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6/28/2008

100 Word Challenge - Ultimate

What follows is in response to the 100 Word Challenge authored by the transcendentally feminine Velvet Verbosity.

He lay on a pallet, one in a long row of pallets. He seemed to be sleeping. There were twelve. They had all been shot by the same sniper. They were all dead.
I met Jimmy when we guarded Viet Cong prisoners at Phu Bai. We were friends. We were both going to be going home about the same time. He wanted to introduce me to his sister. He hoped I would marry her.
He lay on the pallet with a small purple hole in his chest. He had paid the ultimate price. Then, as now, the question is, Why?

And now for the Sunday Fill, or, as they would say on 'Monty Python': And now for something completely different.

When I was a little boy, I went to a Catholic grade school. Our teachers were Dominican Nuns who lived next door to the school, in The Convent. And they were under the supervision of Monsignor Cummings, who lived in The Rectory along with the two other priests we had in our parish. As children, we lived in fear of those places. You NEVER wanted to be summoned to The Convent, because that meant you were in trouble. The Nuns were very strict disciplinarians and always seemed to feel free to summon children and parents to meetings at The Convent to discuss the latest infraction committed by a child and to hand out punishments. And as much as you wanted to avoid the summons to The Convent, a call to The Rectory was to be avoided at all costs, because it meant you were going to see .... Monsignor Cummings. Tall, slender, grey hair, bushy black eyebrows, a narrow face and what we thought to be a permanent scowl all contributed to a terrifying image in our little minds. That and his long black robe with the red buttons from floor to neck and the black four cornered hat with the fuzzy red ball on top just said, "Be afraid, be very afraid."

One day I got sent home from school. I was (and am) left-handed. To the Nuns, left-handedness was a sign of the devil so they made sure to try to train all the left-handed kids to be right-handed. I was having a terrible time trying to write with my right hand. Sister finally had had enough and sent me home. I sat, in the dining room, at the table, trying to write the assigned exercises and crying with frustration over my inability to write right-handed. And woke up my mother. She worked nights and she was upstairs sleeping and I woke her up. Not on purpose, mind you. I wasn't THAT smart. I just remember telling her what had happened. The next thing I can remember is standing at the door to The Rectory. And Mom leaning on the doorbell. And leaning on it AGAIN when somebody didn't come to the door fast enough for her. I was sure no one would ever see us again. The housekeeper answered the door. And Mom demanded to see HIM. The housekeeper invited us in, to wait. Mom refused, and demanded that HE come TO THE DOOR. I remember thinking I really had to go pee. Suddenly, HE appeared in the doorway. And Mom laid into HIM. I can't recall everything she said. After all. I was only about 6 or 7. But I do remember her saying something about 'working her ass off to pay tuition' and she said something about not 'going to stand for those bitches fucking with his head'. Mom left me standing there, on the doorstep to The Rectory, ready to pee my pants as she went stalking off with that peculiar swing of her arm she had when she was walking and pissed off. She had told HIM, in no uncertain terms, that she was going back home to go back to sleep so she could go to work that evening and that I had better not be sent home from school, again. Not for THAT, anyway. Monsignor gently took my hand and walked me over to the school and down the hall to Sister Rosamonda's office. She was principal of the school. I was left on a chair, in the hall outside her office and Monsignor walked into her office to speak with her. I remember hearing the rustle of beads as he opened the door. The Nuns always stood in HIS presence. The door closed and I heard nothing until Sister came out a while later and took me back to my classroom and I settled back into my desk.

They never tried to make me write with my right hand again.

9 comments:

warriorwoman said...

your mom rocks.

I had a similar experience with a teacher and getting kicked out of school when I was a kid - and my mom did the same thing. She shouted the place down.

Elizabeth said...

Way to go, Ma!! I hope you didn't have to wait too much longer to pee!

Christy said...

God, that's incredible.

So many people bellyache, and I hate that, but when someone decent just gets fucking fed up?

That's so beautiful it makes me want to cry.....

Sandy C. said...

Your story about Jimmy sent chills down my spine. I can't even begin to imagine what it's like to have to witness a friend die in this manner, and so young.

For your Sunday fill about your mom..."not 'going to stand for those bitches fucking with his head'"

She. is. awesome :)

River said...

Woo-hoo, Go Mum!!

Alice said...

How freakin' awesome! What a super Mom!

BoyChild is left-handed and it's been interesting trying to teach him to hold a pencil, and a cue stick, and just about anything else which I've failed miserably at. He's been pretty good at figuring it out on his own but I can still remember my rant at the sports good store when I couldn't find a baseball glove for him. Whaaaa????

Velvet Verbosity said...

Your sure do know how to nail stories that illuminate just why we call it "the horrors of war". Thank you for sharing that with all of us.

Hyphen Mama said...

The 100 word challenge... AWESOME. I cannot imagine the mental toll that must have taken on all those who survive and come home. Thank you. For your service and for the story of Jimmy.

Standing ovation for your Mom! Give her a big kiss for me, will ya?

Mr Hyphen was left handed. His mom forced him to write right handed. To this day, I almost cannot read his writing. He does all else with his left hand. Mack appears to be left handed. I'm going to make a big, fat, hairy deal of letting him be left handed.

LceeL said...

warriorwoman: Yeah, she's okay. Somehow I think I knew your Mom was cut from the same cloth. She just had to be.

Elizabeth: I held it until I was able to raise my hand in class. I had MUCH better bladder control back then.

Christy: Me too. Especially when I remember that excellent bladder control.

Sandy: Yes, she is.

River: I agree. go Mum!!

Alice: It is ALWAYS difficult to find left-handed stuff. The way the make tighty-whities, it's even easier for right-handers to go pee.

Velvet: No Problem. Part of the reason I am now a pacifist.

Hyphen Mama: Let mack be left-handed. Please.