I hate reunions. I hate meeting old classmates of which each and every one turned out to become a hugely pathetic excuse for a human being. But there is always a bright side to reunions. There’s always someone present that thinks just like you do. And that’s when the party is really getting started.
Where was I? Ah, yes. A long, long time ago, I had a friend in high school. His name was John Dutch, but because he was such a smooth talker, everyone referred to him as ‘Cookie’. Cookie was the kind of guy you either loved or hated. He didn’t go easy on anybody… and got away with it. If he was given the chance of publically humiliating another student with witty comments and gags, he’d be stashing guns for later use at the same time. Not even teachers were spared in the process. While he was the kid that could effectively launch covert attacks, I was usually the one to observe. It was interesting to see how he could expand his knowledge of the school and its occupants while he was planning his schemes. The guy was planning weeks ahead. Even in class, he always had a few witty comments at the ready. Cookie’s cynicism got me through high school. Were it not for him, I’d surely have died of boredom.
With a flash, my mind returned to the present when fat Jake and his wife Wendy rolled over to greet us. At times like this, I often thought about the pranks that Cookie and I came up with. There was no avoiding it. I’d have to shake Jake’s hand and listen to his snobbish talk about his successful business life. Just when I saw my moment of humiliation inevitably drawing near, I caught a glimpse of a meager man leaning against the wall from the corner of my eye. There he stood, like an 80’s action hero… sipping punch.
It only took me a second to rush over to where Cookie was standing and talk about the good old times. As it turned out, he just got fired. I felt sorry for him. I was about to tell him of my own miserable job, when Cookie pointed in the direction of Nadia. Jake and Wendy had rolled away in the meantime, only to make room for the most disgusting womanizer of our schooldays. Even in adulthood, he was still as delusional as ever about his supposed natural charm. Richie Jenkins. “I think he’s hitting on Nadia”, Cookie said, and I could taste the disgust for Jenkins in his voice. My first wave of anger was instantly driven away when I saw a pepper cellar on the big buffet table. I looked at Cookie and the evil grin that formed on both our faces made words abundant. I strategically stretched my arms wide, so that Cookie could effectively lob the contents of the pepper cellar into the punch. We withdrew just in time. Jenkins smoothly moved around Nadia as if he was even remotely affecting her with his so-called charm. I could see the repulsiveness in her eyes. I couldn’t help but smile at the scene that played in front of my eyes. Nadia was practically shoving him away with both of her hands, but Jenkins was a persistent bastard. It was then, at the moment that I saw that fierceness in her eyes, that I remembered why I fell in love with her in high school. She had the balls to stand up to guys like Jenkins, who went for every cheap chick they could get in school. Watching the fierce gaze in her brown eyes and her long black hair reminded me of the first time she slapped Jenkins in the face. That was a long time ago. It was then that the pepper-enriched punch kicked in. Jenkins coughed up the entire content of his cup onto Nadia’s newly bought dress. The punch she threw at him right after made me chuckle.
When we drove home, Nadia was still cursing like she never had before. I could only smile. “Can you believe what that bastard did? I sure as hell can’t. What. An. Asshole. Unbelievable.” I tried to comfort her a little and stroked her shoulder. “Don’t worry honey, we’ll buy another dress.” A reluctant smile appeared on her face and she gave me a kiss. “Thanks. It had better come equipped with a rocket launcher, though. To fend off bastards like him. Great thinking with the pepper.” I laughed. Sometimes you don’t know what you have until you’re face-to-face with losing it. I felt my life just got a little more interesting. Scotch and Cookies. An unlikely combination, but I started to like the idea of it.