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Wedgie Warlock: Chapter 2

Five years later.

Laughter. Reverberating around the room. Grins plastered onto faces, bodies ricocheting with joy. The faces are familiar, yet where they’ve been seen before is a mystery. Unfamiliarly familiar. Wherever he looks, he sees only shame and humiliation reflected back to him, as if he’s surrounded by this torment. Turning around, a tall figure stands behind, looming with a devilish grin.

Pain. Pain as he’s lifted up, his entire weight dependent on his underwear. It gives way, tearing at the seam as the symphony of laughter bolsters. The torn fabric digs deeper into his groin. Helplessness in this rollercoaster of pain.

Cody shudders awake, panting profusely. Sweat hugs his body as he struggles to breathe, fighting to get his mind back to safety. As his heart rate returns from the extremes, he takes in his surroundings: his bed, his closet, his dark room. He’s safe at home, but doesn’t feel it.

The moment he ushers out the anxiety from his nightmare, a wave of guilt hits him. It’s that same guilt that washes over him again and again, every time he’s reminded of wedgies. He remembers the painful wedgies Jono gave him – the ripping atomic and of course the seemingly inescapable hanging wedgie. And Anton, left hanging to his demise. How long did Anton dangle there on that fence? Did Jono and the twins show mercy and let him go, or did they leave him there for as long as he could hang? Surely he must have ripped down not shortly after Cody had—

Cody had left him.

He sits upright in his bed gently rocking for the next while, trying to ease down this guilt that keeps resurfacing. Eventually, he calms a little, moving off the edge of the bed and stripping to just his underwear. In the shadows of his room, he yanks and pulls, biting his lower lip as the fabric digs deeper and deeper into his ass. Leg holes up to his nipples is just how he likes it, lying back with one hand on his dick and one hand firmly jerked under his body, tugging and tugging.

Whenever he’s reminded of wedgies, the only thing he can do to relinquish the combination of arousal and guilt is to pleasure the fuck outta himself for a couple hours. Yanking his own boxerbriefs in the pitch black of his room has become somewhat of a constant, soothing the ache of the purgatory that plagues his mind. All wedgied out, he then shoves the thought back into a small locked trunk in his brain, not to be opened for a couple weeks, a month maybe if he’s lucky, until he can no longer keep the thought at bay. Then rinse and repeat, the wedgie shame cycle continues.

Light eventually seeps through underneath his window blinds, ripping him away from his hollow of regret and forcing him out of his room. Timmy’s already up and eating cereal in the living room. In their second year of university, the two decided to get a place together on the edge of the CBD, and have been roommates ever since. Through parties and late night study sessions to hook-ups and horror movie marathons, their apartment has seen it all.

“Morning,” Timmy says in-between spoonful’s of cereal. He barely looks up from the phone in his hand.

“Morning,” Cody sighs, pouring himself a glass of orange juice.

“You sleep ok?”

“Eh…” Cody begins, recalling the return of the nightmare that’s periodically tormented him these past few years. “I’ve slept better.”

“It took me ages to fall asleep last night,” Timmy says. “That goddamn Pisces full moon fuckin’ up people’s sleep. I mean, also the stress of my first exhibition coming up, but mostly the full moon.”

“You’ll come up with an idea soon,” Cody reassures, sitting down next to his friend.

“I know, I know… It’s just so much anxiety because it’s my first ever one and I still don’t have an overarching theme. All the garments I’ve started on are just loose strands of half-baked ideas that don’t even look good.”

“Well hopefully once the moon moves out of Pisces and stops squaring your natal Gemini moon you’ll be able to shift into gear,” Cody replies sleepily.

Timmy breaks out into a grin. “The student has become the master!”

“Over a decade of being your bestie and I don’t pick up some astrology? Come on now,” Cody giggles.

“Don’t play with him!” Timmy yells as he waves his finger around homosexually, a cackle erupting from his chest.

The two settle back down and Cody glances at the TV. A reporter is interviewing the partner of some guy who was assaulted overnight in a bar in the city.

“Oh yeah, terrible, terrible incident,” Timmy says. “It was right near our fave ice cream stand on Exhibition Street.”

“Not John’s Ice Cream Stand!”

“Yeah! Apparently it was a hit-and-run type of sitch.”

“Hope Old John’s ok. Can’t believe shit like this happens,” Cody murmurs.

“Yeah… but I mean what can ya do?” Timmy says. A respectable amount of time passes, before he changes the subject with: “Anyway Codes— You going to this?”

Timmy passes his phone to Cody, which is open on an email about a high school reunion.

“Ehhhh I was thinking of skipping it.” Cody peeks up from the phone to see the look of outrage on Timmy’s face.

“Oh my god you cannot be serious right now,” Timmy says, theatrically throwing his phone onto the couch.

“What?” Cody asks.

“It’s school reunion! You go, you drink, you dance, you have a good time, come on it’ll be a great fuckin’ time.”

“At no point was our high school experience a ‘great fuckin’ time’, so what makes you think the reunion will be any better?” Cody replies with only half-serious defiance.

“Don’t you wanna see what’s happened to everyone in the past five years?”

“Probably just gone to uni like us, but probably something more interesting than degrees in music and fashion design. Besides— which people? Neither you nor I really had any friends besides each other.”

“Sure I did, there was Martha from history class—”

“You hated Martha.”

“She’s a bitch, but like, in a fun way. Plus there’ll be alcohol and dancing and partying and alcohol—”

“And you already know my stance on all of those things.”

With a dissatisfied huff, Timmy goes back to chewing his soggy cereal in silence, to which Cody rolls his eyes. It’s not that he’s a boring person, he just prefers a nice brunch chat over being the only sober person standing in a room full of drunk strangers for four hours. This isn’t the first time the two have disagreed on this topic, in fact the two had a small falling out in their first few months of living together because Timmy just wanted to party all the time while Cody wanted to focus on his studies. They eventually patched things up, but to this day the phrase “go back to party city where you belong” (which Cody had shouted at Timmy) recalls all the tension the two had.

Cody returns his gaze back to the TV, which is now showing a news story about an arrest of a local scientist. He doesn’t think much of it until the reporter mentions ‘Gagarium’, and his attention perks up.

“The court has found Dr Germanotti Gagarotti guilty of endangering the public by withholding vital information that documents the potential dangers of Gagarium, the synthetic element she created. The court’s ruling follows the announcement by tennis player Rod Tackman about the damage done to his body after long periods of wear, including one incident where paramedics had to use dry ice to laser the material off him, unveiling toxic burns all over his skin. Since then, multiple athletes have come forward about their own experiences with the material, and several elite sporting brands are now removing all Gagarium products from their product lines,” the reporter states.

