Martha Stewart's Frat House. Jack plays pool in a game room that looks more like something out of Nelson Rockefeller's place in Newport than the typical shitty fraternity rec room. He's playing with two other pledges, whose names I don't catch. I'm calling one of them "Red," since he has red hair, and the other "Caesar," because he has that Caesar haircut that George Clooney worked to far greater advantage. In 1998. Anyway, they're talking about all the crap they have to do during Hell Week. Apparently, all the pledges are on call, 24 hours a day, to do whatever anyone in the frat could possibly want, from tying shoes to picking up dry-cleaning. Jack tells his companions that he's heard that if "you can guess Polar Bear's real name," you get to skip the rest of Hell Week. "Dude, what do you think his name is?" asks Caesar. "I don't know," Jack says. "Probably something stupid, like 'John.'" Instead of, say, something stupid like "Kerr." Red chortles and leans down to line up a shot. "Maybe his real initials are 'PB,'" he offers, "Like, you know, 'Perry Bastille.'" Caesar and Jack burst out laughing. "He could be French. What?" Red asks. Heh. Sorry, that was kind of funny. It was all in the delivery. Next thing you know, Jack looks up and sees Tobey loping into the room. "Tobey!" he shouts. "What the hell kind of name is 'Tobey'?" Caesar wonders, as Jack and Tobey embrace. "What are you doing here?" Jack asks, sounding pleased to see him, but a bit stunned. "Surprise," Tobey says. Jack grins, but sputters that he had no idea Tobey was coming. He throws his arm around his boyfriend and introduces him to Red and Caesar…but not vice versa, so we don't get any names. "Hey," Red says. "Right on," Caesar offers. One of their cell phones rings; it's Caesar's. He runs off to, I don't know, pick up the new Limp Bizkit CD for Chet, Chad, or Brad. Tobey watches as Jack is fascinated by Caesar's newest task. Eventually, the two of them run off into the night together, leaving poor Red all alone with his pool cue.
On the way back to Grams's, Jack tells Tobey all about Pledge Week, and how it's way less hardcore than it used to be: more errands, less masturbating onto a piece of Wonder Bread. Tobey nods and pretends to care. "I guess you could be doing something with cattle," Tobey says. "What?" Jack laughs. "I saw it on HBO!" Tobey insists. HBO is, I've found, a very reliable source of information. I've learned, for example, that a guy with one ball can impregnate a woman with a lazy ovary, that they'll let you share a cell with your sibling if you both end up in the pokey, and that Donnie Wahlberg is actually the most talented member of NKOTB. Jack tells Tobey that "Hell Week is nothing more than a way to bond the pledges together." He then tells Tobey that this week is going to be insane, and he wishes he'd have more time to spend with him. "You will have some time, right?" Tobey asks. Jack swears he'll make time. And this is why the pop-in is never a good idea, especially when it's a transcontinental, overnight-type pop-in. You just never know when you'll find the popped-in-upon in her jammies, eating cold pizza and Krispy Kremes and watching the episode of thirtysomething where they find out that Nancy has the cancer, thus unable to devote her full attention to you. Or, you know, all loaded down with school and social obligations that cannot be rescheduled. Jack swears that he only has one tiny little thing to do for the Stepford Frat the next day, and then they can gallivant gaily all over Boston. See what I did there? With the "gaily"? Because they're gay? Shut up.