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Jude McLean Author

#ss2021 Part 2

00:00 / 05:08

“I hate you!” I screeched. 

“I hate you more!” Brian yelled.

“Both of you shut up!” Jean scolded after she guzzled a bottle of water in one long slush and wiped her sweaty brow. It was much too hot to play Can Jam, so we slung insults instead of frisbees. Glinda and Sylvia sat on the sidelines laughing. To them, it was just another day with the club. 


We weren’t fighting. Not really. That’s our way of showing we care. Brian had been thoughtful enough to bring along a portable flat top to cook on so we didn’t have to fire up a charcoal grill on such a blistering hot day. I had used it, and he was “helping” by telling me that I burned the food, poisoned everyone, and single-handedly ruined our picnic. Of course, I hadn’t burned anything. But that poisoning idea was quite appealing at that moment. I waved my fork at him with a menacing look in my eye as he wiped his tongue as if he were attempting to save his own life. Jean offered him a beer to swish away any remaining bad food and slapped his back while he made gagging noises. 


The fact is, our group just wouldn’t be “#SS2021” without our dark sense of humor and serious lack of politically correct niceties. I would go so far as to say those were the foundation of our club. It really is a thing of beauty when you have a group of friends you can tell to F - off, and instead of them getting upset, they fire it back with a smile. That’s true friendship. Put that on a Hallmark card. 


A perfect example would be what happened an hour later. We had finished eating. Nobody puked, fainted, or died, but there was still time. I kept the burner on the flat top lit just in case I needed to sear Brian’s face. Glinda had put some music on while she and Jean put the food back in the coolers. Sylvia had taken the dinosaur for a quick walk. Seeing as nobody was paying attention, Brian and I snuck away to the rear of the pavilion. We picked out the perfect spot among the thousands of initials carved into the wood. I pulled out my jack-knife and went to work while he stood guard. 


He said, “So you know: if anyone shows up, I’m one hundred percent going to tell them this was all your idea and that I was trying to stop you when you got violent and shoved me to the ground.” He made sure to get his elbows a little dirty to back up his story. 


“Just so you know,” I said as I tried to get an ‘S’ just right, “If anyone catches us, I’m one-hundred percent going to tell them that you dragged me back here by my hair and threatened me with this knife, but since my upper body strength is far superior to yours I was able to wrestle it away from you.” 


We looked at each other and laughed, quite pleased with the scenarios we worked out. But, unfortunately, our giggling gave us away. I worked as quickly as I could, but it wasn’t fast enough. 


Glinda hollered, “ What are you guys doing?”

“Nothing! Mind your own beeswax!” we said in unison. That was a sure-fire clue we were up to no good. And the girls being the girls they wanted in. 


Jean peeked around the corner only to catch me carving the last numeral. Busted. She yelled to Glinda and Sylvia to come and look at the trouble we had gotten into. Jeesh! You would think we were a pair of children who snuck off on their babysitter. They gathered around, took one look at my handiwork, and burst into laughter. I made sure that our club gathering would never be forgotten. High fives were exchanged all around - after I put my knife away, of course. We didn’t need anyone sporting a Jude signature in their skin. 


We each grabbed a fresh drink and sat to continue our jovial afternoon and ended up blabbing about ourselves. It may as well have been a game of “Never Have I Ever”. I would say we laughed until we cried, but all our sweating made that impossible. I won’t be giving up anyone’s secrets, so I will only say this: the Fab Five have left no stone unturned, and we are mighty proud of ourselves! 


I said it before, and I’ll say it again: individually, we are somewhat lost. But, band us together, and we have everything. Glinda is our motivator, Sylvia is our sensibility (Get her riled up, though, and she’s a menace!). Jean is the fussbudgety oracle, Brian is the stud of slapstick, and I’m the laughing one who writes about it. 


We don’t work together anymore, but we still talk nearly every day. We will be lifelong friends, I’m sure, I hope. No matter what, the #SS2021 will live forever on the wall of that pavilion and always in our hearts. 

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