The news moves on to tackle a story about environment endangerment, but the mention of Gagarium has transported Cody back to that day, five years ago, when him and Anton received those wedgies from hell. Timmy wasn’t the only friend Cody had made in high school, there was Anton. Although, since the whole incident where Cody abandoned him and ran, he’s not too sure where they stand friendship-wise. He was going to apologise but Anton never showed up to graduation the following week, and the rumour was that he dropped out before he could properly graduate. There’s that guilt again.

“We should go to the reunion.”

“Huh?” Timmy says, stopping his pout-fest and looking up from his phone.

“I mean it. We should go to the reunion. And you can dance and drink and party, and I’ll take care of some unfin… I’ll take care of myself and we’ll have a fun time,” Cody says through a forced smile.

“AW thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you!”

Timmy cocoons Cody in a fury of hugs and glee, and before he knows it they’ve gone shopping for fancy dress clothes. Suit after shirt after jacket after suit are flung at Cody as Timmy works his way through what feels like the entirety of the men’s section, determined to find him the perfect outfit. No matter how many “it’s good” and “this one’s fine” Cody gives him, Timmy isn’t satisfied.

“If it were really good, you would be speechless, holding back tears at how simply magnificent it is!”

“You do know this is our wanky high school reunion, not dinner with the fucking pope!”

The two eventually settle on a formal-ish shirt and khaki combo that’s just casual enough for Cody to not accidentally slip into a rich white guy country club accent, and they’re ready to go. Timmy of course had his outfit picked the second that email was sent out: a devilish mauve pantsuit with a purple earring and head piece to match – all designed and made by himself of course. Soon there’s nothing left to do but brave the reunion.

Being back at high school for the first time in five years is freaky to say the least. It’s not like the TV shows where the graduated main characters return to the school every few weeks. The moment Cody got his high school graduation certificate, he was out of there. Upon returning, he’s reminded of just how spectacularly mediocre their high school was, elucidated most clearly by the gymnasium that’s been dressed up like some fancy bar, even though there’s still basketball court markings on the floors. Blurgh

Within seconds of walking in, Cody spots Darren. The two haven’t seen each other since graduation night, although he does stalk his Instagram every now and then. Darren’s just recently been appointed the centre half-forward for the Geelong Cats, an actual legit professional AFL team. Five years and all Cody has to show for it is a useless music degree and part-time swim coaching. But he doesn’t have time to hide as Darren spots them and begins walking over, prompting several panicked looks in Timmy’s direction.

“Cody Thompson, is that really you? How’s it been man, how have the last five years treated you?” Darren says as he arrives.

“Darren, wow, it’s been so long,” Cody says, pushing through the rush of anxiety that just hit him. “Yeah went to uni and studied a bit— did some studyin’, y’know, just learnt some stuff and then graduated and I got my certificate because that’s what happens when you,, when you finish the course you signed up for— what? Hu—h?”

Timmy nudges Cody and Darren’s head tilts slightly, as if to gesture ‘huh?’

“Ah—You remember Timmy right?” Cody redirects.

“Yeah sure I do,” Darren says as he and Timmy exchange an awkward handshake. “So you two are still dating, huh?”

“W—what?” Cody stammers.

Timmy’s famous laugh sounds, this one so forceful he almost falls to his knees. “Me and Codes? SKSKSK you’re joking right!”

“I’m not that bad!” Cody says, mouth agape from embarrassment.

“Oh I—I always through you two were an item, even back in high school,” Darren says.

“I mean we tried making out once on Year 9 camp but this Thai boy doesn’t do white dudes with brows thicker than his armpits.”

“Timmy—”

“Woah, well sorry for the confusion,” Darren chuckles.

“You play for the Cats now don’t you?” Timmy asks, not even giving Cody a second to recover.

“I do indeed. Got a big game tomorrow night, but should be great fun,” Darren smiles.

“Is that the Cats versus the Tigers?” Timmy asks. “I tried getting tickets for that with my youngest cousin Jeremy for his birthday but the tickets sold out.”

“Yeah Cats V the Tigers, bring out the claws!” Darren laughs. Cody silently admires the way his cheeks rose up when he laughs. How he’s missed Darren, the feeling of limitless possibility in boyish youth he feels when he’s with him. The dream feels ancient yet modern, as if a familiarity landing on his heart, coming back home. This feeling lasts the entirety of maybe four seconds until a few of Darren’s old footie team friends walk in.

“Oh my god, Jed and Lachie made it,” Darren exclaims. The way his face lights up shatters Cody’s rose-tinted fantasy lens. “Was great seeing you two, hopefully I’ll see y’all out there on the dance floor.”

Darren’s exit deflates every inch of Cody’s face. Even five years later, he’s just as much of an idiot as he was in high school.

“We really need to workshop conversation 101,” Timmy says.

“I didn’t expect all those feelings to come back, and I certainly didn’t expect you to insult my eyebrows in front of my biggest high school crush,” Cody replies.

“I get it, he’s like a white Jesus, but you better keep it in your pants,” Timmy exclaims.

Apparently Cody never really got over his crush on Darren. He thought that maybe since the whole hanging wedgie eyes-lock-Darren-walk-away catastrophe that his unrequited feelings were fully dead, but, as Timmy points out, they’re fully resurrected bitch! What’s more, Darren’s eagerness to ditch them for his actual friends plays over and over in Cody mind. Of course he just goes back to his Level 5 and above friends. Not that La Chique has much jurisdiction post-high school, but it’s like being back in these four walls has made everyone subconsciously revert to the levels they were five years ago, and along with it the heartbreak that took Cody many ice-cream-and-vent sessions with Timmy to get over.

Cody makes it through the first hour. There’s some nibbling on finger food, some dancing, some eyeing Darren from across the room and some obnoxious small talk with guys who clearly have not changed since graduating five years ago. It’s not a terrible way to spend his night, but it certainly isn’t fun being reminded that he doesn’t fit in with this crowd. How Timmy can share his distaste for their school cohort yet also dance his drunk ass off is beyond him. Anton’s also nowhere to be found, which, while unfortunate, was to be somewhat expected. Him of all people knows what it’s like to be at the bottom of the social ladder at this school. It’s a shame though, as Cody really was looking forward to seeing him again and making amends, but that’s probably not in the cards for their friendship.

