“You’re such a perv!”, says Eric and everyone in the hall turns to him. Sabrina stands next to him, adjusting her crop top.  

“Do you often peep on two people having fun in their car?” 

“I didn’t, I just … wanted to …,” Knox clutches the strap of his bag, he blushes.  

“See how it’s done?” Eric grins stupidly, grabs Sabrina around the waist and pulls her close. 

By now, a semicircle of onlookers has formed. Jason and another guy from the rugby team cheer Eric on. The question is no longer if Eric will make Knox cry, but how fast.   

Toby stands a few feet away in front of his locker and turns away from the scene. After reassuring himself that his father’s colt is still firmly tucked into his waistband, he digs a pencil out of his backpack and checks the next box. The first one today, and class hasn’t even started yet. 

“Have you finally found your balls?” his father had said after Toby had struck back the first time. 

And Toby has. 

The bingo grid has been hanging on the inside of his locker since Monday.  

He already has two rows of four. 

Today is Thursday.  

Oak Hill High has to get through two more days without someone’s stuff getting pissed on or insects crawling out of a locker. 

The week started with one sophomore sharing a dick pic from her cheating ex-boyfriend on Instagram. And with Simon’s effort at Tuesday afternoon’s game, Toby was able to check two boxes at once: involuntary outing, and leftover food in underwear. 

The school bell rings, the hallway slowly empties. Mr. Jefferson arrives and shoos Eric and his friends into the classroom. Knox follows them at a great distance.  

As Knox passes him, Toby looks into dark, glassy eyes. Freckles speckle his small, knobby nose.  

Toby thinks of the deer he shot with his father on his eleventh birthday. The same blank look.  

He walks into the classroom last and sits in his seat behind Jason, who is opening his laptop.  

Jason scrolls through Knox’s Instagram feed. Eric is throwing paper balls at Jason, Sabrina is engrossed in a conversation with her friends. Mr. Jefferson asks for silence, but his voice is drowned out by the laughter of a few guys in the front row. 

While Jason cuts out Knox’s face in several photos, Toby’s hand slides under his T-shirt and grips the metal that is warm from his body heat. 

But Toby will wait, will play by the rules. 

Five in a row. 

The game goes on, for him and for Oak Hill High. 


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