Good Narrative Principles

Snake in the Hole


IMG_1631Roc is convinced that if he had played his cards right it would have been him exchanging vows with Poopsy. Instead, he paces the aisle in coach practicing his toast. He’s worn a hole in the threadbare carpet between his seat and the two clogged bathrooms in back, muttering the lines he wants to say. He grants himself this small satisfaction. It could be my “Harry Met Sally” moment, he reasons. Something along the lines of — if Margaret, we know her as Poopsy, had found my best buddy Edgar a little less annoying, a little less abrasive and self-censoring, why folks, there would be no wedding. I’m the snake in the hole. The third wheel. The guy who shows up years from now when our youthful blush has turned to ash and no longer young Poopsy realizes her mistake. She’ll be Margaret or Peggy or maybe even Maggie, known not for her wicked mischief making, but, for her perfect dumplings, a recipe she won’t share with the other Moms in the PTA. Roc likes this image, clings to it. It offers a clear path through the emotional wreckage of the coming weekend. He grabs a soggy napkin off the beverage chart to compose what he’s sure will be a quote worthy toast. “Edgar and Margaret, Poopsy”, he writes, “your love is hen’s tooth rare”. Pleased with himself, he underlines the word “hen”. It conveys both good will and country charm. But what he likes most is that it carries the faint whiff of a VFW Hall or the Marriott ballroom near the airport.

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