He’s in the middle of the most boring conversation he’s ever had with one of his old classmates who’s single best achievement in the past five years is coming 32nd in the national Rubik’s Cube competition two years ago (Blurgh2) when he whispers to Timmy that he’s going to the bathroom. Timmy whispers back that he’s gonna go say hi to Martha, and the two agree to reconvene in a bit. Just as Cody makes his way through the crowd to leave, he bumps right into Darren, making him spill his drink on his shirt a little.

“Oh my god Darren I’m so sorry, I’m such an idiot,” Cody says, grabbing way too many tissues from a nearby table to help Darren dab himself clean.

“No worries at all— and one tissue is enough,” Darren chuckles lightly. Cody could almost swoon right here and now if he hadn’t just ruined Darren Hart’s fucking outfit.

“I’ll pay to have your shirt dry cleaned, I’ll do it Darren, I know that—”

“Cody dude,” Darren interrupts, clasping both of Cody’s hands in his, stopping his spiral in its tracks. “Seriously, it’s no big deal.”

Darren shouldn’t be holding his hands for this long. Like, it’s probably only been three-ish seconds in real time, but in Cody fantasy dreamland, Darren’s been holding his hands and gazing with his dreamy hazel eyes for basically an eternity. They’re legally married now, right? Like,,, only husbands are allowed to do this so, by law, Cody and Darren are offish married,, right???

“Hey, maybe you can make it up to me and we can grab a cof—” Darren starts.

“Have you seen Anton?” Cody blurts out.

“Huh?”

FUCK!!!!!!!

“I, uh… no I haven’t actually. I remember seeing his name on the guest list at the arrival though if that helps,” Darren says, smiling weakly.

SHIT FUCK SHIT CRAP FUCKING SHIT FUCK!!!!!!!!!

“Ok, no cool was just wondering,” Cody says.

A beat of awkward silence passes, followed by another and another. Darren was DEFINITELY just about to ask Cody to hang out outside of this formal group hang but he ruined it! With his mind scrambling to compose itself like that one Spongebob meme, he takes a deep breath.

“Actually what were you saying? I totally cut you off there,” Cody asks.

Just as Darren goes to reply, one of his old footie teammates grabs hold of a microphone and drunkenly calls Darren up on stage, getting the crowd to chant for a speech from their old football team captain. Distracted by the commotion, Darren now turns back to Cody.

“Looks like that’s my cue,” Darren says, shrugging. “I’ll catch you around Codes.”

With that, Darren jogs off to the other end of the gymnasium, each step sinking Cody’s heart lower and lower. He officially ruined the moment teenage him dreamt of every single night. But truth be told, how else would this have turned out? As Darren’s voice begins booming throughout the room about the championship he won for his team 5 years ago, Cody sulks his way out of the gym.

Entering the bathroom, Cody opts for the end stall and locks the door behind him, standing above the toilet. He doesn’t actually have to pee, just needs to escape his emotions and the social exhaustion of tonight with some Hearthstone on his phone. A couple minutes of pure bliss in his introvert bubble are popped however when the bathroom door suddenly opens and three familiar voices fill in: it’s Jono and the twins. Cody instantly recoils, dropping his phone in the toilet with a loud plop.

Shit.

Stifling a scream, he shrinks to the corner of the stall, hiding his feet behind the toilet in an attempt to conceal himself. After a few seconds of bated breath, the three bullies seem to take barely any notice of him (apart from a quick “stinker in aisle 4” comment from one of the twins), continuing on with a conversation started before they entered the bathroom. Cody eyes his phone bobbing in the toilet bowl as his ears listen the hardest they’ve ever listened.

“You guys see Mrs Thornton? She’s just as fuckable as when she was teaching Year 9 geography,” Jono says.

“Yoooo dude if she wasn’t married with kids, I’d be all over her!” says douche 1.

“Like that’s stopped you before,” says douche 2.

Laughter echoes throughout as, from the sounds of it, Jono begins lightly roughhousing the twins. Once again, Cody’s reminded of just how homoerotic the majority of heterosexual male jocks tend to be.

OK. Focus Cody, focus. We just need to silently wait it out if we want to leave this dumb reunion with our underwear intact. We are 23 years old – we will not be made to be a fool at our old high school by these manchildren whose glory days were wedgieing nerds in high school. We just have to be patient and wait it out and—

The bullies are silent. Did Cody miss them walking out of the bathroom or something? Oh God, have they realised that there’s a locked stall door with no feet showing on the ground??!! Fuck, Cody! You are such an idiot sometimes! With his heart beating as fast as it’s ever beat, Cody slowly stoops down and peers under the stall door, but no shoes are in sight. Maybe they did actually leave?

Unlocking the door, Cody slinks up to the sinks but there’s no sign of tweedle dumb, dumber and dumbest. The sinks are dry meaning no one used them (although truth be told, hygiene isn’t exactly a strength of the heterosexual jock). It isn’t until he looks up in the mirror that he sees in the reflection the bullies all strung up by their boxers in a joint hanging wedgie. Cody turns around in disbelief, but nope, that is definitely them all there, dangling a good few inches off the ground. From the looks of things, they’ve been knocked out, and Cody can just make out the faintest shit stain on Jono’s underwear. Cody winces.

Usually Jono would be the one to blame, and Cody wouldn’t put it past him to subject his own henchtwins to a brutal ball-splitting hanging wedgie. Yet here he is, all kebab’d up by his own boxers alongside the twins, and no culprit in sight. Cody definitely didn’t hear the bathroom door open since the bullies came in, that is unless the person who did it came in with them? But then they’d still be in here, wouldn’t they? Goddamn being a crime investigator is hard work.

Something moves in the dark outside the window by the ceiling, jolting Cody out of his detective fantasy. Something, or better yet, someone is out there! Cody jumps to reach the window, hoisting himself up onto the ledge that truly has never been dusted since the school’s establishment. Kicking open the window with his feet, he falls onto the roof outside and darts his eyes around him. Although not yet used to the darkness, he can just make out someone running away across the roof in the distance. One last look at the lifeless jock bodies and he scrambles into the night.

Cody’s body is not made for an intense chase sequence. He has long legs, but the majority of his figure is just lank and of no real use in this situation. Still, he manages to at least keep up with the mysterious figure, running across the rooves of his high school. The faint reflections of alternating purple and blue disco lights underscore the flurry of Cody’s feet, propelling him over the gymnasium of unsuspecting ex-students below. He eventually reaches the end of the building and notices a ladder that could’ve only been placed there by the figure. He descends it, making his way to the oval where the figure now stands with their back to Cody.

