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Predicament – Part III by htflatnc

Predicament – Part III

Tuesday morning about 10 o’clock the text of a 30-second message appeared on a YouTube restricted membership channel entitled MyRugbyClub: "Sparrow is no longer taking messages seriously. Had breakfast this morning with Sparrow who told me of text messages. After events of last night, he has no more fear of losing hair. Will inform Seville of any changes in plan. Need to escalate. Escalate! Escalate! Escalate!" The message was signed Hawk.

Sparrow? Who was Sparrow? Seville? Who was Seville? Hawk? Who was Hawk? And escalate what exactly.

The MyRugbyClub channel as the name would suggest was for the rugby club at the university Ryan attended. Rugby players on the team could post messages to one another (the restricted membership part) and also post videos of their matches. Because Ryan and Jeff were freshmen, they were not yet members of the team; but both had applied for membership. The rugby club functioned much like a fraternity – including hazing. Ryan was learning all about hazing first hand. And now that hazing was about to escalate.

Ryan continued to get anonymous text messages four times on Tuesday and three times on Wednesday. Every time the text message would disappear after thirty seconds. By Wednesday afternoon, Ryan had lost twelve inches of hair by the text message calculations. Because Ryan only had five inches to lose, he did not take the text messages seriously and thought whoever was sending them was farther away than he had thought. Ryan let his guard down and relaxed, not worrying about the messages, who might be sending them, or what consequences he was facing. This was exactly the reaction Hawk had wanted and would make the escalation Ryan was to face even more effective.

Ryan had a meeting with the members of the rugby club 4 o’clock Wednesday afternoon when his classes had finished. Ryan didn’t realize it, but he was to be the topic of the meeting. He planned to bring up the mysterious text messages he had been receiving. Since some of the club members were electrical engineering majors and much more tech savvy than Ryan was, he figured they might be able to help.

On Wednesday after class, Ryan met up with Jim who was both his workout partner and already a member of the rugby club. They would be attending the meeting together and started to walk over to the club house. There was a long, narrow passage that they had to pass through on the way to the rugby club. From the other end, two large, burly guys in hoods entered. Ryan had just enough time to wonder what was happening before a heavily drenched, sweet-smelling cloth was placed on his face and took him down within a matter of seconds. The two in the hoods removed them, revealing that one was Lennie. Lennie and the other rugby club member, Jack, were juniors. Lennie and Jack each took one of Ryan’s arms and Jim took his feet as they conveyed Ryan down the passage. Jim then went to get his pickup truck as Lennie and Jack hogtied Ryan, put duct tape over his eyes, placed a ball gag in his mouth and stopped up his ears with plugs and then put duct tape over those to keep the plugs from coming out. Ryan would be rendered senseless once he came to. The pickup truck pulled up and Lennie and Jack trundled Ryan into the back and hopped in. It was broad daylight when they did this, but they were not observed – or so they thought.

The pickup pulled out of the parking lot and within five minutes the truck was barreling down the interstate. Jim was careful not to go more than five miles per hour over the speed limit. It would be difficult to explain why there was a kidnapped, hogtied, unconscious body in the back seat if they were pulled over by a cop. Rugby club initiation as an explanation probably would not cut it. It really would depend on how far Ryan would want to push it. Hawk, aka Lennie, had definitely escalated, but had he gone too far? How Ryan would react to all of this was key.

Their destination was Pine Bluff, about 40 minutes from the university town where they had started. Lennie had made all the arrangements in Pine Bluff with his Aunt Brunhilda, whom Lennie called Aunt Bee, and his twin sister, Ava. Seville, better known as Jeff, had spent the previous Saturday in the barbershop Lennie’s aunt ran. He was learning how to cut flattops and use a straight razor, two skills which were heretofore unknown.

