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Wedgie Warlock: Chapter 5

Five years earlier.

Anton’s heels slam against the barbed wire, sending a rattle pattering throughout the fence. Jeers taunt at his ankles like a pack of wolves waiting for their prey to succumb to defeat. No matter how hard he closes his eyes and cries out in distress, no one is coming to rescue him from this torture.

“You better hope Saturday games aren’t cancelled this week Anton, or else you’re in for the longest weekend of your life,” Jono admonishes.

Tim walks up and pulls down on Anton’s legs, searing the underwear further up his ass. This elicits a high-pitched wail, which seems to satisfy Tim and prompts him to sit back down a few feet from the fence where his brother Jim sits. Anton’s been hanging for at least a couple hours, maybe even longer. He lost feeling in his groin roughly three leg-pulls ago, and he wonders if he’ll ever feel anything down there again. On his left, Jono stands with a lit cigarette dangling from his lips, scrolling on his phone and occasionally looking up to check the pathway on the other side of the fence making sure no teachers or anyone with authority comes past. Unfortunately for Anton though, with school out for the rest of the year, the walkway’s been empty for quite some time. Jono’s phone chimes and he chuckles lightly.

“Well boys, Sophie’s just got off work so we’re gonna go fuck a bunch in the back of her aunt’s car,” Jono says, bro-hugging Jim and nut-tapping Tim goodbye. “Now you,” he smirks, turning to Anton who remains hanging helplessly on the fence, “you’ll be good to my bros now won’t you?”

Anton’s head slowly nods, although trembling is probably a more accurate description. This isn’t helped when Jono comes even closer so that he’s just inches away from his victim, cupping his face in his hand for a brief moment.

“And remember, no one’s coming to save you. No one cares enough about you to even think about saving you. You’re getting just what you deserve, you pathetic, weak nerd,” Jono says in a low yet menacing tone.

Satisfied with the torment he’s imbued, Jono takes one final breath of his cigarette, blowing smoke into Anton’s face. He then takes his exit, calling out “you look even nerdier from the back!” as he walks on the pathway behind the fence.

The twins don’t stay for too much longer once their leader’s gone. They taunt and pull Anton’s legs a bit more, even give him a few nut shots, but mostly keep to themselves and gab about school and homework and teachers. With not much else to do besides listen, Anton reluctantly learns Jim can’t actually read and just pays people to do his homework for him, and that Tim might legit be bisexual (“Am I, like, supposed to be as into Mr Rogers as I am Ms Humphreys bro?”). Eventually the two decide to head off when it begins getting dark, the sun setting as Anton remains ensnared in this never-ending hanging wedgie.

Five years later, present-day Anton recalls the powerlessness he felt during that hanging wedgie as he stands in the shadowed darkness of a hallway in the MCG’s bleachers. How inescapable his torture was, and how futile it was for him to hope that someone would let him down when no one ever did. His blood boiled for vengeance then, and it sure as hell boils now. Like molten lava flowing through his veins, his retribution knows no bounds, no limits.

The horns blare and the stadium erupts as the players jog onto the field below, indicating the preliminary chants and roistering before the start of the match. A smile creeps its way to Anton’s face. These football players have no idea what’s about to happen. No one’s coming to save them. No one will be able to save them, not from Anton’s clutches. They’re gonna get just what they deserve.

Anton dashes to the end of the hallway and out into the crowded bleachers. He leaps, rods of the same metallic fibre used in his slings extending from his cape sleeves. Focusing his telekinetic powers on the rods, he uses them to levitate him forward through the air. He hovers above the heads of excited fans, soon reaching the centre of the field. In one quick gesture, he curls his hands upward as he telekinetically wedgies every single football player on the field. He cackles as the athletes screech in unison and all around fans begin to realise something’s gone terribly wrong.

With the flick of his wrists, Anton shoots out dozens of metallic fibre slings from his pockets, each one linking themselves in and under a player’s groin and lifting them up off the ground, their screams getting louder and more dire. Among the players is Darren, currently howling with pain as he’s levitated via the most intense wedgie of his life. Gasps emit throughout the stadium, with some spectators getting out their phones to record the debacle but most not knowing what to do. Sat next to his puzzled cousin in his apartment several blocks away from the stadium, a horrified Timmy softly whispers “oh no” as he watches this all unfold live on TV.

Several streets from the unfolding chaos, Cody slings his way throughout the CBD. He’s starting to get the hang of using the city buildings as his own personal monkey bars, although the sensation’s unlike anything he’s ever experienced. It’s not so much painful as it is awkward yet absolutely thrilling. It’s like a roller coaster that continuously swings him left and right, tugging uncomfortably at his butt cheeks but enabling him to glide through the air with ease. By now, he actually has kind of gotten used to the sensation of the discomfort, his underwear lodged somewhat snugly in and around his groin.

Cody turns the corner to Bourke Street Mall, one of the CBD’s central shopping and tourist hubs. Up until now all he’d got was maybe a few perplexed look-ups as he soared through small streets and laneways, but now his wedgie antics are front and centre for all to see. Immediately people start pointing and taking videos, catching Cody a little off guard as he overshoots his right leg hole, completely missing the pole he was aiming for and sending him hurtling to the ground. At the last second he yanks the back of his underwear to stabilise himself, ensuring a smoother than expected landing. Nevertheless, he’s attracted a swarm of phone flashlights and shouting faces, surrounding him on all sides.  His extremely oversized and stretched out underwear hangs on the floor, prompting a few people to bend down and attempt to touch it. For a second he’s taken back to that day on the fence, where everyone gawked at him and phones were out to permanently capture his humiliation. The camera shutter clicks, the phone flashes, the overlapping of voices – this is exactly what it felt like, as if he’s some immobilised sculpture in a museum for all to look at and judge.

Remembering Timmy’s advice, Cody shoves his fears back down. He will not fall prey to external judgements, no matter how outrageously bizarre it is for some 23-year old man to be flying throughout the city by his huge tighty whities. Cody centres his focus back to the MCG, shooting his left leg hole out and hooking it to a nearby pole. He’s able to swing out and escape just before the crowd gets too invasive, recovering his tempo as he leaves the crowd behind.

Cody makes it to Fed Square without any other major mishaps. Once there though, he’s stopped in his tracks by what he sees projected on the huge screen in the plaza: live coverage of football players hanging in the air by their undies, and a smug Anton in the middle directing all this with his wedgie telekinesis. His foe has already attached metallic fibre slings to the jocks and is beginning to attach them to the huge goal posts on either end of the MCG, securing them in permanent death-defying hanging wedgies. Fuelled by his reinvigorated desire to put an end to Anton’s scheme, Cody continues on, plunging into the final stretch to the arena.

Back at the stadium, all thirty-six of the on-field players have now been hung onto one of the goal posts by metallic sling. Anton hovers in the centre of the field, gloating as he announces his master plan of vengeance.

“Are all cameras on me?” Anton yells, his voice booming throughout the arena. “This isn’t going to work unless all major media outlets are filming this.”

A hoard of security personnel rush out from the stands and onto the field, preparing their guns and lining up in unison. A chief emerges from the line-up with a horn speaker.

“Cease what you are doing and return all players to ground, or we will fire,” the chief sternly says into the speaker.

“No one can stop this, especially not you and your puny guns” Anton replies, grinning.

“We will fire in three, two—”

With the cock of Anton’s hands, the troops are all lifted up into the air by their underpants, being briefly suspended before being thrown back onto the floor, many of whom now in debilitating atomic wedgies. The few who do manage to stand back up, Anton sweeps them off their feet, sending them flying by their front underwear to the other end of the stadium.

“You see, my whole life has been ammunition for revenge. I’m not gonna let anyone ruin my moment,” Anton bellows. “For far too long, jocks like these supposedly strong men have reined terror on people like me. Countless wedgies and swirlies and being shoved into lockers and having my life be made into a living hell just to stroke their ego. We celebrate and encourage such pure expressions of masculine dominance through sport, but do nothing when the same dominant masculinity is weaponised to hurt and ridicule and mock. This ends today. With my powers, I am finally able to show these buffoons what us nerds are truly capable of. These AFL players are only the beginning. From now on, EVERY jock shall bear the same fear I’ve carried MY ENTIRE LIFE! And with that—”

“Stop!” Cody shouts, swinging his way into the arena. He secures himself on one end of the MCG, his leg holes just able to stretch out far enough to suspend him from either end of the roof. “You can’t do this!”

“Twist!” Anton smirks. “Here to get your ass handed to you one more time?”

“What you’re doing makes you no better than the people who’ve bullied you,” Cody yells.

“And wouldn’t you know,” Anton spits back.

“I’m done taking the blame for you to justify your mistreatment of others. I’m not responsible for that day 5 years ago Anton, but I will be responsible for stopping you and saving these innocent people today, because there’s no way I’m gonna let you get away with any more harm!”

Anton guffaws to himself. Out of the corner of Cody’s eye, he spots Darren hanging from the goal post closest to his left. The two share eye contact for a split second and Cody smiles, evoking a flood of relief to Darren’s rosy cheeks.

“Well alright. Let’s see you save these poor, innocent people then!”

