Of Coffins and Choke Holds

It’s been a few, and I feel like we haven’t talked. You all know how it is: I type when something’s eating at me and I’ve been sort of too busy lately to have anything eating at me at all. Well, nothing I can share with you. Nothing that would be “constructive” to share with you.

I’ve written a number of things I’ve been referring to a The Coffins. You gather up something that’s been eating away at you, finally say everything that you need to say, wrap it up, nail it shut and bury 6 feet deep. However, the thing about coffins is that nobody else is really supposed to dig them up and look inside. What’s in the coffin isn’t pretty and shouldn’t be unleashed.

I mean, unless I get a book deal.

So, I’m going to resort to story telling again. Maybe one day I will dig up some of the less offensive coffins and flip them open. Or open up this one huge, daunting mausoleum of a subject. Until then…

It’s sophomore year in high school. Our heroine, a small, pale lass with hair recently (and very accidentally) dyed black is walking all of her 61 inches and 99 pounds down the hall to English class. There is a test in her future. In an effort to liven things up a bit, she will use a 20-color ink pen on that test. When she receives her grade, someone will have written “multicolor pens are for 5th graders” in red ink at the top of her paper.

This is not about that test. This is about what’s coming down the hall.

What’s coming down the hall, in the opposite direction of or semi-distracted heroine, is a group of three guys. At the last minute, one of the three guys leaps across the invisible yellow dividing line of the hall to yell “BOO!” in the face of our heroine, just to watch her be startled. Like a nervous cat, our heroine jumps and then continues on to class.

While she takes her test, toggling colors in that 20-color pen (which, in hindsight, looks a lot like a marital aid), she can’t help but wonder who she has become in this first year at a new school. Atlanta Amy would never have let them get away with that. Atlanta Amy would have stood up for herself. Who is this person holding this 20-color pen?

She vows that she won’t let it happen again.

Never being a group to forget a good startled reaction, the boys spot our heroin again just two days later. This time, she has dismounted the stairs and working her way through the human atom smasher that is a crowded high school hall, going to Algebra II. She hates Algebra II. Her attendance is the only thing earning her B for the semester. Atlanta Amy was also good at math.

The group of the same three guys comes toward her again, yells in her face again. Instead of being startled, our heroine has mentally prepared. She’s physically prepared, too. When she saw them, she switched her stack of books into her left arm.

This means that her right hand is free to reach out and put guy #1 against the wall by the neck and tell him, in no uncertain terms, that she is sick of his shit. Guy #2 finds all of this terribly amusing, possibly even more amusing than startling her, until she releases his friend and turns to him with a poking finger and a mouth saying, “and YOU….”

As she pokes, she shoves him to make a hole in the now very amused crowd of students. Wait, teachers may arrive soon and that would keep her from getting to Algebra. She takes advantage of the hole in the crowd, calmly walking off to class, half expecting to be chased down by a teacher or grabbed from behind via her unintentionally black hair. Neither of those things happen. She shows up for another Algebra class, putting a lock on more much-needed attendance points.

She sees those guys together only once more.
They stay on their own side of the hall.

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