This story is fiction. The city of Clifton, and the University of Clifton, exist only in my imagination. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. These stories have as their main character a sexually active gay college student. If this is offensive to you, or if it is illegal in your area, or if you are under age, please leave now.

This story involves a search for personal acceptance, worth, and meaning. There is a religious element in these stories. If you don't like that, maybe now is a good time to leave.

My stories develop slowly. If you're in a hurry, this is probably not for you.

Thanks to Colin for editing.

Constructive criticism is welcome on my e-mail at


Bryce, Chapter 23 - Trouble with Mack

Everything was back to normal on Wednesday. Nothing was back to normal on Wednesday. Oh, there were the usual classes and stuff, but somehow it all was different. Bryce had passed a major threshold in both his spiritual and his sexual life, and he knew it. Things would never be 'normal' again if by that one meant the way they were, say, on Monday, much less the way they were back in August.

Bryce arose at his usual time, and made his way to the gym. He was not surprised to find Curtis there a short time after he arrived, so the two of them worked out together, as they had done frequently over the past six or seven weeks. Was it only that long? It seemed at times as if the entire world had been remade since he arrived on campus. But, yes, it was only that long. As they worked out, the two young men talked.

"Have a nice break?" Bryce asked.

"Yeah. Real nice," Curtis replied. "Maddy went home with me. She couldn't go back to her place. I mean her parents' place. My folks were real understanding - real helpful. They gave Maddy the guest room, but when she ended up in my bed, they didn't say a word. We made it official on Sunday. I proposed, she accepted. We're officially engaged. Even got her a ring, although it about depleted my bank account," he reported proudly.

"I'm surprised you're here. You know I wouldn't be all that hurt if you spent the morning in bed with Maddy rather than coming to see me," Bryce kidded, joking as though he were a jealous lover.

Curtis, to his credit, laughed. "I don't think Maddy's worried. After this break, we're more solid than ever."

"Damn! Just when I was getting ready to vamp you," Bryce emoted.

Curtis looked at him. "There's something different about you, too. Not physical. You're still pressing 150 like it was nothing. But you're different. What happened over your break?"

"Later," Bryce said.

When they were in the sauna, Bryce decided it was only fair to give his friend some idea of what was going on. "You ready for this?" he asked, joking in case Curtis backed down.

Like a true friend, though, Curtis responded, "We've been friends for a few weeks now, so I guess I'm ready for whatever you have to throw at me. Shoot."

"Most importantly, I think I have fully accepted that I'm gay now. I know I said that back a month ago, almost, but I was still ... waffling, I guess. I won't go into details, since they kind of freaked Damon out, but now there's no more doubt," Bryce affirmed.

"Now that sounds intriguing," Curtis responded. "First of all, I'm glad you're comfortable in your own skin now. I think I said before you'll be happier that way. You'll also be a greater asset to SAT if you know who you are and are comfortable with that."

"You're in the wrong field. You should be in psychology and counseling," Bryce kidded his buddy.

"Nope. I only do that on the side. But, back to you, I must admit I'm intrigued by the statement that whatever you did this weekend freaked Damon out. Think you'll ever tell me?"

"Maybe. But not today. Today, I'm too happy, and also too busy, to go into all that. It would take a lot of explaining," Bryce explained.

"Okay. So you're at ease with yourself. Anything else exciting?" Curtis probed.

"Yeah. My sister came to visit on Friday and stayed until Sunday."

"You told me she was coming. As I recall, you were not real happy about that."

"It turned out great," Bryce assured his friend. "Okay, to the heart of it, Nan - that's my sister - suspected I was gay, and came to find out for sure. On the positive side, she accepted me and Damon. No problem. On the down side, she embarrassed the hell out of me every chance she got."

Curtis laughed. "Sisters are supposed to do that, didn't you know. At least, older sisters are. I know. I've got one. Every morning during the break, my sister Sarah knocked on my door and said, 'Are you and Maddy up yet?' Like she had any doubts we were in there together."

Bryce laughed. "And you always were."

"Of course."

"Sound just like what Nan would do. Except it would be me and Damon. I'll have to be prepared when we go home. Oh, yeah, that's something else. Since I knew Nan would tell my mother everything, I came out to her on Sunday night, and she was great. So now Damon's invited to our place for Thanksgiving and Christmas."

"That's great!" Curtis congratulated him. "Sounds like you won't have the same problems as Bobby, you know."