With a downward flick of the wrist, Anton swiftly recalls all of his metal slings. All thirty-six AFL players who were hanging plummet to the ground, a wave of gasps and shrieks emitting from the crowd. Jolting himself out of shock, Cody takes stock of the whereabouts of all athletes and extends his telekinesis out to cover the full arena. Using all his might, he pulls out all thirty-six players’ underwear, giving them all wedgies as he manages to suspend them mid-air, halting their falls.

Having closed his eyes through exertion of his powers, Cody now opens them and takes a few seconds to appreciate what he’s just accomplished. Luckily all the athletes are wearing Gagarium’s successor, a durable trunk without any of the toxicity, ensuring the players’ underwear don’t immediately snap from the pressure. Still, the enormous mental strain causes Cody to falter a little, groaning as he struggles to maintain telekinetic control of thirty-six people’s underwear.

“Whatever happened to not giving other people wedgies, Cody?” Anton taunts. “Because honestly, I’m a little offended that you reject my offer to wedgie the world’s jocks, and here I find you doing exactly that!”

“Oh you fucker,” Cody grunts, doubling down on the thirty-six dangling wedgies he’s giving. Of course Anton would intentionally put him in a position where he has to do the one thing he doesn’t want to do in order to stop a gruesome mass-murder. Knowing he can only maintain this for a few more seconds, Cody lowers the jocks down the rest of the way, managing to get them all somewhat bump-free to the ground. The second they’re safe, they rush to the sidelines.

Cody turns back to face Anton, but immediately is pulled out of his roof-suspension wedgie, soaring across the arena to where Anton is by the front of his underwear. Realising his foe’s taken control of his trunks, Cody attempts to stabilise himself by pulling on the back of his underwear, but is instantly made aware of his mistake in the resulting ball-splitting squeaky-clean wedgie. Anton takes advantage of this, expanding it out to an all-around wedgie by mentally tugging on all sides of Cody’s underwear, eliciting a shrill scream.

“Give into the pain,” Anton yells over Cody’s cries. “Give me the wedgie you know you want to give me. You have no chance of succeeding without using the full extent of your power.”

“Never!” Cody belts.

Anton sends several metallic slings over to Cody, one locking in place in wedgie position (in and around his genitalia) and the rest bandaging themselves around his outstretched body. Cody’s stretched out underwear is now pulled to hug his body, making way for the slings to start encasing him and his wedgied undies like an Egyptian mummy. Anton levitates higher, rising above the stadium and bringing his enveloped victim with him.

“Let it be known what happens to those who try to oppose the new reign of nerds,” Anton roars.

Below them, the crowd anxiously watches in fear as Cody is tortured, his agony broadcast on televisions all over the country. Back home, Timmy sits with his phone in his hand and bated breath, too engrossed by what’s happening to explain to his cousin why his best friend and roommate is at the biggest sporting event getting the wedgie of his life for all to spectate.

“You can do it Cody,” Timmy says under his breath.

At the MCG, Cody lies helplessly as Anton continues to wrap him in slings. He tries but fails to pull them off him, the Gagarium particles in them being too small for him to manipulate with his mind. He glances down at the field and more troops have lined up, guns poised at Anton. But the proclaimed wedgie warlock pays them no heed, continuing to wrap his wedgied prey.

The final sling coils into place and Cody notices the faintest grin slither its way to Anton’s lips. With a quick swish, Cody is flung up and out of the stadium, soaring through the air back towards the CBD. He can barely protest as wind lashes at his ears, the city landscape hurtling towards him at frightening speed. He takes notice of his trajectory and realises Anton’s throwing him into the Yarra River with the intention of drowning him.

Passing over Birrarung Marr park, Cody frantically searches for some way to stop his descent and break free from the slings that still keep him chained. At the rate he’s going now, he’ll just fly over the Princes Bridge and land in the river beyond it. Remembering his extra resources, Cody telekinetically plucks out one of his XXXL projectile briefs and shoots it out in front of him, latching both ends on adjacent poles at the front end of the bridge. With Anton’s mind control now solely focused on the slings and no longer on Cody’s underwear, he’s able to tug on his own boxer briefs, pushing them downwards against his back to force a slightly lower trajectory. Thanks to his quick thinking, he hits the projectile brief that acts like a hammock breaking his fall, ripping off the poles upon impact. Cody lands on the bridge’s road, rolling past multiple startled pedestrians and stopping just short of the other side’s footpath.

“Motherfucker,” Cody groans, greeting the new aches in his body. At least the wedgie pain he sort of likes, the other body pain from being almost forcedly drowned is nowhere near as pleasurable.

He hardly has time to catch his breath as Anton touches down some feet away, metal fibre rods retracting into his sleeves. Before any more damage can be done, Cody yanks his own underwear, allowing his entire body to shoot out of the metallic sling contraption undies-first, just as Anton fails to tighten them. His luck doesn’t last long though as Anton immediately starts manipulating Cody’s undies, wedgieing him from all sides. Due to the enhanced stretch of the Gagarium reinforced underwear, Anton’s able to inflict multiple atomic wedgies, pulling over Cody’s head first from the back and then the sides and front.

“I guess the plus side of you being an annoying brat is I finally get to give someone a gift wrap wedgie,” Anton sneers.

“[muffled shouting],” Cody retorts.

Anton starts circling his hands in a tornado-like motion, causing the wedgie victim to spin round and round, slowly levitating upwards by his cocooning underwear. Cody tries to lash out with his arms and legs, but they’re tightly restricted by the wedgie. If it weren’t for the destabilising spinning, he might be able to take over telekinetic control from Anton, but the rising motion sickness makes that a no-go. Recalling the projectile brief that he used to break his fall, Cody mentally feels out for it, eventually locating its whereabouts in his mind’s eye. Using all his might, the brief whips up at Anton’s arms, breaking his focus and sending Cody falling back to the ground.

Retracting his atomic wedgied boxer briefs, Cody sends out a couple more projectile briefs that hit Anton in the face, blocking his vision. This buys him just enough time to run forward and extend his right leg hole out, hooking over Anton’s head and tightening around his body. With his immobilised foe secured in the makeshift lasso, Cody does a backflip, the momentum ramming Anton to the ground hard.

“Now that’s more fuckin’ like it,” Cody pants.

Conscious of maintaining the upper hand, Cody retracts his lasso while sending out another two projectile briefs, using the leg holes to catch Anton in an even bigger lasso around his chest and kneecaps. Holding onto the other end of the projectile briefs’ leg holes with his hands, Cody flings out his own underwear and begins soaring his way through the city once more, now with his foe trailing behind him. He keeps low this time and sticks mostly to traffic lights and low-level poles, making sure to give Anton’s succumbing body the bumpiest ride he can.

“How’s the weather back there?” Cody teases.

“You piece of—”

Anton bumps into a bin.

“I swear to God when I—”

Anton bumps into a fire hydrant.

“Release me right now or I will end your—”

Anton bumps into a traffic light.

Cody grins at his indulgent payback at Anton, so much so that he fails to notice an oncoming bus. He’s able to swerve out of its path at the last second but comes crashing to the ground. He’s not even on his feet when his underwear’s yanked up and over his head and the lasso leg holes he’s holding are jerked forward, sending Cody scraping across the gravel on his front in his atomic wedgie. With a thud his swimcapped face meets Anton’s boot.

“What you just did made the torment I’m about to put you through one hundred times worse,” Anton growls.

“You’re gonna have to catch me first.”

Thinking on his feet, Cody unhooks his atomic-ed waistband from his forehead and yanks it upward, whipping Anton across the face. Cody then does a full 180 with his underwear, sending it, and therefore him, backward. He kicks his way onto his feet, now fully running up the street. A quick glance over his shoulder confirms that Anton’s only a few paces behind him, prompting Cody to direct his right leg hole out to the nearby flagpole and recommence his swinging trek throughout the city. Anton does the same, extending metal rods from his arms and enabling his pursuit.

The two fly down Little Lonsdale Street, Cody curving and twisting his way through the bustling street while Anton hovers close behind. Tradies pause construction work to gape, and a parked tour bus on the right side of the road is jolted alive as astonished tourists point and snap photos of the passing chaos. At every chance possible Anton hurls a metallic fibre sling at Cody, but only one of them hits, grazing Cody’s upper thigh and slightly tearing the back of his khakis. He must have thrown out at least a dozen, or maybe even two, yet each one misses and hurtles down to the road below. One sling almost hits Cody directly in the head as he swings past Officeworks, but at the last moment he shoots out his own last projectile brief, intercepting it and taking it out.

Cody soon realises that it’s only a matter of time before he can no longer put off the inevitable fight between them. Additionally, the longer he continues, the tireder he becomes, having already swung to the MCG and back, and then some. As he nears Exhibition Street, he gets an idea. He decides to make a surprise attack, using the traffic light to pivot and circle around, outstretching his other leg hole and grabbing hold of the metal sling Anton’s using to levitate on his right arm. He yanks on it, ripping it from Anton’s grasp and disposing of it down below. Cody goes for Anton’s other metallic sling, but not before his foe manages to grab hold of his underwear, reeling him in to a knee in the balls. This elicits a whimper from Cody, but Anton’s nowhere near done. Cody’s back waistband is propelled backwards, sending him flying out into the main intersection to a fanfare of car horns and pedestrian yells. While he does succeed in confiscating the other sling in the process, he ends up crashing into the famed John’s Ice Cream Stand, collapsing the cart and splashing ice cream everywhere onto the pavement.

