“Come in. Start at the beginning.”
Johnny leaned back in his chair and cast a long, disparaging look at the man standing in his doorway. He motioned to the seat across the desk from him.
“Sit down, Lance. You have come to the right place.”
Lance took the seat and confusedly stared at Johnny.
“Now, if you want results, I’m going to need details. What exactly are you looking for?”
Lance looked around at Johnny’s room. The shades on the window were drawn, leaving the job of lighting the space to a small lamp sitting on the desk between he and Johnny. The entire place had an aura of dust to it — as if it were unused — even though Lance knew Johnny had lived in that very same room since his sophomore year.
“Uh, yeah. Like I said, I was just wondering if you’ve seen my box of Trojan Fire & Ice condoms. It’s one of the last boxes of its sort in existence; I only use them on special occasions since they were discontinued. I last saw them yesterday afternoon.”
Johnny produced a small notebook from under his desk and began writing.
“How did you discover they were missing?” he asked.
“Went looking for them last night because I was finally going to close the deal with that hot blonde I’ve been chasing. I felt a Fire & Ice would be appropriate to commemorate the moment. Came up empty.”
Johnny finished writing and looked up at Lance.
“Alright, I’ll take the case. I’ll find them.”
Lance looked at Johnny quizzically before replying.
“Ummm, alright… Thanks, I guess. I was just checking with everyone to see if they have them. It’s not a big deal or anything; I just want to get them back before that girl comes over again tonight.”
Johnny stood up and extended his hand to Lance.
“No problem. I’m on the case.”
After Lance left, Johnny began the process of cracking the case of the missing condoms. He thought back to the previous night. The person who’d lifted the box of Trojans had to have been somebody who scored at the end of the evening, right? Johnny squinted as he tried to recall who he had seen with a girl over the course of the prior night.
He remembered Bobby and his girlfriend getting hot and heavy on the balcony, but the odds weren’t good that Bobby was the condom culprit. After all, why in the hell would you have girlfriend if you had to use rubbers with them?
What about Jay? Johnny recalled that Jay was bragging about sex at breakfast that morning. Couldn’t be him either, though, because he mentioned that he hooked up with the girl during her shark week, and only the criminally insane use condoms for anal.
All of a sudden, Johnny had an epiphany. That JI kid. What the hell was his name? Fuck… His pledge name was Dick Filler, so it has to be something close to that… NICK MILLER — that’s the ticket. Johnny had heard him talking about scoring while they were both in the bathroom. Plus, that little fucker’s room is right next to Lance’s, making it much easier for him to avoid detection. It had to be Dick Filler, and that bitch was going down.
Johnny exited his room and walked briskly through the house until he reached Nick’s door. As he jiggled the handle, he discovered it was locked, meaning Nick was most likely not home. “Perfect,” Johnny thought as he aimed his foot at the door knob. One swift Spartan kick later and Nick’s door was swinging free.
Johnny walked over to Nick’s dresser and started rifling through the contents for any trace of the condom box. Just as he was finishing checking the bottom drawer, the door behind him opened, and in walked Nick.
“Johnny? How the fuck did you get in here?” Nick asked. “Did you break my lock?”
Johnny wheeled to face Nick.
“Nah man, that thing was already like that when I got here; probably the pledges’ shoddy handiwork. Hey, you haven’t seen Lance’s box of Trojan Fire & Ices, have you?”
At the mere mention of the Trojans, Nick’s face contorted into a look of horror.
“Ahh no, I haven’t seen them. Why, are they missing from Lance’s room?
Johnny started slowly walking toward Nick.
“Yeah. Lance told me they’ve been missing since last night. He asked me to keep my eye out for them, and after hearing that you bagged a little hottie, I figured I’d pay you a visit to make sure you hadn’t grabbed them by mistake.”
Johnny stood toe to toe with Nick, silently daring him to continue with his lie.
“But you haven’t seen them, right bud?”