"No. At least half of my family has accepted me and Damon. I'm still not sure about my dad and my older brother. But with Mom and Nan on my side, they haven't a chance. Eventually, they'll come around," Bryce stated with conviction.

"That's all great, and I'm glad for you," Curtis said, "but none of it is freaking out stuff."

"No. That had to do with how I came to fully accept my sexuality. But I don't want to freak you out, too. Having Damon thinking I'm about to be sent to a loony bin is bad enough," Bryce replied, making it plain he did not intend to go there this morning.

Curtis, as polite as ever, left the topic, and instead asked how Bryce was doing with pledging. Again, he got a terse. "Okay."

Peering at his friend, Curtis decided, "I guess Mack was not the right mentor for you. I thought it would work out."

"I'm not complaining. I'll make it," Bryce assured him.

"Okay. Sorry. I thought the soccer thing would be something you two could have in common. Maybe my psychological faculties aren't as sharp as you thought."

"Don't sweat it," Bryce replied.

Later, when he approached his French class in Dumesnil Hall, Bryce found that a number of his classmates were getting nervous. Their midterm exam was on Friday. Several talked about getting together to study, but Bryce was not invited to join them. Okay, he thought, I'll do this on my own. Bunch of snobs. Just because I'm not a French major or something, I'm supposed to be somehow inferior. I'll show them. So he paid special attention to Professor Anjot that morning, and resolved to study especially hard for this exam. They had covered the medieval and Renaissance periods in French literature, already passing the subject of Bryce's term paper, La Roman de la Rose. Dr. Anjot had actually called on him in class at that point, and he thought he did a decent job, but his fellow students continued to regard him as an outsider, so he would just have to do this by himself.

In Psychology that morning Bryce questioned several of the assumptions behind the points his professor was attempting to make. He felt both confident in himself and contentious. Dr. Greeley did not look pleased, but he did have to admit to the class that some of the points he had been making were open to alternative interpretations. After class, one of the students commented to Bryce, "I'm glad you asked those questions. I was wondering myself, but didn't feel courageous enough to ask." Bryce did not know where his new assertiveness came from, but he was definitely feeling his oats this morning.

At lunch time, Bryce met with Damon, and for the very first time he kissed his partner in public without looking around first to see whether anyone was watching. Damon definitely appreciated that. After they were seated, another student came up to their table.

"Hi. I'm Josh Young. I couldn't help notice you two kissing just now. Are you gay?"

"That's kind of personal," Bryce replied.

"I'm asking because I'm Vice-President of the GLBT Club on campus. You know what that is?"

"Yeah. Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered," Damon said.

"Right. So, if you guys are gay or bi, we've love to have you in the club. We have meetings on the first Tuesday evening of each month. We're trying to raise awareness on campus," Young told them.

"Well, that's a problem," Bryce replied. "Both Damon and I are pledging Sigma Alpha Tau, and there are fraternity meetings on Tuesday evenings we have to attend."

"Sigma Alpha Tau? Wow, are you guys even welcome there?" Young replied.

"So far, so good. We've been admitted as pledges," Damon said.

"If you run into trouble, come see us," Young said, and departed.

After Josh left, they talked that over for a while. Damon said, "He seemed to expect problems with the fraternity. So far, everything seems okay to me."

"Yeah, to me, too. I think he's over-reacting, or maybe dealing in stereotypes. Let's just put him on the back burner unless something comes up. I don't know about you, but I feel like I've got about as much as I can handle right now," Bryce advised.

"Yeah, me too. Like Biology in about ten minutes," Damon pointed out.

"Oops. Let's go," Bryce agreed.

Somewhat to his surprise, Bryce was called upon to discuss his term paper topic in class. He shouldn't have been, as other students had been called upon in a similar fashion when their topic came up in the normal course of the material. It was so easy to get distracted in a classroom with Damon sitting next to him, that he might have missed something. They had reached the appropriate point, but he had expected to learn something new, and instead Dr. Harris called on him to give the class the benefit of what he had discovered about human sexual orientation. Bryce rose to the occasion, and gave a summary of the research he had done on his paper. There were a number of questions from fellow students which followed, about half of them hostile to his main point, which was that sexual orientation was a natural phenomenon, not an individual choice. When the opposition became too vocal, however, Dr. Harris intervened.

"Mr. Winslow is correct. All the scientific evidence says sexual orientation is, indeed, a matter of biological condition, although there is disagreement about exactly what makes that determination."

"But Dr. Harris," one student objected, "the Bible says homosexuality is an abomination before the Lord."

