Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Not for Children

In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
The moral of an ancient Hebrew tale, also known as Judges 21:25

Once upon a time… is how all good fairy tales begin.  But has been often pointed out by Jane Yolen and her ilk is that fairy tales were not originally intended for children.  If one reads the original Brothers Grimm, one finds the stories encased in the volume not just to be Grimm, but ugly and violent and sexually explicit.  Much of the same transformation that has happened to the fairy tales of old has also been done to the Bible.  For those of you who only know the Bible from Sunday school stories—even if you suffered through years of repetition and memorization—I am sorry to say that you don’t actually know the Bible.  No butchered Bible story transformed to fit our cultural mores for children (or bleeding heart liberals) can accurately represent the ancient text.  If the Bible were accurately portrayed in a movie, it would at least get an R rating, if not NC-17.6  Well, we have one of these stories to look at right now.  So we will begin it properly, as a fairy tale…

Once upon a time there was a pastor.  Perhaps he wasn’t the best pastor in the world, but he had a guaranteed income from the denomination, and he did what he could for his parishners.  He shacked up with a woman from Mexico, because she wasn’t the kind of girl a man of his position would marry, but he liked her and they had good times together. 
            One day, they travelled to her hometown across the border and hung out at her house.  The pastor really liked his girl’s father, and they stayed up late, drinking and complaining about women.  The girl’s father said, “I know you wanted to leave today, but it’s late.  Stay the night and leave tomorrow.”  So they stayed.  The next day, they were determined to leave, but there was a baseball game on, so the pastor and his father in law hung out for a while.  Unfortunately, it went into extra innings, so the host said, “It’s late in the afternoon, stay another night.”  The pastor replied, “I’ve got to preach tomorrow.  I’d really like to stay, but I’ve got to get going.”
            The couple piled stuff in their Camry and drove off.  By ten that night, though, the pastor’s eyes were drooping, and he decided to stop in a rest area for the night.  “I can drive, if you want,” his girl said, but he responded, “With your driving record?  I’d rather take my chances driving asleep.”  
      She said, “Why don’t we just pull over by the side of the road and you can sleep, then.” 
      He said, “I just want to get across the border.  I don’t trust the people around here.  I’ll feel more comfortable in the States.”  
       About a half hour later, they crossed the border which wasn’t so crowded at night and entered Texas.  Shortly after, they passed a sign that said, “Welcome to Gibeah, County of Benjamin.  Rest area ahead.”  The pastor pulled off the highway.
The pastor had just parked and closed his eyes when someone knocked on their window.  He jumped out of his seat and his heart was beating wildly when he saw a man standing by his door, motioning for him to roll down his window.  The pastor rolled down the window an inch and said, “What do you want?” 
The man wore mismatched clothes and had a crazy look in his eyes.  “It ain’t safe here.  You don’t want to be here.  Come to my house and you’ll be fine.”  
The pastor looked him over and said, “No offense, but I think I’d rather take my chances here.  I’m sure we’ll be fine.”  The man, in an almost panicked state, glanced this way and that and then ran off.
The pastor murmured, “Wackos everywhere these days…”, locked the doors and he settled down to get some rest.
No more than ten minutes after he had shut his eyes again came another knock on the window.  “Look, I told you, we’ll be fine…” the pastor said as he opened his eyes and then stopped short.  For instead of just an individual at his window, he saw the car was surrounded by men in caps, all holding shotguns and bats.  They were staring at him and his woman with an intensity that could not be read, but inspired deep fear.
“Can I help you gentlemen?” he spoke with hesitation.
“Ah, an American,” the man closest to his window spoke in a drawl.  “We were just wondering, did you just come across the border?” 
“Well, yes we did.  I was just exhausted, so I thought I’d catch some sleep before I continued.”
“Very wise, sir.  Don’t want to cause unnecessary accidents.  But just one other question, sir.  This gal with you, is she Mexican?”
“Well, yes.  She’s my… well, she’s with me.”
The man in red plaid outside the window shook his head.  “Unfortunate, sir.  Just unfortunate.  If you could just step out of the car, my boys and I would just like to speak with you for a moment out here.”
“Well,” the pastor stammered, “I’m afraid I can’t do that.  I’ve got to preach in the morning and I’ve still got some ways to go…”
“You a Catholic priest, perchance?”
“No, no.  A Methodist pastor.  My church is…”
“I don’t suppose you have Mexicans in your church, do ya?”
“Well, we have some.  It is Southern Texas, after all.”
“Ya know, I wish more people would remember that.  This is Tex-as, not some blasted Me-hiko.  Mexicans should stay where they belong, and that is south of the border.  What’s ours is ours and they need to be content with what’s theirs.  They shouldn’t come up here, trying to steal our wealth. Don’t you think, sir?”
“Well, I’m nor sure what to say…”
“You don’t have to say anything at all.  We can see that you just brought this Mexican lass up across the border, didn’t ya?  Probably to do something carnal with her, huh?”
“She is not a prostitute, sir!”
“They don’t really have to be, for you to do as you please.  You bring her, all nice and legal, across the border, on a visitor’s visa or whatever, and she’ll do to you as you please outta gratitude.  Probably right behind your pulpit, eh?  Then she can begin stealing our jobs, our money, our stuff.”
“Excuse me, but you have no right…”
“I got lotsa rights, don’t I, boys?  Right to do whatever I please, huh?  It’s our America, and as citizens we’ve got all the rights we want to take. We gotta right to teach you a little lesson.  Boy, c’mon out and we promise it won’t take long.”
“What are you planning to do?  You want to hit me?”
“That wouldn’t be much of a lesson, would it?  Not to you wrong-minded church folks who think that Americans and Mexicans can just live together in peace.  You should’ve just stayed over there.  It’s where you belong, Mexican-lover.” He smiled at him, wiping some dust off of the window between them.  “Nope, you need a stronger lesson than that.  So that you know what you’re doing to our country, we’re all gunna stick you in the ass.  Using real sticks!”
Some of the men grinned, and a couple released high-pitched giggles, others held up various sized pieces of wood.
The man grinned wider and said, “Now, I see you staring at the bat our friend is holding over there.  I want you to know that we ain’t so cruel as to stick that up you.  Not at first.  We’ll start with a thinner stick and work our way up.  Heck, you might get to enjoying it by the end. Now, come on out.  The easier you make it for us, the easier we will be on you.”
The pastor turned the key, still in the ignition, and quickly shifted the car out of park.  In his speed, he shifted a little too far and put the gear in neutral.  On the passenger side of the car he hears, “Go, go, go!” The car suddenly lurches and the pastor’s girl screams.  Under the strength of seven men, the car tilts and the passenger side lifts up and over. 
The girl screams again and the pastor panics.  Upside down, he takes off his seat belt and then hers, dropping them both, their heads banging against the ceiling of the car, hardened against the parking lot’s asphalt.  One man begins swinging his baseball bat against the driver’s window.  In full panic, the pastor reaches across his girl and unlocks the passenger door, opening it.  He pushes her toward the opening.
“Take her, take her!  Just leave me alone!” he screams as he crawls toward the back seat.
As the huge hands reach for her, all she can do is stare at her man, squeezing past her to hide behind his seat.  She screams as they grab her and drag her out of the car.  Their voices reach a point of frenzy, speaking over each other.
“Got her!
“Don’t let her go!”
“Go on, get him!”
“Ha, ha! What a coward!”
“Look at him crawl!”
“Let him go—we’ve got something already.”
“Yeah, I’m tired of playing with sticks.  Let’s stick it to her!”
“That’ll teach ‘em both a lesson!”
The pastor hid under a blanket in the back seat, shivering, whispering, “Don’t let them get me.  Keep me safe.”  Alongside the shouts and moans, he hears the rip of clothes and her screams, “Help me… no!”  The car bounces under the weight of each man’s thrusting, until the roof supports collapses.  The pastor feels the crushing weight of the car on top of him, and faints.

