When the boys were in University, they lived right around the corner from a chicken and burger fast food place called The Cluck & Chuck. It was convenient and cheap, pretty much the only two things that matter to the not-so-discerning palette of a university student. So you would think that the place would have been a second home for the guys but the truth is, they never spent a lot of time there.
The first time they went, the chicken was still half frozen, the burgers were charred and fries were greasy enough to be considered a genuine fire hazard. Needless to say, they didn't return anytime soon.
But about a year later Niko found himself walking by the place and thinking to himself, 'the Cluck & Chuck, I haven't been there in ages. I should pop in and give it a try.' And so he went in, ordered the same thing as the previous year, and two bites in, it struck him. 'THIS is why I haven't been here in ages'.
Niko would repeat this process once a year, like clockwork. He probably ate there a dozen times in his life. Each visit, as unpleasant as the one that came before. The repeated visits were not because Niko is some kind of gastro-sadist. It's because the brain has a way of blocking out or glossing over unpleasant experiences from the past. This then creates a false-sense of nostalgia for the good ole days that were rarely anything close to being good.
So when Niko looked up at his front deck and saw Ellen chatting and laughing it up with Louie, he saw the one person who caused his best friend the most agony and misery he ever experienced in the entirety of his lifetime.
But he also knew when Jeff laid eyes on her, he would see something completely different. Jeff would see The Cluck & Chuck.
"What the fuck is she doing here," Niko says as he not-so subtly drags Louie by the collar to an unoccupied corner of the deck.
"You are not going to believe this," Louie says, too excited about what he was finally able to reveal.
"I already don't believe it," Niko says.
"Ellen is the leader of the Honey Harbour Honeys!"
"I stand corrected. That goes light years beyond unbelievable and has landed squarely into are-you-out-of-your-fucking-mind territory."
"I'm telling you, it's all true. The other day when I went to Mermaid Island....
FLASHBACK TO MERMAID ISLAND
"No fucking way!"
Louie wasn't sure what to expect when he was taken on a mysterious trek to find the leader of the Honey Harbour Honeys. If he were being honest with himself, he was really hoping it would be one of his favorite SI swimsuit edition cover models Paulina Porizkova, Kathy Ireland, or Elle MacPherson.
Being pleasured by a group of hyper-sexualized lake-nymphs led by one of his boyhood fantasy women would just be karma for all the haters who said he was on a fool's errand. A modern day Don Qixote with a pharmaceutically enhanced erection.
But as unlikely as this was of coming true, it would have still seemed far more likely than discovering Jeff's ex-wife standing there waiting to greet him.
"Ellen, what are you doing here?"
"I've been coming here for years, you know that."
Now that she mentioned it, he does recall something about Ellen going up to visit her cousin somewhere in cottage country. For the last five years of their marriage, Ellen and Jeff would routinely take separate cottage trips to the same general area. Jeff would do the Canada Day boys trip while Ellen would do crafts and wine tasting with her cousin. Or at least that's the best guess Louie can come up with. When Jeff would tell him where Ellen was going and what she was doing, Louie filed all that information in the part of brain labeled 'stuff Louie doesn't care about'.
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The New TwentyHumor
***WATTYS 2017 WINNER*** When the newly single, 40 year-old Jeff Dempsey suffers an agonizing humiliation at his high school reunion, he comes to realize he has accomplished almost nothing with his life. Armed with this new found insight, Jeff char...