"I can't answer that," Dr. Harris said. "That's a matter of religious interpretation, not of science."

And so they passed on to other matters. Somehow, Bryce and Damon both knew that this would come up on their next Biology quiz. They were feeling pretty good, until, on the way out after class, a student shoved Bryce aside, muttering, "Damn queers!" Bryce had to get to his History class, or he might have tried to catch up to the offensive student and demand an explanation. He was still feeling assertive.

In History 355, they had finally killed off Cromwell and were dealing with the Stuart Restoration. Today, Professor Dickinson lectured on the Clarendon Code, an effort to restrict religious expression in England to the established Church of England and ban all others. Several of the students were surprised, assuming that England was tolerant of all religious groups. "Only by comparison with some other countries, such as France or Spain," the Professor told them in response to a question. "There were very few executions, and they usually had political overtones, but dissenters had no civil rights, and frequently found themselves in gaol." They were particularly turned off by the Five Mile Act, which prohibited ministers who had been deprived of their benefices from residing or visiting within five miles of their former living. This also was an example of the parochial lives of most seventeenth century Englishmen, who seldom ventured more than five miles from their homes.

After class, Bryce hurried to the SAT house to meet with his mentor, Mack Campbell. Even before anything was said, Mack seemed more hostile than usual. He had been getting more distant, colder, more unfriendly as the weeks went by. But this time it rapidly became considerably worse. Bryce presented his pledge book, indicating he had attended class and was doing satisfactorily. Mack looked at it with a sneer.

"That's all fine and good," Mack proclaimed, "but there's something more important I need to know from you. Are you one of those queers?"

"No queerer than most, I guess," Bryce stoutly replied, still feeling confident.

"What the hell does that mean?" Mack demanded.

"Queer means unusual or different. We're all different in our own ways. I don't think I'm more different or individualistic than most people," Bryce replied.

"Damn it! Don't play games with me! You know what I mean. Are you a homo?" Mack insisted.

"Homo sapiens? Yes, sir. I definitely am a member of the human race. Pure American variety. Nothing alien about me," Bryce pushed the limits of this unwelcome intrusion into his private life.

"Damn it, Pledge! You're purposely making fun of me. I won't have it! Over the break, I had a long talk with Bick Lomax. You know who that is?" Mack demanded.

"Yes, sir."

"Bick was my big brother when I was admitted to this fraternity. He's been my best buddy ever since. Now he's in disgrace for no good reason, all because of you queers!" Mack practically shouted.

"No good reason? It's my understanding he was caught in the act of raping a pledge. In fact, I was one of the people who caught him!" Bryce indignantly responded.

"He was trying to fuck a queer who was in his bed. Queers deserve to be fucked!" Mack declared.

At that, Bryce turned and began to walk away.

"Come back here, Pledge! I'm not finished with you," Mack yelled.

"Yes, you are," Bryce stated, and continued to walk away. If this cost him membership in Sigma Alpha Tau, so be it. He was not going to kowtow to someone who insulted Damon like that. Deserve to be fucked, indeed! Bryce walked out of the SAT house, and returned to his room in Clay Hall. He fumed and paced for a while, then sat down at his computer and sent Curtis a lengthy e-mail, detailing his confrontation with Mack that afternoon. He would have to see what happened next. His optimistic spirit of the morning was shattered.

He and Damon had dinner together, during which Bryce was tense and nervous. Damon picked up on that right away, but Bryce was hesitant to go into details. He merely said he had a run in with Mack that afternoon. For the first time, the possibility of Damon being accepted and Bryce not, arose. Unspoken between them, it had always been the other possibility which concerned them. Loyally, Damon proclaimed that, if Bryce were not admitted, he would not join either. It was clear that caused Damon pain, as he so desperately wanted to join, but he refused to reconsider when Bryce pressured him. Bryce left Damon unsatisfied, and departed to his study group for English.

This was the evening before the mid-term exam in English 434, the Milton course, so the students who gathered in their reserved room for the study group were particularly anxious to get together and get down to it. Unfortunately, when they arrived, they found two other students, not in their class, already in possession. Efforts to explain that the room was reserved from seven to ten fell on deaf ears. The two were not budging. So it fell to Mike, as the leader of the group, to seek out a librarian to reinforce the group's claim to possession. All this took some twenty minutes, and left a sour taste in Bryce's mouth. He was feeling pretty down about Mack, and about the possible impact on Damon, to begin with.

