for things and running back and forth in the darkness.
As the other members of the pledge group gathered up their coursework to prepare for the mandatory two hours of nightly studying, Lisa approached the Pledge Mistress, knelt, and requested permission to speak. She instinctively knew it would be better to approach the sorority officer when the others were not around, because Tracy usually treated her much differently when they were alone.
Tracy listened to Lisa’s idea with interest, especially her suggestion that the pledges explore Old Campus at night. She responded, "Very well, Pledge Lisa. You’ve thought this thing through quicker than I have. A night exercise and dry runs. OK. When study time is over, I’m taking you out for some punishment PT."
"That’s how I’m gonna justify getting you out of the sorority house. A couple of the girls want the Triple-A’s to win, so they’re gonna be watching us to see what we’re doing to get ready. Anything they see us doing is gonna get reported to their Pledge Master, so I gotta make it look like I’m pissed off at you about something else and not worried about Sunday night. Get upstairs and study, but don’t say anything. At 10:00 I’ll have your uniforms ready. When you come back downstairs I’m gonna need to be a bit rough on you, but then we’re leaving."
Lisa took a deep breath as she went upstairs, fully regretting making the suggestion to Tracy. Apparently the only reward she was going to get out of her effort to help was being yelled at and then a sleepless night running around Old Campus. No, there was no way she was going to say anything to the others. The last thing she wanted was for them to know that it was her dumb idea that was going to make the weekend very miserable for the entire group.
After two hours of studying the four tired pledges went downstairs. The freshmen were fully expecting to go to bed. Lisa knew that wasn’t going to happen, at least not for several hours. Sure enough, the pledges’ jogging uniforms were laid out on their cots and the Pledge Mistress was waiting for them wearing a jogging outfit and a furious expression. The pledges immediately dropped to their knees. Tracy waved a sheet of paper, pointed at her own face, and asked, "Is this the expression of a happy woman?"
"That’s right, ladies, this is not the face of a happy woman! This is the face of a woman with a CASE OF THE ASS! And do you know why I have a case of the ass?"
"Well, I’ll tell you! Your PT improvement scores SUCK! What the fuck are you doing to me? You’re supposed to be improving, and all I see is SHIT! All I see is a bunch of lazy bitches who don’t give a fuck about exercising! What the fuck is wrong with you? Don’t you care about fitness? Don’t you care about your body?"
"Yes, ma’am, we care."
"Oh, so now you arrogant little freshmen are arguing with me! How nice! GET IN THE FRONT-LEANING REST POSITION -- NOW!"
The four women scrambled to get into the standard push-up position. Lisa glanced up at the Pledge Mistress, who in turn kept looking towards the door of the pledge room. Suddenly it occurred to Lisa that something more was going on than what Tracy had told her earlier in the evening.
The pledges tired themselves out doing several sets of military-style four-count pushups, and then Lisa looked up to notice that Sergeant-at-Arms Heather was standing at the door. Standing next to her was a junior who happened to be dating one of the Tri-Alpha officers. As soon as the two women went upstairs, Tracy immediately ordered the pledges to "recover" and put on their jogging uniforms.
A strange coincidence, if that’s what it was. Apparently Tracy was hazing the pledges precisely so Heather could see her. As soon as Heather was out of sight, the hazing stopped. Lisa became even more convinced there was much more going on with the scavenger hunt than what Tracy had been willing to tell her.
As Tracy continued to scream her guts out, the pledges desperately put on their uniforms and scrambled up the stairs.
"You’re gonna improve those PT scores! If I have to run you all night, every night, I’ll make you improve! You are NOT gonna be Four-Betas with your PT scores the way they are! Now, MOVE-MOVE-MOVE!"
The pledges scrambled out the front door ahead of their Pledge Mistress. As Tracy continued to yell at them on the sidewalk, the five women ran away from the direction of the university, turned a corner and disappeared onto another side street. When the group had run to a small park about four blocks away from the Four-Beta house, Tracy suddenly calmed down. She led the pledges to some bushes and pulled out a backpack containing five dark T-shirts and five pairs of shorts. She passed out the new sets of clothing and ordered everyone to change. She took the pledges’ Four-Beta clothes and stuffed them in the backpack along with her own.
Then Tracy did something truly shocking. She pulled out a large thermos of soda and passed out some paper cups. The pledges gratefully accepted the unexpected treat, because normally Four-Beta pledges were not allowed to drink soda. The soda completely changed the mood of the group and mentally prepared the younger women for what was about to follow.
Tracy explained that both Friday and Saturday night she and the pledges would conduct what she called a "recon" of Old Campus. They would look for likely hiding spots, memorize where everything was, and identify escape routes and concealment if they were pursued by either the police or Campus Security. On Saturday and Sunday they would walk around to see the same area during daylight. Of course, during the day they would not be able to disguise themselves and thus could not be too obvious about what they were doing. Anyhow, the nighttime exploration was much more important, because the scavenger hunt would be at night.
"By Sunday night you’re gonna know Old Campus better than you know the Four-Beta House, and we’re gonna win this thing."
The pledges were not about to argue with Tracy’s logic, even if it meant less sleep over the weekend. They were aware there would be hell to pay if they lost the scavenger hunt.
The three freshmen, however, were still very angry at their Pledge Mistress because of the way they had been treated before they came out to the park. Looking around Old Campus at night made perfect sense, but why did Tracy have to be so mean to them back at the sorority house? What did that have to do with winning the scavenger hunt?
Lisa, meanwhile, partly understood what was going on and was becoming very worried about Tracy’s behavior around Heather. Whenever the Pledge Mistress was around Heather, she became Psycho-Bitch, but whenever Heather was not nearby she behaved much more normally. It was obvious that she felt the need to "perform" for Heather, and her behavior in the pledge room that night was simply a more extreme example of something Lisa already had noticed.
Lisa also wondered about the secrecy of Tracy’s plan to familiarize the pledges with Old Campus. Having the pledges memorize the layout of Old Campus made perfect sense, so why would she need to hide it from the sorority’s other officers? Was there a rivalry or fight between Heather and Tracy? Would that dispute eventually require the pledges to take sides?
Or worse yet, was it possible that "the couple of girls" who wanted the fraternity to win were actually Heather and that junior? If so, that was a very scary thought; the knowledge the Four-Beta Sergeant-at-Arms was spying on them and could not be trusted. Lisa remembered her first impression of Heather, that she did not like her. It seemed to Lisa that something about Heather’s personality wasn’t quite right. Tracy’s caution around her seemed to confirm Lisa’s unease about the Sergeant-at-Arms’ trustworthiness.
Tracy and the pledges walked a route towards Old Campus that bypassed Fraternity Row and the businesses on Pageant Street. The women slipped across the street and began wandering around the tree-lined sidewalks and century-old buildings as their eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness. Tracy began by having her group systematically find and count the windowsills, stairwells, and side entrances to all of the old buildings. They moved around the trees and bushes, identifying potential hiding places, and then explored the fishpond behind the University Alumni Clubhouse. The women compared their observations to campus maps, measured distances between buildings, and practiced running along the dark sidewalks. They identified all of the newspaper racks, bulletin boards, and public phones, as well as finding all the dumpsters and recycling bins. Finally, Tracy put two dollars into a soda machine and asked each member of her group what she wanted. For the second time that night, the pledges indulged themselves in the illicit pleasure of soda drinking.
Tracy then led her group to explore the outside of the four buildings they would likely have to enter Sunday night. The pledges familiarized themselves with the outsides of the buildings and their surroundings. The following day they would spend on campus, eating at the Student Memorial Center, checking out books from the library, and working out at the gym. They would spend most of the day inside the three buildings making sure they knew where everything was located. As for the Economics Building, Tracy took it for granted that if it were included in the scavenger hunt, Lisa would be leading the forays inside.
It was nearly 2:00 a.m. when the group left campus and returned to the park near the Four-Beta house. The women stripped in the darkness and put on their Four-Beta clothing. Tracy stashed her backpack in the bushes and ordered the group to do some pushups to build up some sweat, and then to start running back to the sorority house.
Following Lisa’s lead, the women started clapping and chanting:
"Left... right... left-right-left!"
"Left... right... left-right-left!"
"Runnin’ that midnight Four-Beta left!"
"Runnin’ that midnight Four-Beta left!"
"I don’t wanna be no drunken fat-bitch!"
