Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Stoning of St. Stephen


As a child, I longed for God to speak to me. In lieu of this miracle, I went to church after church. Some, as the saying goes, were better than others. And it was here that I got my first writing assignment outside of school and proving that God does have a sense of humor, it was a play. I could pick any biblical story I wanted for the basis. So I dwelled and dwelled until I came up with the stoning of St. Stephen. Of course, I didn't know he was a saint because I didn't go to a Catholic church until I was an adult -- Catholics were verbotten in my evangelical circles. (They pray to saints! And worship Mary! It was two steps away from voodoo. No suprise that I should end up there as an adult.) It wasn't that I loved the story more than any other, but that I hated one particular boy in the church group and thought he would make an excellent Stephen. I argued that we should use real stones for verisimilitude. Small stones, I amended. But real. And we should really throw them. Not at him, but near him.
The play was a masterwork in a Big Chief notepad in pencil with lots of erasings. The stoning scene lasted a very long time. Too long, according to my youth minister. Why all the blood and wailing? he asked. The Bible is a bloody book, I argued. I thought I had already exercised great self-control by erasing the following -- You are an asshole, you person playing Stephen. I hate you, you mean little prick. Nobody knew of my secret loathing. His hanging offense? Watching a tick crawl on my neck and alerting everyone else in the bus except me. I'd been walking around the woods on some godforsaken nature hike (wholesome activities were stressed -- what they didn't know is that those would eventually become opportunities for getting bat-eyed drunk on Everclear in the woods). My play ended up getting performed, but the stoning scene was edited a bit. We got to throw some stones provided we didn't throw them hard. I picked up a few even though I knew I was acting in the flesh. But I didn't care - I was no saint in this play and never would be.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Every human perfection is linked to an error which it threatens to turn into. " Arthur Schopenhauer
Cocktail Hour
Drinking movie suggestion: All About My Mother
Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Saturday!

23 comments:

Paulie Walnuts said...

I know Christopher Moltisanti is no saint, but if I had known he was that messed up, I never would have busted his balls so bad at the Bada Bing Club. Thanks for your support of the Sopranos, Michelle.

Tony Soprano said...

And I would just like to add that I also would have offered Christopher a ride home from the club or called him a cab. As you know, Michelle, tomorrow is the first of the last four episodes of the Sopranos. We're going into the Final Four. You know like the basketball tournament. Just a little levity. Thanks for all your support.--Tony

TV Guide said...

Twenty-two more days until the last day of the Sopranos!

saul of tarsis said...

It's all fun and games until you're st. stephen.

St. Sebastian said...

Or Shirley Jackson.

Rob Kress said...

Luckily, you didn't get Lyme disease from the tick.

Susan Miller said...

This is hilarious and made me think of my niece or even myself at that age. The lines you erased must have meant you were becoming socially aware. I imagine my little Jesse would leave those lines if she could write them. Thus, I am happy to see you reveal them now.

Have a great weekend, Michelle.

realbigwings said...

I love the title of the picture, "Sitting by wall of scary pet pictures" indeed, and you look delightful.
~Beautiful writing as well.

~Dawn

eric said...

He let a tick crawl on your neck, told everybody so they could witness this unknown invasion of you person without you being aware...

I didn't like this one when I first read it (thus the line from a holy man before he was holy), but upon second glance, I notice that this tale from your youth foreshadows what would happen to you when you got older, what with your assault and all.

Hate to bring that up--really--but it would stack like checkers being queened. I would be negligent in my stunt-writing duties not to let you know when a beautiful idea is born--even if you've already got it covered.

And again, the Saul comment is just some echo of the past, bruises that you still feel, stones cast by hands that should have turned on their owners and their perfect crystalline houses... no I am not bitter!

queen e said...

yes, I queen my checkers. Women are better at taking care of business, anyway.

the man said...

any takers?

Brooklyn Frank said...

bada bing indeed.

e-lait said...

yes, m, the pic is quite fine, too.

e brautigan said...

the tops of mountains
look like knives
from the white kinen
of your beedsheets

famous misspelled words said...

that's the third time today. Maybe I do need an assistant spellchecker...

I blame my miracle-working bartender.

the walking man said...

God doesn't do the Moses thing anymore.

"But I didn't care - I was no saint in this play and never would be."

OK I will never give you a bottle of tequila again but I will start collecting palm size rocks for whenever I do see you and together we can go out and find us a mock St. Stephen. Maybe we can just drop them off the overpass of I-94 at Moross where the exit leads to Grosse Pointe. Because I ain't no saint either, well maybe I am but I have a bad attitude.

What's a little tick anyway the bastards got to eat too and it is a disgusting sort of fun pinching the skin around them so they can't escape until they grow to half dollar size and explode because they are pigs.

e bukowski said...

Maybe it's not what you think at all. Maybe it's not some worn down guy, or some leather-skinned pierced girl, literally breathing the air of each other's armpits and talking--slowly--up, even closer than breath's reach to each others face.

Maybe it's never been the alcohol.

Maybe it really was the pheromones
chemistry
the biology
that you slept through
cheated through
bought or sold out cheaply enough
to maybe even leave you the time
to write it all down
before the two specimens
could even get
to the nearest car
you drunk sick puppy

Eric O'Cadillac said...

Top of the mornin' to ya, TWM
and of course that extends to you, m.

E oC said...

always at me Sunday best... you know

Immaculate Intoxication said...

my bartender can part a sea of jaeger and red bull, and funnel it right into my ever-full miracle reception glass.

You got your liver damage over here...
You got your risk of high blood pressure over there...
Integration of the damage done is key.

Charles Gramlich said...

I didn't write the play but I got to play Jesus in one of our Catholic grade school plays. I don't believe I won any awards.

Sheila said...

I used to have lots of conversations with God when I was a child. No matter what I always looked up at the ceiling or in the sky. The conversations were always so one sided... I used to pretend and make up answers for Him to tell me.

Anonymous said...

I love this piece Michelle. It made me smile. Hope you're doing well! -Jill