“Who are you?” Cody yells between pants, catching his breath.

But the figure doesn’t respond; they don’t even flinch. Cody shivers, the mist from his anxious lungs being squeezed out of him like an accordion. He didn’t consider for even a second what the hell he’d do once he caught up with the mysterious person, and now that he’s out here on the dark cold oval, he realises there’s not much stopping him from ending up in the same fate as the bullies back in the bathroom. Cody gulps.

“Hello?! I— I know what you did to Jono and the twins back there! Whoever you are, I just— I just think that’s not, y’know, cool and stuff.”

A cackle answers Cody’s trembling voice, a cackle so piercing that even the sound of 90’s hip-hop music from the gymnasium is overpowered by the sheer assuredness of this figure.

“Ah Cody, so great to finally see you again.”

The figure slowly turns around and it’s Anton. The oval spotlight gives just enough light to be able to make out Anton’s giant grin and the fire in his eyes.

“Anton? Wh— What are you doing here?”

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The Nervous Exhale

Wedgies are the nervous exhale.
The quivers of a body that knows its fate.
The in-betweens of each breath, of each heartbeat,
the inevitable purgatory I await.

I can almost feel what it’s like,
the intoxicating seduction of my leg holes slithering up my butt cheeks.
But no preparation can provide me a cure for the ecstatic euphoria
erupting to the tips of my feet.

Surrender.
Surrender to my waistband that betrays my groin but fulfils my devilish desires.
Surrender as I lie helpless to prevent the blood surging from my balls to fuel my heart’s sensations.
Surrender is all I can do whilst he sits on top of me, the vulture who has secured its prey.

One last tug tears the boxerbriefs, parting the ocean of stretched boyhood to reveal my bare skin underneath.
For a moment he stops, mischief gone too far,
but I reassure him they weren’t expensive anyway.
(You never wear the expensive stuff for a ripping wedgie).
So he continues, anchoring his feet against my shoulders as my vision is rotated out,
replaced by the navy blue of my torn undies.

Relief shudders in, our pants becoming one.
The exhilaration drains out with each breath.
My toes are the first to regain consciousness, followed by the rest of my body.
The stinging of my asshole being split in two, a feeling I adored, is now simply endured.
I hear him chuckle and I’m made aware of my body’s dorkish arch in submission.
‘You’re such a nerd’, he teases me, tossing my swimcapped hair.
My face blushes the rouge of my cheeks and before my self-awareness kicks in,
he kisses me, easing my bruised ego back to reality.

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Wedgie Warlock: Chapter 1

Monstera Secondary is located in the northwestern suburb of Monstera, just up from Maribyrnong in Victoria, Australia. Named after the monstera deliciosa plant native here, the area is filled with luscious natural reserves and has the Maribyrnong river running through it. The school itself has just over 500 students attending, ranging from years 7 to 12. It’s the last week of school for the year and everything’s beginning to dwindle down. Exams are over, classes are wrapping up and the year 12s are getting ready to graduate. One of these seniors is Cody Thompson, a guy who’s spent the majority of high school at the bottom of the social ladder.

He’s reminded of this when in their final gym class for forever, he’s once again the last to be picked for a game of celebratory dodge ball. Well, not the absolute last: his bestie Timmy is in the same boat. Timmy has a flair for the dramatic and is almost always seen in the brightest coloured outfit ever (usually one he’s made). He’s a wannabe fashion designer and you can tell because of his comically large Anna Wintour-esque glasses and his artsy wavy fringe. But of course the two gay guys in class who hate sports are the inevitable last picks. If anything, this just gives them more time to gab while they wait to be reluctantly picked and placed on opposing teams (to then immediately both feign getting knocked out so they can continue chatting from the sidelines). Yeah no upon reflection, it totally makes sense that they’re always the last to get picked.

“Nobody’ll even ask me for help now,” Timmy says with a puff, crossing his arms and pouting as the two friends walk off of the court. “Y’know I used to be THE bitch everyone came to for their wardrobe needs, but one tiny hemming mistake for Queen Martha’s prom dress that was already uggo anyway and now the whole school’s acting like my sewing machine’s got chlamydia.”

“I think—” Cody attempts.

“Like WHO even wears a forest green dress? What are we, lord of the rings?”

“Maybe if—”

“That dress was ruined before she even put it on, the audacity of it all!”

The pop of Timmy’s tongue indicates that he has a million more things to say, but for now is done talking.

“I think,” Cody says now free to speak his mind, “considering how shitty Martha is to everyone in this school, ruining her senior formal dress is a victory in its own way.”

Timmy glances back towards Cody and the faintest grin spreads across his lips. “Well half the school already thinks I did it on purpose anyway so I might as well cash in on that.”

Timmy’s laughter roars throughout the oval, easily washing out the sounds of grunting and ball dribbling from the ongoing dodge ball game. Cody’s favourite thing about Timmy is that no matter how sour of a mood he’s in, one big laugh with his friend is enough to make him the cheeriest person on earth.

Anton, their other friend and mutual last-to-be-picked soon gets knocked out and joins them. Anton’s pretty short and scrawny-looking, and is almost always dressed in black from head to toe. Surprisingly, short introverted goth kid also isn’t a big hit when it comes to choosing dodge ball teams.

“You gave a pretty valiant effort, lasted at least a couple minutes,” Cody says.

“Why do I even try, Paddy and his bros are just gonna gang up on me anyway,” Anton sighs.

“Hey that doesn’t sound like that bad a predicament to be in,” Timmy says, nudging Anton and eliciting a welcome chuckle from the defeated goth kid.

“At least this is the last dodge ball game I’ll ever have to play in my life, no more reaping that sweet, sweet Level 1 privilege,” Anton says sarcastically.

With the rush of completing exams and graduating, Cody hadn’t even realised there’d only be one more week of La Chique.

A couple years ago, some trust fund babied rich twenty-something named Doug Richt-Watt developed La Chique, an app that keeps score of hierarchical social points based on peer voting. It was originally created as an experiment to monitor social status and bullying in high schools, but flash forward a few years and it’s become a completely normalised system of categorising people into 7 levels from the moment they turn 12. A school’s social hierarchy is very overt and calculable in this modern age.

Level 6s and 7s are the untouchables – the Goddesses. Queen divas like Martha are at this level, and are the pillars of pop culture. They come up with the latest TikTok dances, exclusively walk in slow motion and are the only ones Ariana Grande actually responds to on Twitter. Oh and any kid with rich parents automatically defaults to a Level 6 or 7.