The past Saturday was spent in observation of Ava and Aunt Brunhilda using their sorcery like Circe to transform long-haired men into newly shorn flattoppers. Ava would entice the men to come in for a relaxing shampoo, followed by a haircut and a shave. All for the low price of $10. Not many young men could resist Ava’s entreaties for a relaxing session in what they thought would be exclusively her hands. After Ava had them washed and relaxed at her wishing well, she would lead them to one of the two Koken chairs which would swallow them. Brunhilda would have them enveloped in the white cape that acted as a spider’s web might making it so the more the man might squirm, the tighter he was held in place. The man in the chair would gaze upon Ava who was standing just beyond arm’s length, smiling, and showing a sufficient amount of her legs and cleavage. In the meantime, Brunhilda would work efficiently at providing the young man with a flattop, a haircut that he did not know he wanted, but suited him in every way. All the while, Jeff was standing at Brunhilda’s shoulder watching her wield alternatively clippers, flattop comb and straight razor as only a maestro can. Today, Jeff was to have a hands-on session after watching four such transformations on Saturday. The approach taken with Jeff’s customer was a bit more direct than Ava’s enticement – kidnapping and hogtieing are more direct. But then Jeff was no Ava so a more direct method was needed, and since Lennie’s initial method had not worked, another was needed. Kidnapping and hogtieing were a bit extreme though. Just a bit. But this was Lennie.

Jim saw the 2-miles-ahead exit for Pine Bluff. It was good that they were almost there because Ryan was beginning to revive and thrashed around on the back seat of the pickup truck. Jack reached back and touched Ryan’s shoulder. That seemed to calm him for a second, but the thrashing soon started again. This time Jack took off the duct tape holding the ear plugs in place. Removing one of the ear plugs, Jack told Ryan to calm down which had the exact opposite effect. Ryan wasn’t sure who was talking to him and Ryan was obviously trying to talk making moaning sounds. Then Lennie reached back and hit Ryan on the shoulder – not enough to harm him, but enough to get his attention. "Hey, numb nut, if you don’t calm down and do everything I tell you to, you’re going to remain tied up. We will untie you if you calm down. We’re almost there." Ryan knew immediately who it was. Lennie’s voice and approach were pretty unmistakable. He thought back two nights when Lennie was shorn and wanted to pressure Ryan into doing the same. Ryan had very mixed feelings about Lennie. He could be a volatile asshole as he was that Monday night. But he was also a leader and sometimes a lot of fun. Ryan began to piece things together: Lennie as the instigator of the phone messages made perfect sense; shorn Lennie wanting to cut all of Ryan’s hair off made perfect sense. And then he remembered how on Tuesday morning he had confided in Lennie about the phone messages. That was a mistake. Then Ryan remembered the advice Lennie had given him that morning: Do everything you are told. Ryan had made a second mistake Tuesday morning: He hadn’t followed Lennie’s instructions. He wasn’t going to make that mistake again. Ryan calmed down immediately. He wasn’t sure he was doing the right thing, but he knew he didn’t want to remain tied up.

Lennie told Jim to pull the truck over on the exit ramp. Lennie got out of the truck, opened up the back door, took out a machete from underneath the seat and cut the ropes that were binding Ryan’s. Ryan put the machete back under the seat and told Ryan to sit up and slide over. Ryan, being in a compliant mood, obeyed, and Lennie got in the pickup seated next to Ryan. Lennie ripped off the duct tape covering one eye causing Ryan to yelp into the mouth gag. Lennie took Ryan’s chin in his hand and turned his face towards him and ripped off the duct tape covering the other eye causing yet more consternation. Lennie chuckled at Ryan’s obvious discomfort, glad he had been the source. Ryan took the duct tape off the other ear himself, not giving Lennie a chance to inflict more pain. He also undid the ball gag and started with a verbal assault on Lennie, but Lennie cut him off as Lennie explained to Ryan exactly what he was to do.

"We are going to my Aunt Bee’s barber shop. It’s going to be closing time and we are going to march in and you are going to sit down in the barber’s chair when you get there. All the other members of the rugby club are going to be there. You may say hello to them, but that is all you are going to say. You will wait patiently seated in the chair. You are on trial. I will be your prosecutor and Jack will be your defender. You’re lucky. The other members of the club like Jack and don’t like me. You may get off light."

"May I ask a question?" Ryan asked.

"Since you asked politely, yes, you may," Lennie replied.

"What am I on trial for?" Ryan asked.

"How much hair you can keep," Lennie replied.

Ryan had a million more questions, but now was not the time and he knew it. Besides, his questions would soon be answered. The pickup truck pulled up in front of the Pine Ridge Barber Shop.

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