Semester 2 Excerpts
From Snippet 70: The Nuke that led to Dickie’s Rectumry Summit
After that nuns’/priests’ nuclear reaction, nothing surprised me about The Eighth anymore. Could any reaction from the nuns and priests ever upstage the resultant explosion caused by my cult question? Lamar claimed that more foul air rose from my question than the reactions of outrage that stank up the gym the night Gary boob-groped Buffy. Gary Long claimed that more wrath was expressed after my cult question than even when his brother, Shorty, knocked out half a football team before the game even began and shredded their shoulder pads with his teeth. And Strap said: “Dickie, with one, simple question you conjured (Albia word!) up more incredulous (double Albia!) disdain (third Albia!) than if a flaming Easter Bunny had busted out of Blessmore’s crotch.” (Strap put that disturbing image in the Waywards’ heads after Blessmore’s disaster of a sex talk, Strap remarking that “if we believed in what Blessmore told us that ‘praying real hard’ was the secret to procreation, we must also still believe in the Easter Bunny—“who has taken up residence” –another Albia word! “now in the crotch of a cassock!”) (Side note: Strap was slightly wrong, as cassocks were like robes in that they had no intended, sewn-in crotch for commodious rabbit residency. Still, you had to love the guy regarding his talent for creating creepy images.) But the worst was still to come: Forget the stink, Lamar; the outrage, Gary; and the fire crotch, Strap. I still had to face the horror that awaited at home!
Snippet 72: TDS as a Form of Passer Resistance
Dad called it TDS for short: “The Deafening Silence.” The Gayward Waywards picked up the term.
“That silence-and-just-sit-on-your-ass thing, it makes me think maybe that Gandhi guy over there in Indiana has got something big going on, guys,” said Gary Long the Monday on the playground after a Packer loss.
“Geeze, I think he just doesn’t eat or get into fights, Gare,” said Strap. “I don’t think he uses silence as a weapon.”
“Passer resistance, they call it, or something like that, Strap,” said Gary. “I heard he does shut up and that he never even once gut punched or busted anybody in the nose. Gonna try that shut-up approach if the Packers ever lose again,” Gary said. “Broke my big toe on the furniture yesterday and the neighbors called the cops when I kept yelling and ended up tossing the portable through the window and into their yard. Scared the hell out of their cat.”
“Geeze, Gary’s right!” said Strap. “That shutting-down ***t takes real discipline and personal restraint. Vince Lombardi throws clipboards and punches lockers, but it’s my mom who can get twice the attention and twice the results by doing nothing and saying nothing. No clipboard. No lockers. Just sitting there sulking and scowling at the old man, him not knowing how to even make a sandwich or iron his own undershorts. He wasn’t in favor of the search of my room, either, but he was less in favor of a month-long TDS if he didn’t say it was OK to search,” Strap said.
Snippet 74: The Singing Nun
“Stir, when you say the acting condition prayer, how does God know if you’re capitalizing the ‘Thee’ and the ‘Thy’ and the ‘G’ for God and the ‘W’ for the ‘Who’ parts, and how can I stay out of trouble with the priest by saying that complete act so that the priest knows there’s upper case respect in my voice?”
“Gary, He is God. He knows everything. He can hear the capital letters.”
“So he also tracks if a guy took an extra second to stare at the mini-skirt when maybe he shouldn’t have? He’s like a radar God?”
“Exactly. Something you want to confess, Mister Long?”
“No, Stir! Uh…Stir…?”
“Yes, Mister Long?”
“Is it OK if we pray for the Packers?”
“I see no reason why not,” Albia, a big Packer fan, said.
“But will my sincere Packers prayer be cancelled out by a sincere Bez fan’s prayer, Stir?”
“Sincerely, no worries about that, Mister Long. With the Halas ball control philosophy and a quarterback that isn’t even worthy of carrying Bart Starr’s helmet,” said Albia, “those Bears don’t have a prayer.”
Snippet 79: “Early” Dink and Dry Discuss it all at “The Near Occasion of Sin”
People do change. Dad changed during his depression. People also hide their genuine selves, sometimes not even fully aware of the hiding, sometimes afraid that if they let the real person surface, they will be teased and maybe even shunned. Sheriff Meredink astounded me with a gradual change while I was in The Eighth. At first, in the early part of my Eighth, the heavy beer drinker was just what one might expect of the stereotypical redneck sheriff. How frustrated Sheriff Meredink became when he discovered that rather than shun the feminist hire foist upon him, the community, although wary before the hire, soon embraced her. In fact, they embraced her so much that they started to contact Kettles 4-G with all their law-enforcement concerns, leaving the sheriff much more time to get snockered at Pug’s playground and screech more and more and louder and louder about how “having a uterus and all those other attached parts” was now “gonna be the only ticket to advancing in this world.” Having “all that girl equipment,” he maintained, “ain’t a skill, and it ain’t a God-given right to take over what tasks belong to men alone. The world is going To ***k!”
