A high school student finds a grimoire that shows how to make magical disguises.
|Previously: "Group Activities"
Any Club That Would Have You as a Member
There's no time to waste, as far as you're concerned: The sooner you're out of your shit life and into someone else's, the happier you'll be.
And a school club? You've never paid any attention to those, which makes it easy to assume that Blake and his friends, and Kirkham and his friends, don't pay any attention to them either.
That, of course, is a foolish assumption to make, but you follow it anyway. "Some of those clubs might be fun," you say.
"Some of them are pretty small, too," Sydney says. "That would make it easy to swallow them whole. So, you know, they get together after school to plan a bake sale or whatever, then as soon as the doors are closed—" She titters. "Off come the clothes and up go the chants to Baphomet!"
That would be pretty sick.
* * * * *
Sydney drops you off at the elementary school to get started on things, then leaves to run errands and to pick up some supper. It's barbecue that she brings back, along with a few other things. None of them are ingredients for more masks or memory strips, though, and you're running out of supplies. "How many can we make?" she asks as she starts cutting up cardboard boxes.
"We've made them all." You point to the two masks and memory strips. "And we're gonna need, like, how many?"
"Eight more people, at least, to fill out the Brotherhood," she says.
"We're going to be members?" you ask.
"I assumed so." A faint smile appears between her dimples. "Feeling a little shy about it, Will?"
"Honestly, yes. Besides, we're not members of these clubs."
"No," she admits. "But some of them, I think, don't even have ten members. Well, assume we need to make ten masks, at least," she adds. "For our ten members."
"And two masks for us, for when we switch out."
"We won't need those right away, will we?"
You hesitate. "I'd kind of like to," you say. "Like, this weekend?" You jam a wad of barbecue into your mouth and let your eyes fall as Sydney looks at you.
"Is there some hurry?" she asks.
She regards you levelly, then shrugs. "Then we better get started on figuring out which club we want to recruit into the Brotherhood." She takes out her cell phone.
* * * * *
You had no idea that there were so many clubs at Westside. It's almost like there's a club for each student. The Anglers' Club, the Ironman Club, the Brainwave Club, the Literary Society, the Murder Club, the Spirit Club, the Justice Issues Club ... You are so overwhelmed you hardly know where to begin or how to think about them.
"Here, we'll do it like this," Sydney says at last. She takes out a pen and starts scribbling on the cardboard boxes she brought back from her errands. "We'll sort them out according to type."
You've no idea what sort of "types" to sort them into, so you just let her do all the work. When she's done, she's grouped them into four types.
"So, here's a bunch of outdoorsy-type clubs," she says, pointing to the first list. "I don't know a lot about your local clubs here, but back in Kansas these would be guys who are always going outside and doing things. That'd be pretty convenient for when we want to hold outdoors ceremonies."
She points to the second group. "These are the academic-type clubs. The smart people, the artsy types. The artsy ones would fit in real well to the Brotherhood, and we could almost go public if we picked them for membership.
"Then these guys—" She points to the third group. "Well, I don't know a lot about them, but they're gaming clubs. I'm betting they're pretty small, and we could probably take them over entirely. Maybe have to bring in some extra members, even. These would probably be best if we really wanted to be secretive and secure."
She points to the last group, whose names—Global Awareness Club, Justice Issues Club, Spirit Club, and others—make you wince. "And these are going to be the biggest clubs, the ones with all the prestige. What did you say?"
"Nothing." Buncha stuck-up snobs, is what you murmured.
Maybe she heard you anyway, for she says, "And these guys would be the most fun to turn into a Brotherhood. I mean, think of it, all the environmentalists and minority rights people getting all into Baphomet all of a sudden!" She titters.
* To pick a socially conscious club: "The Enlightened Ones"
* To pick an outdoorsy club, continue below.
You've still got Blake and his friends in the back of your mind, so as you like the sounds of using an "outdoorsy" club. Even if none of those assholes is in one of those clubs, they are probably filled with guys who could be useful for getting back at those cocksuckers.
"Well, let's look at their pages," Sydney says when you mutely point at the list. "They're probably going to be really heavy on guys," she says, "so we'll have to look for girls separately. But— Here." She turns the screen toward you. It shows a picture of a bunch of guys with fishing rods, grinning at the camera. You only recognize a handful of them, and of that handful you can only put a name to one of them—Justin Roth—and even he you don't know that well. Over the picture it says "Anglers' Club," and Mr. Hagerman—one of the young, handsome English teachers—is listed as the adviser. You grunt. None of them look like very impressive physical specimens who could go toe-to-toe with O'Brien or Kirkham and their friends.
