Lester, like his mother, also wanted to find a place to belong as he spent much of his time alone. He loved food, had two left feet, and dibbled and dabbled with just about everything. Consequently, whatever group of people he stumbled upon, he was more than glad to make their acquaintance. Recently, he had learned about a group of kids at school who hung out with some adults who talked about literature and debated about the goings on of the world. They called themselves the Avant Guards. His friend Hugo hung out with them and put in a good word for Lester with the leader. Monday night, Hugo texted him to say that he could meet with Gunther—the leader—the next day, but he would have to skip school. There was no question in Lester’s mind that he would do whatever it took to impress Gunther to gain access into their group.
The next day, Hugo and Lester found themselves standing outside the Blue Velvet nightclub.
“Well,” Lester said impatiently. “Is he here?”
“Duh, he’s not gonna talk to us standing outside, Les.”
They turned around and went inside. Lester looked around and saw no one. “He’s not here! You said he’d show!”
“Calm down man, he’s here. Just act natural. We’re in a club so…dance or something.”
Lester thought it was silly, but he followed suit.
After a few minutes of dancing, Lester noticed a man in a hat sitting at the table in front of him watching his every move.
“Is it knowledge that you seek?” The man asked.
“Huh?” He was startled as the man seemingly appeared from nowhere.
“Pursuits of the mind. Is that what you are after?”
“Uhhhh…yeah? Yeah, I guess,” Lester said.
“You must be sure, young one. My answer for now is no. We will meet again soon,” the man said and left.
Lester looked at Hugo with his mouth open. “DUDE! That was him? You could have warned me!”
It was too late to return back to school, so the two young men went their separate ways and returned home. Lester wasn’t a nerd or even a bookworm, but he figured he may as well work on his homework seeing as how he missed most of the school day. His mother was at home and thought she would try to spend some time with him; she didn’t even notice how early he was.
“Hey,” he said from his book.
“Notice anything different about me?” She thought that would make him look at her.
“You’re surprisingly cheery?” His eyes never left his book.
“Come on, Les! Look at me!”
He slammed his book shut and raised his head.
“So…you’re a ginger now. Is that what sparked this gingerly personality? Or, do you finally have a hair color that matches your real personality?”
There was no doubt that her son was a bit outspoken, but there was something different in his tone. It was very negative. “Lester…what’s gotten into you?”
“Mom, can’t you see I’m busy?”
“Honey, I’m just trying to—
“Leave me alone!”
Something was clearly bothering him, but she resolved to get to the bottom of it some other time and left him alone.