Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Hell's Gate


When I was in the sixth grade, I played Delilah in a Vacation Bible School production at the local Church of Christ. I'd go every week with my babysitter, an elderly woman named Betsy, who tried to soften the experience with peppermint candy during the endless services, all without so much as a piano -- it's against the religion to have musical instruments inside the church which made the singing particularly horrific. Given my somewhat exotic looks compared to all the blondes (this was Texas in the 80s!) -- long black hair, big eyes, pale skin - - I routinely played biblical harlots, both those who were repentant and those who ended up creating more chaos. More often than not, I was the only girl in these plays who did anything that advanced the action which proved to be a useful lesson for later years.

Because I was Delilah, the youth minister cast my friend Lance as Samson even though Lance had a crew cut. We made do with a towel, a dark blue one with HIS emblazoned in gold lettering, wrapped around his head, turban-style. At the penultimate moment of the play, I would yank the HIS off Wade's head and hand it to my "brothers," Darren and Randy Trevathan, a couple of rough country boys cursed with severe overbites that earned them the nicknames of Bucky One and Bucky Two, at least until they were old enough to make people regret drawing attention to the lack of orthodontic care in their lives. I never returned to that church after the seventh grade, nor do I hear tell of the Buckys, but I imagine they are still making people sorry for pointing out the obvious.

Michelle's Spell of the Day

Deliverance

1 1/4 oz. tequila
1/4 of a lime
Iced club soda
salt rim
garnished with an orange slice

Benedictions and Maledictions

First published in Nerve Cowboy:

Hell’s Gate

From that height, the water feels like cement,
the cop told us, and we wondered how our friend
had climbed to the top to make the jump off the rock
cliffs that rose out of the lake. Our buddy had dealt
drugs for years, holding back the best, saying, I don’t
offer these to every swinging dick. We always took
what we wanted, abandoning him as soon as we could,
embarrassed by the hare-lip, afraid of getting caught.
Now divers searched for his body, swimming in a lake
rumored to be filled with man-sized catfish that would
keep getting bigger with every ounce of trash they ate.

3 comments:

cindy said...

Michelle,

you are *so* pretty -- the perfect Delilah, early feminist. A Delilah for our times. Watch out Samsons!

paul said...

o Lord, makes me homesick for Sonic and sexy getups. Rock on Cajun queen, oh yeah. I'm awake now :->

Shawn said...

Tots!!! Oh, Pebbs, you're at the blessed home of tots!!!