From Snippet 80: I Would Instantly Trade my Life to be a sud
For my journal only!
Butkus went out in her woodie,
She found The Dips with ego swollen.
Then Dad did something really goodie:
No rain will fall on that nun’s colon!
Interpretation of poem by the author, Dickie Fleegle: Why aren’t authors required to accompany their works with explanations—at least for kids in grade school? Albia says that the “reader’s interpretation would be compromised and the richness of artistic experience would be stultified” (I wrote that ***t in my English notebook) if the authors did a Cliff’s Notes thing, too. In other words, the author wants us to figure things out for ourselves. He does not want to foist (Albia word!) his interpretation on the reader. Duh! But the author DOES have intentions, so why not make them known in case they go over the heads of the readers? OK, maybe I understand. In this case, however, here is a brief background of my snippet: “Ego swollen” is damn near brilliant for a guy in The Eighth! It took me a long time to find a rhyme for “woodie.” And in case somebody later in life in The Eighth is reading my snippet, the last line has to do with where the umbrella ended up because Dad was so pissed. Although I don’t pretend to be a Scribe, I think this is my best snippet. Jesus, I’m still worried about Strap and his Poverty, Chastity and Obedience thing. He’s even better at stand-up comedy than I am at snippets! Holy ***t, I am now encouraging him, even after that “moral bankruptcy” bull**** they tried to stick us both with. I know, never end a sentence with a preposition—but this is my journal, Albia, so I can do what I frigging want! I hope Strap is right about the P-C-O. It sure didn’t work out positive for me when I asked that cult question. But his situation is different. I think.
Snippet 83: Dimwit Dell is the big Winner
So Strap did go through with the Oral stand-up. When it was over, the real winner was Dimwit Dweeb Delbert Donner.
Del: So fat at center on the football team that none of the old high school hand-me-down pants fit and he was relegated to gray XXL sweat pants with a string tie at the waist. Del’s mom tried to Rit the gray with the school colors, but she ****ed up and mixed the colors. Damned if the girls didn’t think the mistake was cool, like Old Lady Donner purposefully tie-dyed the pants. The guys thought it looked grody. However, the refs said he could wear the pants. Del: So slow that Llaves didn’t even allow him to enter the Weight Man’s Relay during track season, and that category of event is a euphemism for “Hey, let’s have some fun watching the fat guys waddle around the track.” That slow, fat ass! He sat in 39th place when we lined up desk seating by IQ. Granted, he was a hard worker, as when first grading period came around the scurvy greaser was normally in the top 10 as far as seating arrangements were concerned. But what a suck-up! After my Cult Question and Strap’s P-C-O Oral Disaster the day before Thanksgiving, the nuns had no more doubts about wanting to punish Strap and me, that’s for sure. No better punishment upon graduation than to give the spring Scholar Athlete Award to Dimwit Del, the dude who got up from his seat after Strap gave the Oral that pushed Albia over the psycho edge and put his arms around the sobbing Sister. Donner had touched a nun!
No, Del was not struck dead by a lightning bolt from on high or suddenly afflicted with “the creeps,” a storied-but-never-witnessed situation where one’s skin turns slimeball scaly quickly, one sprouts a huge lizard-like tongue and then starts spitting mucus and fire in machine-gun bursts, the ensuing result, of course, of touching that nun. Sister Mary Albia Virgin actually seemed to welcome the comfort during the hubbub, hubbub enhanced when Johnny “Strap” Ellerman started screaming out: “Dickie Fleegle forced me to do the Oral! I had no choice, Stir! Bribery! I needed the money, but I couldn’t find him any porn without a cooch blur! Fleegle is to blame…Holy Mother of God, is Del Donner actually hugging a nun?”
Snippet 87: Meredink When he Finally Wised up and Shut up
By early 1967, the conversations on the Pug’s tapes begin to change. For some unknown reason, Meredink started talking about how juvenile the beer made him sound, and there actually is a pronouncement from him on tape that praises his new detective: “I think I was wrong about her, guys. I think maybe I need to grow up a little,” he said. “Virginia is a good person and a fine detective.”
”Are you going nuts, Dink? Have a beer!” said Jimmy “Speak Yer Onions” Twaddle. “We gotta stick together if we wanna beat this faminism thing. Jesus, have any of you read The Feminine Mistake by that Betty Freedom gal? How about “Sex and the Single Girl” by that Girlie Brown?”