While they were waiting for the interlopers to be evicted, Maddy approached. Bryce noticed the ring on her left hand. Forcing himself to share her happiness, he said, "Hey, congratulations! Curtis told me you two got engaged over the break."

"Yes, we did," Maddy replied glowing with happiness as she glanced at her ring. "Thanks. But I also have a message for you. Evidently, there's some problem at the fraternity. Anyway, Curtis wants you to come by the house when we finish here."

"Oh. Did he say why, exactly?"

"No. He never discusses fraternity business with me. I'm working on weaning him from that, but he seems to think anything having to do with SAT is top secret," she laughed.

"Did he seem angry?" Bryce persisted.

"Nooo, not angry exactly. More upset, you know. Bothered."

"Okay. I'll go by and see what he wants," Bryce promised. But the coming interview created a dark cloud overshadowing Bryce's participation in the study group. He really tried to focus on John Milton, but his mind kept wandering back to his confrontation with Mack that afternoon. Had he handled that the right way? Could he have done things better? What did Curtis want? Was he washed up as an SAT pledge? Mike told him later that he was not up to his usual standard of participation.

The study session actually lasted a bit longer than usual because of the exam the next day and the late start, so it was about twenty past ten when Bryce left the library. He plodded his way over to the Sigma Alpha Tau house, not at all anxious to meet with the Pledge Master. He knew Curtis took his responsibilities very seriously, and would not bend the rules in his favor just because they were friends who worked out together. He entered the house, and found Curtis speaking with several other brothers in the main lounge or assembly room. When Curtis saw him, he came over right away.

Looking at his watch, he said, "I thought maybe you weren't coming."

"Exam tomorrow. Study group ran late," Bryce replied laconically.

"We need to talk. Come with me," Curtis said, and led Bryce to an office buried in the bowels of the building. He had not been there before. Curtis indicated a chair, and Bryce sat. Curtis sat nearby.

"I got your e-mail," Curtis began. "Mack tells a different story. He's demanding that you be dismissed from the pledge class for blatant disrespect to your mentor."

"I guess that's true. After this afternoon I have no respect for Mack, if that's grounds for dismissal," Bryce conceded.

"Like I said, I got your e-mail. You say the confrontation was about you and Damon being gay, and in particular an insult to Damon. Mack says it was about him defending his own mentor, Bick Lomax. Let me say right off, Bryce, I forgot that Bick was Mack's mentor when I asked him to be your big brother. All I was thinking about was that first soccer game, when you and he seemed to own the field between you."

"Yeah. I figured that was what you had in mind. Look, Curtis, I don't blame you. You're just doing your job. I guess it just won't work out," Bryce said with a deep sigh. "Thing is, Damon says if I don't get in, he won't join, either, and I know how much he wants this. That's what really bugs me more than anything else."

"Can you be more specific than you were in your e-mail? Can you remember exactly what was said?" Curtis pressed.

"Hell yeah! Just about every word is etched in my brain. After Mack just glanced at my pledge book, he started in asking me if I were gay. No, wait, he didn't say 'gay,' he said 'queer,' so I was ticked off from the start. I tried avoiding the question. I guess I did get kind of smart assed, flippant, you know, but I did not insult him or anything. I just pretended that I didn't know what he meant by 'queer' and 'homo.' Then he started in on Bick, telling me Bick had been his big brother, and had talked to him over the break about getting frozen out of the fraternity. What really did it, though, was when he said that what Bick did to Damon was deserved."

Curtis looked troubled. He carefully asked, "Can you remember his exact words?"

"Yeah. Mack said Bick was in disgrace for no good reason. I said he had been caught trying to rape a pledge, and Mack said he was trying to screw a queer who was in his bed, and queers deserved to be fucked," Bryce reported.

"You're sure of that. He said Bick was in trouble for no good reason, and Damon deserved to be fucked?"

"He didn't mention Damon by name. He said queers deserve to be fucked," Bryce corrected.

"Then what?" Curtis persisted.

"Then I walked out. Otherwise I might have smashed my fist into his arrogant face," Bryce said hotly.

"Okay. Mack's version is that he defended his big brother and you insulted both of them by walking out on him even after he told you to come back," Curtis said.

"He did tell me to come back. But I kept on going," Bryce admitted. "I think Mack left out the most important parts, though."

Curtis looked troubled. He chewed on his finger as he tried to decide what to do next. "Is there anyone who can back you up? Was anyone else around?"

