The Exchange Studebt


The Exchange Student


            Halloween night, around ten PM, at a Fraternity House somewhere in New England. The moon is full, but the sky is overcast. “Hey Chad,” asks Eddie.

            “Yes Eddie,” answers Chad.

            “Nice Gladiator costume.”

            Chad looks down at his impressive bare chest. He’s glad he remembered to shave. His tin foil helmet is a nice accessory, which goes well with the cloth tunic and wooden sword to complete the ensemble. His biceps swell a little each time he lifts his solo cup of foamy brew to his lips. He looks at Eddie and asks, “Tell me what you are again?”

            Eddie pulls on his grey beard, lifts his staff, and growls, “Thou shall not pass!”

            Chad’s face is blank. He lifts his head slightly in acknowledgement and takes another sip of his beer. Eddie smooths out the wrinkles in his robe. While holding his arms crossed, beer near his lips, Chad surveys the scene. Eddie glances briefly at Chad and positions his arms and beer in the same manner.

“How’s the talent looking tonight?” asks Eddie.

Chad shrugs.

“I think Rebecca will be here tonight,” suggests Eddie. “She told me she’s coming as a nurse.” Eddie raises his eyebrows for emphasis. “A naughty nurse.”

Chad shrugs again.

“Oh, and there’s Julie, I think as a fairy?”

“Tapped that.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Third time’s the charm.”

Eddie scans the room again. “How about the twins?”

“Been there, done that.”

“At the same time?”

“Is there any other way?”

“At the same time in matching can-can girl costumes?”

“I could-could but I won’t-won’t.” Chad snickers at his own joke. Eddie snickers too. Chad’s eyes catch something different.

“Do you know who that is?” asks Chad.

Eddie looks at the girl, dressed in black, with black fingernails, and dark eyeliner. Her skin is pale. “I think she’s an exchange student, here for the semester. From somewhere in Europe.”

“Europe,” mouths Chad as he nods his head. He takes one step toward the exchange student but suddenly his path is blocked by an approaching witch with a scowl on her face. “Chad,” she whimpers. She leans in with her hand blocking the view from Eddie and says, “I need to talk to you.”

Chad does not budge. He leaves his arms folded and lifts his cup two inches to take a sip. “Okay Kathy, talk.”

Kathy leans forward, with her mouth almost touching Chad’s ear, and whispers, “Privately.”

“Look, I never promised anything,” replies Chad.

Kathy pouts. “Not that. There’s something I need to discuss.”

Chad freezes. Kathy senses his sudden, uncharacteristic panic. “No, it’s not that. We weren’t anywhere near the window.”

“My room doesn’t have any windows,” protests Chad.

“That’s not what… never mind. No, I’m not pregnant. There’s something else.” Chad’s face relaxes.

Kathy turns to face Eddie, who is pulling his beard and inspecting it for beer foam that has dribbled across the front. Chad unfolds his arms and slaps Eddie’s shoulder with the back of his hand. “Give us a second.”

Eddie dutifully departs. Kathy leans in, “You told me your room was soundproof.”

“It is. I installed it, well, rather my dad had it installed for me, over the summer.”

Kathy raises an eyebrow. Chad grins and explains, “I told him it would help me concentrate and study.”

“Sure. If it’s soundproof, why did I just overhear a conversation behind me where two of your fraternity brothers were joking about me being a dolphin.”

Chad allows himself a chuckle. “I have no idea.”

“I mean, the only way they’d know the sounds I make when, you know…” she trails off.

Chad nods.

“They had to have heard us, or rather me, the other night, right?”

“I don’t think anyone heard you,” assures Chad.

In the din of the gathering, in a way that only happens at awkward moments at a party, there is a brief coincidental gap in all the conversations as well as the music at once, save one conversation. One of the fraternity brothers is overheard saying, “and that girl over there is from Chad’s video.”

Kathy’s eyes widen. Chad looks across the room at the offending fraternity brother, who sips his beer and turns around to scurry out of the room.

“Chad, you’re an asshole,” Kathy declares, and she turns to leave. Chad doesn’t try to stop her. He relocates the exchange student and steps off for his next conquest.

“Hey, welcome to the party,” opens Chad.

“Thank you,” she replies. Her dark hair and black eyes have Chad’s attention.