The social middle ground comprises of Level 3s, 4s and 5s. For the most part, these levels are fairly chill. Level 5s are those who are well-off, not exactly celestial being status, but they’re able to enjoy the luxuries of a relatively good rung on the social ladder. Many jocks who aren’t the captain or star player default to this level, as well as those who contribute a lot to the student body such as people on the student representative council and senior formal organisers. Level 4 is generally regarded as the refuge that the storm surrounds, but doesn’t penetrate. No one really thinks much of the Level 4s, and they get to pretty much go through high school unscathed. Level 3s also enjoy the perks of this intermediate safety net, despite being on the verge of the lower ranks. The average band geek or theatre kid defaults here, provided they don’t do anything else deemed socially uncool.

That leaves the Level 1s and 2s, comprised of the nerds, the dorks and the outcasts – basically anyone who’s ever set foot in a library. This is the level Cody and Timmy are currently at, and have been for a while now. A week after La Chique was introduced at Monstera Secondary, some guy in the year above pantsed Cody in the courtyard revealing the whitest of tighty whities. Everyone in the immediate vicinity down voted him, reducing him to a Level 2. As he learnt the hard way that day, even underwear is delegated to the different levels: Brands like Versace, Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss and Box Menswear are typically reserved for Level 6s and 7s, while Levels 3 through 5 have Ethika, Bonds, Hollister and American Eagle. That leaves Levels 1 and 2 with brands such as Maxx, Kenji, Hanes and Fruit of the Loom, as well as any kind of tighty whitie. Additionally, any underwear that has the days of the week on the waistband are also pretty common for the lower levels, although they’re usually ripped straight off within a few hours of being displayed out in the open, leaving the victim to wear the day of the week around their neck for the rest of the day in shame.

Speaking of wedgies, Cody has a secret: He has a wedgie fetish. He’s hidden it for most of his life and has had it since he could remember. He can’t remember how it came about, just that one day he realised he really liked the feeling. He hasn’t even told Timmy about it even though the two have exchanged other secrets, but it’s mostly because Cody can’t even bring himself to say the word out loud. Whenever he hears someone mention a wedgie he becomes stunned like a deer in headlights, caught between trying to conceal such an intimate part of himself and pretend as if that word doesn’t imbue him with immediate lust. It almost came out a few years back when he turned on his laptop first thing in French class one morning and his googling about it from the night before was the first thing to come up on his screen, but he just quickly shut his lid and pretended it was out of charge for the rest of the day.

Luckily he’s never received a wedgie since the introduction of La Chique or else his score would go down even more as he’d likely be so flummoxed that his secret would somehow come out. Ever since the courtyard pantsing he’s done everything he could to climb his way up the ladder, but mostly to no avail. He tried running for school captain on the platform of getting a fine dining buffet in the cafeteria, but no one really cared and he ended up just insulting the canteen ladies, now getting his chicken nuggets only half-cooked and still a little frozen in the middle. He also tried volunteering as the referee for the school’s inter-state football team, but was booted off not even a week later because apparently knowing stuff about football is a requirement to being an umpire.

In spite of Cody’s low social status, he’s actually a pretty good student. When he’s not cramming pages of geometry notes, he’s off doing one of countless extra-curricular activities: yearbook, tutoring, swim team, debate team and orchestra. Being the concert master, he actually just lead the school’s orchestra to 1st place at the annual inter-school ensemble competition in Melbourne’s northwest. That’s a pretty good legacy to leave behind, even if it isn’t recognised by La Chique’s system.

“Are you really Level 1?” Timmy asks. “I always thought you were Level 2.”

“Nope, I’ve been Level 1 for quite a while now,” Anton says.

“Well I’ll miss our trio,” Timmy says, wrapping his arms around Cody and Anton and playfully noogie-ing them. “The Level 1 and 2 musketeers.”

Cody delicately removes himself from the trio hug. “When do La Chique totals finish?”

“Well graduation’s next week but I think they finish at the end of this week with our classes,” Timmy replies.

“What if I didn’t finish as a Level 2 but as a Level 3?”

Laughter bellowing throughout the oval is Timmy’s reply.

“You are bold! Very, very bold,” Timmy beams.

“What makes you think you could move up in such little time?” Anton asks.

“Think about it. Yearbook, swim team, concert master. Those are all traditionally Level 3 activities, I must be on the borderline between the two levels!” Cody says.

“I’ll be sure to say a prayer for you on Friday,” Timmy teases, “because there is no way you’re making Level 3 in four days. How are you even gonna go up a level?”

“Yeah you got a plan?” Anton chimes in.

“I… I’m working on one,” Cody says, only to be faced with stifled giggles from the other two.

The dodge ball game finishes up, and Coach Roz gathers everyone together for one final talk.

“I got two final things to say before you all leave,” the coach says. “First of all, if you participated in last week’s inter-school basketball match, please see Mrs Kent in room 401 after school to collect your medals. And finally, I know it’s our last class and as of this afternoon I’m no longer your coach, but I just thought I’d shoutout the new Gagarium athletic shorts that are available to purchase from the sports catalogue in our front office. They’re meant to be the most snug-fit and stretch-free shorts money can buy, so any of you who are continuing with sport in the future should go give them a look. Ok, class dismissed!”

As the week progresses, the final classes and goodbye speeches from teachers begin to rack up. English is particularly heart-warming, with Mrs Norton giving each student a personalised ‘grab life by the balls’ card, while Mr Clementine spends the whole class playing celebrity heads. Cody’s enjoying the bittersweet high school farewell, but the problem of ascending to Level 3 before the end of the week persists in his mind. No matter how hard he tries, he can’t come up with a solution.

By Thursday afternoon, he’s cleaning out his locker while waiting for Darren to meet him. In between chucking some loose papers into the recycling pile, Cody spots Darren appear on the staircase at the end of the hall, slowly trotting his way down. He instantly coils back to hide behind his locker door, frantically running his hands through his long curly brown hair and smoothing out his thick eyebrows. As incognito-ly as he can, he sniffs under his armpit, deciding after a couple seconds that he smells good enough. Forcing down an anxious breath, he closes his locker door and goes to meet Darren.