Bryce thought. He had not really been paying attention to anyone else. "There were a couple of brother around. It was just after 3:30, and in the middle of the assembly room. Let's see. I don't know if anyone was close enough to hear anything. Wait! When Mack started to shout, Bob Balducci started to walk over in our direction. I think he said something, but I was so mad by then I didn't pay any attention. He's the only one who might have heard anything, though."

"Wait here," Curtis said, and left the room. A few minutes later, he returned with the fraternity treasurer, Bob Balducci.

"Bob, we have a disagreement here between Bryce and his mentor, Mack Campbell. Bryce says you were present this afternoon when that took place. Can you tell me what you know?" Curtis asked.

Bob looked a bit uncertain, glancing at Bryce, and licking his lips. "Well, I was trying to collect room rent from Jason Todd when I heard Mack shouting. I don't know what caused that to begin with. But I thought it was not a good idea for a brother to be dressing down his pledge in the middle of the assembly room, so I started over to speak to them. There were some hot words exchanged, then Bryce walked away. Mack said something like, 'come back, I'm not finished with you,' and Bryce said, 'yes you are,' or words to that effect."

"That helps, but can you be more specific about those hot words before Bryce started to walk away?' Curtis urged him.

"It was kind of embarrassing," Bob reluctantly replied. "I don't remember the exact words, but the last thing Mack said was something like 'queers deserve to be fucked.' I don't like hearing brothers talk like that."

"You're sure of those words? 'Queers deserve to be fucked.'" Curtis demanded.

"Pretty sure. If those aren't the exact words, they're pretty close. Like I said, I don't like to hear brothers talk like that, so they kind of stuck in my memory," Bob assured them.

"Thanks, Bob. That helps a lot. You might have to testify before an ethics committee, so don't forget anything," Curtis warned him.

"Oh, Geez. I hope not," Bob responded, and left the room.

"Mack's in the house. He lives here, and I asked him to be available. So, just wait again," Curtis instructed Bryce.

As the interview with Bob Balducci unrolled, Bryce began to have some hope that his days at SAT were not over after all. He was impressed with Curtis' skills at interrogating an obviously reluctant witness. He was not looking forward to another confrontation with Mack, however. It took a little longer this time before Curtis returned, but when he did, he had not only Mack, but also Tom Blankenship, the fraternity President, in tow.

"All right, we're all here. I think this is something which needs to be taken care of right away, so I'm glad you all could be here," Curtis said.

"I don't see the need for all this," Mack stated. "I told you this afternoon that this pledge publically insulted me and another brother. What more do you need?"

"Bryce does not deny walking away from you, Mack, but there's some question about what came just before that. You say you were defending your own big brother, Bick Lomax, when Bryce just turned and walked away," Curtis stated. "Bryce says you insulted all gays, and in particular the pledge who was almost raped by Bick."

"I think I've made my opinion known. I don't hold with all this kowtowing to queers and other special interests. How can we all be brothers if some claim special treatment?" Mack asked.

"What special treatment would that be, Mack?" Tom asked.

"You know. These fags want to be in the fraternity, but they can't take a little rough-housing, like any regular guy would," Mack declared.

"I don't think we're talking about a little rough-housing here, Mack. As I understand it, the topic was the reason Bick Lomax was suspended from voting and asked to move out of the house," Curtis pursued.

"Yeah, that's right. He finds this fag in his bed, and then the queer gets all squeamish, like he wasn't inviting it when he got in his bed in the first place," Mack confirmed.

"Let's set the record straight on that," Curtis said. "We're talking about the pledge Damon Watson. Kyle found him slumped over in the hall. He'd had too much to drink. So Kyle and I put him in Bick's bed. He did not get in it on his own. I didn't realize it was Bick's room, but the door was unlocked, and you know the rule about that. I went to get Bryce, here, who is Damon's neighbor in the dorm, to take Damon home. When we got back to the room, we found Bick trying to force Damon to suck his cock. Is that what you call a little rough-housing?"

"Well, it wasn't all that serious. Besides, I thought queers liked to suck cock," Mack defended his friend.

"Girls like to fuck, too, but if you do it against their will, it's called rape," Bryce caustically commented.

"And it certainly is a serious matter," Tom interjected. "Are you familiar with the University anti-discrimination policy? And the fact that the brothers voted to incorporate it into the house rules after the Kappa Alpha incident two years ago?"

"Yeah. I voted no on that. Another example of special treatment," Mack insisted.

"It doesn't matter whether you voted for it or not. It's policy. Violation of that policy could mean expulsion from the fraternity, but we didn't expel Bick, did we?" Tom persisted.

"No, but ...."

