Brunch with Edgar was splendid. I awarded full marks.
Imagine the surprise when my own report arrived and Edgar had hit me with a C+.
I called him.
“C+, Edgar? Brunch was splendid!”
I couldn’t see Edgar’s face, but I knew he was embarrassed. We’ve been friends so long. I can tell these things.
“Don’t get upset,” Edgar said. “You’re not a C+ guy, Barry. Just how the points fell.”
I checked the rubric.
“You dinged me on ’COURTESY.’ Wasn’t I courteous?”
“A small ding, Barry. A small one. When the water pitcher came, you poured your cup first.”
I slapped my head. Rookie mistake.
“‘CHEERFULNESS,’ though! That’s a big ding! I’m cheerful!”
“Mostly, Barry. Mostly. But remember talking about your sister? You went on and on. A quick vent is fine, but gee, that was a real bummer.”
God. I had talked too much about my sister. Hospitals are not a suitable brunch topic.
“Full score for ‘COMPORTMENT,’ though!”
“But ‘CONGENIALITY,’ Edgar? What’d I miss there?”
“Come on, Barry. It was an off day, maybe.”
I hung up. Edgar was right. I’d been careless. Another C would bump me down a Friend Tier. Edgar could never see me then.
Movie night with Anne is soon. I must improve. I’ll smile wide and let Anne grab the first handful of popcorn. I won’t mention my dying sister. Then, when my A+ arrives and my Tier Status is saved, Edgar will see exactly how splendid I can be.
Timbray Shafer is a teacher and traveler from Upstate New York. His work has previously appeared in Arch Magazine, and his debut young adult fantasy series, The Rens, is available on Amazon.