Since coming out at the beginning of the school year, Cody’s had several small crushes here and there, but none of them could ever compare to Darren. Darren Hart is the cutest boy in the entire year level – maybe (probably) even the entire world. His gelled back black hair and rosy pink cheeks that light up the entire room when he smiles are enough to get him into any successful boy band. Being the captain of the school’s footie team, Darren’s naturally a Level 6, but he also adorably plays flute in the same orchestra as Cody. He’s literally the perfect man.

Anyway back to this sexy fucker struttin’ his way on over with the goofiest grin on his face. Darren missed yesterday’s end of year orchestra meeting where the conductor gave out a small gold pin shaped like a treble clef for all the seniors, so of course Cody had graciously offered to hold onto Darren’s and pass it on to him at another time, which so happens to be today at 4:43pm. Cody usually doesn’t stay behind school this late, but Darren had a make-up geography test over 7th and 8th periods and for him, Cody’d do anything.

“Guess who just passed his test on the function and ecosystem of rivers in regional Victoria with a 65%? This guy!” Darren beams, walking up to bro-hug Cody (which subsequently melts every layer of his simping heart). A whiff of Coconut and Man PowerTM flirts its way to Cody’s nose, but he loves that Darren’s masculine ego relies on specific gendered marketing of body spray. Darren’s cool like that.

“You really did it dude,” Cody says, reluctantly detaching from the bro-hug. “So that means you pass the subject right?”

“Yep, just needed to re-do this one geography test, and now that it’s done I get to focus on graduation next week. I hope I didn’t make you wait too long.”

“Are you kidding? No, I love waiting, it’s my favourite, I… I mean I had some stuff to do so I was gonna stay behind anyway,” Cody says, blushing on the outside but screaming on the inside. His brain tends to switch off mid-sentence when he’s talking with Darren. “But— yeah anyway here’s the pin in all her glory.”

“Whoa,” Darren says as he picks up the pin from Cody’s palm, “so this is the legendary pin. Honestly feels… pretty underwhelming.”

“I mean it’s still just a pin,” Cody laughs. “Still… three years of orchestra together summed up in that one pin… I mean, like, three years of orchestra together as an ensemble, not together as in… y’know, altogether like all forty of us,” he trails off.

Luckily Darren’s too busy pinning the treble clef onto his letterman jacket to notice Cody’s crush-fuelled awkwardness. He puts his hands on his hips and strikes a few hero poses. “How do I look?”

“Like a million bucks.”

The afternoon sun shines in from the outside, cloaking the two in what could only be described as cinematic romcom lighting. Not that this is a romcom of course, but if it were this would totally be the bit where one of them leans in for a kiss, startling the other a little, but ultimately fuelling the most passionate and steamy make-out sesh this school has ever seen! This is when the idea pops into Cody’s brain: Get with Darren!

Being a popular guy, Cody never even thought of making advances towards Darren as he’s just so out of his league. But the two have a rather close bond for a Level 6 and a Level 2, so maybe with this summer lovin’ school’s out romcom lighting Darren will see him in a different light?

“Anyways I gotta rush off but thanks dude, really appreciate it,” Darren says

Darren walks past Cody and out the building. Yep, this isn’t a romcom. Or really any piece of media where Cody’s the main character and Darren’s the love interest he ends up with by the end of the movie. Darren’s always been one of the most popular guys in school, and Cody’s, well… He’s a Level 2. By the laws of this school’s social code, he’s simply not on Darren’s level.

“Well what’s this little nerd doing stickin’ around after class?”

Cody turns around to find Jono and his gang of bullies huddling together at the end of the hallway. And by gang, it’s just Jono’s two friends from kindergarten who are twins and are named Tim and Jim. They don’t really leave much of an individual impression and are just slightly less intimidating carbon copies of Jono, who’s the real guy to worry about.

Jono’s family is rich, like truffled cocaine for morning tea rich. They’re the main contributors to the school’s funding and as a result, the staff just kind of let him do whatever he wants. He almost lit the oval on fire in a rando Bunsen-burner theft two years ago, but the worst he got was an informal warning and litter duty for two days.

For a split second, Cody thinks he’s the target of this torment, but one of the twin douches step back revealing Anton’s trembling body to be the true prey. “Please,” Anton begs, “clarinet practice finished late, and I just want to quickly get my things and go home.” Anton’s shoving books and scraps of paper into his backpack. His locker is on the bottom row, leaving him a perfect target for—

Anton screams as Jono and the twin douches cackle. It’s the dreaded wedgie lift. Anton’s backpack falls to the floor as he’s lifted high up into the air by Jono, his feet flailing underneath him. Anton squeals as his underwear betrays further up his back and reaches his shoulder blades, the tighty whities providing a dazzling contrast from his all-black outfit.

“How’s that underwear taste nerd?” Jono taunts, bouncing Anton up and down by his undies, the fabric beginning to rip just beneath the waistband.

“Please stop!” is all Anton can muster in-between yells.

Cody’s frozen in place as all this unfolds. These hallways aren’t unacquainted with the occasional wedgie, but usually Cody can just blend into the swarm of students buzzing around, rushing to get to class. Now, it’s just him, the bullies and Anton getting the most painful wedgie of his life. Cody can’t just be a silent bystander, not while his friend’s getting tormented.

Pushing aside his secretive fears, Cody snaps back to reality as his friend screeches in pain. He lunges forward, grabbing one of the scrunched up balls of paper from his locker and pelting it at Jono’s forehead. Although triumphant and heroic in Cody’s head, the balled up paper just flops off Jono’s head and onto the ground gingerly. He now realises this actually doesn’t really accomplish much and just puts a huge target on his back.

“Who the fuck are you?” Jono turns to face Cody, dropping Anton to the ground.

Cody’s eyebrows furrow. “Cody Thompson, I’m in the same year as you dude! We took English together last year? I’m treasurer on the student representative council??”

“We have a student council?” Jono yells.

“Anyway, I uh… I just think that what you’re doing, the… the… the bullying… it’s wrong, and stuff!” Cody nervously shouts.

Jono’s laugh bellows throughout the hallway. “You picked the wrong day to be Mr Superhero, kid.”

In an instant, Jono dunks Anton’s wedgied corpse into a trashcan and propels himself to Cody, punching him in the face and kneeing him to the ground. Cody barely has any time to retaliate before Jono thrusts his fingers into the back of his pants. Regardless of how many times Cody begs “no, please no!”, Jono cackles and yanks his boxer briefs up into the air, immediately ripping them. This doesn’t stop Jono though, as he continues to pull and pull and pull, ripping Cody’s shredded underwear further up his back and over his head. One final thrust onto the floor and all Cody can feel is pain as the sound of the bullies’ laughter trails off down the hallway.