Tom cut him off. "You remember what happened to the Kappa Alphas?"

"Um, yeah. Sort of," Mack admitted.

"A girl was raped at one of their parties. She went to the Vice-President for Student Affairs, good old wishy washy Dr. Fox. The fraternity acted right away, expelled the guy who did the rape and apologized to the girl, but did our enlightened administrators take that into consideration? No way! Kappa Alpha brought disgrace - read adverse publicity - on the University, so they were suspended for two years. No meetings, no participation in any campus activity, no recruiting new members, no elections of new officers. They nearly went under. Is that what you want for SAT?" Tom demanded angrily.

He continued, "If Damon had gone to the administration, like that girl did, that's exactly what would have happened here. Maybe only one year, but no less than that. Instead, he was extremely generous. He let us handle it in house. It was MY decision to suspend Bick. It was MY decision to kick him out of the house. And it was MY decision to make him pay a fine. You want to complain about it, you complain to ME. You don't take it out on another pledge," Tom said forcefully right in Mack's face.

Mack was obviously shaken. He started to defend himself, "But this qu...."

"And if I hear you using discriminatory language again, I'll suspend you, too. Do you understand me Mack Campbell?" Tom said, again right in his face.

That did it. Mack crumpled. He sank into a chair, his body shaking. "What are you going to do to me?"

"What do you recommend, Mr. Pledge Master?" Tom asked Curtis.

"I feel partly responsible for this mess," Curtis said. "I forgot Bick was Mack's mentor, and that they were buddies. I also knew Mack used homophobic language from time to time, although I never heard it this bad before. Anyway, we have pretty good evidence, given by another fraternity officer, that what led to Bryce walking out on his mentor this afternoon was the statement that - and I quote - 'queers deserve to be fucked.' After what we just heard from Mack, I don't think there's any doubt about the validity of that evidence. We could go before the ethics committee, just like we could have with Bick, and have Mack expelled, but again I think it best to handle this privately. Expelling him would have to be reported to the administration, and we don't want that unless necessary. As of now, Mack, you're relieved of your role as Bryce's mentor. I'll find another in a day or two. Also, I want an agreement from you that you will not vote against the admission of Bryce or Damon when it comes to the final tally in December."

"Sounds reasonable," Tom said. "How about you, Bryce? Is that acceptable?"

Bryce took a moment to reply. "Acceptable? No. I don't find any kind of prejudice against people just because of who they are to be acceptable. But I'll accept it anyway. I've got to admit, after hearing Mack go on again tonight about queers and fags, I was about to walk out of here if you didn't at least suspend him from all fraternity activities. But that's not my call. By the time you got around to asking me, I had other thoughts. I'm Catholic. I had a really intense religious experience yesterday. I'm sure you can get the same thing from other churches, too, but the way I understand it, we're supposed to forgive those who have hurt us. I'm reminded of the line from the Our Father, 'forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.' Seems to me, that means if we want God's forgiveness for the screwing up we do, then we've got to forgive those who screw over us. Mack screwed over me this afternoon, and Bick screwed over Damon back in September. I can't speak for Damon, but he accepted the arrangements you imposed on Bick, and I haven't hear him complain. He really wants to be a member of SAT. Despite losers like Bick and Mack, after seeing you guys in action again tonight, I do, too. There for a while, I wasn't sure of that. But if the fraternity has officers like you two, then I guess most of the members are pretty sound. That's a long way of saying, I'll go along with what Curtis suggested."

"Thanks, Bryce," Tom said, shaking his hand. Turning to Mack, Tom said, "You can go. I don't want to hear any more shit from you."

Mack seemed to have recovered some of his aggressiveness as he responded, "What makes you think you can tell me not to vote on something?"

"You said yourself you did not accept the anti-discrimination policy adopted by the house. As far as I'm concerned, that's sufficient grounds to suspend your right to vote on anything where that policy might be involved. If you don't like it, you can bring it up at the next business meeting," Tom said forcefully. Then, with a grin, he added Mack's favorite phrase, "Got it?"

"Yeah," Mack spat back, turning to go.

Curtis caught him by the arm. "And if I even suspect you voted against these two pledges, or encouraged others to, I'll start those ethics hearings," he threatened. "Now go!"

Mack gave them all a glance filled with hatred, then stomped out of the office.

"He's not happy, but I don't think he'll chance an ethics hearing," Tom decided.

As they broke up, Curtis leaned towards Bryce. "Best sermon I heard in a long time," he said quietly in Bryce's ear.