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By Madeline Perez

I remember. It was a chilly autumn night when I was first attacked.

Walking back from Binghamton University’s West Gym, I reeked of chlorine and resembled a drowned rat. I often wondered why the swim club decided to run practices until 11 PM. Back then, it was best not to question things. My flip-flops flip-flopped like the independent percussionists they were, repeatedly hitting the pavement like one would hit a disobedient wife who just made tuna casserole for the third time this week. Looking up at a dark starless sky, I paused. “Why are there no stars in Binghamton? Is this a sign? Am I, too, destined to lose my celestial shine?” Suddenly, I, in my isolated womanly vulnerability, was ambushed by none other than a gang of white supremacists. They snuck up behind me, silent as ghosts, and put an eyeless Klansmen hood over my head. Pulling me backward, I was swiftly knocked unconscious. Everything went white…

When I awoke, I was in a damp cement room, shackled to a desk. Posters of Hitler and Ronald Reagan were everywhere. A single Edison bulb burned close to my head, the buzz barely obscuring the sound of rodents chewing through the walls. Suddenly, I recoiled in fear. On the desk laid a single Chromebook. I wailed incoherently to myself in utter pain and misfortune; why would I be subjected to such a shitty computer?! My wailing was cut premature by an omnipresent voice. “Welcome. This is the Binghamton Review office. You will be our newest writer… that is, if the rats don’t get to you first. Heheh.” I gasped. “God? Is that you? Shit, if this is about all those movies I pirated I-” The voice rang strong again, interrupting me, misogynistically. “No. Not God- praise be to him. Gahhh, never mind this speaker system. We’ll be right there.”

My certified superior hearing caught the cascading metallic footsteps slinky-ing down the stairwell. Five men. Around 140 lbs each according to those footsteps… White. As the commercial doorknob turned, I could almost smell the hair grease and gamer language I was about to encounter. 

They piled in the room like rabid sharks, each head protruding from the body in such a right angle as to demonstrate the many hours hunched over a computer browsing 4chan message boards. Their alabaster skin caught the light so distinctly that it seemed almost translucent. Finally, their leader stepped forward and spoke. “Your first article is due by tomorrow. 700-900 words. Don’t keep us waiting, or else you’ll get three days water deprivation.”

 I opened the laptop and began a google doc with amazing finesse. “What am I writing about? Holocaust denialism? The threat of feminism on maternal home-cooked dinners? They/them potato head?” The group laughed in a hypnotic unison. “No,” spoke their leader. “You can leave those to us. You can write about whatever you want.” 

I guffawed. “Really? Even after all the time I spent thinking up One Pill, Two Pill, Red Pill, Blue Pill? Why even kidnap me in the first place?” 

The leader did a joker laugh. “Don’t you see? We want to use you for your overlapping minority statuses. How could anyone possibly call us sexist with a woman writer? Your increasingly potent influence will quell all accusations of homogeneity… and one day, when you are in charge, we will finally be able to deliver the far-right messaging the world so desperately needs.”

I responded by imitating the face of the thinking emoji. “Um. I can’t help but notice some flaws in your plan. People can most definitely still think you’re sexist with one woman in your club. Also, if I, and other people, can write whatever we want and the magazine is shaped by us, then what’s to keep us from stopping the flow of white supremacist juice to the reader base? And what do you mean I’ll be in charge? And including me because I’m in a minority group? Doesn’t that go against your principles? Are you guys even white supremacis-”

“STRAWMAN!” The leader seemed red in the face and ready to shoot up some concert or movie theater. “This is a debate and I’m winning. Now get to work. We aren’t paying you to sit there and look like a 4 at best.”

“But you aren’t paying me at all,” I interjected.

“Exactly.” He responded curtly. “Now, if you’ll excuse us, we plan to extract the crack they put in Panera Mac and Cheese and give it to underprivileged inner-city children. All part of our plan to start the War on Drugs 2. Good day.” With that, as silently as they had entered, they left again, shutting the door with one last metallic clang-smash. 

Thus began my involvement with Binghamton University’s most bigoted club. I remained chained to that desk to this day, being fed salad, yogurt, and other foods they assumed only women can eat. Please rescue me. I feel trapped by a responsibility I cannot neglect. It’s not always so bad, but day by day, hour by hour, I can feel it worsening. 

I’m becoming one of them. 

And it feels good. 

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