Although you have the dim impression that you've seen Roth and Kirkham hanging out together.
"Who else?" you ask Sydney.
"You're the one who's been going to Westside for three years already," she retorts, but with a roll of the eyes takes back her phone and resumes scrolling and tapping.
The next page she shows you is the Caveman's Club, which is much closer to what you were envisioning. Big, meaty guys, three of them at least wrestlers: Laurent Delacroix, Alec Brown, and Chris Ratliff. Coach Porter—one of the brawny coaches—is in charge of it, which is fitting.
"There's also the Ironman Club," Sydney says as she takes the phone back, "though I think the Cavemen do a lot more outdoors stuff, like extreme camping." (She doesn't explain what "extreme camping" is.) "These guys," she says when she turns the phone back toward you, "seem more like all-around fitness." They are a more lithe bunch; the only one you can put a name too, though, is Jason Lynch. He'd be a good one to have under your thumb, though, for he's got a reputation for being a total, psychopathic douchebag.
"The one I want to try out, though," Sydney says as she takes the phone back, "is the Aeronautical Society. Can you imagine doing it in a hot-air balloon?"
The picture is so vivid that you almost don't hear her next words over the rushing blood that roars in your ears: "It's got a better boy-girl balance, too."
Clubbing a Caveman
"Let's make it the Caveman's Club," you tell Sydney. With some beefy guys like that under your thumb, you could really fuck with Blake and friends. But you don't mention that to Sydney. Instead, you explain it with, "Some of the stuff we have to do for the Brotherhood, it has to be done outside, right?"
"Well, no," she says after a fractional hesitation. "I mean, some of it could be, but it's not like it has to be."
But before you can come up with a new rationalization, she blinds you with a wide, sweet grin.
"We'll do whatever you want, Will," she says, and she puts her face into yours, touching the side of your nose with hers. "You're the one doing me this huge favor by—"
She pulls at your mouth with lips.
"So you should get to pick who it is," she says when she breaks away.
You pull her to yourself and kiss her some more.
* * * * *
It's a lot of fun making out with your girlfriend—and Sydney squirms and squeaks as you touch her in places she hasn't let you touch yet—but you do have work to do if you're going to get yourself a new identity. You'll need two masks—one to copy your first recruit from the Caveman Club, and the other a copy of yourself under which you'll hide your victim—and Sydney needs to find an available body-donor. You work at the former while she texts her friends to hunt down the latter.
"Here," she says forty-five minutes later. She scrambles over with her phone. "There's a party over at Phoebe's house. Reagan says some of the wrestling and LAX guys'll probably show up. That'll be perfect."
"How'll we get one of them?"
"Don't be a doof, Will. That'll be my job."
A cold fire envelops your heart. "How?"
She gives you a look, which she softens with a knowing smile.
"What do you care if I'm gonna make out with him," she says, "if you're going to be him before it's all said and done?"
You squirm at being seen so through so easily. "That's not what I meant," you lie. "What I meant was, how do I get into his mask? You're gonna copy him, right? But if I'm not there when you do it—"
"I'll turn him into a pedisequos," she says. "I'll put that stuff in his mask and turn him into a thing like my step-dad. Then I'll bring him out to you and you'll switch faces with him. When that's all done—" She nuzzles you. "I'll pick up with you where I left off with him."
Whoa. It's like a rocket has started blasting its engine down in your pelvis.
Still, weakly, you have to argue, even as you peck back at her with your lips.
"But he won't obey you," you murmur into her cheek. "What I mean is, he won't have to. If we turn him into a pediwhatsits—"
"A pedisequos, Will."
"—we'll have to set him up to obey me. 'Cos I'll be the one wearing his mask."
"Uh huh? And?"
"So I'll still have to be out there to give him orders."
Sydney sighs into your mouth, and withdraws. With a lowered brow she contemplates the problem. You bite your lip and try willing her to start making out with you some more.
"How about if we make up some of that pedisequos stuff for me," she says at last. "We have to make some up for me anyway, sooner or later, if half the Brotherhood's going to be mine. So make up some of it for me, and I'll take it with me and put it in the mask after I've copied him."
"But then he'd be your pedithing, not mine."
"Sure. And then tomorrow I'll get him to bring out one of his friends for you."
Next: "Rhapsody in Brown"