"I don’t wanna be no drunken fat-bitch!"
"I don’t wanna party ‘till I puck!"
"I don’t wanna party ‘till I puck..."
The pledges returned to their room totally exhausted and covered in sweat. Their first priority was showering, and the second priority was a good drink of cold water. The freshmen were utterly perplexed at what had happened with the Pledge Mistress: the hazing, having to go on campus in disguise, and most of all, the soda. If the Pledge Mistress was such an odious bitch, why would she let them drink soda, and in fact buy it for them? That didn’t make any sense.
Once they all had showered and were sipping on water, Lisa called her group together and whispered, "I don’t want any of you to talk about what we did tonight. If anyone asks, just tell them that Tracy was dogging us in the park because she was pissed about our PT scores. That’s it. You cannot tell anyone we were on campus."
"But... why not? Wouldn’t they want us to get ready?"
"I don’t know. But I have a feeling the Triple-A’s aren’t gonna have their guys explore the campus like we just did, which is why Tracy wants to keep what we’re doing a secret. We’re gonna know where everything is. They won’t, and that’s gonna let us win."
Bernadette, as always, expressed her skepticism. "Lisa, this is totally crazy. I still think that..."
"Yes, it's crazy, but I have a suspicion I know what's going on."
"Then what is it?"
"I'll tell you later, once I'm sure myself. But I will tell you this. We need to trust Tracy, because she's the only officer in this sorority who actually cares about us."
Lisa noticed the disbelieving reaction on her companions' faces and continued, "I'm not asking you to like her. I'm asking you to trust her judgement."
"That's easy for you to say. You do like her. Of course you'd trust her. I can't stand her."
Exasperated with the argument, Lisa finally countered, "Look. We've been here nearly two weeks, and we've had a lot of shit thrown at us. Now, who's been doing most of it?"
"Exactly. Tracy. Now I want you to think about something. The other officers have all left us alone, except for Heather. I don't think it's occurred to any of you that maybe it's because of Tracy that we're not being bothered by anybody else. You guys ever think about that? We have one person dogging us instead of the entire sorority. If you think things are bad now, imagine what'd they be like if we had the whole sorority on top of us. Tracy has to treat us the way she does so the others will leave us alone."
Lisa paused to let her companions think about what she had just said. None of them responded. Annoyed by their silence, Lisa emphasized her point. "There's something else. Before you're so quick to hate her, let me ask you: who was it that got us those two nights in the guest room? Tracy. Who is it that gets us a few minutes in the pool whenever she can so we can relax? Tracy. Who is it that sits up in the library every night after we go to bed writing up our training packets? Tracy. Who was it that bought us cokes when they're prohibited? Tracy. Who is it that's giving up her weekend so we don't lose the scavenger hunt and get out asses whipped? Tracy. So, guess what? I'm really not interested in hearing you guys bitch about what a rotten person Tracy is."
The three freshmen were taken aback by the forcefulness of Lisa's defense of the Pledge Mistress. Her anger was genuine and her companions realized that any further negative thoughts they had about Tracy were best left unspoken.
"Let's go to bed. We got a long weekend ahead of us."
With that Lisa went straight to sleep, for once not troubled by the confused thoughts that normally kept her awake.
After the pledges had slept only four hours, Tracy stormed into the pledge room with her usual, "OK, sleeping beauties! UP-UP-UP! Let’s go... let’s go... let’s go!"
Lisa was so tired that she had largely forgotten the sympathy she had expressed towards the Pledge Mistress only a few hours before. However, with a groan she got out of her cot and immediately felt the sharp sting of a hard slap on her unprotected backside. What made matters worse was a cold look from Bernadette that clearly stated, OK, Lisa, so you still feel the same way about this bitch that you did last night?
Because the pledges had upper-body PT with the sophomores, they only had to put on their shoes and socks. It was apparent that Tracy would be leading the exercise group, because she was dressed in the same manner as the pledges, completely naked except her shoes and socks.
As soon as they had used the toilet and brushed their teeth, the sleepy pledges knelt in a row as their mentor strutted back and forth just like an officer from one of those old World War II movies. They were too tired to see the humor in their situation, their sharp-tempered Pledge Mistress moving about as though she were a naked drill sergeant. Momentarily the group would have to go upstairs for morning PT, but Tracy wanted to lay out what was happening during the rest of the day.
"We’ve got house clean-up today. The whole house, and guess what? The Triple-A’s aren’t bringing their pledges over like they were supposed to, so it’s just us. When I say ‘us’, I’m including myself, because we just can’t be spending the whole day doing the house. I still want to get you guys over to the library to study after lunch, so we need to have the cleaning done before noon. After PT we got a very busy morning ahead of us."
After PT, showering, and breakfast, President Alexandra rounded up the sophomores and juniors for a mandatory sorority trip to the library. The trip served two purposes: first to force everyone to study for at least several hours that weekend, and second, to clear the house so the pledges could clean it more easily. The seniors were not required to go to the library, but they were expected either to leave the house or completely stay out of the common areas.
After she cleaned up, Tracy returned downstairs carrying a clipboard and wearing nothing but pair of work shoes. That surprised the pledges, because she was among the more conservative members of the sorority and normally undressed only for PT and swimming. However, because she was to participate in the house cleaning, she felt that it was necessary to comply with the rule about the pledge uniform, i.e. that while in the house pledges could not wear any clothing.
The Pledge Mistress made it very clear that the only concern on her mind at that moment was doing the clean-up as quickly as possible. She was not interested in having any of the pledges show initiative or memorize anything out of the cleaning manual. Instead she organized the clean-up herself, ordering Lisa and Cherine to clean the bathrooms and sweep upstairs while taking Bernadette and Kathleen outside to do yard work. Tracy immediately pulled out a lawn mower from the tool shed, checked the gas, and began jerking on the cord to get it started. When she noticed the two freshmen staring at her, she snapped, "Get started on that hedge, unless you want to push this mower around instead of having me do it!"
Lisa looked out a bathroom window to see Tracy behind the mower while Bernadette and Kathleen were working on one of the hedges. She began to wonder if the clean-up had been something the Pledge Mistress had not anticipated, something thrust upon her at the last minute. Were that true, was it possible it was Heather who had ordered Tracy to clean up the house? Was it possible that the promised help from the male pledges had been canceled because Heather had told the fraternity not to bring the guys over?
Bernadette’s hostility towards Tracy was tempered by seeing her at work in the yard. Tracy took all of the most difficult jobs for herself, because she was the one who edged after mowing and then dealt with chlorinating the pool. As the two freshmen finished their trimming, Tracy came by with a bag and rake to clean up, while ordering the two younger women to get started on the kitchen. Bernadette noticed Tracy sweating as she worked, a detail that motivated her to work harder once she went inside.
As Tracy scrubbed down the garden furniture, the pledges finished up the kitchen under Lisa’s direction. Tracy took out a ladder and yelled at Kathleen to hold it while she hosed the windows. Lisa snapped at her two remaining companions to "keep moving". Bernadette glanced out the window at the frantic Pledge Mistress.
"What’s going on with her? Why’s she gone off the deep end with this clean-up?"
"We weren’t supposed to be doing this, that’s why. The Triple-A’s were supposed to have their pledges come over, and guess what? They’re not here, and that’s messed up her plans for us. She wanted to take us to the library this morning so we could look around, and she’s still trying to make sure we can get over there today. That’s why she’s gone off the deep end, as you say it! Now, you move your ass so we can get out of here!"
Incredibly, after only three hours, the training group had the entire house cleaned to inspection standards. While the freshmen showered, Tracy and Lisa conducted the walk-through and corrected a few minor deficiencies. Tracy signed the cleaning log and ordered Lisa to get her companions dressed into their uniforms and ready to "move out!"
Lisa noticed Tracy seemed to calm down considerably once the group was safely in the library. The freshmen had expected to be told to study, but Tracy passed out lists of books she wanted them to find and bring to her. The books covered every topic imaginable and came from every single shelf in the building. As soon as the pledges presented the books to her, Tracy ordered her charges to return to where they got the items and reshelf them. At first the exercise seemed extremely stupid, but the pledges later realized that Tracy wanted them to memorize how the library’s entire collection was organized. For example, if they needed to find a book about pig farming, they would know that the agronomy books were located on the third floor on shelves 3-H through 3-J.
