Thursday, July 06, 2006
Day of the Dead
When I taught Vacation Bible School a thousand years ago (okay, I was in the seventh grade), my friend Melissa and I would perform a longish puppet show every morning to excite the children out of their heat-induced stupors. We built our own stage out of a cardboard box, and since Brother Buddy told us that the church could not afford puppets of any kind, I brought two small hand-puppets I had at home, one mouse and one giraffe. Always the visionary, Brother Buddy assured us that these puppets were as good as anything store-bought and could be used to bring the scriptures to life for the little ones. Melissa and I did our best to act out stories like Samson and Delilah (Mr. Giraffe was Samson and I worked to make the mouse as seductive as possible), Jonah (the whale part was especially surreal when my mouse puppet spent a long time in the mouth of the giraffe puppet), the resurrection story (lots of time on the day after the crucifixion, arguably the most interesting time for the disciples when their collective faith was really tested--we included lots of Monday morning quarterbacking, ie "He said He was coming back. Where is He?" -- early practice for dating), and other fun frolicking tales. After the puppet show, the kids would be divided into small groups to make crosses out of matches or learn traditional hymns like "The Old Rugged Cross." I still consider a mercy that contemporary Christian music had not reached us.
After class let out, we'd walk to Mr. C's to buy cherry Cokes and smoke cigarettes Melissa had taken from her mother's purse that morning. She'd also managed to steal a Valium from the same place, and we'd split it to take the edge off after being with the kiddies all morning. For a week, this was our routine. We'd talk about all sorts of things while we smoked -- the Holocaust, when we'd first have sex, whether or not I'd ever enjoy Star Trek the way Melissa did, what fruit of the spirit we'd like if we could choose and the ones we thought we had -- I wanted joy, but decided that I'd been granted long-suffering, the total suck city as far as the fruits went, we both agreed. In the morning, we'd pick up our puppets next to the plain cardboard stage, their heads in awkward positions, the way they landed when we threw them down the day before in our rush to leave, looking as if they'd been strangled.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"The descent will be through the darkness of the familiar into a world where, like the blind man in the gospels, he sees men as if they were trees, but walking." Flannery O'Connor
Fruit of the Spirit
1 part orange juice
1 part grapefruit juice
1 part vodka
splash of grenadine
Serve chilled and garnished with a cherry.
Benedictions and Maledictions
Day of the Dead
He left long after all the trick-or-treaters,
long after her neighbors have cleared out
because of the fire he pulled. Dressed as one
of New York's finest, she let him in, and he
filmed her in different outfits, still as any
mannequin after the chloroform rag. She'd been
on his women to rape lists, stating he wanted
to take her down a notch. When the real
police found him, he slit his own throat,
and they saved him, despite his plea to let
him die. He'd been pretending to be a student,
but couldn't pull off the costume now that
Halloween was over. I thought about all
the outfits I'd adorned myself with over the years
for various men. I hadn't been drugged with
anything but the usual substances, and I'd been beautiful
or scary, a self-induced black-out here and there,
and in those moments I'm pretty sure I was both.