Copyright© 2015 by Bill Offutt
Bud was mad at himself, disappointed and angry in about equal measures. He had gone oh for three and struck out with two men on base in the seventh inning. His high school team had lost ten to eight. He had thrown out two men trying to steal; there was that, but he was batting fifth now, hitting well over .300, and he felt he had let his team down. He pulled off his dirty socks and stuffed them in his bag.
"You gong to the meeting tonight?" asked Jim Hendricks, the team's center fielder.
"I suppose," Bud said.
"Need a ride?"
"Yeah. Where'll I meet you?"
"Out on the corner of Beech. We've got those new pledges."
"Oh yeah. That might be fun."
Bud's junior year of high school had been going pretty well. He as now a member of a popular fraternity and was first string on the baseball team. His social life as a sophomore had been a series of one and two-date meetings with a long string of high school girls, mostly from his own school, mostly for movies and hamburgers, until he started going steady with Jeanne.
He still couldn't dance worth two cents, as he told every girl that tried to get him out on the floor at one of the sock hops or homecoming dances, but the goodnight kisses and occasional gropes were getting to be easier to come by. Jeanne had even slapped his face once, and then kissed him to make up for hitting him so hard.
After a long bath and a hurried meal he met his friend on the highway, and they arrived at the home of the fraternity president in plenty of time for the meeting in the basement rec room.
They had fun putting a half-dozen pledges through their paces and were pleased that most of them had memorized the nonsense given them to learn and that all could loudly sing the club song while standing on one foot and balancing their pledge book on their head.
The meeting adjourned for some beer drinking and joke telling, and Bud and his friend headed for home about midnight. They were coming down the almost-empty Pike at a fairly quick pace when a flashing red light filled the inside of the car and from behind them a siren squawked.
Jim pulled over to the side of the road and fumbled his wallet out of his back pocket as the policeman approached the car. He rolled down the window.
"Know how fast you were going?" asked the officer.
"No sir," said Jim. "We were talking about something."
"Got you doing fifty-six, over fifty for the last half mile. You know the speed limit along here?"