Numbness takes over as the adrenaline surrenders to the cold (and recovering groin). Even with slightly blurred vision from the fall, Cody can easily make out Anton’s figure as he slowly makes his way across the intersection. Somewhere behind him, the Italian yellings of old John patter out of earshot. Head pounding and legs rather badly injured, Cody shoves the ice cream stand’s umbrella out in front of him to shield him from Anton and the public, using this cover to readjust his pants. He feels for the tear in his khakis on the underside of his back thigh, prodding it with his fingers to reveal his bare skin. Lifting his leg up, he recognises the steel container he’s lying on to be labelled as containing dry ice.

Around the intersection, traffic has stopped as many drivers get out of their cars to see who the mysterious person that fell from the sky is. Once Anton begins making his way over to the crash site however, the onlookers stay back, fearful of the crazed man in the cape.

“You really know how to make me work for my meal,” Anton says, stopping a few feet from the ice cream stand. “Or in this case, master plan of vengeance on all those who have wronged me.”

“After all this, you still find a way to blame other people to justify production of harm,” Cody calls out from behind the umbrella.

“This has been fun Codes, but it’s time for you to go to nerd heaven,” Anton says, readying himself.

Cody emerges from the wreckage, pushing aside the umbrella and taking a few trembled steps to join Anton face to face. He meets Anton’s eye line and sees the scared teenage boy he knew staring back at him. Even now, with dozens of jocks he’s inflicted pain on, as well as the overnight hanging wedgie he put Cody in, at his core Anton just has fear. Fear of abandonment and not being cared for, and fear that no one will ever see him in his pure truth: that he never deserved the endured abuse coded as school bullying in the first place. If pity weren’t such a patronising emotion, that’d be what Cody sees in Anton.

“Last chance, Anton,” Cody says.

Anton chortles. “That’s what I should be saying with the wedgie I’m about to give you.”

In one fell swoop, Anton jabs out his arms and violently thrusts them upward. But nothing happens. The grin on his face droops as Cody raises his eyebrows.

“Cool moves,” Cody teases.

Infuriated, Anton tries again, gesturing with even more energy, but to no avail. He looks at his hands in utter perplexity, mystified by their sudden seeming inability to wedgie the fuck out of whomever he so pleases.

“You know, without the actual powers, you just look kinda stupid,” Cody says.

“I don’t understand…” Anton mutters.

“The problem is Anton, you can’t really wedgie someone who’s not wearing any underwear. Dry ice is one of the few things on earth that can cut through Gagarium, but luckily the ice cream stand you flung me into had that a plenty. When I landed the underwear dissolved.”

Cody thrusts both hands down his pants, rummaging in and around his bare junk for a few seconds before lifting them back up without even a strand of underwear fabric found. “See?”

The fury in Anton’s eyes reignite. With his whole body flung into it, he tries once more to yank and pull and jerk and heave and wedgie Cody’s underwear with all his might, but there truly are no undies left to wedgie.

“Doesn’t matter how hard you try Anton, I’m now a commando queen.”

“That’s nothing a metallic fibre sling can’t fix,” Anton snarls as he sprawls out his arms. But no metal slings leave his pockets. In a ferocious tantrum, he flicks up his coat, padding his legs’ empty pockets but finding not one sling.

“Y’know, I couldn’t help but notice you use all of your slings back in the chase,” Cody chimes in, interrupting Anton’s frenzied rage. “I think the things you’re looking for are a few blocks downtown, buddy. Which is a shame because with nothing on me to wedgie, your powers are kinda useless.”

Anton seethingly pants as the truth of Cody’s words hit him. With no slings or underwear on his victim, he’s run out of ways to channel his power.

“You might have stopped your torture for now but my powers are endless!” Anton retorts. “Besides, you’ve also run out of underwear to whip or swing around the city with so looks like we’re equal. I’m the motherfucking wedgie warlock! I took that title and I promised to show the world what I’m truly capable of.”

“The title of Wedgie Warlock is one you stole for yourself when you fulfilled the bullies’ prophecy of inflicting harm,” Cody says calmly. “A true Wedgie Warlock’ knows the bounds of their power and how to use them for good.”

“Since when did you know so much about wedgie warlocks? You denied yourself the opportunity to become one when you refused to join me and invalidated your own innate powers,” Anton spits.

“That’s where you’re wrong. In refusing to join you in your twisted cycle of pain, I detached from the weaponisation of the wedgie warlock as a schoolyard fable to taunt a bully’s victims. In doing so, I discovered a new and more truthful way of being a Wedgie Warlock. See, your power comes from the pain and the fear you instil in others. My power comes from my willingness to do what’s right for the goodness of others. That’s the distinction you lack, and that’s why you’ll never be a true Wedgie Warlock dissociated from a bully’s wet dream of a taunt.”

“You’re bluffing,” Anton says, shaking his head.

Cody smiles. In a flash, a mass of purple energy radiates out of his body, surrounding him as he levitates a foot off the ground. The energy grows as if exploding around him from all sides, collapsing into the nebula that is his body. Through the eruption of energy, a single strand of purple fabric is born, slowly weaving its way around Cody’s waist. It expands and becomes longer, encircling down his thighs as a pair of purple boxer briefs are luminously formed. The new underwear phases through Cody’s khakis, fitting snugly around his bruised and sore hips.

Seeing this, Anton steps forward and tries to manipulate Cody’s new manifested underwear, but he cannot. Made not from his enhanced powers but through his compassion for other people, his new purple underwear is untouchable to anyone except himself. With nothing left, Anton seeks his last resort.

“So what, you’re a wedgie warlock?! All because you give yourself wedgies in the name of humanity? I can do that, I can EASILY do that!” Anton yells.

Anton stomps his foot on the ground, cementing his stance. With a tremendous roar, he leans back, channelling all his might into his own navy trunks, preparing to wedgie himself in an attempt to attack Cody. Seeing the extravagant exertion and knowing Anton’s underwear is not fused with Gagarium, Cody tries to stop him but it’s too late. In a fatal swing of his arms, Anton heaves his arms forward, ripping the front of his underwear and sending shreds flying. For a second, the whole city stops and listens. The scream emitted from Anton’s lips echoes throughout the intersection, stopped only when Cody knocks him to the ground.

Cody’s breathing slows as he processes everything that’s just happened. He sits down next to his defeated foe’s unconscious body and watches the gentle inhales and exhales. A man who wanted the world to feel his pain finally stopped in his tracks. He rests his hand on Anton’s shoulder and sighs. Cody did it.

Police sirens begin wailing in the distance just as Cody gets an idea on what to do with Anton. He stands up and cautiously picks up his subdued foe. Registering his new boxer briefs in his mind, Cody shoots out his right leg hole and pulls the two of them up onto the roof of a building. Already his new super underwear feels smoother than before. With one final look at the intersection and small crowd below, Cody readjusts Anton’s body on his shoulder and swings away.

Back at the apartment, Timmy anxiously paces back and forth with his phone in hand. The television chatters on in the background, showing sports commentators as they narrate the stadium’s evacuation and clean-up. By now Jeremy’s picked up enough clues to figure out that Cody has something to do with the abnormality of the situation and that they have no idea where he is.

The front door suddenly bursts open and there stands Cody carrying Anton over his shoulder. Timmy leaps to go hug him, then taking over and carrying Anton over to the couch.

“I did it. I actually stopped Anton,” Cody says, grinning from ear to ear.

“I’m just so glad you’re not covered in piss this time,” Timmy laughs. “Did the underwear work?”

“Yeah, although I kinda got an upgrade,” Cody replies.

“Is this guy dead?” Jeremy asks as he puts a finger up to Anton’s wrist, checking for a pulse.

“He’s unconscious for the time being, but I need to hurry,” Cody says, walking over to the couch and aligning Anton’s body so that he’s flat and streamlined. “After I defeated him it I realised that there’s nothing stopping him from just waking up tomorrow and trying this world-revenge-on-jock thing all over again. There has to be a way to neutralise his powers so he’s no more capable of giving painful wedgies than the next guy. And then it hit me: With my powers, I might be able to extract the Gagarium particles inside him and nullify his connection to the source.”

“That sounds really dangerous. Do you know if it’ll work?” Timmy asks.

“I have to try, or else everything we’ve done will have been for nothing,” Cody replies. “Plus they did it on Legend of Korra and it worked, so.”

“That’s a kid’s show…” Jeremy begins to say, but Cody shushes him. With all his focus, he narrows in on the Gagarium inside Anton’s body. Once he’s able to visualise it all in his mind’s eye, he gently flows his hands, beginning the process of coaxing the material out of the body. Slowly but surely, he moves his hands across to where Anton’s head is, pulling the Gagarium along with him. Sure enough, after a few seconds, Anton’s mouth opens and a metallic violet liquid – Gagarium in its raw form – floats out of him. Timmy catches it all in a jar from the kitchen.

With the Gagarium eliminated from Anton’s bloodstream, the three of them sit in silence for a moment, taking everything in. The peril Anton posed has been subdued, and without his powers they can expect things to pretty much go back to normal. Well, normal with a few extra telekinesis powers on Cody’s end.

