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Vera and Austin bump into bully Milwaukee Joe while in line for drinks.
Some crowd congestion at the reunion pushed Vera and Austin into the group in front of them in the line for drinks. This got the attention of a tallish man, who turned around and did a double-take when he saw the two of them.
“Well if it isn’t Vulva and. . .” The man looked Vera up and down. “Mrs. Vulva.” He chuckled like a demented Santa Claus, all wheezy and huffy. Vera knew this had to be Milwaukee Joe, and even though she’d never seen him before, she figured he hadn’t aged well. Even though he had thinning hair like Austin, he combed it over. Poorly. It looked like a scrap of Barbie doll hair thrown on top of his head.
Austin froze. He didn’t say a word. Vera looked at him, her eyes slightly bugging out. While Joe engaged in his fit of giggles, she hoped he’d laugh himself into a heart attack. Finally, she intervened.
“And you must be. . . Joe, is it?”
Milwaukee Joe stopped chuckling and smiled. “You mean to tell me, all these years, old Vulva talked about me? Aww, shucks. I feel flattered.”
“Yes, and from what I can see, that’s probably the only Vulva you’ve interacted with since high school.”
Other ears around Milwaukee Joe perked up and started including themselves in the conversation, laughing at Vera’s sick burn.
“And who the hell are you?” he said.
“Doesn’t matter. Get your drink and move on.”
Milwaukee Joe got really close to Austin’s face. “Women doing your fighting for you,” he said. “Hmm. How fitting. Vulva.”
Then, he walked away. “Thanks a lot,” said Austin to Vera. “That couldn’t have gone any worse.” He, too, disappeared into the crowd behind Joe.
Vera threw up her hands. No drink. No man. How typical. This was exactly like all four years of high school.
“Yikes,” she heard a voice from behind. She turned around. Cole.
“Of course it would be you. Where’s your date?”
“In the bathroom,” he said. “Probably not crying like yours, though.”
“I thought I was helping,” she said. “Someone had to stand up for him. He wasn’t going to do it.”
“Why not just keep your mouth shut? Let it blow over.”
“I usually do. In fact, that whole outburst wasn’t like me. But I just saw him and thought—“”Dammit.” Cole’s eyes darted to behind Vera.
“Well, no. I actually thought ‘What an ass—“
“No, shut up,” Cole interrupted, shushing her.
“Hello, Cole,” said a recognizable voice, with a warm, comforting timbre.
Vera turned around and spotted Greg Goodman, staring at Cole.
“Hi, Greg,” said Cole. “Didn’t know you went to Manchester.”
“Yep. Class of—” Greg stopped himself. He looked to the woman standing next to Cole and suddenly noticed familiarity in Vera’s face, despite her blonde wig and disguise. His face grew stern. He looked at Cole then back at Vera again.
“I knew it,” he said. Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.