Nick shifted his weight from foot to foot, desperate to escape Johnny’s presence.
“Right, bro,” Nick replied. “I haven’t seen them at all.”
Johnny smiled widely.
“Well I guess I’ll go check with somebody else then. You should talk to the house manager about getting your lock fixed. Wouldn’t want something stolen from your room while you were out, would you?”
Silence hung between them like a thick blanket. Both men wore counterfeit smiles as they engaged in a speechless stand-off.
“WATAHHHH” Johnny roared as he launched into a spinning back kick aimed at Nick’s head. The sudden movement caught Nick by complete surprise, and before he was able to move out of the way or defend himself, Johnny’s kick landed directly on the side of his stomach (Johnny isn’t flexible) with a loud thump. Nick crumpled to the ground in agony as Johnny assumed the teabag position over his semi-limp body.
“You listen to me, you fucking twat waffle,” Johnny growled as he lowered his head to within centimeters of Nick’s face. “I have spent my entire college career trying to keep scumbags like you out of my fraternity. You’re the type of person who buys a truck even if the only things you haul are fucking raindrops. Every year, I watch more and more of you little shitbags dilute the honorable bloodline of this brotherhood. For your pledge class project, you designed a fucking app. A FUCKING APP. My pledge class built a basketball court out of bottle caps and iron. They said it wasn’t possible, but we fucking did it. 4 of my pledge brothers had to drop because they got Tetanus. 4 GOOD MEN. Back in the day, we’d take people like you out to the woodshed and beat them with golf clubs. But now, nationals is so far up our ass we can’t even let you shits eat a slightly undercooked steak without them bitching about the diarrhea it caused you.”
“Dude, you were a Fall ’12.” Nick wheezed.
“The problem isn’t just with you, it’s with your whole generation. All you entitled pansies who have never so much as had a piñata at your birthday parties because you can’t stand the racism and violence. Have you ever taken a piñata’s life, Nick? Felt the rush of pulverizing something in order to eat its innards? Of course you haven’t. But I have, and it turned me into a man. A man who would have no problem killing you simply because it’s Wednesday. Now, where are the Trojans?”
Nick pointed to his bed, and there, lying neatly situated on the pillow, was the box of condoms.
“Guess I could have looked for those a little better,” Johnny muttered as he rose from hovering above Nick and walked over to the bed.
As Johnny picked up the box of Trojans and moved towards the door to leave, Nick dragged himself up to a sitting position, and, between heaves of pain, groaned out, “You’re a fucking psychopath, dude.”
Johnny stopped as he turned the handle and glared over his shoulder at the injured Nick. A grin slowly spread across Johnny’s face as he thought about how pathetic the kid looked sitting on the ground, holding the side of his diaphragm.
“No, motherfucker — I’m Johnny Gauge.”
After placing the recovered box of Trojans in Lance’s room and attaching a post-it note explaining his findings, Johnny wearily trudged back to his single. He thought about his years of detective work. The fraternity house was never short on missing items, and he had been working the beat since the day he’d moved in. He had found everything from leather jackets to DayGlo tickets. But now he was a fifth year senior, and he was getting too old for this shit. Who would search for stuff when he was gone? It was a tough job, but someone had to have the sack to keep order in that building code violation-riddled building they called a fraternity house.
Johnny entered his room and sat down in his chair. He had barely put a dent in the celebratory beer he pulled from the cooler underneath his desk before his door swung open:
“Hey, Johnny — you wouldn’t happen to have seen my paddle today, have you, bud? It was in my room this morning, but I have no idea where it is now.”
Johnny leaned back in his chair and let out a big sigh.
“Never a dull moment,” he whispered to himself.
Johnny returned the chair to an upright position and rested his elbows on the desk with his hands clasped in a pyramid-like formation. He shot a long, disparaging look at the man standing in his doorway.
“Come in,” Johnny said. “Start at the beginning.”.