“That’s some weird shit dude,” Jeremy says breaking the silence.

Cody decides to anonymously drop Anton off at a hospital an hour or two away from the CBD. Dressed now in regular clothes, the former threat to the city of Melbourne is unrecognisable at least for the moment. Cody takes Anton to the foyer of the hospital, telling staff he found the unconscious body along the side of the road. Thankfully they take him in to test his vitals.

“You think he’s done terrorising the world?” Timmy asks as he joins Cody in the foyer.

“For now, yes,” Cody answers. “Hopefully with his powers gone and a little therapy, he’ll finally move on and be able to live a somewhat regular life.”

A few weeks later, the two best friends stand amongst a crowd of people, all gathered to see Timmy’s premier exhibition. Inspired by the mysterious ‘wedgie boy’ who’s taken over local news coverage and gone semi-viral on social media for his swinging-throughout-the-city shenanigans, Timmy created a whole series dedicated to the wedgie superhero. Mannequins with bedazzled tighty whities and fashionable atomic wedgie Grace Jones-esque hoods line the art instalment, wowing the critics and the public. Cody’s favourite is a mannequin dressed in gothic vampire black and red couture holding a front wedgie up to it’s mouth.

“Y’know I always knew I was your muse,” Cody, who’s donned an incognito hoodie, cap and sunnies, tells Timmy.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Timmy chuckles.

After the successful first day of the exhibition, the two make their way to the MCG, where they meet up with Jeremy for the rescheduled match between the Cats and the Tigers. Packs of people attend the massive event, cheering as the football players are able to give their all unhindered by any super villain’s mass revenge plans. Having snagged three tickets to the game, the three of them sit at the back row, watching the match unfold. Even Timmy starts to get invested into the game, cheering and hurrah-ing with his cousin, but Cody’s not paying attention to the game itself. He’s here for another reason.

After the match (and the Cats beat the Tigers), Cody heads to the player changing and dressing rooms. He flashes his VIP lanyard to a security guard, who in turn lets him into a large lounge room for the athletes to relax in before and after games. Already there’s a few family members and other VIP guests who are celebrating the Cats’ win with the players. Scanning the room, Cody eventually spots a shirtless Darren, jogging over.

“Cody! You made it,” Darren says, hugging Cody.

“Yeah of course!” Cody says, hiding his blush in the nape of Darren’s bare neck. “Dude congrats, you guys killed it out there. The seats you got us were amazing, Timmy’s cousin was absolutely ecstatic when we got here.”

“It’s the least I can do for, y’know… you saving all of us,” Darren leans in, whispering the last bit into Cody’s ear.

Cody giggles. “Hey, wanna get outta here for a bit?”

Darren grins. “I would love nothing more. Where you have in mind?”

Five minutes later, Cody’s slinging through the city via telekinetic underwear with Darren in his arms holding on for his life. Cody looks down to see Darren’s face balled up in terror, barely glancing down at the ground hurtling past them below.

“When you said go out I didn’t think you meant this!” Darren shouts.

Cody eventually makes his way to Fitzroy Gardens, setting the two of them back on the ground. Pale from the impromptu trip, pink relief floods back into Darren’s face as he holds his spinning head in his hands. Cody laughs, embracing him in a hug and stroking his back gently.

“How do you not puke doing that?” Darren asks.

“Well, I’ve only really done it one other time, and the adrenaline of stopping someone from causing mass harm kinda got me through it. I think I’m getting used to the feeling though,” Cody admits, patting his hips.

Darren grins, taking a few steps closer so that they’re just inches apart. He looks down at the purple underwear sticking out of Cody’s jeans, grasping the right leghole and giving it a few gentle tugs. A nervous exhale escapes Cody’s lips, but before he can say anything Darren leans in and kisses him. Cody melts into Darren’s mouth, pulling him closer as the lips of two long-time friends acquaint for the first time. Even as they kiss, Darren keeps one hand along Cody’s jaw and one shyly tugging away at his boxer briefs.

“You enjoying that wedgie?” Darren whispers into Cody’s ear.

“Shut up and pull harder,” Cody murmurs, pulling Darren closer.

After a minute of this heaven, Darren pulls back, grinning stupidly in glee. Cody blushes, unable to take in his crush’s exhilarated unwavering eye contact.

“I can’t believe I just kissed THE Wedgie Warlock,” Darren finally says.

Cody theatrically rolls his eyes. “Say that again and I’ll wedgie you with my mind.”

“Whatever you say bro.”

Following lots more making out, Cody eventually walks Darren back to the stadium for his team’s post-match celebrations, but not before the two plan a proper date for the coming week. Giddy from finally kissing his five-year crush (and honestly a little from the gentle wedgie flossing too), Cody swings back home to tell Timmy all about this success. He lands on the apartment’s roof, underwear snapping back in place. He races down the stairs and inserts his key to their apartment’s lock, opening it.

“Timmy, you’ll never guess what happened!” Cody calls out, walking through the foyer and past the kitchen.

When he reaches the living room though, it’s not Timmy or Jeremy who greets him, but a man in a red hoodie with short curled black hair. He appears to be in his early twenties like Cody, and has a lean figure. He looks up, smiling when Cody enters.

“Cody Thompson?” He asks.

“Yeah— who are you?” Cody hesitantly asks.

“I’m Jordie. I saw what you were able to accomplish at the MCG using wedgie telekinesis and I was really impressed. I think you’d make a valuable asset to the team.”

“Thank you— Uh what team?” Cody replies.

“The Wedgie Warlock is not the only superhero in this city,” Jordie says, standing up and walking over. “Cody, I was hoping I could take a few minutes of your time to discuss The Wedgie Heroes Initiative.”

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Wedgie Warlock: Chapter 4

Rattling on the fence jolts Cody awake. It’s light out and he can make out the sounds of weekend soccer practice on the oval, which mostly just comprise of lots of shouting and loud grunting. Luckily a fairly large tree shields him from public embarrassment, but not from the janitor currently staring up at him with the most confused expression on their face.

“You need help sir?” The janitor asks.

“Yep,” Cody croaks.

With the help of a stepladder, the janitor is able to hook Cody off the fence and he falls to the ground on his ass. Thankfully the numbness of his groin ensures he doesn’t take too bad a hit, and he’s able to stand up, albeit with a couple wobbles. The janitor nods and continues on their cleaning trip round the fence’s perimeter, leaving the wedgie victim standing there trying to muster any feeling he can back into his body.

For someone with a secret wedgie fetish, a forced hanging wedgie overnight definitely was almost all pain and no pleasure. It’s odd because there is a part of him that in the past had fantasised about being strung up by his undies and left to hang by the schoolyard bully all night. This deep, demonic desire within him that had craved pain and humiliation got just that, except it wasn’t enjoyable in the slightest. A few hours in, his body had become numb, not helped by the freezing cold. At one point in the middle of the night, he was pretty sure a bird came and perched on him, pecking at his right ear a little. By then though, it was hard to know what was real and what was just a manifestation of his exhausted mind.

The trip home isn’t too bad. The faint piss stains around his crotch draw a few perturbed stares on the train, but he’s too numb to notice. He goes to get his phone to call Timmy, but finding his pockets empty, remembers dropping it in the toilet the night before. Sigh. Truthfully though, he doesn’t even know what he’d tell his best friend. That he just got the worst wedgie of his life but that, in some weird twisted way, he kind of deserved it? The thing is, the more time that passed that night and the more painful the wedgie got, all he could think about was how this was exactly how Anton had felt, and how if Cody had been able to prevent it in the first place, neither of them would’ve had to endure such an agonising hanging wedgie. Anton had trusted Cody, only for him to abandon him at such a critical moment. Any pain or abandonment or humiliation he felt just made him empathise with Anton more.

Cody eventually reaches the apartment, and as he unlocks the front door and enters, a flurry of footsteps comes to greet him, followed by:

“WHEW you STINK Cody!” Timmy exclaims.

He still hugs him though, welcoming the first bit of warmth Cody’s felt in forever. After a quick shower and a fresh set of clothes, Cody walks out to the living room where Timmy awaits with two mugs of tea.

“I should’ve come looking for you,” Timmy admits, Cody’s overnight disappearance obviously weighing heavily on his mind.

“No dude it’s ok,” Cody replies.

“It’s just… actually after you left for the bathroom, Martha confronted me about her dress from formal night and she said some pretty nasty stuff. She said I’d never make it as a designer and that nobody would trust a gay Thai boy to make anything other than cheap, low quality trash. So I just left and came back home.”

“Oh Timmy,” Cody says. Coming back to their casually racist and homophobic school environment for the first time in five years can’t have been easy. “I’m really sorry.”

“I just thought that with my design degree under my belt and my first exhibition coming up, people would actually respect me,” Timmy says. “That I would finally earn their respect.”

“Timmy, you gotta know that you are an incredible designer,” Cody says, taking Timmy’s hands in his. “The best I’ve ever seen. People like Martha have had their whole lives handed to them and thanks to La Chique, they’re empowered to be the worst, ugliest versions of themselves. You don’t need to earn their respect because it isn’t theirs to give. Don’t let irrelevant people tell you your own worth, yeah?”

