* Names and locations have been changed to protect those involved in this secret society.
Media has brought the college phenomenon of hazing to the attention of the public. We’ve seen the footage, heard the horror stories, and watched the movies on Lifetime about sororities gone mad. We’ve all sympathized with the mousy-haired teenager with glasses who will eat 150 Twinkies or run around the campus in her birthday suit while a group of peroxide vixens cackle in the background because they know that even after all this humiliation, they’ll still blackball her in favor of the platinum blonde who weighs only 103 even after having a new set of breasts installed. But most of us consider this a problem of later adolescence. This is the sort of social competitiveness that would never pre-date the effects of puberty and hormone fluctuations. This would never happen to our children. Well, hang on to your dryer sheets, moms, and get a better grip on those remotes, dads, because today is the day I rip the Mayberry right out of your mentality. Today is the day I write the exposé on The Squat Club.
This saga begins with a report card. My friend, whom I shall call Kaitlin to protect the family name and her standing in society, went by her mother-in-law’s house on a Wednesday afternoon to pick up her second grade daughter. The child emerged with her grandmother, who clutched a trifold of papers that would alter the course of their lives.
“Is that Ellie’s report card?”
The grandmother nodded, her mouth a thin, red line. “Get in the car, Ellie. I need to speak to your mother.”
Ellie climbed in the back seat, and as soon as the door closed, the grandmother made a sharp motion with her finger to move Kaitlin away from the car and out of hearing range of the child.
“What is it, Lunelle? Did she get a bad grade in math? We’ve been working on two column sums for weeks now.”
Lunelle shook her short bob of grey hair. “No, dear. It’s worse than that.” She lowered her voice. “It’s about her conduct. There’s a letter attached.”
“A letter? About her conduct? I’m surprised they haven’t called me.”
“Oh, they want to see you alright. You and Donald.” Kaitlin reached for the letter, but Lunelle wouldn’t part with it. “I don’t think you should read it until after church. The content is . . . upsetting, and I don’t think you’ll be able to attend once you know what it says.”
“Good grief, Lunelle. That’s cryptic. How bad can it be? She’s seven, for crying out loud.”
Lunelle sighed. “You’ll see. But just remember that I warned you.” She held out the document with the care one might take in handing over an original of the Declaration of Independence and then turned and went back into the house, unable to witness the imminent devastation.
Kaitlin climbed in the driver’s side, stuck the key in the ignition to start the air conditioning, and then unfolded the worst scandal to hit St. Timothy’s second grade class.
© 2013 – Traci Carver