The first time the guys asked Jack to “go grubbin” he couldn’t believe it. He was walking through the hall on the way to fourth period, when Chet asked him. Jack stammered out a surprised yes, and Chet told him where to meet everyone after school.
Jack was dumbfounded. He had heard the cool kids talking about grubbin before, but he never thought they would ask him to come along. Maybe it was his recognition from the school for almost single-handedly winning the district’s Super Scholastic Competition, maybe it was one of his articles in the school’s paper (his expose on the history of the school’s oldest rivalry had been on the front page), maybe one of the cool kids found out his dad was a big wig at one of the country’s top video game companies.
He flushed with pride and couldn’t sit still until the end of the day when he was to meet everyone just off campus. At 3:30 the bell rang and a very excited and anxious Jack crammed his books in his bag and then walked to the 7/11 down the street. Sure enough, not ten minutes after he got there, just long enough for Jack to think this might have just been a prank, Chet and his buddies, Chris and Tom, pulled up in his cherry red convertible. The top was down and the music blaring. Chet whipped the car around to where Jack was standing and waved him in.
Chris and Tom sat in the back, and each gave Jack a hearty slap on the back when he sat down.
“You ever been grubbin before,” Tom asked.
Jack shook his head and they were off. They drove past the town limits and out into the hilly and forested countryside. When they pulled off into a forest preserve, Chet turned the music down. At the same time, Tom and Chris quieted down as well.
“We don’t want to attract any attention,” Chet said. “You know grubbin isn’t exactly legal.”
“Yeah,” Jack said. “I know.”
“You’re cool right,” Chris said. “We don’t want you to go snitching or anything.”
“He’s cool,” Chet said.
They parked the car and got out, and then Chet led them off into the woods. When they came to a large rotting log he held up his hands and they stopped.
“This is were the prime grubs are,” he said.
Then he reached into the log and pulled out a handful of fat, wriggling grubs and some partially rotten wood. He picked out one from the group, the fattest, and blew the wood particles off of it. Then, with a brief look to the others, he slurped it into his mouth and began to chew. Within moments the enzymes in the grub were taking effect and he began to chuckle at nothing. Chris and Tom didn’t wait, but dug into the log themselves. Jack was still hesitating and so Chet blew off a grub and tossed it to him.
“Go on, eat it.”
Jack looked at the white, writing thing in his hands and then popped it into his mouth before he could think twice. He bit down hard, and the bitter juices flooded his mouth. He nearly gagged, but then he swallowed the fluid and could feel its effects take hold. Colors were brighter, the world seemed to swim, and suddenly everything was funny. He took another, and another, and soon he was in a euphoric stupor. That was when the others snuck off, unnoticed. Some time later, Jack looked up and found them gone. He went looking for them, and when he stumbled out of the woods Chet’s car was no longer in the parking lot. Instead was a police cruiser.
“Son,” said the burly police officer. “Have you been grubbing?”
“N-no sir,” he said, and wiped grub juice from his chin. Then he took another step and nearly fell over.
“I think you’re going to have to come with me. Grubbing is a serious offense.”
And with that, Jack was loaded into the cruiser and taken away.