Gregson had hung-up his past, like one of those hula shirts in his dingy closet. It was time to dust it off, and pack his travel bag. He got the reunion letter, in the regular mail.
“How did they get my address?” He grumbled.
Gregson remembered high school…
Morgan was going to be a nurse—and she married a rich husband. Jackie changed her name, because she could never be consistent at anything. Chad became an engineer, because his dad was an engineer.
There were others too…
He thought about Megan. She wanted to be a writer…
Megan wasn’t attractive, or popular—in fact, she was as unpopular as a student can get. She got a dictionary for her birthday and read it at lunchtime. Now, Gregson heard, Megan was a best-selling mystery writer. Who would’ve thought?
Gregson flipped through his yearbook. There he was… a mystery to everybody, and to himself. The summer after high school, Gregson decided to be a detective—his life had been one continuous crime.
He packed the essentials: extra-large swimming trunks, snorkel (he could get scuba tanks at the resort), strait-razor (in case he wanted to shave, or slit his wrists after talking to people from his past), t-shirts, cargo shorts, underwear, he thought about his silver pistol, but that was out of the question. Why did people go to reunions? Was it to prove they weren’t losers, anymore? Gregson got a free beach, free tan, and spa body rub, out of the deal. All he had to do was show up. The event coordinator was paying for everything. He was a rich banker now, who stole everybody’s money in 2008. Stephen was the ASB Treasurer. He wanted to be the president, but Joel got the job first. Joel’s life was one of consecutive wins, and he displayed his trophies in plain sight—his wife, his kids, his house, his car. It seemed to Gregson that many of his classmates were striving for an ideal. He worried that all he had was his memoirs—a lifetime of memories, he hadn’t written down.
Gregson lit a cigar, in his empty room. It felt good to be alive. He puffed clouds, into the atmosphere. The plane wouldn’t allow smoking, or excessive drinking, so he grabbed his sleeping pills, and two bottles of scotch, and rolled his suitcase out the door.
The driver was waiting. He was cheerful. It made Gregson sick that people enjoyed repetitive jobs, but he also knew this was only a projection of his values, onto the happy world. However, Gregson suspected, it was all a cover.
“To the airport,” he said. When he walked through the boarding lines, he thought it was a perfect metaphor for life. When he got onto the airplane, a four-year-old made faces at him. Gregson took his pills and smiled. Eight hours later, he woke-up to sandy beaches.
“Stewardess, I’d like a Scotch.”
“I’m a flight-attendant.”
“And I’m a son-of-a-bitch, so just give me a scotch.”
“Talk that way, and I’ll get the air marshal.”
“No need for that—just the scotch.”
“We will be descending, sir.”
It took them two hours to open the doors of the airplane— when that happened—fresh air smelled better than alcohol. Gregson took an Uber to the resort and made plans to sit on the beach as soon as possible. The waves were therapeutic. He would remain incognito, with his sunglasses, and extra layers of fat. In fact, Gregson thought it would be best, if nobody recognized him.
That changed, when he spied a blonde in a tasteful one-piece. Her skin was burned red, so that her complexion matched her suit.
“Megan? Is that you?”