Already it was late afternoon when the women left the library. The next stop was the Student Memorial Center. The pledges had some juice and fruit salad before being ordered to explore the building. They had a very good piece of fortune when they came across an alumnus guide leading a group of parents through the center. The pledges joined the group and received a guided tour, complete with trivia and explanations about the building and its history.
The final stop was the University Fitness Center. The five women signed in and toured the weight rooms, squash courts, and aerobics rooms. Tracy actually ordered her group to do a round of exercises on all the machines, passed out fresh T-shirts and towels, and directed the pledges to go into the women’s locker room and shower. All the while Lisa noticed her looking around, as though worried about who might be watching what she was doing.
Just before the sun began to set, Tracy led her group through Old Campus to let her pledges see the same area during the day that they had seen the previous night. As dusk settled and the university got darker, the women continued walking around to see how the area compared during daylight and when it was dark. They finished around midnight. When they finally left campus to return to the sorority house, Lisa and her companions had memorized in detail the area set aside for the scavenger hunt the following night.
The group walked along the detour that by-passed Pageant Street and Fraternity Row. As they approached the park where they had changed the previous night, Tracy frantically whispered, "Behind the bushes! Quick!"
The five women hid just in time to hear Heather’s voice coming up the sidewalk, accompanied by the sound of a man’s voice crying and the crack-crack-crack of a leather riding crop hitting bare skin.
"Come-on, you fucking little wimp!"
"Ohh... hoo... please..."
"Don’t you ‘please’ me, you pathetic little shit! Now, keep running! The next time you stop without my permission, it’d better because you’re having a fucking heart attack!"
"Here! In the park! Let’s give your legs a rest and have you do some push-ups!"
While Tracy and her group held their breaths and watched from the darkness, Heather forced the fattest member of the Tri-Alpha pledge group to struggle through several sets of pushups. He seemed already knocked out from his exertions, his sweaty naked body trembling from fright and fatigue as she continued to savagely flog him with the riding crop. Lisa noticed one interesting detail about the pledge: that he was somewhat thinner than he had been the previous week.
Heather forced her unhappy companion to exercise until he was barely able to move. As he lay on his back gasping for air, the Four-Beta Sergeant-at-Arms astounded her hidden audience by pulling off her running shorts and squatting to piss in the grass, right in front of prostrate victim. In the darkness the pledges could tell that he was watching her with alarm. Apparently he knew what was coming next and what would be expected of him momentarily.
"OK, fat-bitch, you know the drill. Get on your knees. Clean me up and make me come!"
Heather placed her shorts on the ground under her bottom and lay back in the grass with her legs spread. The male pledge obediently moved between her thighs and began licking, first to properly clean the sweat and urine off her vulva, and then to give her an orgasm. She came very quickly. It was obvious the orgasm was no big deal to her; that its main purpose was to establish her dominance over him as opposed to giving her real pleasure. She climaxed, casually put on her shorts, and stood up. She savagely struck him across the thigh.
"OK, blubber-boy! UP! Let’s see about running some more of that fat off of you!"
She slammed the riding crop against his bare bottom a couple of times as they exited the park. Lisa heard Cherine comment, "Jesus H... he isn’t that fat..."
Tracy drew a deep breath, partly out of relief that her group had not been caught by the Sergeant-at-Arms, but mostly from the distress that her pledges had seen something she wished they had not seen.
Once the Pledge Mistress was sure that Heather and her victim were out of earshot, she shouted, "OK, Let’s move out! Quick step, move!"
As the pledges began running, Tracy’s voice barked out, "Pledge Bernadette!"
Following Bernadette’s lead, the women started clapping and chanting:
"Left... right... left-right-left!"
"Left... right... left-right-left!"
"Runnin’ that midnight Four-Beta left!"
"Runnin’ that midnight Four-Beta left..."
The pledges returned to their cots and collapsed from exhaustion. They were not at all reassured by what had happened to them that day, nor by the knowledge that apparently Tracy did not fully trust the other officers of the sorority.
Bernadette in particular was very uneasy over what she had seen. She now suspected what Lisa already knew: that there was a rivalry or on-going fight between Tracy and Heather and that the Sergeant-at-Arms was not supportive of the Pledge Mistress. Bernadette’s dislike of Tracy had led her to wonder how she could side with Heather and perhaps ingratiate herself at the expense of Lisa and Tracy. Her hatred of the Pledge Mistress had led her to assume that anyone plotting against Tracy could count on her support, that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend". However, watching Heather’s treatment of that male pledge in the park frightened Bernadette and made her question whether Tracy was really as bad as she had assumed.
Bernadette glanced at Lisa. She disliked Lisa almost as much as she disliked Tracy. She continued to resent Lisa’s role as the "leader" of the pledge group and her apparently close relationship with the Pledge Mistress. On top of everything else she resented Lisa’s sexual relationship with Kathleen. Not only did she think the relationship was inappropriate, but the very idea of being intimate with another woman totally grossed her out. And especially with Kathleen... Yuck! Why would anyone normal even want someone like that around, let alone... get intimate with her... Gross! Totally gross!
Bernadette was not at all thrilled about having to pledge alongside Kathleen, who she found very weird and gave her the creeps. She took a deep breath as she contemplated her dislike of the skinny girl sleeping next to her. Bernadette had known a couple of girls like Kathleen in high-school, whose fidgety gestures, shifty eyes, nervous way of talking, ignorance of fashion, and interest in things not normal for high school students made them total social rejects. Were it up to Bernadette, no one in the Four-Beta pledge program would have been nice to Kathleen. Instead, the group would have cold-shouldered her and let her know that she was not welcome in the sorority. The only reason she had not dared to express her dislike of her strange companion was because she had been afraid of Lisa and Tracy coming down on her.
Bernadette sat up in the darkness, as her assumptions about life, what constituted a worthwhile friend, and how she should deal with the people around her abruptly shifted under her. Suddenly she felt awful, because in a flash she understood that her hostility towards Kathleen was totally unjustified. Why did she dislike her fellow pledge so much? Yes, the girl was kind of creepy, but had she ever done anything bad to anyone else in the pledge group? It was obvious she had feelings, and that she had already endured more than her share of unpleasantness in life. It was obvious that she had endured a hellish time in school, at the hands of girls just like Bernadette. She always had taken it for granted that people like Kathleen deserved whatever ostracism and insults were inflicted on them because they were so creepy, but was that really true?
Bernadette’s thoughts drifted to her own recent years in high school, and then back to the present. She realized that how she had behaved in school was not something she should be proud of, and anyhow, her time in high school no longer had any relevance. As much as she hated to admit it, she was in a new environment and starting her social life from scratch. She now was an adult and in college. Her old peer group had scattered and her life had changed. She would have to learn how to relate to others differently if she hoped to move ahead. Really, who was Bernadette to judge someone like Kathleen? Or even to judge Lisa, for that matter?
Bernadette felt that her need to change was especially true regarding her perception of Lisa. Whatever her personal faults, it was obvious that Lisa was trustworthy, not particularly selfish, and that her primary interest was getting herself and the others through the pledging process. Bernadette’s thoughts drifted back to that first night at the Tri-Alpha house, when Lisa had jumped to her defense when the others were blaming her for making the group get punished. From the first night Lisa had pointed out something that later proved correct, that the pledges’ willingness to stay together and stand up for each other would be constantly tested. Lisa had been right about that, and since that first night had been right about many other things.
What if Lisa was right about Tracy; that of all the sorority officers, the Pledge Mistress really was the only one who was concerned about the pledges? The truth was that Bernadette knew what to expect from Lisa and Tracy, but did not have a clue about Heather’s personality or how trustworthy she really was. What she did know, from having seen it with her own eyes, was that Heather was capable of being quite vicious. She wondered: would I really want someone like that as my friend?
Finally Bernadette lay back down with a better understanding of her immediate future and how she had to change her perceptions about her social life. She did not think she would ever feel any warmth towards Lisa and Kathleen. However, she knew that even if she could not force herself to like them, she needed to treat them with the respect. She might dislike the Pledge Mistress even more than Lisa, but now understood that she could not possibly do herself or anyone else any good by taking sides against her. She had to accept Tracy’s leadership if she hoped to stay in the sorority and be a successful member.
Bernadette finally went to sleep. She did not yet realize, during those few restless moments she took a hard look at herself; that she had matured considerably.
