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"A Reunion Encounter"

The sounds of thumping basketballs and smells of young teenage bodies were notably absent at the Garfield High School Gymnasium that Friday night. Instead, there were the sounds of caterers preparing their culinary wares, and the smells of lavender and wild flowers were everywhere, emanating from vases placed on each of the several tables around the gym floor. Around each table were place settings of good china, glass and silverware, including souvenir wine glasses which noted the reason for all the preparation: It was the 30th reunion of the class of 1968.

Biff Martin was the first member of the class to arrive; taking a seat at a corner facing the gym's large set of doors. Nibbling on some hors d'oeuvres, he didn't have to wait long. Suddenly, Carl Foster, his high school buddy, confidently strode into the gym.

"Carl! Carl! Over here!"

Carl dashed over to the corner table, and embraced his old friend. "Biff, you ol' running fool! You know how long it's been? Well, better late than never, and I'm just as guilty of it as you!"

Eventually they sat down, and began to share memories. "Biff, when we were on the track team together, well, those were times I'll never forget. Remember when we took the All-State title?"

Biff smiled wistfully, and nodded. "I remember when the conference president put the medals around our necks. I still keep mine on my living room mantle."

"Yeah...Uh...me too...But it was real special back then, wasn't it, Biff? The teachers treated us special. And the bitches! Man, they were everywhere. Some of them even tried to get in the locker room with us! We had our choice on Saturday nights, and of course at the prom. Remember, Biff?"

Biff just smiled at Carl, and said nothing.

"And remember that cheerleader Jennifer that we drove home that night; she wanted both of us. Man, that bitch couldn't get enough!"

"Carl, did you ever get married? I'm married now, and we have three children. The youngest is graduating from here in June."

"No man, never went for it. Hey, wow! Who'd you marry, Biff?"

"Jennifer...She's been a good wife to me; I haven't regretted a moment of it."

Carl's face turned beet red. "I'm...ugh...really happy for you, Biff"

Carl regained his composure, and changed the topic of conversation. "Biff, you should see how this ol' boy has made out in the past 30 years. I own four auto body shops in the area and, well, I make a pretty good living. I drive a fine car, live in a big house, and have all the bitches I want. I think I've got a pretty good life. What's your life like, Biff?"

"Well, I have my family, a 3-bedroom house on which I still owe, a 10-year old car that still runs fairly well, and it's paid for. I've been a government employee since we left high school. I'll be ready to retire in a few years. I'll finally be able to spend more time with Jen, and enjoy my future grandchildren, I hope. And yes, I think my life is good, and I'm happy with it, all things considered."

"But tell me, don't you ever want to find some bitches, Biff?"

"Well, yeah...I look sometimes, but my marriage is too good to waste on some temporary liaison. Look Carl, I hate to leave so soon, but I told my son I would help him with his car in the morning. Take care, and may the Creator bless you."

As Biff walked out of the gym, Carl mulled over those parting words. "Bless me?...Bless me?...Don't I have everything I could want?...Bless me?...I got a fine car, a big house, plenty of cash, and lots of bitches...Bless me?...What more could I want?"

Later on, the custodian, sweeping up the remains of the reunion, found Carl with his head on the table. He guided his broom so to strike the table; the noise woke Carl abruptly.

"Yeah, I'm going." Carl slowly got to his feet and meandered toward the gym doors. "Yeah, those were the times; they were the best times of my life," he mumbled repeatedly.

-30-


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