Holy fuck was that a bad idea. An astronomically, atomically bad idea. Cody can’t even remember the last time he got a wedgie this bad, that still felt this good. He’s a concoction of pleasure yet pain, indulgent sin yet apathetic innocence. Thankful for the loose khakis that hide the throbbing in his nether regions, he slowly sits up to rest his throbbing head on a nearby locker. Where does he start – unpick the wedgie that’s halfway to his kidneys or unhook what used to be the backside of his favourite pair of purple Maxx boxer briefs that now obstructs his vision?

Luckily he doesn’t have to choose as a pair of hands unhooks the atomic wedgie for him, and helps him slowly stand up.

“Thanks for helping me out back there,” Anton says.

“No problem,” Cody replies, grimacing as he probes his fingers between his cheeks and unpicking the wedgie. “Just don’t ask me to do it again any time soon.”

“That must’ve really hurt. I’ve never seen underwear just rip like that,” Anton admits.

 “It’s, uh, not too bad— it’s manageable, the pain,” Cody says, recalling several ripping wedgies he’s given himself in the privacy of his bedroom. “I bet I’ve just become a top priority on Jono’s bully list though.”

“Look… Yeah. Yeah you absolutely have.”

“I knew Jono was bad, I mean I’ve heard the rumours. But I’ve never seen him pick on anyone before like that. Has he done this before?” Cody asks.

“Try the past few months, everyday after school. I always stick around because my dad works late, and somehow Jono always seems to find me.”

“Wow… I’m sorry, man, that’s rough.”

“Just classic Level 1 stuff,” Anton sighs.

Through Cody’s mad pursuit to reach Level 3, he’s reminded now that even within his low level status, there are still those who have it worse than him. Sure he’s never been popular, but he also can get through most days without full-on bullying.

“I’ve always wanted to like, be able to backflip and take people out like they do in the movies but the second that wedg— that…,” Cody stutters, pausing for a couple seconds. “The second he got a hold of my underwear, I was a goner. I wish there was a way to never experience anything like that again. Like something that made us bully-proof, some kryptonite that meant that Jono couldn’t torment us and that we wouldn’t leave school grounds freeballing it.”

Anton gasps. “Oh my god, I know the perfect thing! You know those Gagarium trunks Coach Roz was talking about in class today?

“The ones that are like sweat-proof or something?”

“They’re meant to be durable and no-stretch so they’re a snug fit for athletes, meaning—”

“That means no intense ripping wedgies!” Cody beams.

After shoving the loose strands of underwear in their pants, Cody and Anton make their way to the front office. Flipping through the sports catalogue, Cody spots the Gagarium trunks and shows it to the lady at the front desk.

“Y’know these are usually limited to Level 4s and above, but that’s been waivered for health and fitness week,” the front desk lady says aloofly as she ducks next door. She reappears with two packaged White Gagarium trunks. “White’s all we have left I’m afraid.”

“They’re perfect, they’ll help sell the ruse,” Cody whispers to Anton.

In the foyer, they stop to read the description on the back packaging:

“Brand-new synthetic material Gagarium makes this line of thermal boxer briefs the ideal choice for the modern athlete. Made with enhanced durability, 0.1% stretch rate and reinforced metallic-like stitching, this product is everything you need to be your best sporty self,” Cody reads.

“These are gonna be a game-changer. 6 months of gruesome torture at the hands of Jono all coming to an end,” Anton grins.

“This is my way into Level 3!” Cody smirks. “When Jono tries to, y’know, get us tomorrow and he can’t even yank ‘em up, then he will have been outsmarted by two dorks and everyone will see.”

The next day at school passes by pretty quickly. Cody shares most of his classes on Fridays with Timmy, so at least he has someone he can joke with in-between classwork. The last bell rings and Cody rushes to find Anton. The two had agreed to stick together after school in case of any atomic confrontations with Jono.

“How’s your day been Cody?” Anton asks, shutting his locker door as the two begin to pile out of the locker bay.

“Pretty bland, you?”

“Yeah alright… No confrontations with Jono though.”

Cody frowns. “I bet we can find him and get him to fall for our bait. I think he usually hangs out on the oval on Fridays.”

The two weasel their way through the bustle of students, running back through the cafeteria and out to the oval. A soccer match is just wrapping up, and a flock o’ jocks pass the pair as they gingerly wait on the side of the oval. Through the wired fence that encases the oval, Cody can see people walking past to the underpass that leads to the nearby train station. Seeing all these people cheerfully head home for the weekend, he wonders where Jono could be. According to Timmy, La Chique totals close at 4pm, meaning Cody has less than an hour to fulfil his plan.

“Knowing Jono he’s probably got detention for something,” Anton mutters after a few minutes.

“Yeah,” Cody agrees. “Well look if he isn’t here by 4pm we can just head home. Timmy and I are gonna play some Smash Bros at mine, you’re welcome to join.”

“My dad probably wouldn’t allow it,” Anton says. “Immigrant Asian parents, y’know the usual.”

Cody nods. He’s blessed with a shit ton of white privilege, but he’s heard from Timmy of the minor irritations of having strict Thai parents. Even with Timmy parents though, Cody’s only ever witnessed their leniency, but that’s probably because the two have been best friends for so long they’re like brothers.

“Thanks though,” Anton smiles.

“They must be proud you’re graduating though,” Cody says.

“Yeah… I mean I think they are, but all they ever go on about is finding a job and building a career. Taking a second to appreciate achievements isn’t really in their blood.”

“Sorry to hear that,” Cody says. He’s about to tell Anton that he should be proud no matter what his parents think but the unforgettable voice of idiocy and the stench of barbecue crisps mixed with unwiped asshole interrupts him.

“Whadd’ya know, it’s my two favourite losers,” pipes Jono, who’s walking across the oval with Tim and Jim behind him. “All lined up, ripe for my picking.”

“Hey Jono, come here to pick on us to fill the void of love you never received from your rich daddy?” Cody taunts.

A flame flickers across Jono’s eyes as Cody shares a smirk with Anton.

“Oh you nerds are asking for it today!”

Jono lunges forward, pushing Anton to the floor and grabbing Cody in a headlock. After a few furious noogies and one wet willy, he reaches down Cody’s back, grabbing onto his waistband and tugs.

“Huh?”

Jono tugs again, harder this time, but the underwear simply will not go up. Apart from the slightest of pressure Cody can feel being applied, his butt remains unscathed, waistband and leg holes where they should be.