Pledge Mistress Tracy had two concerns on her mind for that Sunday. First, the pledges had to spend a good portion of the day studying, given that they had not spent any time studying on Saturday. Second, they would have to get some sleep during the day so they could be alert during the scavenger hunt. She decided that it would be best to have the pledges spend the day outside the Four-Beta house and began to wonder where she could find a quiet location where they could study and sleep.
There were only two locations she could think of that would meet the group’s needs. For studying the pledges could go to Burnside’s office in the Economics Building. That was fine, but what about sleep? There was a place that at first glance looked promising, Lisa’s dorm room in Huntington Hall. Although Lisa was not allowed to stay there during the pledge training, she still had her stuff there and in theory access to the room. Would it not be possible to grab some sleeping bags and have the pledges crash there?
Tracy then thought of a better option: Ruth Burnside’s house. Burnside’s house would be about as secret a location as she would be able to find; a quiet and controlled environment where the pledges could sleep uninterrupted until nightfall. Tracy then would take them back to the sorority house, producing her group well rested and ready for action. She decided to e-mail Burnside and see if the professor was amenable to the idea of putting up the pledges in her house Sunday afternoon.
Burnside shocked Tracy by responding immediately. It already was 1:00 in the morning, but the insomniac professor was still on her computer catching up on her professional correspondence. Her answer relieved Tracy: that she could take the pledges over and keep them at the house all day. The only problem was that Burnside had to leave at 5:00 in the morning to go on a daylong boating trip on Lake Michigan with Halsey and some of their mutual friends. The pledges were welcome to stay at the house, but Tracy either needed to pick up a key or bring them over before 5:00. Tracy opted for the latter. She would have the pledges at Burnside’s house at 4:45.
Tracy decided to make the pledges walk over to the professor’s house, which meant getting them up at 3:30 a.m. She decided to do something else to psychologically prepare them for the scavenger hunt; they would have to walk from the sorority to Burnside’s house in the nude. Tracy figured there would be very little danger walking the four-mile route, given that the bars already had closed and it was extremely unlikely they would run into anyone walking in the dark at 4:00 in the morning. Upon getting to Burnside’s house she would order the group to go to sleep and then return to the sorority house to pick up their clothes and textbooks.
At 3:30 a.m. the light in the basement went on and the pledges heard Tracy’s dreaded, "OK, sleeping beauties! UP-UP-UP! Let’s go... let’s go... let’s go!"
The incoherent pledges staggered out of their cots, staring at the Pledge Mistress in disbelief. It was 3:30 in the morning!
"OK, lovely ladies! Dump your bladders and get your shoes on! NOW!"
The pledges knew better than to question the Pledge Mistress, in spite of the fact they were almost delirious with fatigue. They came very close to crying as they took turns on the toilet and struggled to put on their shoes. They trudged up the stairs and moved towards the door; too tired to even care that they were about to go out on the street wearing only their shoes.
Tracy led them along the dark streets that passed the small park and bypassed Fraternity Row. As the cool night air caressed their bodies, the pledges woke up somewhat and realized what a lovely night, or early morning, it was. The streets were totally silent and devoid of cars, the parties had ended, and Pageant Street had long since cleared of drunken students.
The women dashed across the main street to get onto Old Campus and quietly walked along the dark sidewalks towards the Student Memorial Center. At first the pledges assumed that Tracy was taking them for a "dressed" rehearsal of the scavenger hunt, but then she ordered Lisa to find that hidden path that led to Huntington Hall. Bewildered, Lisa obliged and the women disappeared into the bushes.
As they neared and passed the library, the pledges realized that Tracy was taking them outside the Old Campus area and leading them towards the dorms. They wondered if this was another test or hazing ritual, now that they had walked for over a half an hour and already were nearly two miles away from the sorority and their clothes. Tracy showed no sign of turning around as the lights of the dorm area shined between the trees. She had a question, "When you guys came through here on the three-mile streak, where did you cross?"
"Over there, about half-way between the two stoplights, past the duck pond."
"OK, let’s try to get across so no one will see you."
"Uh... we’re leaving campus, ma’am?"
"Yes. We’re leaving campus! Now stop arguing and move your ass!" Tracy punctuated her statement with a hard slap to Lisa’s exposed bottom.
The four pledges dashed across the deserted street, followed by their Pledge Mistress. They became very nervous, because they still did not know why they were being taken on the naked walk and assumed they would have to return to the sorority the same way they had come. There would be no way, even now, that they could get back before it started getting light outside. That would be nice, to be seen running naked along Pageant Street by the early church-going crowd.
The pledges’ anxiety increased as Tracy led them along the quiet suburban streets towards the park where she and Heather had dropped them off for the streaking adventure. Their nervousness really increased when they passed the park and drifted even further from the university. If they went much further, daylight would catch their exposed bodies, not on campus, but in a residential neighborhood and literally miles from their clothes!
Finally, after more than an hour of walking, the pledges noticed they were on the street where Dr. Ruth Burnside lived. They sighed with relief upon realizing that the purpose of their walk had been to travel one-way to the professor’s residence, not to make a round trip to the sorority. They saw Dr. Halsey’s car parked out front and the two professors loading life jackets and other boating supplies into the trunk. The pledges sank to their knees in the driveway while Tracy greeted their hostess and her lover. A minute later the professors got into the car, while the four naked women gratefully filed into the house. Lisa glanced at the sky before going through the door. Already it was just beginning to get light towards the east.
The pledges took off their shoes and knelt in Burnside’s living room. Tracy finally explained the purpose of the strange outing, "We’ll be staying in this house until 7:00 p.m. tonight, and then we gotta head over to the Tri-Alpha house. Between now and 7:00 tonight I expect you to be doing one of two things: sleep or study. When you don’t want to sleep, I want you to study. When you’re too tired to study, I want you to sleep. That’s it. No music, no TV, no Internet. Sleep and study. When the sun comes out you can grab a towel and use the yard, but if I see you out there in the sun, you’d better either be asleep or with one of your books. Get it?"
"OK, shower up in the guest bathroom and get to bed. As soon as you’re up, what are you gonna do?"
Cherine and Bernadette collapsed in Burnside’s bed as soon as they had cleaned themselves up. The bed was king-sized and there was plenty of room for two women who were not intimate with each other to sleep comfortably.
Lisa and Kathleen took the much smaller bed in the guest room. That bed was only a double, but given that they were planning to cuddle, its size was adequate. As soon as they were cleaned up from the walk and had dried off, Lisa and her lover locked the door to the guest room and crawled into the small bed. Kathleen nestled her body against Lisa and promptly fell asleep.
Lisa heard the front door open and close, and footsteps going down the sidewalk to the street. Undoubtedly that was the sound of Tracy leaving to go back to the Four-Beta house. In the silence of her professor’s guest room, she relaxed for a few minutes as the sky lightened outside. She was dead tired, but it would take her a few minutes to actually fall asleep.
Still, Lisa was content at the prospect that she and the others could sleep as long as they wanted, a luxury sure to be denied to them had they stayed behind in the sorority house. Tracy really had thought ahead, wanting to make sure her group not only was familiar with Old Campus, but also well rested and alert for what was likely to be a very stressful night.
Lisa stroked her lover’s hair for a few minutes and finally fell asleep herself. For once she felt that she did not have to worry about anything. Hopefully Tracy had everything under control.
Lisa did not wake up until 3:00 in the afternoon. She looked at the clock in disbelief, realizing that she and Kathleen had slept more than nine hours. She eased herself away from her lover, not wanting to wake her up before she had a chance to leave the room. She knew that Kathleen would be desperate to make love to her as soon as they got up, but decided that with Tracy in the house and the other pledges already awake that having sex with Kathleen probably was not a good idea.
Lisa stepped into the hallway, trying to shake out the unpleasant tingling from her left arm that had "gone to sleep". She was surprised to see Tracy asleep on the living room sofa in her gym shorts and T-shirt. It occurred to Lisa that, however little sleep the pledges had enjoyed over the past several days, their Pledge Mistress had even less. Lisa found her backpack near the front door and slung it over her shoulder. She found Bernadette and Cherine already sitting out on Burnside’s patio, each of them quietly studying in a lawn chair. Each of them had a large glass of orange juice, which reminded Lisa that she was hungry. Lisa went to the kitchen, filled a glass for herself, and took a bagel to snack on. With that she joined the others and began reading for the classes she had the next day.
