Lenora Avoids Small Talk

Lenora thought back to the frightful April evening when flipped through her mail; restaurant coupons, cable t.v. flyers, usual stuff with one noted exception; an invitation to her high school class 10 year reunion.

“Why would they not just do a Facebook event for this?” she thought before remembering exactly who her classmates were.  They were exactly the type to say mundane things through glittery envelopes.

Against her better judgement she RSVP’d yes and now, in a high school gymnasium she had not seen in 12 years, she mingled with former classmates and drank just slightly more than she had ever done so on campus as a student.

She had been to awkward conferences and family reunions before, the oddness of this evening was not unexpected.  She agreed to take part in the event simply to see who was stuck in the past and who got hot (as one does at such events).  The part she was least looking forward to; forced small talk.

She had a sneaky little trick up her sleeve though.  A trick guaranteed to put a stop to discussion before it even began.  Every conversation begins somewhat like this, “Oh wow! You look great! It’s been forever.  How are you?  What are you doing these days for work?”  The sneaky trick Lenora discovered years ago as a way to avoid actually connecting involved the time honored tradition of using the pointer and middle fingers to create air quotes.

One of her former classmates still stuck in the past approached, wearing his letter-jacket, “Oh my goodness! Lenora? I haven’t seen you in ages.  How are things? What do you for a living?”

Lenora smiled and checked the name tag pinned to the jacket, “Jackson Powers, good to see.  I’m good.  I’m actually working as,” she raised her hands, extended her pointer and middle fingers into a bunny ears position and raised and lowered the fingers as she said, “a ‘rat wrangler’ these days.”

“Oh, cool,” Jackson Powers replied befuddled and bewildered.  “Well, you keep at it, Len!”  He did a snap-and-point combo and walked away.

A beat later a familiar face approached.  “Lenora! You look great.  Are you in the market for a house?” The always too direct Katie B. Henze asked.  She even wore an agency logo blazer.  To the reunion.  Classy.

“Hi Katie.  You know, with all the traveling I do as a, uh, ‘pigeon husher’ I don’t really stay in one place too long,” Lenora replied.

Katie tilted her head an eyebrow and handed Lenora a business card, “well, if you ever get out of that game, you call me.”

The DJ turned on a song that transported Lenora back to sitting with a number two pencil and scrambling to remember the quadratic formula.  As the pop-punk song turned to its chorus of ooos and aaahs another classmate approached.  The classmate stood a little too close and spoke a little too quietly.

“Lenora, rumor has it you are part of, how do I put this, part of the ‘the business’.  That is so terrifying and awesome,” the classmate said.  Lenora checked his name tag and remembered the now quite tall and glasses wearing man as an art nerd when they went to school.

“I am in the business of ‘cement fish’ statues.  Lawn ornaments and stuff.  Not much, but it keeps me busy,” Lenora said with a smirk before walking away and leaving the gym.  She avoided small talk, had some fun and was on her way home all before the summer’s sun finally set.  All in all, a good night.

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