Hedging

“Anyone that says ‘don’t get me wrong,'”the first one said. “Like that’s some catch-all excuse for having any shitty opinion.”

“How do you punctuate a quote that ends a quote?”

“What?”

The second one waved the question away, but more from them than the other.

“Maybe it’s a little more than that. I mean, it was that. But it’s crept everywhere. Like whatever plant it is that’s incredibly invasive. To make an awful metaphor.”

Someone unapologetically bumped their table. They sneered simultaneously.

“Buckthorn?”

“Probably? I only read the headline. Anyway. It’s a bullshit qualifier. And qualifiers upset me on principle.”

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