The final member of the group to wake up was Kathleen. She didn’t get up until 4:30, having slept nearly 11 hours. She was sorely disappointed that Lisa was not still in bed with her, but otherwise felt refreshed and better than she had felt in days. Yes, adequate sleep really can make a difference. She picked up her backpack and joined the others on the patio in the late afternoon heat.
At 6:30 Tracy woke up and told her group to clean up the house and get ready to "move out!" As the pledges made the beds and cleaned the kitchen, Tracy turned on her cell phone and called the sorority. Lisa overheard her part of the conversation:
"Yes, of course I’m with the pledges... yes, they’ve studied... look, I understand that... OK, let’s get something straight here, Alexandra... No... No... No, my job was to get them ready for the scavenger hunt, that’s what you told me. You told me yourself that I’m responsible if they lose. Those were your words, and to me that means it was up to me to decide how to get them ready... yes, they’re ready... I understand that, but you didn’t say anything about me keeping them at the house... you did not specify that, Alexandra... I took them off-campus so they could rest, that’s why... Yes, they’re rested, and I’m just about to bring ‘em back. Look, I don’t give a shit about Heather, I really don’t! Those pledges are my responsibility, not hers! Alexandra, you know what? If her feelings are hurt, though shit... now, either you want my group to win, or you don’t! Which is it?"
Dressed in their uniforms, Tracy and the pledges made their way back to the sorority house on foot, a trek of nearly four miles in the heat of an early summer evening. They calmly crossed the street back onto campus and passed the dorm parking lots. The five women contemplated dozens of cars blissfully occupying spaces without parking permits; vehicles that would be on their way to a towing company’s impound lot later that night.
The massive parking enforcement operation was a ritual that took place Sunday night of the second week of every semester. It was Campus Security’s hard lesson to the arrogant freshmen who cheerfully assumed that university parking regulations did not apply to them. Later that night the lot would be full of tow trucks and the exits would be blocked to prevent frantic dorm residents from getting their vehicles off campus before they could be towed. A few days later most of the cars would be back in the lots, but this time properly adorned with parking permits.
The event would be a perfect time to conduct a naked scavenger hunt, because the attention of the entire university would be focused on the dorm area. As word of the operation spread, frantic students who had not bothered to purchase permits would be rushing back to the dorm lots, while the more compliant students who already had bought permits would be standing around watching the fun. The police would be on hand in force to make sure no one interfered with the tow trucks, so it was certain that Old Campus would be completely deserted.
The group was left the university just as the sun was setting. Tracy stopped to give the pledges one final set of instructions, "Alright, you’ve got a rough night ahead of you, but I’m sure you’re a lot more ready to do this than the Triple-A’s. This’ll be it for me, because I’m gonna be spending the night with their Pledge Master, running around Old Campus and making sure all of the scavenger hunt items are where they’re supposed to be. I’ve done what I can to get you ready and the rest of it’s up to you."
What I’m telling you now will be explained by President Alexandra when you’re ready to move out, but you might as well hear it from me first, in case you have questions. There are going to be two kinds of items you’re looking for. One’s gonna be a list of things you’ll need to take pictures of with a digital camera, items that are part of the university and cannot be picked up. That’s where I expect you to beat the Triple-A’s, ‘cause you know where everything is. You understand that part?"
"The other list is of stuff you need to find and bring back to the judges, who’ll be set up at a table behind the Alumni Clubhouse. Your list is gonna be different from what the Triple-A’s have. I haven’t seen either list yet, but I do know there’s gonna be stuff on there like library books and flyers out of the Student Center. You might be bringing back something weird, like a toilet seat or a typewriter, but I don’t know that for sure. A word of warning: once you bring your items back to the judges, do not leave until you’re absolutely sure they’ve been logged. Get it?"
"I would recommend that two of you carry items you’ve already picked up, while the other two retrieve new stuff, and to take your findings to the judges several at a time to save trips. Now, one more word of warning. No matter how rushed you think you are, do NOT separate! Stay within sight of each other, always, even if you’re inside a building! Stay together and work together! I cannot emphasize enough what I just said. No matter what, you’ve got to stick together! Get it?"
"So, who do you think’s gonna win?"
"We are, ma’am!"
A few minutes later Tracy turned the pledges over to a sophomore from the fraternity, who in turn escorted the women back to the Four-Beta house. The sight that greeted Lisa and her companions was not reassuring. The sorority’s members were dressed in formal clothing and all were carrying cameras. Obviously the scavenger hunt was going to be a serious matter.
The pledges stripped off their uniforms and knelt in front of President Alexandra. The sorority president told them essentially the same thing Tracy had told them, that they would be looking for the contents of two separate lists: campus landmarks and retrievable items. There were 50 items on each list, for 100 total. The contest would end if one side found every item on both lists. If neither side managed to complete their lists by 5:00 a.m., the team that had retrieved the most items would be declared the winner.
Either way, the losing team faced a very humiliating experience the following afternoon, a public punishment from the Sergeant-at-Arms of the winning side. On Monday after dinner, the losers would be handcuffed and publicly marched over to the house of the winning side. Upon entering the house the losers would be stripped and caned, one cane stroke for each item not retrieved from the group’s list. The punishments would be photographed and videotaped, and copies made available to anyone who wanted them. The losing pledges would remain in servitude in the winners’ house until the cane marks disappeared from their bodies, which possibly would take as much as a week. The servitude would include some sexual favors, such as submitting to being touched and photographed, and giving physical favors such as foot rubs and erotic massages.
Lisa and her companions trembled upon hearing the contest conditions for the losers. No wonder Tracy had taken getting them ready so seriously. President Alexandra suddenly shouted, "PLEDGES! STAND UP!"
She handed Lisa a digital camera, and told her to take a picture of the other three pledges. Lisa fumbled with the camera for a few seconds as she figured out how it worked, and finally took the picture. The president continued, "OK, now you know how this camera works. It has a new video card and batteries, so there shouldn’t be any problems with it. One rule about the pictures. For the pictures to count, you must have at least one member of your group in each shot, to prove you were at that location. Full body shots, ladies, ‘cause we’re not allowing any modesty, and I expect you to take turns posing. The shot doesn’t count if it’s not of your entire body."
With that Alexandra ordered the pledges to go out the front door. They cringed at the thought of walking naked through fraternity row and the Pageant Street businesses at a time plenty of people were still out and about, but to that problem the sorority had a solution. The members lined up around the pledges, forming a human curtain to shield the four naked women in the center. Two sophomores carrying flashlights and stop signs moved out in front of the formation.
With that a tight rectangle of well-dressed women marched down Sorority Row, completely concealing the four naked contestants. The two sophomores jumped into each intersection with their stop signs to halt traffic and make sure the women could cross without breaking formation. The women marched right down the center of Fraternity Row and were joined by the Tri-Alphas, who were using the same formation to shield their pledges. As the two marching groups moved down Pageant Street, they began singing the official songs of the fraternity and sorority in front of dozens of bewildered pedestrians and bar patrons. The concealment ended as soon as Tri-Alphas and Four-Betas had crossed the street separating the Pageant Street businesses from Old Campus. The two formations stopped, the marchers in the front stepped aside to let the pledges pass, and the two presidents ordered the aspiring members to move into the open.
The four women and five men (one of the male pledges already had quit) walked in single file towards the Alumni Club and the judges’ table. Sitting at the table with checklists and laptops were two seniors from the sorority and two seniors from the fraternity. The nine contestants knelt in front of the judges as several cameras flashed at them. The fraternity and sorority members circled around the table and positioned themselves so everyone could watch what was going on.
Lisa glanced at the male pledges, noticing they appeared to be exhausted. She wondered how much sleep they had been able to get over the weekend and what, if anything, they had done to prepare themselves for the scavenger hunt.
Holding a megaphone, President Alexandra addressed the entire group, while the pledges nervously waited on their knees. She repeated the rules of the hunt, emphasizing the high stakes for both the contestants and for determining who would go naked at the "Skins and Shirts" ball. She added that the spectators from neither side could do anything to impede the contestants from the other side, but that everyone was free to observe the hunt and take as many pictures as they wanted. She concluded by shouting, "PLEDGES! STAND UP!"