The next morning he awakes with a headache and a stiff neck.  He pokes his head out of the back seat, and looks around.  It is barely light, but he can see that there is no one around.  The driver’s window is cracked, but the passenger door is open.  He crawls out.  Still no sign of anyone.  He stands up, noting how sore his back is.  He wishes he had some pain killers.  He looks at the car.  What a mess.  The back of the roof is all caved in, windows broken and they defecated all over the side of it. It ruined the paint.  Totaled, for certain.  He should call the insurance company today.
He walks around the back and his girl is still laying on the back of the car, her dress ripped open, blood all over and between her legs. He reaches out and closes her dress, saying, “Get up.  Get up.  You don’t want to be seen out here like this.  Let’s go.”  She didn’t move.  He puts one hand on her chest and the other under her nose.  No breathing.
Silently, gently, he places her over his shoulder and takes her to the men’s room.  He walks back to the car and opens the trunk.  A dozen items of various shapes and sizes fall out onto the ground.  He picks up a tool kit, taking it back to the restroom.  Entering it, he notices an open janitor’s closet.  He wheels a yellow mop bucket out.

The rest area is rarely used, even on a weekend.  The police were called at 10:17am.  The description they were given was hardly believable.  One officer quipped, “Isn’t it close to Halloween?  This is a joke.”  As a sole black and white drove up to the rest area, they realized it was true.  There was the blue Toyota Camry, upside down.   They pulled in behind it.  Scott, on the force for three years, noticed some brown streaks on the side.  He said to Jeff, “Someone spread shit all over it.” 
Jeff noted the trunk emptied all over the parking lot and he noticed red streaks along the bumper of the car.  “I think this is blood here.”  He looked closer, and on the bottom part of the muffler was more blood.
Scott called, “Jeff! Oh…” and Jeff could hear Scott run across the sidewalk to the grass and puke.
Jeff inspected the broken driver’s window and walked to the sidewalk, saying, “Whatsamatter, rookie?  Can’t handle a little bit of…” and stopped. 
Organized neatly across the sidewalk was a woman.  However, she was not in one piece.  First was a hand, reaching out to heaven, outstretched.  Her other hand was next to it, fingers spread, plaintive.  Her arms were each separated, laid out upon the sidewalk leading from her hands to her torso, which was nude, split in three.  Each of her legs were divided between thigh and shin.  Her head was also severed, on it’s side, looking up from the rest of the split body. 
And from the head was a huge cartoon bubble, drawn in the chocolate brown of dried blood.  Inside the bubble was written, “THE BENJAMITES DID THIS TO ME”.