The Punchline

Geoffrey walked down the crowded aisle. Faces turned his way and smiled. Cold sweat beaded on his forehead. Suddenly Geoffrey was back in middle school going to his first high school party. Angela his bio lab partner had invited him to a pool party at her girlfriend’s Joanna’s house. Angela was perfection, flawless tan skin and long wavy jet black hair. Geoffrey was no fool. Overweight with bad skin Geoffrey knew Angela was out of his league but he figured she was buttering him up to cheat off his exam paper.
Geoffrey grew clammy. Desperate for air in this cramped space, he tugged at his tie. Geoffrey told himself he was a grown man that belonged here. More faces turned towards him their expectant smiles. When he was a kid at Joanna’s party Geoffrey arrived in his swim trunks with a bottle of Jack he stole from his old man. He wasn’t planning on being cool just accepted. The high schoolers all smiled at him at that party like these strangers around him now. Big smiles, little giggles, hands over mouths, until Mikey Getz screamed, “ Angie for the win! Look at the face on this loser. Girl you found the ugliest…” Geoffrey remembered running from the house running from laughter.
Geoffrey elbowed his way to the tiny bar. He knocked over a charcuterie board and grabbed a platter of champagne flutes from the surprised steward. He downed one drink after another drowning the raucous laughs. No matter what he did, lose weight, join the military, get a good paying job, Geoffrey was still the punchline. Panting, Geoffrey gripped the bar’s edge.
The flight attendant touched his back, stroking him, worry twisting her face. “Captain, are you okay?”

2 Comments

  1. Mike U. says:

    That last line…wow… This brings back memories of junior high and high school, and how, just like in Geoffrey’s case, they tend to linger long beyond their time. This piece captures this perfectly. Another masterful glimpse at human nature. Well done. 🙂

    1. Wow to you. It means so much when a talented writer reads my work and compliments my writing. You’ve made my day.

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