With that one of the judges stepped forward with four tightly typed sheets of paper. He told Ken to pick one sheet, and then Bernadette to pick another. On one side was the list of places that needed to be photographed, and on the other side were the items that needed to be picked up and returned to the judges’ table.
"OK, that’s it! Go find your stuff!"
The two groups stepped away from the judges and consulted their lists. It was obvious that the males and females were going to employ totally different strategies, because the males divided up what was on their list and ran off in different directions, apparently forgetting that there was only on digital camera for the entire group. The women, mindful of their Pledge Mistress’s admonition to stay together, did not even consider splitting up.
Bernadette read, "Item 1 -- Three rose bushes, one of them dead, next to a large lilac bush under a large window with 18 windowpanes."
Cherine immediate blurted out: "I know! The old theater! It’s got those big windows and lilac bushes!"
"OK, let’s check it out!"
The women dashed across the lawn and sure enough, the old theater building had 18-pane windows and was surrounded by lilac bushes. A quick circle around the building revealed the dead rose bush. Lisa held up the camera, "OK, Cherine, you found it, so you get the honor!"
Cherine proudly posed next to the dead rose bush, while Lisa was careful to include the other details listed in Item 1. Bernadette read, "Item 2 -- A freshly-painted cement staircase next to three newspaper dispensers and a vandalized bicycle rack!"
Lisa smiled. "I ought to know that one! That’s the back entrance to the Econ Building!"
"OK, Let’s go!"
Less than a minute later the group had their second picture, Lisa standing next to the bicycle rack.
"Item 3 -- An anti-Mega-Town Associates poster and a Danubian national flag. A Danubian flag. Anyone know what’d that look like?"
"It’d be a blue flag with a yellow griffin on it. Kind of medieval-looking," interjected Lisa.
Kathleen excitedly raised her hand: "I know! I think there’s a flag like that at the Economic Justice Forum in the Student Center! And I remember seeing something there about Mega-Town!"
"Alright, let’s go check it out!"
A minute later the camera’s flash went off again, this time documenting Kathleen’s body in front of a window displaying a Danubian flag. The Danubian Duchy’s national flag was rapidly becoming a symbol for everyone who hated the largest corporation in the U.S., which was why the Economic Justice Forum had one on display in its office.
The Four-Beta pledges quickly and calmly progressed through their list of pictures, vindicating Tracy’s preparation and advice to stick together. It seemed that there was someone in the group who knew where each item was. Within two hours Lisa’s camera had 50 pictures stored on its memory card; each photo portraying a member of the group posing in front of one of the places on the list. The women actually began having some fun with their assignment, enjoying the cool night air and the daring feeling of running into various university buildings completely naked. It was true that they had to deal with constantly running past dozens of male and female spectators, but most of the people watching were members of the sorority and fraternity or friends, and thus no one was making fun of them or yelling catcalls. During the entire time Campus Security was nowhere in sight, given the on-going action at the other end of the university in the dorm area.
Lisa caught only a few glimpses of the guys. They were clearly in deep trouble, partly because they had not tried to memorize Old Campus, and partly because they were not working together. Instead each Tri-Alpha pledge had taken 10 items off the list and was trying to find them himself. The only member of the male group who was even close to finding his 10 items was Ken, who already was familiar with Old Campus from having been a student the year before. The others were hopelessly lost.
Lisa took a breath and decided to take a slight risk. She decided not to turn in the 50 pictures to the judges until her group already had begun collecting the items from the other side of the list. The pledges went straight to the library, where they had to retrieve a total of 20 titles from the bookshelves. They slipped in through a side entrance, let in by Stacy, the library employee. Standing next to Stacy was a sophomore from the Tri-Alphas, to make sure Stacy did not do anything to tilt the library portion of the contest in favor of the female pledges. There was no concern that the group would be charged with stealing books, because Alexandra and the Tri-Alpha president had previously checked them out and then re-shelved them.
Lisa had a question, "Have any of the Triple-A’s been in here yet?"
"Only Ken. He got five books off the list and just left. I haven’t seen any of the others."
Holy crap! This really was going to be a disaster for the guys!
The four naked women scrambled about the library with maps, calmly finding and grabbing the required books. They even had time to stop for a bathroom break and to drink some water. After about 30 minutes all 20 titles were in the group’s possession. Lisa handed her camera and the list to Cherine, while she, Kathleen, and Bernadette split the books between them and carried them out of the building.
The judges looked at the Four-Betas in amazement when they approached the table. After just three hours, the women already had found 70 of the 100 items on their list. Following Tracy’s advice, Lisa carefully watched while the judges downloaded the 50 pictures from the camera’s video card.
Lisa had set aside the remaining 30 items because they were the most difficult and none close to any of the others. True to Tracy’s word, one of the items they needed to retrieve was a toilet seat from the men’s bathroom of the Economics Building. That particular item was somewhat time consuming, because to get the toilet seat off the toilet the pledges had to either find or improvise a screwdriver. They wasted nearly 30 minutes before Kathleen suddenly remembered that the janitor’s closet in the library near the door where Stacy had let them in was open. Maybe there were tools in there?
The four women frantically ran back to the library, and sure enough, the janitor’s closet was open and contained a toolbox. Lisa suddenly realized the closet was part of the contest, that it deliberately had been left open as a resource for either side who needed tools to retrieve their items. She wondered if the guys had figured that out yet. Probably not.
With a screwdriver and wrench in hand, the women returned to the Economics Building to retrieve their toilet seat. Kathleen triumphantly held it up while the others laughed and Bernadette took a picture. Then Cherine shocked the group by standing at one of the urinals and pretending to piss. Bernadette took a picture of her before Lisa chased the group out of the bathroom. Her humor had deteriorated. In spite of the moment of levity, she was somewhat less confident about winning the scavenger hunt after the toilet seat retrieval, worried that a single item had taken up 30 minutes of their time.
Items collected over the next hour included several campus fliers and publications from the Student Memorial Center, a cattail from the pond behind the Alumni Clubhouse, a white stone from the rock garden near the Old Theater, and a 50-pound weight from the Fitness Center. Carrying the weight across Old Campus was a very unpleasant task, because it had to be carried by two of the pledges at a time. The task was especially hard for Lisa because she was so much taller than her three companions. Whenever she took her turn helping with the heavy disk she had to bend down to avoid pushing the majority of its weight onto her companion.
Once the weight was dropped off Lisa’s group only had nine items to go, and it was not even 2:00 in the morning. She glanced at the collection of items retrieved by the guys. They were not even close. She wondered if they even had all of their pictures taken yet.
The final nine items included a light fixture cover from the ballroom of the Student Memorial Center and a ceiling panel from the main dining facility. Both items required using a ladder, which entailed a frantic dash back to the library and the janitor’s closet. The pledges made a very amusing sight as they ran back to the Student Center carrying a ladder in the dark while completely naked. Once the ceiling panel was passed down, the pledges folded the ladder to carry back to the library.
At that moment Ken came into the dining area with a totally desperate look on his face,
"Lisa, please... where did you get that ladder?"
"You haven’t figured it out?"
"No! And I gotta get one of those ceiling panels!"
Bernadette interjected, "Well, that’s tough shit, isn’t it? If you jerks are too stupid to figure out where the ladders are, why should we help you?"
Lisa felt somewhat differently. She had no intention of telling Ken about the janitor closet, but saw no harm in letting him borrow the ladder to get his ceiling panel. After profusely thanking her, Ken climbed up to get his panel. Bernadette snapped, "What’d you do that for? You want us to lose?"
"Look, they’re not gonna win. Really, what difference does one item make?"
As Ken got down from the ladder with his ceiling panel, Lisa was curious, "So how many things have you collected so far?"
"All of us?"
"Yeah, all of you. What do you have?"
"I think our last count was 37. This panel will make it 38, unless someone’s gotten something that I haven’t seen yet."
"Thirty-eight items? In five hours you’ve just gotten 38 items? What the fuck are you doing?"
The tone in Ken’s voice reflected his resignation to his group’s impending defeat: "I don’t know what the fuck we’re doing. We’re just running around. Anyhow, thanks for the ladder. By the way, how many items do you guys have?"
"I think the ceiling panel makes it..." Lisa checked the list, "...97. We’ve got three to go."
Ken’s face turned white. At this rate the males were facing a punishment of more than 60 cane strokes each, delivered by none other than Four-Beta Sergeant-at-Arms Heather.