The two share a smile that’s quickly followed by a hug. Timmy starts theatrically dabbing his eyes with an imaginary tissue, but when Cody hands him the actual tissue box he softens, not letting humour cover up this moment of vulnerability.

“Thanks Cody,” Timmy finally says. “I mean I still don’t know what I’m gonna do for this exhibition, but I’ll figure it out.”

“You will,” Cody reassures. “You absolutely will.”

“Ok now let’s talk about why you showed up here covered in your own piss,” Timmy says, shifting his weight and now staring right at Cody.

“Oh… Are you sure you don’t wanna talk more about how Martha made you feel? Maybe come up with a revenge plan together? You love revenge plans—”

“Cody,” Timmy says sternly, “what happened? I saw you talking with Darren so I thought maybe you two finally got together and were like doing it in the parking lot, but then you weren’t answering my texts and I started to worry.”

“Firstly nothing really happened between Darren and I. Or, well…” Cody sighs. “Ok confession cam: I think he was gonna ask me out but in true me fashion, I ruined the moment.”

“That’s huge!” Timmy beams.

“Yeah but he didn’t end up doing it, and I’m not even sure if he was gonna ask me out. I tried to rectify it but I think the moment had passed and he didn’t wanna risk being vulnerable again so he just didn’t ask again.”

“Aw sorry man,” Timmy says, rubbing his back in sympathy. “Maybe you’ll have another moment together?”

“I doubt it,” he replies. “Anyway it’s fine, nothing happened, let’s just… not talk about it.” He pauses, knowing what’s about to come next but putting it off for as long as he can. “Ok so… I have to tell you a secret.”

Cody nervously exhales, turning away for a brief moment. When he looks back, his friend is patiently waiting, the most welcoming of smiles on his face. Cody takes a deep breath.

“Ever since I could remember, I’ve had an interest… or, not just an interest, a fetish… a w— a… a wedgie fetish.”

Looking down, Cody expects to hear the roar of Timmy’s usual laughter. Instead, all he hears is: “A wedgie fetish?”

“Yeah,” Cody says, now looking up to meet Timmy’s eyes, no judgement to be found in them.

“Ok,” Timmy replies after a couple seconds to think.

“You don’t think it’s weird?” Cody asks.

“Actually I think it’s one of the more normal things about you.”

Cody breaks into a slight grin. “I dunno, I guess I just thought… I’ve been holding that in for the longest time, I thought people would judge me.”

“I think people will find a reason to judge either way,” Timmy says. “But I don’t think a wedgie fetish is any more judgement-worthy than any other sexual preference.”

There’s a brief silence as Cody takes in his friend’s reassurance. He actually told his secret to someone. Younger him would be so proud of this, and as if his best friend in the whole world wouldn’t be anything but supportive.

“Wait so does that mean that really big hanging wedgie Jono gave you that one time… was that on purpose?” Timmy asks.

“No that was not consensual at all and very, very painful. It’s funny you bring that up though because I have more to tell you.”

Cody had told Timmy the basics of what happened on the last day of school (and of course there was video evidence of it going around everyone’s social media) , but never divulged the details of the confrontation. In fact he’d never told him of the Gagarium underwear, him and Anton’s plans or the wedgies the two got the day before. But if secret wedgie fetish is on the table, Cody might as well reveal it all.

“I saw Jono last night.”

“He didn’t—” Timmy begins.

“No, he didn’t, actually he and his two henchmen dweebs had already kinda been taken care of hanging wedgie-wise.”

Timmy’s confused face prompts Cody to continue.

“I saw Anton and a lot of wild stuff happened last night, but essentially he’s hell-bent on getting revenge on every jock ever by telekinetically giving them all excruciating hanging wedgies with unbreakable underwear and also I have superpowers.”

“I—”

“That doesn’t clear things up does it? Your face is telling me that doesn’t clear things up, oh shit oh fuck.”

Cody stands up and begins pacing, unable to vocalise the jumble of thoughts currently bouncing all around his brain. How can he possibly explain to Timmy what he’s still in the middle of processing and is not even sure he believes himself? In fact, the only thing stopping Cody from believing last night was just a bad trip and that his drink at the reunion was spiked with some shrooms or something is that his ass hurts like hell – actually no, not hell, where hell goes to die.

“I— wait, gimme a sec and I’ll show you.”

Cody bolts to his room, retrieving a regular pair of navy blue briefs from his closet. When he returns to show Timmy his powers however, he’s got his phone out and is playing a video, his face displaying true horror.

“Multiple reports have come in from all around the city of mysterious wedgie incidents, in which citizens have been suspended from lamp posts, fences, what have you – and they can’t get down,” the news report from his phone says.

Cody walks up to Timmy and rests his head on his shoulder, peering at his phone screen playing the Instagram news video.

“As you can see on the footage here,” the reporter continues, “one man in his mid-20s was seen flying up out of his apartment window by his underwear and was hung up on the top of the traffic light below his house. An investigation is underway but police have no idea who or what is causing these incidents.”

Timmy places his phone down on the table and peers up at Cody. The gears of his brain churn over and he goes to speak, yet no words come out, just a very long “erm…” as his frown slowly scales further and further down his face.

“Surely that was just an unrelated news report about some really, like really strong cyclone winds??” Timmy asks.

“That’s him!” Cody exclaims. “Anton is running around the city torturing innocent people by their very own underwear.”

“But the footage didn’t even show anyone giving the wedgies, they were just happening as if—”

“As if someone’s moving the underwear with their mind,” Cody interrupts.

Seeing the confusion still evident on his best friend’s face, he places forward his open palm with the navy blue briefs and takes a deep breath. He visualises the fabric levitating upward and instantly he feels the cool silky touch of the briefs lift up from his hand. Slowly the undies are raised higher and higher, inverting and flipping over as he hones this new muscle in his mind. He glances back down at Timmy who’s transfixed by the floating briefs. After a few seconds, he stands up and yanks them down, feeling the fabric for himself.

“It’s magic,” Timmy murmurs in amazement.

“It is in a way, I suppose. I mean, there is a scientific explanation which is that the Gagarium underwear, which was the underwear Anton and I were wearing that day, had unstable chemical properties that fused with my asshole and thus my bloodstream, giving me an enhanced telekinetic understanding of underwear fabric but uh… yeah magic.”

“So just to summarise because God do I need a summary— both you and Anton got wedgie superpowers and now Anton’s terrorising the city?” Timmy asks.

“Yes!” Cody exclaims.

“Well you’ve gotta go stop him,” Timmy says.

The excitement at his best friend comprehending the situation dissipates, leaving only the anxiety and worry that’s still left in his body.

“Um… yeah. Sure,” Cody says, sitting back down. “Are you sure you understand it all? I mean, we can just go back to you being shocked and needing several moments to take it all in.”

“You are going to stop him, right?” Timmy asks, bypassing his bait. When he doesn’t respond, he locks their hands, giving a comforting squeeze. “Tell me what’s wrong.”

Cody sighs, closing his eyes. “It’s just… We both got these pretty cool powers, but I don’t want to use mine to wedgie other people. Not even Anton. I’ve seen and felt firsthand the kind of pain this power can cause and I want no part in it. But if I do nothing while countless people are tortured, what does that say about me? During our fight, Anton called me a coward for not sticking up for him and the other victims of bullying at our school. I tried, I tried really hard but I failed, and now because I failed more people are gonna face the same fate.”

Timmy bends down to give him a hug. “You are not responsible for Anton’s pain.” He strokes the back of his head and gently sits beside him. “Anton wasn’t the only one who received horrendous bullying that day, you did too! You were able to get out and save yourself, but if you’d have stayed to help him down you would’ve only got put back up on that fence.”

“But I didn’t go back for him,” Cody says, tearing up a little.

“Yeah… Yeah that’s true. But present day Cody would’ve gone back for him the second Jono and the boys had left right?”

“In a heartbeat.”

“Codes, Jono is the one to blame for Anton’s pain, not you. Jono. You were dealing with your own fear that prevented you from saving Anton because in that moment you weren’t able to. We both know you would’ve saved Anton if you’d had the chance. Don’t blame yourself for not being able to stop something you yourself were threatened with, and very narrowly escaped.”

The weight that Cody had been holding onto all this time is finally able to be let go, evaporating from the deepest pits of his guilt. The most tender warmth replaces it, as if all this time he was in the way of his own radiance. He’s not to blame for Anton’s suffering, he never was. Jono and the twins inflicted that pain, and it was one that was shared. Cody couldn’t save Anton, but he saved himself.

“Thank you Timmy. You always know what to say.”

The two share one more hug, then Timmy fetches his phone to check for any news updates concerning Anton’s current whereabouts.

“You might still have that chance,” Timmy says as he sits back down. “To save the people he’s hurting, and to also save him.” Cody nods in agreement to this. “Anton’s intent on inflicting his pain on everyone else. You might just have the power to stop him, but you don’t want to wedgie other people… I don’t know what we’re gonna do.”