“Geeze, Twad, you’re sure up to date. Both were written years ago,” said newspaper man Ogilvy.
“Hell, he just read them because Shirley Long made him do it,” added Mighty Voice.
“Actually, I just skimmed ‘em,” admitted Twaddle. “I wanna keep Shirley happy. But we’re just friends. So maybe I read about a third of both of those books, or maybe as much as a fourth.”
“Don’t worry about it, Numbers, her husband’s never getting out of the joint,” said Meredink. “But how do you ever get any alone time with her kid Gary hanging around?”
“Gary’s actually not a bad guy, guys,” said Twad. “He and I seem to relate on the same brainwave level.”
Snippet 97: Guilty Nosebleeds Start in Madtown and the Invasion of THE THING that
Makes Smart Girls Seem Braindead
You kids know that I always get nose bleeds when I am nervous, but you were never told the real reason why they started later in life, during my freshman year at Madison. In fact, maybe such overdue candor will act as a kind of guilt-ridding catharsis for not having come clean with all of you earlier, which is what I thought the nose bleeds were—a kind of automatic blood-letting— from the minute I smoked my first joint and went nuts.
Snippet 101: She Actually Meant “Hordes”
“What if Russia takes over. What then?”
“Mister Long,” said Genesius, still with a modicum of understanding kindness in her voice. Those heathen communists never will.”
“But just for the heck of it, Stir, suppose they do.”
“Well, the first things they’re gonna look at when they get here are our PERMANENT RECORDS. And let me tell you, Gary, those Godless hoards—spelled Ach Oh A Are Dee Ess—(sic) will not be nearly as understanding and nice as we sisters are regarding those black marks on your PERMANENT RECORD.”
Later, Gary would tell me on the playground that now the Ruskies could be involved, he was much more afraid of his “rap sheet” in the principal’s office. “Nuns or Ruskies, which are you more afraid of, Fleegs?”
“Both,” I said.
“But I didn’t think there were Ruskie nuns!” he said, truly frightened at the prospect. “That combination kinda makes my stomach squeasy. Did I use that word right?”
Snippet 111: It Hurts So Much in The Eighth.
Were there commonalities among all kids who found themselves in The Eighth, regardless of cultural background? It seemed to me, that having some 25 Americans, 50 Peruvians and approximately 25 students from a myriad of nations, this was a prime opportunity to test that question. So I am offering a golden morsel to any and all sociologists who study budding adolescence: Get 100 of them and divide them into groups of study. It’s the qualitative, participant observation approach. Pretend to teach them something. Of course, more than a few now have little interest in learning the academic essence of whatever you are pseudo-teaching, and some, like Toolie, are going to hate you immediately and never give up that hatred, no matter what you do. Still, probe all their brains to discover universal truths about the part of growing up when one becomes an early adult—physically—the part that tends to piss off that same universe in the process, particularly in the orbit of Mom and Dad.
Essays are great for getting kids in The Eighth to help former kids in The Eighth try to understand just what the hell went haywire during that crazy year. For example: “By tomorrow, please write a 500-word reaction to the following: “How I Identify with Anne Frank and Her Life in Hiding with the Adults.” This is a veiled title. The real one: “Let Dickie Fleegle, Nearing 30 but Forever 13?, Frantically try to Figure out why he Messed up his Life Trapped With Adults In The Eighth Because This Will Help him Avert the Same Shame with his Own Kids—or WILL it? And, Toolie, Isn’t There ANYTHING I Can Do To Convince You I Am On Your Side? And be Certain to Look up the Word ‘avert’ if you are not Familiar with it. And Don’t Forget the Capitalized ‘JMJ’ at the top of your Paper. No, Wait, this is not a Religiously Affiliated School.”
Snippet 114: Love from our Fathers and Assurances that Mother Won’t Abandon Us
Being the male teacher is good in Lima’s private English-speaking schools. Every kid calls you “Seer,” the Peruvian pronunciation of the English “Sir.” For the women, it is “Meese,” and, to me, not so good. Every time I remember that, I think of that fat guy who was Reagan’s attorney general, the sergeant at arms for a group of hanky panky Waywards who shared jelly beans and did the hokey-pokey around Ronnie’s Big Playground Table. Maybe they had juice packs with sippy straws, too. I don’t remember.
Snippet 117: Should I Give Hernando a Disciplinary Essay after he set me up? What would Jesus do?
On that ill-fated day when Hernando’s “Fernando” delivered the punch line, nobody dared laugh until they read the reaction of the Seer. They all just stared at me, the new, flushed English teacher. How would I respond to such a set-up? Fortunately, only one-fifth of The Eighth had heard me reading that story. Unfortunately, by the time classes were over that day of the prank and I got into Stan’s bug for the drive home, approximately one-fifth of all of Peru and five-fifths of the 600 students, 40 junior-senior high faculty and approximately 600+ caretakers had sworn they had dropped in on my class for one reason or another when I read that prank essay aloud.