By 3:30 the Four-Beta pledges had everything on their list. The final item was a detachable microphone from a speaker’s podium in the Student Center. The women were en route to the judges when Bernadette announced that she needed to use the bathroom. The closest one was in the Economics Building. While the three freshmen went into the bathroom Lisa remained out in the hallway, twirling the microphone that would be the winning item. At that moment Ken rushed by. He was just about to go into the women’s bathroom to retrieve a toilet seat when Lisa told him that he had to wait until her companions came out. As he stood nervously waiting, Lisa felt sorry for him. He seemed to have done relatively well with his portion of the search, but his incompetent companions had found very few of the items assigned to them. Because of their stupidity he would suffer horribly later that night.
At that moment Lisa realized that she really was in no mood to watch Ken and his companions receive 60 cane strokes. She still had every intention of winning, but did not see what good it would do anyone to have Ken and his group punished so severely. What she wished was that the tally could have been much closer. She wished that, because in spite of everything, she still deeply cared for Ken and did not want to see him and his group so thoroughly defeated. She wanted a victory, not a blow-out.
Lisa made a significant decision. She decided to give the guys an extra hour to find more items, so the final tally would not be so lop-sided. Really, wouldn’t watching them get 20 or 30 strokes from the cane be better than having to sit through 60? She held up the microphone.
"You know what this is?"
"It’s our last item. Once we turn this in the contest will be over."
Ken sighed. Lisa took a deep breath and continued, "I’m gonna tell you what you did wrong, and then give you a chance to fix some of it. You shouldn’t have split up, especially for the picture-taking portion of the hunt. For that type of thing you’ve got to put your heads together, and instead you’re all running off in separate directions. Now go find your group and tell them you’ve got an hour to get what’s left of your pictures."
"But, I thought you’re gonna..."
"We’re gonna win. There’s no doubt about that because I’m not letting you get your toilet seat. Anyhow you’d need a screwdriver to do it, and I’m gonna guess you didn’t notice the toolbox in the janitor’s closet where Stacy’s standing in the library..." Ken closed his eyes and groaned, "but anyhow don’t worry about it because I’m not letting you have the toilet seat. What I am gonna let you have is the rest of your pictures. I’m giving you an hour and I’ll give you one clue. If you’re looking for windows with 18 panes, the only building that’s got ‘em is the old theater."
Ken was quiet for a moment. Finally he asked, "How come you’re letting us..."
"Because I don’t want to sit up all night tonight watching your butts get demolished. I want to win, but I don’t want to totally slaughter you. Now move your ass and go find the others. I’m giving you an hour before I turn in the microphone."
Ken took off to find the group-mate that currently was using the camera. At that moment, Lisa’s three companions came out of the bathroom, assuming they would continue their trek to the judges’ table. Instead, Lisa directed them into the outer portion of Burnside’s office and explained what was happening. The other three vehemently objected, shocking Lisa by angrily demanding that the group return to the judges immediately.
The most forceful objection came from Kathleen, "Yes, those guys are gonna get humiliated and that’s what I want! I wanna totally slaughter them! And I do wanna see the shit get beat out of them! Fuck giving them an hour! We’ve busted our asses to win, and you just want to give it away! Fuck that! No way!"
Cherine interjected, "You think they’d do the same thing for us? I don’t think so..."
Bernadette added: "It’s three against one, Lisa. The deal you made with them is canceled. We’re going back, now."
To that Lisa countered, "Before we go back, I want you to think about something. We’re gonna be seeing those guys for the next four years. Four years! We’re gonna be going to dances with ‘em, raising money with ‘em, doing all kinds of events and trips with ‘em. How we treat them when they’re down is something they’re gonna remember. If we cut them some slack now, maybe, when they’re in our shoes and we’re in theirs, they’ll do the same for us. Think real careful about what you’re planning to do, because this is our chance to either make five friends, or make five enemies. As for me, I’d prefer to have five friends."
Before her companions had a chance to object, Lisa continued, "Also, maybe the scavenger hunt isn’t the only test tonight. Maybe they’re also seeing how the winners treat the losers. You ever think about that?"
The three freshmen stood quietly. It was Bernadette who gave in first. "Alright. An hour. So what are we gonna do in the meantime?"
"There’s two sofas in here, so you and Cherine can take a nap. I’ll get you up in an hour."
"We are gonna win. It’s just that I don’t want a blow-out. Just to make sure, I’m going back to the bathroom and make sure no one takes off with the toilet seat."
The promise of an hour of sleep shifted Cherine’s opinion in favor of Lisa’s proposal. She promptly settled on one of the sofas and prepared to nap. Being uncovered in the office didn’t bother her, given that she had become used to sleeping uncovered on her cot. The sofa was considerably more comfortable and the rest welcome. Bernadette settled on the other sofa and promptly closed her eyes.
Lisa went back down the hallway, with Kathleen forlornly trailing behind her. Kathleen still wanted to return to the judges’ table immediately. She would have been quite happy to see five males get 60 cane strokes each. The women had worked hard to find their items and part of the reward should have been enjoying the very public flogging of the losers. She would have been perfectly content had the punishment been 90 cane strokes instead of 60, happier still to see the backsides of the males completely torn open and blood running down their legs. She hated young men, all young men, and for her to not take advantage of an opportunity to inflict suffering on young men was an abomination.
Kathleen suspected that she could not discuss her vehement hatred of men with Lisa, because it was obvious that Lisa did not hold any general grudge against them. She had enjoyed two relatively stable relationships with men before hooking up with Kathleen and could relate to them with no problem. Kathleen felt betrayed by Lisa, but couldn’t figure out how to express why she felt she had been betrayed.
Lisa understood more of what was going on in Kathleen’s mind than her lover realized. She also understood that an opportunity had presented itself to get Kathleen to talk about her feelings. The two women returned to the bathroom and Lisa tried to hug Kathleen. At first Kathleen pushed her away, but finally she fell into Lisa’s arms and hugged her, in spite of her on-going anger over her leniency towards the males.
Lisa leaned against a wall and allowed Kathleen to rest against her. She decided to break the silence by talking a bit about Ken and trying to explain why he really wasn’t so bad. Lisa’s purpose was to portray her former boyfriend as a confused human being, in reality struggling with many of the same issues that Lisa and Kathleen were struggling with. She tried to get Kathleen to sympathize with the guys, who were terrified at the prospect of losing the scavenger hunt so badly. Kathleen didn’t respond, but she didn’t argue either, which Lisa took as a good sign.
Lisa abruptly changed the subject and asked Kathleen a question to which she already knew the answer. She casually inquired what Kathleen thought about the guys in her high school and what her social life had been like. Kathleen kept her head pressed against Lisa’s chest. She heard her lover sniff loudly, and then felt a warm drop running down her skin.
"Everyone hated me. They all laughed at me. I mean, I tried...I really tried to get them to like me... I mean... I did what they wanted... I always did what they wanted, but all they ever did was make fun of me."
"Everyone. I mean... even after I gave ‘em what they wanted."
"You mean sex..."
"Kathleen, you don’t just give that away. You gotta make ‘em earn it. You gotta make ‘em beg you for it. That way, you’re in control, not them. That’s where things went wrong for you. You made it too easy. A guy only appreciates what he has to fight for."
"The girls hated me too. And I hate them. I hate them all."
"But you were trying to make them like you..."
"I guess. I mean... I wanted someone to like me, at least someone... and I tried..."
"If you want to make friends, you can’t ‘try’. It just doesn’t work, because people can smell your desperation. And I know, when you’re lonely, it’s hard not to try. But the more you need someone else, the more they’re gonna push you away. It’s kind of a cycle, I guess. You get used to thinking a certain way, even though what you’re doing has the exact opposite effect of what you want. I ‘spose the more desperate you get, the harder it is to just let it go. That’s what you should’ve done, let it go, and tell them to go fuck themselves. But you couldn’t, could you?"
"No. I’d get home... and I’d clean myself up... and I kept promising myself I wouldn’t let it happen again... but it always did..."
"Clean yourself up?"
"You mean, like, get the cum off yourself?"
