Membership Drive

"If you want to be a member of our club, you have to jump in that pile of briers" said the one boy.

"You're kidding" she said.

"Nope. We had to do it, so if you want to be in this club, you have to do it too" the other boy explained.

She eyed the tangle of thorns with trepidation. Sensing her indecision, the first boy offered "We'll even jump in the pile with you."

"Yeah" added the other boy. "It wasn't so bad when we did it, but you've got to do it if you want be one of us."

"What's the problem? Are you afraid? "

"OK, OK" she said.

The boys glanced at each other slyly, barely able to conceal their excitement. The three of them stepped closer to the twisted angular stems from which thorns curved menacingly in every direction. "Ready" the one boy announced, rocking forward. "Set….. GO!" The boys lunged forward, and so did the girl. In that instant, she was convinced and committed. But the boys froze to watch the girl's trajectory into the pile of briers. Their howls of laughter began almost before she landed. They hooted and bent over, pointing at their victim, amazed at her gullibility, impressed with their powers of persuasion. They ran off, anxious to review their success and consider the legend they had just authored.

She, betrayed, surrounded by their jeering, was left to find her own way out of the thorns that entangled her hair, poked through her clothes and raked across the skin leaving staccatos of little red welts. Scratching. Stinging. Burning. Itching. Ridicule. Humiliation. The price of membership in a club that never existed.

G.R. Davis, Jr.
28 December 2003