“You know Jono, you really should’ve thought twice about trying to do anything  with my new Gagarium trunks,” Cody gloats loudly, projecting his voice for anyone nearby to hear. “Their enhanced synthetic durability renders them practically un-stretchable.”

“Wh—what?!”

“No more ripping wedgies,” Anton chimes in, “no more atomic wedgies. No more wedgies, full stop. These new boxer briefs are stretch-proof and rip-proof, so suck on that!”

The two beam at each other as Jono and the twins are left dumbfounded.

“Huh… so no matter what I do, these undies will not break?” Jono asks.

“Adoy!”

Jono’s eyes widen and his shock is replaced with a feral, more sinister look on his face. He beckons for the twin douches to step forward and they do, shoving both Cody and Anton forward and pinning them against the oval fence.

“You know nerds, you really should’ve thought twice before showing up to school and basically begging me to give you both never-ending hanging wedgies.”

Cody doesn’t even have time to react before Jono pantses him, grabbing the bottom of his snug-fit leg holes and lifting him up high onto the fence. Cody yells and kicks about, but Jono’s too strong, prompting Cody to make a mental note that he definitely needs to YouTube how to do a backflip and take people the fuck out. Tim and Jim similarly lift Anton up, and within seconds, both Cody and Anton have been hooked onto the wired fence, their sliced-in-two bare asses facing the path full of students going home behind them. Laughter surrounds the two, who can only squirm as their Gagarium underwear proves itself to be un-rippable. As it turns out, an extreme hanging wedgie by the leg-holes bypasses all of the durability features of the boxer briefs, and it’s just any other excruciatingly painful hanging wedgie.

“You two ever hear of the legend of the wedgie warlock? A bully so powerful he could yank nerds’ underwear by the power of his own mind?” Jono teases, pulling on Cody’s legs to make for an even more painful wedgie.

“That’s just a schoolyard myth,” Cody spits out.

“Destined to cause havoc wherever he went,” Jono goes on, as if not hearing Cody. “I might as well be a wedgie warlock ‘cos I can wedgie you two losers in my sleep! Ha! On my deathbed you two will be right beside me, tighty whities in my knuckled fists as you two squirm out the hospital window. And as I take my last breath, I’ll die knowing at least I lived a life of honour.”

Jono cackles, tauntingly stroking Cody’s face as he continues to writhe. The feeling of the pressure from the underwear pushing down against his balls kicks in, causing the inevitable hard-on. He tries to telepathically communicate with his elated dick to stand down, but it’s no use, his erection that’s not ESP-enabled on full display due to the pantsing. Upon noticing this, Jono shrieks with laughter.

“What is this?! Are you actually enjoying this you faggot! Look, nerd boy’s fully erect!”

“W—What? No, I just really need to piss, dickhead!” Cody yells back.

Luckily the crowd on the other side of the fence can’t see what Jono’s referencing, but they’re definitely able to watch him throw a very hard and painful blow right into Cody’s groin, eliciting a high-pitched yelp and causing his vision to go blurry for a few seconds.

“Let it be known,” Jono says as he turns to the onlookers, “this is what happens to dweebs who don’t know their place.”

Cody turns to Anton, but it’s like he’s shut down, lost in pain and embarrassment. A few phone camera shutter clicks and a wave of bell sounds he recognises as the down vote button wash over the crowd, signalling Cody’s ascent to Level 3 is well and truly out of the picture. All those attempts to leave the lower levels and graduate with at least some dignity are no more than a pipe dream now.

Out of the corner of his eye, he spots Darren, sweet perfect amazing Darren, walk past, around the crowd and down the road. The two’s eyesight lock for a brief moment, but Darren looks down, walking faster out of sight. Cody’s asshole might be on fire right now, but nothing could ever be more painful than seeing Darren walk past.

Slowly, Jono, the twins and the crowd start to leave, until it’s just Cody and Anton hanging by their “wedgie-proof” underwear. Minutes pass. The school’s abandoned, with everyone hurrying home to get a start to their holiday break. But not Cody and Anton. No matter their attempts to get down, they just continue to hang, ever so slightly swinging back and forth against the fence. Cody’s phone rings at one point, probably Timmy asking where he is, but he can’t even reach his pants round his ankles to answer.

“I’d kill to give that loser what he deserves,” Anton says through gritted teeth.

“A-fucking-men,” replies Cody. Although truth be told, he just wants to get out of this wedgie and go home.

By this point, the fabric is beginning to really tear away at Cody’s asshole, as if his body has accepted the fabric as a part of him and is merging it with the rest of his being, no longer a human but the embodiment of pain and shame. This hanging wedgie certainly tops yesterday’s wedgie in a heartbeat. Hell, 50 ripping atomic wedgies aren’t even enough to beat the sheer humiliation this hanging wedgie has been. He always thought getting a public hanging wedgie like this would be secretly incredibly hot, but hanging here now with his bits on fire just waiting to be let down is enough to turn any wedgie boy’s erection soft.

Cody stares at the ground, wishing to feel the soft fake oval grass against his feet. The cool wind tickles his exposed legs, and he wonders if he’s ever felt so utterly helpless before. Closing his eyes, he clears his mind, leaving just the agonising sensation in his groin. Why won’t these boxer briefs just give way? He’s been hanging for almost half an hour, and not even a single tear? Surely even synthetic Gagarium underwear can’t hold up forever against his whole body weight.

With a thud, Cody lands on the ground. His head spins for a few seconds, but he quiveringly sits up, looking back at the fence where he was just hanging from. Maybe Gagarium isn’t as rip-proof as it was marketed.

“How in the world…?”

Cody peels some fake oval grass off his face and snaps back to reality. Anton. Get Anton down.

“Just a sec Anton, I’m gonna get you down—”

“HEY!”

Cody turns to see Jono and the twin doofuses flying across the oval towards them. A shriek escapes Cody’s lips as he freezes, torn between helping Anton and running for his fucking life. He meets Anton’s eyes, staring in bewilderment as Anton furiously writhes to be let down.

“I’m so sorry Anton.”

“CODY! CODY NO!”

Cody yanks his backpack onto his shoulders and pounces onto the fence, climbing up and over it to the other side just as Jono and the twins arrive. He falls onto the pathway, stumbling as the yells of the bullies chase him all the way down the path and into the underpass. One last glance shows the trio swarming Anton’s helpless body, his screams drowned out by the sound of Cody’s heart beating in his chest.