"Yeah... I mean... one time I went out... and the guy I was with... he like... took me to this park... And he told me to suck on him... right there in the parking lot... and I was totally scared that someone would see us... and he came... but he pulled out and came all over my face... and then he stood there laughing at me... I started to cry, and he just left me there and drove off. I had to walk... I had to walk an hour... I couldn’t take the bus... cause I was all covered with cum... and I couldn’t let anyone see me... and I hate it. And I hate them... That’s what the guys did to me... That’s why..."
For a long time the two women were silent, Kathleen’s arms still firmly wrapped around Lisa. Finally Lisa broke the silence, "Kathleen, has it ever occurred to you that maybe some of the guys went through the same thing, or something similar to what you had to put up with? They take a girl out, spend their money on her, and then after a few months she ‘just wants to be friends’. And they do it over and over, take a girl out, then they get told that they are a ‘really sweet guy and a great friend’, and then off goes the girl with some arrogant abusive scumbag? And the guy keeps wondering: what’s wrong with him? My high school boyfriend (his name was Mike) had a friend who that kept happening to. He was always ‘the nice guy’ and ‘the great friend’, but none of the girls wanted to go out with him. And you know what he did?"
"It finally got to him on Prom Night, when he couldn’t get anyone to go with him to the dance. He had enough of being all the girls’ ‘good friend’. So at sunset, he drove out to the coast, all dressed up in a tux, and jumped off a cliff. And you know what? The girls couldn’t understand why he did it, ‘cause they all said he was ‘such a great guy’. And the counselors came around trying to tell us that it wasn’t their fault. And I said, yes, it was your fault, because if you had treated him decently, and if one of you had the courtesy to do something else besides take his money and tell him ‘what a great friend he is’ and then go run off sucking the cocks of the football players, he’d still be alive. I made ‘em cry quite a bit, but I doubt it changed anything."
"What’d the school say?"
"I got suspended ‘cause I pissed off the counselors. My mom had to file a petition so I could take my final exams and graduate. The whole thing pissed me off, which is one of the reasons I came to Chicago. Deep down I was relieved that the California colleges wouldn’t take me and Mike, ‘cause I really wanted to get away from Santa Cruz. But the point is, you’re not the only one. And it doesn’t just happen to women."
There was another long silence. Finally Kathleen noted, "I didn’t go to Prom either. I got stood up."
"But you didn’t jump off a cliff, did you?"
"I wanted to. And my dad knew what I was thinking. He wouldn’t let me out of his sight until I started college, because he knew... and that’s why he insisted I start at the beginning of the June instead of September, ‘cause he didn’t want me sitting at home all summer..."
"And he wasn’t worried about you pledging the Four-Betas?"
"He actually wanted me to pledge a sorority. Thought it would be good for me."
"So, you’re here because of your dad?"
"Are you glad about that?"
Kathleen looked up at Lisa with teary eyes, "I’m with you, aren’t I? Of course I’m happy."
Lisa forced herself to smile and let Kathleen kiss her. Lisa’s heart pounded as Kathleen pressed into her body, hugging her tightly. Kathleen’s next words did nothing to set Lisa’s mind at ease.
"I love you. I really love you. I love you more than I’ve ever loved anyone. You know that, right?"
"Yes, of course I do."
"And you love me?"
"You know I do."
"I need to hear it. I need you to say it."
"I love you, Kathleen."
Kathleen hugged even harder, as Lisa’s heart continued to pound. She was very frightened by the intensity of the desperate young woman in her arms. She did love Kathleen, sort of, but it wasn’t that simple. With Lisa nothing was simple, certainly nothing having to do with her emotions.
As Kathleen continued to cuddle against her, Lisa pondered how best to handle her situation. The thought of trying to break off the relationship never crossed her mind, because the truth was she did care for Kathleen and wanted to play a positive role in her life. Lisa accepted that it was quite possible that she and her lover would have a serious relationship for a very long time, possibly for the rest of their lives. What Lisa wanted, however, was to be in charge of that relationship and make sure it did not restrict her pursuit of other goals in her life, especially possible relationships with men and her various sexual fantasies. She would have to make her lover understand that she was indeed willing to give her a lifetime of commitment and support, but that commitment would have to be on Lisa’s terms, not Kathleen’s.
At a moment when Kathleen was vulnerable and scared of losing her, Lisa realized that she had a good opportunity to shape the relationship to better suit her own needs. She reached down and began massaging the girl’s thin bottom. Kathleen’s body responded immediately. Lisa was silent for another moment as she continued to gently explore her lover’s backside and contemplated how to best phrase what she wanted to say about the future of the relationship.
"I love you," she finally repeated, "and I’ll take care of you. I’ll make sure that no one ever hurts you again. Anyone ever who tries to hurt you will have to deal with me. But I’ll need you to promise me something."
"If I’m gonna take care of you, I need you to accept that you belong to me. You understand that, right?"
"I belong to you. Of course."
"I will guide you, and I’ll give you a sense of direction. But to do that, you’ll need to let me take charge of your life. When I tell you to do something, I’ll expect you to obey me, because I’ll always have my reasons. You OK with that?"
"I won’t ever do anything to deliberately hurt you, but sometimes I’ll need to be a bit firm with you. Someday I might have to discipline you, if you ever misbehave. If that happens, I’ll make sure you understand why, and I’ll only do it because I love you. But if you belong to me, and you love me, you’ll have to obey me. I can’t have it any other way."
"Of course, Lisa. Of course I’ll obey you."
"And accept the consequences if you don’t?"
"Yes, Lisa. I’ll do what you tell me. I promise."
The two women sealed their agreement with a passionate kiss. Lisa grabbed Kathleen’s bare bottom and squeezed with both hands. That bottom now belonged to Lisa, along with the rest of Kathleen’s body and soul. Lisa was hugely relieved. With just a few words, she had taken control of her lover’s life and would be the one determining the course of their relationship.
A few minutes later Ken and the other four males sheepishly entered the Economics Building. Lisa heard them coming down the hallway and stepped out of the bathroom to greet them. Ken showed Lisa the group’s list; they had completed the 50 pictures on the sheet and retrieved 11 library books. In one hour they had added 35 items to their inventory, simply by working together. They had a total of 73 items collected, which would reduce their upcoming caning from 62 strokes to 27. Lisa decided to allow the guys to reduce their canings by one more stroke, by letting them take the toilet seat.
While the guys entered the bathroom to extract their 74th item, Lisa and Kathleen returned to Burnside’s office to wake up Bernadette and Cherine. They were in a somewhat better mood after having enjoyed an hour of rest. With that the nine pledges made their way to the judges’ table. The guys went first, and then Lisa turned in her microphone. The judges stood up and announced the winners: the Four-Betas.
The women cheered while the Tri-Alphas stood silent. Tracy stood back, not wanting to take credit for what her pledges had accomplished, even though they had won because of her efforts during the days leading up to the scavenger hunt. The truth was the women knew that it was because of the Pledge Mistress that their side had won. The pledges’ absence from the sorority house on Sunday and Tracy’s secretive approach toward getting them ready had caused some resentment among the seniors and sorority officers, but her strategy ultimately was vindicated. Tracy’s victory greatly improved her popularity among the sophomores, and even among some of the juniors. Alexandra and Heather pretended to be pleased at Tracy’s win, but in reality they resented her sudden popularity. Had Lisa seen Heather’s expression in the darkness, she would have realized there would be trouble waiting for Tracy and the pledge group later in the summer.
However, it was the Tri-Alpha pledges that had a much more immediate problem. There would be hell to pay later that night, along with the indignity of the entire fraternity having to attend the "Skins and Shirts" ball in the nude. For the summer dance a better name would be the "Skins and Skirts" ball, since it would be the women who would be showing off their evening gowns while the men were committed to showing off their bodies.
A few minutes later several sophomores from both the fraternity and the sorority gathered up the scavenger hunt items to return to where they belonged. By 5:30 everything would be in place and the buildings locked up, leaving no trace that the hunt had ever happened. Meanwhile, the fraternity and sorority members walked back to their houses, leading the pledges across the street. The groups did not march in protective formation, because the streets were empty and no one was around to see the handful of naked freshmen accompanying the dozens of well-dressed men and women.
Lisa enjoyed the walk back. She loved the feel of the cool air against her exposed body, and the daring sensation of being naked among a large group of well dressed people. She also was happy that her relationship with Kathleen seemed to be somewhat resolved, and that she had been able to do something worthwhile for Ken. She hoped, really hoped, that one thing she could accomplish that summer was to make peace with him.