Archive for the ‘Post 4.2’ Category

Monday, March 26, 9:37 a.m.

Lucy O’Lies sits as upright as a lamp post during the morning prayer. The principal of her Catholic school—a priest, as all principals of Catholic schools ought to be—intones it in cellophane Latin over an antique intercom system.

I sit in the back with the other parents—oh, come on!

I sit in the back with the parents, though I am not her parent. I am not anything to her. I met her dad less than a week ago, purely on a professional basis. God knows why she has glommed onto me. I have my own daughter, thank you very much.

Lucy’s hands are clasped beneath her breasts, which I note (and cringe, but must note) are un-brassiered. She appears to understand the Latinate liturgy buzzing over the intercom mounted on high above a cracked crucifix and the American flag. I, too, did time in a Catholic school but they didn’t teach us any Latin. Nonetheless, I can tell that this ain’t no gentle Credo or abbreviated Novena to allow for lots of announcements.

“Confutatis maledictis!” the principal thunders wrathfully.

“Confutatis maledictis!” Lucy agrees a bit too loudly.

“Flaaaaamis aaaacribus! Adiiiictis!” The befuddled intercom gives a feedback whine of pain.

“Voca me com benedictis!” Lucy exclaims energetically, causing her unbound boobs to rebound.

“Know what he’s saying?” whispers the man crammed uncomfortably in the desk next to mine.

“I’m not sure,” I whisper back. “It’s a verse from Mozart’s Requiem Mass, I think. It was in Amadeus.”

Amadeus movie about Mozart

“That was a great movie,” he whispers.

“I know! I loved it,” I say.

“I’m Mark. Greg’s dad. You’re Lucy’s mom?” he says, offering his hand.

“No,” I say, recoiling from his hand and clamming up irritably. Mark, Greg’s dad, takes the hint after thirty seconds of puzzled staring.

“When sentence on the damned is passed and all to piercing flames are sent, amongst the blessed call my name, stupid!” Lucy is hissing at the girl seated next to her. Apparently Mark, Greg’s dad, isn’t the only one who wonders what the principal is declaiming. I feel rather proud of Lucy for knowing, then rather horrified at my parental pleasure directed toward this random kid I don’t even know.

The intercom fizzles, then resumes its speech.

“You see, boys and girls, we have need of strong prayers today.”

“Amen!” Lucy calls out.

Her teacher frowns at her. She’s a cool, jeans-clad nun in her mid-twenties with horrible acne scars. She looks like she plays the guitar and writes Catholic indie rock songs in her spare time. I imagine she and Lucy are frequently in conflict. I don’t imagine she’s the type of nun Lucy wants to be when she grows up.

“One of your companions has been tested and tried in the worst way. I speak primarily to you young ladies,” says the intercom.

Lucy perks up.

“Today, on the way to school, a female student from our academy was lured away from her bus stop by a man and…rrrrrrraped!” The principal/priest trills the r like a drum roll.

There are gasps, as he probably intends, and a rapid babble of speculation, which he probably isn’t after.

Lucy is disturbingly still. Frozen, even.

“All classes will be silent! This classmate of yours has survived her ordeal otherwise unharmed by the evildoer, and will return to school next week.”

“Who was it?”

“Nobody in this class—we’re all here.”

“Was it a Senior?”

“I’ll ask my brother—”

“Class—be quiet!” says the cool nun.

The box on the wall is silent for many seconds. It’s very dramatic.

“You must all pray for her. She is a true martyr to chastity. Her brave resistance has made her a modern saint. That is all.”

The gray box gives a static-filled death rattle, indicating that we are on our own now.

“I wonder who—”

“I bet it was Rachelle Gerhart.”


“No way—she’s just Freshman!”

“Yeah, but she lives in a really bad neighborhood—”

“No, it was Mandy Schirmer!”

“No way!”

“Yeah, it was. My cousin carpools with her. Her mom told my aunt. It’s true.”

I ought to mention that more than half of the eager speculators were the parents, hemming me in at the back of the classroom with their gleeful gossip.

“Mandy Schirmer. Jeez…”

One of the boys in the back row leans his head out the open window. “Hey, it was Mandy Schirmer!” he bellows into the courtyard, so that the boys in the back rows of all the other classrooms can spread the news.

“Greg! Get that thick skull of yours back in here right now!” says the nun.

“That’s my boy,” says Mark. I can’t tell if his tone is amused or regretful.

The nun fusses uneasily at her desk. She hikes up her snug jeans and scans the staring adults in the back row. “Let’s…let’s all take a minute to bow our heads in prayer for this unfortunate young woman. One minute of silent prayer.”

All these Catholic students and their Catholic parents automatically fold themselves over clasped hands. I glance around. I’m surprised to see that Lucy is unbowed.

Her mouth is open. Hot pink stains her cheeks.

“Mandy Schirmer? A martyr?” she blurts out. “Saint to chastity? That slut! She tonguey-kisses boys! She’s a whore!”

All heads rise. All eyes lock on her. Then the eyes shift to me, her presumptive step-mother.

Oh, come on!

“Lucy! Class…and parents, remember to keep Mandy in your prayers tonight,” says the nun. She jerks her head at Lucy. “Out in the hall. Now.”

Lucy sits straighter than any human I’ve ever see. Her lips press together until they are as thin as tissue. She stands and marches out of the classroom.

“Mrs. O’Lies?” the nun says. “Mrs. O’Lies?”

It takes Mark, Greg’s dad, nudging me twice before I realize she’s talking to me.

Oh come the hell on!