Cody thinks back to his fight with Anton on the oval, and the faltering helplessness he felt in wanting to fight back but not wanting to participate in Anton’s twisted methods. It was like he was in a boxing match but his hands were tied behind his back and he could only use his feet. No matter what he did, Anton was always one step ahead, forcing him to always be on the defence. In fact, outside of self-defence, the only strike he successfully made was—

He jolts up, sending his chair scraping back. For a second he pauses as the idea still downloads into his brain, but then he jets to the kitchen to fetch the whiteboard off their fridge, erasing the week planner that had been drawn on and eliciting a “the week isn’t over yet!” from Timmy. He quickly catches on though, and transfers the mugs onto the kitchen counter, clearing the table for Cody as he begins doodling furiously with the purple whiteboard marker. A few seconds later, he stands back, revealing a very rough stick figure drawing of him in a hanging shoulder wedgie above the city.

“Its… you in a hanging wedgie?” Timmy says, his voice laced with hesitation.

“During my fight with Anton, there was a moment where he telekinetically pulled me forward to him and I took control of my own underwear, using it to smack him to the ground. I was able to still put up a fight but without using his own underwear against him and therefore painfully violating his genitals. What if the way I use my powers is by manipulating my own underwear? I’d be able to use it as a whip, or even a lasso maybe. I bet I could even use it to swing my way through the city, hooking each side to, like, building ledges, traffic lights, poles and stuff.”

“Whoa hang on, wouldn’t that be incredibly painful?” Timmy asks.

“That overnight hanging wedgie might not have been good for much, but I practically have balls of steel now. I can take it,” Cody replies.

“And you’d be willing to do this to yourself? Sling yourself around the city by your own underwear?”

“Absolutely.”

Timmy picks up the whiteboard, analysing the picture as he chews on the lid of one of the whiteboard markers. He begins annotating it in red marker, speedily fleshing out the mechanics of Cody’s idea. He faintly chuckles as if relishing the design challenge this has now presented him with.

“Do you still have that pair of Gagarium underwear from 5 years ago?” Timmy asks.

“Sure do.”

“Then we’re gonna have to get you suited up and ready for the quickest test-run in the history of test-runs,” Timmy says.

By the time Cody’s fetched his Gagarium underwear from the back of his closet, Timmy’s already set up in his sewing room. He immediately begins work, leaving Cody to begin brainstorming more uses for his wedgie telekinesis that centre his own underwear.

“Ok so, I’ve got a few more ideas,” Cody says when checking in with Timmy an hour later. “In addition to the wedgie whip, wedgie lasso and wedgie slinging or levitation, I’ve also come up with projectile briefs that I can telekinesis from my pants pockets and onto enemies, covering their face and temporarily obscuring their vision. I’ll need to work on my aim but it should theoretically work. How’s it going in here?”

Timmy beckons for him to come take a closer look, as he ever so diligently runs fabric through his sewing machine, carefully tilting it so it stitches up perfectly.

“It’s almost done,” Timmy says through gritted teeth, his eyes not leaving the sewing machine. “Combining your Gagarium underwear with the largest pair of spandex boxerbriefs from the Target down the road wasn’t easy, but I think I’ve just managed to get the perfect balance of durability and stretchiness.”

With a final few clicks of the sewing machine, Timmy switches it off and sighs with relief. He picks up the enormous boxerbriefs and shows it off to Cody.

“Certainly the most unusual thing I’ve ever had to make, but it might just be my favourite,” Timmy beams.

Cody snags the newly reinforced underwear and heads to the bathroom to change. Timmy begins to clean up the excess of fabric in the sewing room, coming upon a few leftover scraps of Gagarium. He safely tucks them away in a spare storage box, shelving them in case of future use. Cody returns sporting his new boxerbriefs that are so large the leg holes hang down to his ankles on either side.

“Looks like half the work of having wedgie powers is tucking these in before each fight,” Cody smirks.

The two start rearranging the living area to give them room to practice Cody’s new telekinesis ideas. They push the couch and dining table back, and safely carry their TV to Timmy’s bedroom, where they also retrieve two large yoga mats to place on the living room floor.

“Ok so attack number one: the wedgie whip,” Timmy says with a notebook and pen in hand. “Focus on how far you can extend your underwear and how quickly you can engage a whipping motion.”

Cody consolidates his stance and locks his eyes onto an imaginary target in the space in front of him a few feet away. The repurposed Gagarium underwear that falls loosely around his nether regions calls to him, seducing his mind and awakening his telekinetic abilities. In one swift move, he lashes his right arm out, his underwear’s right leg hole following suit in a fast whipping motion. After basking in the success of his first self-wedgie whip for a few seconds, he recalls the underwear back into his pants.

“Nice,” Timmy says, scribbling in his notebook. “Try coming in from a few different angles so it’s not just straight-on.”

Cody does just that, applying his underwear to hit the same imaginary target but from different angles, arching in and around from the right, and then from the left several times. With each attempt, his aim gets increasingly sharper, transforming from a mere hit to a proper whip. Once this has been practiced thoroughly, Cody moves onto the next technique: the wedgie lasso.

“The lasso has all the speed and precision of the whip, but instead of hitting your target you need to encase it within the leg hole,” Timmy says as he props their coat stand right where the first imaginary target was.

Taking a deep breath, Cody flicks his wrist up, shooting the leg hole up to the ceiling. He then slams his arm down, bringing the fabric down but just missing the coat stand, causing the stretched out underwear to land right next to it. With words of encouragement from Timmy (“You can slay this, I know you can!”), he reels it back in and goes for a second shot, this time nailing it. He tightens his grasp on the coat stand and lifts it up with his telekinesis, levitating it for a brief moment before setting it back down.

“How’s it feeling so far?” Timmy asks as he puts away the coat stand.

“Certainly nowhere near metal sling hanging wedgie levels of pain, that’s for sure,” Cody replies.

“Well I think it’s time for your swinging from buildings idea, so I’ll check back in with you on that.”

The two take the elevator to the roof of their apartment building. Thankfully they’re the only ones up there, prompting Timmy to begin the set-up as Cody finds the best spot to practice his hanging wedgie levitation idea. He settles on a built-in ladder that connects this part of the roof to an elevated area with solar panels.

“I’m thinking the safety rails on each side of this ladder will be good to hook the leg holes onto,” Cody calls out to Timmy, who in turn gives him a thumbs-up.

Cody never thought he’d be giving himself a hanging wedgie, not after having two separate incidents both involving painful and humiliating hanging wedgies. But being able to fly through the city using his underwear would provide him with access to all kinds of new moves, and would help him move around much faster.

From the bottom of the ladder, Cody slowly pulls up on both leg hole sides with his mind. The familiar feeling that isn’t completely unwelcome deepens as the underwear dives up his crack, feeling simultaneously like someone’s just shoved a chilli up his ass and someone’s giving him the best anus massage of his life. His feet leave the ground and both leg holes hook onto safety rail rungs about halfway up the ladder. And so he dangles.

After a few seconds to re-centre his mind on the task, Cody isolates the right leg hole and carefully unhooks it, raising it a couple rungs and then hooking it down. Despite the higher ground his right leg hole has, his body remains straight like a yo-yo intent on stabilising itself. He then does the same with the left leg hole, hoisting his left side up so that now his left side is higher than the right. He continues this pattern, tightening his pace with each movement as he slowly but surely begins to haul himself up the ladder using his telekinetic abilities. Once he reaches the top of the ladder, he pulls himself out of the wedgie and up onto the elevated roof, lying down as he catches his breath.

“That was very impressive,” Timmy says, walking over. “Looks like your theory is correct.”

“On the small scale, yes,” Cody says through pants. “I have no idea if I’ll actually be able to swing my way around the city though, and it’s not really like I can just test-run that so much as just do it.”

“At least the Gagarium properties I extracted and fused with the spandex are working, and they can hold your weight. Was there any pain?”

“A little, but it’s bearable,” Cody says closing his eyes, letting the late afternoon sun bask over him. “I can feel it happening, and when it goes in real deep there’s a small burning sensation, but as we both know I don’t exactly mind that. There’s no tremendous pain though, at least not any more.”

By now Timmy’s made his way up the ladder and lies down beside Cody. The two stare up at the setting sun with the weight of what’s to come pressing on both their minds.

“I think it’s really brave what you’re doing,” Timmy says gently. “Conquering your fears and your trauma and using it to help people… not everyone can have courage like that, with or without powers.”

“Thanks,” Cody smiles weakly. “I guess it just feels like the natural thing to do, y’know. It’s the right thing to do. It’s a shame we still don’t even know where Anton’ll show up next.”

“He’s already targeted jocks and frat boys from all the university campuses in the city, who knows where he’s gonna go next.”

“At our encounter yesterday, he made it seem like he was gonna do something big. Show the world his power sorta thing. All this – wedgie-ing individual jocks, that just feels trivial.”

The two lie there for a bit, the bustle of the surrounding city filling in the silence that has fallen between them. This time yesterday, they were getting ready for the high school reunion, laughing their asses off in the Uber over. The past 24 hours have transported them into almost a completely different world, one where superpowers exist and more importantly, super villains bent on inflicting global pain have to be stopped. Yet sitting here next to his best friend, Cody’s reminded of just how little has changed. Timmy still has his back no matter what and he’s still the same compassionate, courageous Cody.

