At breakfast, Candace threw the student newspaper down in front of Julian.
“Watch the Cheerios!”
“What’s this about,” I asked.
“Sorry, J.J.” Julian hated when Candace called him that, and she knew it. “Read it.”
“Nice, you already got your byline on the front page, though I don’t think the New York Times will be impressed with stories about the registrar’s promise to provide more sections of Intro. to Sociology next year,” I said.
“It’s my first semester! What have you done for your major? Nothing, well, unless you’ve changed your area of study to Prick-ology.”
“I have no interest in economics.”
Julian applauded as I bowed dramatically, scooting my chair away from the table as I strove to make my forehead touch the floor.
“Read the story above mine,” Candace said, rolling her eyes.
FRATERNITY PRESIDENT FOUND DEAD
“It’s all they were talking about it the newsroom. Apparently, his name is Jason Baxter. He was president of The House or The Den, some frat no one knows the Greek letters for.”
“Yeah, I’m pretty sure we met that guy,” Julian said.
Candace continued, “I guess someone who lived in the house found him Thursday morning, hanging in a shower stall. He typed a note on his computer, some shit about being a disappointment. Anyway, it hasn’t been ruled a suicide, but there’s no evidence it would be anything else.”
“He didn’t seem suicidal,” I said.
Julian shook his head.
“So you weren’t too busy drinking and ogling tits to make a sound psychiatric evaluation?”
“We did speak — granted, very briefly — between sessions of jerking one another off,” Julian said.
“And farting. But seriously, if the suicide thing is true, I’m shocked.”
Julian agreed. “It wasn’t just that he was well-liked, it seemed like he was respected.”
Marvin H. Smith IV approached. He was the unluckiest person we knew because his work-study job required wearing a hair net. Although Candace, Julian, and I were friendly with him in Anderson Complex-South and during classes, we never spoke when he was on duty. Julian and I greeted him with a nod when he began to clear our trays. Candace avoided the situation altogether by running to the buffet line to grab something before the cafeteria closed for the morning. She returned with a banana.
“Anyway, it’s a big story and will be for the rest of the semester. It’s probably the story of the year, and I’m going to get myself on the beat.”
“That’s a little sick, Candace,” Julian said.
“Better than covering the registrar.”
In the week between Jason Baxter’s death and funeral, all anyone said was complimentary. It wasn’t until after midterms that anyone heard anything besides “Jason Baxter was an upstanding young man whose life was cut tragically short by the rigors of a top-tier education and family expectations.”
Read the first two chapters here.