Snippet 126: Rabid Roger’s Corn Chip Slip-up and Sniffable TP Flier
Whenever I saw two Truman sweethearts together, I never thought about military power, or cliques or sugar daddies. I just saw a couple of kids aglow in drab white and gray—with red, Truman jogging jackets when it was cold—looking into each other’s eyes like two fawns who had chanced to meet at the cool creek and fell instantly under one another’s spells. When Jeanie would join me for a sack lunch in the Truman middle square (courtyard), she would say, “That is SO cute!” when couples like Drownedtrodden and Hernando shared corn chips like the newly married feed each other wedding cake at a reception—but in a nice way, not the way some couples try to shove frosting up each other’s nostrils as if they were trying to pack it into the frontal lobe and cause a lethal, inoperable tumor. Why such roughness? Save that shoving piece of cake in the freezer and do the frontal attack thing during your inevitable first-anniversary fight. There’s always a first-anniversary fight. But I digress.
Snippet 130: It Finally Pays to Teach in The Eighth. It Pays BIG.
Chico’s dad’s tone immediately got softer, and his words were slowly paced and gentler: “You’ve had a really positive impact on my son, Profe. Seems to have settled down a bit. More serious about his studies. Doesn’t go looking for fights anymore. Wants to be an English teacher, and is very excited about your upcoming murder story. I just wanted to make sure this was more of —how you say—a “who done it” and not a “how to” grisly account of torture and psychosis…and by the way, do I get extra credit for using ‘psychosis’?”
Normally, as I have claimed time and again, the worst part of teaching in The Eighth is the meddlesome parents. Normally. But I enjoyed the brief conversation with Chico’s dad. Maybe because he was calling with a legitimate concern. People claimed his kid had the eyes of a killer, so did he think I would be Chico’s first murder tutor? That seemed a bit too much. Menacing eyes, yes. But a killer?
“Profe, my Chico has those eyes like his mother’s. Piercing ones. And you know what they say?”
“Ojos de asesino,” I replied.
“You know this, Profe?”
“I consider it a joke. It seems like Chico does, too.”
“Isn’t it odd? On a woman they are romantically piercing. On a man, murderous!”
“Do think that’s where the term ‘lady killer’ came from, Mr. Batista?”
Snippet 133: Stuffing a Wild Bikini
I loved to teach sponges. Hernando was one.
“Excuse me, Seer?”
“Did Father Blessmore catch you and Strap and Lamar sneaking into How to Stuff a Wild Bikini”?
“Where did that come from, Hernando? I was just talking about Gary Long, not Blessmore, and certainly not bikinis,” I said.
“From my notes from the last class about decency, Seer. And what is ‘God’s Little Acre,’ Seer?” asked Hernando.
“A place of passion, Hernando, and that’s as far as I’m going with that one.”
“Like that Cattles Cozy Corner?” Hernando pressed.
“Did I actually tell you students about that place?”
“Several times, Seer,” added Juanita.
“Well, I’m sure every locale has its Kettles Cozy Corner,” I said.
“Yes, Seer. Thank you, Seer. We get the photo,” said Hernando.
“You mean you get the picture.”
“We get it, Seer.” Wink. I really liked that kid.
“Seer, are you at libertad (sometimes students mixed in a little Spanish with their English) to tell us exactly how somebody would go about stuffing a wild bikini? And what exactly makes a bikini wild—as opposed to a tame one, Seer?”
Snippet 136: I Advise my Students to Become Drug Dealers and to Consider Killing Their Parents (See How Nasty Rumors Get Started?)
I often wondered how my experience in The Eighth would have been different had my teachers not been so full of doctrine and so bully prescriptive. Another of my Butkus fantasies: “Students, while I do not agree with what I am about to present, you need to know about it. You need to see and evaluate all kinds of perspectives and, of course, with the guidance of adults, come to your own conclusions when you reach full adulthood. I believe The Eighth is a good place to start. Please remember, this goes against the Fifth and Sixth Commandments, but let’s talk about the how and why of murder and maybe even how you might go about knocking off your parents.”
Back to Lima: “OK, I do not want to get too personal here, but I do want to discuss if people ever consider killing their parents. Remember, I said PEOPLE, not YOU. And do you remember a time when you were a kid when you thought your parents were infallible and omniscient? Write those two down.” Yes, after I said those words, I was fully expecting a long conversation with Mrs. Anonymous that night. She must have been out of town, as the phone remained silent all evening