“I think I’ll just wait for the next news report to come in and try to intercept him there,” Cody sighs. “Anyway, is Jeremy still coming over tonight?”

“Yeah but I can cancel if you need any help.”

“Nah I’ve got it covered. It’s your cousin’s birthday and he’s been looking forward to watching the game with you.”

“Alright, but here,” Timmy says, handing him a small flip phone. “You take the spare phone and if anything happens you call, yeah? I’ll have my phone next to me the whole time.”

“Thanks, but don’t forget to have fun,” Cody says.

“Yeah and you don’t forget to focus on Anton and not the throbbing wedgies you’ll be giving yourself,” Timmy teases.

“Oh my god,” Cody laughs.

“Melbourne better watch out for Super Wedgie Boy!”

Cody playfully gives him a little shove and the two chuckle. Timmy checks his phone again but there hasn’t been an update on Anton for over an hour now.

“It’s gonna be a great match actually,” Timmy says.

“Oh yeah?”

“I do really wish we hadn’t missed out on getting tickets though. You know I’m not really one for footie but Jeremy says apparently there’s nothing better than seeing all those footy players run on the field in-person. I mean I’m not gonna say no to 3 hours of hot sweaty jocks running around. It’s also the most anticipated match of the season supposedly, so the excitement will just be through the roof and—”

Cody bolts up, mouth agape. “The football match tonight! Anton’s going to be at the stadium!”

“What?”

“Anton wants revenge on all jock types, and he wants an audience to witness his reclaiming of power. What better place to do so than the most highly-anticipated televised football match of the year! It’s time.”

“Just wait one second,” Timmy says, scaling down the ladder and retrieving two new 3-packs of white briefs. “Three are medium, and the other three are XXXL. These should work perfectly for your projectile briefs.”

Cody grins, placing them in his pockets. “Thank you.”

“Go get him, Codes.”

Without a second thought, Cody sends out his right leg hole and secures it on a pole on the next building’s roof, jumping off the side of their apartment building and swinging down below. Timmy waits anxiously for his best friend to swing back up.

Not yet.

Not yet.

Not yet.

Not yet.

And he does, soaring through the air and flinging his left leg hole onto the edge of another building. Cody looks back, the image of Timmy pumping his fist in elation getting smaller and smaller as he makes his way toward the stadium.

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Wedgie Warlock: Chapter 3

Cody makes to walk up and give Anton a hug, but reconsiders as the initial relief of seeing his former friend wears off. It’s quickly replaced with an uncomfortable dread as his brain begins to process what Anton being here now means: that he was the one who gave Jono and the twins that wedgie, and that he purposefully led Cody on a chase to the oval.

“Seriously… Anton, what are you doing here?” Cody asks, this time laced with caution.

“It’s our high school reunion, isn’t it?” says Anton plainly.

“Yes, it is— or, well…” Cody stammers, “you never showed up to graduation, so I don’t know if—”

“Gee wonder why that was,” Anton says, clicking his tongue.

Cody tries to respond, but finds he doesn’t know what to say. In this moment of silence, he takes in Anton’s all-black look, but instead of an ironic t-shirt, a jacket and torn skinny jeans, it’s now a shirt, a full-on cape and… well, still torn-skinny jeans. Amongst all the theatrics, he wonders if the friend he once knew is still inside.

“Well… Okay look, I was actually hoping I’d run into you tonight… That day I left you after school – I’ve always felt so guilty about that, but I— I panicked, and Jono and the twins were coming, and I just didn’t know what to do!” Cody sighs, the weight of what he’s wanted to say for five years finally beginning to leave his chest. “But Anton I am so, so sorry for leaving you.”

“Cody… I hung there on that fence for 15 hours. I was in agonising pain the entire night, including when it bucketed down rain at one point. It wasn’t until the weekend soccer coach came in to prep for the next morning’s games did I finally get let down.”

The wind’s knocked out of Cody’s chest. The worst is confirmed: Cody did in fact abandon Anton that night. The guilt that just dissipated within him comes hurtling back into the pit in his stomach. He goes to say something, but nothing he can say can make up for what he’s just learnt.

“So yes, I skipped graduation,” Anton continues, beginning to slowly circle Cody like prey. “Ended up dropping out actually because I’d been flunking all my classes. What was a couple days of schoolyard bullying for you was months of non-stop harassment for me. You might’ve been on the lower levels, but you weren’t a Level 1, Cody. You have no clue the hell I went through. I wasn’t sleeping, I couldn’t even turn the corner in the hallway without getting major anxiety and always expecting them to be there… It was a living nightmare.”

“I’m sorry,” Cody musters after a few seconds. “Anton, if I had known—”

“You did, Cody. You did.”

“I thought about coming back for you, I really, truly did. But I figured that if I could naturally rip down, then you would too, but then when you weren’t at graduation—”

“Rip down?” Anton repeats. “Gagarium underwear doesn’t just rip, Cody.”

“Y— Yeah, I thought that too, but then mine did, and y’know – can’t’ve been 100% rip-proof after all huh.”

Anton stops circling Cody, now staring him directly in the eyes. “Gagarium is made with little bits of metallic fibres in it – it does not simply rip. You were supposed to be up there with me for 15 hours, and yet you somehow tore the untearable. Haven’t you ever wondered how that can be?”

Cody stands there as the full command of Anton’s attention exposes every inch of his guilty conscious. With nothing else to distract or redirect Cody’s mind, the little voice in the back of his head that had always wondered how he’d been able to tear down finally takes centre-stage. He should not have been able to rip down and escape the peril of that day – in fact he couldn’t have. The news report from the other day proved that he’d need a dry ice laser to be able to split the material in two. Yet, for some reason, Cody’s Gagarium underwear had managed to tear on its own.

“I don’t… I don’t know how I did that,” Cody says softly, slightly shaking his head in disbelief.

“You really have no clue?” Anton retorts, taken aback. When Cody’s speechless face is all the reply, the tiniest smirk curls around Anton’s lips.

“You know, you get a lot of time to contemplate when you’ve flunked out of school and become the family shame, and nobody, not even your own parents, cares about you. And that’s all I did for five years – contemplate that one memory of you somehow ripping down from that impossible hanging wedgie. For months it taunted me, chased me down every corner of my mind and drove me into the pits of insanity… that is until the idea hit me. An idea so impossible that I knew there was no option but for it to be true. But I needed to prove it for myself, so I got evidence.

“I enrolled myself into a TAFE course on chemistry, using the equipment access I had there to begin my experiments. I spent many long nights in the lab analysing my own still intact Gagarium underwear. And sure, eventually I was expelled because I wasn’t actually showing up to any classes— but oh, Cody, what I discovered was extraordinary. See, that day you weren’t just given any old hanging wedgie. You were given the most painful and humiliating public wedgie that school had ever seen, and you were given it whilst wearing Gagarium underwear.

“You wanna know why Gagarium is so quickly becoming an illegal material? It’s toxic, Cody. When exposed to the human bloodstream, the ramifications are unimaginable. Any normal human being in a situation where they’re exposed to the full raw destructive power of Gagarium is dead within the hour, but not you. Somehow the pain and the embarrassment and the degradation and your determination kept you alive; and more than that, gave you the power to tear free. You were given so traumatic a hanging wedgie that instead of poisoning your bloodstream, it merged with it, and suddenly the impossible becomes the only plausible explanation: You tore the underwear with your mind, that’s how you escaped.”

Cody stands there speechless, desperately searching Anton’s eyes for some clarity or for at least something to make sense, but it’s no use. This definitely sounds like the ravings of someone who hasn’t had a friend to talk to for five years and is just now seeing the outside world. Sure, Gagarium is a dangerous synthetic material created in a laboratory by a disgraced scientist, but ripping underwear with your mind? What nerd even dreams up that shit?

“Anton, what you’re talking about, it’s…” Cody says, looking for the right words. “You’re describing underwear telekinesis. That’s— that’s not real, I can’t do that.”

“You don’t believe me?” Anton mockingly chuckles. “Not even if I do this?”

The back waistband of Cody’s boxer briefs are instantaneously yanked out from his khaki pants and up into the air. A sharp pain invites its way into Cody’s groin, a familiar and unrelenting pain that he’s tried so hard to block out of his mind. He just has time to notice Anton flick his hand to the left before, as if in direct response Cody’s waistband follows, dragging his helpless body across the oval’s fake grass. This would absolutely be one of his biggest fantasies if only he’d have been mentally prepared for it or, y’know, consented to it. Once hauled all the way to the edge of the oval, Cody’s underwear is now pulled upwards, forcing him off the ground as the waistband hooks itself onto the fence.

“Now if memory serves me correct, there were two of us hanging there that day, weren’t there Cody?”

Anton slithers his way over to where he’s just telekinetically hung Cody up on the fence. He marvels at his own hands’ doing. “Pretty neat, huh? That took me months to perfect, including countless teddy bears in oversized underwear as well as some… shall we say, more alive test subjects.”

“This isn’t real,” Cody says through gritted teeth.

“Oh but it is. Gagarium fusing with both of our blood has gifted us with the ability to telekinetically connect with and control underwear.”

“Maybe for you, but I don’t have any such powers.”

