“Hey. Thanks for agreeing to see me again, uhhh, your…avant guardness. You snuck up on me last time, and I wasn’t prepared! I’ll have you know I’m prepared this time!”
Inside, Gunther was tickled. “That is good to hear. Although, it is not I you must impress.”
Lester was getting irritated. “Are you giving me the run around again? Who do I have to impress now?”
Gunther looked to his right, and waved his arm to present the one who mattered.
“I have to impress the girl? What do I keep talking to you for?”
“I am in charge of recruitment. Yuki is but a child as are you. She can’t skip school each time a hopeful such as yourself desires entry to our circle of knowledge.”
Lester didn’t really care about why he didn’t know Yuki was the leader of the avant guards. He wanted to make sure he made a good impression on her to secure his place in their club. “Yeah, ok, old man. Let’s go inside and talk business, m’lady.”
Hugo was already inside having a scone. Lester, Yuki, and Gunther sat together.
“So, I’m Lester, and whatever the old guy told you about me, well, it probably isn’t true.”
“Are you suggesting that Gunther is a liar?”
“Uhh, well, no. But, since I’m here, you may as well decide for yourself whether or not I’m good enough for your club.”
“You, my friend, have much to learn beginning with when to use since,” Yuki quipped.
“What? Everybody says since all the time. There’s nothing wrong with it,” Lester said.
“I beg to differ,” she said. “Since implies time whereas because implies cause. You should have said, ‘Because I’m here.’” She smiled devilishly.
Gunther was proud of his leader. He thought surely Yuki had showed Lester who was boss.
“What is this? Third grade?” Lester asked. “You should know that since implies both time and cause, therefore, both words can be used interchangeably except when using since may cause confusion.”
Yuki was impressed. Gunther was disappointed. He thought for sure the smart aleck kid would be crushed.
“So? Am I in?”
“Just answer one question honestly,” she said. “Don’t try to impress me or anything. Just give me a straight answer.”
“Why do you want to be in this club so bad?”
Lester exhaled like he had reached the end of his rope. “Look… I’m a misfit, ok? I don’t belong anywhere. I mean, I’m not a trouble maker; the Paragons look at me like I’m a disease; I can’t dance like my mom; Knights of the Hedge would be cool, but I hate mazes; All the other clubs just seem stupid to me. You guys…it’s like the collection of misfits club…no offense. But really, I like to learn about all kinds of things. And I play video games too, so I just wanted to get to know people like me.”
Yuki and Gunther weren’t expecting such a heartfelt response and were left staring at him. Lester knew he had failed—again—and almost decided to bail before they embarrassed him again.
“Come with me,” Yuki said.
“What? Why? Where?”
“Just. Follow. Me.”
“What are you doing?” Gunther whispered.
“I am leading this club! Problem?”
“Whoa! I didn’t know all of this was back here,” Lester said. “What is this place?”
“This is our hang out,” she said.
“You guys have your own secret hang out? Sweet!”
“We meet here almost exclusively except for when we’re just hanging out at the arcade or some place,” she said.
“Uhhh, ok? Why are you telling me this?”
“Because I’m adding your name to our roster!”