Saturday, March 19, 2011
Sammy Smuthers is a seventh child of eight. The Smuthers live at 14 Dupont Circle in Cloverdale. He is a first grader at St. Bartholomew's Catholic School.
At lunch his best friend in the universe reached across the lunchroom table, took Sammy's jello dessert, and licked the whipped cream from the top. Sammy few into a rage. He jumped up, took the dish holding the soiled lime jello from his friend, scopped the jello out of the bowl with his hand and threw the quivering mass into his friend's face. That's when he shouted the "S" word.
Before you could say "Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam", two nuns appeared, each taking one of Sammy's arms to keep him from climbing over the table to finish dressing his "used to be best friend" in the remaining food from his lunch tray.
Sammy was escorted kicking and screaming to the Special Purposes Room, where all naughty children are put. For one hour Sammy was subjected to the quiet of the room interrupted by the occasional knock at the door and a nun asking if he'd repented of his sins. If the answer was no, the door was relocked. If the answer was yes, then he'd be released to rejoin his class.
"Yes," Sammy answered on the first knock. He didn't like the Special Purposes Room. The picture of Jesus near the door with an open heart surrounded by barbed wire freaked him out.
Sister Evelyn knelt in front him and explained that calling someone "Stupid" was forbidden at St. Bartholomew's.
"It's a terrible word Sammy. Promise me you'll never say it again?" she asked.
Sammy broke into tears. It was all too much for a six year old to handle. Between sobs he promised to be a good boy and never use the "S" word again. Sammy returned to class.
Later that day Sammy told his mother what had happened. She gave him a hug and told him that if someone had licked the whipped cream off her jello she would have given him a black eye.
Sammy got a double helping of jello for dessert that evening.
"Here," his mother said handing him the can of whipped cream. "Go ahead and do it yourself. You deserve it."
Sammy pushed down on the long plastic top releasing a stream of fluffy topping onto his jello. He stopped when all signs of the jello disappeared under a blanket of white.
It was a perfect ending to a truly horrible day.
Monday, March 14, 2011
Prilla Salvo sits on a sidewalk outside a Dunkin Donuts in some cold industrial city in the heartland of America. Prilla hopes to scrape together enough money to purchase the train fare for a one ticket back to the Confederacy and her home in Cloverdale.
Prilla is a graduate of Clovershire's schools and university. She studied maths, sciences and modern living from the University at Tamworth on Tide. She graduated with honors. One year later she received her teaching certificate from the Ministry of Education. Instead of taking a position at the Comprehensive School in Cloverdale, Prilla removed her savings from the Bank, packed her belongings, bid her parents farewell and bought a one way ticket on the Coastal Express for the world outside the Confederacy. She was bound for the world she had studied and grown to love in her university studies.
The Outside World wasn't kind to Prilla. Prilla quickly discovered that the Outside World didn't value the qualities of oddness and uniqueness like the Confederacy. Her unique dress and flamboyant attitude toward science education was laughed at by many and feared by some. The principal of her school, after meeting with a parent's committee, dismissed her.
"This isn't Hogwarts," was his reason. Prilla didn't know what Hogwart's was.
Prilla sent a telegraph to her parents in Cloverdale asking for help in returning home. They sent what they could. What they sent was just enough to keep her in her one room apartment while she looked for work as a tutor. Hopefully with enough clients, she'd raise the money and return to the only place that would appreciate her talents with children and her love of science and math.
Until then, she waits for clients on the concrete sidewalks of a city known for its many shades of gray. Perhaps you kind readers in the Outside World will take pity on someone that resembles a fish out of water and help.