Twenty-Nine: Three Punches

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"Honestly, I don't even play an active role in my life anymore. Things just happen and I'm like, "Oh, is this what we're doing now? Okay"."



"Ugh--Dusty, come on, man," I groan, burying my face in my hands.

Dusty looks at me from across the dining room table, two sausage links stuck up each nostril.

"What?" she refutes. "I'm a walrus!"

"Walrus tusks don't come out of their noses," Eloise corrects, rolling her eyes before eating another bite of eggs.

"But if they did, where would their snot go when they sneeze?" Dusty waves her fork in the air like a philosopher on the verge of a discovery. "Or do Walruses even sneeze?"

I sigh. "You're all hopeless. Hurry up, or we're gonna be late."

Sacha called this morning and said she bought a ton of LEGOs from a thrift store. She's going to give them to her nieces and nephews, but said the girls could have first pick if we get to her house before ten.

Once everyone is finished, we pile our dishes in the sink and head out the door.

Sacha only lives about three minutes away, and Eloise says we could've walked, but I tell her that I'd rather lick a frozen metal pole than have to keep track of everyone crossing the street.

I pull into Sacha's driveway, where it smells of pumpkin and cinnamon. Her doorstep is decorated like a Red Ribbon's show booth, with fall leaves, scarecrows, and a giant turkey holding a sign that says "Happy Gobble Day!" perched on a wicker chair.

"You should decorate, Aunt Beverly," Dusty suggests.

I scoff. "Oh sure. Next I'll be running 5k's in booty shorts out in thirty-degree weather, only to come home and say "no, I'll skip the dessert, please pass the keto spinach dip" on Thanksgiving."

The door opens and Sacha grins at us, her ruddy cheeks even ruddier than usual.

"Hey girls!" She steps aside for us to come in.

When we do, the lights in the living room flick on and twenty people shout, "Surprise!"

All three girls and I scream like the devil's after us, but they're drowned out by the shouts of all the guests.

My eyes sweep fearfully over the crowd and I see Iris Barber, Miss Suzy, Barb, Janet, Mr. Canto the neighbor, Hayden, and...Karen.

"Oh great," I moan, reaching for the doorknob to escape.

"Not so fast, hon," Sacha says, prodding me away from the door.

The girls recover from their shock and run off to play with Barb and Janet's kids.

I can't breathe. "Why...why would you do this?" I murmur.

"Just calm down," Sacha chides, taking my arm sympathetically. "I got to feeling bad about us getting upset over you spending so much time at Percival, so...I thought we could cross the streams a little! You know, bring everyone together so we wouldn't be so divided!"

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