With the flick of Anton’s wrist, Cody’s waistband unhooks from the fence, only to be tugged even higher, torturously elevating Cody higher up the fence, where he is now hung. The crushing merging of Cody’s balls and asshole is all he can think about.

“Admit it, Cody. You have wedgie powers.”

“No.”

“Gagarium altered your DNA—”

“No!”

“And on that fateful day, you successfully used wedgie telekinesis to escape.”

“NO!”

Cody yells, thrusting his arms to his inner chest as if in foetal position. In an instant, the underwear that was fastened onto the wired fence is unhooked, retracting to its normal position safely inside Cody’s pants. With nothing suspending him in the air any more, he falls but manages to land on all-fours on the ground seemingly unharmed.

“So the wedgie nerd has come out to play,” Anton chuckles.

Cody sits up, looking between his own two hands in bewilderment. He thrusts his right hand down the back of his pants, feeling his underwear for any tears, but there are none: it’s fully intact. There’s a madness to what Anton’s saying, and yet Cody managed to get down from a hanging wedgie on his own without a single tear. He’s done the impossible.

Anton walks on over and extends his hand, but Cody bats it away.

“I didn’t come here to fight with you,” Anton smirks.

“Then what do you want?” Cody spits out.

“Gee, you give one hanging wedgie to prove a point and suddenly you’re the bad guy. Look, Cody,” Anton says as he kneels down to get on Cody’s level. “I need your help.”

“My help? For what? You seemed to handle three buff guys at once back there, I think you’re doing fine.”

Anton beams, still proud of his work back in the bathroom. “Cody, I’ve been mastering and learning about this power for the past five years. I didn’t even start telekinetically manipulating fabric until around 17 months in. And yet here you are, casually unhooking wedgies with your mind like you’re Tiger Woods at a game of mini golf!”

Standing up again, Anton re-extends his hand out to Cody. Even with the death stare he shoots out, Cody eventually takes it.

“What you’ve done without even knowing the power you hold…” Anton continues. “With the right knowledge and guidance, you could become a real force to be reckoned with. Don’t you see, Cody? You could become a wedgie warlock.”

Cody’s brows furrow and he takes a step back. “A… what? But that’s just a schoolyard myth created by bullies with ego issues who peak in Year 8.”

“What might’ve started as a playground myth has become the new reality,” Anton replies. “And with the two of us together, in control of our powers, no nerd shall ever fear that fable again. Now it’s the bullies’ turn to fear for their lives.”

“So this is what this is all about for you?” says Cody as he watches Anton rave. “Some ‘nerd revenge’ type shit? Payback to all that have wronged you?”

“Jono and his measly gang were only the beginning. Every bully in every school— hell, every university and every workplace – EVERY bully shall know true pain.”

“Anton, this is… what you’re talking about is wrong on so many levels. I understand the absolute torture you experienced and it’s natural to want to lash out in retaliation, but what you’re speaking of— mass infliction of pain… it’s just not right! You don’t need to harm others to know your own power, to know your own worth. You’ve been through a lot, and I’m here to help you get back on your feet, okay? But this plan is not the answer.”

Cody gazes into Anton’s eyes, and for a moment he can see the Anton he knew once – the Anton who was scared and hurt, and who, more than anything, just wanted to be safe.

“Please Anton. Let me help you,” Cody says, extending his hand out.

Anton reaches out and places his right hand on top of Cody’s palm. The two share a look of commiseration – two friends finally reconciling after their shared harm in this very school.

“Anton, you’re not gonna regre—”

With the flick of his wrist, Anton telekinetically jolts the front of Cody’s underwear, lifting him up a good few feet above the ground. Cody can only shriek as the melvin digs deeper into his groin, his arms flailing like one of those inflatable air dancing balloons at a car dealer. Anton’s grim cackles can just be heard as Cody is raised higher and higher.

“Oh Cody you pathetic senator. I had hoped you wouldn’t ~be a good person Anton!~ your way out of helping me, but then again you never really knew what true pain was. The world thrives off pain; it’s the single defining quality of the human experience. Until you’ve endured months of torture at the hands of bullies, until you’ve been left to hang by your own underwear for 15 hours, until every single person in your life has neglected you, THEN you can talk to me about right and wrong.”

Anton smacks his hand down on the ground, causing Cody to come hurtling to the ground via his own front underwear. In a split-second decision before hitting the earth, Cody telekinetically pulls the back of his undies, creating a very uncomfortable squeaky clean wedgie but ultimately breaking his fall, ensuring he lands semi-upright after a couple of stabilising wobbles.

“Come on, wedgie boy, fight back! Give me the wedgie you’re dying to give me, or are you too much of a wimp?” Anton calls out across the oval.

Cody doesn’t quite know what to say back. He can sense Anton’s underwear, picturing the dark blue boxer briefs in his mind. His hands tingle with temptation, knowing the exact gesture needed to send Anton flying back by his underwear, yet he can’t bring himself to do it.

“I’d kill for your raw power Cody,” Anton bellows, “but you can’t even get past your own stupid morals! Where were your morals the day you left me to hang for 15 hours? Where were they Cody?”

The back of Cody’s undies is yanked up, causing him to let out a whimper as his body recoils.

“Where were they when I dropped out and everyone in my life had left me?”

Cody’s hoisted up, leaving him dangling a foot above the ground. He tries to kick his way out, but there’s no use.

“Where are your morals when every single day, people like me are harassed and bullied and tortured and cowards like you do NOTHING?!”

Anton shoves out his hands, sending Cody flying back by his own underwear. He hits the back fence, causing it to rattle as his body rebounds onto the ground. The second he stands up and readies himself, Anton yanks the front of his underwear, thrusting him forward at lightning speed. Seizing the opportunity, Cody focuses all his might into taking control over his own front underwear, extending it out with his mind and uses it to whip Anton once he’s in range, knocking him off his feet. With a thud, Anton hits the ground facedown.

Cody takes a second to catch his breath, weaving his loosened underwear back into place. Controlling things with his mind is going to take some getting used to, as if there’s a new muscle he needs to train. Everything Anton said about the Gagarium fusing with his blood was right though – it’s like there’s some connection with the fabric of his underwear that he’s only now discovering.

Cody looks over at Anton lying motionless on the ground, feeling that same pang of guilt hit him. He could have stopped all of this if he’d just gotten Anton down that day. Jono would’ve likely caught him, but Anton would’ve been able to climb free and all this could’ve been avoided.

“I’m sorry,” Cody murmurs.

He turns to go back and help the bullies in the bathroom, but only gets a few steps out when the back of his underwear is yanked up.

“Sorry isn’t good enough,” Anton growls.

Now more relentless than before, Cody’s underwear shoots up and reaches his neck, but it doesn’t stop there. The sound of ripping fills his ears, and he looks over to Anton, who now stands with his arms outstretched, like a puppet master in full control of his puppet. Cody’s lifted high into the sky by his waistband, creeping up higher and higher until it’s reached his head. Still, with each rip, it smooths its way down Cody’s face until all he can see is tinted red, red from his torn underwear.

Back on the ground, Anton continues to twist his extended hands, telekinetically warping Cody’s boxer briefs further and further up his ass. He’s now focusing on all parts of the underwear, levitating every inch of fabric and inflicting a ton of pain onto his friend turned victim. Not breaking focus, Anton reaches into his pocket with one hand, bringing out a silver-coloured sling of fabric that has two small loops at each end. He tosses it up into the air, catching it with telekinesis and letting it float towards the suspended Cody.

“You’d be happy to know that before Dr Germanotti Gagarotti stood trial, I paid her a visit,” Anton says. “Or should I say, I placed an order.”

The sling reaches Cody and hooks one of its looped ends around his neck. The other end curves down his front chest and under his genitalia, then up his back, causing a second and just-as-painful wedgie.

“Custom-made metallic fabric slings,” Anton gloats.

Cody’s propelled backward by the mind-controlled sling, reaching the end of the oval and a fence that he knows too well. Knotting itself around the top wire of the fence, the sling hooks in place, allowing Anton to release his wedgie telekinesis and let Cody fall into his hanging wedgie, evoking a cry of pain.

“Pretty neat, huh? I had a thousand of these made before tipping the Feds off about Dr Gagarotti, but you have been the perfect little test run. Soon, bullies and jocks everywhere will face the same fate: an unescapable wedgie for all the world to see.”

“Anton, please!” Cody yelps.

“Don’t even try to telekinesis your way out of that wedgie Cody. The slings are made mostly of metallic fibres, with the fabric particles so microscopic it’d take you weeks to find them hidden among all that metal. It certainly took me almost a year to find them myself. It’s all the best parts of Gagarium underwear, but made better so doofuses like you can’t escape.”

Cody attempts to manoeuvre the metal sling but he can’t picture any of the fabric particles in his mind. Anton’s right – they’re too well hidden, and he lacks the precision and knowledge needed to disarm Anton’s new weapon.

“You were never gonna win against me Cody. Your raw, untapped power is admirable, but I’ve been training for this moment for 5 years. You did this to yourself. And so, I alone will assume the title of wedgie warlock.”

Through the red of his own underwear, Cody watches Anton as he pulls out another metal sling, flinging it at the overhead floodlight, breaking it in the process. He takes off into the night, leaving Cody to hang alone in the darkness.

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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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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.