“Are you new this year?” he asks.

“Yes, just here for the semester.”

“Do I hear an accent there?”

She smiles. “Yes, I am an exchange student.”

“Let me guess,” begins Chad. “Europe, right?”

She nods as she sips her drink.

“I’ve been to Europe once. My dad had a conference near London. We stayed at this hotel. They had this all you can eat breakfast, which included baked beans. It was pretty wild.”

She nods and looks around the room.

“Hey I’m Chad.”

“Ivanka.” She finishes her drink.

“Have you tried the punch?” he asks.

Eddie arrives with two solo cups of red punch. She takes hers and Chad takes his, and then Eddie exits after a head nod from Chad. She takes a sip but soon after makes a face. “What’s in this?” she asks.

“Witch’s brew,” replies Chad as he takes a big gulp.

“Well thank you for the drink,” she says and turns to circulate elsewhere.

Chad’s face turns red as Eddie looks on in disbelief. Eddie silently mouths, “What happened?”

Chad holds up one finger to Eddie. He strides over and blocks Ivanka’s path to the kitchen by leaning one leg on a chair, revealing his robust quads to match the pecs and biceps on display. “So, are you, like, here only for the semester or will you stay after for the break to check out Christmas in America?”

“I don’t really celebrate Christmas,” she replies.

“Oh, Okay, that’s cool.” He leans one hand against the windowsill, and the other supports his chin as his elbow rests on his knee.

“What did you say was in this anyway?” she asks again.

“Oh, that’s a house secret. We make it each year. It’s kind of what we’re known for.”

A break in the clouds allows the moonlight to spill into the room through the window. Ivanka drops her cup on the rug and holds her stomach. “I’m so sorry,” she winces.

Chad looks up and finds Eddie. He points to the spill and Eddie runs to fetch paper towels. “Don’t worry. It’s not the first time a drink was spilled in this house.”

“Whatever it is, I think I’m feeling sick. Or maybe I’m getting a migraine.”

Chad reaches his arm around her to support her. “Let’s sit you down,” he says, as he grabs the chair he was leaning on and tries to place her in it. She stops him.

“I just need to lie down in a dark room,” she says.

“I get it,” concludes Chad. “I’ve got a room upstairs. No windows. Completely dark.” He leads her to the stairs. As they start their way up, Chad catches a glance at Eddie, who pumps his fist in the air of silent triumph while Chad provides a brief nod.

They enter Chad’s room and sit down on the bed. The music and hum from the party below serves as background noise. Ivanka has her head between her knees and Chad is rubbing her back as she is doubled over. “Can I get you anything? Some ice water?” he asks.

Ivanka sits up and shakes her head no. She looks at Chad. His hand is rubbing her back, and then he is patting her long, smooth black hair. She reaches with one hand and runs her fingers through his blonde hair. A smirk creeps across Chad’s face. With two hands, Ivanka pushes against his chest, not to push him away but her eyes review what’s in front of her.

“You are quite lean,” she observes.

“I can press almost twice my weight,” he boasts.

“No, I mean, you do not have much fat. You are lean meat.”

Chad’s smirk broadens. “I’ll take that as a compliment.”

Ivanka stands and walks to the door, shuts it, and turns the lock. Once closed, the room is completely quiet. As she turns around, Chad is standing, but his tunic is on the floor and a huge smile is wrapped across his face.

“Don’t worry, I’m a gentleman,” he says as he strides forward.

She moves to meet him, but instead of a kiss she pushes him to the floor, quickly overpowering him and pinning his shoulders to the ground.

“Wow, you’re strong!” he laughs.

Her eyes glow pink, and as she rears her head up, Chad notices the canines protruding from under her upper lip.

“Hey wait,” he stammers.

She plunges her head down into his chest. He is immobilized by her hands pinning him in place as fast as a pair of iron clasps nailed into the floor.

“Help!” screams Chad. “Help!”

Downstairs, in the party, Eddie high-fives a fraternity brother to celebrate another of Chad’s conquests. “Happy Halloween Chad!” shouts Eddie.


 Griffith Pound


Griffith is a new writer with no credits, but a lot of enthusiasm and ready to write more. He is a father of three teenagers, the owner of a border collie, and a slave to a cat.

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