aaron, chad, and damon were guys, and bethany was a girl.
they often met in the evening at eddie’s pizza house.
when eddie’s pizza went out of business they started meeting at the cafeteria at the art museum.
they were vegetarians, and did not smoke, drink alcohol, or use drugs.
aaron and chad drank tea, but bethany and damon preferred coffee.
aaron, chad, and damon all had their first sexual experiences with bethany, and for this they were always grateful.
aaron’s ambition was to develop a new universal blueprint for human society, one that could be used in any environment and on any planet in any galaxy.
bethany aspired to be a poet. her particular ambition was to be translated into more languages than other poet, living or dead.
chad wanted to establish a new, benevolent world empire, with himself as emperor. or, if that did not prove feasible, to at least be the richest person on the planet.
damon wanted to write, direct, and star in his own movies, which would be watched in every home on earth.
one day they were hanging out at the cafeteria in the art museum and damon remarked that bethany’s ambition to be a poet was a reflection of her smaller female brain.
bethany was deeply insulted, and aaron and chad were also shocked at damon’s retrograde opinion and quickly came to bethany’s defense.
damon professed to be surprised at their reaction, and excused himself to go to the rest room.
when he returned everything seemed to be forgotten, but the damage had been done.
a few days later the four friends met at a starbucks. the starbucks was next to a cinema complex where they planned to see the latest woody allen movie.
that were placidly sipping their beverages when a woman walked by who recognized bethany. her name was elissa and she and bethany had been at graduate school together.
bethany introduced aaron, chad, and damon to elissa.
“wow!” elissa exclaimed. “not one, not two, but three boy friends! you were the last person in the world i would have expected to turn out such a big slut!”
elissa meant her remark humorously and aaron, chad, and damon found it amusing, but bethany did not.
these two events coming close together - being told she had a small brain and was a big slut - both by people she considered friends - strangely affected bethany.
after that things were never the same, and the four friends began to drift apart.
aaron was accepted into a management training program by a management consulting company.
he met a girl named francine who was a hockey fan and he became a hockey fan too.
eventually aaron and francine married and had three children, a girl and twin boys.
bethany got a job as a hostess at applebee’s.
she continued to write poetry, but had little success getting any of it published.
chad, who had been the most frugal of the four, invested all the money he had saved in setting up his own consulting company.
he quickly went bankrupt and moved back in with his parents.
chad’s mother introduced him to glenna, a lawyer ten years older than himself who was divorced with two children - a girl who had been adopted from mali, and a boy with developmental disabilities.
chad married glenna and became a full time house husband.
of the four friends, damon was the most successful. he inherited his father’s textile importing business, which had been doing poorly, and turned it around. he was the only one of the four to ever reach a seven figure income.
aaron and chad kept in touch, and both occasionally heard from damon, but bethany disappeared.
chad had a heart attack and died. glenna invited aaron and damon to the funeral, and attempted to contact bethany but could not.
aaron and damon chatted after chad’s funeral.
“do you ever think about the old times we had together?” aaron asked.
damon almost said, “are you shitting me? why would i?”
but instead he said, “yes, we had some great times together.”