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Ugly Words Challenge- Day 18

Skylar followed John and Emily into a coffee shop, pausing by the bulletin board. Colorful papers with bold print were pinned up all over it, but Skylar’s eyes were drawn to one in particular.

Be a Better You!

Don’t be such a Milquetoast!

Join us to Learn the Secrets of Assertiveness!

Being Awesome Always!

“Skylar?” John waved a hand in front of their face. “What are you…” He glanced at the board. “Oh.”

“Maybe you should go.” Skylar pointed at the bright red paper. “You bow down to others’ will a lot.”

“I do not.”

“John, will you run back to the van to get my sweater?” Emily called from a corner booth.

“Yeah.” John called back. Skylar giggled as John walked away.

Skylar read a few more posters while John was gone. Upon his return he frowned at the poster. “More like become a misogynist.” He grumbled.

“What?” Skylar tilted their head at John. “Isn’t is bad to be…” They glanced at the word again, “a milquetoast all the time?”

“Sure.” John shrugged. “But they take it too far the other way. One of my schoolmates went to a couple of their meetings, and basically they teach people to be bullies, especially towards women.”

“Oh.” Skylar frowned at the poster. “Then it doesn’t belong here.” They pointed to the other posters, advertisements for used furniture, for book clubs, for music lessons, and art gallery openings. “Everything else is so happy.” John chuckled.

“Yeah. But I suppose it doesn’t actually break any rules.” Skylar made a clicking noise with their tongue. “The poster anyway. The group itself…” John rubbed his chin, “probably in the gray area of morality.”

“John!” Emily waved her collapsed cane in the air. “Sweater!”

“Coming!” John tugged on Skylar’s sleeve. “And no, I’m not a milquetoast.” He whispered. “If I don’t help Emily she’s reckless. And I am certainly not meek when there’s danger.”

“I suppose so.” Skylar slid into the booth next to Emily. “You were the hesitant one out at the park.” John tossed the light blue sweater to Emily.

“What are you talking about?” Emily’s voice was muffled in her sweater as she pulled it over her head.

“Nothing!” John blurted, face going pink again.

“He’s blushing again isn’t he?” Emily leaned into Skylar.

“Yep.” Skylar picked up a napkin. “Cos we were talking about him.”

“Typical John.” Emily pat the table. “Now, let’s order our coffee and pie.”

Word count: 406

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